Easy All-Butter Flaky Pie Crust

Our favorite butter pie crust recipe that makes consistent flaky pie dough every time. Jump to the full Pie Crust Recipe. Or, watch our quick, straight-forward recipe video showing you how we make it. In the video, we show you how to make the crust by hand and with a food processor.

Watch Us Make The Recipe

We’ve been making pie crust the same way in our kitchen for years. We cut butter (or other solid fat) into flour until the butter and flour looks crumbly and has pieces of butter the size of peas. Then, we add just enough water to form the dough into a ball.

That was until we found a better way. A homemade pie crust recipe, rather pie crust method, that’s consistent and makes dough that’s a dream to roll out.

How To Make Our Favorite All-Butter Pie Crust

It’s not that our previous method failed us. We just came across another way of how to make it. A while back Cooks Illustrated reworked pie dough. You may have heard of it — they added vodka to their recipe. (We don’t add vodka — I’ll get to that in a minute).

Easy, All-Butter Flaky Pie Crust Recipe

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 really need to know: Gluten is an enemy to pie crust. Some gluten is okay and actually needed for structure, but too much can really mess things up. So, 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, by replacing part of the water with vodka, it 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 just didn’t sit well with us. It’s not something we store in our home often and it’s expensive.

Easy, All-Butter Flaky Pie Dough Recipe

Making Flaky Pie Crust — It’s About the Method

What’s more important than the vodka is the way you combine the 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. Think of each particle of flour with butter raincoats. These raincoats make it very difficult for the flour to absorb water. In other words, it helps to prevent the development of too much gluten.

Then, you can add the remaining flour so the perfect amount of gluten develops. This means perfect pie crust, every time.

What We’re Looking For

Great pie crust shouldn’t become all soggy from juicy fillings, but is light enough to flake. It isn’t crumbly, instead it’s made of long, thin layers of dough (see photo). It should stand up to fillings, but shouldn’t be chewy, hard or heavy.

How to Make the Flakiest Pie Crust

So, after all that talk — did it work?

Yes. It really did. Our pie crust was tender with long thin layers of dough, making it perfectly flaky.

We love this method for two reasons:

  1. It’s consistent. By adding part of the flour to the butter first, combing them into a paste then adding the remaining flour, the recipe determines how much flour is being used for the formation of gluten. The dough is the same, every time.
  2. That butter and flour paste really helps when it comes to working with the dough. Since it’s more pliable, the dough is easily rolled out.

Making the Dough – By Food Processor or by Hand

The folks at Cooks Illustrated insist on using a food processor for this method. We sort of agree — It makes making the flour and butter paste easy.

Use the food processor to make the paste then add the remaining flour. Pulse a few times then transfer everything to a bowl and add water until the dough comes together. (You don’t want to add water to the food processor — that can overwork the dough and lead to extra gluten formation).

Using the food processor eliminates variability. If you have one, use it.

With all that said, we hate cleaning dishes and since a food processor means 5 parts to clean (yes we counted) we tried this method by hand.

It worked.

We used a pastry cutter to cut the butter into part of the flour and made as close to a paste as possible. The flour was moistened by the butter and the mixture looked like fresh breadcrumbs — it was not powdery from flour. Then, we cut in the remaining flour and added water until the dough came together.

The dough made by hand was just as easy to roll out and turned out just as flaky. In fact, the photo above is actually 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.

Easy Pie Dough from Scratch

More Easy Pie Recipes

  • How to make Blueberry Pie with fresh (or frozen) blueberries, warm spices, lemon, and an easy lattice crust.
  • Take a look at our Easy Cherry Pie — we can’t decide which we prefer, blueberry or cherry pie.
  • You might also enjoy our Strawberry Pie — it’s a little quicker to make and very tasty.
  • If time isn’t on your side, you may want to try our Handheld Berry Pies!

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

Easy All-Butter Flaky Pie Crust

  • PREP
  • TOTAL

This pie crust recipe, rather pie crust method makes consistent dough and makes dough that’s 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

You Will Need

2 1/2 cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher 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

Directions

  • Method When Using Food Processor
  • Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and sugar (optional) to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.

    Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).

    Scrape 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).

    Transfer 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.

    Remove 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).

    • Method When Making By Hand
    • Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and sugar (optional) to a medium bowl. Stir 2 to 3 times until combined.

      Scatter butter cubes over flour and mix briefly with a fork or spatula to coat the butter with flour.

      Cut 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.

      Add 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).

      Sprinkle 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.

      Remove 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
      • Remove one of the dough discs from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.

        Lightly 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.

        Check 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.

        Gently 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.

        Fold 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.

        If 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)
        • Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place a baking sheet on a middle oven rack.

          Roll 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. (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.

          Place 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.

          Make 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
          • Oven 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).

            Remove 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.

            Check 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.

            Roll 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.

            Fold 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.

            Just 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

  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator 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: Serving Size 1/8 of dough / Calories 345 / Protein 4 g / Carbohydrate 30 g / Dietary Fiber 1 g / Total Sugars 0 g / Total Fat 23 g / Saturated Fat 15 g / Cholesterol 61 mg
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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316 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Robert September 5, 2019, 11:30 pm

    Your picture all show a top to the pie but the instructions appear to be for not putting a top on the pie ie crust should be cooked before filling. What do you suggest for pies that you want to put a pie crust on top? Thanks

    Reply
    • Joanne September 11, 2019, 6:57 pm

      Hi Robert, This recipe should help you get to the crust and then you can use that crust in whatever pie recipe you plan to follow. We do not pre-bake the crust when making a double crust (with the top) pie.

      Reply
  • Jill September 4, 2019, 10:44 pm

    I’ve just made your pie crust dough for the first time. The recipe is extremely easy and excellent job with the instructional video!!!! I am making two quiche for a shower this weekend. Will one recipe really be enough for 2 quiche? Also, should I really bake the crust before I fill it? I would hate to overcook the crust. I love your advice and feedback. Thank you, Jill

    Reply
    • Joanne September 11, 2019, 6:59 pm

      One recipe will make 2 pie rounds, which should be perfect for 2 single crust quiches. It is up to you as far as pre-baking goes and it really depends on the quiche recipe you plan to follow. If it were me, I would skip pre-baking the crust and add the quiche filling directly to the crust (just like we do in this pumpkin pie, which uses the same crust recipe).

      Reply
  • Lori September 2, 2019, 6:05 pm

    I love this pie crust and have been using it for a couple of years now. Quick question — I want to make a lot of dough so I can make four (4), 5″ double crust pies. I think double the recipe would produce enough. Is it ok to double all the ingredients or should I make 2 batches separately?

    Reply
    • Joanne September 11, 2019, 7:00 pm

      Hi Lori, We are thrilled you enjoy the recipe so much! Doubling the recipe might be a strain on your food processor so I’d make two separate batches.

      Reply
  • Jennie August 11, 2019, 6:27 pm

    Crust is delicious…but mine sank down in the pan a whole lot. What did I do wrong

    Reply
    • Joanne September 11, 2019, 7:01 pm

      Hi Jennie, We are sorry the crust fell down the sides a bit. This is common, especially with all-butter crusts. Did you refrigerate the crust before baking?

      Reply
  • ThePorchParty July 31, 2019, 6:36 pm

    Delicious and so easy in the food processor.

    Reply
  • Kristy July 15, 2019, 3:22 pm

    Is there a way to print this recipe?

    Reply
    • Joanne September 11, 2019, 7:01 pm

      Hi Kristy, yes! There is a print button to the top right in the recipe box.

      Reply
  • Rina July 14, 2019, 3:35 am

    looks great! simple clear instructions. i cant wait to try it.

    Reply
  • Amy July 9, 2019, 12:46 pm

    My family now loves pie!!! All because of this crust! It’s delicious and so buttery. Your step-by-step guide was extremely helpful and made for a no fail pie crust. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Raquel July 8, 2019, 2:43 pm

    This recipe changed my opinion on pie! I had only made 1 before and it took like 10 hours and wasn’t great. This crust turned it all around because it was so easy to follow and turned out perfectly. Thank you so much for making me love a new part of baking.

    Reply
  • Susan July 7, 2019, 6:01 pm

    This crust was easy enough to make, but the general consensus at the dinner was that the crust had no taste at all. I just thought that with all that butter, it would have tasted better. Sorry.

    Reply
    • Joanne September 11, 2019, 7:02 pm

      Hi Susan, This surprises us too. Did you add any salt or sugar to the crust? Also, the butter you use could play a big part in the actual flavor of the crust.

      Reply
  • Daz July 4, 2019, 11:02 am

    HI FOLKS, Greetings from a very cold, wet, blustery Perth West Aust I’ve GOT to give this recipe a try. Some of my wife’s girlfriends swear (not literally) by this recipe because whenever they’ve made it, they reckon that they look good every time! What I like about the recipe, is that the finished product may be frozen for a later day to make some other pastry. When I do try it, I’ll let you know. I really appreciate the recipe you have provided at this web page Daz PS I’m quite useless in the kitchen, so I’m the perfect guinea pig (or is that just ‘pig’?)

    Reply
  • Marie Castrodad April 30, 2019, 11:50 am

    Only have self.rising flour is it ok to sub for ap flour?

    Reply
    • Joanne May 1, 2019, 12:20 pm

      Hi Marie, We have never used self-rising flour to make pie crust before so I can only speak to the results when using all-purpose. Self-rising flour has added leaveners so the texture of the crust will be different to what we’ve shared in our recipe.

      Reply
      • Janie Farist June 22, 2019, 11:23 am

        I made this crust with Self-Rising as that was all i had on hand… NOT what I was hoping for! Baked pie turned out to be more like a hard but chewy biscuit. Sooooooo I have just returned from the store with AP flour in tow!!

        Reply
  • Thomas March 6, 2019, 9:39 pm

    Lovely! I have long sworn to Crisco pie crusts. They can be temprejental though. I am the president of Pie Club and my day to bring the pie is tomorrow. My Crisco crust fell apart so I pulled our my food processor and tried this. I made two pies—one with a salvaged Crisco crust and one with this recipe. I also took the scraps of dough from both and baked them to have a blind tasting. Both were very flakey (despite the over working of the Crisco crust.) but the butter crust was superior in flavor. I Also like cream cheese crust for hand pies. Easy to make and delicious.

    Reply
  • Gary Paquet February 24, 2019, 6:52 am

    Thank you for this recipe. It was just as advertised.

    Reply
  • Jean Bauer February 12, 2019, 4:28 pm

    I have made this recipe several times. I have been able to get the crust to come together only after using 14 tbsp of the iced water. Am I doing something wrong? It always turns out great, regardless.The crust is fantastic and a family favorite.

    Reply

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