Our best pie crust recipe! We’ve been making this easy recipe that guarantees consistent flaky pie dough for over 10 years and haven’t looked back. See our detailed recipe and a helpful video (6+ minutes) that walks you through every step for guaranteed success.
Watch the Video
The secret to making the best flaky pie crust
The secret to making the best pie crust is to coat a portion of the flour with cold butter before mixing in the rest of the flour. This simple step minimizes gluten formation and guarantees a super flaky, light pie crust.
We recommend this pie dough for almost all the pies on Inspired Taste.
Why we love this recipe for pie crust
We love this homemade pie crust recipe! It calls for the same ingredients and basic method as our basic pastry dough recipe, but we sneak in a smart step that accomplishes the following:
- Consistent results every time you make it
- The dough is a dream to roll out
- Adds lots of light and flaky layers
⭐️ 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. Watch this step by step video for adding a lattice top to your pies.
Why you should save this pie crust recipe
The ingredients for this pie crust are the same as many other recipes:
- Cold Butter
- Sugar (optional)
- Cold water
The method for how we combine the flour and fat is what makes this recipe different. A while back, Cooks Illustrated and Kenji López-Alt looked at the science behind pie crust. Their high school science teachers would be proud. Here’s what we need to know:
- Too much gluten is the enemy of flaky crust. Gluten forms when flour and water are mixed together.
- We want a little bit of gluten for structure (too little, and the crust crumbles)
- Too much gluten makes your crust tough, dense, and removes flakiness.
⭐️ Remember this: less gluten formation = flakier and more tender pie crusts.
What makes our recipe different is that we mix a portion (about 60%) of our flour with the butter first. Then, we add the remaining flour, before mixing in water.
Think about it as if we are giving the flour a butter raincoat. These raincoats make it very difficult for the flour coated in butter to absorb water. In other words, it helps prevent too much gluten development.
Because we’ve held some flour back, it’s that flour that will mix with the water to create the perfect amount of gluten so our pie does not crumble. Perfect pie crust every time.
How to make pie crust in a food processor and by hand
A food processor makes creating the flour and butter paste quick and easy. That said, you can absolutely make this recipe by hand (I’ve done it many times).
Using a food processor (recommended)
- Add a portion of the flour, the 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 (watch our video to see what it looks like).
- Pulse in the remaining flour until crumbly — it only takes a few seconds.
- 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.
How to make pie dough by hand
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 recipe video, we show making this recipe in a food processor and by hand using a pastry cutter. 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 below is from dough made by hand, not the food processor.
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.
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 3 months. 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.
Can you freeze pie dough?
Tightly wrap disks of pie dough in plastic wrap, and then place into freezer bags or an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Or, roll out your dough, form into a pie dish, and then freeze until hard. Place the pie dish into a freezer-friendly bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When you are ready to use frozen pie dough, transfer it to the fridge and let it thaw overnight.
Easy pie recipes with this crust
- 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.
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 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 disks. Wrap each disk 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 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 disks. Wrap each disk 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 disks 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 disk, fill pie then top with second dough round. Trim the edges then crimp.
- How to Blind Bake a Crust for a Single-Crust Pie (quiches & cream pies)
1Heat the oven to 425° F (218° C). 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° F (204° C). For a fully baked crust, bake 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden. For a partially-baked crust (a crust that will be baked again, like a quiche), bake until the bottom crust is just beginning to brown, 5 to 10 minutes.
4To add a shiny exterior to fully baked crust, 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
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° 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 and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 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.
- Recipe method for creating the flour paste has been inspired by Cooks Illustrated and Kenji López-Alt findings when researching and testing better methods for making pie dough. Their original recipe also includes vodka, but we do not add this ingredient.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.