The 7 Best Pie Weights of 2022

Make better pies with the Jefferson Street Ceramics Natural Clay Beads

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The Spruce Eats / Lecia Landis

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Excelling in both form and function, the Jefferson Street Ceramics Natural Clay Beads will help you make picture perfect pie crusts in style. There’s also tried-and-true Mrs. Anderson’s Ceramic Pie Weights as a budget-friendly option.

Prebaking a pie crust (also known as par-baking or blind baking) is an essential step in many pie recipes, as it helps to prevent the dreaded soggy bottom that can result from wet pie filling coming into contact with a raw pie crust. When blind baking, pie weights are used to keep bubbles from forming on the bottom of the crust, and the sides from shrinking down. When used properly, pie weights will keep your crust in place as it cooks.

Kierin Baldwin, chef instructor of pastry and baking arts at the Institute of Culinary Education, says that pre-baking is typically only necessary if the pie or tart filling is baked at a lower temperature and for a shorter amount of time than a crust would normally would be (like pumpkin pie), or the filling is not baked at all (like cream pies). “Since there is no filling in the pie crust while it’s being pre-baked, you need to put something inside the shell during baking to prevent excessive bubbling and to help it keep its shape,” she says. 

Here are the best pie weights to have in your kitchen.

Best Overall

Jefferson Street Ceramics Ceramic Pie Weights

Jefferson Street Ceramics Ceramic Pie Weights

Amazon

What We Like
  • Handmade feel

  • Mesh bag for storage

  • High-heat resistance

What We Don't Like
  • Not as colorful as pictured

I love the handcrafted look and feel of these natural clay beads that are designed for blind baking. They come in a cute mesh bag for easy storage, though you can use a mason jar instead for something sturdy that’s easier to pour the beads back into. Made of durable vitrified ceramic, these clay beads were fired to a temperature of more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, so they can take the heat. The manufacturer notes that the material won’t absorb water or oil, is easy to clean (wash with warm soapy water and dry on a cloth), and won’t smell or get moldy.

You get an impressive 2.4 pounds of ceramic weights per order, which should be enough to hold pie crusts in place while blind baking. Jefferson Street Ceramics claims that this is enough beads for baking two 7-inch pie crusts or one 10-inch crust. One thing to note is that while the product listing shows irregular shaped beads in varying shades of brown, green, and gray, some reviewers have noted that their beads are a uniform color.

Price at time of publish: $25

Material: Ceramic | Weight: 2.4 pounds | Heat Resistance: Up to 2,000 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: No

Good to Know

Think of pie weights acting like a filling would. You need enough to not only cover the bottom of the crust, but to go up the sides as well. It’s important to note that for most pie weights, you’ll want to place a piece of parchment paper down first so that they don’t bake into your pie crust.

Best Budget

Mrs. Anderson's Ceramic Pie Weights

Mrs. Anderson’s Ceramic Pie Weights

Amazon

What We Like
  • High-heat resistant ceramic

  • Evenly heats in the oven

  • Includes storage container

What We Don't Like
  • Dusty, probably need to buy more than one

My budget pick is made of reliable ceramic, which helps to disperse heat evenly over your pie crust for even cooking. You may notice a little dust coating the beads, but they’re easy enough to clean (hand wash only, please) and parchment paper acts as an effective barrier between the pie weights and pie crust.

Mrs. Anderson’s Ceramic Pie Weights are the least expensive option of the bunch, but with just 5.6 ounces of beads in each container, you’ll probably need to buy two (or even more) packages to have a sufficient amount to fill up a pie crust. If this happens, you’ll also want to pick up a larger storage container to hold all the beads.

Price at time of publish: $10

Material: Ceramic | Weight: 5.6 ounces | Heat Resistance: Up to 480 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: No

What Our Experts Say

“You really do need to use a lot of pie weights to successfully pre-bake a crust. There should be enough of them to just about fill it, since the weights need to hold the sides of the shell up in addition to holding bubbles in the bottom down.” — Kierin Baldwin, chef instructor of pastry and baking arts at the Institute of Culinary Education

Best Splurge

RBV Birkmann Ceramic Pie Weights

RBV Birkmann Ceramic Pie Weights

Food52

What We Like
  • Simple design

  • Wide mouth container

  • Generous amount of beads

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Sleek and simple, these ceramic pie weights come from RBV Birkmann, a German bakeware company that makes hundreds of different cookie cutters, cake pans, and more. The weights come in a convenient wide mouth container that snaps shut, making it easy to pour the beads back into and store until the next time you need them. 

Each package comes with 1.5 pounds of pie weights, which the maker claims is enough to par-bake an 11-inch crust or smaller. Hand wash if you need to, and make sure to let the beads cool down before pouring them back into their container.

Price at time of publish: $39

Material: Ceramic | Weight: 1.5 pounds | Heat Resistance: Not available | Dishwasher Safe: No

Good to Know

Pie weights come in different materials (like ceramic, stainless steel, and glass) and shapes (from loose spheres to a beaded chain), and you can even use pantry staples in place of pie weights in a pinch.

Best Glass

Gretel Baking Glass Pie Weights

Gretel Baking Glass Pie Weights

Amazon

What We Like
  • Dust-free

  • Drawstring bag for storage

  • Generous amount of beads

What We Don't Like
  • Not dishwasher safe

An alternative to ceramic pie weights, these heat-safe glass beads don’t retain any oils or odors, or leave behind dust like ceramic baking beads can. Made of borosilicate glass, which is more resistant to thermal shock, you can rest easy knowing these can go in and out of the oven without issues––like your favorite glass pie dish. As far as appearances go, these clear glass marbles certainly have visual appeal.

There are 2.5 pounds of glass pie weights in every drawstring bag, which the manufacturer notes is enough to fill up a 9-inch or 10-inch pie pan. To clean, hand wash in warm soapy water.

Price at time of publish: $24

Material: Borosilicate glass | Weight: 2.5 pounds | Heat Resistance: Up to 600 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: No

Best Single Piece

Chicago Metallic Pie Weight

Chicago Metallic Pie Weight

Amazon

What We Like
  • One-piece design

  • Dishwasher safe

  • Suitable for a variety of pie sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Might be too lightweight to hold down crust

If the idea of dealing with a bunch of little beads doesn’t appeal to you, the Chicago Metallic Pie Weight offers a one and done solution. It’s a single-piece pie weight with a perforated metal disc—which allows air to flow through—in the middle and silicone petals surrounding it. To use, simply place the pie weight on your raw pie crust, blind bake, and then lift it off by the center handle.

The Chicago Metallic Pie Weight can accommodate 9-inch to 11-inch pans and is safe to be cleaned on a dishwasher’s top rack. While convenient to use in theory, at less than half a pound it may not be heavy enough to keep pie crusts from bubbling, and since the silicone petals don’t go all the way up the sides of the pie crust you may still experience shrinking.

Price at time of publish: $20

Material: Alloy steel | Weight: 5.6 ounces | Heat Resistance: Up to 450 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Best Stainless Steel

Sur La Table Stainless Steel Pie Weight Chain

Sur La Table Stainless Steel Pie Weight Chain

Sur La Table

What We Like
  • One-piece design

  • Includes a glass jar for storage

  • No parchment paper needed

What We Don't Like
  • Might be too lightweight to hold down crust

This 6-foot-long chain is designed to be placed right into an 8-inch or 9-inch pie crust––no parchment paper needed. It’s flexible, food-safe, oven-safe up to 450 degrees, and reusable. Since it’s a chain of beads, it has a similar effect to traditional pie weights, but since they’re attached it’s easier to transport from mason jar to pie crust and back.

The chain weighs just a little over 5 ounces, so it may not be heavy enough to keep pie crust bubbles at bay. If you’re planning on doubling (or tripling) up on pie chains, we recommend placing a piece of parchment paper underneath to prevent the beads from sinking into your pie crust.

Price at time of publish: $15

Material: Stainless steel | Weight: 5.28 ounces | Heat Resistance: Up to 450 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: No

Best Colorful

WelifeUp Ceramic Pie Weights

WelifeUp Ceramic Pie Weights

Amazon

What We Like
  • Bright colors

  • Convenient container

  • Generous amount of beads

What We Don't Like
  • Some chipped beads

Sure, pie weights serve a simple function and don’t have to be anything fancy, but why not use something beautiful? These colorful ceramic pie weights have an attractive mix of blue, green, yellow, brown, and white beads, which come packaged in a wide mouth jar.

Each order comes with 1.65 pounds of beads, which should be enough to fill an 8-inch, 9-inch, or even 10-inch pie crust. You won’t want to go back to using beans after picking these up. They’re pretty enough to double as kitchen decor when not in use.

Price at time of publish: $13

Material: Ceramic | Weight: 1.65 pounds | Heat Resistance: Up to 480 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Not available

Final Verdict

Excelling in both form and function, the Jefferson Street Ceramics Natural Clay Beads will help you make picture perfect pie crusts in style. If clear glass marbles are more your vibe, look no further than the Gretel Baking Glass Pie Weights.

What to Look for in Pie Weights

Material

Like any other baking tool, pie weights need to be made of a heat-resistant material that can withstand the temperature at which you’re par-baking your pie crust. For this reason, popular materials for pie weights include ceramic, metal, and glass. These materials should maintain their integrity bake after bake and not break down or melt.

Of course, each has its own pros and cons. Ceramic beads will absorb heat slowly and parbake the crust evenly. Metal weights will heat up fast so you’ll need to monitor the crust, and will be very hot to the touch afterward. Like ceramic, glass beads will be poor heat conductors, and you’ll need to let them cool before washing, just to be safe from thermal shock.

Quantity

Simply using pie weights isn’t enough to ensure your crust won’t shrink or bubble up. You need to use a sufficient amount to weigh down the bottom of the crust and hold the sides in place. “Most pie weights are sold in small quantities of a pound or less, which is not enough to successfully pre-bake even a single pie shell,” Baldwin says. In short, more is more.

Ease of Use

A pie chain or single piece pie weight are the easiest types to use as they don’t require cutting a piece of parchment paper, pouring in weights, and transferring them back into their storage container, but they may not provide a sufficient amount of weight to keep your crust from bubbling. For pie weights that come in many small pieces, look for a storage container with a wide mouth for an easier transfer after using them.

FAQs

How do you use pie weights?

For pie crusts that need to be prebaked before the filling is added in, line the chilled pie shell with a large coffee filter or piece of parchment paper (not foil, since it isn’t porous and won’t let excess steam escape), then pour enough pie weights in to cover the bottom completely and come up the sides high enough to hold them in place.

Once the pie weights are in, put the crust in the oven and bake until the bottom of the crust isn’t soft when pressed and no longer looks wet. “You can carefully pull up the parchment on one side to check for doneness without removing all the weights,” Baldwin says. Remove the weights by lifting the parchment paper up, using it as a hammock, then pour them back into their storage container. If your filling needs to be baked, pour it into the pie crust, then bake the pie until the filling sets. If you aren’t cooking the filling, put the unfilled pie crust back into the oven and bake until the bottom of the shell is a light brown.

What are some alternatives to pie weights?

If you don’t have pie weights, there are plenty of affordable alternatives that you might already have in your kitchen. Baldwin is partial to dried beans, but notes that their skins start to flake off after they’ve been baked a bunch of times. “At that point, you can just buy a new bag of dried beans and replace them,” she says. Rice is another popular alternative, but since they’re smaller than beans they have a tendency to scatter everywhere if you aren’t careful. Granulated sugar is another option, popularized by Stella Parks of BraveTart. “It works well and you can actually reuse the sugar afterwards,” Baldwin says.

What happens if you don’t use pie weights?

Not using pie weights isn’t the end of the world. If you forget to use them when blind baking or don’t have anything on hand to weigh down your pie crust, you’ll likely end up with a pie shell that has large bubbles at the bottom and sides that have shrunk down. Your pie might not look as pretty, but it will still taste delicious.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Abigail Abesamis Demarest is a freelance journalist who specializes in food and drink content. She’s interviewed a professional chef to learn about pie weights and baking basics and share this knowledge with readers. Baking and watching The Great British Baking Show are some of her favorite ways to unwind.

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