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Pie Plate Primer–Metal, Glass, Ceramic

by Karen on November 16th, 2014



There are many pie plates these days.

Some are so big you need to double a standard recipe just to fill it up.

Over the years I have used a wide variety of dishes to bake pies but I always come back to my standard glass dish for the best, consistent results.

Which Pie Plate for Best Results?  Metal, Glass, Ceramic

I consulted a favorite “science of cooking” book Cookwise by Shirley Corriher. She notes that the crust needs to cook fast. “The proteins need to start to set before the fat melts. If not, both shape and flakiness are lost. A glass pie plate will cook very fast because it is cooking by both conduction and radiant energy that goes through the clear glass directly to the crust. All the other pans cook by heat conduction only.”

All that being said, I have had success with my pottery or ceramic pie plates but the glass dish provides the most consistent result.


Within the glass category though, be sure you use a standard size.

See how the standard pie dish compares — the smaller dish holds about half the standard pie recipe and the handles on the smaller one are so tiny it is nearly impossible to get it out of the oven. I like the Anchor Hocking glass pie dish it’s a standard size and allows radiant energy to pass through to crisp the crust.  There are probably other brands but I bet this is the one my grandma used.  Metal pans and ceramic or pottery create a barrier to the radiant energy so pies bake slower.


Pottery pie plates are gorgeous.  I tend to use them for quiche or frittatas instead, these savory dishes look good in the pottery and they are more forgiving than a pie. Our gluten free pie crust works well in pottery too, it’s just a slower process.

I love white French ceramic dishes but without handles they can be hard to grasp and mine holds a slightly smaller volume. Trying to retrieve it from the oven without messing up the crust can be challenging.


Many people opt for disposable aluminum tins.  After working in the pie shop and selling my own farmers market pies I have many hours of experience using tins as well.

Aluminum Pie Tin Baking Tip

To avoid a sticky mess all over the tin and oven, plan to bake your pie-in-a-tin on a rimmed baking sheet so that you have a solid base for the wobbly tin. You can also bake several pies at once on the baking sheet. Rub a thin layer of olive oil on the rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with some cornmeal, then place the pie on top of cornmeal layer and bake.  Juices from the pie will likely overflow the tin.

Upon removing the pie from the oven use a large metal spatula to lift it carefully to cool on another flat pan.  This method prevents a sticky mess on both the pie tin and the rimmed baking sheet.  Before the pie shop developed this method we spent hours scrubbing the sheet pans free of sticky baked on fruit juice.

Happy Baking!


Ready to get started?

For our well-loved farmers market pie crust recipe, check out Cooking Gluten Free for the Holidays here

It’s an instant download ebook…….and you are ready for all of your holiday meals and treats.

From → Holiday, Sweets

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