Pie weights are small ceramic or metal balls used when baking pie crust to ensure thorough cooking.
These small weights are placed inside the pie crust to hold down the pastry.
Creating a perfectly flaky, crispy crust without pie weights is difficult.
Pie weights do tend to impact flavor, so it may be necessary to find alternative options.
Pie weights are often made of ceramic or metal which has little impact on flavor aside from adding to the crust’s weight.
A few other options can be used to weigh down the pie crust without affecting the flavor.
In this article, we will discuss the best alternatives to pie weights.
Each option will be described in detail and make you more confident in your baking.
What is Pie Weight?
First and foremost, pie weights keep your crust dough from puffing up too much when baked.
They consist of a circular base with metal or ceramic beads inside and can be used for sweet and savory pies.
Pie weights are an important ingredient in making the perfect pie dough.
So you should never skip them.
Pie weights (sometimes known as pie beans or pie balls) are usually made out of metal beads encapsulated in a circular base.
When baked, they help weigh down the dough and prevent it from puffing up too much, ensuring that your crust is perfectly crispy with no holes.
Pie weights can be used for any pie – sweet or savory.
Whether you’re making pecan pies, apple pies, or chicken pies – pie weights are the easiest way to ensure that your dough doesn’t mess up in the oven.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Pie Weight
When you’re baking a pie, and you don’t have any pie weights readily available, plenty of substitutes can be used.
While it’s obviously best to use the real thing when possible, here are 5 easy alternatives when pie weights just aren’t around:
1 – Dried Beans
Various types of dried beans are perfect substitutes for pie weights.
This is because they have a bulky side, meaning that the dough will be weighted down but won’t cause any holes.
This can be done by adding black-eyed peas or regular garden peas to your dough.
Then use the back of something heavy to push them down.
When using dried beans, you’ll want to ensure that your dough is rolled out to the right thickness.
Then just use dried beans or coins of any sort for weight.
You can even use something heavy like a cooking pot.
2 – Rice
Rice can be an excellent alternative when pie weights are not around.
It will keep your dough from puffing up while also adding flavor to your pies.
To use rice as pie weights, follow the same instructions you would with regular beans; simply add the rice into the center of your dough and then place something heavy on top to hold it down.
The main advantage of using rice over regular beans is that it will also add some extra flavor to your pies.
3 – Coins
When pie weights are not readily available, using coins in their place is the perfect alternative.
This is because they have a flat side, meaning that they won’t pierce your crust or weigh it down too much.
While you can use any type of coin for this, you generally recommend that you use quarters.
To use coins as pie weights, ensure that your dough is the right thickness, and then simply place two or three quarters inside the filling.
You can also add some dried beans or rice on top for extra weight.
4 – Metal Chain
Metal chains are an excellent alternative to pie weights, making them the perfect solution if they aren’t available.
They’re great for keeping your dough from puffing up without weighing it down too much.
To use metal chains as pie weights, simply place them right on top of your dough and then put it in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to bake.
The main advantage of using metal chains as pie weights is that they can be reused repeatedly – saving you money.
5 – Steel Balls
Steel balls are perfect substitutes for pie weights because they can be used repeatedly.
They won’t weigh down your dough too much while still keeping it from puffing up like crazy.
When using steel balls as pie weights, simply place them on top of your dough and then put them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
If you’re looking to use steel balls as substitutes for baking, you can also keep them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them for your pies.
If steel balls aren’t available to you, using any type of steel ball bearings is perfect – they’re readily available in most hardware stores, so you can use them as pie weights.
Pie weight substitutes are great because they can hold your dough in place while it bakes.
This is great for playing around with recipes, allowing you to make all kinds of different pies without the hassle of pie weights.
Here are 5 of the best substitutes for pie weights: dried beans, rice, coins, metal chains, and steel balls.
Remember that when using any substitute, keep an eye on your dough to ensure that it doesn’t get burnt or under-baked.