Top 10 Pie Tips Article -
Add a Comment

Top 10 Pie Tips

Keep it cold, and let it chill!

Get tips for flaky pastry, juicy fruit pies, and silky custard pies.

1. Keep ingredients cold.

  • Butter should be kept refrigerated until using; vegetable shortening, like Crisco®, can be stored in the freezer without freezing solid.
  • Add ice cubes to a measuring cup and fill it with more water than you'll need; add cold water to the pastry mixture a tablespoon at a time.

    2. Refrigerate the dough after every step.

    • Chill dough immediately after mixing so that the flour can absorb all the liquid.
    • Chill it after rolling it out and lining the pie pan, to relax the dough and prevent it from shrinking in the oven.
    • For double-crust pies, roll out the top crust and refrigerate it on a flat plate or parchment-lined sheet pan while you prepare the pie filling.

      3. Handle the dough as little as possible.

      Try to patch cracks in your dough rather than re-rolling the crust. Over-handling makes the pastry tough.

        4. Use as little flour as possible when rolling out the dough.

        The pastry can absorb extra flour, which will also make it tough. After rolling out the dough, brush off loose flour with a pastry brush or gently brush it with the edge of a clean kitchen towel.

          5. Bake plain crusts or filled pies in a hot oven to set the crust's structure.

          Most recipes call for a high initial temperature and then a reduced oven temperature for the rest of the baking time.

            6. Vent double-crust pies.

            Cut slits in the top crust or use decorative cutters. This allows steam to escape, which is especially important for fruits with high moisture content.

              7. Use aluminum foil or "pie shields" to protect the crust.

              Loosely fold two-inch-wide strips of foil around the edges of the crust to keep it from getting too dark during the long bake time.

                8. Bake pies on the lowest oven rack on a preheated sheet pan.

                This helps prevent soggy bottom crusts. A rimmed pan also prevents juicy fruit pies from bubbling over onto your oven floor.

                  9. Bake your pies long enough.

                  Fruit pies, in order to thicken properly, need to be hot enough for the filling to boil. Custard pies are done when a knife tip inserted an inch from the center comes out clean (the center will firm up as the pie cools).

                    10. Let pies cool before serving.

                    The filling needs time to set or else the pie will be runny. Fruit pies should cool at least four hours before slicing; custard pies should cool for two hours before serving or being refrigerated.

                      Pie Problems?

                      We’ve got super-simple fixes for cracked pies and soggy or burnt crusts.

                      Nov. 22, 2010 11:28 am
                      Is potato starch the same as corn starch. If not please explain what it is. Thanks
                      Nov. 22, 2010 6:09 pm
                      Ethie, everything you ever wanted to know about potato starch but were afraid to ask!
                      Nov. 22, 2010 6:10 pm
                      Feb. 13, 2011 6:46 am
                      why does my meringue shrink after it is browned???
                      Apr. 14, 2011 8:48 pm
                      Make sure your meringue is sealed to the egdes of the crust.
                      Sep. 11, 2011 7:26 am
                      When baking chicken pot pie using a double crust, should I bake the bottom crust b-4 I put the filling in?
                      Oct. 10, 2011 11:46 am
                      Can I freeze my apple pies before baking them? That way I can just take or out, thaw it and bake. Just wondering. Thanks! Roberta
                      Nov. 2, 2011 2:58 pm
                      Lots of good tips here. It's better to use pie crust shields rather than aluminum foil. In my personal experience, the foil always fell off; the shields stay in place. Also, good to know about baking the pies on the lowest oven rack on a preheated baking sheets. I didn't know that before.
                      Nov. 2, 2011 5:39 pm
                      Meringue will shrink if it's not sealed to the edge,as Alexandria W says...also a cold draft will cause shrinking. Yes, you can freeze apple pies b4 baking, no need to thaw, just increase bake time & watch so the crust edges do not burn. Also, when making double crust chicken pot pie, no need to pre-bake the bottom crust. Happy pie baking! :-)
                      Nov. 3, 2011 1:50 pm
                      Why aren't "ALL" pages on this website set up with a "Printable" link ????
                      Nov. 3, 2011 1:56 pm
                      Why aren't "ALL" pages on this website set up with a "Printable" link, such as in this page ????
                      Nov. 12, 2011 6:33 am
                      it would be great to have articles and tips i) easy to save to the recipe box with a link and ii) filed in the recipe box with a TIPS or TROUBLESHOOTING heading. otherwise, love allrecipes.
                      Nov. 15, 2011 4:52 pm
                      How do I get my pecan pie to set all the way ? It usually comes out runny.
                      Nov. 18, 2011 11:12 am
                      When baking cakes, pies, biscuits, etc. How do you stop the early browning at the bottom?
                      Nov. 22, 2011 10:05 am
                      I don't other with the crust shields or trying to crimp foil around the edges. I take a sheet of foil large enough to cover the pie and place it on top. I take it off at the end of baking to let it brown. Much easier and less hassle and I have not noticed any noticeable difference in the quality of the pie if the foil covers the entire pie or just the crust.
                      Dec. 16, 2011 7:42 am
                      I agree with SAM, that would be so much easier. I found videos last week that i needed to save and cant find them now.
                      Jan. 29, 2012 3:31 pm
                      jothibo -- invest in some insulated bakeware (like Airbake). It is worth every penny. I never have overbrowning problems anymore.
                      Jun. 5, 2012 8:25 am
                      Hey everyone,I'm a first time user of this site and hope someone can help me. I have a pumpkin pie recipe with the best filling ever. The only trouble is it takes such a long time to cook the filling through.It tends to well and truly overcook and dry out the pastry.It will burn the crust also if I didn't cover the crust with foil.Want to know if anyone has a good recipe for pastry that needs to cook for a longer period of time or if a recipe states to use milk(which I have always done)and or cream,would using in part or all cream cook the filling quicker without tasting too different?What does anyone think?Desperate in need of help. Lori-ellen
                      Aug. 15, 2012 1:50 pm
                      how do i make a pie with frozen blueberries??
                      Oct. 26, 2012 10:36 am
                      Why does my pie filling shrink down from the crust and I have a large space between the filling and the top crust?
                      Oct. 30, 2012 9:42 pm
                      RE: freezing unbaked fruit pie Home Ec cousin taught me and it works great. 1. number each pie pan 2. line the pan you want to fill, with foil, making it much larger so it can fold over later. 3. fill the foil with your favorite fruit, mixed with whatever sugar/flour/seasoning you would normally use. 4.carefully fold over the foil so it seals in the fruit and place in the freezer. As soon as it is frozen take it out of the freezer, and remove the pie pan and put it back in the cupboard; label the fruit filling insert with the date and number of the pan; wrap again in foil or plastic or a baggie to seal and return it to the freezer. 5. when ready to use, make and insert your pie crust into the correct size pan; 6. now take the filling out of the freezer and all the coverings and insert into the crust. 7. Top with bits of butter if it calls for it; top the pie with lattice or full crust and bake at 425 for about an hour. You can test it accordingly.
                      Oct. 30, 2012 11:04 pm
                      LOVE that idea Chellis!I'm going to do it! Thanks!
                      Oct. 31, 2012 8:39 am
                      Does anyone have a recipe for a 2-crust lemon pie? - the filling, when cooked, will look exactly like the filling in lemon meringue pie- yellow and shimmering, not solid - thanks for any suggestions.
                      Oct. 31, 2012 9:36 am
                      Rchabot You can freeze fruit pies like you suggest. I've done it for years. They don't turn out quite as nice as fresh as sometimes the crust gets a little tough, but considering the idea of fresh pie on a work night? Totally worth it.
                      Renee Bennett 
                      Oct. 31, 2012 1:33 pm
                      I would like to know why the meringue pies in restaurants never weep. Is there some secret that I don't know about? All I ever hear is to be sure and seal the meringue to the crust. I always do but it never makes a difference. HELP!
                      Oct. 31, 2012 1:45 pm
                      Lori-Ellen, Try pre-cooking your pumpkin filling a bit, maybe inthe microwave so that it does not take as long to cook. Experiment with can always have pumpkin custard for desert if you cook it too long and it does not pour. Some folks pre-cook thier apple pie fillings on top of the stove and then put it in the crust so the crust gets done and you don't have apple filling all over your oven so pre-cooking the pumpkin filling should work also.
                      Oct. 31, 2012 2:12 pm
                      Try the Meringue II recipe from this site (by Saundra). It works great!
                      Oct. 31, 2012 4:27 pm
                      Okay, I've read that you need to "seal" a lemon meringue pie to the crust so that it doesn't shrink. How is that done exactly?
                      Nov. 4, 2012 8:11 pm
                      Responding the Mama - This is a very good recipe for a double crust Lemon Pie: Scintillating Lemon Pie Favorite pastry for 2 crust pie 1 1/2 tablespoons medium crystal sugar, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons all purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup soft butter or margarine, 3 eggs well beaten, 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel, 3 peeled lemons (very thinly sliced), 1/2 cup cold water. Heat oven to 400 degrees Roll out half of pastry and line a 9 inch pie plate. In a bowl, stir sugar with flour, salt, butter, eggs, lemon peel, sliced lemons and cold water. Carefully pour into the pie shell. Roll out the other half of pastry and fit to the top of pie crimping around. Cut slits in top of pie and sprinkle with sugar and nutmeg. Bake 25 minutes to 35 minutes. Cool before slicing. I hope you enjoy this pie. A good friend of mine who always requested this pie just passed away and I would love for the pie recipe to "live on". Enjoy
                      Becky L 
                      Nov. 21, 2012 10:47 pm
                      To cool her pumpkin pies, my daughter took a few 18 pack egg cartons and turned it upside down, it was perfect! I thought it was such a good idea, I took a photo, too bad I cannot share it. We do not have any problem using foil to cover crust edges, we always use heavy duty foil and press it down gently into the area right below the crust edge. Happy Holidays!
                      Nov. 11, 2013 11:07 pm
                      Better than strips of foil to cover the pie crust edge, make single cover. Tear off a piece of aluminum foil at least an inch larger than the outer rim of the pie plate. Fold the foil into quarters and place the folded tip on the center of the pie plate. Measure and cut off the foil in a curved shape one inch smaller than the inner edge of the pie plate. Cut the outer edge at least one inch larger than the outer rim of the pie plate to shape the foil into a circle. Unfold the foil circle and center it over the edges of the pie and tuck the outer edge down around the outside rim. (I start folding and crimping half of the outer edge before I place it over the hot crust for ease of placement.) You can reuse this many times. Heavy duty foil will last longer than regular, but use what you've got. When done, I just fold it up and store it in a plastic sandwich bag until I need it again.
                      Subscribe Today!

                      In Season

                      Tart, Flavorful Rhubarb
                      Tart, Flavorful Rhubarb

                      Rhubarb adds its tangy flavor to everything from salsa to lemonade. Don't forget the pie.

                      Perfect Summer Smoothies
                      Perfect Summer Smoothies

                      Warm weather calls for a cold, fruity smoothie. Choose from over 400 refreshing recipes.

                      Subscribe Today! Only $7.99
                      Subscribe Today! Only $7.99

                      Delicious recipes, party ideas, and cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for $7.99!

                      Related Videos

                      Chef John's Caramel Apple Pie

                      Learn how to make Chef John’s favorite apple pie recipe.

                      Easy Classic Apple Pie

                      See how to make a simple apple pie with a flaky, golden-brown crust.

                      Irresistible Pecan Pie

                      See how to make a sweet, rich, totally irresistible pecan pie.

                      Most Popular Blogs

                      Read our blog

                      Recently Viewed Recipes

                      You haven't looked at any recipes lately. Get clicking!
                      Quick Links: Recipe Box | Shopping List | More »
                      Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

                      Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States