What Are Baking Beans? Definition And How To Use It

Are you hearing the word baking beans for the first time and wondering what it means?

You might be wondering if it’s edible, what it is used for, or where you can even find them. Worry no more, you’d learn all about baking beans in this article.

Baking beans are synonymous with pie weight. It serves as weight and keeps the pie crust stable while blind baking. If you’re not sure about what blind baking is, I’ll tell you briefly.

Blind baking simply means baking your pastry in the oven before adding the filling.

Let’s get into pie weights, and their uses, among other things.

What does baking beans mean?

Baking beans are little balls made from heat-conducting ceramic that serves as a weight to hold down the pie crust while blind baking. They are sometimes called ceramic beans or pastry weights.

Bakers use them to ensure the crust bakes evenly from the top and maintains its shape. They could be actual beans, but in this case, dried uncooked beans.

Kidney beans, chickpeas, and black beans are the only variety of beans that can serve this purpose. You will not achieve the same result with other types of beans. I’ll discuss other pie weights substitutes later in this article.

Additionally, pie weights sold in the market are generally referred to as baking beans. Pie weights are ceramic balls or metal beads that are specifically designed to serve as a weight for pie crusts during blind baking.

The good thing about pie crust is that it is reusable, so it is the best option for bakers who do a lot of blind baking.

What are the uses of baking beans?

  • Ceramic beans or pie weights help to hold down the weight of the pie crust and prevent it from puffing while it bakes.
  • They ensure that pastries cook perfectly in the oven.
  • They help to prevent crust shrinkage.

How to use baking beans

Using ceramic beans is simple and requires no technical skills. Simply follow the steps highlighted below:

  • Step 1: Cut the pie dough into your desired shape
  • Step 2: Place the pie crust in a pie pan
  • Step 3: Place a round or square parchment paper or aluminum foil on your dough (ensure that it is a little oversized to accommodate the weight of the pie weight and for easy removal after baking)
  • Step 4: Pour the baking beans or pie crust on the parchment paper or foil
  • Step 5: Place the pastry crust in the oven to bake
  • Step 6: Take out the pastry crust from the oven after baking and pull the ceramic beans and the parchment paper out
  • Step 7: You can continue with other steps based on your recipe

Popular substitutes for baking beans

In case, you do not have baking beans at hand and you need to bake a pie or tart right away, worry not.

Below is a list of substitutes that can give you the same result as using ceramic beans. Interestingly, you just might them in your kitchen.

1. Dried foods

Dried foods are excellent substitutes for blind baking but there are others that you can make use of. These dried food options include rice, popcorn kernels, lentils, and chickpeas.

As you can see, these options are so affordable and accessible. The only downside is that they must not be cooked for food after using me. Moreso, they are not reusable for long.

2. Sugar

Another good alternative is sugar. The good thing about sugar is that it fills up your pie crust and allows it to cook evenly.

You can also add baked sugar to another dessert for a rich caramel flavor.

3. Loose coin

While coin may not be the best option for health reasons, you may use of it if you’re out of options.

But ensure that the pin doesn’t touch the pastry crumb at all. You may even double your parchment paper or aluminum foil to be on the safe side.


Are baking beans necessary?

Yes. It is necessary to hold your pie crust down so that it doesn’t puff.

Can you bake without baking beans?

Yes, you can.

If you don’t have baking beans or any of the substitutes, prick the puffed dough with a fork to release any trapped air.

Are baking beans edible?

Yes, they are edible before blind baking. However, they are not healthy for eating after blind baking.


Baking beans or pie weight are essential when blind baking your pie crust. You need them to add weight to your pie crust, prevent it from puffing, and cook the dough evenly.

If you do not have baking beans or pie weight at hand you can use other substitutes like rice, popcorn kernels, sugar, and the like.

However, your best bet will be to get a ceramic or metal pie weight from an online store or a baking shop. Pie weights are reusable, healthy, and long-lasting.

I hope this article helped. Thanks for reading.

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