How to Par-Bake Pie Crust

How to Par-Bake Pie Crust

Use this page to learn how to blind bake a pie crust, whether that’s fully blind-baking before adding a no-bake filling, or partially baking (par-baking) the crust before returning to the oven with a filling. Many pie recipes require par-baking pie crust and this tutorial provides step-by-step instructions, as well as a helpful video tutorial and plenty of success tips.

pie crust after blind baking

Par-baking (which can also be called blind baking) is an integral step in many pie recipes and a basic baking technique to have in your back pocket. Classic recipes such as coconut cream pie, pumpkin pie, and lemon meringue pie require some sort of blind baking.

Par-baking pie crust sounds pretty intimidating, especially if you’re already nervous about making pie from scratch. I’m here to tell you (and show you!) that blind baking pie crust is simple, and I have 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. You need a par-baked or fully baked crust if you’re making quiche, no-bake pie, custard pie, cream pie, pudding pie, or simply want an extra-crisp pie crust. If you’re making a pie that doesn’t require a baked filling, you still need a baked crust. Or if you’re baking a pie with a liquid-y filling that sets quickly in the oven, like pumpkin pie, your crust may need a baking headstart.

Fully Blind Baked vs. Partially Baked

If your pie recipe calls for a baked pie shell, such as banana cream pie, you need to fully bake it. But some recipes require a partially baked pie crust and those recipes will typically include “pre-baking,” “partially baking,” or “par-baking” the crust in the instructions. I’ll show you both methods below.

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. Fully baked pie crusts bake for longer than partially baked pie crusts.

  1. Fully blind bake a pie crust if you’re making no-bake pie like coconut cream pie.
  2. Partially bake a pie crust if your crust needs longer in the oven than the pie filling, such as brownie pie or quiche. 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 idea of baking pie crust 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!

You’ll bake the pie crust with pie weights until the edges set, or lightly brown, which is about 15 minutes.

two jars of white pie weights on marble counter.
pie weights in fluted pie dough shell ready for blind baking.

Because it’s covered with weights, the bottom of the pie crust doesn’t cook. You have to return it to the oven after the edges have set. But first, dock it with a fork:

How to Dock Pie Crust

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. The amount of time the “weight-free” pie crust bakes depends on if you need a partially baked crust or a fully baked crust.

Before returning to the oven without the weights, you need to prick the bottom crust with a fork to prevent it from puffing up. Pricking holes in pie crust is also called “docking” the pie crust.

Some bakers skip the pie weights and just dock the pie crust from the beginning, but I’ve never had luck this way. The sides of my pie crust still shrink down. So I always use pie weights, remove them after the edges begin to turn brown, dock the crust with a fork, then return it to the oven so the bottom cooks.

pricking the bottom of par-baked pie crust with fork.

How Long Does the Pie Crust Bake After Removing the Weights?

The remaining oven time depends on whether you want a partially blind baked pie crust or a fully blind baked pie crust. For a partially baked pie crust, bake until the bottom just begins to brown, usually about 7–8 more minutes. To fully bake a pie crust, bake until the bottom and edges are browned and cooked through, about 15 more minutes.

Partially baked means your crust is just barely brown and the pie will return to the oven with a filling:

par-baked pie crust shell in glass pie dish.

Fully baked means your pie dough is 100% cooked and ready for a no-bake filling:

fully baked pie crust shell in glass pie dish.

Like banana cream pie:

spreading pudding over bananas in a baked pie crust shell.

FAQ: Do I Need to Par-Bake a Store-Bought Pie Crust?

If your recipe calls for a baked or par-baked pie crust, and you are using store-bought pie dough, you still need to par-bake it. For example, if using store-bought crust in this brownie pie recipe, you still need to follow the par-baking instructions in that recipe (which are the same instructions you find below).

FAQ: Can I Add an Egg Wash?

Many pie recipes call for brushing the crust with an egg wash, and typically the recipes will tell you when to do that. If you aren’t sure when, and you need to par-bake the crust, you can brush the crust’s edges with an egg wash after par-baking with pie weights, and before returning to the oven to bake without the weights. This is what we do for my chai pumpkin meringue pie recipe. An egg wash is 1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon of milk or water. Use a pastry brush.

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 or crimped shape around the pie dish. And you can too!

2 TRICKS THAT HELP:

  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.

DOUGH STRIP TECHNIQUE

Roll out your pie crust 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

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! And if you need it, I also have a list of my top 10 pie baking tools.

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Description

Use this tutorial to learn how to blind bake a pie crust, whether that’s fully blind-baking before adding a no-bake filling, or partially baking (par-baking) the crust before returning to the oven with a filling.



  1. Make the pie dough: Prepare and chill your pie dough for at least 2 hours. If using the linked recipe, prepare pie crust through step 5.
  2. Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator until you need it). 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.
  3. 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 disc 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 the dough together. What you’re basically doing here is adding another layer of crust to just the edges. Flute the edges or crimp with a fork. They should be nice and thick now. Wrap up any leftover pie dough to use for next time. Freeze it for up to 3 months.
  4. Refrigerate: Chill the shaped, unbaked 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.
  5. While the crust is chilling, preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  6. 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. I like to push the weights up against the sides of the pie crust to help ensure the sides don’t shrink down.
  7. Bake: Bake until the edges of the crust are starting to brown and appear set, about 15–16 minutes. Remove pie from the oven and carefully lift the parchment paper (with the weights) out of the pie. With a fork, prick holes all over the bottom crust. Return the pie crust to the oven.
  8. 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 (if you’re baking the pie once it is filled, like a quiche), bake until the bottom crust is just beginning to brown, about 7–8 minutes.
  9. If you’re making a no-bake pie, let the baked crust cool completely before adding the filling unless your pie recipe states otherwise. 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. (Again, unless your recipe states otherwise.)

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 4 above.
  2. Egg Wash: Many pie recipes call for brushing the crust with an egg wash and, typically, your pie recipe will tell you when to do that. If you aren’t sure when, and you need to par-bake the crust, you can brush the crust’s edges with an egg wash after par-baking with pie weights (step 7), and before returning to the oven to bake without the weights (step 8). An egg wash is 1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon of milk or water. Use a pastry brush.

Keywords: blind bake pie crust