Our best pie crust recipe! This easy recipe, made with butter, guarantees consistent flaky pie dough every time. Below, you will find all our tips, a helpful video showing how we make the dough, and a detailed recipe. Instructions for making this by hand and using a food processor are also included.
Watch the Video
Related: We love using this homemade pie crust to make apple pie, pumpkin pie, and sweet potato pie!
How to Make Our Favorite All-Butter Pie Crust
We’ve been making pie crust the same way for years, but we’ve found a better way. The basic idea is the same: Cut butter — or other solid fat like shortening — into flour until crumbly. Then, add enough water to bring the butter and flour together into a ball of dough. Chill and roll out.
It seems pretty straightforward. But here’s the thing: our original way of making pie crust needed to be more consistent, and that’s where this super smart homemade pie crust recipe comes into play. We recommend this pie dough for almost all the pies on Inspired Taste.
It’s not that our previous method failed us. We just came across another way to make it. A while back, Cooks Illustrated reworked pie dough.
You may have heard of it — it rose to stardom when they added vodka to their recipe. (We don’t add vodka — I’ll get to that in a minute).
Cooks Illustrated looked at the science behind pie crust — and it made sense. Our high school science teachers would be proud.
Here’s all you need to know: Gluten is an enemy of flaky crust. Some gluten is okay and necessary for structure, but too, and your crust is dense without flakiness.
⭐️ Remember this: less gluten formation = flakier and more tender pie crusts.
Back to the vodka — that’s what got all the hype — why wouldn’t it, right? In their recipe, the vodka replaced some of the water.
The theory is that vodka doesn’t promote gluten formation, whereas water does. So, replacing part of the water with vodka helps the pie crust become flakier and more tender.
We love the idea, and many swear it works, but adding a 1/4 cup of vodka to our homemade pie dough recipe didn’t sit well with us. It’s not something we usually have on hand, and it’s expensive.
Making Flaky Pie Crust — It’s About the Method
What’s more important than vodka is how you combine flour and fat — in our case, butter.
Remember that gluten is our enemy when it comes to pie dough? Well, Cook’s Illustrated found that if you thoroughly mix part of the flour with the fat (butter) and make a flour-butter paste first, every particle of that flour becomes coated in fat.
It’s like we are giving every particle of flour a butter raincoat. These raincoats make it very difficult for the flour to absorb water. In other words, it helps prevent too much gluten development.
Once you have your flour-butter paste, you can add the remaining flour for the perfect amount of gluten to develop. Perfect pie crust every time.
Here’s What a Great Pie Crust Looks Like
Great pie crust is light enough to flake and doesn’t turn soggy from juicy fillings. It isn’t crumbly. Instead, the crust is made of long, thin layers of dough (see photo). It stands up to various pie fillings — like apple or pumpkin — and isn’t chewy, hard, or heavy.
Your New Favorite Pie Crust Recipe
This recipe for pie crust guarantees tender, flaky, thin layers of dough. Thanks to the method, it’s much more consistent than the traditional way of making pie dough.
We love this method for two reasons:
- Mixing a portion of the flour with the butter to make a paste locks the flour behind a wall of fat, preventing too much gluten development.
- As a bonus, the butter and flour paste helps when working with and rolling out the dough. Since it’s more pliable, the dough is a dream to roll out.
⭐️ This recipe works if you are making a single crust pie or double crust pie. It’s also just as perfect for savory pies as sweet. We include an optional tablespoon of sugar in the recipe below, which can be left out for more savory recipes. See this article with our tips on adding a lattice top to your pies.
The double crust pie photo is our apple pie and the single crust photo is showing our sweet potato pie.
How to Make Pie Crust — By Hand or With a Food Processor
The folks at Cooks Illustrated insist on using a food processor for this method. We agree — It makes making the flour and butter paste quick and easy. That said, you can absolutely make this recipe by hand (I’ve done it many times).
To use a food processor (recommended method): Add a portion of the flour, salt, and optional sugar to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse a few times, and then add cold butter. Process until the flour is well coated with the butter. You can see how this looks by watching our video.
When you’ve got your flour-butter paste, pulse in the remaining flour until crumbly — it only takes a few seconds.
Finally, we need to bring the dough together with some water. I do this by hand, so I don’t risk overworking the dough. Again, we show this step in the video.
If you prefer to do all this by hand, you can! To make this pie crust by hand, we recommend using a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour (they are inexpensive and helpful for other recipes like biscuits and scones).
In our video, we use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into part of the flour. You are looking for the flour to be moistened by the butter. It looks more like fresh breadcrumbs than powdery. Then, we cut in the remaining flour and added water until the dough came together.
The dough made by hand is just as easy to roll out and turns out as flaky. To prove it, the photo above is from dough made by hand, not the food processor.
So, if you don’t have a food processor or are like us and hate the extra dishes, give making it by hand a go.
Make Ahead Tips
Wrap pie dough well so that it is airtight. (I use plastic wrap.) Well-wrapped pie dough lasts in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for three months.
When you are ready to use frozen pie dough, transfer it to the fridge and let it thaw overnight. Dough straight from the refrigerator can sometimes take a bit more time to roll out. If yours is, leave it on the counter for a few minutes to warm up slightly, and then try rolling it out again.
Easy Pie Recipes
- How to make Blueberry Pie with fresh (or frozen) blueberries, warm spices, lemon, and an easy lattice crust.
- Our Favorite Apple Pie with perfectly cooked (not mushy) apples surrounded by a thickened and gently spiced sauce all baked inside a flaky, golden brown crust
- Easy Cherry Pie — we can’t decide which we prefer, blueberry or cherry pie.
- Strawberry Pie — it’s a little quicker to make and very tasty.
Easy All-Butter Flaky Pie Crust
Of all the pie crust recipes we have tried, this makes the most consistent dough. It’s also a dream to roll out. Using a food processor in this recipe eliminates variability. If you have one, use it. With that said, you can do this method by hand. Directions are provided below for using a processor and by hand.
Enough for one 9-inch double crust pie
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
2 ½ cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt or use 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar, optional
1 cup (230 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
4 to 8 tablespoons ice water
- Method When Using Food Processor
1Add 1 ½ cups flour, salt, and sugar (optional) to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined. The remaining cup of flour will be added later.
2Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).
3Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).
4Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle ice water over mixture — start with 4 tablespoons and add from there. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 2 to 4 more tablespoons of water and continue to press until dough comes together.
5Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut the ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using it).
- Method When Making By Hand
1Add 1 ½ cups flour, salt and sugar (optional) to a medium bowl. Stir 2 to 3 times until combined.
2Scatter butter cubes over flour and mix briefly with a fork or spatula to coat the butter with flour.
3Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender, working mixture until the flour has a coarse, mealy texture similar to fresh bread crumbs. About 1 – 2 minutes.
4Add remaining 1 cup of flour. Work butter and flour with the pastry blender until flour is evenly distributed. About 20 seconds. (Dough should look crumbly with pea-sized pieces).
5Sprinkle ice water over the mixture — start with 4 tablespoons and add from there. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 2 to 4 more tablespoons of water and continue to press until dough comes together.
6Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).
- Rolling Out Dough
1Remove one of the dough discs from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
2Lightly flour work surface, top of dough and rolling pin. Then use rolling pin to roll out dough to a 12-inch circle (about 1/8-inch thick). Be sure to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below — add a small amount of flour when necessary.
3Check for size by inverting pie dish over dough round. Look for a 1-inch edge around the pie dish. To transfer dough to dish, starting at one end, roll dough around rolling pin then unroll over dish.
4Gently press dough down into dish so that it lines the bottom and sides of the dish. (Be careful not to pull or stretch the dough). Then, use a knife or pair of kitchen scissors to trim dough to within 1/2-inch of the edge of the dish.
5Fold edge of dough underneath itself so that it creates a thicker, 1/4-inch border that rests on the lip of the dish. Then, crimp edges by pressing the pointer finger of one hand against the edge of the dough from the inside of the dish while gently pressing with two knuckles of the other hand from the outside. Refrigerate dough at least 20 minutes or freeze for 5 minutes before baking.
6If making a double crust pie, do not crimp edges yet. Roll out second dough disc, fill pie then top with second dough round. Trim the edges then crimp.
- How to Pre-Bake a Crust for a Single-Crust Pie (quiches, custard, and cream pies)
1Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place a baking sheet on a middle oven rack.
2Roll out enough dough to make one 9-inch crust (1 dough disk). Place into a pie plate and then pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork (this prevent air pockets or bubbles from forming while baking). Line the crust with two sheets of aluminum foil or parchment paper. (Be sure to push foil against the edges of the crust). Then, fill foil with dried rice, dried beans or pie weights. Refrigerate 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
3Place pie crust onto preheated baking sheet and reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden.
4Make an egg wash by whisking one egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of cream in a small bowl. Then, remove rice, beans or pie weights and foil from pie crust. Brush the bottom and sides of the crust with egg wash. Bake until egg wash is dry and shiny, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool crust completely before filling.
- How to Make a Double Crust Pie
1Oven temperature and bake time for double crust pies will vary depending on the pie recipe you plan to follow. As an example, we set our oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for our double crust cherry pie (see the recipe here).
2Remove half of dough from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 13-inch (1/8-inch thick) circle.
3Check for size by inverting pie dish over dough round. Look for a 1-inch edge around the pie dish. Carefully press the dough into the dish. Spoon the pie filling into pie crust.
4Roll out second half of dough then top pie. Use a knife or pair of kitchen scissors to trim dough to within 3/4-inch of the edge of the dish.
5Fold edges of top crust underneath edges of bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it so that it creates a thicker, 1/4-inch border that rests on the lip of the dish. Then, crimp edges by pressing the pointer finger of one hand against the edge of the dough from the inside of the dish while gently pressing with two knuckles of the other hand from the outside. Refrigerate pie at least 20 minutes or freeze for 5 minutes before baking.
6Just before baking, make egg wash by whisking egg yolk and cream together in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to brush over the top crust. Then, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Then, cut 3 to 4 slits in top of pie. Bake as directed by the specific recipe you are following.
Adam and Joanne’s Tips
- How to make pie crust in advance: Wrap pie dough well so that it is airtight. (I use plastic wrap.) Well-wrapped pie dough lasts in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for three months. When you are ready to use frozen pie dough, transfer it to the fridge and let it thaw overnight. Dough straight from the refrigerator can sometimes be tricky to roll out. If yours is, leave it on the counter for a few minutes to warm up slightly, and then try rolling it out again.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDAdatabase to calculate approximate values.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste
Nutrition Per Serving
1/8 of dough
Recipe updated, originally posted May 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear and added a quick recipe video. – Adam and Joanne