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Should you Prebake the bottom crust of a cherry pie?

Cherry pie is a classic American dessert, beloved for its sweet and tart cherry filling enveloped in a flaky, buttery crust. While the filling is usually made by simply combining fresh or canned cherry pie filling with sugar, cornstarch and spices, many bakers debate the best way to prepare the crust. Specifically, whether or not the bottom crust should be prebaked before adding the filling.

Prebaking, also known as “blind baking”, involves partially or fully baking the bottom pie crust before filling the pie. This extra step is sometimes recommended to help prevent a soggy bottom crust, but others argue it is unnecessary and complicates the process. So what is the best approach? Let’s take a detailed look at the pros and cons of prebaking cherry pie crust to help you decide if it is right for your pie.

Pros of Prebaking Cherry Pie Crust

Here are some potential benefits of prebaking the bottom crust:

Prevents Sogginess

One of the main motivations for prebaking crust is to help prevent a wet, soggy bottom after baking. The moisture in cherry pie filling can saturate an unbaked crust during baking, resulting in a disappointing texture. Prebaking sets the crust so it can better stand up to the juicy filling. This is especially helpful if you are using a wetter filling or double crust pie.

Allows Thorough Baking

Prebaking allows the bottom crust to fully cook through before filling the pie. This can help ensure it reaches the ideal golden brown consistency. Without prebaking, the bottom crust is insulated by the filling above and may come out underbaked, pale and doughy.

Reduces Shrinkage

Raw pie dough tends to shrink down a bit during baking. Prebaking the crust allows it to already shrink before you add the filling. This means your finished pie is less likely to have shrunken, pulled away edges.

Easier to Handle Crust

Prebaking also firms up the crust, making it easier to handle without breaking when you add the filling. The prebaked shell will hold its shape better compared to more delicate raw dough.

Cons of Prebaking Cherry Pie Crust

However, prebaking the crust also has some downsides:

Added Time and Effort

Having to essentially bake the pie in two stages takes more time and work. Rather than just assemble and bake, you have to blind bake, cool, fill, and bake again.

Risk of Overbaking

It can be tricky to perfectly time blind baking. You want the crust just baked enough to set without browning too much or becoming dried out. This takes practice and attention.

Difficulty with Filling Adhesion

The prebaked crust may not grip the filling as well. Without raw dough to meld together, the filling may slip more easily, especially with a double crust pie. Proper cooling and moisture barrier techniques can help.

Altered Appearance

Sometimes bakers want the bottom and top crust to look similar. Blind baking can cause greater browning on the bottom. Though for some, this extra crispness is desirable.

Need to Add Weights

To blind bake, the dough needs weights to prevent bubbles and puffing without filling inside. Pie weights or dried beans can work as weights but add another ingredient to purchase.

When is Prebaking Crust Recommended?

Based on the pros and cons, here are some good scenarios for prebaking pie crust:

  • Using an extra juicy filling like cherries, berries, peaches, or very wet apple slices
  • Making a pie with double crust
  • Baking a deep dish or extra tall pie
  • Baking in a hotter environment like at high elevation
  • Baking a pie that will be served at room temperature
  • Wanting a thoroughly browned, crisp bottom crust

And reasons you may want to skip prebaking:

  • Using a firmer fruit pie filling like apples, apricots, or plums
  • Baking a single crusted pie
  • Baking a shallow or petite pie
  • Wanting an evenly golden top and bottom crust
  • Wanting to save time and limit dishes
  • Serving the pie freshly baked or chilled when filling helps moisture

How to Prebake Pie Crust

If you decide prebaking is right for your cherry pie, here is a simple method:

  1. Roll out bottom pie dough and place in pie plate. Trim edges. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Line crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove parchment and weights. Bake until lightly browned, 10-15 more minutes.
  4. Allow crust to cool slightly before filling. This helps prevent sogginess.
  5. Fill prebaked shell with prepared cherry pie filling. Top with second crust if desired.
  6. Bake filled pie at 375°F until hot and bubbly, about 50-60 minutes.

The keys are using weights for blind baking, and allowing the prebaked crust to cool before filling to reduce moisture. With this technique, you can enjoy delicious cherry pie with that perfectly golden, crisp bottom crust.

Alternative Methods to Prevent Soggy Pie Crust

If you would rather not prebake, here are a few other tips for ensuring a crisp bottom crust:

  • Chill pie dough thoroughly before use
  • Brush dough with egg white wash before filling
  • Use vodka or vinegar in the dough recipe
  • Sprinkle dough with sugar before filling
  • Bake on a hot pizza stone or inverted baking sheet
  • Vent the top crust decoratively to allow steam to escape

With the right ingredients and baking techniques, it is possible to get a deliciously crisp cherry pie crust without prebaking. But for maximum insurance against sogginess, prebaking the bottom remains a foolproof option.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I blind bake with parchment paper?

Yes, lining the crust with parchment paper before adding weights helps prevent the dough from sticking during blind baking. Parchment also makes it easy to lift out the weights or beans after prebaking.

How long should I prebake cherry pie crust?

Aim for 20 minutes with weights at 375°F, then 10-15 minutes more after removing weights. This bakes the dough through without over-browning. The crust should be set but not fully browned.

Should the crust be completely cooled before filling?

It’s best if the crust is cooled to room temperature before filling, but a slightly warm crust is fine. You just want to avoid hot crust or moisture will create steam. Let it cool for at least 15-20 minutes after blind baking.

What can I use as pie weights?

Ceramic pie weights, dried beans, uncooked rice, pennies, or even sugar can work as pie weights. You want something heavy that will prevent puffing but won’t react during baking.

Should I brush the crust with egg wash before blind baking?

Yes, brushing the bottom crust with egg wash or milk before blind baking will promote browning and filling adhesion. Just avoid heavy egg wash on edges so they don’t over-brown.


Prebaking pie crust is an optional extra step that can lead to a crisper, firmer bottom crust, especially with wet fillings like cherry pie. However, it does require more time and care. Many bakers skip prebaking and still achieve success through other methods like chilling dough thoroughly and venting steam. Consider the type of filling, desired texture, time constraints and personal preferences when deciding if blind baking is right for your perfect cherry pie. Regardless of approach, focus on high quality ingredients and careful technique for pie crust success.