Never be disappointed with your pie crust again! This knockout flaky pie crust recipe requires only four ingredients and yields awesome results each time — guaranteed.
This pie crust is perfect for all pies — cream pie, apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and even savory pies! Get that pie dish out and dust off your favorite decorative pie plate. If you’re here, it means you’re already craving a sweet or savory pie. So, my friend, you have come to the right place.
Why Make This Pie Crust?
If you’re making any kind of pie, a flaky pie crust is a must. Knowing how to make your own crust is a necessary skill to put in your home chef tool belt. Whether you are baking an apple pie or using up leftover veggies to make an impromptu quiche, this recipe makes a perfect butter pie crust.
I have spent lots of time perfecting this pie crust. Pies are perfect for every season and I find myself making one about once a month. So, because of this year-round pie obsession, I knew I needed a reliable pie crust recipe and I am so happy to share the fruits of my labor with you.
Why Is This the Best Flaky Pie Crust Recipe?
Many pie crust recipes call for shortening, but we have a better alternative — butter! Butter is the key to achieving a flaky buttery crust! More specifically, frozen butter is the key. Have you ever used room temperature butter and ended up with a super flat and dense pie crust? That happens because room temperature butter melts very quickly in the oven.
Here’s our favorite hack: Instead of using room temperature butter, grate frozen butter into the dough. Why? The tiny, frozen pieces of butter melt slower while baking, making the signature flaky layers everyone desires in a pie crust.
How To Make the Perfect Pie Crust
It takes even less time to make this homemade pie crust than it does to go to the store and buy store-bought crust.
- Combine the dry ingredients: In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
- Add the butter: Using a box grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture. Using a spatula, frequently toss the butter in with the flour to prevent the butter from sticking. Or, mix the butter with the flour with a pastry cutter.
- Slowly pour in the water: Add the water in slowly, working the pie dough with the spatula or your hands just enough for it to all stick together. The dough will be hard.
- Store the dough: Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least four hours, or overnight.
Hot tip: If you’re low on time and need to chill the dough faster, put it into the freezer for about 30 minutes.
Tips for the Best Pie Crust
Beyond using only four ingredients and following the recipe instructions, what else should you keep in mind when making this pie crust? We’ve got you covered with six tips to make it the BEST crust you’ve ever made.
- Use frozen, grated butter: Make sure you use not just “cold butter”, but frozen butter. Use a box grater to grate the frozen butter into little slivers. These slivers are the key to the flaky crust.
- Pour in ice-cold, filtered water: Since we want to keep the butter as cold as possible until the pie is in the oven, it’s important to use cold water as well. The colder the water, the less likely it is to melt the butter and affect the flakiness of the crust.
- Toss the butter as you grate it: While grating frozen butter into the flour, frequently toss the butter lightly in the flour mixture to prevent sticking and clumps.
- Opt for top-quality butter: Butter is king when making pie crust. Avoid skimping here, so purchase a high-quality European butter — the kind that has a beautiful golden hue to it.
Hot tip: Keep in mind, this recipe makes enough crust for a single crust pie in a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. If you need more, double the recipe.
What’s Next? Roll Out the Crust & Bake!
So, you’ve made the dough, wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap and let it set it the refrigerator for at least four hours. Now it’s time to get rolling. Don’t worry — it’s crazy easy! Before starting, make sure to flour the surface well. If you don’t, you’ll have an icky-sticky mess that will drive you nuts.
- Position the dough on the floured surface: Pull out the chilled dough from the fridge, then place it on a well-floured surface.
- Roll out the dough: Applying an even and gentle pressure with your rolling pin, flatten the dough from the center to edge. Be mindful not to tear the dough.
- Lift the dough: Using a dough scraper (or careful hands), lift the dough and turn it 90 degrees (make sure to re-flour the surface to prevent sticking).
- Repeat as needed: Repeat this process of rolling and turning your dough until it is as flat and even-textured as possible.
- Place in a 9-inch baking pan: Once the crust is flat and even, place it into the bottom of 9-inch pie pan. Leave a little bit of overhang to allow you to make a decorative edge (if desired).
Hot tip: While you’re rolling out the dough, you may notice chunks of butter fat. This is exactly what you want! These are the frozen butter shreds hard at work, making sure you get the perfect buttery flaky crust!
Blind Baking vs Par-Baking the Crust
Depending on the type of pie, you may need to blind bake or par bake your crust — so check the recipe first! Blind baking (or pre-baking) means to fully bake the crust before filling it, whereas par baking is partially baking the crust before filling.
When To Blind Bake or Par-Bake
Blind bake your pie crust when making a pie whose filling doesn’t require much (if any) baking — such as banana cream pies. On the other hand, par bake (partial bake) the crust when making pies with pumpkin, custard, and/or pecans.
How To Blind and Par-Bake
The process to blind or par-bake the crust begins the same way. For par-baking, remove the crust after about 15-20 minutes. However, to blind bake (fully bake), keep the pie crust in the oven until the edges are golden brown and the bottom is very dry.
- Place pie dough into the pan: Begin with the raw pie crust nestled tight into the baking pan.
- Pierce the dough: Take a fork and prick the bottom and sides of the pie dough to keep the dough from puffing up too much while it bakes.
- Chill the pie dough: Place the pie crust back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm up the butter again. This helps the gluten relax and prevents the crust from shrinking.
- Put weighted parchment paper into the empty shell: Place a sheet of crumpled parchment paper into the empty shell. Fill the parchment paper with these pie weights or dried beans and rice (just a reminder— don’t try to eat them afterwards!).
- Bake the pie per recipe instructions: Preheat the oven to the temperature as specified by the recipe instructions. Usually, this is at or around 350°F-375°F. Then, bake the crust.
- Remove the weights: About 15-20 minutes short of fully baking, remove the weights from the pie crust and return the pie to the oven. Continue baking a few minutes for a par-baked crust, or longer for a fully baked crust.
Whether you made one or two pie dough balls or you’ve done the next step and baked them, we have you covered on ways to safely store both of these.
Pie Crust Dough Ball
- Refrigerator: To store for up to a week, place the dough ball wrapped in plastic wrap into the refrigerator. It is better to store the dough before it is rolled out to keep it from drying out.
- Freezer: To store for up to six months, wrap the dough extremely tightly in plastic wrap and place it into the freezer. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator until you’re able to roll it out.
- Refrigerator: To store a baked crust for up to a week, tightly (but carefully) wrap the crust with plastic wrap and place it into the fridge. Be careful that other items in the fridge do not put pressure on and crack the crust.
- Freezer: To store a baked crust for up to a month, wrap the crust tightly with plastic wrap and place it into the freezer. According to recipe instructions, you may not need to thaw the frozen pie crust before using.
What’s the difference between using lard, butter, or shortening in pies?
Lard, butter, and shortening are three common fats used in pie crust making. Per most bakers, butter produces the best tasting pie crusts that have a flaky texture, while shortening (and lard) produce less tasty flavor.
Can I use a food processor to make the dough?
Some recipes do instruct to pulse the dough in a food processor to make pie crust dough, but it is hard to get the best texture this way. Also, using a food processor means more dishes to wash!
What do I do if the pie crust puffed up?
If at any point the pie crust puffs up, take a fork and poke through any bubbles.
Why is my pie crust shrinking?
Pie crust may shrink if the pie dough was overworked or if the pie is being baked at too high of a temperature. Mix the dough just until just enough for everything to be well incorporated and sticking together, then bake at about 350°F or per recipe instructions.
Where To Use Your Flaky Pie Crust
From savory pies to sweet desserts and everything in-between, this flaky crust is the perfect choice.
- Asparagus Quiche — Made with asparagus, feta cheese, and mozzarella
- Plum Pie — Full of fresh plums
- Peach Galette – Round/freeform cake with a tasty peach filling
- Breakfast Quiche – Filled with mushrooms, bacon, eggs, and cheese
- Dutch Apple Pie – A holiday staple filled with spiced apples and a delicious crumb topping
- Prepare the ingredients for the recipe.
- Combine the flour together with salt. Using a grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture, tossing with a spatula occasionally to prevent the butter from sticking together.
- Add water to the ingredients, then work the dough with your hands just enough for it all to stick together. The dough will turn out hard.
- Seal tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours, or overnight. This recipe yields one pie crust.