Here’s my fool-proof method and best tips for how to blind bake (or par-bake) pie crust. No shrinking guaranteed and no fancy tools required!
If you are making a pie and wondering, Do You Need To Grease A Pie Pan Before Putting The Crust In, I have the answer for you. The last thing you want is for the pie not to come out perfectly after all the work you have put into baking it.
The simple answer is, typically, no. My homemade recipe noted above has more than enough fat in it to keep it from sticking. If you are using a storebought pie crust, I would recommend giving your pan a light spritz of cooking spray or brush with a little softened butter- don’t do it on either. It does not take much to grease it.
I have read in several places a recommendation to brush the pan with vegetable oil, this is NOT something I recommend. Vegetable oil is rarely a good choice for greasing a pan for baking. If I don’t use butter, it is always a pan release.
To grease pie pans really is a personal choice though. If you feel more comfortable greasing them, you should. Just make sure it is with pan release or softened butter.
There’s something undeniably special about showing up to a party with a homemade pie. This multi-faceted dessert wears many hats: A lattice or a crumble topping, a gooey fruit filling, or a milky custard. We firmly believe pie is a dessert appropriate for every occasion, especially when made from scratch. But making a pie entirely from scratch is no small feat.
Let me be honest here. Pie had me stumped when I started working as a professional baker. I could crank hundreds of cookies without batting an eyelash. I could whip up perfectly amber caramels and soft sheets of marshmallows with no problems. But pie perplexed me. When it comes to a pie, there are so many components to consider: The crust, the filling, the topping. Each element requires love and care. Striking the perfect balance of a golden-brown crust and a well-set filling seemed downright impossible. Nonetheless, I dove in head-first. After my first Thanksgiving pie baking marathon, when I whipped up hundreds of pumpkin and pecan pies, I realized that all it took to master the art of pie was a little practice (and some serious elbow grease).
If you’ve always dreamed of baking pie but are intimidated by the process, now is the time to dive in head-first. I’m bringing you a pie-baking tip sheet to guide your journey. Today, I’m focusing on one of the notoriously finicky elements of baking pie from scratch: pie dough. Pastry chefs and home cooks across the country all have their techniques and tricks that they swear by, but here is a solid foundation to help you succeed at making homemade pie dough.
Farm Apple Pan Pie
This ooey-gooey pie’s luscious and creamy filling offers that good old familiar flavor so many have come to love! —Laurel Leslie, Sonora, California
Rhubarb Cherry Pie
As a young girl, I dreamed of being able to make pies like my mother. Her rolling pin, which I inherited, is 2 feet long and 8 inches wide! In fact, this is Mom’s recipe, although I substituted cherries for the strawberries in her version. I first made this pie for a church gathering 20 years ago, and everyone’s looked for it at every potluck since! —Eunice Hurt, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
How To Properly Grease a Pie Plate To Prevent Stuck Pie Crust
In most situations, you shouldn’t grease your pie plate. But if you have to, be careful not to grease the pie plate too much.
The best method is to use cooking spray. Cooking spray will lightly grease the surface and ensure an even coating without adding too much grease to the crust.
If you don’t have cooking spray on hand, use the wrapper from a stick of butter. This allows you to reach every bit of the pie plate without flooding the tin with extra grease.
Red, White and Blueberry Pie
Years ago, I entered this pie in the Park County Fair in Livingston. It won a first-place blue ribbon plus a purple ribbon for best all around! Family and friends agree with the judges—it’s a perfectly peachy pie. —Shirley Olson, Polson, Montana
Meringue Cranberry Pie
There’s nothing better than a sweet, from-scratch delight like traditional cherry pie. These precious little hand pies always go fast when I sell them at my pie bakery! —Allison Cebulla, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Cherry Almond Mousse Pie
This is one of those old-fashioned Southern desserts that makes everyone feel good. The easy-as-pie berry sauce gives it color and a tantalizing tang. —April Heaton, Branson, Missouri
Spiced Plum Pie
Cherry season is in the heart of summer. For this pie, choose fresh tart cherries that are bright in color, shiny and plump. They also should feel relatively firm when pressed lightly. —Karen Berner, New Canaan, Connecticut
Get that homemade taste in a fraction of the time. Learn how to make canned cherry pie filling taste better with a handful of not-so-secret tricks.
More tips for blind baking a pie crust
- You’ll probably only need a single pie crust, but my recipe makes 2 pie crusts. Store the second pie crust in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months or more.
- You can use store-bought crust instead of homemade pie crust if you prefer. While homemade pie crust will have superior flavor, store-bought crust may hold its shape better during blind baking.
- Dried rice and beans can be used over and over again as pie weights. Let them cool completely, then store in an airtight container. I’ve used the same rice for years!
- If you want a golden shiny crust, brush the edges with an egg wash made of 1 whisked egg + 1 Tbsp water before baking.
- If the bottom of the crust puffs up after its second baking, simply push it back down with the back of a spoon.
- A completely baked pie crust can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Creamy Pineapple Pie
During the warm months, it’s nice to have this fluffy, no-bake peanut butter pie that’s a snap to make. Packed with flavor, this pie gets gobbled up even after a big meal! —Jesse & Anne Foust, Bluefield, West Virginia
Dark Chocolate-Caramel Macchiato Pie
Cool summer pies are one of Mom’s specialties. This version offers pineapple, maraschino cherries and walnuts that are folded into a fluffy filling. It’s an easy yet tempting no-bake dessert. —Jennifer Mcquillan, Jacksonville, Florida
Key Lime Pie
Coconut macaroons are divine, but they can be a little messy to make. I turned the batter into a pie filling, and the luscious results speak for themselves. —Becky Mollenkamp, St. Louis, Missouri
Pumpkin Gingersnap Ice Cream Pie
Made from our farm-fresh dairy products, this pie was a sensational creamy treat any time Mom served it. Her recipe is a real treasure, and I’ve never found one that tastes better! —Bernice Morris, Marshfield, Missouri
Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Pie
My mother made a chewy, gooey peanut butter pie I loved as a child. Now I continue the tradition for the next generation of peanut butter lovers. —Brianna DeBlake, Fremont, Michigan
Tart Cherry Lattice Pie
Whenever my mom is invited to a party or potluck, everyone requests her homemade double-crust fruit pies. In the summer, she uses fresh tart cherries for this recipe. I love a slice topped with vanilla ice cream. —Pamela Eaton, Monclova, Ohio
Ultimate Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie
Our family hosts an annual barn party for our close friends, complete with a pie cook-off. A few years ago, this recipe won first prize! —Janice Schneider, Kansas City, Missouri
Give It Time
When making pie dough from scratch, at least one hour and up to an overnight rest in the fridge is crucial. This resting period is essential.
Don’t Roll Crust Too Quickly
Rolling out your pie dough directly after mixing would warm too quickly and become sticky. Resting the mixture in the fridge keeps your pie dough nice and cold, making it easier to roll.
Allow Flour To Hydrate
A resting period in the fridge will allow the wet ingredients to hydrate the flour further, resulting in a smooth, pliable dough.
Keep It Rolling
When rolling out your pie dough, keep it constantly moving. Leaving your pie round in the same spot on the table as you roll it is a recipe for a sticky, torn mess.
Use flour liberally and slide an offset spatula underneath your pie dough to shift it around on the table between rolling. I even like to flip my pie dough mid-rolling so the side touching the table faces up. Keeping your pie dough moving while rolling will allow you to transfer it to the pie dish quickly.
Maple Sugar Pumpkin Pie
We make our own maple syrup, and that’s what gives this pie its special taste. You might want to bake this for your Thanksgiving meal. —Martha Boudah, Essex Center, Vermont
Brush Your Pie in Egg Wash
Once you’ve pre-baked your pie, brush the bottom and sides of the crust with egg wash, then reheat at 400° for 4 minutes to set the glaze. This creates a seal between the crust and the filling so that your crust stays crispy and golden once the filling is added. Baking an apple pie? Check out our secrets for the perfect apple pie crust.
Handle Ingredients With Care
Never shower your pie in water, as it’s better to add it one tablespoon at a time slowly. Remember to keep water cold and place it in the center so you can push the mixture towards it without whipping or scraping the sides of the bowl.
Handle Dough Gently
When handling your pie dough, use a delicate touch. We aim to mix all the ingredients until just combined, not to mash them into a thoroughly blended lump.
Evenly Distribute Butter
Each baker takes a different approach to incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients. You can smear, snap, or crumble the butter in—my favorite method is to pin the butter into the flour until evenly distributed in pieces.
Don’t Handle Dough for Too Long
If you handle the pie dough for too long, you risk the heat in your hands melting the butter in the crust. For this reason, some bakers prefer to use a pastry cutter or pulse all the ingredients in the food processor. When making pie dough, I like to use my hands. Over time, you develop a sense of what the dough feels like at each stage, something you can’t get from a machine.
Roll Dough Away From You
When using a rolling pin to spread your pie crust, roll it away from you and give it a quarter turn. Start slowly and try not to roll over the same area twice (turning will help achieve this). Remember to always work with chilled dough.
Maneuver Dough Slowly
When it’s time to move your freshly rolled dough into a pie sheet or baking tin, you don’t want all of your not-over-working to go to waste. Try folding the dough so you can easily carry it and gently place it in the tin. From there, you can unfold the “edges,” making sure not to leave any area too thin.
Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christine Keely, Food Stylist: Ana Kelly
Apple Cranberry Slab Pie
This pie has a mellow bourbon flavor that’s not too strong and not too sweet. And it is easy, crunchy and chewy—just what you want in a pecan pie. —Nick Iverson, Denver, Colorado
What does “blind bake” mean?
This was the first pie I created myself. Mangoes are one of my favorite fruits, and they deserve to be represented in a pie. Of course, everything is better with coconut. —Jennifer Worrell, Niles, Illinois
Loved this recipe? Next time, treat your taste buds to our classic Mango pie.
Limoncello Cream Pie
After a big Christmas dinner, we love the cool refreshment of a frozen lemon pie. Limoncello brings a little sophistication to each smooth, creamy slice. —Jessie Grearson-Sapat, Falmouth, Maine
Nutella Hand Pies
Here’s a delightful way to enjoy summertime fruits. If you’re short on one of the berries, just make up the amount with one of the other fruits in the pie. —Elaine Moody, Clever, Missouri
Praline Pumpkin Pecan Pie
Of course, there is always the option of trying to slowly, carefully scrape the pie crust off of the pan and hope for the best. However, depending on the situation and the nature of the crust, this can end up having catastrophic results for your pie.
Instead, you should think of some other things that you can do to help your pie crust not stick to your pan so that you can take it out of its dish more easily.
One of the most effective things you can do is submerge the bottom of your pie plate into some hot water for around 10 to 20 seconds.
Doing this helps to re-melt any solidified butter, greasing up the pan again, and releasing the crust from sticking to the pan. For most people, this is a cure-all solution for a pie that wants to stick to the bottom of the pan.
You should do this right before serving the pie for the best effect, as this will not only keep the pie warm, but if it has cooled down some between the time you took it out of the oven and serving time, then there will be more butter to melt.
This increases the chances that the newly melted butter will release the crust from the pan, making it easier for you to serve the pie to a table of hungry people. Before you know it, you will be able to get your pie out of just about any sticky situation.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.
Apple Crumble Pie
To showcase abundant fall cranberries, make this beautiful lattice-topped cranberry pie. A dollop of orange cream complements the slightly tart flavor. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Fluffy Key Lime Pie
For a taste of paradise, try this no-bake Key lime pie recipe. It’s low in fat, sugar and fuss. It truly is the best Key lime pie recipe ever! —Frances VanFossan, Warren, Michigan
Blind Bake Your Crust
I’ve won quite a few awards in recipe contests over the past 10 years, and I was delighted that this luscious pie sent me to the Great American Pie Show finals. —Marie Rizzio, Interlochen, Michigan
Keep It Cold
I absolutely love Indiana sugar cream pie; especially the one that my grandma made for me. Here, we serve it warm or chilled and call it “Hoosier” sugar cream pie. —Laura Kipper, Westfield, Indiana
Shop Pie Tools
A delightful summertime pie, this dessert is overflowing with fresh peach flavor. Each sweet slice is packed with old-fashioned appeal. The streusel topping makes this pie a little different than the ordinary and adds homemade flair. —Sally Holbrook, Pasadena, California
Southern Bourbon Pecan Pie
When I first made the original recipe for this bourbon-splashed pie, I added some vanilla extract and eliminated the flour. We loved the result. —Paul Falduto, Efland, North Carolina
Creamy Chocolate-Banana Pie
Pies are the dessert I like best to prepare. This one’s the favorite for family get-togethers, and it has been awarded blue ribbons at a couple of local fairs. —Theresa Brazil, Petaluma, California
Check out how this soft pretzel pie crust transforms apple pie!
Granny’s Rhubarb Pie
Making pie for a crowd may seem impossible, but not when you turn to this crowd-pleasing recipe! The sweet-tart raspberry filling pairs well with a flaky homemade pastry. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Marshmallow-Almond Key Lime Pie
Everyone who eats this pie raves about it! You can cover the whole top with ganache, but leaving part of the filling bare is the traditional way to make it. —Mary Northrup, Alpine, New York
Star-Studded Blueberry Pie
There are a few different reasons why your pie crust might be sticking to your pan. For one, if you don’t apply non-stick spray to the pan, then there’s a very good chance that it will end up sticking.
Another cause of this happening is when there is a crack in the pie crust and the filling leaks out, baking between the crust and the pan. Both of these causes are easy to remedy on their own, it is simply a matter of knowing what exactly is going on.
If you want to be certain about what is happening to your pie crust, there are a few areas you will want to pay attention to. You should try and look at where your pie crust is sticking, as this will give you a good idea on whether or not the stickiness is localized to one location or if the entire crust is trying to stay with the pan.
If you notice that the crust is trying to stick to the pan everywhere, then there’s a good chance that the pie crust is sticking because non-stick spray was not applied. In a pinch, you can also use other ingredients to act as a non-stick grease layer, such as butter.
If you notice that the pie is only sticking in one area and that one area seems to have some of the fruit filling leaking out, then you can rest assured knowing that it is simply the leaked fruit sticking to the pan.
Berry Pistachio Pie
We took cherry pie to a whole new level as a frozen treat. With a luscious layer of chocolate fudge inside, this is one impressive pie. —Scarlett Elrod, Newnan, Georgia
Flaky Bumbleberry Pie
When you want to make an impression, make this pie! The recipe produces one of the flakiest crusts ever, and the combination of rhubarb and different berries in the filling is delicious. —Suzanne Alberts, Onalaska, Wisconsin
Old-Fashioned Banana Cream Pie
This old-fashioned banana cream pie recipe is full of flavor. Because it uses instant pudding, this no-bake dessert is ready in just minutes. —Perlene Hoekema, Lynden, Washington
Creamy Hazelnut Pie
I thought it would be good also to discuss the importance of the type of pan you choose when baking a pie. While I generally do not grease my pie pans, there are exceptions and I will note those below. The pan will determine the way the pie bakes and the texture of the crust. Let me pass the information on to you and you decide which will give you the best results.
- Glass pie pans- A glass pan is a good option for baking a pie. These pans allow for even baking, they heat up quickly, and the glass allows you to see the bottom of the pan. I like to know if the bottom is baked before removing it from the oven. I love golden crusts on my pies. I don’t use pans with handles on them, but this is a handled option if you prefer it. I do not have issues with crust sticking in these pans.
- Aluminum or stainless steel pie pans- Metal pans, there are shiny metal pans, and dull metal pie plates are both really great conductors of heat. They not only conduct the heat well but also heat up quickly. These are my personal favorites. I personally prefer the dull pans. These are pans I will typically grease if I am unsure.
- Tart pans with removable bottoms- people don’t always think of these when putting together a pie, but they are actually a good option. They are metal pans that brown the crust really well. The pie shell will be a different shape than what you are used to, but it is still really good. The sides of the pan are straight up as opposed to the angle on traditional pans.
- Cast iron- you make a pie just like your grandmother/great-grandmother baked her pies. Cast iron retains heat really well. It also browns the crust nice and spreads and this type of pie pan conducts heat really well. A plus, if your pan is well seasoned, there is no need to grease it. I love to use this one for my classic pies- like this apple blueberry pie.
Cranberry-Almond Apple Pie
Caramel Apple Pie with Streusel Topping
My mom always made this dessert with her homegrown squash. It was my dad’s favorite after-dinner treat. I continue to make it to this day. —Johnna Poulson, Celebration, Florida.
More pie baking resources
I grew up on a farm, and we always picked fruits in early summer and used them to make desserts. This blackberry pie recipe is a real stunner. —Gladys Gibbs, Brush Creek, Tennessee
Easy Confetti Pie
My grandmother’s sweet potato casserole contains coconut and marshmallows. I thought it would be even better as a pie. —Simone Bazos, Baltimore, Maryland
Additional Pie Crust Tips
Three simple ingredients mixed together and spread into a graham cracker crust make magic while your freezer does all the work. Prep this pie ahead and freeze it overnight or even longer. Feel free to vary the fruit if you’d like! —Debbie Glasscock, Conway, Arkansas
Macaroon Cherry Pie
This step is optional. Once you’ve pre-baked your crust and sealed it with egg wash, consider adding a dry ingredient—such as cornflakes or breadcrumbs—that acts as a “barrier” before you add the rest of the pie filling. No matter which of our delicious homemade pie recipes you’re baking, this “extra filler” will protect your gooey pie filling from making your pie crust soggy.