Despite the old saying “easy as pie” many people are reluctant to make Homemade Pie Crust. Honestly, pie crust is not difficult to make. It just takes a little finesse and a little patience.
Choosing a favorite food is like choosing a favorite child. It’s impossible. My favorite food depends on my mood and appetite. But I can say that my favorite dessert is pie. Bake a sweet filling into a crust and I’m a happy camper.
So what’s the secret to a great pie? Well, it’s the crust, of course.
- Flour – This recipe uses a mixture of all purpose and cake flour. All purpose flour will give the dough enough structure so it can hold the flaky texture and a small proportion of cake flour will help keep it tender. In a pinch, you can use bleached AP flour and get good results.
- Fat – I like to use a mixture of half vegetable shortening and half butter. The vegetable shortening has a higher melting point and keeps the crust from slumping as it bakes. The butter is, well, delicious! You can use all vegetable shortening for a vegan pie crust or all butter if that’s your preference. I sometimes use leaf lard in my pie crust. If you have that available you can use it in place of the shortening.
How to make Homemade Pie Dough
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Work the shortening into the flour. I just use my hands, but you can do this in a mixer or food processor if you prefer.
- Use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to slice the butter into very thin slices. This can be done ahead of time and held in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Toss the sliced butter into the flour mixture. The thin slices will break down a bit as you toss, but should mostly stay intact. I prefer to do this by hand to avoid breaking down the butter too much.
- Add the water all at once.
- Use a spatula or your hand to lightly toss the water through the flour. Gather the dough together, picking up the bits of dry flour as you go.
- Form the dough into a ball. If it’s a bit shaggy with some dry spots that’s ok.
- Divide the dough in half.
- Form each half into a disc.
- Place the dough into a bag or wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months.
How to roll Pie Crust
- Place the cold dough on a lightly floured surface. Gently press back and forth over the dough with the rolling pin to loosen the dough.
- Roll the dough from the center out, constantly turning the dough so it doesn’t stick to the surface and it forms a circle.
- Roll the dough several inches wider than your pie plate.
- Roll the dough onto your rolling pin.
- Use the rolling pin to transfer the dough to the pie plate. Unroll the dough over the plate.
- Use your hands to tuck the dough into the pan. You should have a 1″ overhand all around the pan.
- After the pan is lined, roll the other half of the dough for the top of the pie.
- Sprinkle the rolled top crust lightly with flour. Fold the top in half and then into a quarter. Slide the top dough into the original bag or wrap in plastic.
- Place the pan into the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to rest before filling. You can unfold the top crust and use it as is, or you can cut it into strips to make a lattice pie crust.
Pastry Chef Tips for making pie dough from scratch
- Add the fat in two stages. After the shortening is mixed in add the cold butter. Just toss the slices through the flour. If you start with thin slices they’ll break down just a little bit but will mostly stay intact.
- Mix in the water just until the dough comes together. Don’t worry if it looks a little shaggy and there are some dry spots. The water will redistribute while the dough rests in the refrigerator.
- Have patience. You must be patient and let the dough rest before you roll it and you must be patient and let the dough rest after you roll it.
Now that you’ve made the perfect pie crust you can work your way through some of my favorite pie recipes:
- Glazed Apple Maple Pie
- Sour Cherry Pie
- Cherry Crumb Pie
- Rhubarb Pie
- Fried Peach Pies
- Blackberry Slab Pie
- Blueberry Pie
- Vanilla Pear Pie
- Concord Grape Pie
Watch the recipe video to see how to make perfect pie crust.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Perfect Pie Crust Recipe
- 10 oz all purpose flour (2 cups (see note))
- 3 ½ oz cake flour (⅔ cup)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 4 oz vegetable shortening (or leaf lard)
- 4 oz unsalted butter (very cold and sliced into ¼" slices)
- 4 oz ice cold water (½ cup)
- Combine 10 oz all purpose flour, 3 ½ oz cake flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Whisk together to mix the ingredients evenly.
- Cut 4 oz vegetable shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse corn meal. Using your fingers, toss 4 oz unsalted butter slices into the flour mixture. Work quickly so the butter doesn't get warm. Don't break the butter down completely. There should be some large flakes remaining.
- Pour 4 oz ice cold water onto the flour all at once and toss to combine. Gently press the dough just until it comes together. It will look a little dry in spots. The water will redistribute in the dough as it rests.
- Wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using.
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