One of life’s greatest pleasures is in mastering How To Make Pie Crust at home. I get it, that sounds a little silly, but there is immense satisfaction in not only baking a pie from scratch but in knowing that you can produce a flaky, buttery pie crust every single time.
Yes, it’s possible, and no, it’s not hard! We love this homemade pie crust made with both butter and vegetable shortening. The butter adds that infamous flaky texture, while the shortening helps to keep the structure of the crust. It truly is a thing of beauty.
With just 10 minutes of prep and the entire pie crust recipe coming together in a food processor, you too can master a flaky pie crust at home. And let’s be honest: this sometimes intimidating recipe has gotten a bad rep. It’s time to unleash your inner baking god(dess) and bake all the things! Our recommendation? Start with this rich, decadent Chocolate Chess Pie — swoon!
The Five Ingredients You’ll Need
All you need are 5 simple ingredients to make our flaky pie crust recipe at home:
- All-purpose flour: The base of pie dough gets its structure from all-purpose flour.
- Granulated sugar: To sweeten the crust just a bit.
- Kosher salt: To season the ingredients, enhancing their flavor.
- Cold butter: You absolutely cannot make a flaky pie crust without butter! It melts into the crust, making it tender, flavorful, and impossibly flaky!
- Cold shortening: Shortening, however, helps to hold the ingredients together and provide structure to the crust. This is why we always use both — the shortening makes this the easiest pie dough to roll out. Trust us!
Equipment: Food processor fitted with a blade attachment, plastic wrap, rolling pin (unless you plan to simply freeze the unbaked pie crust — more on this below!).
Sometimes I add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients (I seriously love the flavor this adds), but you can add it based on your discretion and whether it makes sense with the recipe you’re following.
How To Make A Pie Crust In A Food Processor
Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor, then pulse. Add in the cold butter and shortening, pulsing until pea-sized pieces form.
Next, add a few tablespoons of ice water, using more if needed, and pulse until there are no clumps and the dough holds together on its own.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, press it down into a disk, and let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. At this point, you can roll out the dough on a floured surface. The shape will be dependent on which type of pie recipe you’re following.
Note: this recipe yields 2 pie crusts. If the pie recipe you’re following only needs 1 dough, use one crust now and freeze the other for another use!
Once you’ve learned how to make pie crust, be sure to try it with one of these great recipes: My Favorite Blueberry Pie, Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie, Salted Caramel Apple Slab Pie, Triple Berry Spelt Slab Pie
The pie dough can be prepared up to 3 days in advance, then kept in a fridge until needed. When you’re ready to bake, let it come to room temperature for about 10 minutes before rolling it out and placing it in the pie tin.
How To Freeze Pie Crust
Not ready to bake a pie immediately? No problem! Homemade pie crusts freeze beautifully, both baked and unbaked. We’ll go over blind baking another time, but for now, here’s how to freeze pie dough to use at a later date.
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap (you can do a double layer if you aren’t using it for a while), flatten into a disk, then label with the date and pop in your freezer for up to 6 months.
There are lots of tips to ensure that you get a flaky pie crust every single time, but let’s start with the absolute most important one:
- Make sure your ingredients are cold! This is seriously the biggest reason why pie crusts don’t come out the way you want: you absolutely MUST keep all ingredients cold.
- How much water is too much? Here’s the thing, you almost never need to use all the water instructed in a pie recipe. Things like humidity and temperature can affect how much water is absorbed by the flour. Start with a few tablespoons less than the recipe instructs, then add more in tablespoon increments as needed. You’ll know the dough is ready when there are no clumps and the pie dough can hold together on its own.
FAQs and Troubleshooting Pie Dough
There are certainly all butter pie crust recipes out there, but this one features both butter and shortening. We recommend following it as written for best results.
Absolutely! But this tip is more for when you are cutting butter and shortening into the flour with a pastry cutter (versus a food processor). You won’t see much difference by grating butter for this method of making pie dough. It just adds an extra (unnecessary) step.
It’s likely that you didn’t add enough water. The dough needs to be evenly moistened to roll out evenly. If your dough mostly holds together but still feels dry, you can dip your fingers in ice water before rolling it into a disk to add a bit more moisture.
It’s possible. You want to stop pulsing the ingredients together when the dough is able to clump together easily, without feeling sticky. The little scraps and pieces of dough should be able to be pressed together easily once the dough is turned out from the food processor onto a floured surface.
How To Use Pie Dough
When ready, remove the pie crust from the fridge and roll it out. If you’re making a round pie, you’ll likely want to roll out it to a 12″ circle. If you’re making a slab pie (see below), you’ll roll the dough out into a rectangle.
You can also make a lattice pie crust or use your favorite cookie cutter or pie crust mold to create fun shapes and patterns. The good news is that this flaky pie crust recipe is extremely versatile so you can use it however you like.
If you omit the sugar from this recipe, it’s a great base dough for things like quiche, pot pie, or any flaky pastry filled appetizers.
This pie dough recipe is foolproof. We’ve tested it a hundred times over the years, yielding consistent rave reviews. We hope you’ll give it a try (but no need to credit us — you can tell your friends and family it’s all your own!).
If you make our Flaky Pie Crust recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
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How To Make Pie Crust Recipe With Butter & Shortening
- 540 g (4½ cups) all-purpose flour
- 16.8 g (4 tsp) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 226 g (1 cup) unsalted butter very cold, cut into cubes
- 180 g (14 Tbsp) vegetable shortening very cold, cut into cubes
- 10 Tbsp ice water
- Make the pie dough. Combine 540g flour, 16.8g granulated sugar, and 1 tsp Kosher salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment. Pulse to combine. Add 226g cold cubed butter and 180g cold cubed shortening, then pulse until pea-sized pieces form.
- Add ice water. Add 6 Tbsp ice water and pulse. Add an additional tablespoon of water until the dough begins to form. 7-8 Tbsp is usually enough, but humidity and temperature can affect how much water is needed. Do not leave the motor running, simply pulse the dough until it holds together completely as one ball with no visible clumps.
- Chill the pie dough. Remove the dough and divide into two equal portions. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap, pressing it down into a round, flat disc. Chill in a fridge for at least 30 minutes or transfer to a freezer to use at a later time.
- Enjoy! After chilling, the dough is ready to be rolled out for any pie recipe. Be sure to roll onto a lightly floured surface. Tip: we like to roll pie dough onto floured plastic wrap placed directly on the counter top, which makes the cleanup even easier!
- Cinnamon, optional: While not traditional, I love to add 1 tsp ground cinnamon along with the flour, sugar, and salt, depending on the pie recipe. For instance, I always add cinnamon to my caramel apple slab pie, it is divine. You can add or leave out, but it’s really delicious!
- Freeze: Homemade pie dough can be frozen for up to 6 months. We recommend wrapping in a second layer of plastic wrap to ensure it’s tightly sealed. Thaw overnight in a fridge before using.
- Food processor: Be careful not to overwork the pie dough, which can happen easily in a food processor. Be sure to pulse the ingredients together, don’t leave the motor running.