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Learn how to make our easy flaky pie crust that has been down through generations! Consistently makes a perfect pie dough every time! The perfect homemade pie crust!
The perfect basic pie crust recipe makes any pie better – and even more delicious!
My pie crust works perfectly with savory or sweet pies (so this is really the only recipe you’ll need), is made using both butter and shortening, and is so easy to make! I tell you exactly how to make it, give you tips to make it super simple and fail-proof, and have a video so you can see exactly how I make it! You’ll be baking pie crusts in no time!
The Perfect Pie Crust
Growing up, I watched my Mother and Grandmother make pie crusts as if it were the easiest thing in the world. They explained it all to me when I was older and ready to bake my own pies – and it was as easy as they made it look! I’m sharing that simple, fail-proof method with you in this recipe.
This recipe makes enough dough for a single-crust pie. You can simply double the recipe to make enough for a double-crust pie or lattice-crust pie, or a pie that has a crust bottom and a crust top.
How to Make Homemade Pie Crust Recipe
Pie Crust Ingredients
- all-purpose flour
- butter (cold) – cut into cubes
- shortening (cold) – cut into cubes
- ice cold water
Prep. Butter a 9-inch pie plate and set aside.
Prepare the pie dough. In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour and salt. Cut in butter and shortening with a pastry cutter or two forks until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, coarse crumbs or has pea sized pieces of butter and shortening. Gradually add enough ice cold water (a tablespoon at a time) while mixing with a wooden spoon until a ball of dough is formed.
Roll out the pie dough. Turn out the pie dough ball out onto a lightly floured sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper and form into a disk. Lightly flour the pie dough disk and place another sheet of plastic wrap over the top of it. Roll dough from the center with a rolling pin until pie dough is about ⅛ inch thick.
Transfer dough to the pie plate. Remove the bottom piece of plastic wrap, fold the dough over and lay across the pie pan and remove the top piece of plastic wrap. Press the pie dough lightly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Crimp the top edges.
Chill the pie dough. Cover the pie plate with a piece of the plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to overnight to chill.
Fill and bake. Then simply fill your pie dough with your chosen pie filling and bake according to the pie recipe.
Is Pie Crust Better with Butter or Shortening?
Basically, the debate exists on whether to use butter, shortening, lard or some combination for the flakiest, best-tasting pie crust. I like a combination of butter and shortening for pie crusts. The shortening helps it to be super flaky, tender and sturdy, while the butter gives it the delicious buttery flavor. The combination results in a delicious, flaky, yet perfectly sturdy crust that works for even heavier pie fillings.
Can You Use All Butter in the Crust?
Yes, you certainly can if you either can’t find shortening or prefer not to use it. While I find that the combination of equal parts butter and shortening to make the best crust as I described, you can use ½ cup of butter, plus a bit more to butter your pie dish.
Does the Butter Need to Be Cold?
Cold fats in your pie dough are a must! It helps the crust to be flaky, tender and so delicious when the bits of cold butter and shortening melt in the hot oven as the crust bakes. If butter and shortening are too warm in the crust before baking, it can result in a hard, greasy and even crumbly pie crust.
How to Make Gluten Free Pie Crust
Simply substitute with your favorite gluten-free all-purpose flour. There are so many great options for all-purpose gluten free baking flours now. I love to use Bob Red Mill’s Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour.
Making the Dough by Hand or Food Processor?
Some people swear by using a food processor, others use a pastry cutter, while my Grandmother only used two forks. I have used all methods, but most of the time to make my crusts quickly I grab my pastry cutter. It’s so easy – either of these methods you prefer works just great!
How to Make Pie Crust with a Food Processor
- Add flour, butter, shortening, and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
- Pulse 8 to 10 times to combine the flour mixture until the butter and shortening are the size of peas.
- Add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, through the feed tube and pulse to combine. Repeat until the pie dough just begins to form a ball.
- Remove the pie dough ball from the food processor and proceed with the recipe as instructed.
How to Blind Bake Pie Crust
If you are making a pie that requires a pre-baked crust, once you have transferred the pie dough to the pie plate, use a fork and lightly prick the bottom and sides of the pie crust.
Top the pie dough with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and bake for about 8 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow too cool. Remove the pie weights to use again and discard the foil or parchment paper.
Can You Freeze This Pie Crust?
Absolutely! I freeze them all the time. It’s great to have them on hand when the baking urge strikes! Just wrap extra well with freezer wrap and foil to freeze for up to 3 months.
Pie Crust Troubleshooting 101
What to Do When Pie Dough is Dry
When making by hand, each time you add a tablespoon of water, squeeze a small bit of the dough between your fingers to see if it holds together. If it does, test another small piece that isn’t as visibly moist. If it does not hold together, continue to add ice cold water by the tablespoon.
What to Do When Pie Crust is Tough
Overmixing will cause your pie crust to be tough. Only mix your butter and shortening into the flour mixture until the fats are about the size of peas at the smallest. Then, when adding the ice cold water, make sure to just stir until the flour mixture holds together as described in the notes for if your pie dough is dry.
What to Do When Pie Crust is Not Flaky
The reason I specifically call for cold butter, cold shortening, and ice cold water is to help make the pie crust as flaky as possible. By freezing the pie crust for 30 minutes before adding the filling for baking also helps for the flakiest crust!
The Perfect Crust Every Time
I’ve tested this perfect pie crust recipe so many times over the years and know this recipe works with most pie fillings and can be made by hand fairly quickly. It always provides a flaky crust with lots of flavor that is sturdy enough for heavy pie fillings.
In other words, this is the perfect pie crust and the only recipe you’ll ever really need.
Be sure to watch us make this easy recipe in the video below.
Some Favorite Pies
Here’s my basic pie crust recipe. I think you’ll love it for all sorts of delicious pies. It is a definite must-make recipe!
Pie Crust Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/4 cup butter + more for buttering pie plate or skillet
- 4-5 tablespoons ice water
- Butter a 9-inch pie plate or skillet and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Cut in the shortening and butter with a pastry cutter or two forks until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
- Gradually add enough ice water to the mixture while mixing with a wooden spoon until a ball of pie dough is formed.
- Pour the pie dough onto a lightly floured sheet of plastic wrap and form into a disc. Lightly flour the top of the pie dough and place another sheet of plastic wrap on top. Rolling from the center, roll until the dough is about a 1/8-inch thickness. Remove the bottom piece of plastic wrap, fold the dough over and lay across the pie plate and remove the top piece of plastic wrap. Press the pie dough lightly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Crimp the edges of the pie dough. Cover the pie plate with a piece of the plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to overnight.
- If pre-baking, use a fork and lightly prick the bottom and sides of the pie dough.Then preheat the oven to 425º F and bake the pie crust for about 8 minutes.
- If not pre-baking, simply fill the pie crust with pie filling and bake according to instructions for the pie recipe.
To make an all butter pie crust, use ½ cup butter plus more for buttering the pie plate.
From the Add a Pinch recipe archives, originally published 2012.