Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Nov 20, 2010 08:28 PM

Can I use cheap aluminum pie plates to make pumpkin pie?

This year I am in charge of the pumpkin pies and plan to make 2 or 3. I usually do not make pies, therefore do not own any pie pans. I was thinking of using the cheapos that I can throw away. Or is it better to spend the whopping $4 for the pyrex?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've used them successfully. Especially when I'm bringing pies to someone's house. That way we can just dispose of the tins after they've been used and I won't forget my pie tins, which I usually do.

    You will need a cookie sheet underneath them though to give them some stability. Be sure to purchase the deep dish versions, they're a bit more sturdy

    1. Yup. That's what they are for.

      1. You can. But $4 isn't really that much for a pyrex pie plate that will last you for virtually ever. Last time I bough them about 3 years ago I paid 2.50 for the plain pyrex pie plate. One huge advantage is that you can easily tell when the crust is done.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ZenSojourner

          I agree. I love pyrex. ZenSojourner is right, it's great to be able to see when the crust is done, particularly if you're not experienced in cooking pies. For this reason, I try to get the clear pyrex rather than the coloured ones, otherwise it can be hard to judge the amount of browning.

          Plus, it's way better for the environment... even though I can understand that sometimes, disposables are pretty convenient.

        2. I wouldn't do's easy to burn a pie in one and they are unwieldy for travel. I'm thrifty, so I buy real pie pans for potlucks at thrift stores and garage sale....there are always a ton of them and they are usually 25 or 50 cents each and they work out great for taking pies somewhere. You can leave the pan with your host. It might even result in your host baking a pie for you one day. Spread the Pie Love and use a real pan!!!

          1. OP said they usually don't make pies, so why buy pie pans.

            My suggestion is to just buy the pre-made pie shells.

            8 Replies
            1. re: monku

              Well the reason to go ahead and buy a real pie pan is precisely BECAUSE she said she doesn't bake pies often.

              If you don't cook pies often, it's far easier to tell when the pie is done because you can SEE the bottom crust.

              Sometimes the top crust cooks faster than the bottom and if all you can see is the top crust you won't know that. Then when you take your nicely (top) browned pie to the dinner, it's a big disappointment to cut into it and find the bottom isn't done at all.

              If the top is browning faster than the bottom, you can tell in a clear pyrex pie dish and then you can shield the top with foil and continue to bake until the bottom also is nicely browned.

              The plain pyrex pie dishes - not the the ones with the fluted edges - can often be found for 2.50 or $3 or so. Even $4 isn't so bad. And the other poster's idea about picking some up from a garage sale isn't bad either. Also she could potentially borrow a pyrex pie dish - maybe her hosts or some other friend has one they could loan her.

              1. re: ZenSojourner

                While I'm all for owning glass pie plates, I do have a few, and I don't think $4 is much to pay for one at all, if the OP doesn't make pies, doesn't want to have to remember to take purchased pie plate with him/her when leaving the hosts, I'm sure the OP has other good reasons, I'd say go with a disposable aluminum plate, double them up or place it on a sheet pan for stability. If you're making pumpkin, you have to check the custard for doneness, by that time, the crust is pretty much baked as well, as those pans are thinner than glass and absorb heat. I've used disposable aluminum pans many times in a pinch without problems.

                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  I'd go for the glass. Even if you don't bake often, they do have other uses, like holding flour or bread crumbs when breading meats. You can bake fish or chicken pieces in the pie plate. Reheat foods in the microwave in it. Use it as a saucer for a flowerpot. As a fruit bowl...

                  But if you do go with disposable ones, double/triple them up to provide more heat retention, and place them on a preheated sheet pan. You can remove the extra pans once the pie is baked. Another idea is to get a pyrex pan or two and use them to hold the disposable pans you are baking in. The pyrex will provide the heat retention and you can use just one disposable pan for each pie that way - though of course you won't be able to see the bottom crust.

                  I do hope you make your own crust. The flavor is SO much better. For single-crust pies, a pat-in-the-pan crust is a good option if you are intimidated by rolling pins.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    "Even if you don't bake often, they do have other uses, like holding flour or bread crumbs when breading meats. You can bake fish or chicken pieces in the pie plate. Reheat foods in the microwave in it. Use it as a saucer for a flowerpot. As a fruit bowl..."
                    now you're talking, gg! positioning it as a multitasker that the OP might actually have reason to use beyond this one occasion makes it easier to justify the purchase.

              2. re: monku

                This is what I was thinking, too. If you don't regularly make pie crust, it can be pretty frustrating trying to roll it out and generally it ends up falling apart and tough, no matter what recipe is used. If the OP had expressed an interest in learning how to make pies and crust, then I'd vote for the pyrex. But, if this is just to test the waters, start w/ the basics, and don't invest the money. The problem I have, also, is a small kitchen so spending $4 isn't a problem but I wouldn't want to store something barely used (speaking theoretically because I do like to bake pies and have an assortment).

                If this helps, it's a rating of pre-made pie shells


                1. re: monku

                  > My suggestion is to just buy the pre-made pie shells.

                  When I was getting ready to leave the nest and first started learning how to cook, this was my mother's advice: always just buy pre-made pie shells.

                  1. re: GraydonCarter

                    That would be my choice, too, though for a slightly different reason. I've been cooking forever, and my main reason for not making pie crust is that pie just isn't one of my favorite foods. I will likely die not ever having made a pie. (I love tarts, but I make them with a press-in nut crust.)

                    In case the OP does want to buy one, I looked up prices on the Pyrex pie plates, though, and found that K-Mart has the cheapest price, $5.00. There's a little button to click to find out if your closest K-Mart has them.


                    1. re: Jay F

                      The plain ones are cheaper than that. $4 at Kroger. If they're $4 at Kroger you should be able to find them for less at Walmart or some place like that. (Kroger is a grocery store chain)