What Are Pie Weights?

Pie weights are small, weighted, and oven-safe objects that are baked on a pie crust bottom to achieve a perfect blind bake. Pie weights prevent air pockets, crust shrinkage, and underbaked dough, issues that are especially common when blind baking. Blind baking a crust prevents a soggy pie bottom, which does not provide those picture-perfect layers of pie crust, filling, and topping in a perfectly triangular pie slice. Pie weights are the one saving grace to this soggy bottom fiasco and especially come in handy for pie fillings that cannot be baked at all. Pie weights are easy to use, come in different varieties, and above all, help blind-bake your bottom pie crust to perfection. After all, your customers are expecting the best from your bakery display case.

Shop All Pie Weights

Why Use Pie Weights?

spooning lemon custard into baked pie crust

The use of pie weights provides many benefits when trying to bake the perfect pie. Here are a few reasons why pie weights are worth the investment:

  • Aids in baking a perfectly blind-baked or par-baked crust
  • Keeps the bottom of the pie crust flat by reducing air bubbles
  • Prevents the pie crust from shrinking
  • Simple and easy to work with
  • Can be used again and again

How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust

To use pie weights properly, follow the below 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 on top of the parchment-lined pie crust, filling the shell entirely.
  5. Place the prepared pie crust in a pre-set oven and bake according to your recipe’s time and temperature.
  6. When finished baking, take the pie crust out of the oven. Grab the parchment paper overhang, and lift all of 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

Types of Pie Weights

There are many different products to use for pie weights to achieve a level and perfectly blind-baked crust. These pie weights are reusable and provide an environmentally 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 as they store heat and provide even heat transfer throughout the pie crust while baking. These pie crust weights are usually oven-safe up to 446 degrees Fahrenheit (230 Celsius), and the ceramic pie weight’s 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. The benefit of a pie chain is that when the pie crust is done baking, you can easily remove the pie beads because they are all connected to each other on a chain. Pie chains have the same benefits as other pie weights: 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 that are made out 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. The aluminum pie weights are small in size, making aluminum pie weights 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 products below as pie weight substitutes:

  • Dried beans - Although you won't be able to cook with them after using dried beans as pie weights, you can save the beans and use them as pie weights again! Dried beans act in the same way as pie weights where they will weigh down your pie crust to prevent misshaping during blind baking.
  • Dried rice - Dried rice is also a popular staple pantry ingredient used as a pie weights substitute. They are especially great as a substitute for aluminum pie weights as their small shape can easily fit into smaller pie crust or tart shell molds.
  • Steel ball bearings - If you have easier access to a hardware store then steel ball bearings as a pie weights substitute might be perfect for you! Their steel material creates excellent heat transfer for the ultimate dry and brown pie crust, while their weight holds down the crust to prevent bubbling, air pockets, and a shrinking pie crust.

Pie Making Tools for the Perfect Pie

pastry chef taking pie crust shield off of baked pie

Now that you know what pie weights to use to blind-bake a perfect pie crust, it’s time to upgrade the other components of your pie by obtaining these other pie-making tools:

  • Dough cutting ring - A dough cutting ring allows you to take your large batch of pie dough and portion them into perfect circles or a consistent size and even bake time.
  • Pie crust crimper - Perfect for quickly decorating a pie, a pie crust crimper will give your pie beautifully crimped edges that are consistent and quick to impart.
  • Pie crust cutter - Double-crust pies need to be vented to let the steam escape as it bakes, and a pie crust cutter is the perfect pie making tool to let that 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 cuts the top dough of your pie into a perfect lattice pie crust instantly.
  • Pie crust shield - Oftentimes while baking a pie, the pie crust will go under the Maillard reaction process a lot 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 is fully finished baking.

There are a lot of ways to mess up a pie: using warm butter in the pie dough, forgetting the cornstarch in the fruit filling, and burning the outer crust. However, there is a pie mistake that is far too sacrilegious to encounter: an underbaked bottom crust. Now that you’re aware of the pie weight’s existence in this world, you’ll never have to deal with an under-baked, bubbly, and shrunken bottom pie crust ever again. Going forward, you can confidently serve every pie or pie slice to your customers knowing that it’s picture-perfect for their camera, and especially, their memory of your bakery.

Posted in: Kitchen & Cooking Tips | Bakeries | By Val Goodrich
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