How to Keep Pie Crust from Sticking to a Pan: Tips and Tricks

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If you’re a fan of homemade pies, you know that there’s nothing quite like the taste of a fresh, flaky crust. You set the pie down in front of your family and friends and get the ready to serve the first slice.

And then it sticks! You end up scooping up a mess of broken pie onto a plate and saying ‘oh I’ll save that piece for me”!

It happens I know.

Getting the crust just right can be tricky, especially when it comes to keeping it from sticking to the pan. Nothing ruins a beautiful pie faster than a crust that sticks, tears, or falls apart when you try to remove it from the pan. Fruit pies are notorious for sticking!

A slice of apple pie on a white plate.

We’re going to go over several simple techniques you can use to keep your pie crust from sticking and ensure that your pies come out looking and tasting their best.

Why You’ll Love This Post

  • Choosing the right pan and preparing your crust correctly are essential for preventing sticking.
  • Techniques like using parchment paper, hot water, or flour can help prevent sticking.
  • Properly baking your pie and troubleshooting common issues can also help create a perfect pie.

Understanding Pie Crust Basics

Pie dough is a delicate balance of flour, fat, and liquid, and getting the right combination of these ingredients is essential for a crust that’s both tender and flaky. The best pie crust recipe won’t help if you don’t know how to properly prepare your crust and pan.

Choosing the right pan, preparing your pie recipe correctly, and taking steps to prevent sticking are all important factors in creating a perfect pie. When it comes right down to making a delicious pie, the crust is just as important as the filling.

A white cake pan, a pie plate, and a pie plate on a table.

As a pie baker for over forty years, my goal is to help you achieve the perfect crust. It’s important to understand some basic pie crust principles.

Types of Pie Crusts

There are two main types of pie crusts: flaky and mealy. Flaky crusts are made with a higher fat content and are known for their light, crispy texture.

Mealy crusts, on the other hand, are made with less fat and are denser and more crumbly. Both types of crusts can be used for sweet or savory pies.

A cherry pie with a lattice pattern on top.

Ingredients

The basic ingredients for pie crusts are flour, fat, and cold water. All-purpose flour is the most commonly used type of flour for pie crusts, as it has a moderate amount of gluten, which gives the crust structure. For best results be careful not to use too much water. 

For the fat, you can use unsalted butter, vegetable shortening, or a combination of the two. Butter adds flavor to the crust, while shortening makes it more tender. My preference is to use both, but that’s just me.

Water is added to bring the dough together.

Gluten

Gluten is a protein found in wheat flour that gives the dough its structure. When making pie crusts, it’s important to handle the dough lightly to avoid overworking the gluten, which can result in a tough crust.

One well known tip is to use a combination of all-purpose flour (unbleached) and cake and pastry flour, which has a lower gluten content.

flour, butter and shortening for perfect flaky pie crust

Preparing the Pie Dough

To prepare the dough for the crust, you’ll need to mix the flour, fat, and water together until it forms a cohesive dough. It’s important to work quickly and handle the dough as little as possible to avoid overworking the gluten.

We have two popular recipe posts on creating perfect flaky pie crust or making pie crust in a small food processor.

Once the dough is formed, it should be chilled for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. Or if you are making pie crust ahead of time, follow the recipe you are using.

Preventing Sticking

To prevent the crust from sticking to the pan, there are several things you can do. One option is to use a non-stick pan, which will reduce the chances of the crust sticking. Another option is to grease the pan with butter or shortening before adding the crust.

You can also use parchment paper or aluminum foil to line the pan before adding the crust, which will prevent sticking and make it easier to remove the pie from the pan.

By understanding these basic principles of pie crusts, you’ll be better equipped to make the perfect crust every time.

Choosing the Right Pan or Pie Dish

Choosing the right pan is crucial to prevent your pie crust from sticking to it. Here are some tips to help you choose the right pan for your pie:

Material

The material of your pan can affect how your pie crust bakes and how it releases. Non-stick pans are a good option because they have a special coating that prevents sticking. I prefer to use ceramic pie dishes or a glass pan but that’s just me.

However, if you prefer to use a metal pan, make sure it is made of a material that conducts heat evenly, such as aluminum.

There is even a metal pie pan with a perforated bottom!

A glass pie plate is also a good option because they conduct heat evenly and allow you to see the bottom of your pie crust while it bakes.

Two pie pans and a pie plate on a counter.

Size

The size of your pan can also affect how your pie crust bakes. If your pan is too small, your pie crust will be too thick and may not cook properly.

If your pan is too large, your pie crust may shrink and slide down the sides of the pan. A 9-inch pie pan is the standard size for most pie recipes, but make sure to check your recipe for specific instructions.

And the size of the pie pan will determine how many servings of pie you will get to serve your guests!

Shape

The shape of your pan can also affect how your pie crust bakes. A muffin pan is a good option if you want to make individual pies or tarts. A tart pan has a removable bottom, which makes it easy to release your pie crust.

However, if you prefer to use a traditional pie pan, make sure it has a flat bottom and straight sides to prevent your pie crust from sliding down the sides.

Preparation

No matter what type of pan you choose, it’s important to prepare it properly to prevent your pie crust from sticking. Make sure to grease your pan with butter or cooking spray before adding your pie crust. You can also line your pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil to prevent sticking.

By following these tips, you can choose the right pan for your pie and prevent your pie crust from sticking.

Tips for Preparing Your Pie Crust

Rolling Your Pie Crust

When rolling out your pie crust, make sure to use enough flour to prevent it from sticking to the rolling pin and the surface. However, too much flour can make the crust dry and tough. A good rule of thumb is to use just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking.

A wooden rolling pin and dough on a white surface.

Chilling Your Pie Crust

Before rolling out your pie crust, chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This is a great tip and I do it all the time. Chilling the dough from room temperature helps to firm it up, making it easier to roll out and less likely to stick to the pan. You can also chill your rolled-out dough in the fridge for a few minutes before transferring it to the pan.

Preparing the Bottom Crust and the Top Crust

When preparing the bottom crust, make sure to trim the overhang to about 1 inch and crimp the pie crust edges to seal it. This helps to prevent the filling from leaking out and sticking to the pan. If you are blind baking the crust for a recipe, be sure to line the crust with parchment paper and then fill it with pie weights to keep the crust from sinking into the pie dish

Using a Single Crust Recipe

If you are using a single-crust recipe, you can line the pie plate with parchment paper or aluminum foil before adding the dough. This will prevent pie crust shrinks or from sticking to the pan and makes it easier to remove the pie once it’s baked.

17 secrets to keep crust from sticking to your pie.

Expert Pie Baking Tips for how to keep pie crust from sticking to a pan

Once you have your pie crust ready and the filling prepared, it’s time to bake your pie. Here are some tips to ensure that your pie crust doesn’t stick to the pan while baking:

  • Preheat your oven to the temperature specified in your recipe. This will ensure that your pie cooks evenly and the crust doesn’t stick to the pan.
  • If you’re making a fruit pie, place a baking sheet on the bottom rack of your oven to catch any juices that may overflow from the pie while baking. This will prevent the juices from sticking to the bottom of your oven and making a mess.
  • Also if baking a fruit pie, especially apple pie, one of the best ways to prevent sticking is to bake the pie on high heat (say 425F) for 15 minutes, then turn it back to 350F.
  • If you’re making a custard or cream pie, you may need to prebake or blind bake your pie shell before adding the filling. This will help prevent the crust from becoming soggy and sticking to the pan. Follow your recipe’s instructions for pre baking or blind baking.
  • To prevent the edges of your crust from burning, cover them with aluminum foil or a pie shield. This will allow the center of the pie to continue baking while protecting the edges from getting too dark.
  • If you’re making a pumpkin pie, be sure to use a deep-dish pie pan. Pumpkin pie filling tends to be quite thick, and a shallow pan may not be able to hold all of the filling without overflowing.
  • Once your pie is done baking, let it cool completely before slicing. This will allow the filling to set and make it easier to slice cleanly.
  • Cut two pieces of pie first, then using a pie lifter remove one slice. It comes out perfectly!
A person using a fork to make a pie crust.

Where did I get my inspiration for this post?

I love to bakes pies, and to share the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. How to keep pie crust from sticking to a pan is one of the most important tips I think!

I want you to know that cutting two pieces of pie before you serve the first will help you get that beautiful single serving of pie out of the pan in one piece!

Could these be the best pie crust tips ever?

Serving a slice of your beautiful freshly baked pie is just so satisfying. See how easily the slice of pie comes out and doesn’t stick to the pie pan!

THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the Pie Lady Bakes community! We’re all about sharing easy-to-make vintage recipes that remind us of the ones our moms and grandmas used to make.

If you haven’t already, you can sign up for my weekly email newsletter using this link. It’s absolutely free, and you’ll never miss out on any of my new recipes.

See you soon!

Judy

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If you’ve followed these tips to prevent your pie crust from sticking to the pie pan or one of our amazing pie recipes, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Be sure to give us a 5-star rating!

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17 ways to keep pie crust from sticking to your pan.

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Judy Kahansky is an experienced writer and baker, creating delicious desserts (including pie!) for over 40 years. She loves to take classic and vintage recipes and update them to fit the busy lives of her readers. When not baking, Judy and her husband Mark are passionate golfers, travelers and dog lovers, spending as much time as they can with their sweet pup Millie.

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