best pie crust recipe

Pie Crust Recipe

This is a homemade all-butter pie crust recipe for a pie crust that bakes up to tender and flaky perfection.

This simple pie crust recipe makes a flaky, delicious, and versatile crust with well-balanced flavors that can be used for a sweet or savory pie.

flaky pie crust recipe

When it comes to pie baking, technique and temperature are just as important as the ingredients you use. In this post, I share all of my pie tips and tricks to help you with pie-making success.

Homemade pie crust basics.

Even as a beginner, making a homemade pie crust will create a crust that no store-bought variety can compete with. Pie crust making may seem daunting, but once you get the basics it’s pretty simple.

Every basic pie crust recipe starts with a mix of flour, fat (butter or shortening), cold water, and a dash of salt. When you make a pie crust you are mainly cutting the fat into flour and adding a bit of cold water to hold it together. I add lemon juice for the acidity which creates flakiness, a little sugar for flavor, and an egg yolk for richness.

How do you Create a flaky Pie crust?

The most important element in this recipe is the temperature of the ingredients, the colder the butter the better. Make sure your water is ice cold, and keep the butter cold during the process. Cold butter = steam pockets while baking = a flaky crust.

While you work the dough you may notice the butter may become soft. If this happens you can place the butter or flour mixture with the butter (whatever stage you are in) into the refrigerator for a few minutes to give the butter a quick chill, then continue.

Adding an acid will also help create a more tender and flaky crust. A lot of people use vinegar or even vodka sometimes. I use lemon juice and feel that it works perfectly.

Shortening vs. Butter

You can use butter, shortening, or a combination of both for a pie crust recipe. Butter will give better flavor and shortening will give a flakier texture. A lot of recipes call for a combination of both.

I prefer an all-butter pie crust instead of using shortening. I add a bit of lemon juice for acidity which creates the flakiness you would get from using shortening. You can also use vinegar or vodka in place of the lemon juice.

This combination of using lemon, egg yolk, and sugar gives a good balance of flavors and texture. This recipe creates a dough that is easily workable and cooks up to flaky perfection.

crust recipe

How to make pie crust

I always use a pastry cutter. Using a pastry cutter allows you to monitor the dough making it easy to incorporate all the ingredients well without overmixing. Cutting in your ingredients in a large wide-rim bowl helps with proper incorporation. Scraping any excess dough off of the pastry cutter with a butter knife instead of your hands will prevent the butter from becoming too warm.

You can also make the dough in a food processor. I have never mixed a pie crust this way, but a lot of people like to use a food processor to mix the dough. If you use a food processor to mix your pie crust be sure to monitor the crust closely to avoid overblending the dough.

pie ingredients

Ingredients for this recipe

  • all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • sugar
  • very cold butter
  • lemon juice
  • ice cold water
  • egg yolk

Recipe Steps:

  • Step 1: Prep – Whisk the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and set aside. Place the yolk, lemon juice, and half of the water in a small bowl, lightly whisk and set aside.
  • Step 2: Add the cold butter that is cut into thin slices to the flour mixture and using a pastry mixer begin to cut the butter into the flour mixture.
  • Step 3: Once the mixture appears sand-like with big chunks of butter remaining add the yolk, lemon, and water and continue to cut into flour and butter.
  • Step 4: Add the remaining water in small amounts as needed until the dough holds itself together when pressed.
  • Step 5: Form the dough into a disc wrap it in parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill until at least 30 minutes or until ready to use.

Pie Crust Recipe Tips:

Use cold ingredients.

Chilling all of the ingredients before mixing helps create a flaky crust. Pre-chilling the bowl and pastry cutter before mixing can help keep the ingredients cold. Make sure the butter and water are ice cold for a flaky crust.

Chill. chill. Chill.

Once you have mixed the dough and it has come together in a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap or parchment paper and chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator, or 15 minutes in the freezer. This will chill the butter back up after mixing.

Chill again.

Once the dough is shaped and placed in the pie dish, chill it in the refrigerator for another 10-15 minutes or a few minutes in the freezer before baking. For the best results, make sure the pie crust is chilled all the way through before placing it in the oven.

recipe for pie crust

Rolling out the dough

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface rotating it as you form a rolled-out disc. This will ensure that the dough isn’t sticking to the surface, add more flour if needed.

Once the dough is rolled out to the size and shape, you can place it in the pie dish and finish preparing your pie. If making a one-crust pie you can chill the crust before the blind bake, if making a two-crust pie you can add the filling and place the second layer on top and chill it before placing it in the oven.

If you make the pie crust ahead of time to save for later, place the rolled-out dough between two pieces of parchment paper. You can fold the dough in half or fourths as long as there is parchment paper in between each layer to prevent the dough from sticking.

Can you refrigerate the pie dough until ready to use?

For ease of use, you can roll out each disc, wrap the top and bottom in parchment paper, fold them in half or fourths, and place them in an airtight container or freezer bag to store for later use. That way when you are ready to make your pie the pie crust is already shaped, chilled, and ready. Store sealed pie dough for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Can you freeze pie dough?

Yes, you can store tightly wrapped pie dough in an airtight container or freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.

pie crust

What is blind baking?

Blind baking is partially pre-baking a pie crust for a one-crust pie recipe. If you are baking a one-crust pie recipe with a cooked filling such as a pumpkin pie, you can blind-bake the crust before adding the filling to prevent an undercooked or soggy bottom crust.

For a pie recipe with no-bake pie filling, you will need to pre-bake the crust and cook it all the way through before letting it cool and adding the filling.

Some recipes will recommend poking tiny holes in the bottom of the crust before baking, also called docking. This helps to release steam while baking and prevents the bottom from bubbling up, which will help to give you a flat crisp, and well-baked bottom.

What are pie weights and why use them?

Pie weights are used during the pie-baking process to help weigh down pie dough to hold its shape while it is blind or pre-baking in the oven. You can purchase ceramic pie weights which help distribute heat evenly while baking. They are fairly inexpensive and reusable.

You can also use any unused dried beans you may have around the house as pie weights. They can be stored and used again and again. I have a bag a dried chickpeas that I save and reuse.

To use pie weights, line the pie dough with parchment paper or foil and add pie weights over the paper. You want to make sure you have enough pie weights to fill the pie and line the edges. This will help the pie crust hold its shape while baking.

What kind of pie Dish is best?

There are many kinds of pie dishes from glass to metal and ceramic varieties. Pies can also be baked in a stone-wear or cast iron pie dish. Knowing which kind of pie you are making can help you determine which pie dish is best. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each kind will help you decide.

Glass Pie Dish

Glass pie dishes are perfect for even heat distribution and even baking. The clear glass bottom also allows you to check that the bottom of the crust is fully cooked before removing it from the oven. This helps prevent a soggy bottom. I prefer to use a glass pie dish especially if I am baking a double-crust pie.

Ceramic Pie Dish

Ceramic pie pans are another good option. They come in all colors and sizes and are perfect for displaying a nice pie.

Metal Pie Dish

Metal pie dishes are durable, can handle temperature changes, and can bake up a nice golden bottom crust. They tend to overcook the edges so monitor closely if you are baking a pie in a metal pie dish.

Stoneware & Cast Iron Pie Dish

Although I have not tried using any stoneware or cast iron pie dishes they can be used. Any kind of stoneware will conduct heat well. A well-seasoned cast iron dish is a classic timeless material that many people like to use. If you have used either of these two dishes drop a comment below and tell us what you think 🙂

recipe for pie crust
pie recipe

Pie Crust Recipe

Print Recipe
A recipe for a pie crust that makes a buttery, flaky, and versatile pastry crust that can be used for any sweet or savory pie.
Prep Time:30 minutes
Cook Time:45 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 1/2 sticks sliced thin or cubed
  • 1/2 cup ice cold water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (or vinegar)
  • 1 egg yolk

Instructions

  • In a large bowl preferably with a wide rim, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt.
  • In a small bowl add egg yolk, lemon juice, and half the water, and give a quick whisk.
  • With a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture appears sandlike.
  • Add the lemon juice, egg, and water a little at a time while continuing to cut the mixture with a pastry cutter adding the remaining water in small amounts until the dough can hold itself together when you pinch it.
  • When the dough can hold its shape, form it into a disk and divide the sough in half. Wrap each half parchment paper, and place it in the refrigerator or freezer to chill.
  • Bake pie crust per your pie recipe directions.

Notes

This recipe will make enough pie crust for a double-crust pie or two one-crust pie recipes plus a little extra dough for cut-outs. If you only need one pie crust you can simply store the second half for later use.
Course: Dessert
Servings: 1 Double Pie Crust
pie crust recipe

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