Buttery Flaky Pie Crust

Buttery Flaky Pie Crust

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 crust
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
188 Calories
13g Fat
14g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 188
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 8g 38%
Cholesterol 30mg 10%
Sodium 214mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 1g
Calcium 27mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A pie or tart is often judged based on the flakiness of the crust, so the crust recipe is a crucial part of the sweet or savory dish. This easy, homemade pie crust recipe only takes a few simple ingredients and a few minutes to mix up but is far superior to a store-bought crust.

This pie crust recipe uses all butter for superior flavor and flakiness. Only add a couple of teaspoons of sugar or leave it out altogether if you're making a savory pie or don't want a sweet crust. You can make the dough ahead of time and store it in the fridge or even freeze the dough for a later date.

This basic one-crust recipe makes a flaky and buttery crust that works with any type of tart or pie. The pie crust can be prebaked using pie weights or used in any recipe that calls for a pie crust. For a double-crusted or lattice-crust pie, like peach pie or blueberry pie, simply double the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (for sweet pies and tarts, or less)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (chilled and cut into pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons ice water (approximately)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Buttery Flaky Pie Crust ingredients

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar (if using), and salt. Drop the butter pieces into the bowl on top of the flour mixture.

    In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt, with butter

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  3. Use your fingers, a fork, a pastry cutter, or two knives to work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles cornmeal with stray pea-size pieces of butter in it. Alternatively, use a food processor and pulse a few times until the desired texture is achieved.

    Use your fingers work the butter into the flour mixture

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  4. Pour 2 tablespoons of ice water over the mixture and stir until it comes together. Add another tablespoon of water if it remains too dry to pull into a dough.

    dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  5. Turn the mixture onto a well-floured work surface. Knead it once or twice to create a ball of dough.

    dough ball on a floured surface

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  6. Pat the dough into a disk shape about 1/2-inch thick, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and chill at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.

    Buttery Flaky Pie Crust on a floured surface

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

How to Use

  • Unwrap the disk of dough and place it on a well-floured surface. Roll into an 11 to 12-inch circle, turning the dough 90 degrees between each pass of the rolling pin to make sure it doesn't stick.
  • Fold the dough in half over the rolling pin. Use the pin to lift the dough half-way over a pie plate or tart pan. Let the dough drop into the pan and gently lift and press it into the edges. Trim as needed. Cover and chill until ready to use.
  • To prebake the crust, roll it out and line the pie pan. Place in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 400 F. Line the pie crust with parchment or foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 15 minutes and remove the parchment or foil and weights. Prick the crust all over and bake until partially baked or fully baked, depending on the recipe.
  • If the edges of your crust begin to brown too much as it bakes, cover with a foil ring.

Tips

  • In order to achieve a perfect flaky pie crust, make sure to use very cold butter.
  • Don't overmix—leave some chunks of butter when mixing the dough together.
  • Start with the minimum amount of water and only add as much as is needed; water helps the gluten develop which will deter the crust from becoming tender.
  • Don't skimp on the chilling and resting time, which is key to creating a dough that won't shrink back when it's rolled out and baked.
  • Homemade pie crust can be made up to a few days ahead of time if tightly wrapped and stored in the fridge. Let it warm up on the counter a few minutes before rolling it out.
  • Raw pie dough can also be frozen. Tightly wrap, label, and freeze for up to three months. Defrost in the fridge before rolling out and using.

Recipe Variations

  • To avoid the risk of adding too much water to your pie crust, you can replace some of the water with vodka. Vodka makes a flaky crust because it has very little water and the alcohol will bake off.
  • If you're gluten-free, use rice flour to make a gluten-free pie crust.

Is Pie Crust Better With Butter or Shortening?

Butter vs. shortening is an age-old debate. Butter adds delicious flavor to pie crust and, when used properly, flakiness. Shortening is easier to work with and makes for a tender, flaky crust. Pie crust can be made with all butter, all shortening, or a combination. When making an all-butter crust, take special care not to overwork the dough to keep it light and tender.

Do You Put Eggs in Pie Crust?

Some enriched pie crust recipes (like chocolate pie crust) call for an egg to help bind the mixture together. Most pie crusts don't require any eggs since the egg would inhibit the flakiness.

Can I Use Bread Flour Instead of All-Purpose Flour for Pie Crust?

Bread flour contains more gluten than all-purpose flour, making it ideal for bread but not ideal for pastry. Since you don't want to activate too much gluten in pie crust dough—the gluten can make it tough and less flaky—a lower gluten flour like all-purpose is better.

Recipe Tags: