What Are Pie Weights?

Pie weights are small, weighted, oven-safe objects baked on a pie crust bottom to achieve a perfect blind bake. They prevent air pockets, crust shrinkage, and underbaked dough - all common issues when blind baking. By blind baking a crust, you prevent the bottom of your pie from becoming soggy while in the oven. However, blind baking needs pie weights to allow the crust to bake correctly and also come in handy for non-bakeable pie fillings. The various kinds of pie weights are easy to use and help blind-bake your bottom pie crust to perfection, allowing you to offer the best pies in your bakery display case.

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Why Use Pie Weights?

spooning lemon custard into baked pie crust

There are many benefits to using pie weights when trying to bake a pie. Below are a few reasons why these pie-making tools are worth the investment.

  • Aid in baking a perfectly blind-baked or par-baked crust
  • Keep the bottom of the pie crust flat by reducing air bubbles
  • Prevent the pie crust from shrinking
  • Simple and easy to work with
  • Reusable for years to come

How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust Video

Check out our video for visual instructions on how to par-bake pie crust and how to blind bake a pie crust.

How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust

The term "blind baking" refers to pre-baking a pie crust either partially or fully before adding any filling. Using pie weights allows the pie crust to bake properly by imitating the pressure of the filling on the crust and helping it maintain the right shape. To use pie weights properly, follow these steps to ensure a perfectly blind-baked crust.

  1. Prepare your crust according to your recipe’s instructions.
  2. Place your pie crust in a pie pan and crimp the edges to your desire.
  3. Line your pie crust with a square or circle of parchment paper. It should have a good enough overhang to gather all of your pie weights.
  4. Place pie weights atop the parchment-lined pie crust, filling the shell.
  5. Place the prepared pie crust in a preheated oven and bake according to your recipe’s time and temperature.
  6. When finished baking, take the pie crust out of the oven. Using the parchment paper overhang, lift all the pie crust’s weights out of the pie crust and into a heat-proof bowl to cool down.
  7. Return the pie crust to the oven. If filling the pie crust with a filling that needs to be baked again, bake the pie crust for an additional 5-7 minutes. If the pie crust needs to be fully baked, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  8. Let the pie crust cool down to room temperature - about 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. You can now fill the pie crust with the other components of your recipe.
How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust Infographic
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Pie Weights

Pie weights come in various materials, shapes, and sizes to achieve a level and perfectly blind-baked crust. Though many options are available, these particular pie weights are reusable and provide an environmentally friendly and long-lasting solution in your kitchen.

Ceramic Pie Weights

ceramic pie weights in pie crust

Ceramic pie weights ensure a superior blind-baked pie crust by storing heat and providing even heat transfer throughout the pie crust while baking. These pie weights are usually oven-safe up to 446 degrees Fahrenheit (230 Celsius), and the ceramic material is strong enough to hold down the pie crust to prevent bubbling or shrinking.

Pie Chain

A pie chain is a long string of connected stainless steel beads that acts as a pie weight when blind-baking a pie crust. When the crust is finished baking, you can easily remove the pie beads because they are all connected by a chain. Pie chains have the same benefits as other pie weights, such as preventing bubbles in the crust. The heavy stainless steel weight holds down the pie crust to create a flat crust, and the material emits heat because the heat transfers throughout the stainless steel beads.

Aluminum Pie Weights

aluminum pie weights in pie crust

Aluminum pie weights are small baking beads made of aluminum. Just like other pie weights, aluminum pie weights hold down the crust to prevent bubbling while it bakes. The aluminum is a natural heat conductor that evenly bakes the pie crust for a tender, dry, and flaky result. Small in size, aluminum pie weights are ideal for smaller pie molds and tart shells. The aluminum beads will fill in the cracks that other pie crust weights would make when fitted into a small mold.

Pie Weights Substitute

rice in pie crust ready for blind baking with apple and checkered cloth in background

If you do not have pie weights on you and need a substitute for pie weights in a pinch, you can use the following products as pie weight substitutes.

  • Granulated sugar - As one of the best pie weight substitutes, granulated sugar provides the evenest pressure against your pie crust and adds extra sweetness to your pie.
  • Dried beans - Although you can't cook and eat them after use, dried beans make great reusable pie weights. Dried beans weigh down your pie crust to prevent misshaping during blind baking like traditional pie weights.
  • Dried rice - Another popular pantry ingredient, dried rice is a great aluminum pie weights substitute as the small grains easily fit into smaller pie crusts or tart shell molds.
  • Steel ball bearings - If you have easy access to a hardware store, steel ball bearings make ideal pie weight substitutes. The steel creates an excellent heat transfer for a crispy crust, and the weight prevents bubbles during baking.

Pie Making Tools

pastry chef taking pie crust shield off of baked pie

Now that you know what pie weights to use to blind-bake the best pie crust, upgrade the other components of your pie by obtaining these other pie-making tools.

  • Pie crust shield - While baking a pie, the pie crust will go under the Maillard reaction process more quickly than the rest of the pie. A pie crust shield protects the entire rim of the pie crust to stop it from burning before the rest of the pie finishes baking.
  • Dough cutting ring - A dough cutting ring allows you to take your large batch of pie dough and portion it into perfect circles for a consistent size and even bake time.
  • Pastry blender - Use a pastry blender to cut butter into flour to make your pie crust dough, helping you create the ideal texture.
  • Pie crust crimper - Perfect for quickly decorating a pie, a pie crust crimper will give your pie beautifully crimped edges that are consistent and easy to impart.
  • Pie crust cutter - Double-crust pies need venting to let the steam escape as it bakes, and a pie crust cutter is a pie-making tool that allows that to happen while also imparting beautiful shapes, designs, and cutouts.
  • Lattice dough cutter - Lattice pie crusts are notoriously tricky to maneuver on a crust, but this pie crust cutter instantly cuts the top dough of your pie into a lattice pie crust.
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There are many ways to ruin a pie during baking, including using warm butter in the pie dough, forgetting the cornstarch in the fruit filling, and burning the outer crust. However, an underbaked bottom crust is easy to prevent by using pie weights during baking. By using pie weights, you’ll never have to deal with an under-baked, bubbly, and shrunken bottom pie crust ever again. Confidently serve every pie or pie slice to your customers knowing that it’s sure to bring them back to your bakery.

Posted in: Bakeries|Kitchen & Cooking Tips|By Val Goodrich
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details.
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