How to Make Perfect Shortcrust by Hand or Machine

A tart pan lined with shortcrust pastry dough

The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Chill:: 60 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
216 Calories
12g Fat
24g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 216
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Cholesterol 31mg 10%
Sodium 19mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 8mg 1%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 37mg 1%
*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.)

Shortcrust pastry dough is a simple recipe used for pies, tarts, and quiche. It calls for just four ingredients—flour, fat, salt, and water—and the ratio of flour to fat is usually 4-to-1. Shortcrust pastry is easy to make and can be prepared either by hand or with a food processor. It's one of the most versatile pastries because it can be used for both savory and sweet dishes.

This recipe makes enough for the top and bottom crust of a seven-inch pie. If you are not sure how much pastry you need, check the pastry calculator.


Watch Now: Perfect Shortcrust Recipe

Perfect Shortcrust by Hand or Machine/Tester Image

"This is a simple, easy recipe for pie crust that turns out flaky, tender and delicious. I made it with all butter and the flavor was rich but not at all greasy. The machine method is very fast, but it only took me five minutes to work in the butter by hand, making both methods quite speedy." —Danielle Centoni

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • Pinch salt

  • 8 tablespoons (4-ounces) cold unsalted butter, cubed (or an equal mix of butter and lard)

  • 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

Steps to Make It

By-Hand Method

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make shortcrust pastry dough

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  2. Place the flour, salt, and butter in a large, clean bowl.

    A bowl of butter, flour, and salt

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  3. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, working as quickly as possible to prevent the dough from becoming warm.

    A bowl of small crumbles of flour and butter

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  4. Add 4 tablespoons of water to the mixture. Using a cold knife, stir until the dough binds together. Add more cold water a teaspoon at a time if the mixture is too dry. Form the dough into a ball.

    A bowl of butter and flour mixture with water and a knife

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  5. Flatten the ball into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for a minimum of 1 hour up to overnight. Use the shortcrust dough in your favorite pie, tart, or quiche recipe.

    A flat disk of dough wrapped in plastic wrap

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

Food Processor Method

  1. Place the flour, salt, and butter into the bowl of the processor.

    Butter, flour, and salt in a food processor

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  2. Using only the pulse setting, pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Avoid overmixing. Too much handling can result in hard, dry pastry.

    A food processor with coarse butter and flour crumbles

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  3. Through the funnel on the top of the processor, slowly add 4 tablespoons of the water a little at a time while pulsing until the mixture begins to clump together. Stop the machine and squeeze the dough. If it holds together, it doesn't need more water.

    Dough in a food processor

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  4. Flatten the ball into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for a minimum of 1 hour or up to overnight.

    A disk of shortcrust pastry dough wrapped in plastic wrap

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

Shortcrust Tips

By following a few tips, you can ensure success when making shortcrust pastry.

  • Gather together all your equipment and ingredients, and weigh all of the ingredients before you begin. 
  • The golden rule of making shortcrust pastry is to keep the ingredients, equipment, and your hands as cool as possible. When the pastry mixture becomes too warm, the end result is a greasy and/or heavy, dull finished pastry crust.
  • Work quickly as it makes a lighter pastry.
  • Don't skip resting the dough; resting allows time for the gluten (proteins) in the dough to relax.
  • Always put the pastry into a preheated, hot oven. If the oven is too cool, the pastry will melt rather than cook.
  • To ensure your tart or pie crust is crisp, place a heavy baking sheet in the oven while it is heating up, then place the tart or pie directly on the heated tray.

What's the difference between shortcrust pastry and pie crust?

Shortcrust pastry dough is a type of pie crust. Known as pâte brisée in French, it doesn't include leavening agents and (usually) no sugar. It's flaky and crispy rather than puffy once baked. The most often used type of pastry, it's good for both sweet and savory recipes.

  • Pâte sucrée is a sweet (or rich) shortcrust pastry that adds sugar and egg to the mix, creating more of a cookie-like texture in the finished pie.
  • The third kind of pastry is pâte sablée (sandy pastry). This version adds more butter and sugar, resulting in a very crumbly crust.

Does shortcrust pastry need to be baked before filling?

Whether or not you need to prebake shortcrust before adding the filling depends on the recipe. Known as "blind baking," partially baking the crust prevents soggy fruit pie crust and is used when the crust takes longer to bake than the filling. For pies in which the filling is not baked (e.g., cream pies), the crust must be baked first.