When you are baking a fruit pie, the filling usually goes into a pie plate lined with uncooked pie dough and everything bakes together. There are quite a few types of pies out there – including many cream pies – that call for a prebaked pie shell without giving you much instruction on how to get the pie crust baked. Prebaking a pie crust is also known as “blind baking.”
The first thing you’ll need is a piece of pie pastry large enough for a 9-inch pie (recipe here). Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to fill a 9-inch pie plate. Transfer the dough to the plate and press into place. Crimp or trim the edges of the dough, then chill for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator to allow the dough to relax (this will help prevent the crust from shrinking as you bake it).
Once the dough has rested, use a fork to lightly prick the bottom of the pastry. Take a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper and press it into the pie plate, gently pushing it right up against the pastry. Fill the sheet of foil or parchment paper with pie weights, dried beans or even uncooked rice to hold it in place. This weight helps the pie dough hold its shape.
Preheat the oven to 425F. Bake the crust for 20 minutes, then remove it from the oven and take out the pie weights and the aluminum foil liner.
Lower the oven temperature to 375F. Return the pie to the oven to bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely before using.
I prefer to have a deep golden brown on my crust. The crust can be baked a day in advance, cooled completely and wrapped with saran wrap for use the next day.
Most prebaked crusts are completely baked and cooked before filling, but there are some recipes that will want you to add filling to a partially baked crust and continue baking it. If this is the case with the recipe you’re working with, simply follow this procedure up until the point where you remove the pie weights from the crust. Rather than returning the crust to the oven to finish baking, you can add the pie filling as directed by your recipe.
yooniMay 31, 2011
This is such a useful post. How long do you think you can keep the prebaked pie crust? My roommate and I love baking but it makes our apartment unbearably hot during the summer, and this sounds like a potential solution to some of our summer problems.
NicoleMay 31, 2011
Yooni – You can keep them for a day or two. Like just about all pastries, they are at the best shortly after they’re made (I often bake them the night before I intend to use them) because they will lose their crispness after sitting around, even when well-wrapped with plastic wrap.
PennyJune 1, 2011
If you fill this crust with a custardy pie (lemon meringue is a good example) when it comes out of the oven sprinkle the cooked crust with some chocolate chips. You might need to return to the oven for a minute or so, then spread them all around the crust to lightly coat it. Cool before filling. When you put your custard in the crust it won’t soak in because the chocolate makes a nice little barrier. And the bonus is that it’s absolutely YUMMY!
AugustaPatMay 18, 2012
Thanks for the instructional article. I love baking pies, and as you said any require a pre-baked crust. I am wondering if I could add chocolate chips (either minature or regular morsals) to the crust before (or after) patting it in the pan? I am making a chocolate cream pie and thought if chocolate chips were studded on the bottom and sides of the crust (before baking) and then the filling put into the chocolate chip crust that it would add to its goodness. Thanks for your feedback.
AnnMarch 30, 2013
I tried making a lemon pie and put the prepared lemon filling into the unbaked shell and baked it and it turned out great. After it is baked I put the meringue on top and pop it back in again for another 8-10 minutes. The pastry fluted edges stay in place and brown up real good. My next esperiment will be banana cream pie and coconut cream pie .
Heather @ Something Sew BeautifulMarch 14, 2014
Woohoo!! Just what I needed – thank you! 🙂
NormaMay 25, 2014
Cooked for too long with the second lowered baking time. Next time, I would cook only at the first timing recommended. Still going to eat it though and make a lemon meringue!
ArtJune 29, 2014
When blind baking a pie crust, using foil and beans or pie weights, I know the crust should be pricked to let out the steam. Should the foil lining the crust also be pricked. The last two pie crusts I tried this with, the crust was still kind of gooey and stuck to the foil really bad, half of the crust separating and staying on the foil.
NicoleJune 29, 2014
Art – Good question. No, you should not prick the foil lining because you could end up with tiny pieces of foil in your pie crust. The pie crust will be soft under the foil during pre-baking, and that is why we remove the foil and pie weights part way through the baking time, so the crust will have time to crisp up. If your foil is sticking, you can spray it with a little cooking spray to help it release. You can also use a piece of parchment paper, which is a little less likely to stick.
janeDecember 9, 2014
do i have to throw away the beans or rice i use as a weight after cooking, or are they still useable?
NicoleDecember 9, 2014
Jane – They will be too dried out to really be cooked, but you don’t have to throw them out because they can be used as weights again and again. Just store them in a ziploc bag in your pantry so they are there when you need them.
Patricia BruneNovember 20, 2015
How do I keep the pie crust edges from becoming dark, or almost burned, when baking my pumpkin pies? Or any filled pies for that matter.
NicoleNovember 20, 2015
You can use a pie crust shield to cover the edges of a crust as they brown. I recommend putting them on towards the end of the baking time, when the crust has gotten as brown as you want it to be. You can buy a shield or make one by wrapping aluminum foil over the edges of the crust. This post has a little more information: http://bakingbites.com/2012/11/what-is-a-pie-crust-shield/
AlyssaNovember 24, 2015
How long does it take to cool completely?
NicoleNovember 25, 2015
Alyssa – That depends on the type of pie plate you use and how warm your kitchen is. It could be anywhere from 20 minutes in an aluminum pie plate to an hour or so in a ceramic plate.
LexieDecember 7, 2015
Is it the same regardless of filling? I’m wanting to attempt a chicken pot pie. If so, how would I go about adding/baking a top crust?
NicoleDecember 9, 2015
Lexie – Typically, most double crust pie recipes (like a pot pie) do not require any pre-baking. The crust is rolled out int the bottom of the pan, the filling is added and then the top crust is positioned on top. The edges are pinched together to prevent the filling from leaking. The baking time for a double crust pie is usually longer than that of a single-crust pie, allowing enough time to bake the pie completely.
That said, if you did pre-bake the base crust alone, there is no really good way to attach the top crust to it. You would have to simply set the top crust in place and leave a sheet of aluminum foil to catch any drips that bubbled over as the pie baked. Both the top and bottom crust should bake if you try this method, but the pie may not be quite as neat.
PamMarch 8, 2016
I have been using deep dish frozen pie crusts by Wholly Wholesome to make quiche recipes. I pre-bake the pie crusts per the instructions, but when I try to remove the quiches from the aluminum pie tins, the pie crusts stick a lot and ruin the quiches. There is no leakage/seepage of the filling. And, I let the quiches cool for approx 30 minutes before trying to remove from the pie tins. Thoughts on how to prevent the sticking? Should I pre-bake the crusts longer?
NicoleMarch 9, 2016
I haven’t used those crusts, but I would expect that longer pre-baking will help the crusts cook more completely and prevent sticking. Your crust can really be completely baked (as opposed to partially baked) before you add the quiche filling, as most quiches do not require extremely long baking times.
I hope that helps! –Nicole
CharlotteMarch 23, 2016
Great post!!! Make sure that if your pie crust gets too cooked on the rim before the bottom cooks all the way to have some aluminum foil handy. It reflects a lot of the direct head and keeps your crust from becoming a partial BBQ briquet. Thanks for the post.
Glenda CarrJune 22, 2016
I am making canapes for a get together, I would like to prepare the mini pastry cases in advance and fill them on the day. How long will they keep in an airtight container. The problem is I have very little freezer space.