How to Use Frozen Pie Crust: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Hey pie enthusiasts!

Today we’re going to talk about how to use frozen pie crust. Yep, you heard right. While making your own perfect pie crust has its merits, don’t underestimate the power of a good-quality frozen option. Let’s explore how you can go from freezer to table and still make people wonder if it’s homemade pie crust.

Next time you are ready to add a delicious pie crust recipe to your menu planning, you will be well prepared. So let’s dive in. 

Why Choose Frozen Pie Crust Over Homemade Pie Crust?

  • Saves Time:  Seriously, who has the time to whip out the rolling pin and stand mixer for a pie shell when you’re in a rush? Frozen crusts are a great time-saver.
  • Consistency: It’s hard to get your own pie crust consistent every time. That’s where frozen options come in handy. 
  • Versatility: From pumpkin pie to pudding pies, a frozen crust can do it all.
  • Budget-Friendly: No need for a food processor or other gadgets—this is a cost-effective way to bake, and you can stock up when grocery stores have sales. 
Christmas cherry pies in a muffin tin.

Types of Frozen Pie Crust: 

There are basically two types of frozen and refrigerated pie crusts 

  1. The frozen pie shells, which usually come two in a box, are already in an aluminum pie pan and separated with a sheet of parchment paper. These come in different sizes too – Standard (9”) Deep Dish (10-12”) and Tarts!
  2. Sheets of refrigerated pie crust that are rolled up and found in the dairy section, usually 2 to 4 to a box and also separated by a sheet of parchment paper.
A box of tenderflake pie crust and a box of pie filling.

Is one better than the other? Not in my opinion. It really depends on what you want to make. For example, if you are really short on time, and need to blind bake a pie crust quickly, frozen pie shells are the best. Perfect for custard type fillings and no bake pies

Yet the pie crust sheets are just as versatile and easy to use. 

How to use frozen pie crust for holiday baking.

What to Look for When Buying an Unbaked Pie Crust

  • Ingredient List: Read the ingredients on the package.  Simple is often better. Some crusts come pretty close to what you’d make at home.
  • Expiry Date: Always check to avoid the taste of freezer burn.
  • Packaging and Plastic Wrap: Ensure it’s sealed tight for best results. Why? A broken seal or not being sealed properly means when you open it up, there might be freezer burn or worse. 
  • Brand and Reviews: Before you head out to the grocery store, or shop online, check the most recent reviews. Brand names aren’t always the best.  I’ve had some great success with store brands.  Your fellow bakers won’t steer you wrong.
Two pie pies on a marble countertop.

Thawing Frozen Pie Crust the Right Way

Almost ready to bake? Here are a few tips about thawing frozen pie crust. Note: Once thawed it must be used right away. You won’t be able to refreeze the pie crust unless it’s been baked. 

  • Room Temperature Thawing: Unwrap that plastic wrap and let the pie shell sit for about 20 minutes.
  • Thawing in the Fridge: Best for those who plan. Give it a few hours, ideally on a large tray or plate in case there is any condensation. 
  • What to Avoid: Microwaving can lead to a soggy bottom crust, and nobody wants that.
A pie crust is sitting on top of a pie pan.

Prepping Your Crust

  • Pre-Baking (Blind Baking): Especially good for cream pies. Line the crust with parchment paper and use dry beans or pie weights.
  • Docking the Crust: Use a fork to make holes across the bottom of the pie crust for steam to escape, preventing bubbles.
  • Seasoning: A sprinkle of sugar or cinnamon for apple pie, perhaps?
  • Brush with Egg mixture: to get that golden glow!
A pie crust with blueberries on it is being brushed with a pastry brush.

Versatile Recipes for Your Pie Shell

  • Sweet Pies: Apple pie and ice cream, anyone? We have so many pie recipes to choose from and most of them will work really well with a frozen pie crust. 
  • Savory Options: Tourtiere, Broccoli and Bacon Quiche taste wonderful in a frozen shell, too.
  • Non-Traditional: Pumpkin pie filling in tartlets? Yes, please! Or spoon in some cherry or blueberry pie filling, even butter tarts! Let your imagination lead you. 
A pie crust, pie filling, and a pie cutter are on a counter.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Overbaking: A golden brown finish is what you’re after. Don’t stray too far from the oven. Frozen pie crust is often much thinner than a homemade pie crust would be since machines roll out the dough. 

Soggy Bottom: Pre-bake pie crust for puddings and very wet fillings – or if baking a fruit pie, start the oven at a very high temperature – say 425F and bake for minutes to get the pie crust cooking and then turn it down to 350F or the recipe temp for the remainder of the bake. 

Cracking and Shrinking: Cracking is very common with frozen pie crust, especially pie shells around the edges. When you remove the pie shell from the box, try to keep the pieces that may have broken off. You can use an egg wash to ‘stick’ them back on before baking.  It really does work. 

Cherry pies in a muffin tin with a red santa hat.

Elevate Your Pie Game: Pro Tips to use frozen pie crust

  • Resize: I have used frozen pie shells by thawing them, carefully removing them from the pie pans, and rolling out two together to use in a deep dish pie. I did this with my favorite Mom’s apple pie recipe. It’s delish!
  • Crimping Edges: Use a fork or your knuckles for that homemade touch. Watch this video!
  • Egg Wash: It’s the secret to achieving that gorgeous golden brown finish.
  • Top Crust Lattice: Create a beautiful lattice top crust by thawing the frozen pie crust, rolling it out (if needed) and then using a pastry cutter, create strips of lattice to weave on top of your pie before baking. 
  • Creative Toppings: Got leftover pie dough? Grab some cookie or pie crust cutters and go to town. I often thaw frozen pie crust shells and use my pie crust cutters to make cute shapes for decoration.  Really just go where your imagination takes you. 
A piece of dough on a cutting board.
A plate of christmas pies with red and white icing.

The Sky’s the Pie Limit – how will you use your frozen pie crust today?

Your pie dish doesn’t have to know your secret; all it cares about is carrying something delicious. With these tips, your frozen crust will taste like you’ve been at it all day with a rolling pin and stand mixer. 

A plate of pies covered in powdered sugar.

Where did I get my inspirations for this post?

Having baked pies for as many years as I have, there have been lots of times I’ve used frozen pie crusts and the pies have turned out great. Here are a some popular recipes:

Mom’s Apple Pie

Traditional Tourtiere

So go ahead and stock up those frozen pie crusts, because you’re now well-equipped to turn them into something truly special. Bake on! 😊

How to use frozen pie crust.

Now are you sold on using frozen pie crust?

Using frozen pie crusts are totally acceptable in the busy lives we live today. If one of the kids comes home and needs a Bake Sale item, you are ready. Likewise if a friend is in need of some meal planning help, whip up a meat pie or a delicious quiche to help them out.

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.

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See you soon!

Judy

★★★★★ 

If you’ve used frozen pie crust for 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!

The best tips for frozen pie crust.

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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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2 Comments

  1. I searched through many sites till I found this one which gave me the exact instructions I was looking for Not used to using frozen pie shells but I needed to save time this year ur instructions are perfect thanks for your help