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Pie Crust – Ready Made

posted in Pantry, Sweets by Kathy Maister

For some people, making your own pie crust is almost as scary as speaking in front of a large crowd! Fortunately there is a way around this. You can make both sweet and savory pies by buying a ready made pie crust at the grocery store. Here are a few basics that will help when using pre-made store-bought pie crusts.

You can buy a pie crust all ready to use in the frozen food section of the grocery store.

These come in a disposable tin pie dish. You definitely need to set this type of crust on a baking sheet with sides when you put it in the oven.

Pillsbury makes a great pie crust. You can buy this one in the dairy section of the grocery store.

The box contains two rolls of pasty, in case you want to make a “two-crust” pie like an apple pie. One roll would be for the bottom and the other would be for the top.

A one-crust pie, like for a quiche , pumpkin pie (shown below) or a pecan pie, has only a bottom crust.

Freeze the leftover roll. Be sure to use it within about 2 months: after that, it really starts to dry out in the freezer.

When working with this pastry, the trick is to make sure it is almost at room temperature when you unroll it.

If it is too cold, you might tear it. If it is too warm you may stretch it. Unroll it right over your pie dish.

Gently press it into the shape of the pie dish.

If the dough is hanging over the side of the dish, turn the edges under.

You could then press the edges down with the tines of a fork all the way around the edge of the dish.

Or you could crimp the edges with your forefinger of one hand pushed between the forefinger and thumb of your other hand.

You many actually find it easier to use your knuckle instead of your forefinger.

You end up with a lovely decorative edge all the way around the pie.

If your recipe calls for a pre-baked “shell”, this is when you would prick the sides and bottom of the dough with a fork and put it in the oven and bake it according to the directions on the package. Ice cream pies and pudding pies (like chocolate cream pie) usually need a pre-baked crust.

Recipes will often say to put tin foil around the edges of your pie so that the crust does not burn. You could just tear off some strips of tin foil but making them stay in place is often a bit tricky.

Rose Levy Beranbaum, who wrote the The Pie and Pastry Bible, suggests making a foil ring. (By the way this is probably one of the best and most comprehensive books on making pies. There are very few photos and the book is as big as a door stop, but it is excellent!)

Making a foil ring:

Tear off a piece of heavy-duty foil a few inches larger then the diameter to the pie. Cut a circle bigger than your pie dish. (As a guide, use a really large pot lid or a pizza pan). To mark a cutout in the center, use a bowl or a smaller pot lid.

Leave at least a 3-inch border. The hole in the center of the circle will expose the pie’s surface but not the edge of the pie. Use a pair of scissors, to cut out the circle. Shape it so that it will curve over the rim of the pie crust. (Don’t press it down on the pie crust. I should just be sitting on to of the crust.

Cover the edges of the crust after the first 15 minutes of baking. They will continue to brown, though more slowly beneath the foil.

There are some bakers that put the foil on the pie before sticking it in the oven. There are advantages to doing it this way in that you are not trying to fit this tinfoil ring on a very hot pie. Your best bet is to fit the ring on the pie before you put the pie in the oven.

After 15 minutes you can then just slip the tinfoil in place and you should end up with a perfect pie!

You can also buy pre-made cracker crusts…

…or make your own Graham Cracker Pie Crust!

Chocolate Fudge Pie with Graham Cracker Crust


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Beth said:

Great suggestion for the tinfoil around the piecrust. Seeing it is believing and I shall try to make a prettier pie next time around.

My late Mother-in-law, Olive Best made the most wonderful piecrust and added a “blob” of butter and a large pinch of sugar to her piecrust mix. Apple pies got a sprinkle of sugar on them too and they were the tastiest I’ve ever had. Tender, flakey and unforgettable. The apples were picked from her own apple tree in her backyard in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She did pass her little black cookbook down to me and I use it to this day. She was notorious for giving you the recipe for something and forgetting an ingredient or two. Having the written recipes fills in the blanks and is a real treasure to our family.

Warm regards,

Beth Best

Everaert Patrice said:

Hey Kathy! Keep up with the Site and thanks for sharing more of your videos.

Sincere Greetings,

Everaert Patrice.

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Beth, I love your story about the forgotten ingredient! I have always given my recipes away and find it amusing when someone says *mine didn’t turn out like yours*. What I have come to realize is that just about everyone uses substitutions, which is great! Unfortunately, if you substitute too many things, it sure as heck won’t turn out like the original recipe. I do think things like different ovens, different water source, the level of humidity in the air, etc. all effects the outcome of a recipe!

Everaert, Welcome to startcooking! I’m delighted you came to visit!

BTW, for my regular visitors, be sure to check out Asiago Cheese by Beth Best!


Evelyn said:

Thank you so much for the foil ring instructions! I have been baking pies for over…. 35 years… and I always ended up burning my fingers, breaking the pie edge trying to fit strips of foil around the pie. =)

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Evelyn-I’ve discovered that if you use the “heavy duty” foil, they are actually re-usable! (Or you can buy a re-usable shield!) Thanks for stopping by!

Erma said:

Please tell me where we can buy 5′ frozen pie shells (traditional). My church needs them for bake sales and other food service activities. Thank you.

Kathy Maister said:

Erma, ask the manager of your local grocery store if he can order them for you. He probably will given how many you will most likely be needing. Good Luck!

Dolly Schoultz said:

I have only just started making pie and am having trouble with the crust [when doing single] bubbling up while cooking. I have tried tin foil and am not sure if the shiny side should be inside or out

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Dolly, I’m assuming you are blind baking a pie crust before adding a filling and it is bubbling up??

Shiny or dull side of the tin foil does not matter. What you do need to use are pie weights of some kind (rice, dried beans, etc.) as well. Smitten Kitchen, Simply Recipes, and Baking with Rose Levy have great photos and information on pie cruts.
If you are really interested in pie making, I strongly reccommend The Pie And Pastry Bible. It is a door-stop of a book, but well worth it!

Agnes said:

I am in Edmonton to also have an apple tree but don’t get big apples a bit of a pain to peel them but hate to waste anything so sit for hours doing them. I have ordered a pie press for my pastry you make up the pastry and this shapes it for you if you need anymore information on this get back to me, it sure saves you time not rolling out the dough.

Kathy Maister said:

It sounds intriguing but my question is, what do you do with all those pies?

Nancy Mathieson said:

For information on the American Pie Council and on the 2008 APC Crisco National Pie Championships and winning pie recipes, visit

Kathy Maister said:

Thanks Nancy for the link to the Pie Council. Those winning pie recipes look fantastic! I wish they had photos as well! :)

Shirley said:

I have not been able to find Pillsbury Frozen Pie

Pastry – the one you just thaw and put in pi plate.

Is it still available?


Jessica said:

Hello Shirley,

Here’s a link to one variety of Pillsbury frozen pie crust. Now that you know the brand name and what it looks like, hopefully you can find it in your area!


Marian said:

I have always used Marie Callandar frozen pie crust for my pumpkin pies. Can’t seem to find them anywhere. Do you know if they still sell them?

Tara said:

Thank you for posting the ring around the pie crust method. I have only been baking pumpkin pies for a couple of years now and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to make a better tin foil cover for the crust. I was just piecing it on top of the crust and they always fall off. I just found this while in the middle of pie baking so I made a ring and pulled it out of the oven and put it on the crust, burning fingers and all! It’s worth it. Thank you again!!!!!!


Kathy Maister said:

Marian, If you go to the Marie Callender site they have a page where you enter your zip code and they will tell you who in your area sells their products.

Yes Tara, I too like that trick to making a tin foil ring as well! No more burnt fingers…yea!

Sonya said:

I have found the secret to keeping your pie crust from burning or browning too quickly. I always use to have to use the alumin. foil method but found the trick! Place a light colored silver cookie sheet under your pies while baking. It’s important to use the light silver color as opposed to a medium grey color or darker color(which absorbs heat and causes browning). Now I never have to cover with foil any longer!

Kathy Maister said:

Sonya this is a GREAT tip!
I will have to give it a try with my next pie.

Janice said:

I found an easy way to cover the crust edge of a pie. I keep some of the disposable tin pie plates, my frozen crusts come in. After washing them out, just cut a large hole in the center, leaving the outer rim in tact. When the time comes, place the tin upside down, over your pie. The edges are covered and the center is still exposed.

barbara said:

has any one had a problem with the ready made crusts being too soggy after the pie is cooked through?

Joan said:


I heard about Sarah Lee frozen pumpkin pies you cook at home. i can’t seem to find them. I live in Edmonton Ab. could you help me?

Kathy said:

Hi Joan, Your best bet is to ask the manager of your local grocery store it they could start ordering them. It is really surprising how accommodating they can be with special requests.
Good Luck,

bob c said:

where can i find 5 or 6 ” pre-made pie crusts

startcooking said:

Hi Bob,
I have never seen 5 or 6″ pre-mad pie crusts. I usually end up cutting down a larger crust or making my own. I think we should contact Pillsbury and add it to their suggestion box! I love making mini pies and it would be such a time saver if one was able to buy smaller pre-made rounds of pie crust.

Brooke said:

I am usually able to find 5-6 inch shells (can also be sold as a “tart” shell) at costco or sam’s. make sure you read the ingriedients, some contain sugar and would be unsuitable for a savory pie recipe.

Hope this helps!


startcooking said:

Thanks Brooke!
That’s great to know. I would have never thought to look for tart shells at costco.
Hopefully one does not have to buy them in packets of 100!

Debbie said:

Hi, I was wondering if I can use frozen pie crusts for a fool tart? Thanks for your feedback!


startcooking said:

Hi Debbie,
I have no idea what a “fool tart” is????!

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