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Can you bake a pie crust the day before you fill it?

Baking pie crust ahead of time and filling it later is a great way to get a head start on pie prep. With some advance planning, you can have delicious homemade pie with a from-scratch crust, without spending hours in the kitchen on the day you want to serve it.

Can you pre-bake pie crust?

Yes, you can absolutely pre-bake pie crust. Baking the crust before filling and baking the rest of the pie has several advantages:

  • It allows the crust to cool completely before filling, which prevents sogginess.
  • It cuts down on total baking time the day you assemble the pie.
  • It enables elaborate decoration, like crimping or latticework, without interference from filling.
  • It allows the crust to be baked through without over-browning the filling.

The key is to not over-bake the crust. You want it lightly browned but not fully crisp. It will continue to bake while the pie filling bakes.

How far in advance can you bake a pie crust?

You can bake pie crust up to two days before filling and baking the rest of the pie. Within that window, the crust will still be fresh and crisp when the pie is served.

For longer storage, the crust can be baked up to 2 months in advance. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer until needed.

Tips for baking pie crust in advance:

  • When blind baking, use parchment paper or aluminum foil to line the pan bottom to prevent over-browning.
  • Watch carefully to avoid over-baking. It should take 15-20 minutes at 375°F.
  • Allow the crust to cool completely before filling or freezing.
  • Double wrap frozen crusts to prevent freezer burn.
  • Thaw frozen crusts overnight in the fridge before filling.

How do you fill and bake a pre-baked pie crust?

Filling and baking a pre-baked pie crust is easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Take the cooled pre-baked pie crust out of the fridge. Unwrap if frozen.
  2. Brush the inside with lightly beaten egg white. This creates a moisture barrier.
  3. Fill the pie crust as desired with your filling of choice.
  4. Place the filled pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips.
  5. Bake at 375°F until the filling is set, 30-60 minutes depending on the filling.
  6. Allow to cool at least 2 hours before slicing to allow filling to set.

Fruit pies may require a top crust or latticework after filling. Follow your normal pie assembly method. Just use the pre-baked bottom crust instead of a raw one.

What fillings work best with a pre-baked crust?

All types of pie fillings work well with a pre-baked crust. Here are some excellent options:

Fruit fillings:

  • Apple
  • Cherry
  • Blueberry
  • Peach
  • Strawberry-rhubarb
  • Mincemeat

Custard fillings:

  • Pumpkin
  • Pecan
  • Chocolate pudding
  • Key lime
  • Lemon meringue
  • Coconut cream

Savory fillings:

  • Quiche
  • Chicken pot pie
  • Taco pie
  • Shepherd’s pie

The moisture content of the filling determines bake time, but all these fillings work beautifully in a pre-baked crust.

What are the benefits of pre-baking pie crust?

Pre-baking pie crust has several advantages:

  • Prevents sogginess: Allows moisture to evaporate from crust before wet filling added.
  • Saves time: Total bake time is reduced by pre-baking crust first.
  • Enables decoration: Crust can be crimped, latticed, etc. before filling.
  • Prevents over-browning: Filling stays tender while crust bakes fully.
  • Allows resting: Filling sets up while crust cools completely after pre-baking.

For these reasons, pre-baking leads to crisper, flakier, better textured crusts than baking the crust with the filling all at once.

What are the downsides to pre-baked crusts?

The disadvantages of pre-baked pie crust are relatively minor:

  • Can dry out crust: Without filling, crust may lose moisture if over-baked. Proper handling reduces this risk.
  • Requires planning: You need to prepare the crust up to 2 days before assembling the pie.
  • Prevents single-step baking: Two baking periods are required instead of one.
  • Risks mishaps: Handling the crust to fill after baking allows more opportunity for tearing or damage.

Overall, the benefits of pre-baking tend to far outweigh the small downsides. With proper care, a pre-baked crust results in pie with superior texture and flavor.

Tips for handling and baking pre-baked pie crust

Follow these tips for the best results with pre-baked pie crust:

  • Line the pie pan with parchment or foil before blind baking to prevent over-browning.
  • Watch crust closely as it bakes and remove before it browns too much.
  • Allow crust to cool fully before filling, about 1-2 hours.
  • Brush interior with egg white before filling to seal out moisture.
  • Fill gently and evenly to prevent breaking crust.
  • Freeze extra pre-baked crusts for up to 2 months.
  • When freezing, wrap tightly in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.
  • Thaw frozen crusts overnight in the fridge before using.
  • Place filled pie on a baking sheet to prevent juice drips.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Pre-Baking Pie Crust

Follow this reliable process for perfect pre-baked pie crust every time:

  1. Prepare your favorite pie dough recipe or use a quality store-bought dough.
  2. Roll out the dough and fit it into your pie pan. Trim edges as needed.
  3. Line the crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  4. Freeze for 15-20 minutes to reduce shrinking.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  6. Bake frozen crust for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.
  7. Remove from oven and lift out parchment/foil.
  8. Cool completely on a wire rack, about 1-2 hours.
  9. Brush inside of crust with beaten egg white to seal.
  10. Fill pre-baked crust as desired and continue baking until filling is set.
  11. Allow pie to cool at room temperature for 2-3 hours before slicing.

Helpful Storage and Freezing Tips

Proper storage and freezing enables enjoying pre-baked crusts for weeks or months after baking:

  • Store crusts at room temperature up to 2 days before use.
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil to store in freezer.
  • Label crusts with bake date and contents for easy identification.
  • Freeze up to 2 months for best quality.
  • Thaw overnight in refrigerator before filling.
  • Let thawed crusts come completely to room temperature before filling.
  • Re-crisp leftover baked crusts in a 375°F oven for 5 minutes, if needed.

Troubleshooting Pre-Baked Crusts

Issue Solution
Over-baked Use dough scraps to patch. Fill any cracks with crust or fruit.
Dried out Brush with milk or egg wash before filling.
Stuck to pan Gently loosen with a spatula before filling.
Flavor faded Sprinkle lemon zest or spices between pre-baking and filling.
Filling leaks Patch holes with excess dough. Use a baking sheet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I prick the bottom of a pre-baked crust?

Yes, prick the bottom and sides with a fork before baking to prevent air bubble formation.

Does pre-baking prevent a soggy bottom crust?

Yes, pre-baking fully cooks the bottom crust before filling is added, preventing sogginess.

Should I add weights to the crust while pre-baking?

Yes, pie weights, dry beans, or rice should be used to weigh down the crust during blind baking to prevent puffing.

Can I pre-bake a graham cracker crust?

Yes, graham cracker crust can be pre-baked using the same method as a pastry crust, for 10-12 minutes.

How do I know if the crust is fully pre-baked?

The crust should be lightly browned but not crisp or deeply golden. It will firm up during the second baking.


Pre-baking pie crust is a great technique for achieving the perfect texture. Allowing the crust to thoroughly cook results in flakiness, prevents sogginess, and saves time the day you assemble the pie. With proper handling, the crust will still taste freshly baked.

When preparing a pie for a holiday meal or other event, do the crust in advance. Then fill, decorate, and bake the day of to wow your guests with your impressive baking skills.