This Homemade Flaky Pie Crust is our go-to recipe whenever we want a tender and flaky pie crust. Follow this complete guide for easy step-by-step instructions, tips, tricks, advice and our answers to your most frequently asked pie crust questions.
Guide to Making Perfect Homemade Pie Crust
This guide to Homemade Flaky Pie Crust will have you making perfect pie crust in no time, even if you have never made a pie in your life. Nothing beats a homemade pie crust, and luckily the only ingredients you need are flour, salt, Crisco (or butter), and water. With a few simple steps and a little practice, you’ll be a pro before you know it.
Use this recipe for all of your favorite pies, tarts, quiche, pizza roll-ups, homemade pop tarts, and oh so much more. Give it a try and be sure to let us know what you think.
Ingredients in Homemade Flaky Pie Crust
- Flour - we like to use regular unbleached all-purpose flour for this pie dough recipe.
- Salt - use your favorite finely ground salt.
- Crisco - Crisco works great because it won’t melt as quickly during the mixing process. You can also substitute an equal amount of super cold butter. The best way to do it is cut your butter into small cubes then toss into the fridge or freezer until it is incredibly cold again.
- Water - you want your water to be as cold as possible. Often times, we will add an ice cube or two to make ice water, adding almost all of it to the dough, then adding bit by bit as necessary until all of the flour is moistened (but not wet).
How to Make Homemade Flaky Pie Crust
- Mix the dough. In a large mixing bowl, combine the four and salt. Add the Crisco (or cold butter) and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to combine. Once the mixture resembles coarse meal, make a well in the center and add the cold water. Carefully bring the flour mixture from the sides of the bowl into the center with the water and gently mix until combined and the flour is all moistened. Do not overmix or knead!
- Chill. Form the dough into a flat disc and wrap in plastic. Let the dough rest in the cooler for about 30 minutes - 1 hour. Note: if you don’t have time, don’t worry about chilling the dough. It’s a good practice, but not 100% necessary with this recipe.
- Roll out the dough. Once the dough has rested, remove from the plastic wrap and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin, start in the middle of the dough and roll outwards to make a circle. Roll into an evenly thick, round, circle large enough for the dough to hang over your pie pan at least ½".
- Line the pie plate. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and transfer to a 9" pie plate. Cut the excess dough off leaving a ½" dough to hang over the side of the pie plate. Tuck the dough under to create a smooth edge, then use your fingers to crimp the dough into a decorative design and set aside.
- Finish. Fill and bake your pie as directed.
How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust
There are some times when a pie recipe will call for blind baking your pie crust. Blind baking is when you parbake the pie crust without the filling and is generally recommended for pies with very juicy fillings or pies where the filling is apt to bake up more quickly than the crust. Some common pies that often call for blind baking are pumpkin pie, fruit pies (like apple pie) and other custard pies.
In order to blind bake, all you need is some aluminum foil or parchment paper and something to weigh down your pastry (the most inexpensive things to use are dry beans or rice). Here’s what you need to do:
- Make your pie dough, line the pie plate and chill for at least 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut a piece of foil or parchment paper into a circle or square that is slightly larger than your pie plate, then carefully press it down into the chilled and formed pie shell, making sure to press it into the edges and corners.
- Fill the lined shell with your pie weights, beans or rice and bake in a preheated oven just until the edges start to turn golden, or about 15 minutes.
- Remove the pie crust from the oven and remove the pie weights by carefully lifting out the foil or parchment.
- Put the pie crust back into the oven for another 5-8 minutes, or until the bottom of the crust no longer looks wet.
- Remove from the oven and finish the pie as directed.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Flaky Pie Crust
- Keep your ingredients COLD. One of the keys to flaky pie crust is making sure that your fat (i.e. Crisco or butter) doesn’t melt as you mix it. You want those little pockets of fat because as they heat and the water evaporates, you end up with flakey crust. If your fat melts into the crust, it’s going to be tough.
- Do not overmix the dough. The best way to get a tough, hard pie crust is to overmix. Not only are you potentially melting the fat but you are creating more gluten as you work the dough.
- If you have the time, chill your pie dough before rolling it out. This not only chills the fat back down, it also relaxes the gluten and helps to keep your dough tender and flaky.
- Roll your dough to about ¼” thickness, or slightly thinner. Any thicker and the bottom just is not going to bake.
- There’s no need to grease your pie plate. The dough has plenty of fat in it to ensure that it will not stick.
- Keep all of the rolled pie dough scraps that you trim off, then use cookie cutters and add cute shapes to decorate the edges of your pie.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is better - shortening or butter?
We’ve made pie dough with Crisco and butter and they both work great in this recipe. Crisco is a bit easier to work with as it doesn’t melt quite as easily. Butter, on the other hand, tastes better.
Try it both ways and see what you prefer. The main thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to make an all butter pie crust, be sure and cut the butter into cubes, then toss the pieces of butter back into the fridge to chill until just before you use it.
Yes! This method works great. The downside is you will have extra dishes to wash, but it is very quick. To use the food processor to make pie dough, add in your flour, salt and Crisco (or cold, cubed butter) and pulse until you have pea-sized pieces. Add in the water and pulse just until the dough comes together. You can gently finish by hand, but be sure not to knead or overwork the dough.
Pie dough can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge. Or, you can freeze it for up to 2 months. When you are ready to use it, transfer to the fridge overnight to thaw and then use how you normally would.
Easy peasy - just double this recipe and split the dough into two discs
Homemade Flaky Pie Crust Recipe
- 1 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 4 oz Crisco or butter
- ⅛ cup Water cold
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the four and salt.
- Add the Crisco (or cold butter) and use your fingers to combine. Once the mixture resembles coarse meal, make a well in the center and add the cold water.
- Carefully bring the flour mixture from the sides of the bowl into the center with the water and gently mix until combined and the flour is all moistened. Do not overmix or knead!
- Form the dough into a flat disc and wrap in plastic. Let the dough rest in the cooler for about 30 minutes - 1 hour. Note: if you don’t have time, don’t worry about chilling the dough. It’s a good practice, but not 100% necessary with this recipe.
- Once the dough has rested, remove from the plastic wrap and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin, start in the middle of the dough and roll outwards to make a circle. Roll into an evenly thick, round, circle large enough for the dough to hang over your pie plate at least ½".
- Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and transfer to a 9" pie plate. Cut the excess dough off leaving a ½" dough to hang over the side of the pie plate. Tuck the dough under to create a smooth edge, then use your fingers to crimp the dough into a decorative design and set aside.
- Fill and bake your pie as directed.
Here are some of our favorite to use this pie crust:
- Pumpkin Pie
- Blackberry Pie
- Vegetable Quiche
- Bacon and Asparagus Quiche
- Spinach and Feta Quiche
- More Pie Recipes
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This easy step-by-step guide will have you making the perfect Homemade Flaky Pie Crust in no time. Use this recipe to make any of your favorite pies, tarts, quiche and more.