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How To Keep Pie Crust From Sticking (Two Easy Methods)

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I grew up thinking that you do not have to grease a pie pan before adding the crust because there is so much oil or butter in the pie crust that it will not stick. But, over the years, I have found that in many cases pie crust does stick, especially for pies like pecan, pumpkin, and sweet potato.

There are two easy methods for keeping pie crust from sticking. 

  1. The first is to lightly grease the pie pan with oil or butter. 
  2. The second easy method is to spray lightly with baking spray.

How To Keep Your Pie Crust From Sticking To The Pan 

  1. One easy way to keep your pie crust from sticking to the pan is by pouring in a little oil or adding some butter and wiping the entire surface down with a paper towel so that the pie pan is lightly greased. Be sure to keep it light so there are no puddles of oil or butter under the crust that could cause a hole to form in your pie dough.
  1. The second easy method of keeping your pie crust from sticking to the pan is by lightly spraying the pie pan with a baking spray. Here again, keep it light when using the cooking spray because heavy puddles of the spray can cause holes to form in the pie crust.

Do You Grease A Pie Pan Before Putting The Crust In?

When making some kinds of pie, especially those that are made by cooking the crust unfilled and adding the filling later, the pie pan doesn’t really have to be greased before putting the crust in. But, most pie crusts that are baked with the filling in the crust do have a tendency to stick to the pan.

A good rule of thumb would be to lightly grease the pie pan before putting the crust into the pan, no matter what kind of pie you are making. As long as the pan is lightly greased, it won’t affect the pie crust in any way. However, if too much oil or butter is added, it could cause a hole to form over the area where there is a lump of butter or a puddle of oil under the crust.

Why Is My Pie Crust Sticky?

Homemade-Pie-Crust-with-Flour-on-Table

If your pie crust is sticky, it is the result of adding too much water to the dough. When baked, the pie crust that is sticky and was made with too much water will be tough and chewy rather than flaky and light. 

Why Is My Pie Crust Crumbling?

If your pie crust is too dry, it will crumble when you try to roll it out. When baked, pie crust dough that is too dry will be crumbly. But, this can also be caused by under mixing the dough or using too much fat. If the pie crust dough crumbles when you try to roll it out, adding just a few drops of water to the dough can fix that issue.

The ideal consistency of your pie crust dough is when it forms a ball and does not crumble when you pull it apart. It should roll out well and bake to a golden brown.

How To Keep Pie Crust From Sticking When Rolling? 

The best way to keep pie crust from sticking to the work surface when rolling it out is to keep the surface floured. That means that flour should be spread across the surface you will be rolling the dough on, and then flour will also need to be spread over the top of the dough to keep the -dough from sticking to the rolling pin..

What Is The Best Surface For Rolling Pie Crust?

  • Pastry Cloth- For me, the best surface for rolling out pie crust is at least 2 layers of white fabric spread out on the countertop or a tabletop. The white fabric that I use is a pillowcase. Every so often, I buy a new pillowcase to replace the old one as they become stained over time, but I always use a new pillowcase that has never been used for anything but rolling out dough.
  • Countertop- But, in recent years, with the marble, stone, and butcher block countertops that are becoming more prevalent in modern kitchens, the countertop itself is being used as the best surface for rolling out pie crust and other types of dough.
  • Paper Sandwich- One additional option for rolling out pie crust is to sandwich the dough between two sheets of waxed paper, parchment paper, or plastic wrap and roll the dough with a rolling pin while it is sandwiched between the two layers of paper or wrap.

What Is A Good Substitute For A Rolling Pin?

If you find yourself making a pie crust and do not have access to a rolling pin, a wine bottle makes an excellent substitute for a rolling pin. But, if you do not even have a wine bottle at your disposal, I have once or twice just sandwiched the dough between two layers of waxed paper and used my fingers to flatten out the pie crust, or simply worked the dough into the pie pan with my buttered fingers.

What Makes Pie Crust Shrink When Baking?

There are several things that cause a pie crust to shrink when baking. They include:

  • Overworking the dough makes the pie crust shrink while it is cooking.
  • Use exactly the right amount of water, because too much water will make the dough sticky and will cause the dough to shrink while it is baking.
  • Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking so that it doesn’t produce too much gluten, which can cause the pie crust to shrink when baking.
  • Chilling the dough a second time before baking will help prevent shrinkage.
  • Bake the pie crust at the right temperature, which is 425℉. Cooking in an oven that is not hot enough can cause the pie crust to shrink

Tips For Making A Great Pie Crust

A warm piece of baked apple pie on a pie server

Here are some things to keep in mind that will help you make the best pie crust ever.

1. Chill the dough

Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator before rolling it out. This will allow the gluten to relax and roll out easier, and the pie crust will not shrink as much as dough that has not been chilled.

2. Allow For Enough Room

Make sure you have a work surface that is large enough to roll out the dough. Ideally, the work surface will be at least 18 inches square.

3. Stick to the Directions

Follow these directions for rolling out the dough:

  1. Prepare the surface, (Clean and dry the countertop if working directly on the countertop, spread the cloth if using a cloth for rolling out the dough, or cut two sheets of plastic wrap, waxed paper, or parchment paper if using a paper sandwich to roll out the dough.)
  2. Sprinkle a layer of flour over the work surface.
  3. Place the ball of chilled dough on top of the floured work surface.
  4. Sprinkle a layer of flour over the chilled dough.
  5. Take some flour in one hand and rub it over the entire surface of the rolling pin.
  6. Start rolling the dough and continue rolling the dough from different angles.
  7. When the dough is the right size and thickness, start at one side and roll the dough onto the rolling pin.
  8. Lay the rolling pin with the rolled dough onto one side of the pie pan so that the edge of the dough is 1 to 2 inches over the side of the pie pan, and then slowly unroll the dough onto the top of the pie pan.
  9. Slowly work the dough into the bottom and sides of the pie pan without stretching the dough.
  10. Remove the excess dough and finish the edge of the pie crust with the pattern that you normally use. My mother used the tines of a fork pressed all around the edge to the pie pan as a decoration. It was a quick and easy method, and it looked good.

The dough should be round and should be rolled to a thickness of approximately 1/8th inch. It should also be rolled to the shape of a circle that is at least 1 to 2 inches larger all around the circumference of the dough than the pie pan that you are using. (Measure by inverting the pie pan over the dough.)

Final Thoughts

While making homemade pie crust seems daunting to many, it is much easier than you may think. But, many cooks today simply do not have time to prepare everything from scratch. So for those folks, there are a couple of good options. You can buy prepared pie crusts from the freezer section of your local grocery or supermarket that are ready to bake and taste almost as good as homemade, which is the most time-saving option. But, there is also pie dough mix that is very quick to mix and just roll out for that homemade effect without having to do all the measuring.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Jelly Grandma

For more, don’t miss 2 Best Types of Flour for Pie Crust (And How to Use Them).

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