What can I use instead of pie weights?

Par baked Pie shell

What even are pie weights?

Pie weights refer to something you fill a pie crust with while blind baking. If you want to avoid a soggy bottom crust on your pie, baking the crust on it’s own before filling can help keep it crispy. Without pie weights the crust would shrink up. If you pre-bake the crust before adding pie filling it will result in a perfectly baked pie and crispy crust!

You can buy actual pie weights that are re-usable and are usually either marble-sized ceramic pie weights, or beaded metal chains made of ceramic balls or small steel balls. These are a great option because you can use them forever and reuse year after year with no issue. I, however, always use ingredients I have on hand which are a great substitute.

Unbaked pie shell

Best substitutes for pie weights:

  • Dried beans – there are plenty of substitutes out there, but dried beans are a popular choice and also my favorite. I don’t actually own pie weights but I do have a jar of “baking beans” that I use year after year with great success. I use a mix of heirloom beans that includes dried black beans, kidney beans and pinto beans.
  • Uncooked Rice – Most people have rice grains on hand and they are a great option for pie weights. Any variety of rice or grain would work here.
  • Plain White Sugar – Not only can you use sugar as pie weights in a pinch, but have you ever had toasted sugar? It adds a toasty, caramelized quality and is great in many baking recipes. A benefit of using sugar is having some toasted sugar on hand afterwards!
  • Popcorn Kernels – I always assumed using popcorn kernels for pie weights would cause it to pop, but it doesn’t! Without steam it works like other dried beans and grains do.
  • Second Pie Plate – In a pinch you can also place a second pie plate of similar size on top of a layer of parchment paper inside your crust to weigh it down!

Supplies needed to Par-bake a crust:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Parchment paper
  • Pie dish
  • Cooking rack

Pie crust ready for par-baking

Pie Recipes that benefit from a par-baked crust:

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie

Banana Cream Pie, Chocolate Pudding Pie

Any other custard pies, pudding pies, quiche, or fresh fruit pies.

Chess Pies like Brown Sugar PieSalty Honey Pie or Salted Maple Pie

Also if I’m making a crumb topped apple pie I always par bake the crust so the bottom of the crust is extra crispy.

How to par bake a crust using Pie Weight Substitutes:

  1. Roll out your pie dough to a 12 inch circle.
  2. Drape it over a rolling pin and transfer it to a 9 inch pie pan.
  3. Crimp or trim the edges and prick the bottom with a fork to reduce air pockets or air bubbles.
  4. Chill pie plate and dough in the freezer for 10 mins or fridge for 30 minutes
  5. Meanwhile preheat oven to 375F.
  6. Line crust with either foil or a sheet of parchment paper and fill with whichever dry beans or whichever pie weight option you choose, making sure they are reaching up to the sides of the crust.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes and then carefully lift the parchment or foil and beans out. Bake for another 10 minutes before adding your pie filling and continuing to bake.
  8. Enjoy your perfectly crisp and flaky crust!
  9. If you need a blind-baked crust, (for fresh fruit pies or pies that don’t get put into the oven,) bake it for an additional 15 minutes or until golden and crisp.

What pie crust recipe is best for par baking?

My Perfect Pie Crust recipe never disappoints and is easy with a step by step tutorial too!

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