How to Par-Bake Pie Crust

pie crust after blind baking

Par-baking (also known as blind baking) is an integral step in many pie recipes and a basic technique to have in your back pocket.

Par-baking pie crust sounds pretty intimidating, especially if you’re already nervous about making pie. I’m here to tell you (and show you!) that blind baking pie crust is simple, but there’s a few tips to help guarantee success.

lemon meringue pie in a glass pie dish

Why Par-Bake?

Why would you bake pie crust without a filling? There are a few instances, actually. When you’re making quiche, no-bake pie, custard pie, pumpkin pie, cream pie, pudding pie, or simply want an extra crisp pie crust.

FULL BLIND BAKE / PARTIAL BLIND BAKE

If your pie recipe calls for a baked pie shell, you want to fully bake it. And I teach you how in this blog post. But some recipes require a partially baked pie crust and those recipes will typically include “pre-baking” or “partially baking” the crust in the instructions. I teach you how to do that too. Whether you’re fully blind baking or partially blind baking pie crust, the process is exactly the same; it’s the bake time that differs.

  1. Fully blind bake a pie crust if you’re making no-bake pie. We obviously don’t want to eat unbaked pie dough.
  2. Partially blind bake a pie crust if your pie filling requires a shorter bake time than the pie crust. And if you want an extra crisp pie crust for your apple pie— you can partially blind bake the crust before adding the filling.

How to Par-Bake Pie Crust

While the process is quite simple, there’s more to it than just throwing pie dough in a pie dish and baking.

Here’s our problem: As the pie dough bakes, the fat melts. This causes the pie crust to shrink down the sides of the pie dish. And as the fat melts, it creates steam. Steam is both good and bad. It creates DELICIOUS layers and flakes, but also causes the pie dough to puff up when there’s no heavy filling weighing it down.

Here’s our answer: weigh down the pie crust with something so it doesn’t puff up in the center or shrink down the sides. Carefully line the pie dough with parchment paper first, then add some weight. You can purchase special pie weights or you can use dry beans. I’ve also seen the use of granulated sugar and even pennies. I just stick to pie weights. Note: 2 packs of these pie weights is definitely needed!

pie dough in a glass pie dish with pie weights on top

How to Dock Pie Crust

Since it’s covered with weights, the bottom of the pie crust doesn’t really cook. That’s an easy fix. Once the crust is brown around the edges, carefully remove the parchment paper + weights, then let the crust cook a little longer on its own. I always worry that the bottom of the crust will puff up, so I use a fork to prick holes in it. This allows steam to escape and prevents lots of puff. Pricking holes in pie crust is also called “docking” the pie crust.

Some bakers simply dock the pie crust instead of using pie weights. I never have luck this way! The sides of my pie crust still shrink down. So I always use pie weights, remove them after the edges turn brown, dock the crust with a fork, then return it to the oven so the bottom cooks. The remaining oven time depends on whether you want a partially blind baked pie crust or a fully blind baked pie crust. In some cases, you can pour the filling right in after you remove the pie weights, like we do with pumpkin pie.

blind baked pie crust in a glass pie dish

How to Prevent Pie Crust from Shrinking

Pie weights prevent the bottom crust from puffing up and help prevent the sides from shrinking down, but up until recently, I still had trouble with the sides losing shape. It was so frustrating. I played around with some techniques and now my pie crusts never shrink. I have a nice thick crust with a beautifully fluted shape around the pie dish. And you can too!

THESE 2 TRICKS SOLVED EVERYTHING

  1. Make sure you chill your pie shell before par-baking.
  2. Make sure you have a thick crust on the sides using my “dough strip” technique.

Chilling the pie shell before par-baking doesn’t need much explanation, so let me show you how I create thick edges. You can watch me do this in the video below too!

DOUGH STRIP TECHNIQUE

Roll out your pie dough and fill your pie dish. Grab some extra pie dough, cut into strips, and meld the strips around the edges.

pie dough in a pie dish before baking

pie dough in a pie dish before baking

pie dough in a pie dish before baking

Use your fingers to work the extra strips of dough into the edges.

pie dough in a pie dish before baking

Now it’s all 1 uniform crust with extra thick and sturdy edges. My dough strip technique uses about 1 and 1/2 pie crusts. No big deal since my pie crust recipe makes 2 crusts. You’ll have 1/2 pie crust leftover for the next time you need dough scraps!

fluted pie dough in a glass pie dish before baking

That was a lot of information thrown at you, but I promise it’s manageable.

 

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pie crust after blind baking

How to Blind Bake Pie Crust

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 pie
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

How to blind bake pie crust.


Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Make the pie dough: Prepare my pie crust recipe through step 5.
  2. Watch the video above to see how I work through each of the following steps.
  3. Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the disks of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is completely smooth.
  4. Dough strip technique: This step is optional, but will help prevent the sides from shrinking down as well as promise a thick and sturdy crust. Remove the 2nd pie dough disk from the refrigerator. Roll out the same way you rolled out the first one. Using a pizza cutter, slice rounded 1 or 2 inch strips, and arrange around the edges. Use your fingers to meld both crusts together. What you’re basically doing here is adding another layer of crust to just the edges. Flute the edges. They should be nice and thick now! Wrap any leftover pie crust back up to use for next time. Freeze it for up to 3 months.
  5. Refrigerate or freeze: Chill the pie crust in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 5 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months. Cover the pie crust with plastic wrap if chilling for longer than 30 minutes or if you’re freezing it. If you freeze it, let it thaw for a couple hours in the refrigerator before continuing.
  6. While the crust is chilling, preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  7. Fill with weights: Line the chilled pie crust with parchment paper. (Crunch up the parchment paper first so that you can easily shape it into the crust.) Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Make sure the weights are evenly distributed around the pie dish.
  8. Bake: Bake until the edges of the crust are starting to brown, about 15-16 minutes. Remove pie from the oven and carefully lift the parchment paper (with the weights) out of the pie. Prick holes all around the bottom crust with a fork. Return the pie crust to the oven.
  9. If you’re making a no-bake pie like banana cream pie and need a fully baked pie crust, bake until the bottom crust is golden brown, about 14-15 minutes longer. For a partially baked pie crust (like if you’re baking the pie crust once it is filled like a quiche) bake until the bottom crust is just beginning to brown, about 7-8 minutes.
  10. If you’re making a no-bake pie, let the baked crust cool completely before adding the filling. For pies that will go back in the oven, like quiche or pumpkin pie, the crust can still be warm when you add the filling.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can make pie dough and freeze it for up to 3 months. See my pie crust recipe for details. If you want to shape the pie dough ahead of time, see step 5 above.
  2. Special Tools: Glass Pie Dish | Pie Weights | Pastry Blender | Rolling Pin | Pizza Cutter
  3. Chill the Crust! The pie crust will shrink if you don’t chill it before blind baking. Chilling in the refrigerator (step 5) is the most important step!

211 Comments

  1. So im making the edges thin, so how long do i bake the pie crust for the lemon meringue pie for, and also I’m going to make two pies should i make the lemon meringue pie one at a time.

    1. Hi Margaret, follow these instructions as written for the lemon meringue pie blind baking step. You only need to partially bake crust (step 9) for that pie since you’re baking it again with the filling.

    2. These instructions are all over the place. They need to be more concise and to the point.

      1. Wow! I must disagree! I’m the worst baker in the world and I felt the instructions were organized and comprehensive. For once, my crust came out perfectly.

      2. Rubbish, recipe is great and easy to follow

      3. Kathy Jones says:

        Chris, I was just reading the instructions and then your comment. What part of these instructions do you NOT understand? I work at a pie bakery, and she was quite clear and detailed on these instructions and tips. Are you a new or novice baker? Reread it and follow her instructions and I think it will click once you reread this!
        Good luck,
        Kathy

      4. Strongly disagree… precise instructions, easy to follow and my Par-Bake was SPOT ON for once.
        Perfection!! Thank you Sally

      5. I’m an accomplished cook and a mediocre baker. Unfortunately I do agree that the directions could be tightened up and more concise.

  2. i am trying to make chicken pot pie. do i need to prebake? what about the top crust?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Antoni, Here is exactly how we make a Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie – we do not pre-bake the crust for this recipe!

      1. I love your double crust chicken pot pie. Why do I have to blind bake the crust for quiche and not this? Is it just because of more moisture in quiche??

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Rachel! You bet. Quiche will likely taste soggy if not partially blind baked because it’s extra moist. We don’t find it necessary to blind bake the double crust chicken pot pie.

  3. Hi Sally:
    I’m getting ready to make your Lemon Meringue pie . I’m confused on the pie crust recipe. Would you kindly elaborate to me. Thank you so much. You mentioned to go through Step 9— only found up to step 5. Do I partially blind bake? Can I bake in a metal pan or does it have to be in a glass?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Yvonne, Use the directions in the post How to Blind Bake Pie Crust through step 9. So after you remove the pie weights in step 8, you will follow the directions in step 9 for a partially baked pie crust (so you will bake it until the bottom crust is just beginning to brown, about 7-8 minutes).
      We do prefer glass for making pies, but you can use any pie dish you wish. Glass dishes conduct heat evenly, which allows the bottom of the crust to bake thoroughly. Also, you’ll be able to see when the sides and bottom of the crust has browned.

  4. I’m going to make your pecan pie and it led me to this page for partially blind baking the crust. What a great tutorial and I also understand now how to do the fluted edges. I could never figure out how to do that. So, thanks for teaching me some new skills!

  5. Hi Sally,
    Can you please recommend a pie guard?
    Thank you!
    Sarah

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, This is the pie crust shield that we use often: https://www.amazon.com/Talisman-Designs-Adjustable-BPA-free-Silicone/dp/B005FYC9XM/

  6. Connie Evans says:

    Can you tell me why my crust didn’t brown? It was flaky and delicious and not raw at all. But it just didn’t brown. I did use part vodka and part water. I did 20 minutes with the weights and 20 without.

  7. Hi sally! I baked your deep dish apple which turned out great! First time pie maker! I did blind bake the bottom but only partially since I didn’t know how it’d turn out. The inner center of it was undercooked (grayish) so I’ll try fully blind baking it, maybe? The only issue I had was how to seal the bottom blind baked crust to the upper raw crust before cooking the entire pie? I managed by tucking but it was awkward. Thanks!

  8. Laurie Stephens says:

    I followed your directions, I thought to the T, after about 30 minutes of trying to get the egg whites to form a soft peak, and then another 10 minutes, it never got there. There was no yoke in the whites at all but it still would not peak. What am I doing wrong. This is the 3rd time I have tried to make Lemon meringue, 3rd time failed.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Laurie, I’m happy to help! Egg whites whip up best if you are using fresh eggs, not egg whites from the carton, and if they are room temperature. Because eggs separate more easily when they are cold, it’s best to separate the yolks from the whites first, then let them come to room temperature. If there is even a trace of soap or grease on your bowl or whisk, the eggs won’t whip properly. Be sure to use a glass or stainless steel bowl instead of plastic, and try cleaning it well with vinegar or lemon juice and cold water before using it. 30 minutes also sounds like a very very long time. They should take about 5 minutes to form soft peaks. Whipping them for too long will actually break them apart and they will look curdled/watery. I hope this helps!

  9. My mom made fantastic lemon meringue pies. She taught me to “lock” the crust to the pie pan by folding just a little of the tip of the flute around the edge white fluting the crust. I also preheat my pizza stone and a jelly roll pan in the oven and cook the crust on the jelly roll pan. Get it really hot before you put the pie in. It browns the bottom nicely without over browning the edges. I do prick, butter, and weight down the crusts. They always come out fine.

  10. Hi, Sally.
    Your instructions are a godsend.
    I have recently bought a couple of glass pie dishes. I am usually careful with sudden temperature changes when using glassware.
    Your recipe calls for a 30-min chilling before it goes in the oven. Is it okay to put the pyrex bakeware into the oven straight from the fridge?

  11. Peggy S Silvis says:

    I use your recipe mainly for the lemon filling. You say to “partially” blind bake the crust before putting in the lemon filling. But you give NO idea of the time for that “partially” blind baking. How much please? I use my mother’s oil crust.

    1. Hi Peggy, I’m glad to help. Follow as instructed through step 8, then for step 9, refer to the partial blind bake instructions.
      For a partially baked pie crust (like if you’re baking the pie crust once it is filled like a quiche) bake until the bottom crust is just beginning to brown, about 7-8 minutes.

  12. I’m cheating and using a premade pie crust for my Quiche, should I use your instructions exactly as you suggested for blind baking?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, same directions. Enjoy!

  13. Cook from Scratch Girl says:

    This recipe is the best lemon meringue pie I’ve ever tasted! The lemon has the right amount of tartness to balance out the crust & meringue. This recipe has definitely inspired me to start baking more pies from scratch! I’m looking forward to trying your other recipes. However, I didn’t realize the entire crust recipe was not included when I printed the main recipe. But it all worked out fabulously! Thanks Sally!

  14. I absolutely love your pie crust recipe, and it works great in the normal pies I make. However, I’m trying to blind bake the crust for a cream pie, I do the double crust method, and then crimp it up (the way you have it in the picture in this post), but the pretty crimps KEEP COLLAPSING when I bake it, it’s driving me nuts. What am I doing wrong??? I chill the pie crust before I stick it in the oven, but pfffffft it collapses into an ugly mess. I’d really appreciate help from anyone on this.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Adi, We’re so glad to help here because we know how frustrating pie crust can be. Something that usually helps is using extra floured hands to flute the edges. The flour will help soak up some of the fat in the dough, which is what causes the crust to fall and collapse down the sides of the pie dish. When using the pie weights, push them more towards the edges of the dish (rather than piling them in the very center). The more weight against the edges, the less likely they will sink. And keep chilling the pie crust before baking– that always helps too.

  15. Christian McCulloch says:

    Terrible video… Doesn’t give instructions at all.

  16. Jennifer Seely says:

    I’m looking to make a bumble berry pie. The last time I did, I didn’t blind bake and got the dreaded soggy bottom. I’m thinking to partially blind bake this time and do a weave top; any tricks to get the top raw crust to form nicely to the bottom (cooked) crust?

  17. I’m making traditional Easter Pie which is mostly eggs and Ricotta cheese. Should I blind bake fully it not at all, I don’t want a soggy bottom

  18. Patty Emert says:

    Hi Sally, I made your Coconut Cream Pie, the filling was wonderful, but my crust shrieked on one side. I followed all the instructions carefully and chilled after rolling the crust, weighed down dry beans up to the rim. After baking 16 minutes I removed the parchment & beans, pricked crust with a fork and baked another 15 minutes, but on one side the crust shrunk quite a bit. I was going to dump it in the trash, but I filled it anyway and tomorrow I will put on the whipped cream and toasted coconut for Easter dinner. What went wrong????

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Patty, Sorry you’re having trouble with the crust shrinking, but we’re happy to help troubleshoot for next time. It sounds like you did everything right. Do you think the dough was thicker on the side that shrunk down? It could also be that, on that one side, there was a little more butter or perhaps the butter wasn’t cut in enough so it melted quicker, resulting in the sides shrinking down. If you try it again, see if you can chill the shaped dough before baking for 1 hour before baking. Even more chill time should significantly help.

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