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Pie pans come in a plethora of designs from no-frills to frame-worthy, but generally are made from one of three different materials: metal, glass, and ceramic (there are cast iron pie pans and copper-infused ceramic pans too, but they’re far less common). So which type of pie pan is best for a perfectly browned crust?
Glass Pie Pans
Overwhelmingly, Chowhounds agree that clear Pyrex pie plates are your best choice for achieving a well-browned bottom crust. Glass pans promote even baking, and since most are made from clear tempered glass, you can easily see the color of your crust, unlike with a solid metal pan. “A pie is not done until you can see a deep brown bottom,” states Becca Porter.
However, since glass pans don’t heat up as quickly as other materials, you run the risk of your crust shrinking down the sides.
Related Reading: Glass vs Metal Baking Pans
Pyrex Easy Grab 9.5-Inch Glass Pie Plate, $20.99 on Amazon
The classic, with little handles to help make it easier to rotate and remove from the oven.
Metal Pie Pans
Metal pie pans—aluminum, in particular—heat up quickly and cool down quickly, so they’re especially good for blind-baked crusts, but obviously, you can’t see your bottom crust to judge if it’s truly done.
Karl S says that an old-fashioned mid-century metal pie pan with a mesh bottom was the best ever for browning. The modern equivalent are perforated pie pans, which have holes in the bottom that allow the oven’s heat to flow freely around the bottom crust—and you can get little peeks at the color, at least. (Procrastibaker notes that Gourmet magazine once chose these pans as best for browning.)
Masterclass Crusty Bake 9-Inch Nonstick Perforated Pie Pan, $17.73 on Amazon
The holes in this nonstick metal pan promote even browning and baking.
Ceramic Pie Pans
Stoneware and ceramic pie pans conduct heat very well and are generally the prettiest of pie plates, with a wide range of designs. Many of them also have thicker, ruffled edges, which can help you crimp your crust. But according to Martha Stewart, they can also cause the edges of your crust to brown too quickly—the same thing can happen in other types of pans, of course, but a crust shield easily solves that issue.
Emile Henry Modern Classics 9-Inch Pie Pan, $29.99+ on Amazon
This French-made ceramic pie dish is a favorite, and it comes in several colors.
Adjustable Silicone Pie Shield, $10 at Sur la Table
Protect your pie crust from getting too brown.
You can either invest in a silicone pie crust shield like the one above, or simply gently mold aluminum foil around the rim of your crust.
Clearly, each material has its own pros and cons (isn’t that always the case?), and it’s worth trying all of them to get a feel for how they handle.
Once you decide which type of pie pan you prefer, check out our pie recipes for ideas on what to put in them, plus tips on how to make perfect pie crust—and a play-by-play for how to bake multiple pies at once. Also, don’t forget about the world of savory pies.
Header image by Chowhound