Homemade Pie Crust

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.

a slice of rhubarb pie on a plate with a fork.

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.

Ingredients

ingredients for homemade pie crust in bowls.

Ingredient Notes

  • 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

A bowl of flour with hand mixing in shortening. Butter slices tossed in flour.
  • 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.
A bowl of pie dough being mixed by hand.
  • 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.
Pie dough cut in two. Two discs of pie dough in a plastic bag.
  • 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

A disc of pie dough. A rolling in rolling dough.
  • 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.
Pie dough on a rolling pin. Pie dough in a pie pan.
  • 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.
a pie plate lined with dough and a bag of dough into 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.

You can also make Sourdough Pie Crust, Cream Cheese Pie Crust, Whole Wheat Pie Crust, Rye Pie Crust or Cornmeal Pie Crust.

a slice of Apple Pie on a white plate.

Now that you’ve made the perfect pie crust you can work your way through some of my favorite pie recipes:

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.

a slice of rhubarb pie on a plate
Print Recipe
4.53 from 40 reviews

Perfect Pie Crust Recipe

A Perfect Pie Crust is a thing of beauty. Because there are so few ingredients in a basic pie dough, how you mix those ingredients is crucial to achieve just the right texture. Add the fats in two stages to get a tender and flaky pie crust.
Prep Time10 minutes
Chilling Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
10 servings
Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  • 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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Video

Notes

If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.
This recipe uses a mixture of all purpose and cake flour to mimic pastry 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. If you have pastry flour you can use that in place of the flour mixture.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 235mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 284IU | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

15 Comments

  1. Under the list of ingredients, the (supposedly) lard ingredient, there is a garbled/broken link:

    4 oz ” class=”wprm-recipe-ingredient-link” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>leaf lard (or vegetable shortening, cold)

    You may wish to have it fixed. Thanks!

  2. I should have commented here but left my praise over with the maple glazed apple pie. This is the best pie crust I have ever made. Forget the vodka, egg, or whatever ‘granny’s secret’ you have. Follow this recipe word for word and rest that dough in the fridge for the recommended time. Perfect roll, no raggy edges or cracking. Tender and flaky. Perfection. In Canada I use the Tenderflake lard with the butter and get great results.

  3. Eileen, This is for sure the perfect pie crust. For some reason, my husband accreditation it to me telling family that I make the best pie crust. You’re spoiling him. I make the lemon meringue from your cookbook and it’s his favorite. We have a tree loaded with Meyer lemons, so many we have to give them away, but I freeze a lot of juice and peel for pies.
    My only problem is the pie crust cracks around the edges when I’m rolling it out. What causes that and is there a fix. It doesn’t ruin the final product, but I’d like to rollout a perfect round.

    1. Hi Judy. Thanks so much for the feedback. The cracking can happen when the dough is cold. I tend to use the sides of the hands to scootch the edges back together as I roll. Also I find that if I gradually roll around the edges and keep moving the dough as I roll there is less cracking. You are so lucky to have a Meyer Lemon tree. I’m very jealous!

  4. I would like to have some working tips.
    1. After chilling for the required time, can it be rolled right out of the refridgerator?
    2. Is flour added to the working surface?
    3. Does the rolled dough need to rest in the pie plate at room temperature or in the refridgarator? And if so, how long?
    4. Is the pie dough baked before the filling is added? (I hope not)
    5. Do you have more working tips?

    1. Hi Lynn. 1. Yes it can be rolled right from the refrigerator. If you watch the video, you’ll see that I gently press down on the cold dough to soften it a bit before rolling. 2. Yes, lightly flour the work surface. 3. Always rest the dough in the refrigerator to keep it cold. Rest it as along as you need for the particular recipe you’re making. 4. It depends on the specific pie recipe. Follow the directions for the recipe you’re using. 5. Just what’s included in the post/recipe/video.

  5. I am so pleased with this recipe.. I found leaf lard on Amazon. And replaced 3 tablespoons of the cold water with 3 tablespoons of vodka. I made a peach pie with the traditional top crust and an apple pie with a top crust that was covered with an assortment of leaves cut from the pastry dough,. It was so scrumptious and very pretty to look at.

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