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: 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 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.

102 Comments

  1. Thanks for the tips, this is very helpful. I have only used rice or beans as “pie weights” but I think it may be worth it to invest in proper pie weights. Thanks again!

  2. When you poke the little holes in the bottom of the pie crust during the second part of the blind bake, do you ever find that you have problems later with the filling seeping out of the crust a little and sticking to the pie dish? Or is that not usually a problem with the kinds of pies that require blind baking?

    1. Hi Anna! That happens sometimes, but not as often as you’d think. Mostly because the types of pies used with blind baked pie crusts aren’t baked. So there’s not really any sticking.

  3. Are you using the bottom or middle oven rack to bake the crust ?

    1. The middle!

  4. Heather Smoke says:

    When filling a baked crust with custard, is there some way to prevent the crust from getting soggy after a few days in the fridge? Brushing egg white on the dough, perhaps?

    1. Hi Heather! YES, brushing egg white on the dough works as a “seal” and is awesome for protecting the crust from getting too soggy.

  5. Tony D Furr says:

    Hi Sally,
    I have used your method before as my Mother also taught me. I’m not big on baking and have made many mistakes for sure. I have found that if I bake the docked pie crust on the outside of the glass pie pan this works great. When it’s reached it’s perfect doneness, I remove it from oven and let it cool enough to handle and flip over pie pan and the residual heat let’s it slide right in. I then add my filling and basically just bake enough to heat filling for fillings that need this or add non-baked filling and it’s ready to eat. Thanks

  6. Can you remove the pie from the glass?

    1. Once it’s cooled, the fully blind-baked crust easily comes out of the pan, yes!

  7. Thanks for really clear instructions and tutorial.

  8. I like to use parchment and pie weights, however I find that when I lift out the parchment, some of the pastry from the bottom of the shell comes off with the parchment. How do I avoid this?

    1. Hi Mary Lou! Sometimes that happens and the best way to fix this is to slowly lift the parchment off the crust and peel the cooked pie crust off and place it back onto the pie. I still haven’t found a solution that avoids the problem altogether though.

  9. Great instructions! Worked very well and I lvoe your pie crust recipe!

  10. I’m 76 and have been baking pies for 50 and now I learn this!!!
    I found cake pan liners, look like cupcake papers, and they are perfect for lining the crust. Not so rigid, easy to lift out and cheap. Now, If I could only remember where I got them….

  11. It worked well!

  12. Have never handled dough that beautiful, ever!

  13. Hey Sally, do you spray the bottom of pie plate before adding crust to keep it from sticking?

    1. I don’t. There is enough butter in the crust that I have never had a crust stick!

  14. Telena Keillor says:

    Oh my goodness, thank you so much!!!! You totally saved my chocolate pie from utter failure!!!!! I used white rice for weight but used your method- worked like a charm!!!!

  15. Kathy Eshnaur says:

    First time my crust hasn’t shrunk and bubbled up!

  16. You show using a pyrex pie plate. Any problem with chilling the crust and then putting the cold pyrex dish directly in a hot oven? Thanks.

    1. Hi Mary, I have never had a problem with my Pyrex dish going right from the refrigerator to the oven and I’ve made hundreds of pies in it!

  17. Hi, Sally
    I have a few questions.
    How do you know when a pie needs a full or partial blind bake?
    How long will a partially blind baked crust last if you want to make it ahead of time?
    If you can make a partial ahead of time (2-3 days before baking) how would you store it?

    I’m making a dozen pies for Thanksgiving- lemon meringue, pecan, lattice top apple, and of course pumpkin (all 9″), and I’m newer to homemade crust and blind baking (always used premade dough sheets).
    I just dont want to make a perfect, blind baked crust, and then have the bottom burn when I bake the pie itself.
    Suggestions on blind time and temp would be appreciated!
    Thank you for your time.

    P.s. I am constantly on your site and I love your recipes!

    1. Hi Kelsey! I’m happy to help. 🙂 If a pie filling is particularly creamy and wet, it’s ideal to partially blind bake the crust prior to adding the filling. If the filling is not cooked, for example my french silk pie, you need a fully blind baked pie crust. You can partially blind bake the pie crust ahead of time. Let it cool, cover it, and refrigerate for up to about 3-4 days. You can also freeze it up to 3 months. Thaw, then use as directed in your recipe.

      If you’re using any of my pie recipes, each would instruct you to blind bake the crust if it’s needed. Not all pies require this step!

  18. Hi Sally!

    I love this pie crust; it tastes great! I was just wondering if anyone has any suggestions to help my fluting keep? I freeze the pie crust before I bake it, half of the top melts over the edge! Help! Thanks!

    1. Hi Laura! How long are you freezing it? Try placing it in the freezer for even up to 1-2 hours. (Use a glass Pyrex, awesome quality and safe from freezer to oven.) I know it’s an extra step, but it helps guarantee that crust won’t slip down the sides. Make sure you’re using enough pie weights, too. You want a lot in the crust to help those sides stay intact.

  19. Patience Coale Renzulli says:

    I’m sorry to be so dense! I’ve searched the comments and don’t see an answer, so: If I do a partial blind bake for a pumpkin pie (not a no bake recipe), should I dock or not? Thank you!

    1. No need to dock the crust unless the recipe instructs OR unless you need a fully baked pie crust shell. For my pumpkin pie, you do not need to dock the crust.

  20. I used your all butter recipe for my pie crust and I love it! I do have a question. I am making a pumpkin pie and I noticed the cook times and cook temperatures are different from your pumpkin pie recipe compared to your partially baked pie crust instructions. Which instructions should I follow?

    1. Hi Amelia! Always follow the recipe’s specific instructions. These are general blind baking instructions, but your specific recipe (my pumpkin pie, in your case) may have instructions that are particular to that recipe.

  21. WOW!! Just WOW!! I’ve run across your website several times but don’t know if I’ve ever made one of your recipes. Today I was looking for a recipe and ran across your pumpkin pie, crust and banana cream pie recipes. I made the crust recipe and just blind baked the one for the banana cream pie. Made some little crackers with the pie dough just to taste them. Layers of flaky goodness!! Oh my word. If the pumpkin pie filling and banana cream filling are as good as the crust I will be in heaven!! Thank you so much!!

  22. Mary Maine-Roberts says:

    Sally: I am getting ready to make the crust (then refrigerate it) but before I partially blind bake it, I found out that my pie weights (from Amazon) will not arrive until tomorrow…
    therefore, I am wondering if I can use a bag or two of dried beans (poured out in the pie crust over parchment)–will that work??
    (some baker’s website/pages said to try dried beans/peas–but to obviously ‘not’ eat the beans later 🙂 )
    Just thought I would ask you, because I trust your expertise, thank you!

    1. Dried beans work! Line the cold crust with parchment and pour the beans in. They work very well!

  23. Debbie Spencer says:

    So many thanks! I am so excited!!! I made 4 crusts, today, with your advice. Guy, they turned out BEAUTIFUL!!! I feel like a crust boss!!!!!!!!! So grateful for you, your skill, and all you share.

  24. I’ve never blind baked a pie shell before! I used your French Silk Pie recipe and this crust was easy and perfect for it! I didn’t have pie weights so I used dry beans. Worked perfectly!! Thanks!

  25. If using a store bought pie crust, how long should I pre-bake the crust?

    1. Hi Emily, Same amount of time unless a specific recipe states otherwise.

  26. It would be much easier if you miss out the cutting of extra strips of pastry and trying to stick them on – when you roll out the pastry just roll it out larger and don’t trim it to the edge of the dish…

  27. What happened. I was almost at end of cooking time. Pulled out crust to remove weights. I used 2 bahs of beans on top of parchment paper it was a deep dish. When I lifted parchment up the bottom of my crust stuck to paper. I like lemon meringue so I’m ok with only partial bottom crust. However I’d of been doomed if this wasn’t just my edible practice. Was it too much weight?

    1. Hi Mandy! It could have been too much weight. But if you try blind baking pie crust again, use your hands to help detach the parchment from the bottom pie crust when lifting it off.

  28. Hi! Thanks for sharing this! What would be the difference in temperature and baking time if I use a metal pie dish? Thanks again 🙂

    1. Hi William, both remain the same.

  29. Perfect crust recipe!! I am so glad I’ve met you Sally while searching for a lemon meringue pie. The most delicious meringue pie ever ! Love from Istanbul

  30. Flaky Pastry was really delicious!! Generally my pastry shrinks and disappears but this was crispy and thin – lovely. Will try some other recipes. Going to try the mini quiche next Thankyou

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