All-Butter Pastry Dough Recipe

If you are looking for a basic, all-butter pastry dough to use for savory and sweet dishes, you have found it. Jump to the Basic Pastry Dough Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.

All-Butter Pastry Dough Recipe

When I first started making pastries and pies, it was the crust that worried me. After some time in the kitchen and, I’m not embarrassed to admit, a few failed attempts we are happy to share this easy, basic, use with just about any recipe pastry dough.

This is an all butter recipe — I like it that way. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t swap some of the butter called for in this recipe with shortening. I suggest replacing about 25% of the butter with shortening.

Easy All Butter Flaky Pie Crust RecipeYOU MAY ALSO LIKE: We love this recipe so much, we updated it and added a recipe video. The method is slightly different, but works very well. All of our tips below still apply! How to make our easy butter pie crust recipe that makes consistent flaky pie dough every time. Jump to the full Pie Crust Recipe with VIDEO.

Tips for Pastry Dough Success

I love making pastry dough and find that using a food processor is best. You can make this by hand using a pastry cutter, but it does take a bit more elbow strength. A food processor will make much quicker work of the whole process.

Use a food processor

  1. Place the butter, food processor bowl and blade into the freezer for about 10 minutes before starting.
  2. Have all your ingredients ready and work quickly, keeping everything as cold as possible.
  3. Chill the water with ice to make sure it is as cold as possible before starting.
  4. If the oven or any burners are on, work as far away from them as possible.
  5. Use the pulse function for the food processor for more control. Don’t just turn it on.

By following our own little fail safes (above) we’ve had multiple successes over the past month with pastry dough. To be fair though, each time has been a bit different. For example, the last time I made this dough, I used much less water than the time before.

The dough is ready

That’s okay, though. The water will vary depending on the flour used, humidity, etc… Our best advice is to practice. Our recipe is not magic, we all need to trust ourselves a bit and remember keep everything COLD!

Extra Tip: Our recipe below makes enough dough for 1 double crust pie or two single crust pies. The dough will need to chill before you roll it. If you know you will be rolling our two crusts, refrigerate the dough already cut in half. Then pat each half into discs. This makes rolling out later much easier.

Cut the dough in half

Here are a few of our favorite ways to use pastry dough:

  • Simple Strawberry Pie — A fresh strawberry pie recipe with sweet strawberries coated in a light strawberry glaze then topped with whipped cream.
  • Easy, Homemade Blueberry Pie — An easy blueberry pie with blueberries, warm spices, lemon and an easy lattice crust. Blueberries shine in this pie!
  • Mini Beef and Guinness Pies — How to make mini meat filled pies with ground beef cooked with onions, carrots and Guinness stout beer.
  • Easy, Homemade Cherry Pie — How to make cherry pie from scratch with a lightly sweetened filling of fresh (or frozen) cherries, vanilla, and almond extract.
  • No-Fail Pumpkin Pie — How to make classic, unfussy pumpkin pie from scratch. This is our favorite way to make pumpkin pie. It’s easy, too!

Recipe updated, originally posted October 2010. Since posting this in 2010, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne

All-Butter Pastry Dough Recipe

  • PREP
  • TOTAL

Using a food processor in this recipe eliminates variability. It is important that all the ingredients and even the food processor bowl and blade are cold before starting the recipe.

Enough for one 9-inch double crust pie

You Will Need

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter

1/4 to 1/2 cup very cold water

Directions

    Cut the butter into small pieces then place into the freezer along with the food processor bowl and blade for about 10 minutes.

    Once the food processor bowl and blade are chilled, add the flour, sugar and salt; pulse a few times to combine.

    Add the chilled pieces of butter and pulse for 1 second about 8 times until it looks crumbly and the butter is the size of peas and the mixture crumbly.

    Use a tablespoon measure to add 3 tablespoons of cold water to the dough, pulse for 1 second; repeat this process until the dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl and comes together.

    Place the dough on a floured work surface and use your hands to bring it together into a ball, do not knead. 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).

Adam and Joanne's Tips

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

AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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19 comments… Leave a Comment
  • BeBe August 19, 2016, 6:21 pm

    I have yet to make pastry dough and I always want to make things once I’ve done all the grocery shopping and is in for the night. I wanted to ask could this dough be made into a cookie (I saw you suggested that). I LOVE how thorough and precise you were. Thank you

    Reply
  • Casper9194 January 11, 2016, 11:45 am

    I actually used this dough to make a Sheppard pie, turned out great!

    Reply
  • Ginnie Smith February 22, 2015, 11:13 am

    Another variation on pie crust dough that is soooo good and flaky and easy too!
    Makes 2 double crusts and freezes great ready for roll out next time
    3 C. flour
    1 1/4 C. Shortening
    1 teas salt
    1 egg, well beaten
    5 Tablespoons vinegar (white)
    Cut shortening into flour, add salt…add liquid mixture all at once
    Proceed as you would rolling out dough for recipes
    Can be rerolled and will keep in frig up to 2 weeks, or can be frozen…Very good and flaky PS, you don’t taste the vinegar….give it a try

    Reply
  • mallika tegi July 16, 2014, 9:28 am

    i was looking for this recipe a long time ago.. i will sure to try it.i am a lover for cooking.

    Reply
  • Anita June 20, 2014, 12:28 am

    You are so thorough. Thank you, I’ve been looking for a recipe that tells step for step. I haven’t made it. But going over the recipe, i feel more confident. I appreciate you!!!! 😉

    Reply
  • Sandy November 20, 2013, 11:22 pm

    Tried this recipe for my meat pie!!! After my third attempt for find a recipe for pastry, I am so glad I found this page with all the tips!!! Thanks for sharing!!! I am going to be making more for sure!

    Reply
  • jhjbfejhvkjfd August 13, 2013, 12:34 pm

    can I use this dough to make cinnamon rolls?????/?

    Reply
    • Joanne August 13, 2013, 1:46 pm

      We don’t recommend it. Pie crust dough will be flaky and not soft like cinnamon rolls. You could turn it into cinnamon roll-inspired cookies with it, though.

      Reply
  • Holly December 20, 2012, 2:55 pm

    two things , why no yeast surely adding it will make more dough and depth to your food and secondly can self raise flour do if you want a little rise if and as your recipe states no yeast needed ??

    Reply
    • Joanne December 20, 2012, 4:53 pm

      As this is a pastry/pie dough, there is no yeast or leavening agent (baking soda or powder) required.

      Reply
  • juanita October 30, 2012, 9:12 am

    Which blade did you use?

    Reply
    • Joanne October 30, 2012, 3:31 pm

      There was only one that came with our food processor – use the standard food processor blade.

      Reply
  • L. Wilson August 16, 2012, 10:16 pm

    Your receipe does not require any baking powder or yeast?

    Reply
    • Joanne August 20, 2012, 1:16 pm

      No, it doesn’t. There is no need — this is a pastry dough, which becomes flaky from the cold butter.

      Reply
  • toots May 17, 2012, 10:03 pm

    to make rounds, roll a chunk of the dough into a small ball in your palm, then roll it our pat it flat.

    Reply
  • Memoria March 2, 2011, 4:54 pm

    I have had trouble with anything calling for cold butter, too, even after keeping everything colder than usual and using a food processor, I still have trouble. I finally had success with some buttermilk biscuits, but it is still difficult for me to get good flaky crusts, laminated dough, biscuits or anything else calling for cold ingredients because of my hot hands. I am glad you finally found what works for you!

    Reply
    • inspiredtaste March 3, 2011, 3:24 pm

      Thanks, Memoria … we hope you find some luck soon!

      Reply
  • Jennifer October 18, 2010, 10:35 pm

    I’ve only made pastry a few times, and while the results have been ok they haven’t been fantastic. I will have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Reply
  • Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon October 18, 2010, 1:48 pm

    Joanne, I think you got the dough absolutely right. I have been snacking on the leftover tarts from Saturday night and even after being refrigerated for a day, the dough is still flaky.

    So, how did you form the dough into those perfectly shaped little rounds?

    Reply

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