Homemade pie crust is easy to make from scratch. Use butter and shortening for the perfect ratio. This recipe yields a double pie crust.
This post was originally published November 2015. It was last updated March 2020.
A good pie is nothing without an equally good crust. Buttery, flakey and sturdy are the three objectives here. All are easy to achieve with the right ingredients and proper steps. Today, I’ve shared my homemade pie crust recipe.
When I first started baking I used the pre-made pie crusts just out of pure convenience, but I quickly realized that while my pie filling met my taste standards, the crust did not. I attempted a homemade pie crust several times before I finally found my ideal crust.
Homemade pie crust ingredients
The ingredients for pie crust are simple. Here are my tips for the best ingredients and why they work well.
- Flour: Unbleached all-purpose is the way to go. It has high-protein content, which provides structure for the crust—and all the goodness it is going to hold!
- Sugar adds a little extra flavor and creates that golden color. Only 2 tablespoons is necessary though.
- Butter is necessary for flavor in pie crust. However, too much of it will make a greasy crust.
- Shortening balances out the butter. It has a higher melting point that helps creates a flakey pie crust.
- Water binds the ingredients together. Use only enough water to mold the dough together.
Tips for making homemade pie crust
A few tips before you start to make your homemade pie crust… Make sure the butter and shortening are really cold. In fact, put all your ingredients and the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes before starting if you want to be really professional. You want to keep the dough as cool as possible because warmth furthers the development of gluten, which results in a tough dough that is difficult to roll out. Also, the cold butter will melt in the oven separating the crust into flaky layers. If the butter is warm and melted into the dough then this won’t happen!
So handle the dough with your hands as little as possible. Also, use just enough water so the crust holds together and keep the crust in the fridge until your filling is prepared and the oven is preheated.
How to make pie crust
So now that you have the ingredients and plenty of tips it’s time to make the crust.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together. Place the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and whisk together.
- Cut the shortening, then the butter into the flour mixture. A pastry cutter works well, but so do two knives or a food processor if you’re in a pinch. The mixture will have crumbs the size of small peas.
- Sprinkle ice cold water into the mixture. Use a silicone spatula to stir the mixture together just until large clumps form. Only use enough water to help the dough come together. Avoid adding too much and then adding flour, which would result in a tough pie crust.
- Use your hands to push the dough into a large ball. Separate into two balls and press into two equally sized discs. Avoid overworking the dough.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.
How to roll pie crust
Once your pie dough is ready to use, learn how to roll the dough without breaking it.
- Flour your work surface and rolling pin. This helps prevent the dough from sticking to your work surface.
- Roll dough into a circle. Rotate the dough after every couple rolls so the dough forms a circle. Flip the dough over to prevent it from sticking to the work surface. When the dough is sticky, add a sprinkle of flour. Roll until dough is a little less than 1/4-inch thick. Place pie plate on top of dough to make sure it is the right side.
- Transfer dough to pie plate. I like to roll the dough over the rolling pin as a way to transfer the dough to the plate. See photo below.
- Press dough on to pie plate. Use your fingertips to gently press dough into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Avoid overworking the dough as your body heat will warm the dough.
- Trim the edges. Use a knife or kitchen knife to cut the sides of the pie crust. Leave about 1/4-inch of dough and fold it under for a nice clean look. If desired, pipe the edges using your fingertips or crimp using a fork.
What to make with pie crust
Now that you’ve mastered the homemade pie crust you’ll need some recipes. Here are some of my favorite pie recipes for you to try. Enjoy!
- Pecan pie – I make this pie every year with my homemade pie crust
- Triple berry pie – The perfect summer pie to make with fresh berries
- Mom’s apple pie – A classic recipe that is approved by mom!
- Pumpkin pie – A fan favorite, especially around Thanksgiving
Enjoy this homemade pie crust recipe. If you make one of my recipes be sure to tag @ifyougiveablondeakitchen on social media!
Homemade Pie Crust
- 2 1/2 cups (312 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting work surface
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (153 g) vegetable shortening, chilled
- 1/2 cup (113 g or 1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and sugar. Add the chilled shortening and using a pastry cutter, or two forks, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse sand. Next, add the cold butter cubes and use the pastry blender, or two forks, to cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs, with bits about the size of small peas. If there are a few larger bits, no worries, that bite of pie will be extra good.
- Sprinkle the ice-cold water, one tablespoon at a time, into the bowl. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix. Once large clumps start to form, do not add any more water. I typically use about 6 tablespoons.
- With your hands, form the dough into a large ball and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equally-sized disks. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days, before rolling.
Tips for baking pie crust
- Use cold ingredients. I put my flour in the refrigerator for 10 minutes as well.
- Avoid overworking the dough. Gluten will start forming in the flour and the butter will melt. This will result in a tough pie crust.
- Use ice cold water. Put ice in a cup of water and stir it around until the ice melts. Measure your water 1 tablespoon at a time when adding to the ingredients.
- When ready to roll your pie dough, you may have to let it sit at room temperature for a 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is malleable.
High altitude pie crustIf you are baking at high altitude, you will need more water to make up for the lack of moisture in the air and flour. You will likely need 8 or more tablespoons. Also, decrease sugar by 2 teaspoons.
Tools to make pie crust from scratch
- Mixing bowls: I suggest using metal bowls to keep ingredients cold.
- Kitchen scale: It’s more accurate weighing your ingredients instead of measuring them.
- Pastry cutter: This handy tool makes it easy to cut butter and shortening into dry ingredients.
- Rolling pin: This makes it easy to roll your dough out evenly. I like the kind that has the measurements on the side to tell me how thick the crust is.
References: Martha Stewart and Baking Illustrated.
Photography by Our Salty Kitchen.