all-butter-really-flaky-pie-dough Recipes, Tips

all butter, really flaky pie dough

I don’t believe in perfection, in life or in the kitchen. At best, everything we do is a work in progress that gets a tad closer each time we nudge and tweak it. Case in point, last year’s Pie Crust 101 tutorial: My goal was to convince dough-phobes that they needn’t fear the crust by showing how I made mine in five minutes flat, or seriously, way less time than one would spend buying one. My goodness, especially with the lines in the grocery stores this week, right?

Of course in the 12 months since, I’ve probably made about 12 additional doughs and I swear, every single time I think of something that wasn’t in that post and am certain you’ve been robbed. So, without further ado, here is Pie Crust 102: A few extra tips and adjustments. If you’re a pie dough noob, Pie Crust 101 is still all you will need to get the job done, but if you’re looking to take it a step or two further, here you go:

2006's apple pie

1. I’m over shortening. There, I said it. For most of my life, I didn’t believe in shortening in crusts. It had no flavor, it is rather icky and mysterious if you give it too much thought, and who cares about flakiness in a one-crust pie anyway? But then I weakened my resolve. All the Cook’s Illustrateds and Ina Gartens claimed that the only! best! way to make the flakiest! pie dough was to use shortening in part, and I do value their opinions so. I did this for about two years, and now I’m back to all butter, baby. Do you know why? Well, for all of the original reasons–flavor rules and ickiness is not worth it–but because I have also realized that when you really know how to make pie dough, it won’t matter which fat you use. So butter it is baby! I’ll never doubt it again.

2007's apple pie

2. I no longer use the food processor for pie dough, and don’t think you should either. Ooh, how very contentious of me! Yet, I am not saying this to be contentious, I am saying this because I have made dozens of crusts in both the food processor and with a hand-held pastry blender and the latter always wins the flaky wars. Here is why: The vast majority of food processor dough recipes tell you to pulse the butter with the flour until it forms coarse or pea-like bits, and then add the water and pulse it until “just combined”. This is where this technique fails: you already have the size butter pieces you want and yet still, you crumble the further. In the end, it is so much harder to overwork your dough and overmix your butter by hand than it is when you use the food processor.

[Also, for those of us lacking dishwashers, the food processor alone is five parts/five dishes (Yes, I count. Every single freaking time I wash it.) and more like ten when you include measuring cups and spoons, sheesh. By hand, I use a large bowl, pastry cutter, measuring spoons, two measuring cups, a knife and a rubber spatula: seven dishes, max. Oh, it counts.]

strawberry-rhubarb pie

3. Visible butter = visible flakiness. As I mentioned above, the single most important thing to avoid when making pie dough is not to break down the butter too much. If you cannot see flecks of butter in your final dough, you will miss out on a lot of flakiness. When these butter-speckled doughs hit the oven, the butter melts created tiny pockets in the flour that surrounded it; the steam that escapes from the butter’s water content lifts these pockets. (The principle behind puffed pastry is the same, but we will get to that another day.) These pockets are your flakes. They are your friends. When you make pie dough, your entire goal should be to keep some of these eensy bits of butter visible.

4. Cold, cold, cold, cold and cold. So how do you keep those butter pieces visible? You keep them cold. If they get warm — even a little warm — they get soft, and if they get soft before they hit the oven, they have less of an ability to make the dough flaky. Do everything in your power to keep them cold. If your kitchen is extra warm, as mine is today, you can do a number of things that will help the dough stay colder longer, or at least until you can get it back in the fridge to rest: Cube the butter and re-refrigerate it, mix your flour and sugar and salt and refrigerate that bowl too. If you’re rolling that dough out and it tears and sticks and you must start again? Rechill it first. Sure, I sound a little insane (did you get that part? about the cold being important?) but when everyone is oohing and aahing over your flaky buttery dough, you know it will be worth it.

mini pies

5. About that vodka. Last year, I used Cook’s Illustrated new and improved pie dough with vodka in it for my demonstration. ‘Vodka?’ you’re thinking, ‘Are you mad?’ But the rationale is that vodka gives the dough the liquid a dough needs to come together but being mostly alcohol, evaporates in the oven, leaving you with an extra flaky dough. Because it is colorless and odorless, nobody will be the wiser what your secret ingredient is. And everyone loves a Top Secret Ingredient, non?

Nevertheless, I learned quickly that I didn’t like this dough — this dough that I told you to use! — much at all. I found it too sticky, and the flakiness not much of an improvement and went back to my old, basic recipe. However, so many of you loved the crust, I wasn’t exactly going to change the recipe. Instead, I’m using that space below to give you my other pie dough recipe, vodka free and illustrated.

Now go forth a bake ye some pie! I’ll be the one in the back row, jumping up and down and shouting ‘You can do it!’ like a high school basketball coach on too many Red Bulls.

sweet cherry pie

All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough

Makes enough dough for one double-, or two single-crust pies.

2 1/2 cups (315 grams) flour
1 tablespoon (15 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (8 ounces, 225 grams tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold

pie crust 102: 1pie crust 102: 2pie crust 102: 3pie crust 102: 4

Gather your ingredients: Fill a one cup liquid measuring cup with water, and drop in a few ice cubes; set it aside. In a large bowl — I like to use a very wide one, so I can get my hands in — whisk together 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt. Dice two sticks (8 ounces or 1 cup) of very cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch pieces. Get out your pastry blender.

Make your mix: Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour and begin working them in with the pastry blender, using it to scoop and redistribute the mixture as needed so all parts are worked evenly. When all of the butter pieces are the size of tiny peas — this won’t take long — stop. Yes, even if it looks uneven; you’ll thank me later.

pie crust 102: 5pie crust 102: 6pie crust 102: 7pie crust 102: 8

Glue it together: Start by drizzling 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the ice-cold water (but not the cubes, if there are any left!) over the butter and flour mixture. Using a rubber or silicon spatula, gather the dough together. You’ll probably need an additional 1/4 cup (60 ml) of cold water to bring it together, but add it a tablespoon as a time. Once you’re pulling large clumps with the spatula, take it out and get your hands in there (see how that big bowl comes in handy?). Gather the disparate damp clumps together into one mound, kneading them gently together.

pie crust 102: 9pie crust 102: 10pie crust 102: 11pie crust 102: 12

Pack it up: Divide the dough in half, and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. I like to use the sides to pull in the dough and shape it into a disk. Let the dough chill in the fridge for one hour, but preferably at least two, before rolling it out.

Do ahead: Dough will keep in the fridge for about a week, and in the freezer longer. If not using it that day, wrap it in additional layers of plastic wrap to protect it from fridge/freezer smells. To defrost your dough, move it to the fridge for one day before using it.

Next up: A wee tutorial on rolling out your dough.

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756 comments on all butter, really flaky pie dough

  1. Amber

    I, for one, would LOVE a tutorial on how to roll dough out. I seem to do okay until I get to that part, and from then I’d just better hope all I need are lattices.

  2. cs

    Oh Deb, Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving. I agree with the butter is king rule. I get wonderfully flaky pastry with it. My troubles are in my lack of patience/skill rolling it out and they come out a visual mess. But since they taste so much better than shortening I must agree butter wins + shortening is scary mystery white stuff. It’s nice to see that one can get beautiful results with butter only. Get our the Red Bull and start cheering!

  3. I bake a lotta lotta lotta pies and I’m with you 100% on all of your pie aphorisms… most of all the shortening. You can get unbelievably flaky dough with butter. And it tastes great, most importantly.

  4. Susan

    I like the butter crust too. I can make dough all day long, its the rolling that I hate. I hate it so much that I avoid making pie or foist the job on my husband who doesn’t mind it. How lucky am I? But, I still want to know how to do it. I think my biggest problem in too dry dough..but that’s the flakiest kind! I also use a pastry canvas and pin cover, I find them easiest to use. Did I say easy? Hmph.

  5. As a cook who always makes my own crust, I can appreciated the value of your tips here. I too saw the suggestion in Cook’s Illustrated to use vodka, but wasn’t completely satisfied after trying it. My mom’s pastry was always perfect and she used shortening, but I’m a butter type of gal and have for years stuck to butter, strictly. There is just no comparison when it comes to taste and texture.

    As for using a food processor, yes, the butter is broken down too much, and I don’t have a dishwasher. That little blade is lethal indeed.

  6. Monet

    Oh, how I love a good pie crust…the recipe I’ve been using combines flour and shortening, and truth be told, I’m not crazy about it. I think I’ll give yours a try next time I make a pie; more butter is always a good thing in my book. :-)
    I for one would be interested in a tutorial in rolling out dough. I feel like, even though I’m generally happy with the things I bake, there’s always room for improvement, you know?

  7. kim

    awesome tutorial! i am making my 2nd ever pie crust right now. (with shortening… sorry!) i’ll definitely have to give this a try next time.
    oh, and YES to the pie dough rolling tutorial, please!

  8. Liz

    Oh for heaven’s sake, please give us instructions on rolling out the pie dough. That is always my problem. I can mix and cut and mix and mound and chill and such all day long, but the minute I try to go from mound of dough to flat loveliness, the whole thing falls apart and I need the vodka as much as the dough does. I want to end the shame (oh the shame!) of using freezer-pie-crusts *there, I’ve said it* to house all my lovely fillings.
    Help Deb! Help us!

  9. Oh oh oh, you MUST MUST MUST go and buy on the Bakers Catalog website the pie dough rolling bag. DORIE GREENSPAN lists this cheap gadget her in top 10 items in her kitchen. The pie dough rolling bag has saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave my life. I bought them for my sister and Mom as well. They use it all all all the time! Please run to your computer (oops you are there already) and go to the Baker’s Catalog site and buy 1. YOU WILL NOT BE SORRY! No cracks, no headaches, just the perfect size pie crust every every every time! (zero mess too!)

  10. My grandmother always used shortening, and she made all of her crusts by hand, but like you I use butter – mostly because I don’t like how shortening feels on my hands. (She used a fork to mix everything – I *hate* doing it that way. Yay for the pastry blender.)

    I do keep a can of shortening for biscuits, however, because I’m Southern. And that’s just how we roll.

  11. Jessica

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE post a tutorial on rolling out the dough…my pie crusts never turn out how i imagine but you have renewed my inspiration in perfect time for thanksgiving :)

  12. Jenna

    Hi Deb – I made you caramelized onion galette the other night and it was great! I loved what the sour cream did for the crust. I was wondering, is there any reason you’d advise against using that crust for a pie like this? Thanks!

    Also – I’m totally with you on the shortening. Ick.

  13. YES! YES! DOUGH ROLLING TUTORIAL! My pie dough tastes great.. it captures the flakiness like it should… it just never LOOKS nice, because I am completely incapable of rolling anything in a circle, and so I stretch and rip and tear and swear. Tutorial, please!! :D

  14. jb

    I’m with you against the shortening, but I’ve become a lover of the lard. If you can find some good stuff (and you can — you live in NYC) I’d recommend getting some. I still use mostly butter, because butter tastes best, but about 25% lard is awesome.

    Now I shall get back to my crust making!

  15. Slack

    Just this morning I looked at your Pie Crust 101. I am making the Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving and I was going to attempt making my own crust. But when I saw the vodka part I decided to just forget it and buy a crust at the store today. This tutorial was much better so now I may go back and make my own. Any chance you’ll give us the rolling tutorial before Wednesday?

    I have always thought those food processor directions were off too! Thanks for clearing that up!

  16. Bocagegirl

    Yes, yes, yes! A tutorial on rolling out a pie dough puleeeze, says the girl who ogled a marble pastry board at William Sonoma just yesterday. Alas, $129…not in the budget right now:-(

  17. bobbincat

    yes, yes, yes… last night my crust was all sorts of broken bits. With all the patches it looked a bit like Frankenstein. I love your tutorials! Your Pie 101 gave me the confidence to make my first successful crust.

  18. umma2kimchilovers

    Please give us a tutorial on rolling the dough. I find the dough too hard to hard after I take it out of the fridge. My dough always cracks for some reason.

  19. Anna

    I was just about to make a pie crust for a pumpkin pie that I will take to my in-laws-to-be for thanksgiving. I’m so glad that I was procrastinating :) This post is beautiful and mouth-watering! Thank you!

  20. I need a cutting-butter-into-small-cubes tutorial. I can never do it right. Thanks for the pie crust dough recipe and tips in Crust 101. I made seriously flakey dough with it and was pleased.

  21. I have only made pie crusts with butter, until last year. I tried one from CI (not the vodka one), lured by the ease of handling, etc. Fortunately, I tasted it before I rolled it out. Blech. In the trash it went, and I remain the all butter pie crust girl. I use a Jim Dodge technique (from his book “Baking with Jim Dodge”), rolling chunks of butter that have been frozen for 15 minutes into the flour. It creates sheets of butter in the crust, and the flakiness is fantastic. Having you (and so many of your readers) say you swear by all butter is almost an epiphany. So many bakers tell me I’m crazy to use all butter. Thanks for confirming what I’ve thought all along. Butter rocks!

  22. I am on the search for the perfect pie crust. I’ve tried Dorie Greenspan’s version and Sherry Yard’s version, and while they were both great, I wasn’t completely satisfied. This will definitely be the next version I try!

  23. Sue

    Just this afternoon I was looking at your recipe for apple pie from last year. It was obvious that you didn’t love the CI pie crust, but how did you like the apple filling? I couldn’t find where you commented on that.
    I will try the all butter crust. Shortening does indeed have that ewww factor!

  24. P.S. Does anyone want a tutorial on rolling doughs out? I know that can sometimes be the hardest part as they like to crack and crumble when cold and a few four letter words escape your lips. Maybe I can help?

    YES. PLEASE. NOW! (Please)

  25. Sarah

    My mom always makes her fabulous pie crusts with shortening. I have nothing against shortening…but I’m scared for some reason to try the all butter crust! I’m making a double crust apple pie…and I was thinking about using half shortening and half butter…would that work? Or would it be an icky mess!?

  26. Debby

    A dough tutorial sounds good, but actually, I was hoping we could have a “what went wrong” Q&A. Starting with that damm mushroom strudel.

  27. Yay for the pastry blender! I just hate hauling my food processor out of the cabinet, and my new(ish) roommate had a pastry blender around that she called (I love this) the tuna smasher. She used it to break up cans of tuna. No idea what it was originally intended for. Heh heh… now I’ve comandeered it for crusts :)

  28. Maya

    My mom’s never fail recipe calls for half shortening and half butter, so that definitely works. I’m scared for some reason to try the all butter crust too, but I think the flavor would be awesome…

  29. perfect timing b/c i’m making my dough tomorrow night. i embarrassingly admit that last year i bought a FP because i thought dough making would be easier that way. but the first time i tried it, i realized that i couldn’t really see or feel what was happening through the plastic. i was stubborn and tried a couple more times, but each time i felt like i was leaving it to chance. i think i will go back to the old-fashioned way tomorrow night!

  30. five4gena

    I resolved last week that I would make my own pie crusts for Thanksgiving. I always buy the Pillsbury ones in the freezer section (gasp!) and am never happy with them even though I buy them year after year.

    Thank you so much for posting this and I would love a tutorial on rolling them out. Please!

    I also wanted to tell you that I made your Apple Cake a few weeks ago and that it was wonderful. I think I ate 1/2 of it myself. My husband and 5 year old twins polished off the other half.

  31. Magdalena

    When it comes to pie crusts, lard is king. 1/3 lard, 2/3 butter is absolutely the way to go: flaky and buttery. I find lard makes the dough easier to roll, as well.

  32. Anna

    bravo deb!! i consider myself very lucky to have had an in-person tutorial, and now i have this wonderful reference whenever i need to review anything.

    xo
    a

  33. Oh please please share your rolling tips! I took a pie-making class a month ago, and the instructor had similar suggestions to yours – use a pastry blender, all butter, keep it cold-cold-cold. But then we each made our own crusts, and even though he checked mine at every step along the way, as soon as I tried to roll it I made a huge mess! Tried again at home a few days later and the same thing happened. I am sadly dough-rolling-impaired. (And also hyphen-loving today, apparently.)

  34. Pat

    I just found your blog and I love it! The food, the photos, the babble. I’ve always been praised for my pie. I swear by the cold thing, although I never knew why, it just made the crust better. (now I know, thanks) I’ve always used shortening for my crust but this year, I’m switching to butter.

  35. oh, pastry blender: the one time my measly arm strength works to my advantage! it’s hard to overblend when your arm is just. so. tired. i’m always at a loss with rolling the dough though – please show us!

  36. please, please, please give us a step-by-step of how to roll crusts. i’m miserable at this. it’s a good thing i don’t care if my pastry is ugly, but i think i’d save a lot of energy by getting it done right the first time and skipping the patching.

  37. katie e.

    please please please tutorial! i can make a great dough but i’ve never managed to roll it out without a disaster. my ex was a master crust-roller but he’s long gone now and i’m in charge of pies for thanksgiving.

  38. Suzanne M

    I took a fabulous week-long cooking class at the San Francisco Baking Institute (you should go – it is fantastic, you work in an industrial setting and the classes are intense, a mixture of chemistry and industry). In the “Fundamentals of Pastry” course, we used a Kitchenaid mixer to mix the butter into the dough. I’d never done it like that before, but you have amazing control over the size of the pieces of butter and also great control while mixing in the water. Basically, they taught 2 different methods: mealy dough and flaky dough. Mealy dough is typically used for the bottom crust because the butter is absorbed slightly more than flaky, preventing the bottom crust from becoming soggy (since the flour is sort of water-proofed by the fat). Flaky is used for top crusts and for pre-baked crusts. To get a “mealy” crust, use the mixer to mix the butter in until you get some mealy looking flour and some pea sized butter (like in a typical recipe). Then add the water and mix on low speed until barely incorporated (just like you would by hand). For a “flaky” crust, mix the butter in until you have some pea sized pieces and some larger pieces. Then add the water on low, etc. What makes this method great is that you get some flat pieces of butter because it is being rubbed thin by the paddle attachment. It is very easy and not anymore cleanup than you method!

  39. deb

    Re: The Pillsbury unroll-and-bake doughs, aren’t they fantastically flaky? Yes, even I have used them before and have been duly impressed. Turns out their “secret” ingredient is lard! Like, really. Right there near the top of the ingredients list. (Or it was last time I check a couple months ago.) I was so surprised. Not because I am anti-lard, not at all. Just that a product so widely used and distributed was unKosher, not for vegetarians or the zillion other people on this earth that don’t eat pork products.

  40. Jenny

    yes please on the tutorial!

    honestly deb, you are a gift to the world. thank you for this blog. and i almost wrote blow which is something that is funny for all of one second.

  41. wendi

    I would love a rolling tutorial…and I would love for you to elaborate on the puff pastry science-bit. I had a nightmare of a pie crust on Sunday that I found in Bon-Apetite – did all the freezing and ice water and it turned out horrible. I went back to my basic recipe and it turned out good enough.

  42. lacrema

    I would love a rolling tutorial. I am making my pie doughs for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and was planning on using CI’s vodka crust… not sure, now. :S And one of the main reasons I just got a food processor was to mix in the lard for pie crusts. I think if you turn it into a bowl before adding the water, you can’t really go wrong. ALSO: that squash/onion galette? I just made ANOTHER double batch b/c it is just too, too, sinfully delicious. AND, have you ever made an oil crust? My grandma, the Pie Queen of Iowa, swears by them, and they are very easy, flaky, and good (or at least I think so).

  43. I was not planing on making pie this Thanksgiving, but now I will be making pie just because I want to try this crust. (But no, not on Thanksgiving – it will just have to be a weekend after Thanksgiving pie. No worries, though – there’s always room for pie!). And I vote for a pie rolling tutorial.

  44. Deb, yes! please! Show us how to roll out the crust and transfer it whole to a pie plate! Please!

    Here in the humid South, my pie crusts disintegrate. Ugh! I use store-bought ones far more often than I like to admit…..because I love pie and am a dunce at the crust.

  45. The Teen Chef

    awww shucks i wish i saw this before i made my mom buy me 3 packages of the pillsbury pie dough not that i’m against the lard but i would of loved trying this for my pumpkin pies on thanksgiving, maybe some time before christmas any suggestions for fillers?

  46. rolling tutorial! Yes please, and here’s a dumb question…but I am super phobic of making my own crust (I’ve tried failed several times) what’s the rule on ore baking a crust? If I used this recipe, then filled it with apples/berries – do I prebake it? Or not?

  47. KT

    Thank you for no food processor!!! I’ve been interested in trying pie dough (haven’t made one since I was a kid “helping” my mom roll it out) but I always turn the page when I read about food processors. Don’t have one, guess I can’t make the recipe. But, I do own a by-hand pastry blender!!! I recently moved to an apartment with no dishwasher and less storage so I am all for trading some elbow grease for doing without appliances. Yay.

  48. Bill

    AMEN Sister!! I have never once used shortening for pie crust, and rarely use it in anything else, it is weird, mysterious, and just doesn’t do it for me. BUTTER ALL THE WAY!! My grandma taught me how to make pie crust when I needed a stool to see the counter, and I always use my fingers rather than a pastry cutter, and add a splash of vinegar to my ice water. I don’t know what the vinegar does but grandma said to use it and I rarely have a bad crust. Thank you thank you thank you, for giving butter the credit it deserves!

  49. Linda

    Your pie dough 102 tutorial is great, thank you very much. It looks so easy and uncomplicated using just 3 ingredients and no machinery! The rolling out the dough post would be just perfect to add to it as a full complete tutorial.

    This NaBloPoMo is absolutely fantastic and a lot of fun. Thanks for all the time and effort you have put into this. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Instead of shopping I will be practicing making pie dough this Friday.

  50. Tom

    I find a food processor can be used to make a top quality crust, although the reasons mentioned for not using it are valid: the key is to use the processor to prepare the pea-sized pieces of butter/flour dough, and then take it out of the processor, add a little water, and work it together quickly and gently by hand, thus avoiding over-processing it. This doesn’t avoid hand work, but saves probably 90% of the effort.

  51. Laura

    Love it! Thanks for the fantastic post!

    But check out the Basic Rich Tart Dough from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. It’s a fabulous and easy recipe. I use it for pies as well as tarts. It has two ingredients; 1 cup flour, 8 Tb cold salted butter. (If you want it sweet add up to 2 tsp sugar and if you want it a little flakier add 1 Tb ice water.) There are great step-by-step instructions and pictures in the Zuni Cafe Cookbook (page 482-483). But really the trick is to keep the butter cold and visible (like you said in your post!)

  52. JJ

    Yes, please re: dough rolling out tutorial. It would be MUCH appreciated!

    Glad to hear a flaky all butter crust is possible, but it makes sense for me to wait until the rolling out tutorial before trying it. :)

  53. Piroska

    Hi Deb,
    as you mentioned lard I remembered this article of the NYTimes
    2 years ago. Check it out!
    /www.nytimes.com/2006/11/15/dining/15crus.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=lard, pie crust&st=cse

  54. I’ve been making dough the same way as you described above (w/butter) since my 7th grade Home Ec. taught us, and let’s just say I’m not 12 years old anymore. : )

  55. Yolanda

    I am a novice, so “cut” me some slack ;)
    Is there a brand of butter that is better for pie crusts? I figure that would make a difference, no?

  56. I am SO over shortening as well! and I’ve been using the same recipe for years. I will continue to use my food processor, but I recall a “Good Eats” episode where Alton Brown suggests either adding the butter in two installments or adding two different sizes of butter cubes ( I forget exactly which) to combat the over-processing. I know that doesn’t solve your dishwashing problem, but maybe it’s something you can mull over and experiment with over the NEXT 12 months! I love your recipes and writing!

  57. Angel Elf

    I always use lard in my pie crust, never shortening. To prevent a soggy bottom crust when making a fruit pie or any wet filling, just dock and blind bake the bottom crust.

  58. robyn

    Thank you for this second pie-crust post! Your blog is always my go-to for baking and I could never follow all the instructions for the pie crust 101 post ’cause I don’t have any vodka nor shortening. Plus I was excited about this post because I, too, am pastry-blender kind-of-girl because I, too, don’t have a dishwasher so I understand the pain of washing extra pieces. In addition, my food processor is in a low cabinet all the way in the back, making it a pain in the patootie to take out. This second pie crust post here sums up all I need to know about pie crust making and I will forevermore refer to it!

    ps – I would love a tutorial on making pie crust edges. I can roll out my pie crust just fine, but I seriously lack the talent to make a pretty edge once the crust is in the plate. Thanks!!

  59. JUST IN TIME! I really really really didn’t want to use shortening and I didn’t want to have to go find a liquor store to get vodka (dry county). Thank you! I am so excited because you basically reiterated everything I already thought about making a pie crust, so now I feel smart-like I can figure this out!

  60. Elise

    Yes yes yes, please do post a tutorial on rolling doughs out – that is often the part that causes me the most angst. I am excited to hear that you are over shortening. I am too! I am intrigued about your pastry blender suggestion and must try it. But since I don’t own a pastry blender I will very likely be using my food processor for this Thanksgiving’s crusts (double-crusted apple/raspberry pie and pumpkin pie are this year’s treats). I do love your pie crust posts! Thanks!!

  61. Debra,
    How can I ever trust you again?
    You told me to use the vodka dough, and I drank the bottle minus the drips of vodka to bind (that was funny!).

    I loved the walnut tartlet crust from last week, I used that and it looks great.
    So, now NO shortening?

    Ok, change is good. I believe you.
    Just please don’t change your mind again!

    I am kidding of course.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Stacey

  62. Jen

    I once taught a cooking class called Pie Crust 101 and the opening line of the description was ‘Do you have crustaphobia?’ While I congratulate myself on cleverness, you and I know it’s true that soooo many good bakers Fear the Crust. And I use Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee EVERY SINGLE TIME. Shortening sucks. Butter means flavor AND flakiness when handled the correct way, and I use my food processor every single time. Oh well…we had to part ways SOMEWHERE I guess.

  63. ann

    I make my doughs by hand too. Generally I use to knives and then my fingers. Heresy, but so far I’ve had really fantastic results. I should get a pastry cutter though, they’re wonderful. Happy Turkey Day Deb! I hope it’s delicious and fun.

  64. This is great! Thank you so much! I’ve been using Martha Stewart dough recipe for awhile, and though I like it a lot, I never really understood some of the nuances. Plus, I’m pretty curious about that vodka thing. I’ll add a vote for a rolling dough tutorial too – that’s the main part I have problems with. Lots of swearing is involved.

  65. Lurker

    Yes, yes, and yes…pleeeease. I can follow the recipe, and make the dough, but when it comes to rolling….it breaks!! Even refrigerator cookie dough breaks apart. How do you preven that? A tutorial would be appreciated. Thanks.

  66. I have found a trick that works well for me when incorporating the butter into the flour. I keep the butter in the freezer and grate it into the flour. Sounds crazy but it works really well.

  67. The vast majority of food processor dough recipes tell you to pulse the butter with the flour until it forms coarse or pea-like bits, and then add the water and pulse it until “just combined”.

    America’s Test Kitchen, among others, has pointed out that it’s better to use the food processor for the first step but then mix in the water by hand with a rubber spatula.

    Having done it both ways many times, there is no comparison – the food processor destroys the by-hand method for consistent results and a better finished product.

  68. Yes, rolling tutorial please. I agree that dough is super easy to make (I use the food processor), but it’s the rolling that always gets me cursing. I find myself standing over a flour spattered table, my back aching, using every muscle in my body to roll the thing out. And then I think, why do I do this to myself? Is there an easier way?

  69. Lesley

    Jenna:
    I had the same thought as you. I used the gallette dough for several savory and sweet pies this week. I’m liking it (and so is my husband). This dough just comes together better for me. But I can see how you might not always want a sour cream and lemon hint in your dough. Or maybe I can’t b/c that’s delicious.

  70. Midge

    Deb – Are you messing with us??! Do you really dislike your readers so?? It wasn’t that long ago when you promised us that Pie Crust 101 was THE WAY!! I happily signed on to your vodka-and-shortening-infused cult of crust and currently have 4 pies’ worth of dough in my fridge. I suppose you are allowed to change your mind, but never, never again right before a major food holiday, okay?! I am having Thanksgiving pie angst.

  71. Why, yes, I would love a rolling tutorial. The last time I tried to roll out pie crust there was sticking everywhere: sticking to the rolling pin while I was trying to get it into shape, sticking to the waxed paper I was rolling it out on when I tried to move it – I ended up using so much flour that the crust was hard and unappealing… and still full of holes and patches.

    I have heard rumors that rolling it out sandwiched between plastic wrap is the easiest thing ever – but that has always been said by people on television who hold up a sandwiched ball, wave the roller a few times, and then cut to perfectly rolled out crust. I always suspect that I would run into unsightly wrinkles and end up tearing the plastic.

  72. Jessica

    I would love a rolling tutorial! I’ve never made pie dough because of this scary step – I have no idea where to even start. I mean, I remember doing it as a kid and completely destroying it but I don’t think that counts!

  73. Jenn

    I have recently made the switch to all-butter (I am a Joy of Cooking devotee and they, too, swear by the shortening-and-butter combo) and my crusts keep shrinking away from the sides of the pan, no matter what I do (poke it, weight it, pray to the pie crust gods the whole time it is in the oven) but I am not quite ready to give up on all-butter yet. So yes, tell us the rest of your pie crust technique!

  74. Gretch

    ok, I am shocked at the lard in the pillsbury unroll and bake crusts! I’m not a vegetarian myself, but I do know plenty and have quite a few in my family. If they knew that most of the pies they eat on holidays were made with lard crusts, they’d crap themselves! This makes it a no brainer for me now, i’ll be making this pie crust for my crumb apple pies! It’s about time i learned to make my own crusts anyways.

    Thanks for this wonderful blog, it brightens my day!

  75. Leniza

    A rolling tutorial would be great. Can you do it, um, today? ;) Because I want to make that tarte tatin recipe you have here for Thanksgiving and I’ve never made any kind of crust. Ever.

  76. Ayla

    My Grandma taught me to use shortening and I’ve never strayed. However, I have found the butter-flavored variety to be well received. It’s flaky and buttery delicious.

  77. Nicole M

    After many, many failed attempts at making pie crusts and swearing I’d never try again I finally made a good one with the apple tarte tatin recipe. I’m making hand pies for Thanksgiving so hopefully they’re a success too. I use my food processor for the butter part but I think I’ll mix the water in my hand and see how it goes.

  78. deb

    The pies featured in this post are: Shaker Lemon Pie (top), two Apple Pies, a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, Bourbon Peach Hand Pies and Sweet Cherry Pie. I feel like I could talk about pie the way that Bubba Gump talked about shrimp. Also, did you hear our president-elect’s favorite pies are Sweet Potato and Coconut Cream? I have to get on that by Jan. 20th.

    Re, the Cook’s Illustrated suggestion that you use the food processor only to pulse the butter/shortening and mix the liquid in by hand: I agree that this is a step in the right direction, however, I still have a problem with the uneveness of the food processor. The pieces on the top stay big and the pieces on the bottom are like crumbs in two seconds flat. Only with the hand blender do I get pieces that are even sizes throughout. This is not to say that you can’t make a decent pie dough in the FP; I simply feel that it comes out a bit better–especially for beginners–by hand.

    What butter to use: I don’t have a preference. Well, that’s not true. I love all those fancy Eurpean butters you can get these days, but lately I’ve been buying 365 Organic butter at Whole Foods exclusively for a very elaborate reason: It’s been $2.69 a pound for weeks and weeks. Considering that the standard price for a pound of Land o Lakes (and even freakin’ ShopRite brand) in NYC is $5.50 to $5.99 (gasp!) it’s taking all of my energy not to hoard it, as I suspect you know the speed in which we go through butter in the Smitten Kitchen.

    One really important confusing note about 365 butter–for most butter brands, the “Sweet Cream” variety is unsalted. Not 365! Their “Sweet Cream” butter is salted, very salted. I use both in baking, but did not appreciate the surprise. (Okay, it was labeled salted, but I didn’t look past the “Sweet”). [Update: It is not even labeled “salted” just “sweet cream”. The only indication is the sodium level on the nutritional information. Is Whole Foods smoking crack, perhaps? Sweet does not equal salty.]

  79. lori

    i really like all your tips. i have your piecrust 101 saved on my desktop, so i can always refer back to it.
    i admit that my recipe, which has never failed me, uses a combination of butter and shortening. although i may experiment and increase the porportion of butter to shortening from now on.
    i actually seem to do ok with making and rolling piecrusts. i admit that i can never seem to crimp the edges correctly. maybe you could include that in your rolling tutorial (pretty please). i have found some step-by-step pictures online, but still seem to mess this up. thanks.

  80. Kriswithmany

    Looks almost identical to the recipe I use! My crusts never look pretty, but, dangit – they taste so good! Only butter for me! I, too, would appreciate the rolling tutorial, as that is where I always have trouble. Thankfully most of the mistakes get covered up by filling. And yes, I always get rave reviews for a delicious crust! Shortening has nothing on butter!

  81. Judy

    I was going to search your site for the perfect pie dough today and you beat me to it! I made two different batches of test dough yesterday (one was the Vodka recipe) and I’ll make this one today. Something tells me yours is going to be the winner! Thank you for anticipating my wishes by posting this recipe!

  82. This is great. I’m terrified of dough – unless you’ve had the process shown to you or laid out step-by-step, like you did, it’s impossible to really get a grip on what you are supposed to be doing. I would love to hear your tips on rolling it out as well, as mine always seems to come out thick in some spots and thin in others.

  83. e

    What do you do if you don’t have a double boiler? I’m refering to the use of one in the Chocolate Toffee Cookie recipe I plan on making tomorrow where it says you must melt the chocolate and butter in one. help? I’m not experienced in the world of double boilers.

  84. I too would love a tutorial on rolling out the dough – as that is the whole reason I do not make my own dough. I can keep everything cold and incorporate it as directed in all the recipes; but once that dough hits my lightly floured counter disaster strikes and I am left near tears with a mishapen dough and flour everywhere. Please help…SOS

  85. E, just place a glass bowl over a pot with a small amount of lightly boiling water. Just make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. I have a double-boiler, but I never use it; I always do this instead. Good luck!

  86. Aislinn

    yes please a tutorial on rolling out the dough. i always mess mine up and then when i have to fit it in the pie plate it’s nothing short of a disaster with split crust EVERYWHERE! and how do you make such pretty lattice on the top of your pies? I get so nervous doing that.

  87. How exciting! These little tutorials are one of my favourite parts of your blog. I’m pretty good at following recipes, and diving into things no matter how complicated, but I do tend to get tripped up on certain things like pie dough or that blasted, dreaded caramel. I would love a rolling tutorial.

  88. Aislinn

    e,
    i’m a broke grad student and i’ve always had to make my own double boiler, i’ve found that even just a smaller saucepan fitted into a larger one with lightly boiling water works well too. i actually just did that two weeks ago when i made those cookies, they are devine, just don’t chop your toffee to small!

  89. What about Mark Bittman’s recipe from How to Cook Everything? You use the processor to cut in the butter, and butter ONLY, to get the correct texture, but THEN you turn it into a bowl and add ice water, being careful to pat it together with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball, then you wrap it in plastic, form into a disk and chill until ready to roll out. I find that works just FINE. I’ll give your recipe a shot, but Bittman’s been working like a beautiful flaky charm for me, with only SIX items to wash, including my silicone rolling pin, which I snapped up for $6 at TJ Maxx.

  90. Oh, baby – love the pie crust recipe and technique. I wasn’t thrilled with the Cook’s Illustrated vodka recipe, either. I’ve used lard plus butter and all-butter – I like the all-butter best for flavor. I try to use the higher butterfat content butters for pie crust – such as Vermont Butter and Cheese Company. Cold is it! What a crust! Onward!

  91. Debbie Lee

    Yes!!! PLEASE Give a tutorial on rolling the dough. I’ve been making pies for quite a long time and my husband absolutely loves my crust – I just use Martha Stewart’s recipe – but I don’t love it. It’s never that flaky and it’s such a pain to roll out. My other problem is fluting the edges. I normally make him do it (if he’s home) cuz I do have some fingernails that impede that process… do you have any suggestions to make it work for me? :) I just found your blog and I absolutely LOVE it! Thank you!!

  92. sarah

    Look. I’ve made many pie crusts in my time. I’m known for my pies. And i say YES to a rolling photo-tutorial. Without fail, it’s the rolling that breaks down my confidence and makes me feel like a helpless amateur every time. But I’ve learned to have faith and to expect that it will look ugly (even disastrous) before it looks good. Also, in the tutorial please cover the transporting of the crust dough to the pie plate from the rolling surface with having it fall apart.

    This year, I’m making cherry pies with the butter-cream cheese crust from Joy of Cooking. Compared to the all-butter, butter-chicken/duck fat (delicious, but don’t even bother. nearly impossible to handle), and even butter-shortening varieties – this one is much more forgiving, nearly foolproof. The flavor is not as neutral or “pure” as all-butter – it’s got some tang and sweetness. (Butter-shortening, on the other hand, seems to mute the flavor of the butter, leaving you with a weirdly flavorless crust.)

    I think a processor is fine if you start with large chunks of frozen butter and add them in batches. make sure not to over-process or add too much liquid. Too much liquid makes the crust tough (develops gluten, I think?). Less liquid gives you a better crust, but it does make the dough harder to work with. It will crumble and tear apart as you roll it. (Keep the faith, keep the faith). Seriously, my crusts never look like your picture in pie crust 101 when I roll them out.

    One time, when I was without a FP or a pastry cutter, I used a whisk, mashing it into the flour and fat. that worked out ok, but would have been better if the kitchen and ingredients had been colder.

  93. Tabitha

    I’ll give this a try! I recently gave up shortening, too, and I was worried about get as flakey a crust without it. I’ve been using my food processor, but it just didn’t feel right–you’ve given me permission to leave that appliance in cupboard for pie crust. Thanks!

  94. Sarah

    Anytime I make a pie crust, I mix the dough (whether by hand or food processor), divide it and wrap it, and think, “This isn’t so bad! Why would I ever use store-bought crusts?” Then I go to roll it out. And I often say out loud, “I am NEVER doing this again.” Maybe pie crusts are like pregnancy — rolling it out is the hard part.

  95. Nicole

    I am not much of a baker, and had in fact never made a pie crust by hand until earlier this month. I used an all butter recipe from Fine Cooking, and used a pastry cutter (b/c my tiny kitchen doesn’t have storage space for a food processor let alone counter space!), but I actually rolled it without chilling it – per their instructions. I had a tough time rolling it, and next time will chill it first. The best part is, I made the crust for a dear friend of mine’s birthday pie. She is a fab baker, and will use any reason to whip up some fantastic desserts. She makes a shortening pie crust, but when she ate mine she asked for the recipe! Butter is the way to go!!!

  96. Enna

    Yes, please, a rolling tutorial! I’m so incompetent at rolling, I usually just buy a crust. Dough sticks to the rolling pin no matter how much flour I add or cracks or otherwise just goes WRONG. Other people seem to do this effortlessly. HOW?

    Also, like the other commenter said, please say a word or two about transferring the rolled-out dough to the pie or tart pan – because I’ve screwed that up more than once.

  97. Nicole

    Excellent timing for a pie crust post =) I have to agree with you that my instincts have always led me to favor all-butter doughs, but with pie crusts I find the shortening more important for holding shape than for flakiness (I agree that both can be equally flakey), an issue that no amount of freezing has been able to solve with my all-butter crusts; so alas, my obsession with presentation drives me to continue to sub a bit of shortening for the butter. But I’m totally with you on the hand-mixing of the dough, absolutely superior for tender flakey crusts, and also provides that strange satisfaction of doing things the rustic way.

  98. As for the butter vs. shortening debate, I’ve been using a 50-50 mixture. Icky or not, my pies won 2 baking contests this fall, so I figure it’s not all that bad. But, with the next pie I make, I’m going to try a 50-50 butter/lard mixture. My grandmother, an awesome cook and baker from Austria, used lard, and when I bought a tub at the grocery store, I was shocked to see there are no trans fats. I’m not sure how that could be, but if it’s in print, it has to be right. (Right?!) There’s an easy trick to rolling: uni-directional. You start from the center of the disk and roll outward with light pressure and stop (don’t roll back to the center – lift the pin). Then return to the center and roll outward in the opposite direction and stop. Continue in different directions, pushing the dough out from the center into an ever-widening circle, always in one direction. It make take a few complete rotations to get the disk down to the thickness and diameter you want. If your dough is sticking, just continue the roll outward right off the edge of the dough, flour your pin, and keep on going. Piece of cake. Er, pie.

  99. Alright, I just put my pie dough in the fridge, but I’m a little wary. It seemed like, even after a total of just over 3/4c of water (with large clumps on the spatula), the dough was still quite crumbly– when I divided it to put in the plastic warp, it left a lot of powdery stuff in the bottom of the bowl. I just scooped this out and shoved it hastily into the plastic, but I’m nervous about what will happen tomorrow when I roll out my circles. Was yours very crumbly, or is it just the Scottish water? We’ll see, I guess.

    Also, 100th-ing the request for a rolling tutorial. :)

  100. Lolo

    After much studying your Pie 101 tutorial, I made a pie crust. the first ever since i have a phobia of all things baking and sugar. I don’t own a pastry cutter nor a rolling pin so i rolled out my crust with a cold can of Coke and I am not ashamed to admit it.

  101. Christy

    Shortening baked goods always give me an icky film on the roof of my mouth. Not even to mentions all the trans fat you are ingesting. Plus, would you just stick your finger in a tub of shortening and lick it? Ew, no. You would with butter though (or at least I would, hehehe).

  102. tula

    I’ll probably continue to use the food processor for my dough, but only because I have arthritis in my hands and can’t manage a lot of hand work. The key is definitely not to over process it. I may have to hunt up some leaf lard, since it’s supposed to work nicely in a pie crust. It’s not easy to find, though, so I usually make do with some good quality butter, usually some European stuff from Whole Foods. It seems to work a little better than generic supermarket butter. I don’t usually have any trouble rolling out my dough, but I’m curious about this dough bag thing people are talking about. I never make perfect circles, but I just trim the uneven edges with my kitchen shears when I’m done. My brother also loves to make pie at Christmas but hates to roll out dough because he has big hands and most rolling pins are too narrow for him use comfortably. I fixed that by finding someone to make some custom rolling pins with a 5-inch barrel diameter. Both of my brothers will be finding those under the Christmas tree this year :-)

  103. I am with you on shortening…I refuse to use it!

    I don’t care what wonderous things it can produce. There is no way I am putting that in my (or guest) body!

    Keep up the great work.

    I will CERTAINLY be using this wonderful recipe.

    Angela

  104. Hello! I love your blog so very much. I’m a culinary student in Illinois and a frequent tester of your recipes. They are always ALWAYS good!!! A piece of advice for pie crust is that if you want a truly flaky dough, don’t bring the butter down to pea-sized chunks. Pea-sized you can use for a mealy pie dough for the bottom crust. For a top crust, keep the butter in quarter sized chunks. Then once you wrap it in plastic wrap, vigorously rub it around on your counter top. The friction does something magickal. Then chuck into your fridge. When it comes time to roll it out, start out by whacking it down with your rolling pin – before trying to roll it. I’m a big fan of butter and all its goodness. :)

  105. Andrea

    Whew! Yes, I’d love a pie crust rolling tutorial. I dragged out my wooden board the other day instead of rolling the dough out on my counter and it didn’t stick! Who knew? A few (maybe more) posts ago, you mentioned the man with the bow tie and Cooks Illustrated. Well Deb, you’re definately right up there with him!

  106. Shannon

    I use frozen butter and the large holes on a box grater — maybe a little more work (though same number of dishes!), but it makes great, flaky crust every time.

  107. i have a good crust recipe that i’m really pleased with but NOW i know all about the importance of cold and will incorporate that idea fully when i bake tomorrow. thank you!

  108. Kimbus

    Any tips on pastry making gratefully received because for something with so few ingredients, it does seem mighty tricky to get it just right. For instance, how do you get the pastry base to be cooked and not soggy when making say, quiche? Should you do the same regardless of whether you’re making a big pie or individual ones? I’ve tried baking blind, but all that happens is the base is soggy and the crust is burnt. I know I’m doing something wrong!

  109. Lydia

    Deb, I love your pie crust posts — they make a confusing subject very clear and easy! One thing I’ve never been able to find an adequate explanation for is when to par- or pre-bake a pie crust, and when to fill it raw. I’m making my favorite this Thurs, sweet potato pie. Do I need to par- or pre-bake my crust?

  110. dawn

    I’m sorta known for my pies in my little mountain town. I always use the food processer–pulsing and checking to make sure I have pea sized chunks before transferring the whole mess to a bowl for the ice water part. I’ve found it to be super important to refridgerate the dough, then roll it out and refridgerate it again before pie-panning it and filling it. The cold butter chunks are the key to making the steamy pockets of flakiness. The reason the food processer works better than the by-hand method is that the messing-with-the-butter part is minimized. It takes me 10 seconds to get the butter to the perfect size.
    I am certainly on your side for all butter, all the time. Sometimes I add just a pinch of baking powder, It’s probably all in my head, but this seams to make the flakes even more pronounced.

  111. YES, PLEASE….for the rolling tutorial.

    I’d also like a suggestion or two for using raw-milk butter. Mine comes from the dairy in a tub, not in handy sticks like store-bought butter. I usually scoop it out with a spoon and it gets all flaky and flat before I even get to the cutting in part. I suppose I could bend and use store-bough butter, but that’s a sort of philosophical challenge for me!

    MaryBeth

  112. I am the pie baker in our family. My Granny passed that job on to me. Well, I came home a few weeks ago and there was the most amazing aroma coming from the kitchen…it was apple pie made by my 15 year old daughter. It was delicious! She said she had used a new crust recipe and when I asked if it had shortening in it she said (in a disgusted tone), “No. That stuff is gross.” I was so proud.

  113. Jenn Bo

    Pie rolling tips? Yes, please. Pretty please.

    Thank you for the recipe & tips. I’m making a few pies and I plan to experiment with the recipes & techiniques. Then maybe I’ll know my favorite!

  114. i’ll second (or third or fourth) a request for pie rolling tips.

    so excited to hear that a food processor is not preferrable (as mine in way too small and weak to handle a pie crust anyway. and yes, butter for anything and everything baked. i have been close to arguing about shortening in cookies. butter is always better in my opinion.

  115. I love to bake and have been cooking for fun since college. No matter what I do, rotating the dough, etc., – my dough for pastry or cookies always looks more like Australia than a nice circle. So I vote for the tutorial.

  116. I agree with you that the cold is key. That is why I like the drunken pie crust so much. I keep my vodka in the freezer and it gets so very cold, colder than the water is. I refrigerate the shortening too. There’s a little tub in there just waiting for pie crust. My mother in law passed on a habit to me- she freezes her flour. It’s another way to keep all the ingredients as cold as possible when making your dough. Even freezing the pastry cutter can help keep the integrity of the cold butter (and shortening).

    All that being said, I don’t care for shortening. I like all butter better. Do you think that will work with the drunken pie crust? Can you just use all butter and the vodka? hmmmm…

  117. Kat

    I’m delurking to say that we are in total pastry sync. I have followed along every step of the way – all butter to some shortening back to all butter. I tried your vodka suggestion and wasn’t thrilled, and never have been convinced of the food processor idea. In the end, I’ve come back to pastry puritanism (the only kind of puritanism I can stand). I’m glad to see I’m not alone!

  118. deb

    Hi Lydia — I don’t think there is a right or wrong way. The French par-bake their tart shells, their version of pie dough; most Americans do not. The theory is that parbaking the shell will keep the bottom from getting too soggy. But I always feel that with heavy, wet fillings like apple or pear or other fruit pies, it might initially do the trick, but won’t hold off softening the base for more than a couple hours. Since I always bake pies in advance, I never bother.

    The other issue is the shrinking factor. Unlike tart shells, there’s quite a bit of water in pie dough so they shrink a lot more in the oven. I prefer to avoid this issue entirely, and generally don’t bother parbaking.

    I do occasionally make an exception for pumpkin pie… not as wet and heavy, I think you can noticed the improved base crust when it is slightly par-baked.

  119. Sarah

    I’m also a member of the lard club. My mother uses *all* lard, I use a 50/50 mix, and my pie crusts definitely taste better than hers.

    My cousin is has been a vegetarian for 25 and knows we make our crusts with lard, but she eats them anyway because they’re so good.

  120. Rosie

    I’ve always been too scared to try baking pies! You don’t make it seem so scary. I think it’s the rolling the dough part that scares me most, so I would LOVE to see a tutorial!!! Thanks!!

  121. thanks for this post. my mom was never much of a pie baker (i can’t think of one homemade pie even) and i really learned to bake pies in sweden, and from swedish cookbooks. they always use butter, never shortening, and i’ve wondered about the people who swear by crisco but never wanted to test it myself. my crusts come out pretty good, although i never could figure out how to do the edges proper and what to do with the lattice edges. so a roll out, into the pan post would be awesome :)

  122. Ha! I literally clicked over to search for “all butter pie crust” today. I thought I was losing it for a moment when I saw the title of this entry, thinking I must have already run the search and clicked on the result. You are too good to me.

  123. Irene

    I havea question about the Alice Waters Apple Tart that I wanted to make on Thursday –
    Why the pizza stone in the middle of the rack? Do I take it out when I’m ready to bake the tart? Or do I leave it in the oven? Do I put whatever is holding the apple creation on top of the pizza stone if I’m supposed to leave it in the over or on the rack above it? My stone is about 15″ round, 13 years old and almost black from constant use over the years and I’m afraid to do anything that may crackor damage it…

  124. I use the butter for my dessert pies but pork lard for my meat pies. I’ve given up on shortening because it’s just too freakin’ expensive! I’ve never had a bad crust in my life, no matter what kind of fat I use.

  125. Binnie

    Dear Deb,
    I love your emails… I read yours first every day, and usually print them.
    Trouble is, my recipe file is getting so full of Smitten Kitchen recipes, there’s hardly any room for others! And the pictures! So beautiful! (Can’t leave them out.) Thanks!! Binnie in VT

  126. bonnie

    My mom and I use cold fresh squeezed OJ in place of water when making fruit pies. It gives the crust a little extra flavor and (as far as I can tell) doesn’t make it any harder to work the dough.

  127. sarah

    after reading some of these comments, I’m going to try a box grater and frozen butter instead of a food processor next time I make pie crust dough. Seems like it would come together really easily.

  128. Robyn

    Deb, I cannot belive this! I finally decide to make pie crust and I used your pie crust 101 recipe, just last night mind you. And here you are switching up on us. I will be sure to study the rolling tutorial before I make the pie tomorrow. thanks for everything. I am a huge fan.

  129. JENI

    I got a pastry blender for this last nite. The butter kept on getting stuck in the metal so i had to constantly push it out with my hand (prob warming up the butter more than it should). i chilled part way again and mushed some more. the dough is now sitting in the freezer till i come home tonight. can’t wait!

    i’m making cranberry tarts, a chocolate tart, pumpkin pie and apple pie. i’m making the cranberry tonight, should i also make the pumpkin a day ahead? does it keep well?

  130. ChubbyBunny

    Ahh! If only I had read this post BEFORE baking tomorrow’s pumpkin pies with the vodka crust recipe…fingers crossed that it still turns out all right!

  131. another way to keep things really cold is after you have measured out your dry ingredients, put the cold butter pieces into the flour mixture and toss a bit and then put the bowl in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

  132. Nicole Gustas

    I have a few thoughts on the whole pie crust thing.

    1. I have massive food allergies, so shortening a la Crisco is right out. The palm oil shortening they have at Whole Foods, however, is scary yummy, and I find actually adds to the flavor of the crust. Go fig!

    2. I think the whole vodka/liquid/etc. thing may in part hinge on where you live. I just moved from a desert city to a seaside, very foggy and often rainy city. In the desert city, even with all the liquid in the vodka-based crust, it was pretty darn dry. We’re talking barely-holding-together dryness, here. In my new area, I’m making pie crust, using the same recipe I’ve always used, and the crust is an unmitigated gloppy disaster. I honestly think the ambient humidity really has an effect on pastry.

  133. Cindy

    Deb,
    Thank you for your recipe(s). I made 3 of these crusts this morning and refrigerated for 4 hours and then rolled them out. I put them into the pan and refrigerated while making the filling. Everything was COLD COLD COLD! Here’s my problem, while baking, the butter is melting into the bottom of my oven and now my whole house is smoky, not to mention, the pies may pick up some smoke flavor. What did I do wrong? I loved rolling this dough out and it was easy to make, but I think I remember this happening to me before and that’s why I switched back to shortening.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  134. Popping out of lurking mode to tell you that I made this pie crust today and it is the best crust I’ve ever had. Thanks so much for the tips in both this post and 103… I’ve never had such success rolling out a pie crust and having it be wonderful.
    Thank you again!

  135. Julie

    Bless you for this wonderful pie crust tutorial! Perfect crust for the first time ever. I could hear the angels singing as I rolled out this perfect circle of non-falling apart, non-cracking, non hexagonal-shaped goodness. AND it tasted as good as it looked! The apple tart, that is. We’re saving the fudge pecan until tomorrow! Happy Thanksgiving!

  136. catherine

    I just put my dough in the fridge. I can’t wait for tomorrow to see the results! I have my fingers crossed. This is my first crust.

  137. dearest smittenkitchen deb,
    i did it. after too many failed attempts at pie crusts (and therefor pies), i think i may have made A MORE THAN DECENT pie this year. i didn’t have two whole sticks of butter. i had 1.5, so yes, the forbidden shortening made an appearance. but it worked! and i peeled some crust away from the outside and it was flaky! and perfect! and i can’t wait to dive into it tomorrow night apres the big feast. it was an apple pie meets marion berry pie concoction and i think i may finally be forgiven for my failed pie attempts in the past. so THANK YOU. it is the holiday to give thanks, and i give thanks to smittenkitchen. happy thanksgiving!

  138. Amanda

    i have a confession to make. i don’t chill my pie dough before rolling it out! the first pie i ever made used the basic pie dough recipe from williams-sonoma (link below)
    and it says to roll out without chilling. i figured they must be crazy, but i tried it… and i got so many compliments on my pie crust that i have never used any other recipe. i still start with everything as cold as i can, but i use my stand mixer rather than a pastry cutter. works every time!

    http://tinyurl.com/2qe7r8
    (there is a typo in the web version of the recipe – it says to cut the butter into 4-inch cubes, yikes! the book says 1/4-inch cubes)

  139. iluvfud

    Wow.

    somehow, after years of failed crusts I have prevailed. in part, thanks to you and your visual pic by pic of proper dough evolution. also in part due to 1st time not prepping the whole feast and thus, able to spend more patience on my dessert offering.

    Gracias, Deb!

    ps. those mustard roasted potatoes are my newest addiction, thanks also to YOU!

  140. Ok. So I made this.

    And it was…

    Sooooooooo good. I’ve always been on the fence about pie crust, and now I know why: butter. Most people don’t bake with butter, and I’ll tell ya, butter is better. It just is. I get that it’s a little more expensive and a little less convenient (shortening having the shelf life of a nuclear winter and all) but so worth it. It still works out to be cheaper than a store bought pie, or crust.

    The crust tasted somewhere in between buttery crackers and shortbread. It crackled and flaked like nothing else! It also managed to stay relatively crisp under the filling – which is definitely important. Soggy pie crust at the bottom of the pie is always kinda a downer.

    To sum up: you and this recipe are awesome!

  141. Ah, how I love pie crust. I don’t know if I’m just lucky, but I’ve never had much problem with pie crust. It might also help that I’ve never lived in very warm climates. I totally agree about the shortening thing. I’ve seen it in so many books, and heard so many people swear by it, but my all butter crust seems so fantastic I’ve never even bought myself shortening. And I usually can tell if someone else has used it in their crust. It’s just not the same.
    A great tip I learned at one of my jobs is that once you get all the dry ingredients together and add the cubed butter, take this “pie prep” and toss it in the freezer. You can chill it just a half hour or so, or if it’s in tupperware it can stay in there as long as a week or so (too much time in the freezer will start to damage your butter though). Then when you go to mix your pie crust, it’s much less apt to get too warm.

    And now I want pie

  142. Amanda

    Fantastic! My fiance refuses to allow Crisco in the house, and I’m not interested in using lard, so the Thanksgiving pumpkin pies have been made with frozen Pillsbury (which I think has no taste, and so I leave the crusts uneaten in front of family). This all-butter recipe is flakier than any crust I’ve ever made or bought, so from this year forth, this is the recipe for our pies.

    I was about to follow your recipe on Thanksgiving morning, using the advised-against food processor since I couldn’t find a pastry cutter, until I said, “screw this, I’ve got two Southern grandmas, I know how to do this using a knife and a fork.” And so I proceeded, to the amazement of his Canadian mother, and it was delicious. But I’m going to speed it up next year with the proper hand gadget.

  143. I just want to say that I love your site!! I am commenting here just because i tried this recipe for my pie crusts for Thanksgiving….and I must have done something terribly wrong—but I don’t want to give up on the all butter recipe!! The crust was for a pumpkin pie and it looked incredible–but when i went to cut into them—awful!! It was not flacky in the least, and way beyond crispy! I could hardly cut it. I was so dissapointed. I HATE to use shortening so this recipe was a like a dream come true. What could I have done wrong?? I printed out your recipe and tutorial and thought I followed it precisely. Has anything like this every happened to you with this recipe?? Thanks so much!

  144. SAS

    This is the same recipe I use! I found mine last year on Everyday Food … anyway, it totally rocks. Leave the sugar out and it makes a great pot pie crust! I made turkey pot pie tonight. Also, once you have this crust, you won’t be able to eat crust with shortening. I also think I’d rather have butter in my system that white yucky shortening. Sorry, I despise shortening and cool whip — anything hydrogenated is just not allowed in my kitchen.

  145. deb

    Hi Melanie — The only reasons pie doughs lose their flakiness is that the butter has been overly blended (pieces got too small) or they got too warm (and melted, also therefore rendering the separate chunks useless). It has little to do with what fat you cut in, which is why I opt for butter because it has the best flavor. Since yours was so hard to cut through, it sounds like it could have overbaked too, but of course, I’m just troubleshooting from afar and wasn’t in the kitchen with you!

  146. marie

    I have found 1/2 butter and 1/2 lard to be the best. I no longer use shortening in any of my cooking. Since I started making pies all of my friends have started as well and it’s a little embarrassing to be “giving lessons” on pie making. The first few crusts come out a little weird but always tasted really great. After these first few efforts they came out looking terrific as well!

  147. Deanna

    Thank you for reminding me how simple pie dough can be. I whipped out two pies without any dough related temper tantrums, and , for that, my husband was thankful!

    The food processor has been replaced with a new pastry blender that will not be used for guacamole like the last one was.

  148. wow, this was so helpful for thanksgiving dinner! I can’t remember ever making a pie crust in which there was such a thorough amount of visible butter before. It turned out great! thanks!

  149. Hmm, I’m so sad because I followed your directions to the letter but my pie ended up kinda like Melanie’s– hard, chewy, not very flaky. the butter was cold and in large visible pieces, the filling (apple) was perfectly baked, etc. I have no idea what happened.

    Sigh. I’ve never made a pie crust that turned out well. I think I’ll stick to cake.

  150. Cindy

    Melanie…That is exactly what happened to me! The dough rolled out perfectly and it tasted good, but I was using some $%^&*()_ words while cutting it. So, of course, it was just as difficult for people to eat with a fork! It was much easier to pick up and eat than to try using a fork. I followed everything to the letter and I saw Deb’s comment to you that maybe you overly blended, but I know I did not. Makes me think I will go back to my standard Crisco crust which was never a problem, and I always got compliments on my pies.

  151. Wow…..just made two crusts (using half whole wheat flour) for a turkey pot pie. Unbelievably EASY….and the shaker full of flower really did the trick for rolling. I have been buying pie crusts for my entire adult cooking life and have always been disappointed that 1) whole wheat is really hard to find and 2) most whole wheat crusts are made with some sort of vegetable oil (what is a canola, anyway?).

    NO MORE. I have seen the light and will be making my own crusts from now on. Tomorrow’s experiment is 100% whole wheat. I’ll let you know how it goes…

  152. heartstrings

    Good info on pie crusts. A tip I have is using wondra on the board before rolling. It is lighter than spreading flour and no sifting….roll thicker than you think needed and turn frequently. Roll one way then back the other turn, roll one way and back the other. Lifting edges with pastry scrap as you roll. I can’t wait to try this new recipe. I grew up on shortening, but butter is wonderful too.

  153. Tonie

    I have to say that I too had always used all butter and was so frustrated when I rolled it out and attempted to patch and put in a pie plate. But, since last year when I found my issue of Cooks Illustrated with the Pie dough with Vodka, I have been the happiest, almost giddy, pie crust maker ever. The dough in the raw state does have a slight alcohol taste, however when baked it disappears and produces the best and flakiest pie crust. Even better the rolling out of this dough and placing it in a pie plate is so easy. I am a southerner in Tennessee and love my butter, but, with all respect to Deb, I am not at all bothered by a little of Crisco with my butter with zero frustration.

  154. Colleen

    Deb, when may we expect the rolling tutorial?? Soon, I hope, because I’m waiting for the Pie Dough Rolling Bag, which one of your bloggers recommended, to arrive from Baker’s Catalog. I can’t wait to actually make my own crust, but judging from all the requests, it sound as if rolling out is a real minefield, so I think I’d better wait for your tutorial. Tell me you ARE planning one, aren’t you??

  155. Sandy

    Okay. This whole Turkey Day thing is over. It’s one of my favorite meals, but I took on the task of contributing two apple pies using Deb’s all-butter pie crust recipe with the Cooks Illustrated apple pie filling that required pre-cooking the apple filling. Many bowls and clouds of flour later, I delivered two nice-looking pies, but the crust was kind of soggy and didn’t have that flakiness I was hoping for. Maybe the chunks of butter were too big after I worked everything in with my hand held pastry blender/cutter. Any theories out there?

  156. Jennifer

    Hi Deb! I know you’ve heard this from many others but I have enjoyed reading your website and recipes for some time now. I just wanted to let you know that I used this recipe and the Cooks Illustrated Pumpkin Pie Recipe for Thanksgiving and it was a raging success! This was my first attempt at making pie dough from scratch and it went off without a hitch. The dough was cold, I could see the pieces of butter in the dough, and it baked up beautifully. Thanks for all of your help! My family loved it!

  157. hi deb. i tried this recipe and while it was quite easy to handle, it got … puffy. i don’t know how else to describe it. maybe i didn’t bake it long enough but it felt really doughy and heavy to me. did i overmix? i was sad. my brother-in-law was enough of a pain to comment on it. jerk.

  158. Over Thanksgiving, my mom and I were talking about how hard it is to find a good pie crust and that the only ones that have worked for us have Crisco, which, when you think about it, isn’t too delightful. I told her you posted this all-butter option, and we are intrigued. Will be trying.

  159. Liz

    This was a wild success for me! I’ve always been afraid of pie crusts, but everything turned out delicious. I used this for little vegetable pies (similar to the savory autumn leaf pies on Not Martha) and they were really great, the pie crust being the easiest part of the recipe. Everyone commented on the flakiness and I got lots of “You MADE these?” So: thanks!

  160. My pie crusts are never flakey, so I followed your directions and I must say the pie crust was good. I only made one pie for Thanksgiving and I left the second dough ball in the refrig for a few days before I made another pie. I have to tell you that the second pie crust was the best I’ve ever made, it was perfect! (I chilled the first one for 2 hours) In the future, I’m going to make my dough several days ahead! Thanks!!!

  161. Linda

    I can hardly wait to try this! My late mother-in-laws wonderful pie crust uses the same quantities (but no sugar) and methods, but is made with Buttery Crisco, and I’ve never felt the urge to try anything else. But, this one has got to be heavenly! Thanks.

  162. JENI

    I don’t know what happened. My crust is tough. I chilled and cut and left the big pieces of pea sized butter alone. The resulting dough, after the iced water, the dough part got kinda sticky, the butter still in their hard pebble forms. I kept things as cold as possible. The crust on the pie practically melted off the edges because the butter melted then leaked all over the sheet pan. I don’t know what I did wrong. Maybe my “pieces” were too big? Is there such a thing? Is there too much water? I’m puzzled – in the past, I think I make decent pastry dough with frozen butter and cold flour in food processor. Guah… I wonder- i gotta try again tonight.

  163. anon

    Really, you have to try the frozen butter, I always keep a few sticks of butter in my freezer, grated with a cheese grater. Its so fast and not to messy if you stop and toss the butter in your flour so its not so sticky. Then just toss with the flour mixture and it makes amazing crusts.

  164. jaimie

    i tried this recipe on two occasions and, like jeni (#223) all of the butter in the crust melted until there was almost a half inch of of it sloshing around the bottom of the sheetpan i put the pie on. is that normal? i’ve made all butter crust pies before and i’ve never seen anything like it! same thing happened with the unshrinkable tart shell recipe, although not as much in quantity. both crusts are delicious and so flaky!

  165. I used this recipe for an apple pie I was baking for a holiday party my senior manager was throwing. It was a huge success. Everyone kept saying it was the most flaky crust they’d ever had! Thank you so much for the post. You never cease to inspire my inner cook. =D

  166. Jack

    The thing about the ATK/CI vodka pie crust is that everyone gets hung up on the vodka. I saw the ATK show featuring this recipe last week for the first time and to me the most revolutionary thing about it is the way they cut in the butter with the Cuisinart. It’s very different than the way they used to advocate, or any other method I’ve seen. They put in only 2/3 of the flour and all of the butter ( cold and cut fine) then they grind it hard, no pulsing, for 15 seconds. This makes a butter/flour blend like very coarse sand. Then they add the last 1/3 of the flour and just give it 2-3 pulses. Then out it goes into a large bowl to blend in the liquid, and so on.

    What struck me about this is that it’s not really overworking the dough, since there’s no water in it yet to form gluten and so not even dough really. I gave it a try, but skipping the vodka and carefully sprinkling in my usual amount of cold water and bringing it together with spatula and so minimal working of dough. I got my usual dough ( not wet, no vodka) and it produced by far the most tender and flaky pie dough I’ve ever made. (My normal method is all butter plus hand pie cutter, and I’ve made plenty in the Cuisinart too, but my wife always says my crusts while flaky are a little too tough, especially with the Cuisinart. She loved this one though.)

    Another big advantage with the new method: Much easier cleanup. The food processor inside is mostly dry with flour, very little butter residue. In fact I made a very good single crust this way in my tiny Cuisinart Miniprep. There’s a very interesting discussion of what exactly makes the flakes in pie crust on the Cook’s Illustrated Bulletin Board, featuring a guy named Kenji who did a lot of work developing the infamous “Vodka method.” Most of the good stuff is in the first three pages of the discussion. The thread is called “Foolproof Pie Dough (add vodka?)”. You can read it for free — no need to join the service. And in my opinion no need for the vodka either!

  167. Rowan Marie

    I just made my first pie ever with this dough recipe, and, amazingly, it worked perfectly!
    The crust was so flaky, and tasted excellent!

    Thank you so much for this recipe!

  168. Timmie

    I LOVE this recipe!! It is the best pie crust ever, no doubt.
    Smitten, i love those pie plates, where do you find them?

  169. April

    Love the info here. Thanks. I’ve made pie crusts forEVER, and even moved to butter some years ago (shortening is lethal stuff, y’know). I appreciate getting your descriptions on WHY (why butter should be cold, esp) things work.

    I use the quarter fold technique for putting my pie crust in the pie pan easily. Has always worked well for me. AND today I found another tip: I use a 12″ salad bowl (it was the only 12″ circle I own with a rim) as the measurement for the crust, and it laid into my pan like a finished professional job.

    Now I’m worried the company won’t believe my crust is homemade — a requirement for today’s pie contest! (I made rhubarb and blueberry, figuring most Texans will get an education, too!).

  170. Madalena

    I came accross your blog while searching afor a different pie crust recipe. I will try it for sure, probably tomorrow! I too would love a video on rolling the dough out! It’s not the easiest part for me either! I love every minute of it though! Thanks for the recipe!

  171. patsy

    Has anyone made this pie crust by weight? I measured out my flour then kept it in the freezer and found that 2 1/2 cups room temp was not 2 1/2 cups frozen, so I just went with 20 oz. of flour, on the theory that 1 cup butter to 2 1/2 cups flour was equivalent to 8 oz. butter and 20 oz. flour. I also ended up using only 2 or 3 tbs. of water, so my flour must have been affected by the humidity. Anyway, it baked up deliciously, but I was wondering if anyone had some tried and true weights for ingredients here.

    On the butter/shortening issue: European or Euro-style butters have a higher butterfat content than most commercial American butters (Land O’Lakes and the like) so they may work better in pie crusts because the fat level is more comparable to shortening. Also, they taste better.

  172. David

    Could someone please recommend a temperature and time to bake this pie crust? I tried this pie crust today following the baking instructions from my rhubarb pie recipe which specified 30-minutes at 450-degrees. The crust turned out way too dark.

  173. deb

    375 to 425 is more the norm. The baking time will depend on the filling you use. You oven might run hot, or you might benefit from covering the pie with foil if the crust starts getting dark before the filling is done. This can also have more to do with how your oven circulates heat than with the actual temperature (for example, my old oven couldn’t top-brown anything to save its life, my new one browns things long before they’re baked–just got to work with it).

  174. jeannie

    Hi & please!!! consider doing a cookbook, I now have stacks of computer printouts-incredible talent, amazing pictures..I. an experienced baker & cook with restaurant experience under my belt & old woman that I am, not easily impressed, stand in awe!
    thanks soooo much. However, himself is not fond of his additional weight gain. He says I should stop before I reach sick levels & require an army of helpers to clean up…I’ll do it anyway..good for the psyche.
    Anyone out there ever tried ‘mule bellies’ or ‘stage planks?’ Can’t get it right. Tried every way. confounded in Louisiana!!

  175. Susan

    FYI! Okay..I finally have a techique down that solved my dry dough, cracking when rolling, dilema. I made a cherry pie from Gourmet, July 2007. (the Gourmet video channel also has a tutorial on this technique) It has a recipe for the crust that’s almost the same as yours ( it uses 1/4 cup of shortening and 3/4 cup of butter, but, whatever) The big difference to me is, they instruct you to use the dough smear technique after the water is added and the dough is gathered. It made all the difference in the world for me. Easy to roll..and flakey? Oh my! That dough was so flakey you could almost peel back the layers! They just fanned up when you pressed a knife or fork to cut it. Gawd..I finally don’t feel dough challanged anymore! (I’ve made several cuz I couldn’t believe that it was not just a one time fluke!) Like, born again relief! sorry..a little extreme, I know.

  176. Susan

    Oh..I just remembered the name of the above French dough smearing method, it’s called “Fraisage” Doi! I am such a hick!

  177. Jenn

    What ever happened to the tutorial on rolling doughs out? Did I miss it? Did it get lost in the shuffle? I know you’re busy (and soon to be busier), but please, please, please give us a tutorial on rolling the dough out. Pretty please, with a sour cherry on top?

  178. Shannon

    I made this recipe yesterday (first time making homemade pie crust!). For my first time, I think it came out pretty good, the top crust was golden and flaky and buttery, but the bottom was pretty soggy (I followed Alton Brown’s recipe for blueberry pie filling). Do you think I got the soggy bottom just because I didn’t parbake the crust? Would replacing some of the butter with shortening reduce the sogginess? I also forgot to dock the crust by poking with a fork before baking (as Alton Brown recommends) – do you think this makes any difference in the texture of the crust?

    Hate to bombard you with questions, but one more: I don’t have a pastry cutter (but now plan on getting one!), so I cut in the flour just using a fork. Some of the butter pieces were bigger than “pea-sized”, rather large chunks, but I erred on the side of bigger butter chunks than smaller. Could my crust have been soggy because the butter pieces were too big?

    1. deb

      The sogginess comes from not par-baking the crust. It’s not something most American bakers fuss over (as much), but if it bugs you, you should definitely incorporate it into your pie-baking recipes.

  179. Elizabeth

    What are your thoughts on oil crusts? I made one for the first time last Saturday after bringing home 10 lbs. of pitted sour cherries. I struggled with its thinness (it was translucent and I had to patch several tears). But it was crisp and pretty tender (even after refrigeration)!

    I can’t wait to make the cherry slab (using your crust recipe, of course)!

  180. So glad someone shared the link to this post!

    I’ve had a love (to eat it)/hate (to make it) relationship with pie crust. My crust is SO flaky–“How flaky is it?” — It’s so flaky, that I can’t get it to hang together enough to roll it out properly, lol!

    Yeah, I’ve found that shortening for flakiness and butter for flavor seems to be the rule, so often do 1/2 & 1/2 for best results; but, I’m inspired to stick with just butter… it’s got to be all in the technique, the handling. COLD & quick… not overwork it. Can’t wait to get over our heat wave so I can try your recipe.

    BTW, Re: soggy bottom fruit pie crust. America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Cook Book had a great tip on that. The major cause of soggy bottom is the steam from the fruit cooking off gets trapped. Solution is to have at least 8 decent sized vents or a lattice top so the steam escapes. The other tip is to let the pie cool enough for the juices to congeal so it’s not so runny. (Also, I tried their suggestion to freeze and grate the butter–I don’t have a food processor– and it seemed to help, though I think if I try that again, I will grate it in smaller portions and dust with flour as I go along. I did a double recipe and it smashed itself up before I finished.)

    (To Shannon: The thing about pricking the crust with the fork is the same as pricking a potato before baking it– it lets the steam escape so you don’t get huge pockets/bubbles built up.)

    Oh, and here’s a crazy sounding thing I just heard from a baker at a local farmer’s market: to transport two pies safely, she slaps one upside atop the other. (I assumed she was talking about sealed two-crust pies not one-crust w/cream or meringue!) I haven’t tried it yet– hope to buy two pies from her next week as she was sold out this week.

    Her other tip (and selling point, lol!) was to go ahead an buy 2 or 3 different pies, partly cut them into 7 slices, freeze them then finish cutting them completely apart. Then wrap and place carefully in freezer where they won’t get smash with a roast. Then you can take out, heat and eat as desired. Get the variety w/out the impulse of eating the whole pie by yourself (for those who live alone).

    Thanks for the inspiration and tips!

  181. PL

    Elizabeth, I use an oil crust all the time for my FIL who loves pies but is on a strict no-cholesterol diet. It’s a great crust – cam from a wonderful 1989 New Yorker article on pies. If anyone here is interested:

    Whisk together 3 c. flour and 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Make a well in the flour mixture.

    Blend together in a small bowl 3/4 c. vegetable or canola oil and 1/4 c. + 2 T. water.

    Pour oil/water into the flour well and mix quickly and lightly with a few strokes.

    Roll out – it’s enough for 2 crusts with a decent amount left over. (I hate it when I only have just enough dough. This recipe guarantees that you don’t have to worry about that).

    The crust can also be sugared, if desired.

    I love a good butter crust like this one – THANKS, DEB!! But if cholesterol is a concern, the oil crust is a good alternative.

  182. Elizabeth

    Thanks, PL! My recipe called for 2 c. flour to 1 c. liquid (half oil, half buttermilk). No wonder I was struggling! I will try your formula next weekend.

    I did make the butter crust this past weekend – very flaky, but fairly tough. This is due to operator error, not the recipe. I added a smidge too much water, rushed the chilling process, and then struggled to roll out the dough. Oddly enough, my husband loved it!

  183. I’m making the vodka crust recipe for a blueberry pie. Not sure if I like it yet, it looks to wet, thanks for the rolling advise. thats where I get tense.I always mangle my crust because I don’t use enough flour and fight it all the way to the oven. my crust is still better than my wife makes. but then again hers comes in a foil pan.

  184. Ginger

    I have been making pie crusts with my grandmother since I was in fifth grade. That was 20 years ago. This recipe is my all time favorite. We used shortening of course which is not bad but the butter really brings out some wonderful flavor and a fantastic flaky crust. Thanks

  185. bets

    dumb question, but if I am making a one crust pie (your peach creme fraiche) can I just half all of the ingredients in this recipe or would that not work? Love, love, love your site!

  186. Laurel

    Love your blog! I’ve been cooking & baking off of it for the last few weeks – much to my boyfriend’s delight. I just made my first homemade pie crust last night (following your tutorial), and although I only used 1 cup water, I think it was too much. It turned out VERY sticky and gummy. Looked more like pizza dough. Not sure what I did wrong?

  187. Jane

    I love the various Pie Crust tutorials! I have a question for anyone who could offer some help. Being a poor graduate student in a tiny apartment, I’ve been trying to keep my kitchen gadgets to an absolute minimum. I’m curious: could I use my potato masher as some kind of MacGuyver-like substitute for a pastry cutter? Is this total madness? I’d love to hear anyone’s opinion on this matter.

    1. deb

      Hi Jane — It might just work. Do let us know how it goes if you try it; I’d love to update this post at some point with all of the other ways people are getting similar results.

  188. Craig

    A couple of thoughts…

    With regard to CI’s vodka recipe, I agree with your assessment. I also didn’t like that my crusts didn’t seem to brown as well as normal. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I have found that I reduce the percentage of vodka by half then use a “normal” amount of liquid. I can use enough liquid to make the dough easy to handle without so much concern about developing the gluten.

    With regard to butter, again, I agree whole-heartedly. I suggest that you try a cultured butter. I buy Organic Valley unsalted cultured butter. It’s priced about 25% more that other high quality butters, but the moisture content is much lower and it melts at a higher temperature. I can keep a stick of this at room temperature on a summer day and feel definite resistance from a butter knife. With conventional butter, it gets so soft that I can hardly keep it on the end of a knife. This is a great feature for pastry-making and will help ensure a flaky crust. I believe that Lurpack (Danish) and Kerrygold (Irish) are also cultured butters and are increasingly easy to find in regular grocery stores. All of them are great butters.

    Jane – About the potato masher, if it’s one of those wire zig-zag models, it would probably work. If it’s one with the metal plate with holes in it, I don’t think it would work very well.

  189. Cat

    I made this recipe for the first time last night, and even followed your pie crust 103 to make sure I rolled it out properly. I made this for a pumpkin pie, and the crust turned out very tasty and flaky, but the bottom layers turned out quite tough and almost…*stale* in consistency. Could this be due to more heat coming from the bottom of my oven and over-heating the bottom of the glass pan? Does this happen if the dough is rolled out too thick? Were my butter chunks too big?

    I will certainly try this recipe again, because I try to avoid eating unhealthy fats such as hydrogenated oils, which is precisely what Crisco is–pure trans fats! Sure, eating pies all the time can’t be too healthy either, but I am glad to rid my diet of such a harmful substance that increases my risk of cancer, heart disease, infertility, and alzheimer’s disease!

  190. Anna

    I made the recipe for the first time last week for pumpkin pie and like Cat, the bottom seemed tough to cut through. I figured I didn’t cut the butter in well enough because I had some major chunks going on or that I didn’t roll it thin enough..This is my first time with all butter…
    It did taste VERY delicious though!

  191. Lisa

    I have been baking for more than 50 years and found that the best way to roll out pie dough is between two sheets of waxed paper. Here’s my method:

    When ready to use, take smaller ball out and roll between sheets of waxed paper into an 11” circle to fit a 9” pie pan. Loosen top sheet, flip over and loosen bottom sheet, then remove bottom sheet. Holding your hands over dough, flip over so that dough is now on the bottom of the waxed paper, supported by your hands. Position over the pie pan and gently guide into place. Press lightly to bottom edges to fit into pan. Trim edges, leaving a ½” overhang of dough. Fill with your choice of filling.

    Roll out second ball of dough in same manner, making a slightly bigger round (approximately 13”) and place over filling as described above. Trim edges to ½”; roll and press top and bottom edges of dough together. Crimp as desired.

  192. Secret to rolling pie crusts.

    Zip lock bags. Largest you can find. 1.5 to 2 gal works best.

    I use 1 gal bags but it is easier with larger. roll it in the bag leaving one corner of the zip lock open to let the air out while rolling.

    Freeze the bag with the rolled dough. once frozen cut the bag open on 3 sides peel one side of the plastic bag off let the dough warm up a little so it is just a bit pliable without cracking placed dough side down onto a cold pie pan. slowly press the plastic bag side of the crust into the pan. once the dough forms to the shape of the pan. put it back into the freezer. once cold the plastic bag will just peel off. let crust become pliable to make your crimps in the edge on the pan.

  193. biodiva

    Perfect timing as I made crusts tonight. Since I didn’t have any shortening, I was thrilled to find a good butter recipe here. You inspired me to go green – using my sorry ass pastry blender instead of the food processor. Tomorrow I roll.

  194. Barbara

    My ancient cookbook (1) talks about butter. In colonial time, the best cooks used butter. Poverty folks used lard. So, to be one up on your neighbor, use butter. As I bet that other famous cook might.

    Happy Thanksgiving from the State of Maine.

  195. Joanie

    Love this set of instructions – my daughters and I made pies today and it was so easy! Used the leftovers for some yummy cinnamon sugar bowties…Thanks!

  196. Ken

    So, I’ve always loved baking and have made crusts before that came out okay. It wasn’t until I found your recipe that I understood what was missing in my technique. I also always believed that lard was the way to go for a flaky crust and that butter was the most difficult fat to use for flakiness.

    Well, I made your Shaker Lemon pie a month ago and used this butter recipe. I swear, I’ve never made a crust that turned out as good as this one did. When I pulled it out of the oven, it was just beautiful… and it was so flaky. Because it was made with butter, it was also so much tastier. I wish I had taken a photo but my dinner guests were here and there just wasn’t time.

    Thank you for the recipe and the technique!

  197. Marci

    I used this recipe for the second time tonight, along with your photo essay of instructions and just wanted to say thank you. Pie crust has been my nemesis for a long, long time. I often end up crying over a bowl of flour and butter and wondering how mere tablespoons of water are supposed to get me to the point of dough. I have followed along with Alton Brown’s recipe and failed. My next attempt was going to be the CI vodka recipe but I tried this instead for my pumpkin and pecan Thanksgiving pies – they turned out great. I even got brave the next day and tried a CI recipe for my CI deep dish apple pie (no vodka, but uses sour cream), and luck struck twice. Tonight I made both doughs again – yours and the CI sour cream recipe (my husband liked that dough with that particular filling recipe – found it chewier than yours, but right for the apple pie so I’m using both again), and my pie crust-fearing days are over. Thanks!!!

  198. Kate

    OK – I am going to try the dough thing now. I respect Ina and CI too however the idea of shortening ( like the kind that comes in the blue can) just turns me off. Butter rules!

  199. amy

    well, I printed off your 102 and 103 tutorials–absolutely loved them, so witty and brilliant–and tried them on Saturday. but, my crust was awful. it was TOUGH. barely edible. where did I go wrong? it seems I’ve heard that can happen with too much flour getting added during the rolling process…but your 103 tutorial didn’t say a thing about that, just encouraged us to be generous with the flour. I apparently was, because I had no problems with sticking…but ugh, that tough crust. really disappointing.

    1. deb

      Hi Amy — Sorry you had trouble. Hard to say what happened from this side of the computer, but working the dough too much (did it have to be rerolled at all? did you knead it more than briefly?) can get the glutens going and make a pie dough tougher. That’s the main reason these things happen…

  200. Adelina

    I always love your site and a frequent visitor!

    This is probably my 20th + something times that I visited this one post on pie dough from your site alone….

    I have been trying to learn the art/ science of pie dough and Although I’ve read and heard from many chefs/ bakers/ experienced bakers, etc. that I shouldn’t be “afraid” of making them, I have to confess I still am!

    My previous attempts at making pie dough were either failed miserably, failed painfully, or just plain “blah” with disappointments. With that said, I haven’t found one technique/ one recipe that generally works for me, not yet!

    I was also going to try the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated using Vodka, but after reading and re-reading your thoughts about Vodka, I don’t think I would want to spend the extra money for Vodka!

    Then about a few months ago, I went ahead and bought a big tub (that was the only size the local store carried) of lard to experience in pie dough. I did one pie dough for a quiche recently, using lard, but I wasn’t impressed at all.

    Then I also read from a few articles about why I Should use the food processor to prevent my hand/ fingers from “warming” up the dough and to prevent me from “over handling” the dough!

    Oh…the frustration…needless to say!!! Pie Dough!!!!

    So…..back to the drawing table, I’m going to try your recipe….

  201. emily

    I have the same problem cindy had with this crust: delicious and flaky, but smoky as heck when the butter starts dripping out in the oven. Deb, any suggestions on how to combat this?

  202. Angela

    I have tried many recipes and techniques over the years. Sometimes I get a result, and sometimes I don’t. But THIS recipe is amazing. I have never had flakier, yummier crust. I used it to make the shaker lemon pie recipe you posted. It’s delicious. Thank you!!

  203. Amanda

    Technical question for you: I made the following pie
    http://www.marthastewart.com/pear-and-dried-cherry-pie

    and it turned out delicious but also ridiculously runny. It may not have had adequate time to cool, but with the puddle of juice that was left I don’t see any way it could have been fixed by letting it sit. What is there to do to fix such an issue? Have you run into this before? Thanks in advance for your expertise sharing!

    1. deb

      Hi Amanda — I really can’t advise on recipes I haven’t made myself. You might try to pour some off, or just serve it cold, where it will gel a little better.

  204. Julia

    Amanda — Maybe your pears were more ripe and made more juice. If that’s the case, a little more flour in the filling would probably help.

  205. I’mNoCook

    Hi Deb,

    Just found your site and LOVE it!

    I want to make a savoury (egg and bacon) pie….do I leave the sugar out of your recipe for this??
    With Thanks.

  206. C

    Thank you for the great pie crust tutorial ! Been cooking for many many years but this crust is the best ! The cold cold is the trick !!! Used my mother’s deep dish glass pie plate( she’s been gone 25 years now) She made great pies. She wou;d have loved your recipe ! Had enough dough left over to make the ever popular pinwheels along with the Apple Pie. Thanks again !!!

  207. Za

    Thanks for the recipe and the tutorial. I never baked pies before this recipe n tutorial. So I am totally indebted to you. Plus, I have never tried any other pie crust recipe since this one works so well for me – from the taste to the texture to the rolling out. So I’ve written a post just to say how awesome your recipe is! and show off my newly found skill. :) Thanks once again.

  208. Jess S.

    This is my first time commenting, but I figured it was about time. I’ve been following Smitten Kitchen for a few months now and have made converts of a bunch of my friends. This pie crust was the first thing I tried, and since then my girlfriends and I have been working our way through your wonderful recipes. I have NEVER been able to nail pie crust, and thus have never used the same recipe twice…until now. :) THIS post has changed the way I bake. Thank you SOOOOO much!

  209. Lo

    I made this with high hopes, but mine turned out abysmal. Followed the directions to a T, and like others, the butter melted and ran off the sides which made a huge mess, and then to add insult to injury, it turned out tough. The dough was not overworked (rolled out only once, kneaded until it just came together), and the butter chunks were pea-sized (I imagined frozen green peas, so I’m hoping that’s what you intended) so I have no idea where I could have gone wrong :(

  210. Lisa

    After 25 years of pie crust phobia and intimidation, I’ve become a true believer. Your directions as clear and concise. Oh, and the crust is amazing. It has all the flavor of a delicious, flaky croissant. So far I’ve made three phenomenal pies and have two more in the freezer waiting for a dinner party next week. Thank you!

  211. harmonious1

    In reply to deb in post 110:
    “Sweet” cream butter means that the butter was not made from soured cream or soured milk. It has nothing to do with the salt content.
    When I was growing up all we had was soured milk butter, and I never knew until recently that it was possible to make butter any other way. I have learned that the butter we buy in the supermarket is made by some mysterious industrial process absent “souring”.
    Someone else may have commented on this, but I had to go ahead and add my thoughts before they became a thing of the past, which happens more and more quickly now days. hehheh
    Thanks for your recipes. I am going to try the pastry, and convert it to gluten free, using chia gel, gelatin, egg, psyllium husk gel , tapioca starch, and masa harina. Have no idea whether it will be edible, but I’ve had a real bad patch of “cherry pie Jones” flung on me right now.

  212. deb

    Aaaah. Thank you! This has been vexing me for years. That said, how many people know this? How many people bring home “sweet” butter and are surprised to find it loaded with salt? If I’m the only person on earth who doesn’t know this basic piece of butter-buying information, you can tell me. I can handle it. :)

  213. Bianca

    I’m with you! What’s the point in having flaky pastry using shortening, if it doesn’t taste like anything worth a damn???

    Taste >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> flakeyness.

  214. Julie

    Deb – I made this crust to go with my mom’s rhubarb pie recipe and it was out of this world!! More than one person said it was the best pie they ever had. Everyone said the crust was incredible. Fabulous! I don’t think I ever need to look for another pie crust recipe. Thanks

  215. Erika

    I make chanukah cookies with a really similar recipe – biggest difference is that it calls for heavy cream instead of water, and all the sweet taste comes from the icing. I always thought the cookies tasted like flaky pie crust, and why not make a pie crust w/butter instead of shortening? Obviously I’m finding this post YEARS after you posted it, but came over from the rhubarb pie post. YUM.

  216. Must tell you my late Momma’s secret to her piecrust. Bear grease. she’d use half shortening & half bear grease (said that you couldn’t use it alone, as it was too rich.) Yep. Everyone loved her pies…we just didn’t tell everyone her little secret. Oh…this is not from ‘back in the day’…she passed away a few years ago, and was using her secret ingredient til the end!!!

  217. I think this pie crust is just divine! I made an apricot pie a couple weeks ago with it and last night I used whole wheat pastry flour in place of flour for chicken pot pie and it was TASTY!!!

    Thanks for sharing, I too find shortening rather icky!

  218. donna

    Have you tried using coconut oil instead of butter? it is solid at room temp. I pretty much use it in all my baking now in place of butter (just nuke it in the microwave until it turns liquid or you’ll get lumps in the dough if you use it in solid form) but I’ve yet to try it in a pie crust.

  219. Katiepie

    Deb, I’m with you on the vodka. I’m a slave to CI but I just don’t like that pie dough. For me, it always shrinks when baked, even with pie weights. I consider myself a pretty proficient pie-dough-maker so, like you, I’ll stick with butter.

  220. Amanda

    This was the first pie crust I ever attempted to make. I don’t own a food processor or a handheld pastry blender so I made sure to keep my water extra cold and to work quickly. (I ended up using a fork). I must have done something right because it turned out AMAZING! Thanks to this fantastic recipe I see many more pies in my future.

  221. Not one to put pressure on myself, but I had company for dinner today and made pumpkin pie with this pie crust. In 30 yrs of baking, this is the FIRST time I’ve made an edible pie crust.
    If you are ever in Australia Deb, I owe you a drink!

  222. Rebekah

    I’m known for my quiche and my apple pie, but that’s because of the fillings, not the crusts. In all honesty, my pie crust has never surpassed “mediocre” and tends towards “tough.” Thankfully my egg custards and cinnamony apples have more than balanced them out thus far… but I’ve finally found a crust worthy of those fillings! Now I understand what was wrong before.

    First, the other recipes I tried were too fancy. (Egg yolks, milk, and other things that evidently had no business being in a crust.)

    Second, yours is the first recipe I’ve found to be honest about the amount of liquid needed. All the others say 2-3 tablespoons per crust, when 5-6 is far more realistic. And starting with too little caused me to overwork the dough, since I had to stir and stir and stir each time I added more ice water. Just dumping in the real amount to start with saves unnecessary working of the gluten.

    And finally, this doesn’t skimp on the butter. :)

    Thank you, Deb! It was so exciting to slice the quiche for dinner tonight and actually hear the crust flakes crackle. And it tasted wonderful.

  223. OK, so I love this dough, and when I make it it turns out well except this: My pretty crimps melt down into a blob. What am I doing wrong? Butter pieces too big? Or am I not hanging the crimps over the side of the pie pan enough?

    1. deb

      Serial — I haven’t figured out the crimp-keeping magic either; mostly you’re looking to do pretty tightly creased crimps, they stay better. So does throwing it back in the fridge or freezer for a bit so they set more. Mine keep their shape only half the time. I don’t sweat it.

  224. Meaghan

    I love this pie crust. Thank you for saving me from lard and shortening and burning cold! cold! cold! into my brain. I am now on my second pie (pineapple with an allspice-coconut crumble) this month with this wonderfulness. Thank you!:)

  225. Jayne

    Deb, I have a question. You asked for one cup of butter. Is that, like, 250 gms? Our butter here are sold in blocks of 250 gms. I’ve made this crust about 5 times now. Somehow I felt it to be a tad bit bland and dry. So lastnight, when making pie with my homemade marmalade (yay! another successful experiment!), I added 2 tbsp more sugar and well, used up all of 250gms of butter. The dough was shaggy after adding buttermilk (yeah, I used buttermilk instead of water) and I refrigerated it overnight. Rolling it out was tricky as it was so soft after a while. I slapped it into the piedish and placed it in the fridge again for a while then patched up all the cracks whatsoever. After prepping the whole thing, I baked it first in 200C. 10 mins into the baking, my heart fell onto the floor. There are puddles of melted butter on the top crust and at the sides, creating holes on the crust. I almost died but decided to leave it and see what happened. It baked up ok but I fear cutting into it. Looks like it might fall apart. it’s cooling now and we’re only gonna have it for supper tonight with friends. Did I use way too much butter? or did my smarty-pants substitutions mess up the chemistry of the crust?

  226. Jayne

    Turns out that the crust was incredibly flaky. Nice and crunchy 14 hrs after the bake! Only, my marmalade failed me. It was nicely sweet and sour when I tasted it but in the pie, it was terribly SOUR! caramel might save it. But in any case, I’ve recommended this crust to a friend new to baking. Hope she finds success!

  227. Betsy

    Wow, I’ve learned to do crusts with butter flavored Crisco but always thought straight butter would taste best, because… well, butter ALWAYS tastes best! This post gives me guts to try it. Thanks Deb! Also, I’m sure this sounds ridiculous, but do you know if any reasonable way to par bake a two-crust pie? I mean, you can’t, right? Or… duh duh duuuhhh… can you?!

  228. I’ve made this pie crust twice in the last three weeks. And oh my wow. I’ve been trying (and failing) to conquer pie crust for the last six months, and thanks to you I’ve finally done it! You taught me not to be afraid of adding water and my pie crust is thanking you. The first time I made it, I did add too much water (it was still good though, which is more than I can say for my other pie crust attempts), but the last time it was absolutely perfect! I couldn’t have been happier with the results. My husband told me I wasn’t allowed to make it for chicken pie anymore because the crust outshone the filling! Thank you thank you thank you!

  229. jade

    Dear Deb,

    I attempted to make a pie for the first time (!!), and decided to have a go at your detailed and reassuringly easy pie crust recipe. Alas! The crust totally did NOT look (nor did it probably taste) like yours, so I’m hoping to troubleshoot!

    1) My dough was admittedly a tad too wet and sticky when I combined everything together, but I figured since I was gonna refrigerate it for 2 hours it wouldn’t matter. I then rolled it between two sheets of plastic wrap, but then it got really sticky again as I transferred them onto the pie dish. But I figured as in some bread recipes that I’ve tried, the wet dough resulted in a bread with really good crust! So I decided to let it be in the state that it was (unfortunately in)- sticky and it droopy. Am I not supposed to do that? Is the dough supposed to be not wet and sticky at all? (the crimpings just drooped down from the edge of the dish onto my baking sheet. So much for praying it won’t. Sigh!)

    2) I remember reading somewhere in this site that you had an experience with an oven that just wouldn’t brown anything, and I think my oven is the evil twin of yours. But a brown pie crust is a MUST! A must!!! So I left it in the oven in hopes (I never do learn) that it will finally brown.. but it didn’t. And I think I might have overbaked it because the end result was a tad dry and hard, and not flaky at all. I’m sure it’s not the recipe, since so many readers reported back with triumphant results. But a little pie-crust-epic-fail SOS here please?

  230. I still use a food processor to make my crusts, but to avoid making the pieces of butter too small I freeze it solid first. They’re like little rocks, and by the time I add my water and start to pull it all together they’re the perfect size.

    In fact, I freeze everything prior to making pie crusts: the butter, the flour, and the blade on my food processor. Perfect crust every time.

  231. devon

    Sigh. Such beautiful photos of such beautiful crusts. Unfortunately, I’m here trolling the comments to see if anybody else is silly enough to try to adapt Smitten recipe advice to a dairy-free world. My little lady can’t break down the proteins, you see, and I can’t bear to make a pie she can’t eat. So. I’m left with a crazy mix of coconut oil, ghee, and palm-oil shortening. I want to try lard, but for today it is out of the budget and the area. Having been a lucky, lucky omnivore my whole life, it amazes me what the vegan world will put up with in the way of baked goods. I guess I’ll just keep trying . . . And looking at your photos when I need to get my saliva supply up.

  232. Grace

    Might I say, I am showered with compliments about my flaky crust every time I bake pies (which, with this recipe, is quite frequent now…). I, of course, do not keep it a secret where I learned to make my pie crusts. Thank you for my new-found popularity with the extended family!

  233. Jennifer

    Great recipe, great crust. My mom uses the never fail pie crust and it is perfect but mine always fails. Needed a new recipe and this one is perfect every time.

  234. Beth

    Love this post, am getting to it late. Have you ever watched Jim Dodge on “Baking With Julia?” His method is very similar to yours. When he puts it in the fridge for the first chill, it is in pieces, with long butter ribbons. After the chill, it comes together, and you can see those miraculous butter ribbons when you roll it out. It is hands down, the flakiest, easiest pastry dough I have ever made. Great post!

  235. loni

    What a delightfully lovely looking pie crust. my kids helped me make apple pie this morning, the whole way through making the crust to peeling, coring, chopping and seasoning the apples for the filling. Its still in the oven cooking, but its the best Looking pie Ive ever made. And the dough was really easy. Before this I always used my moms old recipe for a fool proof pie crust which uses crisco and vinegar. It tastes good and trust me its fool proof (me and a friend microwaved it when we were making it as kids lol and it still worked and tasted good.) But this one has me. Its easy and looks amazing.

  236. Andrea

    Hey there –

    I really enjoy your recipes and the accompanying notes…I tried this pie crust recipe and I definitely had to tone down the water amount. A half cup was way too much for the 2 crusts. I think some earlier posts had comments about wet dough and that might be the cause.

    Thanks.

  237. Magrinho

    I must have read this somewhere – freeze the butter (french butter works best) and a box grater. Then grate the butter – it will feel like cheddar cheese – into the flour. Foolproof! It worked for me, after all.

  238. Misha Sofianos

    I couldn’t believe that there was such a buzz about pie crust. I am having such a great time reading all of it. It has inspired me to bake a pie, the first in about 40 years. The past 2 years have been a devestation for me to say the least and this pie is about to start a journey towards the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you.

  239. Danica

    Thank you for this recipe and the various tips and tricks!! It was a great success and I will use it as my go-to recipe for pie crusts now. I got comments specifically about the crust and how flaky and just-right it was. :) I can’t wait to head into holiday pie baking season now.

  240. I made a batch of this crust and tried it on two pumpkin pies with identical results. Butter overflowed out of the crust (used a pan to catch it the second time around after setting off the smoke detectors in the first round.) Perhaps due to all the excess butter oozing into the filling, it took 50% longer than usual to get the filling completely cooked, leaving the crust unchewable (though very buttery). Anyone have any ideas? Most recipes for pie crusts call for half this much fat.

    1. deb

      Hi Julie — Sorry to hear that you had trouble — you might need to use smaller bits next time. I’m curious about pie doughs that use less butter/fat: I have never seen one and would like to see how they do it. I think it’s something everyone wishes they could do!

  241. Lisa

    This is the BEST pie crust recipe EVER! I made a ton of chicken pot pies with this and my husband nearly died of happiness. I’ve given the recipe to my mum, who unfortunately has a very grim past with pie crusts…….. we suffered through a tougher than nails pumpkin pie crust last week…. bless her for trying. I’m sure she’ll do great with this one!

  242. Danny

    Hey! Found your recipe and used it with the pumpkin pie filling. I bake cookies, breads of all sorts; anything once and if it turns out then even more!

    Pies have always annoyed me, but this recipe was really really yummy! It helps that I have mastered croissants; leaving big chunks of butter in the dough was something I didnt get, so this time no food processor!

    Thanks for being here :D

  243. I’ve never had such a great easy to work with and delicious pie crust! Made this tonight with quiche style leek and ham filling. It was superb. It’s the last and the best recipe of pie crust I’ve made.Knowing great basic stuff, make You rule the world! Thank You!!!!!!

  244. Carol Reynders

    It’s 3:35am in North Pole Alaska, November 15,2010. I am a young 85, we just moved and I want to make a pumpkin pie and I tried a butter pie crust a long time ago, but needed reminders..in google I found “Smitten”. Love it. I should have my pie done by five …lol older people like me sometimes have trouble sleeping..so nothing like making a pie. Thanks for your site. Sincerely, Carol

  245. Sarah

    Ah! I have had such good luck with all things Smitten, but I can NOT get this pie crust to turn out! I’ve tried twice and both crusts lifted off the bottom and away from the sides of the pie pan, making them unusable because I obviously want to get the full amount of delicious filling in the pie! The first one I forgot to prick with a fork, so I figured the air was just trapped…. but the second one I pricked like crazy and it lifted even further off the pie pan. Help!

  246. After years of my grandmother teaching that only shortening will produce flakiness… You have saved me! Though I doubt she will ever convert to the butter ways, I am happily kicking out the crisco can-o-death. I did however cheat and used a food-processor. Trick was, I started adding the water right from the start before any processing had taken place. It worked like a charm.

  247. Tamara

    I’m a college student and got some goodies from Black Friday sales and decided I wanted to try making a pie for the first time. I snagged a recipe for Salted Caramel Apple Pie on the cooking channel tv website like Lauren did and stumbled upon this recipe for the crust. It turned out so well…well, the second time. Flaky. Buttery. Delicious.

    The worst part was not cleaning up or spending a bajillion dollars on all the ingredients and missing utensils…but waiting for the pie to cool. Ugh, its excruciating. We could only wait 30 minutes before sampling a small slice between five people as a teaser.

  248. eileen

    You Rock! this was so satisfying to read just enough about what i needed to know (what creates that flakiness, ect) and then the play by play. I finally made the best tasting and flakiest pie crust and my dinner guests raved! thanks for this. I’m looking to read more!

  249. Sarah Mc

    Responding to my own post above…. figured out the problem for anyone else having it (only took me 4 attempts!… it became something of a personal challenge :P)… too much water! My first attempt lifted a wee bit off the pan, but my second one lifted WAY off (decreasing the area for the filling by about half) and I finally realized I had used way too much water, which as it evaporated created the huge air bubbles. Just a reminder to drizzle water in tablespoon by tablespoon!

    When the crust finally did turn out, it was FABULOUS. And I was so proud of myself… thanks for convincing a novice to try a pie crust, Deb!

  250. Rhonda

    Thank you so much. I haven’t made a pie crust in years, since they never turn out. I have been trying to steer clear of processed foods, so I thought time to try again. The directions are so clear and thorough it was easy. It turned out flaky and buttery. Honestly, I could eat the crust alone without the filling. I can’t thank you enough.

  251. Chelsea

    I just wanted to say that this recipe is fabulously foolproof, quick, and always turns out perfect. My boyfriend and I are both vegan…neither of our families are (not in the least), BUT we are always begged to bring the desserts (usually a delicious pie of course!) to all family gatherings.

    I’ve ‘veganized’ this recipe, and used it dozens of times for a number of different pies, turnovers, quiches, etc. In place of butter I use a vegan butter (Earth Balance is amazing), as well as using whole wheat pastry flour in place of regular flour, because it turns out just as flakey and just as delicious but has slightly more nutritional value (not that anyone is looking at pie crust as a health food). Since I’m unable to find any unsalted Earth Balance I also decrease the salt by a pinch or two. This crust never turns out too salty, too tough or too soggy. I just love it! Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe– otherwise I don’t think our families would have ever believed a vegan could make buttery flakey pie crust.

  252. Unique

    Absolutely love this pie crust my fist ever successful homemade pie crust. Flaky and so delicious.Love it this is officially my go to crust. Thank you

  253. Leah

    I just started using 2 sticks of butter instead of one and what a difference that makes. I must say though that I was initially a fan of the food processor method and found it to have the same problems. However, I recently tried a new method which I quite like: I freeze the butter, then I use the grater attachment for the food processor and just add the little bits to the flour and mix it all by hand with water. It takes little fuss, it’s pretty hard to overwork the dough and it has come out quite flaky. It doesn’t get over the problem of the amount of dishes to wash…but it’s a nice alternative.

  254. leebudz

    heeeeelp
    1st atempt has been a disaster
    seemed very short,
    wat is ur weight for 1 cup of flour, 120g
    also if i added all water i got a very messy wet mix

  255. ~Karen~

    I’ve been married for 22.5 years. My husband always askes me to make pie… and I never want to.

    I always end up crying because my crust (usually tastes good) looks awful. My grandma and mom made such beautiful crusts, they have both passed away– so I couldn’t get their help.

    Today I made a pumpkin pie, using this recipe and your roll out tutorial. First time I made pie without crying. Thank you !

  256. Laura

    Deb, Usually I make a margarine crust from Joy of Cooking. I was at someone else’s house and they had tons of butter so I gave your butter crust recipe a try. It browned very quickly – like to the point where I thought it would burn – and the final product was a very greasy crust and very soupy on the inside. What do you think happened?

  257. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I don’t like mushy shortening either, so was extremeness happy to find your recipe. I used it to make Apple Dumplings. YUMMY! The crust wasn’t real flaky, but I think it’s because of the syrup that you baste the dumplings with. Great crust, though.

  258. Trish

    I’ve made this recipe in the past according to Jim Dodge’s “Flakey Pie Crust” recipe. It’s a bit different in technique, but it works, however it is challenging for first time pie crust makers. I also live with a chef schooled in classic French pastry. There are many variations of pie crust dough. You have to find the one you like, and the one that you can work with. (You know, the one you’re not throwing against the wall for the 4th time!) Flakey pie crust is very challenging. The French usually use puff, the Greeks use filo which can be found just about everywhere. There are also sweet pastry versions that use an egg, not flakey, but good none the less. It is all trial and error. Best of luck to all of you. What a wonderful way to share information…and it really good to know that there are individuals not “buying” their pies for the holidays…you guys rock!!! A labour of love indeed. Also of note, I have never rolled my pie crust between celophane wrap. You would want to use wax paper or parchment.

  259. Sengkelat

    I made this crust yesterday for Pi day (3/14, of course) with a blueberry filling. Started in the food processor but dumped it into a bowl to add the water. I had to work the dough a lot as it really wanted to be a zillion individual crumbles rather than anything like a cohesive mass, but I followed the edict to chill, chill, chill, rolled it out on parchment paper, and it came out beautifully…and for the first time ever I managed to make cute crimped edges. Thanks Deb!

  260. Nina

    i have a specific question: is anyone else a resident of the dessicator that is Arizona? I have tried so many times to make pie dough, but after I add the 1/4 c of water, my dough is still dry and crumbly…i add another 1/4 c, no luck, so by the time I’ve actually added enough water to make the thing come together, there’s so much water and gluten formed that my crust is as crunchy as a cracker.

    Please help! Is there any advice you wonderful fellow bakers could pass on?

    Thanks, nina

  261. Rasa

    Thank you for curing me of my pie crust phobia. I love pie, but have always been so intimidated by crusts. There was just something about the way you described it that made sense for me, and this weekend I made the most glorious strawberry-rhubarb pie. It was beautiful!

  262. Definitely with you on the weirdness and lack of flavor of vegetable shortening (I’ve only used it once or twice, when my mom left some here after a visit, but I wouldn’t do it again) — BUT last week I made the apple pie from Cook’s Illustrated and it was the BEST pie I’ve ever made. The important thing, I think, was substituting coconut oil (I figured, it’s sort of like vegetable shortening) for the veggie shortening — it gave it the perfect texture without lack of flavor. Coconut oil is expensive, but it’s worth trying just once, I think…

  263. julie

    Oh my god, this was SO helpful. Normally I always want to know the physics behind baking but I somewhat missed it in pie-making. Therefore I thought I needed to get rid of all those little butter flecks (That’s the reason why pie was always so mysterious for me. If you want the butter to soften, why try to keep it cold?) and my piecrusts were terrible. I can’t wait to try another one, now that I’m so much wiser. Thanks!

  264. Hello,
    I am trying this pie crust recipe for my second time. The first time (last week making a strawberry rhubarb pie) was the best crust I have ever made but, it was not perfect. I am trying to make it “perfect” like yours. I was wondering about the following I found when researching:
    “Do not glaze the top of a pie. Although it will make the pie look shiny and very appealing, it seals in moisture and keeps the dough from breathing. It makes a tough crust. A light dusting of sugar is the one exception. ”
    I really liked how pretty my pie looked but it wasn’t quite as flaky as I wanted. I am trying to figure out if I should glaze it this time or not…Any help will be appreciated, thanks!
    Shannon

    1. deb

      I agree that glazing can inhibit lid flakiness, but only a tiny bit. The lift really comes from within the pie dough. But I could be wrong. If you’re willing to sacrifice the photo-perfect beauty (well, it will still be pretty, just a bit bipolar looking!) of a single pie to an experiment, you might try glazing half the lid and leaving the rest unglazed and see if you agree. And I’d love to hear if you try it, what you conclude.

  265. Courtney

    I made a blackberry pie – my first homemade pie ever – for my husband’s birthday tonight and followed your crust to the letter. Thank you for detailing so many parts of the process – it helped me go slow and be patient and do it right! I could barely believe how well it turned out. Thank you!

  266. Kelly

    For Christmas, I gave my father a Pie of the Month gift (I bake the pies he requests) and had been using a shortening recipe because he had said that he liked it on a different pie I had made. I got sick of the trans fat and came looking. I came upon your site quite by accident but found your recipe for an all butter pie crust.

    I am a forever changed pie baker. I am in love of with the way the crust came out golden brown (never did with the shortening), the flakiness of it and the taste is just so much more enticing than the recipe I was using that included shortening.

    Thank you for the great recipe as well as the tutorials. I’m a better person for it now!

  267. Kayla

    Hi Deb, I’ve enjoyed working my way through the archives of your blog, and in pursuit of perfect pie crust decided to try this one. It smelled and tasted amazing (i.e., like butter!) and even looked flaky, but unfortunately was a bit tough/chewy (though still crisp on top). I made only a top crust, so it wasn’t an issue of liquidy fruit soaking into it, and I did my best to keep things cold throughout the process. Any ideas on what could have happened? I’d like to try the recipe again to see if I get different results, but some tips would be really helpful! Thanks!

  268. Tara

    Strange…although I don’t know Kayla, I had the exact same issue on this exact same day, and hers was the first comment I saw that mentioned the chewiness! I made the sweet cherry pie (ridiculously delicious, Deb…thank you!) using this crust recipe, and I was overwhelmed by the ease and beauty of this crust. My husband even told me to take a picture of the pie and we both enjoyed the taste. I don’t think I overworked it, it rolled out beautifully, flecks of butter were visible throughout. It was flaky, just chewy. The top was okay (just slightly chewy), but the bottom was seriously difficult to cut through with the side of the fork. Will try it again with less water and more chilling time on the dough–do you think those could have been the culprits? Any other ideas? Many thanks for your recipes, instruction, patience, and input:)

  269. Anna

    I love that you say this ‘1. I’m over shortening’ I cannot really say I bake too much, in fact I can probably use my fingers and toes to count all the ‘baked’ things I have made in my entire life but I was never into shortening. I always thought it was something totally disgusting. In fact every time I come across shortening in a recipe I disregard the entire recipe.

  270. HELP!!!! I’ve attempted this 2 times now and for some reason it is NOT turning out! It looks wonderful and delicious until I get it in the oven then the sides flop in and it seems to stay doughy instead of browning. I’m sad. I REALLY want to eat this yummy raspberry pie but I have no shortening and this butter crust recipe was my only hope for a scrumptious dessert tonight! Any ideas what I’m doing wrong??

  271. Daphna

    My friend and I used this this crust in a sour cherry pie yesterday, and it was amazing: flaky, delicious, so easy. It was my first pie, and now I’m no longer scared and want to bake pies all the time (and maybe I will!). And so, a question: how can I adapt this dough to savory recipes–pot pies, etc.? Would cutting down on the sugar damage the texture? How much salt should I add? Or would another dough recipe work better? Thank you–I so enjoy your site!

  272. Maggie

    This is a great recipe! I’ve used butter-flavored shortening, but butter is SO much better! My mother was a fabulous pie baker, and I’ve become the go-to pie baker in the family. A couple of her tricks: mix 1 TB of lemon juice with the water, stir in a bit of the flour mixture into the liquid, then add to the rest of the dough (this helps distribute the liquid easily), and roll the dough between two sheets of waxed paper. I’ve never had a failure with these techiniques. By the way, chewiness can result from over-working the dough – it’s important to use a light touch when blending the flour, butter and liquid. Happy baking!

  273. thanks for this! I have been making in the food processor for some time (thanks in part to your whole lemon tart recipe), but it was time to move on. I mean, I’ve even taken a class at the local culinary arts school where we made pie dough using the traditional fraisage method, on the counter! I own two pastry cutters! But you know what got me, is your argument about the annoyance of cleaning the food processor. Yes–I”m with you. I haven’t baked my dough yet, but I can see my chilling discs are wonderfully streaked with butter, which I know equals future amazing flakiness.

    1. deb

      I use different doughs for tarts and pies. For tarts, I prefer a more cookie-like dough; pies, I prefer something tender with big flakes. These days, I use this dough for sweet tarts more often.

  274. Lindsay

    I made four pies this month using this recipe! I think I’ve only ever made one pie crust before this in my life (which did not turn out so nicely- I used a food processor). I love this recipe and so does everyone who eats my pies! This will always be my go-to pie crust recipe. Thank you

  275. Gabriela

    This is the best pie crust ever. I made an award winning pie with that crust. So yummy. Thanks a lot, I will not use another recipe ever again. This one is the BEST!

  276. Kem

    I made this dough for a peach raspberry slab pie. It was the first dough I’ve ever made from scratch, since I’m usually terrified of making pie crust. However, this recipe is so simple and I love that I don’t need a food processor. I got rave reviews from many people and my future father-in-law, who is fairly reserved and quiet, even made several comments about how could have eaten the whole thing. I’d recommend this dough to anyone. Thank you for the step by step photos and directions!

  277. Kath

    I have to agree with Kem. I made this for your peach & creme fraiche pie and it was the least stressful pie crust I ever made. Rolled out easily, didn’t stick at all (which is saying something on a humid August day). Perfect.

  278. I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu with an honors degree in the The Science of Culinary Arts.
    I’ve cooked and baked all up and down the East Coast and of course lived vicariously. haha
    I LOVE your blog! and you’re hilarious!
    It’s great that you put the old fashioned humor back in the smitten kitchen!
    I also love your antics about plain – old school buttered dough! It’s so very French of me to say but nothing compares to the power and flavor of butter.
    A chef instructor for Butcherie & Charcuterie I had used to rant “Fat = Flavor!” as he pulled the ham strings of a small, skinned rabbit to kick in the air.

  279. Lynn

    THIS IS THE BEST PIE CRUST EVER!!! I’ve been baking since I was a kid, and everything else I do is better than restaurants. I’ve often sold my baked goods. Pies (just the crusts) always dodged me, so I started to buy crusts at the store and make my filling. Those days are gone, and I’ve finally fond the crust for the PERFECT HOMEMADE PIES! Thank you so much!!!!!

  280. Skippy

    Agree with Lynn. I am an experienced baker and have used many a good recipe for pie crust. But, when you want a super flaky, buttery pastry, this is hands down, THE BEST! I have recommended your site to other devotees over the last few years, and your fan base is growing!

  281. Alcippe

    I just want to say that I’ve been making pie for quite a few years, but today I got a wild hair to try your version of crust instead of my mom’s old standby. I took the result to my husband’s CalFire helitack station and they said it was amazing! You made me and a bunch of firefighters some happy campers today. Thanks a bunch! :)

  282. Amy Doyle

    Oh.My.Word. I made this crust tonight for a chicken pot pie and I just don’t know what to say. I have finally found a delightful crust for everything! THANK YOU.

    BTW, I used an egg slicer to cut the butter… Cut the stick in four pieces, then ran the squares thru both ways in the slicer. Worked like a charm.

  283. André, from Brazil

    So, I gathered the courage and decided to bake a pie and used this crust. Apparently, it was too hot where I live for it to work. The small butter bits kept melting and sticking to the counter when I rolled it out. I chilled it twice before giving up. I kneaded it to blend in the butter. It worked fine, but probably will be hard as an old biscuit… I filled the pie with very tart plums and rapadura. Smells wonderful, but I’m waiting until tomorrow to taste it.

  284. SerenaJ

    This may be the dumbest question ever but a different blog I was reading said to put the top slits in the pie after baking. This sounded crazy to me. Please tell me if I all I’ve ever believed in is true or not.

    1. deb

      I wouldn’t put slits in the pie dough after baking — they’re supposed to be vents, to let steam escape. I sometimes have to reopen mine after baking (steam can still escape as it cools) but never do so for the first time after its baked.

  285. Anna

    You are going to kill me for this post but is there a more diet pie crust or it can even be pie dough? I went apple picking and ended up with 20 lbs of apples. Immediately I thought ‘Pie’ but 2 sticks of butter is too heavy for me. Can I substitute some of the butter with something else or make a different dough all together that does not have so much butter. I just need something to hold the apples.

  286. Anna

    PS
    I am not sure I made the reason for contacting you clear. Although I do not want to use ‘all that butter’ I do not want to give up on taste:)

  287. Anna

    I made my first round pie ever. Before I used to try and make apple slab cake but this post and your pretty red pie dish inspired me to go ’round’ I did not use the pie crust recipe. I used what I usually use, sour cream based dough but thanks to you I was able to roll out the dough and transfer it onto the pie dish without ripping it!!! I refrigerated it for a half an hour and the folding in 4 thing is genius. Before I used to drape it over a rolling pin and it would rip in half for me. Then I’d have to knead it again. This went on and on until the dough would become really tough and even then it would rip. This is the first time it did not rip at all. I have not tried this pie yet and I am sure it’s more of a Galette then a pie but it looks very pretty. Thanks a lot. If it was not for your blog my husband would starve. Practically everything I make comes from here. On a nostalgic note I still remember how I found your blog. I was looking for a shakshuka recipe. The rest is history:-)

  288. Ladybug Baker

    My New Year’s Resolution for 2000 was to learn how to make a pie crust. I have tried so many recipes I finally gave up and went will Pillsbury. Sunday I decide one more time to give it a whirl and stumbled onto this website. My first pie just came out of the oven and I can’t wait to dig in. I made pinwheels from the extra dough and they were delicious. THANK YOU!!! This recipe and the directions were wonderful. The info about seeing the bits of butter was just what I needed to make it all come together.

  289. Carol Oster

    The key to rolling the dough is to flour your surface and roll the ball of dough in it. Add a little more flour and roll into a perfect circle that lifts off perfectly!

  290. Nicki

    heyya, made this crust for a bourbon pumpkin pie that my bread bakery in SF might do for thanksgiving, crust was incredible, this is THE recipe I will be going back to for all my pie-needs (pieeds?). Thank you thank you for this, your site is so so inspiring!
    Nicki, from Arizmendi Valencia, SF.

  291. Alison

    Hi, thank you for your perfect recipe that produced a perfect pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. We have been searching for one that “works” forever!

  292. Most recipes I’ve seen say to add only a few tablespoons of water, and say if you add more than that the crust will be tough. Your recipe calls for 1/2 cup. What’s the deal?

    1. deb

      Just about every pie dough recipe I’ve ever seen calls for 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of cold water per dough. This is a recipe for a double crust. The water amount is within a normal range. Nevertheless, I urge you to try the recipe/technique. It makes the most gorgeous, flaky pie dough.

  293. Violet

    Absolutely EXCELLENT crust. I baked a pumpkin pie in it….it stayed crispy and crunchy with a gorgeous butter flavor. It’s the perfect apple pie crust!!!

    Thanks!!

  294. Earle

    Pie Crust: My old aunt age 103 made the best pie crust ever..yeah I know everyone thinks that their mom or granny made the best. Here’s what she did: Using 1/3 each of Lard, Crisco, Butter, made the best ever tasting crust. Just a thought..try it..but of course all must be very very cold..

  295. Dotti

    Pie Crust rolling – I have found a great way to roll out pie crust without using
    extra flour on the cutting board….it is a real breeze :)
    Lay out a sheet of cellophane (plastic wrap) on your cutting
    board then press out your dough then place another sheet
    of cellophane (plastic wrap) on top. Press by hand ’til it
    gets some what flattened and then start rolling with your
    rolling pin. You can move your dough around easily as you
    shape your dough for your pie. When you have it where
    you want it, peel off top cellophane, lay on pie pan or
    over top of pie filling and peel off other plastic wrap.
    Piece of cake…. even your hands and rolling pin stays
    clean….. How simple and lots of fun…. enjoy :)

  296. Alice in Montanaland

    Hi – coming out of the lurker underworld to say thank you about a million times over for perfecting my pie crust. I’d worked hard at refining and tweaking for about six years (intermittently, that makes me sound way more persistent than I actually am) and thought I had achieved competency, if not brilliance. Your tips – especially your comments about visible butter – lifted the crust into the bright, gleaming worlds of flaky, flavorful nirvana. And it was totally thanks to Smitten Kitchen. Thank you!!!!

  297. Masha

    In my CSI (Culinary Science Investigations) class, we tried making crusts with shortening, butter, and lard to compare, and I can definitely say that the butter crust was by far the best.

  298. Flo

    Why can’t I ever get the BOTTOM crust of a pumpkin pie done? It always appears to be white & mushy ….. & what is Par-baking? Should I bake the crust before I put the pumpkin mixture in for baking? Help!!

  299. nick

    I cook for living, but I bake pies for fun. I have never enjoyed shortening. Fact is that the shortening melts at a higher temperature than your body provides, leading to icky mouth feel. I’ve seen a few posts from people with other pie problems… I can’t tell people what will work for them, but I would like to say that practice is lots of fun, too.
    Flo – par baking is exactly that. Just remember that you need to dock the dough in the pan and put something in there to hold it down. I use beans.

  300. Michele

    I give!! I have now tried to make this recipe three times, and each time it was a sticky gooey mess that turned out tough. Sigh. For my fourth attempt, I used Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust and so far so good, fingers crossed for tomorrow.

  301. erin

    ok…we’re now well into my homemade pie crust maiden voyage, and i am starting to doubt my abilities. i have this pie crust par baking in the oven now, so jury’s still out, but i am skeptical. when i opened the oven to remove the foil and weights, it was almost dripping butter — not so much that it was bubbling over the pie plate, but enough that i thought i may have done something wrong. perhaps i went overboard with not overworking the dough and under-worked it? i mixed the dough by hand just until it would firm together in a ball, but not a second longer. when i rolled it out this morning (i let it refrigerate over night), i could still see bits of butter in the dough (not large ones, but the dough was definitely not of the perfectly and evenly mixed texture that i remember from when my mother would bake pies). should i have mixed it more? or am i over-reacting about the butter?

  302. marjorie

    Your advice was fantastic! Thank you for the detailed steps and clues. I made my first “on my own” pie crust and apple pie for Thanksgiving. I was most nervous about the crust but your site got me though the whole process and I ended up with a buttery golden flaky crust :) Yum!

  303. Hi there! I followed your version for my pumpkin pie yesterday and it was delicious! Quick question. I *did* parbake my crust, but when I went to remove the foil and finish parbaking, holes had appeared in the bottom where pools of butter had gathered. The crust around the edges wound up perfectly crispy, but the bottom portion was a little … chewy.

    How can I avoid the parbaking mess? I baked covered for about 10 min. then baked uncovered for about 8 min. I did let it cool before filling it.

  304. Carly

    Oh good God, I give up on trying to make pie crusts!!! I made this crust for my pumpkin pie and I tried so so hard to follow the instructions perfectly, but the result was unlike any pie crust I’ve ever had. Butter was spilling over the pie dish, and the crust itself was incredibly dense yet chewy yet hard. I know this makes no sense and it didn’t make sense in my mouth either. It almost tasted stale? I don’t know how to describe it but I ended up having to toss the whole pie! I consider myself a pretty good baker but pie crust is the one thing I absolutely cannot get right.

    1. deb

      Hi Carly — Butter spilling (and everything else that you described) means that the bits of butter were too big. Go smaller next time — the largest bit you see should be the size of a tiny pea, i.e. petite pois, like from a can — and you can do it. Promise!

      Erin and Emily — It sounds like a butter size issue too!

  305. Johannah

    I had the same problem I saw mentioned above about toughness. I DID use a food processor (I’m sorry) but only until flour/butter were combined (pea-sized crumbs), then by hand for adding liquid. My crust was kept chilled, with visible butter chunks all the way till the filling went in. I was EVER so careful not to overwork at any point.

    I used it for a pumpkin pie recipe which called for 45minutes on the bottom shelf at 400F.

  306. kiran

    Jack (#228) had it right. The most important part about the CI crust is NOT the vodka. Their recipe has you create a paste with the butter, instead of cutting to pea sized chunks. This removes the biggest source of variability and error.

    No vodka (or shortening) necessary. There are no visible chunks of butter. You will think you did something wrong. It will come out perfect. Every. Single. Time.

  307. KellyP

    After reading all the comments I realized what went wrong with mine: the pieces of butter were too large! I had butter spilling out of the pan and there was smoke everywhere so I ended up putting a cookie sheet on the rack below the pie. I thought it was perhaps that my mother insisted I use the ceramic pie pan (which is much deeper than a normal pan and is incredibly annoying to serve the pie out of but that’s another story…) but next time I will definitely make the pieces smaller and see if that helps.
    It still tasted delicious btw! Thanks for the recipe Deb, it was a big hit at Thanksgiving!

  308. Everyone seems to have problems rolling out their pie dough and wants a tutorial. One person listed the pie dough rolling bag as a solution. Here’s an even cheaper solution, roll the dough between two pieces of cling wrap. I’ve been doing it for years and years with much success. Happy baking!!

  309. Tilly

    I wanted to mak strawberry pie for my father-in-law’s B-Day. (I live in Israel and we get the best strawberries this time of year). Even without the pastry blender – yes, I used a fork and feel like I have immensly improved my upper body strength now – and it looks beutifull. Thank you so much for a great tutorial!

    1. deb

      Nena — Salt control. Various brands of sticks of butter have different amounts of salt in them. Only with unsalted can bakers control how much salt goes into their baked goods. That said, if you want to wing it with whatever salted butter you have on hand, just skip the salt addition.

  310. Dawn

    I love this recipe! It makes really awesome pie crust.

    I have found a workaround that means you can use the food processor *and* have really awesome texture- use the grater attachment to grate frozen butter, and then mix the grated butter into the flour.

    The best way to go about doing that is to freeze the grater attachment, freeze the butter, put the flour into a metal bowl and freeze that too. That way everything will stay super cold while you’re mixing the dry ingredients together- and then after that, freeze everything some more!

  311. Jess

    The pics were so inspiring that I just HAD to try this recipe. I’m not sure what happened…possibly baked too long…but although very tasty & buttery (someone likened it to a croissant) it was terribly, terribly chewy. That was the first day. Second day? Not a dang thing wrong with it! Really delish!

  312. Beatriz

    Why can’t ever get the bottom crust of pie done?
    It always appears be white and mushy.
    Should I bake the crust before or I have to put the filling and bake together?

  313. Alan

    Great big thank you: my wife and I are both lifetime members of WW, so you get some sense of the genius of this recipe that I bake a pie (but never more than once every 8 weeks) and we enjoy every single flaky morsel. Worth every point.
    Gentle suggestion for bakers struggling with all butter: you have to baby the dough, making sure everything it is made from and everything it touches is always cold. Butter is not forgiving and will emulsify, changing the dough’s consistency, if it even thinks about getting warm. If you can see visible blobs of butter in the crust when you first close the oven door and peer inside, then you will have babied the dough to the last moment. Repeat, but not too often. Tastes even better that way.

  314. Oh. My. God. I just made a pie crust. Well, a tart crust really, but with this recipe. Apple tart with fresh cranberry juice glaze. I even overcooked the bottom a little, and it’s still one of the most magical things that I’ve ever created. I’m freaking out! Thank you!!

  315. Thank you for a wonderful write up. I made a crust for a quiche from goose fat, using your basic directions, and it turned out perfect. It was so good and flaky, that it was even good all by itself. You know how there’s always a piece of crust that’s all by itself that usually doesn’t get eaten? Well, this did. I wrote up my recipe, and I included your wonderful methods in my article, with a link to this page. If you would like to see it, it’s at . Thanks again for posting this great resource. I’ll never go back to the food processor again!

  316. Carena

    Yes, yes, and yes. I live in a teeny NYC apartment and I only have space for a pastry blender. Pate brisee was an absolute HIT with my friends last night. Saving this recipe and techniques. :D

  317. Kristin

    I know this post is SUPER old, but perhaps someone might have an answer to my question.
    The last few pies I’ve made, they look gorgeous when they come out of the oven…so flaky. And when I cut them, I can see lovely, flaky layers. But wow, they are sooo crispy and hard. You practically need a knife to eat your pie. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I do basically what you say above, use butter and pastry flour, and try to be very careful at not overhandling the dough, always have nice, larger pieces of butter, chill the dough, etc. Any ideas?!
    Thanks! :)

    1. deb

      Hi Kristen — You might want smaller pieces. The biggest should be tiny peas. If they’re too big, you’ll indeed have big flakes but not as good distribution. My guess is that the toughness is from spots with no butter at all.

  318. I have a ton of pie crust recipes that I love. I use a food processor. After reading your post though, I used my pastry cutter. I think I’m going to love it. I just ate a piece of the cooked dough that was a scrap and it’s really great. I may be converted.

  319. Penny

    Hi Kristin – whatever you do – DON’T give up! Take Jana’s suggestion and also be sure you are gentle with the dough. You might be overworking it just a bit.

  320. lynne

    Greatly appreciated, thanks very much! I will be making my own pastry by hand from now on. My food processor just broke down after 25 years, and I really didn’t want to replace it since I only use it for grating cheese and making pastry.

  321. Lindsay

    Thank you for this tutorial! I made my first ‘real’ pie with this and I just don’t understand how I was so afraid of pastry before. It turned out fabulous.

  322. Excellent recipe and tips, thanks very much. Mixed mine in a Cusinart, divided it into two 15-ounce pieces. It’s chilling now, but even at this stage, it is delicious, love all-butter, in spite of grandma’s lard-inclusive recipe.

  323. CJ

    Deb, thanks for the encouragement to ditch the food processor. For the first time ever, today I made my single-crust dough by hand – for a rhubarb meringue pie – and, to judge by the pie cookie, it turned out great. Recipe: 1 c. flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/3 c. Crisco-lard combo, 2 Tbsp. cold water (I’m too old and too Norwegian to think of putting butter in a pie crust :) ). I got away with less water than I needed with the food processor. It rolled out beautifully and was a breeze to transfer to the pie tin. Over all, *much* easier to tell what’s going on with the dough. Thank you!

  324. Rk

    I have used half butter and half shortening, it is easy to handle with much better flavor than all shortening. An all butter is just out of this world, however. I like my pieces a bit bigger than a pea if I’m not putting the butter in the fridge after each step to cool down again. That way the heat of my hands and bowl don’t break it down smaller. Also, use only your finger tips to work the water and flour together. Work until just comes together and that’s it. If its dry and crumbly you haven’t used enough water. I used over a cup of water to get my dough together and it turns out perfect each time.

  325. Lynn Marie

    My mother used to make pie crusts out of lard when I was a child and her crusts tasted great! Years later, she switched to butter and the taste was phenomenal! I haven’t tried to make crusts in over 10 years because it always turned out diasterous. My crust were always tough or it either tore to pieces when I attempted to move it to the pie pan. I needed 2 pie crust for my sweet potato pies. Luckily the store bought pie crusts I had in the freezer were too old to use so…into the trash they went! I got out the food processor and jumped on the internet and found this recipe. I followed your recipe and instructions, including making it with a blender cutter instead of the processor and Lordy! Lordy! I’ve found my signature pie crust recipe!!! It was so easy to make and the rolling instructions worked out perfectly! Thank you for helping me overcome my fear of making homemade pie crust.

  326. kelly

    what should the consistency of the dough be before going in the fridge because mine does not look like the picture at all

  327. Shayna

    Thank you SO much for this pie dough recipe, it’s so simple…yet GENIUS! :)

    I just took a beautiful Cherry Pie out if the oven, it is now cooling in front of the window (I don’t exactly have a sill to put it on…and I don’t know if I’d trust my neighbors not to take it! Lol)

    I too had trouble with the bottom crust now looking like it cooked thouroughly though, I lowered the temperature to 300 and the rack of the oven and covered the top of the pie with foil and stuck it back in the over fit about 15 mins it seems to have done the trick!

  328. Krum

    Hi
    I’m from Germany and in the last weeks I started to make pies. As there are not many cookbooks on pie available in German, my main source for recipes is the internet. After a long search and five practical pie-tests I found your website and this entry. It was the first I found which really explained the how and why of each step. I tried it and the pie crust came out beautiful and tasty. I just overdid it with the peach filling and so I wouldn’t call it a complete success. But a big “Hurra” for the crust.
    I skimmed some of the other articles and I must say your cookbook looks really promising. Just one point, which you probably heard before, but it would make it much more comfortable for Germans/Europeans if you could give the metric measurements on your recipes or in your “Cooking Conversions and Equivalents”-table.
    I just mean, how do you even measure frozen butter in a cup? Do you melt, measure and refreeze it? Si units, like g or ml, are an internationally accepted standard and don’t change with location. Sorry for that little rant but all these cups, oz, sticks and gallons are really frustrating when you only have scales and the internet gives you conflicting definitions on each.

    Your blog is amazing and I will make this crust many more times.
    Thanks

  329. I have never made a pie from scratch before, and I used this recipe to make my first pie, a raspberry one. OH MY GOD IT IS SO AMAZING. I WANT TO EAT THIS CRUST UNTIL MY BODY SPLITS OPEN AND I DIE. I will not stop the war on mediocre shortening crusts until everyone in the world knows the truth.

  330. Eliza

    Love all-butter crusts, only way to go, IMHO(baking professional).

    As an older woman with somewhat arthritic fingers, I will say that I do use the food processor, but only to cut the butter into the flour. Much easier on my old hands.

    Flour in bowl, add butter chunks(cut the sticks up somewhat), a few short pulses, dump the mix into a bowl and add the water with your fingers.

    Still nice discrete pieces of butter in the crust. Flakiest, shattering-est pie crust possible, for certain. If your hands can’t handle the process, don’t be afraid to use the FP for a little help when incorporating the butter. But lightly and add the water by hand!

  331. I made this pastry for a rhubarb tart/pie. The pastry was amazing and it felt almost like a yeast dough compared to what I am used to. Defiantly be using this recipe much more in the future.

  332. Josie

    I love your idea and will so try it with cup pies (to optimize my ability to fail entirely), but how do you keep the bottom of the crust from being complete goop?

  333. Frank

    I have no doubt that shortening helps with flakiness, but it does nothing for flavor and most shortening is very bad for ones health. Last fall I experimented with substituting 1/2 to 1/4 of the total fat with leaf lard ( not the flavorless stuff but rendered lard) and will never go back to anything else!

  334. Anna

    Hi! I’m faced with a surplus of peaches, and had an idea to make a couple of pies with a ginger pannacotta filling, topped with sliced peaches, in order to make something cool and therefore a little more palatable in this insane heat. My question is about the crust – it needs to be baked prior to filling. What temp/time would you suggest?

  335. Becky

    DEB – Thank you so much for this recipe! I just used it to make mini empanadas filled with guava paste and cream cheese (an incredibly tasty combination that I highly recommend). It was, by far, the most delicious and flaky crust I have EVER made. You are just wonderful!

  336. Luiz

    Oh! what a great dough i loved it! and I will repeat it a lot!!!! congratulaions, if you wanna see some pics i made an apple pie with your recipe and posted some photos in my blog http://weekendbestrecipes.wordpress.com/
    Im braziliain and my wife hate cinnamon, and only likes sweet food that contains chocolate, lemon or passion fruit, and she loved this recipe!!!
    Thank you for share with us this recipe.

  337. Rosaleen

    Hi there,
    The recipes says that 2.5 cups of flour is 315 grams, but 315 grams is only 11oz, and an American cup is aprox 8 ozs, 2.5 would give me 20 oz of flour. I am Irish and baking in the US has been either hit or miss for me and I suspect it’s because our cup measures are different (and Canada) to the US? I haven’t been able to find an answer on the ‘net.
    Can anyone solve this for me? I never know when I bake something if it will turn out right or not.
    Thanks!

    1. deb

      Rosaleen — An American liquid cup is 8 fluid ounces, a volume measurement, not weight. Just to confuse you! A dry cup of ingredients will range depending on the ingredient (obviously, sugar weighs more than flour, flour weights less than Parmesan, etc.) There is not one rule as to what a cup of flour weighs, but mine clock in at 125 grams, which is a fairly agreed-upon measurement. More importantly, using the weights listed in this post will produce a good pie dough, which is all that matters. Good luck!

      Ally — I am a fan of the European butters, but for the purpose of this site, what’s most important to me is showing people how they can get fantastic, ideal cooking results with whatever basic ingredients they have around. I don’t think spending a lot should be a prerequisite to making great food. For this reason, I created and tested this pie dough with store brand unfancy butter so everyone knows that it will work with that too. As for David’s browned butter tart crust, it’s wonderful. But IMHO, ideal tart doughs and ideal pie doughs have different textures. Tart doughs are often crisp and cookie-like, so starting with melted butter works fine. Pie doughs are all about flakiness, and to get it, you want to keep your butter cold and in tiny bits that will melt into separated pockets and create flakes. I haven’t made a brown butter pie dough before with the cold method (i.e. browning the butter and chilling it until solid and it can be finely chopped into flour, with a pastry blender). It’s one of those things that should work in theory, but in practice, I find that brown butter can leave baked goods a bit more dry and greasy (albeit with a dreamy flavor profile). I’ll report back if I experiment further this summer.

  338. Ally

    I know I’m late to the party, but I recently made the cherry slab pie – it was divine. I haven’t made a pie crust in a while (I usually roll them, as the manfriend is not as skilled and quick in this arena). But I got to thinking about your pie crust posts, and Crisco vs. butter. Along the lines with commenter 258, I thought, just splurge and buy European butter for the higher butterfat content and end up with a crispier/flakier crust. Then I started wondering about the vodka thing, and if you could tweak it just so, (or nixing it), or in combination with, using clarified butter or browning your butter first – you’d end up with a moderately reduced water content in your dough.

    Just a brainstorm, but I think we are going to give it a shot with pecans from the manfriend’s grandmother’s tree. A brown butter crust caramel pecan pie… or black walnuts. Sorry if someone has already commented about this, but I was curious if you’ve tried a brown butter pie crust or something similar? Or if there would be any foreseeable hurdles? I can’t think of any, but I’m also too excited about the prospect to think straight!

  339. Ally

    Okay I’m back, I did a quick google, and it seems Lebovitz was introducted to the idea in ’09 by Paule Caillat, a lady in Paris that teaches cooking classes. She puts butter and water in a bowl and into the oven, and the edges get all browny and what not, and does the whole melty butter, dump in flour, stir, form to tart pan. Here’s the post: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/05/french-tart-dough-a-la-francaise/

    Ugh! Sorry, I am going nuts over here. I think the manfriend and I are going to be up late for a few nights perfecting a perfect-every-time-no-fail brown butter pie crust.

  340. I think EXACTLY the way you do about the food processor! I feel that the fat gets overprocessed. I also like to be able to feel the dough as I’m stirring so I get the right amount of water.

    My best crusts result from using an old fashioned pastry blender. The less fussy I am about my pie crusts the better they come out. Use cold water, cold fat, and don’t over work the dough. For the longest time I followed all of the fussy techniques from the “experts” resulting with hard to handle dough. Once I found my pie crust groove, pie crust is simple and easy.

  341. Ally

    I completely and whole heartedly agree on all of your points. I was just scouring the web for brown butter crust ideas; and despite how loco I must come off, I realize there’s a difference between tart and pie doughs, ha! Sorry for the multitude of comments, I was just going berserk over the idea and still kind of am. We LOVE (yes, it requires all caps) your blog. Appreciate your time and feedback.

  342. Oh lord! This crust is FABULOUS! Thank you so much for the tips and tricks! My cherry pie turned out just perfect! The crust is just… Oh my, thank you, thank you, thank you!

  343. maria

    THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOO MUCH! It’s great! by the way, I’ve just put the cherry pie in the oven! it smells great! thanks a lot. But dear, I would like to ask you a question, I’m only 17 years old, but ADORE cooking. sometimes when I roll the pizza dough, I realize that it tightens whenever I try to make it wider! Is the problem in the type of flour i use? or where? trillions and trillions of thanks! Great site to spend my summer vacation reading and surfing!

  344. Ildi

    I usually make tarts with a pate brisee base but have been wanting to make a good pie. This was the first pastry I tried and it was a huge success! Very easy to make, even without a pastry cutter. It rolled beautifully and baked to a delicious flakiness. Top marks – Thank you!

  345. Amy

    This was really good flaky pie crust. My partner said it might be the best he ever had. Thanks! I don’t understand lard either butter is so good.

  346. Tammy

    Thank you for these fabulous instructions. I’ve had hit and miss luck with pie crusts for years. What I really appreciate about this post is the explanation as to “why” to use butter, and “why” everything needs to be cold. I took your advice and even chilled the flour, just to be sure. I agree with some of the other posts–rolling tutorial would be appreciated. Thanks again.

  347. We have a lot of the same feelings about pie crusts. I’ve been let down by my go-to recipe too many times recently, and just happened upon yours. I have to say it was really a pleasure to make this dough. It was easy to work with, very flaky and crispy once it baked, and tasted delicious. Thanks!

  348. Charlotte

    I thought I had found a great pie crust recipe, but mine are coming out tough! Maybe I don’t have the butter in small enough bits? Any suggestions?

  349. Ben

    Hey Deb,
    Thanks for a great tutorial, I’m going to try this for a Gorgonzola and Broccoli pie I’m cooking this Friday. One question though: if I wanted to make this a cheese crust, for example by adding some Gruyere, could you give any tips on the quantities or at what point I should add the cheese? Or would adding cheese ruin the flakiness? I hope there is a way around this, since I am ADDICTED TO CHEESE.
    Many Thanks,
    Ben (UK)

  350. April G.

    I just made this and it is truly the flakiest pie crust I have ever made! I used Rose Levy Berenbaum’s filling recipe, but with almost an extra pound of apples. I can’t wait to eat it!

  351. holly d.

    Has anybody had trouble with their frozen pie crusts? Maybe I was just having an off day, but I made two frozen crusts with this recipe and finally baked 2 pies today and they are much tougher than the crust I made and baked the same day I froze these. I used to freeze my shortening doughs with no problem. I will keep experimenting because I probably just did something else wrong, but I was wondering if anyone else had problems. The one I made and baked the same day was incredible!

  352. Krim

    I am a very average yet enthusiastic cook, and after using horrid store-bought frozen pie crusts for years to fill with our fruit from our yard I used this recipe for my first homemade crust…..and it was PERFECTION. Tasted better than the best pie crust we’ve ever had at any restaurant and it was even BEAUTIFUL! With the sparkly sugar! Thank you, thank you for such a superb recipe..

  353. Barry

    If one were to use salted butter what would happen? As the recipe calls for salt. Could one just cut back on the salt a bit? And use the salted butter instead of driving 10 miles for the unsalted butter?

    1. deb

      Barry — You can use salted and skip the salt. You might find you need a touch more. Sticks of salted butter can have anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon table salt equivalent in them. It’s this inconsistency that leads bakers to opt for unsalted most of the time. Here, it’s no big deal.

  354. Deb,

    I was SO skeptical about this recipe, it sounded WAY to easy and I have tried making pie pastry many times over using many “fool proof” recipes and ended up with hard, tough and tasteless pie shells. THANK YOU for sharing this recipe and your tips, I made up a batch today and used it to make mini turkey pot pies. It worked like a charm, the pie crust was light, flaky and oh so buttery. Delicious!

    I did use salted butter and kept the salt and the crust came out fine, for anyone who is curious. It actually worked very nicely with the savory filling, I think though if I go with a sweet filling next time I will use unsalted butter for a more delicate taste.

    Thank you for helping me get over my pie crust phobia!

  355. Suzanne

    Pie crust has always been my enemy, the one thing as a baker that not only could I not get right, but typically ended in disaster. Until now. So thank you for your easy recipe. I feel like a different gal now…

  356. I have a pie dough press and have used a similar recipe to yours. I’m supposed to be able to press the dough with no plastic wrap on top. Sticks to the dies and makes a big mess. If I put heat on the dies, butter melts all over. The recipe sent to me by the pie press maker uses shortening. I’m assuming that shortening has a higher melt point than butter. Do you know if this is true?
    Do you have any suggestions that will help? Presently, I am using plastic wrap over all dough; this increases production time.

  357. mj

    I’ve been baking great pie crusts for many years – usually do a Julia Child recipe, but I had no shortening, so decided to try this one. Julia’s recipe is 7 Tablespoons fat (5 butter, 2 shortening) to 1.33 cups flour. I tried this crust using the gram measurement for all-purpose flour. When I baked it, I had to pour off a lot of excess oil (butterfat) as the oil started bubbling out and burning on the bottom of my oven & smoking up the kitchen. A mess. The crust in the end was hard & cardboard-like. Disaster. The oil to flour proportion is a bit off in this recipe.

  358. Sally

    For those having trouble with tough crust, there is a solution–but you have to start yesterday. Flour contains, among other things, a protein called gluten that gets tough when it is mixed, kneaded or rolled out. The best way to combat this is to give the dough a rest in the freezer (ideally) or the fridge, for *at least* 24 hours. I make six single crusts at a time, shape into disks and freeze them. I take out what I need and let it thaw until it is “leathery”, not completely thawed. Maybe half an hour at room temperature. It’s much easier to roll out and needs less flour on the pastry board and pin. Let the crust chill again in the fridge while its filling gets made.

  359. JD

    I feared pie crusts. All around me were store bought ones and I assumed that pie crusts are nothing special.
    Oh, was I wrong.
    I tried this dough for the first time over a year ago (used this dough for last Thanksgiving’s pumpkin pie) and I have no failed making crust since then.
    Wonderful, honest, clear – and i adore your insistence on it being cold. Obsessively, my chop my dough between 2 fridge cycles (its hot here in Texas).
    simple recipes like this make me feel accomplished in the kitchen and proud of the things I cook. Thank you.

  360. Tracie

    I have never made pie crust before.. I’ve been afraid of it. Plus I was too lazy to get my food processor out just to use it for 5 minutes and then have to wash it (by hand). When I got your cookbook and read the intro to this recipe, I knew I had to try this. No more fear. Minimal dishes to wash! Butter!! I made the old fashioned pecan pie recipe from Cook’s Country with this crust. WOW!! The best pie and crust I’ve ever eaten. My family was impressed. Even the self-proclaimed crust-haters loved it. THANK YOU! I will never fear pie crust again, and I am empowered to take on another food fear: yeast… watch out, here I come!

  361. Kathryn

    If you are having problems with the dough sticking to the rolling pin, try a pastry cloth. I’ve never had problems since I started using one. I love it!

  362. Betsy

    Just made two batches of this crust and put them in the fridge. It looks (and tasted) wonderful, those little butter pieces speckled throughout! Found out about your site on the Diane Rehm show on our public radio last week. Excited to explore all your recipes!

  363. Lasara

    I have the same problem.
    The sides of the dough slipped down into the pie pan… I’ve never had that problem with pie dough before. It rolled out great, but it is too limp to stick to the edges of the pan. I tried rolling my second dough out thicker but had the same issue.
    Did I mess something up? Help!

  364. Kim

    Agree with everything – my grandma’s trick for keeping it cold is to hold her hands in the ice water before kneading the dough together. Hardcore, but works!

  365. Sally

    I used this recipe last year during the holidays and could not believe how perfect my crusts were every time. So, here it is the day before Thanksgiving, and (after not baking a pie for several months) I went to find these instructions just to refresh my memory. But, oh, no! I became somewhat desperate because I realized that because I had gotten a new computer a few months ago, I didn’t have this recipe bookmarked! After several google attempts I found you! Thank you, thank you. Very excited to check out rolling out tutorial too!

  366. Keely

    As lame as this sounds, this post almost brought tear to my eyes. I have 3 small children, listening to Christmas music, day before Thanksgiving etc.. I love your writing and shortening weirds me out to no end. Thank you for sharing an all butter recipe. This post inspired me. I’m going to give this a try! I follow you on insta and your book is on my wish list. Thank you, again!

  367. Roxanne

    I love all-butter crusts. I make mine in the food processor, using Alton Brown’s technique, because my wrists just can’t handle using a pastry blender. The trick with the food processor is dump out the crumbly dough once the butter is cut into the flour, BEFORE adding the water. I ALWAYS get a flakey AND tender crust, and it’s seriously easy.

  368. Rhianna

    When I blind baked my crust for a pumpkin filling, the butter seemed to melt/leak right out of the dough and pool. While the pie was baking, it continued to “leak” butter. Any idea what I did wrong? I can only think that my butter was in larger chunks than it should have been? Ie. more like chickpeas than green peas.

  369. Mary

    Thank you. I had never considered the food processor effect, this dough was lovely to work with, and the scraps I baked with sugar were wonderfully flaky. (My father has to have his pie crust “boards”, it’s tradition). I’m looking to the pies tomorrow

  370. Jenny

    Thank you for this lovely and simple recipe. It was fate. I hate food processors, anyway my mother and grandmother made the greatest pie crust without them!
    I am a good cook but a pie crust is a fickle thing. Not tonight: )I will use
    your recipe forever. God Bless Google!

  371. Holly H

    I needed a couple of pre-baked shells for custard pies, so I followed the suggestion of another reader and after getting the dough into the pie plate, added the pie weights and foil and froze the whole thing prior to baking. Only a very minimal amount of shrinkage, so that seems to have worked well. I started out at 375F, but next time might try 400F because it seemed to take an awfully long time to bake the crusts.

  372. Michelle

    I normally use the egg, vinegar recipe with pie dough, but when I went to make my dough yesterday, I realized I was out of white vinegar. I did, however, have an opened bottle of white wine in the fridge so I substituted wine for the vinegar. OMG!! Most flaky crust I’ve ever made!! I did use crisco, BUT I am definitely going to try it with an all butter dough soon!!

  373. Failure

    I read your blog and loved your writing style and your simple and approachable recipes. I have never even tried to make a homemade pie. In fact, I dont make homemade anything. I wanted to be special this year. lol I made it for Tday this year and miserably failed. Im not sure how, as your directions were very simple and direct. I even read every single comment, especially the ones where others had failed. Obviously, something went wrong on my end. I used Paula Deen’s filling recipe which was also very simple and very few ingredients – no way to mess that up, eh? lol Actually a bowl of the ingredients would have suited me fine. It was actually yummy.

    Im not sure I even mixed the ingredients (for the pie) properly. Everything was kept cold as I stood in front of an open window in my kitchen with it being 40 outside. However, it never looked like your pictures. The dough ended up being very tacky and rubbery when I went to ball it. I didnt even handle it long as I feared eternal damage. Im at an elevation of 6600 feet, so I had to adjust the flour. I added small bits of water at a time, but just didnt know the consistency I needed :/ The butter may have not been small enough – I could not find my pastry blender and stores were closed (ugh). When the pie was done, the top crust was very crunchy (think granola bar lol) and browned and the inside was SOUP (no exageration) and the bottom was rubbery raw dough. I cut it and felt like I invented a new child’s toy – like rubber goo.

    I clearly failed somewhere along the adventure and my only hope is to find someone who knows what they are doing to stand in the kitchen with me. Thanks though for the work you put into your tutorial. Some of us are just not cut out for the kitchen…even if barefoot and pregnant! lol

  374. Cassandra

    I love this recipe and my pie turned out fabulous for thanksgiving! I may even share this with my MIL due to the simplicity of this! Thanks!

  375. THANK YOU! I was searching for pie crust that tastes like KFC’s pot pies, found puff pastry but then decided to search ‘flakey pie crust’ and found this!! Blessing! I acted like I was an expert at pie crust making and I swear, within MINUTES I had two beautiful dough balls! I made turkey pot pie that was out of this world delicious! The pie crust was PERFECTION! Thank you, so much. Blessings!

  376. Deb- I made this pie crust this year and the flakiness level was through the roof! It practically looked like puff pastry in some spots, it was gorgeous! Thank you so much. To try and give you something in return, here is the link to the pie from food network I made: it’s a cranberry pie mostly, with just a few pears added for sweetness (along with sugar, of course!). Thought it might be something you’d like to try! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alexandra-guarnaschelli/sugar-cranberry-pie-recipe/index.html

  377. Teri

    Awesome crust…thank you! My father in law was going on for at least 10 minutes about how the crust didn’t crumble or fall apart…just stayed together like a croissant! Thanks for the no nonsense butter recipe!

  378. Worm

    Hi there and thank you for your numerous articles dealing with the (dreaded) pie crust. I have tried and tried (and tried) to make pie dough with mixed results. My mother is one of the few people I know who makes pie and does it well. The frustrating thing is, she explains the process of making the dough as if it were so simple but I know there is something I am missing. She always manages to bake an apple pie with a sturdy yet tender and very flaky bottom. I always end up with a good top crust and a thin, doughy, soggy bottom. Help!
    I know my problem could have many causes – dough, runny-ness of filling, pan type, pie temp and oven temp. That’s what is so maddening about making a pie.
    I guess there is no specific question in this comment but I did want to know if you could explain how someone with warm hands (such as myself) could use the fraisage method to combing dough. Something tells me this technique is my mom’s secret.

  379. Dan

    Any thoughts on using European butter vs. American butter in the crust? Euro version has less water than its American counterpart. I’ve heard it is better for pastries.

    1. deb

      Hi Dan — Use it if you’ve got it. It will work just fine here, and possibly taste even better! The nice thing, however, is that I make this 90% time with unfancy butter and still love it. It is a friend to all butters. :)

  380. Chantal

    Thanks for encouraging me to try the all butter version and to skip the processor. I’ve made a lot of pies (though I’m sure a lot less than you) over the years and was ready to try a new recipe. I’ve had decent luck in the past but wanted a really killer flaky tasty crust. I was really disappointed in the Cooks Illustrated Vodka version about a year ago. Just made this recipe (for some pumpkin pies I was making post Thanksgiving–we didn’t get any on the day and it just seemed wrong). Loved the crust. Mixing by hand didn’t really take that long. Loved the flake and the taste. Its a keeper. Thanks!!

  381. This crust is beyond perfection. I am a crust snob. I use this one for every recipe I have that calls for pie. There is none better. Thank you, Deb! I couldn’t make pie without it.

  382. Rosco

    Disaster. I’ve been baking pies from scratch for 20 years. I cut this recipe in half for s single crust pie. Kept the dough in the 35F frig for about 6 hours. Rolled it out between wax paper. Put plenty of flour on it and at first it didn’t stick. However, by the time i was done rolling it out it was a sticky mess and I had a bad time pushing a metal spatula between the dough and the wax paper to get it off. Once it touched the pie plate there was no moving it so I had to do some surgery. I decided I’d better bake the crust even though I was making a pumpkin pie. It left a pool of oil on the racks and bottom of the oven and, as I later figured out, the bottom of the pie plate. There has got to be too much butter in this receipe. Think about it: a whole stick of butter in each crust? Could use a chainsaw to cut through the crust at the rim. I wouldn’t say the flavor is anything other than grease. Yuch!

  383. Anastassia

    Thank you very much for this recipe. I am an absolute novice when it comes to making pies. I have searched all over internet to find a recipe which will make me feel confident in what i’m doing. So i have managed to get here! So happy i did! I didnt have the special tool for mixing butter and flour so i had to use my hands. In the final stage when adding water i used a mixer for 20-30 seconds. Left dough on the balcony (it’s -22 outside), so it chilled really fast) The pie made with it turned out to be absolutely amazing! Hus and son loved it a lot! Thank you very very very much again!

  384. Dillon

    This recipe saved my Christmas! :D I’m spending Christmas in Belgium with a traditional Belgian family, and I was asked to make a traditional American dish. What else to make than apple pie!!!
    I was frantically searching for a pie shell in the grocery, and, lo and behold, there were none to be found. I came across this recipe and it saved the day…I was taking a risk, as I’ve never made a shell from scrath before, but this super easy and DELISH recipe was a total hit for the family of 10 here in Brussels. Thank you smitten kitchen!!!

  385. Kathryn

    I made a pecan pie with this recipe yesterday and served tonight. While delicious, mine was also extremely tough. I know I didn’t overwork it… To the others of you that said the same thing, I think what happened with mine is that I added too much water while kneading, before chilling for a few hours. I had to add lots of flour to roll out, but I guess the damage was already done.

    Thank you Deb though anyways for the recipe… I will practice until it’s as perfect-looking as yours!

  386. Sarah

    I used the crust recipe you provided with a slight alteration (1/2 cup water plus 1/4 cup vodka and salted butter minus the teaspoon salt) and it turned out fantastic! I’ve always hated pie crust but this actually tasted good. Now I just have to get the pie filling down…

  387. marquis p

    thank you i’ve been looking and reading up on baking (self teaching) and i’m not fond of the idea of using shortening thanks you for this make it a whole bunch easier my research (self teaching) continues thanks

  388. Aimee

    Hi Deb! Thanks for the demo, love all the tips. Have you by chance tried out this method of making pie dough?

    http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/07/easy-pie-dough-recipe.html?ref=search

    It’s made by the same guy who developed the Vodka pie dough for ATK. I was wondering how if you’ve tried it and how it compares with your low-tech way?

    Oh, and I just got your cookbook for Christmas and love it!! It’s so gorgeous!! So intrigued by the cauliflower pesto!

  389. Angela

    I just wanted to thank you for this super not-scary recipe and for the dough rolling tutorial as well. I just made my very first “from scratch” pie crust following your recipe and instructions and it was SO EASY and came out perfectly. I could not ask for a better guide! You are my hero, Deb.

    PS. Tzatziki Potato Salad has changed my world. I’ve eaten it (solely it) for lunch for the past 4 days. I even went out and bought more potatoes so I could have it for another week. Ridiculously good!

  390. Liz

    Finally, FINALLY, someone else who says not to use a food processor for making pie crusts! I’ve been saying this for years and everyone looks at me like I’m crazy! The processor totally over-mixes the dough. I can FEEL when the dough is right when I use my hands. Carry on and keep cooking!

  391. Betty

    This was delicious! All I had in my kitchen was a magic bullet. Working in 1 cup increments it made a perfect perfect dough for crust, my best ever. Though it was kind of a pain, so ill be buying a pastry blender soon! Thanks for a great recipe!

  392. Pennie

    Ladies, have you ever tried rolling your pie crust between plastic wrap. It makes the rolling out and transfer to the pie plate so much easier. I usually make my pie crust with canola oil and 2 Tbsp. of wheat germ with the dry ingredients. Gives it a nutty flavor. To use the plastic wrap, you take a slightly damp dish rag and wipe your counter top with it. Place the plastic wrap on wet counter, you’ll need to use two pieces to get enough width, overlap center edges. Place your dough ball, slightly flatten out, place two more pieces of place wrap over dough. Roll out your dough to desired size and thickness. Remove top plastic wrap, pick up bottom plastic wrap with rolled out dough. Flip over and place in pie plate. Slowly remove plastic wrap. Continue dough as usual. This method works best with an oil recipe, however I use it with shortening or butter dough as well. Headed off to my kitchen to make my husband a banana cream pie for Valentine’s Day using this butter recipe. Hope this helps.

  393. Pennie

    I agree with Rosco, way too much butter with the amount of flour. Something is not right here. I have a huge mess in my oven. Sorry

  394. I used to always buy frozen pie crusts, but now I scratch-make pies frequently because they’re easy and reliable. Those aren’t adjectives I’d have ever applied to pie dough before finding this recipe. A few things I’ve learned in the past few years that I wanted to share:

    My fancy teflon-coated rolling pin is worthless. What works amazingly well is a wooden rolling pin with flour rubbed onto it. The wood texture allows the flour to stay on it, unlike the teflon pin, and I re-flour it regularly as I roll. I also use a wooden pastry board which I freeze before using, and I flour it liberally. With enough flour, nothing sticks.

    Freezing the butter doesn’t seem to work for me. I used to try to use frozen butter, but it’s hard to cut, and the dough would refuse to come together at all. I’d end up working it too much and it’d get tough. Butter straight out of the fridge works fine for me. (But I do have a nice cold fridge)

    When the dough has balled up 85% or so, and the last 15% is little dry crumbles, I divide it in two and wrap each half in plastic wrap. After sitting in the fridge for a while, voila! The water has migrated throughout and there are no more dry crumbles! One of these days I’m going to try that when it’s 90% dry crumbles, but so far I haven’t been sufficiently daring.

  395. Brianna

    Best. Crust. Ever. DON’T add too much water, DON’T over mix! I let my dough rest for an hour total, maybe with 15 minutes in the freezer to start because I was in a rush — baked flaky flaky flaky!!! Thanks for much for this!!

  396. Rachel

    Hi Deb – just found this pie crust recipe, and it looks delicious! I’m inspired to try, but have a quick question. All of my other pie dough recipes (with the same amounts of flour & fat) call for drastically less water, only 5-7 tbsp, while this one calls for 8 – 12 tbsp. Is it because you prefer the texture that way, or because all butter crusts require extra water? Thanks!

  397. JoAnn

    I had my doubts but: WOW this was easy, and super flaky and I will use this recipe from now on. Taste great too. Thank you for the best tutorial I have seen on the internet.

  398. Cathy

    Please forgive me, but the photo of that crust looks more crumbly than flaky. Is everyone’s crusts turning out flaky with this recipe or crumbly?

  399. Jen

    Cathy, I agree that the crust in that last photo looks pretty crumbly, but have faith. This is the best crust ever! Definitely flaky.

  400. Jessiet

    Okay Smitten, time for you to move up to pastry flour–or cake flour, in a pinch–something low gluten. It makes a huge difference. I always say that pastry flour is good for pastry (pies, cookies, pie crusts), cake flour for cakes, and AP–Hmmmm….pretty much nothing (except maybe bread–European style, in an effort to approximate “00”). Too much compromise–too much gluten for pastries and pies–too little for American styel bread! There you have it–I said it, and I’m glad! :)

  401. Faye

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful butter crust recipe; I’ve made it twice already and looking forward to make it again and again.

  402. Sheralyn

    I just made the strawberry rhubarb pie with this recipe and it was amazing. I always have such a hard time with the crust but this was so easy and flaky and AMAZING! My husband is raving about it. Thank you for such a great recipe

  403. Old Dude

    Awesome recipe and outstanding technique. Now, I know why my past efforts at pie crusts suck. Cold butter– Yes. No shortening– double yes. Ice water– yes.

    Only suggested departure is that lard (OMG, NO!) can be used too. Me auld Irish Granny’s pie crust ruled. The lovely thing about this recipe is that she shows the chemical and physical processes that go into make a pie crust. Lard and butter are naturally hydrogenated. Vegetable fats have to be processed– that include Crisco, the mother of all vegetable shortenings as well.

  404. Melissa

    My single crust was an oozing butter volcano. It dripped butter over the edge of the pan, filling the oven and house with smoke. It pooled at the bottom of the pan, rendering the crust unusable. I baked the scraps on a cookie sheet, and watched in horror as they fried in pools of their own butter blood, becoming chewy strips of crusty jerky.

    Now, I understand my butter pieces were too large. I used a pastry cutter and worked the chunks to the same size I have a million times when using shortening. Next time I am tempted to throw the whole thing in the kitchenaid and let the wisk cut the butter more evenly, then gently add the water and form by hand. Gluten shouldn’t be an issue if I’m only doing the butter in the mixer and no water. Here goes nothing!!! (well…. maybe here goes another few cups of flour and some butter if I fail again….)

  405. Lulu

    Hi Deb,
    I consider myself a pretty good pie crust maker, they are always wonderfully flaky and golden, and pretty sturdy against the juicy fruit once they come out of the oven. I too follow your/Martha’s all butter crust recipe. But this is my problem: though it manages to look good in the end, rolling out the dough is almost always troublesome – it tears, splits, and cracks, and it never seems like I have enough for a good double crust pie. It’s always just a little short somehow, so I’m scrounging the scraps to patch it together.

    When I put the dough disks in the fridge, the often look as yours does in the photo above, with crevices and cracks in the dough. When I roll it out, those crevices split, getting bigger and bigger, and I end up with a flattened flower shape looking thing – this is where the patching comes in. Also, because I often don’t seem to have enough dough for two disks, I roll it out a bit thinner than normal to get the diameter to be large enough, making the dough even more fragile.

    I’m always cautious about over-working the dough, or adding too much water, but maybe I am not adding enough water? I usually end up adding about 1/3-1/2 cup iced water.

    What can I do to make rolling it out easier? I want my pie discs to look as yours do in pie crusts 103, and to be able to fold them in quarters as you do, but so far that’s not been easy.

    1. deb

      Hi Lulu — Cracks get bigger usually when we rush things too much. Go slowly, press only a little at a time as you roll things out. And if a crack still gets bigger, it’s not a big deal. Just overlap the sides and roll them back into a flat layer. As for being unable to fold it, that usually means that it’s gotten too soft and the butter is melting, making the dough feel like a sandy soft mess.

  406. nancy

    I tried this pie crust, which was delicious, but had one problem. It drooped down the sides of my pie plate and all my flutes disappeared, (“melted”) when the crust drooped. It was like it all just melted. the crust was delicious, but didn’t look like my normal pie.

  407. Abbey

    Thank you so much for this! I finally decided to get a pastry blender and it has, at least for now, stilled my yearnings for a food processor (for which I definitely do not have space). Managed to make a totally satisfactory crust even in the heat of yesterday with no air conditioning and a sulky fridge.

  408. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    I have always been afraid to try my hand at homemade crust but I followed your directions (almost to the letter) and I made my first pie crust! It was amazing! I have not used a store bought crust since and I have no plans of ever buying one again!
    The one thing that I did different is I used my Kitchen-Aid mixer to cut the butter into the flour and to incorporate the water. It worked perfectly! I love my Kitchen-Aid and use it any time I get a chance.
    So Thanks Again for this post and for teaching me how to make my own pie crusts!

  409. Rebecca

    I MADE MY FIRST SUCCESSFUL PIE CRUST AND I’M PRETTY EXCITED ABOUT IT! Seriously, I’ve been converted to the all-butter crust. It was wicked hot in my apartment, so I did all the tricks of putting the crust back in the fridge while I did other things. I also rolled the dough out on a refrigerated cookie sheet, which I think helped. Thank you so much for the help!

  410. Kate

    Just chiming in that this recipe worked a treat; exact, clear and easy-to-follow. I consider myself a pretty superior home pastry-cook and I was delighted to see the tips and tricks I’d learnt through trial and error enumerated here for all to use! I used this pastry for a five-apple pie and it was such a success with my family that I revisited it a week later for lunch guests.
    I do wish people would read all the comments before asking questions. The gods of the internet should give you a dollar every time someone asks whether they could use salted butter.

  411. Anna

    THANK YOU!! Quick tip is to use a hand held cheese grater with the cold sticks of butter straight out of the fridge.. or even better yet the FREEZER!!.. Works amazing every time.

  412. Laura

    I make butter crusts because shortening is so bad for your health. All that hydrogenated stuff in shortening. I am going to try this because, although I am a pro at the shortening crust I haven’t been quite able to master the butter crust!

  413. Lisa

    I had the privilege of tasting a friend’s blueberry pie made with your crust and had to try it. I don’t have a pastry blender, though, and so I’ve been practicing with 1/2 and 1/4 portions of the recipe over the past week or so to learn alternative methods for working in the butter (and also to try to develop a feel for the overall process so that I can stop being scared of pie dough).

    The short version of what I’ll detail below: potato masher worked nicely, box grater could’ve had I not screwed up, but in all I prefer using my fingers!

    Attempts 1 & 2: Several folks mention grating frozen butter into the flour with a box grater as an option. This actually resulted in a gummy wet mess for me both times I tried it. After talking to some friends and having practiced with other methods, I now realize that the problem was that I failed to go on to actually work the shreds of butter into the flour. While it would be OK and desirable to have some intact shreds, a good portion of the butter needs to be rubbed in more fully to coat the flour. The action of the pastry blender as you describe it seems to combine both cutting and rubbing.

    Attempt 3: Potato masher, as suggested by others – beautiful results! I have the squiggle kind; I believe the grid kind would work but be more annoying to periodically unclog. I baked the dough as cinnamon sugar strips and noticed that it puffed in many areas in long, even layers – kind of like the rough puff pastry-type dough that I’ve tried from Chez Pim’s blog, but crumbling a bit more upon biting in.

    But your crust properly made seems to have more crumble and much less of a puff pastry effect. I wonder if I could achieve that by also cutting the “mashed” butter-flour mixture with a bench scraper or knife?

    Attempt 4: Fingertips (eating results right now). This was the most fun, crumbles in lovely uneven flakes, and leaves the fewest things to wash afterwards! We have cool weather right now, so I could still see resorting to a potato masher/bench scraper combo if it’s hot. I found a video tutorial for the fingertip method by Jennifer Field that also nicely reinforces the general pie-principles you’re teaching here: http://bit.ly/OhqFkD

    Thank you for the tutorial, and for showing us how to experiment in our kitchens!

  414. Charlie

    Thanks for the great guide. I, too, had my first big pie crust success using these methods. For me, I think the problem was that other recipes that I have used have called for much less water to be added – in fact, about half! I was worried at first when I saw how much wetter the dough was than when I have made pie crust in the past. But boy what a difference!!! I was clearly making my dough too dry. Thanks again!

  415. hayley

    Cannot thank you enough for this recipe, I just rolled mine out and I honestly could not be more ecstatic. It had the perfect elasticity and even though I haven’t baked it yet it has this buttery biscuit kind of flavor (I’ve eaten like half the scraps) and I can just tell when baked it’ll be even better. I usually don’t comment on recipes unless I have a question, but I really just wanted to tell you and everyone who reads this that it is so incredibly worth making!

  416. I am right there with you! All butter! Mix by hand with a pastry cutter! Keep it cold!

    Thanks for putting it down in writing and photos! Now when I forget my recipe I know where to turn. I think I use less water though, which makes it a b-ch to roll out, but keeps it really flaky.

  417. Alex D

    I’m still a lard and butter crust person, but have bailed on the Cuisineart. Left the dough too crumbly and not flakey. Also, have taken to putting everything in the freezer for an hour before prep. Finally, thank you for being realistic about the amount of water necessary to help it all hold together. Who the heck came up with 5 T most recipes recommend?!

  418. Cara

    I’m chiming in to thank you. The directions and pictures are awesome. I’ve made apple pie and chicken pot pie using your crust. Both turned out great!

  419. Darlene

    Just found this… love that people are commenting 5 years later!! I usually use 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening, but was out of shortening today… Other than not usually using all butter, this is exactly how I have been making pies for 20 years, and my sister and mother before me for… wow, over 50 years!

  420. Jane

    We love this apple pie! I’ve made it many times. The only change that I make is that I add about a teas.of cinnamon to the mixture after I take it off the heat. And then I pour about 3/4 of mixture over the apples and toss gently before putting the lattice top crust on. Then I pour rest of sugar mixture over the crust. I use the butter pie crust recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

  421. Jane

    Sorry, I thought I was posting on the apple pie recipe which was on allrecipes.com. It’s titled Apple Pie by Grandma Opie. This is my favorite pie crust recipe.

  422. Shantelle

    I made this pie crust this morning for my apple pie, it is THE BEST! My crust literally puffed up into flaky layers, i couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Thank you so much for posting it. It’s perfect! All I can think about now is what other pies I want to make, it has put me into a pie making spin that I’m sure my family and friends will be thanking you for. I will never buy store bought dough again.

  423. Shantelle

    One more thing, I followed the recipe exactly and I was super worried that I added too much water because the dough actually held together, was easy to roll out and elastic enough to pick up and not fall apart. So glad I did what you said, because before store bought dough I could never make a good pie crust, probably because their was never enough water in the darn recipes, or enough butter? I am just super thrilled so thanks again.

  424. Maddison

    This is easily the best pie crust I’ve ever had or made! It turned out wonderful I followed the recipe and let it sit in the fridge for just 1 hour. My new pie crust recipe! Yay!

  425. Emily

    I never have commented on something like this, but I just made a very close version of this pie crust. As an underprepared baker, I had no hope of getting a pastry blender, so I just crumbled the butter with my fingers. I have never seen or tasted a flakier, more delicious crust. It’s unreal!

  426. jenna

    This recipe created two thick, rich, delicious crusts in the fastest amount of time! Thank you ever so. I am bookmarking this 4 life!

  427. Kathi

    My husbands 90 year old grandmother could bake a delicious, flaky pie out of flour- and air, seemingly. She moistened her dough with a mix of 1 beaten egg, 1 tbsp of vinegar and 6tbsp ice water. Her pie crust was always flaky and tasty by it’s self and I still dream about her raisin custard pie which I’ve never been able to match.

  428. Stephanie

    OMG!!! I will never, ever, ever again use the prepackage crusts, or use a mix. This crust was PERFECT! I wish I could upload a photo of my Lattice Top Cherry Pie. I used a clear glass baking dish, and even the bottom of the pie was golden brown. Thank you ever so much for posting such a simple to follow recipe.

  429. Aaron

    I halved this recipe as I was only making one pumpkin pie (thanks for the metric units btw).
    After rolling out the dough, I took the extra scraps, combined them, rolled them out into a little circle, and put it in the oven as a sort of ‘test swatch’.
    I took it out when it was golden brown and tried a bit, and this was the flakiest, most flavorful crust I have ever made.
    Usually I can’t stand to eat more than a bite or two of plain crust, but I hungrily devoured the whole thing.

    I agree with your assessment of shortening. Aside from everything you listed, the hydrogenation process used on the vegetable oils converts some of the fats to trans fats.

  430. Dear Smitten,
    I’m a make it from scratch kinda gal. Despite this, a love-hate relationship with pie crusts is a part of my history. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this tutorial. You made my Apple Pie much better this Fall due to fact that my crust was constructed with my own two hands. Yum, about to have another slice!
    Mrs.

  431. Megan Don

    If there is anybody who needs to make a homemade pie crust for fruit pies, crème pies, pot pies, or just a crust, this is literally the best recipe I have ever tasted. Take this from a 17 year old girl who burns pancakes, I made this crust following the recipe to a T and it came out so gold brown, so utterly delicious. Just thinking about it now makes me crave pie crust. The family was in heaven with every bite of this chicken pot pie that I had made and the crust was their favorite part. I could not have made such a creation without this recipe, thank you tons Smittin! (:

  432. DavidWL

    I noticed a few people posted that they use vinegar in their recipes…my Pie & Pastry Bible does too, using cider vinegar (supposedly helping to make the crust more tender). Just wondering if you have experimented with that. Also, have you made this with pastry flour rather than all purpose?
    Tonight will be my first time using any of your recipes ever and psyched that it’s an all butter crust. So glad you found that crisco is not necessary!

    1. deb

      DavidWL — I have. It’s totally okay to use 1 teaspoon or so in with the water; some people feel that it helps tenderize the dough. It is something I’ve played with from time to time but I don’t notice a huge enough difference to, say, add an ingredient to a recipe that is as simple as this one. But, it’s totally worth fiddling with at home. I do, occasionally, use buttermilk instead of water, for similar reasons however, I use that more often for hand pies and places where I’d like the dough more malleable.

  433. Hot Strawberry

    I made this up last night. I actually made two batches, just in case I had trouble, and I am glad I did. I took it out this afternoon and the first attempts at rolling were a disaster. I over-floured and the dough just fell apart in chunks. I used less flour on the second batch and was able to crank out two nice, round crusts. The pie is in the oven as we speak. Fingers crossed!

  434. I’ve been unsuccessful at pie crust until now! Deb, you’ve changed my baking future. I just started blogging about my adventures and misfortunes in the kitchen and unfortunately for the blog, this was a complete win. My husband even ate it and he’s my worst critic. Thanks Deb!

  435. P & I’s Mother

    I followed the instructions exactly and the crust was NOT good. It was just like all of my other failed pie crusts: Tastes good because of the butter, but tough in texture.

  436. Danny

    Hello just came across this recipe and I am excited to try it. However, I did not see where you mentioned how long to bake the pie dough; unless I missed it.

  437. I can’t wait to try this butter recipe out! Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I always bake butterscotch meringue pie for my brother, coconut meringue pie for my husband and dad, and of course chocolate meringue for the kids! I have always used the shortening method and have had good luck with it, but I am hoping that the flavor from the butter will make my pies an even better success with my family. Let you know how it turns out!

  438. D’Arcy Young

    I had to thank you. This turned out so well. My daughter’s been trying to get me to learn to make pie crust for over ten years. I’ve made them, but they’ve been tough and boring. This was great.
    Again, thank you.

  439. Lela

    This pie crust turned out great! It was super flaky and very tasty! I made an apple pie and the crust was my favorite part! I can’t wait to make a cherry pie with it. Something about the butter and the cherries together sounds really good to me! I had no trouble rolling it out and it made just enough for a double crust pie. Perfect, thanks!

  440. Lela

    I forgot, I did use pastry flour. I don’t know that it made a difference since I haven’t tried it with all purpose yet, but it was great!

  441. Kim

    The best part of your recipe was the tip to use a wide bowl so you can really get your hands in there! All these years, all these pie crusts and I never thought to broaden the bowl. How much easier.

    Thank you!!!!

  442. Baybee

    Not sure what happened. I followed this recipe to a T and made a pumpkin pie. The crust came out hard and crisp. It was so exciting to try it but so disappointing with the results :0{

  443. Gabrielle

    Last week I used your pie crust recipe (which I use very often in fruit pies & it comes our perfectly every time) as a single recipe for a pumpkin pie. However, the crust came out very tough. I’ve been asked to bring another pumpkin pie to a friend’s Thanksgiving gathering on Thursday. Do you have any suggestions to keep that from happening again? Should I blind bake it? Thanks in advance!

  444. I’m going to try this recipe today. I don’t have a pastry cutter and I’ve never had much luck trying the fork/knife routine, so I’m going to try something that worked great for making flaky biscuit–a cheese grater! I have one that has fairly large holes and it’s flat, so I can lay it on top of the bowl and grate right into the flour. For the biscuits, I could see flecks of butter in the dough, so I’m thinking this will be perfect for the pie crust too.

  445. Becky

    I hadn’t tried making pie crust for 20 years after a few frustrating experiences when I was in college. I just made yours and I’m almost in tears with gratitude at how well it came out. Your hints and rolling-out instructions were invaluable. Thank you for making this Thanksgiving so special!

  446. Z

    I was trying to halve the recipe for a single-crust pie but I accidentally added almost double the amount of water required (about 10 Tablespoons instead of 6). The dough is really sticky but I formed it into a ball, wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. Can it be rescued or transformed and used for something? I feel bad throwing it out.

    My second halved recipe came together fine and I’m excited to bake it tomorrow!

  447. Rosie

    Absolutely the best pie crust recipe I have ever made, and so easy too! As a poor college student with no pastry cutter I was able to just use my hands to physically break down the butter into small-medium chunks, and it still came out amazing. Almost puff pastry-like in some parts!

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  448. Kim

    Sorry, but this crust sucks! Maybe half butter and half lard. I followed your instructions to a tee. I’ve been baking a long time and thought I would try something new, but I am going to stick with my old recipe.

  449. Lulu

    Deb!

    It’s thanksgiving and I’m having a crisis. The last two pies (including the one I’m trying to serve now) have had crusts that just MELT. All the butter melts out and ends up pooling around the pie. I’ve never had this problem before. What did I do?? I guess I’ve lost my touch! :-( HELP.

  450. Daryn

    thanks especially for the tips about keeping everything cold; it seemed so wrong but turned out so right. I used your crust with a fuji-apple pie recipe

  451. Monique

    this is a great and easy pie dough recipe, thank you! It wasn’t too sticky, which made it so much easier to work with. I made a caramel apple pie last night and everyone seemed to love it!

  452. I made your apple pie bars for an event a month or so back and they came out fantastic…the crust was especially wonderful, so I came back looking for your regular pie crust recipe. I made two batches of this for Thanksgiving this year and I have to say, this recipe definitely beats out my old all butter recipe. So flaky, crispy, flavorful, holds well, and browns up beautifully. It also seemed to roll out easily, which I appreciated. I don’t know if I’ve just gotten much better at making crust in recent experience or this recipe is magic, but it’s definitely a keeper!

  453. katiedid

    This tutorial is great. I’ve made 5 pies in 3 days and all turned out great. Cannot tell you what a relief it it so be over my crustphobia.

    Thank you!!

  454. Adrienne

    Hi Deb!

    I believe I followed every step, but still felt like my crust wasn’t flaky at all. It was verrry buttery, but lacked that delicious pie crust texture I was hoping for. It had nice big bits of butter in it, and I literally barely worked it. The shaggy mess I was told to go for was achieved, but when baked, the crust was…well, a bit thick and chewy. It could’ve been humidity or something, but I thought I’d ask you your thoughts. I’m in Atlanta and the weeks weather wasn’t particularly notable.

    I have NO desire to use shortening in anything, but the scientist in me wonders what it is that the shortening achieves that the butter does not (or vice versa)?

    Thank you for your thoughts in advance. Your blog is my first go to site when on a recipe hunt. ;) Your nutmeg-maple pie is next on my list!

    1. deb

      Hi Adrienne — It shouldn’t have nice big bits of butter in it; if the butter bits are too big, the butter runs out, the crust ends up tough and not flaky. The biggest butter bits should be the size of petite (tiny) peas. The rest should be sandy or invisible.

  455. Cass

    I just made a pot pie (with leftover thanksgiving turkey and veggies) crust that had the consistency of a biscuit. Not bad, but not what I wanted, although I just threw stuff together with no recipe. I was wondering if maybe I should add a LOT more butter so I of course came to this site to check if you had a pie crust post I had forgotten about.

    Of course you did! Thanks so much for this!

  456. Danny

    Hello, I tried this crust on thanksgiving; pecan and pumpkin pie. The crust tasted great. However I did have some trouble the first two batches came out quite well, but the next couple batches were shrinking as I was rolling them out. I tried adding more flour as I rolled, refrigerating longer, although I left in the fridge for more than 2 hours, and even tried freezing the butter. Nothing worked! Also I did pre-bake some of the crusts and the others I didn’t. It was quite tough to cut almost rubbery. Any suggestions? I want to experiment some more, I believe that practice makes perfect.

    Thank you

  457. Noelani

    Hi Deb. I found your blog while searching for a recipe for Challah, and have been looking at pie recipes every since. I could tell that you were a cook after my own heart when I saw that your chocolate pudding pie included both cocoa powder AND bittersweet chocolate.

    I LOVE pies, and so do my kids! My favorite part is the crust. However, I’ve gained so much weight over the last decade that I’ve been experimenting, for quite a while, with various ways that I hoped would create a flaky crust with a few less calories. I did find one thing that worked pretty well, which was to replace some of the flour with finely ground rolled oats. Only problem was that handling it was next to impossible, because it just fell apart.

    SO, I am committing myself to following your recipe for Christmas pies!

  458. Not even close

    First time…never b4 and I tought it would b perfect….but noooo the crust looked ok but came out hard and very rubbery when trying to cut….used salted butter but removed the salt from the list to add, tried to prebake only 8 min @ 425 and they puffed but I stopped and added filing…help! Maybe the water was too much? I’m a nubie…ouch but I’m over my ability here…thanks Tom

  459. Meg

    I’ve attempted this crust three times now — twice with problems, and on the third attempt it was perfect. I learned a couple of things that might help others diagnose any issues — if the crust is melting, shrinks, or otherwise greasy, (as was my first attempt), the butter isn’t broken down into small enough pieces. It really should be in very very small pieces, like coarse cornmeal, with a few slightly larger lentil-sized pieces.

    My second attempt was way too tough — we had to use a serrated knife to cut it, and even then it was barely edible — because I put too much water in the dough. I made a mistake trying to cut the recipe in half, and forgot to cut the water. Adding the (correct amount of) water very slowly and only as necessary to get the dough to hold together eliminated this problem on the third crust.

  460. Chris Bachtel

    Wow- fantastic crust!!! Made it last night with your strawberry rhubarb pie- probably the best crust I’ve ever made- and I’ve made decent crusts… Thank you so much for such a great recipe!!! I can’t stop eating the leftovers…. :)

  461. lynette

    This is the most amazing recipe for crust i have ever used!!!!!! AND COLD C0LD COLD did i listen to you!!!!!! It was the most delicious pie I have ever made! ANd so thought my entire family!!!! I cant wait to make a Turkey pot pie with the christmas leftovers!!!! Not to mention a pie a week for the rest of my entire life on this planet!!! I used horizons organic butter and it tasted like it came streight from heaven! THank you for your help I will NEVER use another pie crust recipe ever again!!

  462. Kate

    My entire life, I thought I wasn’t a big fan of pie crust. Turns out I was just not a fan of nasty pie crust! This recipe has saved my ass time and again and I’ve committed it to heart by this point!

    Thank you for helping me make some pies that had people making the most outrageous happy noises.

  463. Thanks! + tips

    Hi, just wanted to say thank you for posting this recipe!! My pie crust turned out perfect – fluffy and buttery like you said! In case anyone reads through all the reviews like I do – its possible to do without a food processor or even a pastry blender! (I have 0 kitchen tools) I diced the butter to very small pieces the day before and left it in the fridge, then the next day I made sure to put the cup water with ice cubes in the fridge to keep cool while I prepared the mixture. Mixed the butter in with my hands until I felt that it was all integrated and somewhat pea-sized (might have been bigger), added the 1/2 cup plus about 4-5 tblsp of water, and then wrapped it into discs and threw it in the fridge overnight! I was worried about it being too moist, but with the heat on in the winter I figured a little extra moisture couldn’t hurt among all this dry air. Plus I made sure to use A LOT of flour when rolling it out since it can be brushed off (actually I used a wine bottle to roll out my dough!) Your post about how to roll out the dough had all the info I needed! Thanks again!

  464. Michelle

    I won’t use any other recipe but this, this is, hands down THE BEST pastry recipe. For savory, I just omit the sugar. Thanks so much for sharing, love your recipes!

  465. Jodi

    This is my go to pie crust recipe! So amazing! Thank you- I’ll be making chicken pot pie with it for friends who just had a baby. Thank you!!!

  466. meghan

    I read in a cooking magazine….that if you grate frozen butter it would be easier to mix into the flour…..going to try it with this recipe!

  467. Nathalie

    Just wanted to thank you for this wonderful crust recipe- Definitely my new favorite! The first time I ever made it, I made it with your strawberry rhubarb pie recipe (which I will be making again tomorrow). It was PHENOMENAL. Definitely everything a crust should be! Keep up the good work!

  468. maina khan

    I read in a cooking magazine….that if you grate frozen butter it would be easier to mix into the flour…..going to try it with this recipe!

  469. Rani

    Hi Deb!

    I found this recipe while searching for a simple pie crust using butter and minimal ingredients and i just wanted to let you know that its absolutely wonderful! I’ve made two batches at half portions. Since i have no oven i used it as the crust for fried blueberry and chocolate hand pies and then as rolled bread sticks tossed in cinnamon and sugar.

    Thank you thank you so much for this beautiful recipe! Each batch i made divided into 3 small portions that were just perfect for me and my husband’s dessert needs. :)

  470. Jerry Reeve

    I found that if you freeze the butter, then grate it with a cheese grater, it keeps the ingredients cold, which is key to flaky crust. I also freeze a porcelain bowl with the flour in it. Touch it minimally, heat in making crust is bad.

  471. Barb

    This was the worst pie crust I’ve ever had – and I made it for my hubby’s traditional birthday chocolate pie rather than my usual crust from Betty Crocker’s cookbook. It was tough and tasted like bread. Even though I followed your instructions to the letter, it was a total failure. I had a party with friends who were very polite and ate it anyway (GOOD friends :)

    What did I do wrong??? I just don’t have a clue. And I was so looking forward to having lots of “YUM” comments….rats!

  472. Jordan

    I used this recipe to make my first ever pie crust today. The only thing I did differently was to freeze the butter beforehand and then grate it with a cheese grater. It was delicious and super easy; I keep going into the refrigerator and breaking off pieces of the edge to eat.

  473. kitty winke

    Been making pie rust for 48 years. Do not over work the dough. 1 cup of flour. salt 1 scant teaspoo, one half cup butter risco cut in with pastry cutter, add one forth ut of ice wather. Mix till comes together. roll out on floured board, lift into pie pan. Mkes one single pie crust. Double recipe for 2 pie crusts.

  474. PieGirlie

    Yes! Get the pie crust dough bag as someone else suggested. It is the best! Just place your thawed (leave out for 15 min. from the fridge) disk inside with a little flour sprinkled on both sides, zip it up and roll to fill the flat, round bag. Sometimes, I will press/mash in the disk sides to make it more round in case it starts looking too oval in the middle of rolling. Unzip and turn out onto the pie plate. For a top crust, don’t forget to brush a top crust with heavy cream or egg wash and then sprinkle on turbinado sugar. Yum!

  475. Holly

    I still use my processor but switched the attachment. I no longer use the sharp blade, but the dull one. Not sure what it’s for…kneading maybe? Anyways, I find that I don’t over mix and have plenty of butter flecks left in my final product. It works well for me, producing a very consistent dough every time.

    As for rolling, I used to struggle with that more than I do now. I’ve found that producing a crust with the right consistency is half the battle. It needs to be moist enough to hold together but obviously not too wet. Then, make sure it’s warm enough to roll smoothly to avoid unnecessary cracking. When rolling out, use plenty of flour and rotate the disk only slightly with each roll, not rolling back and forth.

    This seems to work well for me!

  476. Holly

    Lard sold in stores and most likely used in pre made crusts is not animal based but instead vegetable oil. Lard doesn’t = animal fat. In fact, leaf lard which is from pigs can be extremely difficult to get a hold of but it’s supposed to be fantastic for pie crusts!

  477. J vd Werff

    I’m so so happy, I’m from Holland, no ready made pie crust here in the supermarket and if there is, it tastes awful. And I don’t like Crisco either. Holland is no pie country, even restaurant don’t serve decent pies (crusts), but now I can, thanks to you! Maybe it seems somewhat exaggerated to be so enthusiastic about a pie crust, but I am. I’ve tried several before, but there was always something wrong. Can’t stop smiling:-)). I’ve made a lemon meringue pie with this crust. A pie not common in this country. But to me it is the best pie ever. Thank you so much

  478. I´m new here.
    I´m an austrian musician and I´m collecting and searching for old recipes. Started once with ma´s and grandma´s.
    Gonna try this pie crust this evening.
    Love this site.

  479. Maya

    Hi Deb, I’m making a banana cream pie (which, by the way, *gasp!* you do not have a recipe for on your site!) It calls for a pre-baked crust. At what temp and for how long should I bake this crust for? Thanks! :)

  480. Emily

    Hi Deb! Just wanna say thanks for this pie crust recipe. I’ve made it several times now and I think I’m finally, truly, getting the hang of this pie crust thing. I made your peach pie yesterday, and the crust turned out so flaky it was a dream! You could *see* the flakes, it was that wonderful. As someone who was also disappointed with the Cooks Illustrated pie crust (which seems, in hindsight, like way too much fuss and drama for not enough result), I’m so glad to have this recipe/these tips to fall back on.

  481. Amy

    This is the perfect pie crust! I used this pie crust for a dessert pie as well as a chicken pot pie, both came out flaky and full of flavor. Love the step by step photos! Thanks for sharing.

  482. Selma

    This is not only the easiest but also the most delicious crust I’ve ever made. I’ve made it twice this week and it was absolutely perfect both times. Excellent recipe

  483. Maggie

    If anyone feels completely inept when it comes to pie crust, I feel you. I finally made this successfully and figured I’d share my previous mistakes in case anyone does these too and starts crying when they ruined their millionth pie crust (just me? I really like pie).

    I used to be so worried about the cutting in or processing the butter too much, that I wasn’t doing it enough – take the “until the biggest pieces resemble peas” literally. If the pieces are too large, the crust has trouble coming together and actually turns out tough. Refrigeration is key, and my best one to date was stored in the freezer then defrosted in the refrigerator, then on the counter top just until it was rollable. When rolling out, I like to use a non-stick surface like parchment or one of those fantastic pie mat things with measurements. Helps with not having to use so much flour to roll out. Keep turning it a quarter turn, or even less, after 1-2 rolls from the center outward. I roll from center up 1-2 times, from center down 1-2 times, then rotate just a little bit and continue. Before I’d rotate it too far and wonder why my edges were cracking soo much .. the smaller turns help you roll it out more evenly to keep more of a round shape instead of completely jagged .. which always made me roll mine too thin to make up for the wonky shape.