This is the BEST and EASIEST way to blind bake Mini Pie Crust Shells! It doesn’t matter if you use homemade or store-bought dough. Let gravity and a cupcake baking pan do all the work. Guaranteed delicious and cute EVERY TIME!
Here’s a super fun Mini Lemon Meringue Pie recipe which uses this technique.
Fun fact about this recipe, one day I was attempting to make some mini Chocolate Cream Pies (I was craving them so bad). I ruined at least thirty mini pie crusts trying to bake them in a cupcake pan (keyword “in”).
I tried chilled dough, non chilled dough, store-bought dough, my personal recipe, lining them with pie weights and rice, different temperatures, etc. Nothing worked! They kept shrinking into little tough hockey pucks.
Needless to say, I was fuming. I ended up surrendering on the couch with my bowl of chocolate filling and failed pie crust. I ate it by the spoonful until it hit me, it wasn’t the recipe giving me issues it was the METHOD!
Why This Is The BEST Mini Pie Crust Recipe
- These crusts are unique because they bake ON the cupcake pan (keyword “on”). It works great for two reasons: (1) their shape stays more intact because of gravity, and (2) the outside of the crusts are exposed directly to the heat so they brown exactly where they should.
- You can use your favorite homemade or store-bought pie dough. I have an awesome recipe for a Vodka Butter Pie Crust (I use it in this post).
- No fancy equipment needed, all you need is a cupcake or muffin baking pan. You can use a standard pan like I did. I have also used a mini and jumbo baking pan (the bake times are slightly different though).
Watch Me Make Them in Under 30 Seconds!
Equipment and Ingredients for Mini Pie Crust Shells
- PIE DOUGH: You can use store-bought or homemade, just make sure it is chilled (emphasis on the chilled, pie crust bakes best when it is cold). You can also use this method on the new Pillsbury Mini Pie Crusts.
- FLOUR: For dusting your work surface and prevent sticking. I use all purpose but any type of flour is okay.
- LARGE ROUND COOKIE CUTTER: You can also use a wide mouth jar, glass, or something large and round that can be used as a cutter.
- STANDARD SIZE CUPCAKE BAKING PAN: Make sure your cupcake pan is clean. You don’t want food and oven bits in your crusts. I used some vinegar to wipe mine down but if yours is dirtier I recommend washing in warm, soapy water.
How to Make Mini Pie Crust Shells
ROLL OUT PIE DOUGH: Lightly flour your surface and roll the cold pie crust to about an 1/8 inch thick. If it is too thin you will have trouble stretching and forming it around the cupcake cavities so keep this in mind.
CUT OUT CIRCLES: Flour your large cutter and cut out 12 crusts. If the cutter begins to stick, you may need to reflour it.
FORM DOUGH AROUND THE CUPCAKE CAVITIES: Lightly press and stretch the dough from the top first. This allows air to be released and the dough to stretch a bit making it easier to form around the sides. When you form the crust around the sides make sure it reaches to the bottom of the pan. Pierce your dough with a fork.
FREEZE: Place them in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm up. If you don’t have room in your freezer you can also place them in the refrigerator for around 10 minutes. This is key to keep them from shrinking!
BAKE: 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
COOL: Allow them to cool on the cupcake pan for another 10 minutes to prevent breaking as you move them. Place on a wire rack to continue to cool to room temperature.
NOTE: There will be variation with the shape of your pie crusts. If they are not perfect, that is okay! Neither are we. They are perfectly imperfect like us but I guarantee they will be flaky and tasty!
3 Tips for The BEST Mini Pie Crust Shells
- If you are unable to get twelve crusts you can form the dough into a ball, place in the refrigerator for ten minutes, and re-roll out. Again, chilled dough is what we want throughout this process. Or you can make Pie Crust Cookies (Pie Crust Chips).
- Make sure your crusts are snug against the pan or it gives heat a chance to get where you don’t want it. This can cause bubbles and shrinkage.
- Do not put the crusts in the oven without chilling them. Heat with a room temperature crusts causes the butter to melt quickly and the pie crusts will shrink and even fall apart. And if by some miracle they remain intact, they will be very tough.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mini Pie Crust Shells
I do not recommend doing this because it will burn and even dry out the crusts. This recipe and method is made for filling that is already cooked or does not require any additional baking.
This can be for many reasons. Your dough was not cold enough, they were not pressed firmly against the cupcake pan, you forgot to pierce the dough with your fork to allow steam to release, your dough has too much water in it (which is why I recommend my Vodka Butter Pie Crust.
How to Use Mini Pie Crust Shells
There are so many ways you can use these, in sweet or savory recipe. Make sure you are using cooked fillings or no bake fillings for these. Here are a few recommendations:
- Mini Lemon Meringue Pies
- Other sweet pies like key lime pie, French silk, coconut cream, chocolate, pumpkin, custard filled pies, etc.
- Chicken Pot Pies
- Fill them with no bake cheesecake filling or edible cookie dough. This is the absolute best pastry cream to top with fresh fruits.
I also love using this recipe for classic Black Bottom Pie. It is written as a standard sized pie but I often make it into mini pies for entertaining at the holidays.
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Mini Pie Crust Recipe
- Cupcake Baking Pan (12 count)
- Large Round Cookie Cutter
- 2 pie crusts; - homemade or store bought
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour; - for work surface and rolling out dough
- Preheat your oven to 400 °F. Roll out the pie crust so it is thin but not too thin. You want to be able to stretch it over the cupcake cavities on your baking pan.
- Lightly flour your round cutter and cut out twelve circles.* If you are unable to get twelve crusts you can form the dough into a ball, place in the refrigerator for ten minutes, and re-roll out.
- Flip your cupcake baking tin so it is facing down. Form your pie crusts over each of the cavities of the baking tin. Make sure they are stretched all the way to the bottom of the tin and slightly press down.
- Pierce the crusts with a fork and put them in the freezer for five minutes. Do not skip this step as it keeps the crusts from shrinking too much.
- Place your crusts in the oven for ten to twelve minutes or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool for ten minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
- At room temperature, in an airtight container, for 3 to 4 days.
- Refrigerated, in an airtight container, for 5 to 7 days.
- Frozen, in an airtight container, for up to 3 months.
Metric conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.