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Pie weights are important when blind baking a crust, ensuring that the dough doesn’t shrink or puff up in the oven. But what if you don’t have pie weights?
There are plenty of substitutes you have at your home that you can use. They include the following among others:
- Use A Smaller Pie Pan
- Use Glass Marbles/Vase Fillers
- Use Dried Beans
- Use Uncooked Rice
- Use Brown Sugar
- Use Popcorn Kernels
I will go over each of these substitutes in more detail below and tell you how to use them. Each one of these substitutes will work just as well when replacing regular pie weights.
Do You Need Pie Weights for Baking?
Generally speaking, you don’t have to use pie weights for baking a pie. Blind baking can also be done without pie weights, but your crust may not turn out as evenly baked. The weights help keep the dough in place so that it doesn’t shrink or puff up.
I’ve been using Ceramic Pie Weights for as long as I could remember and it saved my pie crusts on so many occasions. As a general rule, you should use about 2.2 lbs of pie weights for every 9-inch pie you make. I use these Ceramic Pie Weights that you can check out on Amazon!
If you are using a recipe that doesn’t require a perfectly even crust, then you can probably get away with not using weights.
Here are some of the benefits of using pie weights:
Pie crust is often prone to shrinking when baking. This is because the dough doesn’t have anything to support it from the inside.
By using pie weights, you are essentially creating a barrier that will help to prevent shrinking.
Puffing occurs when hot air escapes from the crust and causes it to rise. This can happen if there are gaps in the dough or if the dough is too thin.
Pie weights help to prevent puffing by creating a seal around the crust. This allows the hot air to escape through the vents without causing the crust to rise.
One of the main benefits of using pie weights is that they help to create an even bake. This is because the weights help to keep the dough in place, preventing it from shrinking or puffing up.
They Help Achieve A Perfectly Even Crust
I have found that using pie weights helps to achieve a perfectly even crust. This is because the dough is prevented from shrinking or puffing up, which can cause unevenness.
I usually specifically look for Ceramic Pie Pans when baking pies. I recently came across a Set of Two Ceramic Pie Pans for Baking that work perfectly for baking pies in the oven with no problem. You can check out this Set of Ceramic Pie Pans on Amazon!
6 Most Effective Pie Weight Substitutes
These pie weight substitutes have worked for me for many years before I was able to get myself a whole bunch of ceramic pie weights instead. They work just as well if you use enough of them.
Here are some of the most effective pie weight substitutes that you can use:
Use A Smaller Pie Pan
If you have a smaller pie pan, you can use it as a pie weight. Simply place the smaller pan on top of the dough and bake as usual. This will help the dough keep its shape throughout the baking process so that it doesn’t shrink.
However, you want to make sure that the smaller pan is the same size or slightly larger than the dough. Otherwise, it will not be as effective.
I usually use this substitute method with the other methods on this list because it helps keep the smaller pie pan heavier while preventing it from moving while the dough is baking.
Use Glass Marbles/Vase Fillers
Glass marbles or vase fillers make great pie weights because they are small and evenly distributed. After thoroughly washing the glass marbles, pour them evenly onto the pie crust so that the crust bakes evenly on all sides.
Since you can find marbles or vase fillers the same size as most pie weights, they are as easy to use. Simply place them as you would the pie weights on top of the dough and bake as usual.
Use Dried Beans
Dried beans are also small and evenly distributed, making them ideal for use as pie weights. They are also inexpensive and easy to find around every kitchen. After thoroughly washing the glass marbles, pour them evenly onto the pie crust so that the crust bakes evenly on all sides.
You are going to want to use about the same amount of dried beans as you would pie weights. Simply place them on top of the dough and bake as usual.
Use Uncooked Rice
Generally speaking, uncooked rice is small and evenly distributed, making it a great substitute for pie weights. After thoroughly washing the glass marbles, pour them evenly onto the pie crust so that the crust bakes evenly on all sides.
However, you will need to use a lot more uncooked rice than you would pie weights.
I would recommend using about double the amount. Be careful not to spill the rice into the dough while placing it on top. You may want to place the rice in, say, parchment paper first and then place that on top of the dough.
Use Brown Sugar
Brown sugar is small and heavy, making it a good substitute for pie weights. Put a sheet of parchment paper on top of the pie crust and pour the brown sugar evenly on top of the parchment paper. I have found that it works well for preventing shrinking and puffing.
I must warn you though. You know sugar melts when heated. So wrap it in parchment paper before placing it in the pie crust.
Make sure that the parchment paper has tall edges so that the melted brown sugar doesn’t leak onto the pie crust throughout the baking process.
I always had the old-fashioned parchment paper roll in my kitchen but I recently came across a Box of Heavy Duty Flat Parchment Paper Sheets that work great without trying to rip the perfect sheet which never seems to work out. These sheets come in different sizes to fit your pans! You can check out these parchment sheets on Amazon!
Use Popcorn Kernels
Popcorn kernels are another great substitute for pie weights. Place a sheet of parchment paper on the pie crust to separate the popcorn kernels from the dough. I like to use them because they are small and evenly distributed. And you don’t require too many to get the job done.
Simply place a layer of kernels on top of the dough and bake as usual. You may want to check on them halfway through to make sure they are not burning.
*By the way, I recently wrote an article about The Best Ways To Prevent Your Pie Crusts From Shrinking. This article breaks down all the reasons why your pie crusts might be shrinking and how to avoid it! You can check out this article here!
Can You Blind Bake Without Pie Weights?
As a general rule, you can blind-bake without pie weights, but your crust may not turn out as well. It is best to use pie weights when blind baking to prevent shrinking and puffing. The weights will keep the dough steady while it is baking and prevents it from changing shape.
If you don’t have any pie weights on hand, you can use some of the substitutes listed above. Just be aware that your crust may not turn out as perfect as it would with pie weights.
Make sure to put enough of these substitutes so that it becomes just as effective as pie weights.
*By the way, I recently wrote an article about If Homemade Pie Crust Is Better Than Store-Bought Pie Crust. This article breaks down all the reasons why it’s better to use one over the other. You can check out this article here!
What Is The Best Way To Use Pie Weights?
Here’s the best way to use pie weights:
- Prepare your pie crust following the recipe instructions.
- Press the pie crust into your pie dish and trim the excess dough.
- Line the pie crust with parchment paper allowing enough overhang.
- Fill the parchment paper with pie weights. Make sure the shell is completely filled.
- Bake according to the recipe instructions.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
*By the way, I recently wrote about How To Effectively Use Pie Weights The Right Way. In this article, I speak about how to use pie weights correctly to get the perfect shaped pie every time. You can check out this article here!
Can You Use Spoons As Pie Weights?
Generally speaking, you can use spoons as pie weights, but they are not as effective as other substitutes. Line the pie crust with aluminum foil or parchment paper and place the spoons on top with the rounded side of the spoons facing the pie crust.
You want to place the spoon such that they are evenly distributed and touching the dough. This will help to prevent shrinking and puffing.
For instance, place the spoons alternating the direction of the bowls.
This way, the dough will be evenly pressed down. I would recommend using one of the 6 methods provided above if you notice last minute that you don’t have pie weights.
*By the way, I recently wrote an article about Which Oven Rack Should You Use To Bake A Perfect Pie. This article breaks down what happens when you bake a pie in all the oven racks and why one might be better than the others. You can check out this article here!
Use what you have on hand to blind-bake your pie crusts. With a little ingenuity, you can use any of these substitutes in a pinch. Just be aware that some substitutes are more effective than others. Happy baking!