And what's one thing every pie needs? A pie plate. But what kind? Here's a quick primer on pie plate materials and a few we love and recommend.
The Best Material for a Pie Plate
The most common materials you find for pie plates are glass, glazed ceramic, aluminum, or aluminized steel. Each material has its pros and cons, and some are better for certain kinds of pies over others.
Glass Pie Plates
Glass has long been a go-to pie plate material.
The pros of glass pie pans are that they're inexpensive and heat up slowly and evenly, so your crust should bake evenly as well. But arguably their best feature is that they let you see the bottom of your pie to check if your crust has browned!
The cons are that glass breaks, and if your glass pie plate is made from anything other than borosilicate glass (like soda lime glass or tempered glass, as many are), it can break spectacularly if not handled properly.
Glazed Ceramic Pie Plates
Ceramic pie plates are usually the prettiest plates of the bunch, often with ruffled edges that can help with crimping.
The pros of ceramic pie dishes are that they too heat slowly and evenly, but unlike glass, they're better able to withstand sudden temperature changes. Most ceramic pie dishes can go right from the freezer to oven and be put under the broiler.
The cons? Ceramic pie dishes are thicker and heavier, which means pies often take longer to cook. This can actually be a pro, though, since there's less risk of overcooking pies like custard or lemon meringue. But ... you can't see the crust bottom like you can with a glass plate, so there is a certain amount of guesswork with a ceramic pie plate. Ceramic can also break, but it's much less susceptible to shattering than glass.
Aluminum or Aluminized Steel Pie Plates
Metal pie plates, usually made from aluminum or aluminized steel, are great heat conductors.
The pros of metal pans are that they heat up quickly and and are great for blind baking or pre-baking pie crusts, and producing a crisp crust. They're also relatively inexpensive, unbreakable (although cheaper or disposable options may dent), and freezer-to-oven safe .
But metal pie dishes also have their cons. Since they heat and cook so quickly, it's best to keep a close eye on your pie in the oven to prevent it from over-browning. Coated metal pie plates can also be scratched, so it's best to steer clear of metal servers or utensils.
Safety Concerns When Cooking With Glass Bakeware
In recent years there have been reports of glass bakeware shattering, particularly Pyrex glassware, which made us wary of officially recommending Pyrex's popular 9-inch glass pie plate, even though many of us have used this plate for years without incident.
If you do use a non-borosilicate glass pie dish, or other glass baking dish, Consumer Reports recommends the following:
Always place hot glassware on a dry cloth potholder or towel.
Never use glassware for stovetop cooking or under a broiler.
Always allow the oven to fully preheat before placing the glassware in the oven.
Always cover the bottom of the dish with liquid before cooking meat or vegetables.
Don’t add liquid to hot glassware.
If you’re using the dish in a microwave, do not use browning elements, and avoid overheating oil and butter.
Do not take dishes directly from the freezer to the oven or vice versa.
Never place hot glassware directly on a countertop (or smoothtop), metal surface, on a damp towel, in the sink, or on a cold or wet surface.
Inspect your dishes for chips, cracks, and scratches. Discard dishes with such damage.
To avoid risks associated with glass dishes, consider using metal bakeware for conventional and convection ovens.
Additionally, Cook's Illustrated recommends placing a glass pie plate on an unheated metal baking sheet before sliding it into the oven. The metal pan will help conduct heat to the bottom of the pie, but since it heats up gradually, it reduces the risk of cracking the Pyrex plate.
Otherwise, go for a borosilicate glass pie plate, like the one we recommend below, or opt out of glass and ceramic altogether and stick with metal.
Our Recommended Glass Pie Plate
Ôcuisine Borosilicate 9" Glass Pie Plate
To help alleviate concerns with glass bakeware (see above), but still looking for all the terrific benefits of glass pie plate, our top glass pick is this borosilicate glass pie plate from Ôcuisine. It's made in France, shatter- and scratch-resistant, durable, and (yay!) able to withstand extreme temperature changes without cracking.
It's everything we love about glass pie plates, but with a little more peace of mind.
Note: While it's listed as being nine inches, it is slightly smaller in real life, so some adjustments may be needed.
Ôcuisine Borosilicate Glass Pie Plate, $15 from Sur la table
Our Recommended Ceramic Pie Plate
Emile Henry 9" Ceramic Pie Dish
This gorgeous Emile Henry pie plate bakes and browns evenly, comes in seven different colors, and is oven-, broiler-, and microwave-safe. It also looks fantastic on the table. We love it for fruit pies!
Megan says this: "I've had my Emile Henry pie plate for years, and it retains a really even heat, so my crust is always perfect! Plus, it just looks prettier than the more standard glass pie pans."
Emile Henry 9" Ceramic Pie Dish, $36-$45 from AmazonContinue to 5 of 8 below.
Our Recommended Metal Pie Plate
USA Pan Aluminized Steel 9" Pie Pan
USA Pan makes some of our favorite bakeware (including this loaf pan), so it's no surprise we love their pie plate, too.
It's made of aluminized steel, which offers the best of both worlds: the strength of steel and the heat conductivity of aluminum. The ridged bottom lets air circulate so you won't end up with soggy, pale crusts, and it's also a breeze to clean thanks to the PTFE-, PFOA- and BPA- free silicone coating.
USA Pan Aluminized Steel 9" Pie Pan, $13.99 from Amazon
Recommended with Reservations
Pyrex 9" Glass Pie Plate
Many of us have used the Pyrex Basics nine-inch glass pie plate for years, but recent (and not so recent!) reports of it shattering unexpectedly have given us pause. Without those concerns, it'd be a top pick for sure. It's a no-frills, affordable workhorse that creates nicely-baked pies.
That being said, if you do opt for a tempered or soda glass baking dish like this one from Pyrex, just make sure to follow these safety rules!
Pyrex 9" Glass Pie Plate, $11 from Amazon