How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust

It may sound intimidating, but blind baking is a super simple process that guarantees a perfectly crispy pie crust, no matter the filling. This step-by-step guide is all you need!

BIUAN Blind Baking Header
Photo: Darcy Lenz

So you want to learn about blind baking pie crust? Congratulations! That means you probably have something delicious in the works. And while this process may seem mildly intimidating the first time around — I promise, it's pretty straightforward once you get into it.

What Exactly Is Blind Baking?

Blind baking simply refers to baking a pie crust, partially or completely, without any filling in it. Easy enough, right? The only catch is that if you're using pastry dough for your pie (versus a crumb crust), you can't just slide the pie into the oven as-is.

Because of the structural makeup of pie dough, if you've made it well, you're going to have pockets of steam coming to life during the baking process. This is ultimately what leaves you with those wonderful flaky layers. However, if there's no filling in your pie shell to weigh it down and help the sides uphold their architectural integrity, this process can cause your pie dough to puff up, shrink, and slump. Yikes.

Fortunately, avoiding this deformed fate is easy. You just have to weigh the shell with a temporary filling as it bakes, allowing the dough to crisp up while holding its shape.

Why Would I Blind Bake My Crust?

Generally, you'll want to blind bake a pie crust destined to hold a filling that requires little to no oven time itself. For example, a pie with a custard-based filling that's cooked on the stovetop, like our Chocolate Cream Pie, needs a pie shell that's already entirely baked and ready to go. Filling for a Key lime pie typically only takes about 15 minutes to bake, so a blind-baked crust will get a little bit of a head start before it's filled. Some bakers also like to partially bake the crusts they're using to hold fruit fillings (like apple or blueberry) in order to prevent the fruit's juicy filling from soaking into the soft, raw pie dough — yielding a soggy crust once completely baked. This is also a common approach when it comes to baking a savory quiche.

What Kind of Pie Crusts Can I Blind Bake?

You can blind bake any variety of pie crust. This includes graham cracker and other cookie crumb crusts as well as those that incorporate ground nuts into the equation. Below is a step-by-step guide for blind baking a pastry dough crust (aka a crust that involves cutting fat into flour). As mentioned above, this is slightly (but just slightly!) trickier than blind baking a crumb crust because you'll need to use pie weights.

So, What Are Pie Weights?

You can purchase legitimate pie weights from craft and hobby stores that sell baking supplies, or you can find them online. These small, rounded pieces of metal or ceramic are used to weigh down your crust during blind baking. However, you can employ any number of objects around the house to serve this same purpose. My personal favorite are dried beans because I generally always have a load of these in my kitchen anyway.

How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust in 7 Easy Steps

Blind Baking Pie Crust
Darcy Lenz

Step 1: Put Your Pie Dough in Place

Whether you've made your own or you're using store-bought, roll out the pie dough, press it into your pie plate, and crimp the edges as you normally would. You'll also want to have your oven preheating to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Blind Baking Pie Crust 2
Darcy Lenz

Step 2: Line Your Pie Shell

Press a large square of parchment paper along the bottom and sides of your unbaked pie shell. If you don't have parchment paper, you can use aluminum foil. Either way, allow for plenty of overhang.

Blind Baking Pie Crust 3
Darcy Lenz

Step 3: Weigh It Down

Add your pie weights to the lined pie shell, making sure to fill the shell completely. You want the pie weights to come all the way up the sides to the top edge of the pie shell.

Step 4: Bake It

Slide your weighted pie shell into the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until your crust is beginning to brown.

Blind Baking Pie Crust 4
Darcy Lenz

Step 5: Remove the Weights

Take your pie shell from the oven, and using the corners of the parchment paper or foil, carefully lift the pie weights from the center of the shell and place them into a large, heat-proof bowl to cool off.

Blind Baking Pie Crust 5
Darcy Lenz

Step 6: Bake It Some More

Return your pie shell to the oven to get a little direct heat exposure to the inside of the shell, which was previously covered. Don't worry, it won't take long to wrap up this process. Bake the unweighted pie shell for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the bottom of the crust looks dry.

Blind Baking 6
Darcy Lenz

Step 7: Cool It Down

Allow your crust to cool appropriately for the recipe you're using. Some recipes require a completely cooled pie shell, while others may have you proceed with the filling while the crust is still warm.


Learn more baking tips and tricks with our Whisk Management series.

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