Recipes

extra-flaky pie crust

[Welcome back to ✨ Newer, Better Month ✨ on Smitten Kitchen, when I update a few SK classics with new knowledge, new techniques, and with real-life time constraints in mind. Previously.]

The concept of “newer better” is always going to be relative, and no more so than in this recipe. For all of the years I’ve been cooking, I’ve made pie dough one way. I shared the recipe with you in 2008, have referenced it in every recipe for pie since, and, until a couple years ago, never veered from it. My recipe is not an outlier; it contains the same ingredient ratios as 99% of American-style pie crust recipes out there. There might be variations in types of fats, preferred flours, sometimes there’s a little buttermilk or apple cider vinegar instead of some of the water or a little more or less sugar and salt, but they’re almost all the same ratio of fat to flour to water. It makes a great pie crust. Here’s where the relativity comes in: If you make pie crusts the way I’ve long made pie crusts and you’re happy with these pies, stop reading now. There’s nothing to see here! This isn’t for you! This is for people who have tried that fairly standard formula and found it lacking. A little tough. Not flaky enough. It comes up! I’m listening.


flour salt sugarchop your cold buttersquash the butter cubesbigger pieces are fine hereadd cold watermix until dough comes togetherchill until firmchill until firmflour everything wellfolded for extra flaky layers

So let’s talk about what that last one percent of pie doughs do differently. It’s not the butter or the liquid; by and large, these recipes use the same amount. It’s the flour — they use less. If you’re thinking, “but if you use less flour and the same amount of butter and water, the dough might be stickier and harder to work with?” — you are correct. I began auditioning these lighter-on-the-flour doughs a few years ago and found them a little pesky and if you’re wondering if “pesky” is smiled through gritted teeth, well, you are correct again. And I feel pretty comfortable with butter-flour doughs! What does this mean for people who do not? Given that making pie dough at all from scratch is even for some of the most skilled home cooks a hurdle they do not wish to surmount (hi mom!), why suggest a trickier recipe? Why raise the hurdle? (Why download DuoLingo and start with Russian, Deb? Ahem, I digress.)

rolled againtrim the edgesa thin layer of fruitto latticemake a cute little latticefinish your latticebrush with egg, sprinkle with sugarextra-flaky pie crust

It’s because it’s worth it. This is the croissant-flaky pie dough of dreams. If my eyes were closed, I would not know that I wasn’t biting into puff pastry, which shatters into thousands of featherweight-but-crisp shards on impact. It’s undeniably flakier, but also of course it is: less flour means less weight, less density. And yes, it softens up a little faster. You’ll need more flour to keep it loose from the counter when rolling it out. A little folding improves structure and increases the expansion of flaky layers. These were small adjustments I had to make to get the hang of it but it’s absolutely worth it because you get this when you’re done:

extra-flaky pie crust

And this.

extra-flaky pie crust

Also this.

extra-flaky pie crust

And you made this with your hands! It took 5 minutes to assemble and 5 minutes to roll out. You did this. You’re amazing. Honestly, I always knew you had it in you.

Previously

One year ago: Sweet Potato Tacos
Two years ago: Punjabi-Style Black Lentils
Three years ago: Churros
Four years ago: Red Bean and Green Grain Taco Bowl
Five years ago: Broccoli, Cheddar and Wild Rice Casserole
Six years ago: My Favorite Buttermilk Biscuits
Seven years ago: Potato Knish, Two Ways
Eight years ago: The Best Baked Spinach
Nine years ago: Thick, Chewy Granola Bars and Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)
Ten years ago: Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Key Lime Coconut Cake, and Steak Sandwiches
Eleven years ago: Alex’s Chicken and Mushroom Marsala, Almond Biscotti
Twelve years ago: Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Flapjacks
1.5 Years Ago: Marbled Banana Bread
2.5 Years Ago: Even More Perfect Blueberry Muffins and Plum Squares with Marzipan Crumble
3.5 Years Ago: Caponata and Zucchini Rice and Cheese Gratin
4.5 Years Ago: Corn Cheddar and Scallion Strata and Chocolate and Toasted Hazelnut Milk

Extra-Flaky Pie Crust

  • Servings: For one standard double-crust pie, two single-crust pies, or this lattice-slab shown here
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen
  • Print

Previously, my pie dough rules were: use all butter (it’s very flaky if used well, and tasty too), keep everything cold, use a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until the largest bits are the size of small peas, and only use enough water to pull the dough together. I am still loyal to all-butter crusts, but I’ve come around to mixing your dough with your fingers (with a satisfying squash of each cube, although I’m never giving up my pastry blender), I’ve added a little folding to the rolling-out steps, which improves structure and increases the expansion of flaky layer, and that with this, you can get away with leaving the butter in larger, lima bean-sized pieces. Finally, I actually get the dough pretty damp — you’ll be sure it’s too soft and sticky, but I promise, it’s not — and it’s not a problem at all. In fact, because we’re using a higher proportion of butter in this dough, and butter is very hard when it’s cold, I find that this extra moisture makes what would otherwise be a very firm dough easier to roll.

Many thanks to Stella Park’s No-Stress, Super-Flaky Pie Crust technique for helping me overcome my stubborness/showing me the light about wetter doughs and folded roll-outs.

  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 1 cup (230 grams, 8 ounces, or 16 tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) very cold water

Place your flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Cut your butter into small cubes (1/2-inch is ideal here) and add them into the flour mixture. Toss them around so that they’re coated and used your fingers to squash each butter cube into flatter, lima-bean like pieces. It’s totally fine if this is bigger than you’re used to.

[You could also use a pastry blender, stand mixer, or a food processor, but go very easy on it, especially the food processor — you want flat-ish, lima bean-sized pieces of butter, not the usual “coarse meal” or “small pea-sized” mixture. If using a food processor, when you’re done, dump this butter-flour mixture into a large bowl before continuing.]

Pour water over butter-flour mixture and use a flexible silicone spatula or scraper to bring it together into a dough that will seem too wet and sticky, but will be just fine. Divide dough into two parts, and wrap each half into flat-ish packets wrapped in plastic, waxed or parchment paper.

Chill in the fridge until firm — one to two hours.

Unwrap first packet of dough, place on a well-floured counter, sprinkle the top generously with flour, and roll it out into a thick-ish long rectangle. Brush off excess flour off dough with your hands and fold it as you would a business letter, into thirds. Continue to roll this packet into the shape needed for your final pie — shown here 10×15-inch, but a 14-inch round is the usual size for a standard pie crust.

From here, you’ll want to follow the instructions for the pie you’re making. Looking for ideas? Start here!

A fun breakfast pastry I only made to showcase this awesome pie crust but actually ended up abundantly flaky and just a little sweet: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix 4 cups sliced rhubarb (here about 1/4-inch thick), 3 tablespoons tapioca starch, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, a pinch of salt, a pinch of ginger, and the juice of half a lemon. Roll both pie dough halves into 10×15-inch rectangles; keep them firm and cool in the fridge while not using them, especially if they’ve gotten soft or your kitchen is hot. Place first half on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon filling on, leaving a 1.5-inch border. Cut second dough into on the diagonal into strips, whatever width you’d like. Lay every other strip over rhubarb filling in one angled direction. Form a lattice with remaining strips in the opposite direction. Trim strips so that they’re flush with bottom crust area. Fold crust over the lattice top and filling all around the pie, crimping to tighten the seal. Brush with an egg wash (1 egg, beaten lightly with 1 teaspoon water) and sprinkle with coarse or raw sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden all over. Let cool to warm before cutting into squares.

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174 comments on extra-flaky pie crust

  1. Saskia Callaars

    Haha. Hilarious My husband said to me a few times: “I don’t get why recipe-blogs have these really long-winded stories at the start, I don’t want to hear about their day. I just skip straight to the recipe.” And it made me think of your posts immediately. Sure, I’ve made some really tasty food following your recipes ( thanks!), mostly I really look forward to reading your stories. Am never disappointed!

    1. Jacquie Katz

      Yes, the stories are the charm, although the recipes have been such an inspiration! So many are my go-to, and now I cannot wait to try the pie dough improvement!

      1. Amy

        Here Here! Even when I come back for a recipe, I still reread the narrative because I enjoy it that much. As I am today… but now off to the kitchen for quiche.

  2. Michelle C.

    This looks amazing!! I have J. Kenzi-Lopez’ processor dough blind-baking in the oven now filled to the brim with Stella’s sugar trick for a banana cream pie. I do not have a glass or aluminum pie plate but fingers crossed my ceramic one works acceptably. But this giant pop tart of yours is going to happen very soon!!!

  3. Fay Ahuja

    This has to be the flakiest pie dough ever. After this weekend, when I have stored all the leftovers from Saturday night’s party, I am going to find an excuse to make a pie.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Helena

    If I were to leave the dough in the fridge overnight in order to roll it out in the morning, would I need to let it warm up a bit, or is it rollable straight out of the fridge? Just so I can plan ahead. I’ve always loved your all-butter pie crust, but I feel like I need this sort of flakiness in my life.

    1. rstrauser

      Deb, I have been wondering this for years. What does “the other side of the world” mean? Do you somehow have a different website for Europe? Please enlighten me!

  5. TinaD

    I will be interested to see if this works for me; it is often to hit and humid in my kitchen to suit butter doughs, unless I want to roll them out standing in the refrigerator. (I downloaded Duolingo for Russian, too. It helps, apparently, to learn the alphabet beforehand. I’ve backed off in favor of German, which has a million and 5 lessons. Some of us never learn.)

  6. KC

    Does it need a refrigerated rest between being rolled out and being baked? Some rich and flaky doughs weep butter if you don’t bake them from 1. cold and 2. rested, and that is a *mess* (did I once bake a rough puff paste pie dough without resting it first? yes, yes I did).

  7. Kathy D

    I’m one of those reasonably good cooks who just never made pie crust until a few years ago – I used those roll-up Betty Crocker crusts. I forget what the catalyst was, but mostly it was that I always have flour and butter and water in the house. When I finally figured it out, these were the same proportions I used. I found this crust easier than those with a higher proportion of flour, and it’s also easier to remember. One cup flour (with a pinch of salt), one stick butter, ice water to moisten. I normally do it all in the food processor – will need to try leaving the butter lumps larger and folding.

  8. Sherri

    I’ve found that slicing the butter rather than cutting it into cubes also lends itself to lots of flaky goodness. I love your classic recipe – looking forward to giving this a go as well!

  9. Hello World

    I have my little cold cubes of butter, I turn them into little floured peas, and yet my dough always looks like it has striations of butter in it like a deep dish pizza when I roll it out — it looks clumpy. Yours and everyone else’s looks like a pale, smooth dough that you can neatly fold like a letter. The butter is somehow soft enough to disappear and cold enough to not become a sticky glob: How is this possible?? Any clues?

  10. Susan

    I guess when you consider that Rugelach dough has even more fat than this recipe, just reducing the flour in regular pie dough is likely going to make a workable dough. It’s the folding that makes it so much flakier. I use a fraisage method for making pie dough now and when you smear out the dough to flatten the butter to sheets, then gather it together by scraping it into a pile in order to form you disks, it has a similar effect; it makes for a very flakey crust.

  11. Marcia

    My grandma taught me not to fear piecrust when I was very small. We used hands then, so maybe it’s time to go back in time before food processors.
    Also, she never measured, and I have yet to figure out how she did that.
    She never letter folded it either, so It’s time to try yours. If that rhubarb is from West Side Market, tell them it’s time to come back to 75th St.

  12. bully77636

    Great post as i prefer this type of crust above all others! I like to compare the look during the prep to drywall in a bowl.

  13. Magpie

    Forgive me if someone has already asked/answered this but how well does this survive freezing?
    Also how would you make it savoury? I am dreaming of an onion tart, tomato tart or quiche.

    1. deb

      Yes it could be savory and yes it freezes great. You’ll probably need it to defrost in the fridge for a full day before you could roll it out.

  14. Emma

    Yes, please: how do you make it savoury? I have used the crust successfully for sweet pies, but find even that one tablespoon of sugar excessively sweet for savoury dishes (there is always more than I need and this limits the ways I can use up the leftovers). I leave the sugar out now, but any other suggestions, please?

    I will be finding a way to try this this weekend, but my rhubarb is only two inches high.

  15. Lisa

    I’ve followed Stella’s recipe and it’s great. My only caution is to use Gold Medal flour and not King Arthur, especially if you’re blind baking the crust. King Arthur has 30% more protein and will sink down the sides no matter what you do. I had an epic Thanksgiving fail and Stella gave me that tidbit of info via her helpful twitter account. Luckily it was a pie #3 failure so all was still well but I won’t make that mistake again.

      1. satedbaker

        I’m actually really curious what kind of flour Deb typically uses. I typically buy King Arthur AP because it’s so consistent, but I wish there was easier access to their pastry blend which does have a lower protein content.

        1. deb

          I used King Arthur for years, but recently, also upon Stella Park’s advice, have been using Gold Medal. I’m happy with both. I am obviously not a baking scientist and I know Stella knows what she’s talking about but I just don’t find that using one or the other will make or ruin a pie dough, as I’ve used both successfully for years without trouble. King Arthur has more protein, it’s possible that if you baked two cakes side-by-side with the different flours you could tell which one was KA, but I hardly think if the recipe was a good one, that you’d think either is bad. Hope that helps.

  16. Stacy

    OMG these are the ratios I use to great results and I’m thrilled to see them here! I haven’t tried folding yet, so thank you for the hot tip!

  17. Phyllis

    Deb, any thoughts on the flour itself? In trying to achieve the perfect biscuit I started using White Lily flour which was available in the south, and brought to me by a friend from SC. I set aside for biscuit use only. Recently it became available in a local store so I started using it for everything. The scones I made were fine but my popovers didn’t pop and I wonder if the lighter flour has anything to do with it.

    1. kimstebbins1

      Being a Sotherner, I’ve baked with White Lily all my life —it’s great for biscuits and cookies and even pastry (too low-protein for bread, but just noticed today a White Lily bread flour on the grocer’s shelf, so may have to try)—but do weigh the flour, because White Lily is lighter, you can’t use cup for cup.

    1. Um, I’m not a cook so I have no business even talking. Maybe that even works, but from a science perspective, I doubt it. Alcohol dissolves fats, unlike water, so I would expect things to turn into a gooey mass.

      Don’t do it! Unless of course somebody who actually knows says it’s fine.

      1. sheri glewen

        I use half icy vodka half water every time I make a batch of 8—have lots of pie experience and vodka makes it flakey. :)

      2. Wendy

        My go to is the Cooks Illustrated vodka pie crust. It’s half water half vodka (both chilled) and a combination of shortening and butter. It turns out a flaky crust every time and is easy to work. The vodka allows you to wet the dough enough to handle it easily, but does not encourage gluten to form, which makes crusts tough. The alcohol evaporates during baking.

        Can’t wait to try this recipe and compare!

      3. deb

        The recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, The Food Lab guy, back when he worked for Cook’s Illustrated so the science of it should be pretty sound. However, even he says he doesn’t bother with it anymore. He uses the recipe of his on Serious Eats; thinks that with the right technique (his is untraditional), the vodka isn’t necessary. But of course this doesn’t mean anyone needs to stop using it if it works for them. I wrote about it when it was published in 2007, but I, too, have moved on.

  18. Ila

    I have folded my very ordinary pastry crust envelope- style for many years, usually twice, which gives 9 layers and beautiful flakes. Folding thrice makes 27 layers, almost like puff pastry. But i learned NOT to use this for small mince tarts since the dough ejected most of the mincemeat right out of the mini muffin tins.
    i sometimes substitute hormone-free lard for up to 1/4 of the butter– or saved bacon fat for a savoury pie.

    1. deb

      There is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” You can also click CTRL + P from any recipe post and it will take you to a streamlined print template.

    1. deb

      I have a very precise system of… whatever is on sale. ;) I usually use storebrand butters (shown here: Trader Joes) or land-o-lakes or the like for recipe testing because I figure it’s closest to what most people can get. I of course love the higher fat European-style butters and they’re delicious here, too.

  19. Patty k

    Hey Deb, I love that you’re looking back at older recipes and I always read pie crust recipes. I decided years ago to successfully make pie crusts before I died.
    My mom and aunts turned them out at the drop of a hat. Kenji’s recipe was the first that worked for me. The ratio is the same 1 stick butter per cup of flour.
    I have tried Stellas but it didn’t work. I refrigerated it overnight in the pie dish before baking but the butter melted out and it was very hard. I had never heard of blind baking a crust for an hour at 350.
    Have you blind baked this and if so at what temperature? Any other advice?

    1. Sarahb1313

      So… I came to this technique honestly, when at someone’s home and trying to make a quick dessert and ended up usimg less flour, and most importantly using my fingers!!! I have struggled with my pie crust for my whole life and this one thing made it utterly better and consistent!!
      Thanks for validating and giving more structure to this!!

      1. Holly Utt

        Just made this. Have tried all your pie doughs and this is the best! Really easy to handle and roll. Super flaky. My sweater looks like I at a croissant! Always love your recipes and write up. I teach cooking through snap ed in Maine and often use your whole grain and veggie salads/bowls. My classes love them!

  20. John

    All the way through this post I was thinking “I wonder how this will compare to Stella Parks’s pie dough?” and then at the end, boom, there it is! Definitely going to give this a try next time I’m in a pie-making mood.

  21. Mary Weber

    Am I the only one who finds the dough to be dry (not wet/sticky) like the recipe suggests? I weighed the flour carefully, added correct amounts of everything else. What might I have not considered?

    1. Sarah

      Somehow this happened to me too! I had watched the video on Instagram so I knew what the consistency was supposed to look like; so I just added a tiny bit more water!

    2. kimstebbins1

      I love your original pie crust (somewhere along the way, I learned to use walnut sized pieces of butter for flakier crusts for fruit filled pies, use the pea sized for a shorter crumb for custard pies), it’s slways flakey for me, but wanted to try this. And I wanted to make your sour cherry slab pie (with Trader Joe’s Morello cherries—trust me, they are a fabulous substitute for fresh the other 50 weeks of the year!), but I didn’t need a large one. I used half this dough for a 1/4 sheet pan and because the filling I made seemed a little thin, I decided to use your almond crumble topping. My word, was this cherry-slab-crumble delicious! Kind of a like bar but tasting like a pie—and the crust was perfect. So cheers to new and better month!

    3. Mahtab

      Mine was dry too! I noticed this and meant to add water to get a similar consistency to Deb’s but had an unexpected visitor and forgot. My dough is in the freezer now…any chance you made yours yet?

    4. Emma

      Mine was dry too, but I think it was the butter was really cold. So it dispersed through the flour but didn’t really mix with it. I turned it three or four times with my hand until it came together and carried on from.

      Beautiful party: light and flaky but not at all greasy. And the scent of butter while it was cooking…

    5. Emily

      Yes I have made it twice and it super dry each time, added almost three tablespoons of water and still wasn’t as sticky as I would expect from Deb’s description.

  22. Jennifer

    I’ll have to try this. I’ve tried Stella’s with disastrous results and was scared back to Kenji’s, but I really want more flakiness! I bought a bag of Gold Medal flour and am hoping that does the trick…

    1. deb

      What happened with Stella’s? Just curious. I’ve made it too and it’s very scary rolling it out still soft. I felt like I used a cloud of flour; it was everywhere. But the crust is of course delicious. It uses about 3T less flour than this. I found this level + chilling made it really easy/not too scary but still really flaky.

  23. PatW

    I tried Stella’s recipe, once with King Arthur flour, and once with Pillsbury. Both times it came out flaky– but tough. On reading your version, I just realized why– I tried to knead the dough together when I shouldn’t have. Going to give it another chance .

  24. nlbarber

    Coincidentally I made your sour cherry slab pie for Pi Day, except it was mixed berries for lack of sour cherries, and I used Bravetart’s pie crust. :). I watched her make that dough in an open sided tent in Atlanta’s August heat and humidity, and decided even I with my hot hands could squash the butter cubes and pull it all together fast enough to get a flaky crust. And indeed it was!

    1. Elysia

      I always have to use more water than any recipe calls for to get all my dough wet… Is it advisable to go one tablespoon at a time (like with a lard dough) or is that too much mixing? Will butter pastry get tough the same way with over mixing? Recently made the butter pastry from your cookbook, and made my first successful all butter pastry!

  25. JP

    It looks to me like you have an 8 cup Pyrex measuring cup. That is one of the things I use the very most in my kitchen for so many uses. Very inexpensive and easy to clean up. I didn’t have one for years (only a one cup and than later a two cup) but I married into an 8 cup and that was the best thing that came from a divorce (besides my second husband who is a gem!).

    1. deb

      I got it from a friend in college! He was heading west for grad school, didn’t need to take all of his kitchen stuff. I can’t believe how old that makes it.

  26. ChicagoJEO

    I’ve been looking for this recipe for over 40 years. Back in the early 70s, the Chicago Tribune wrote an article on Jean Banchet, a French chef who ran a famous restaurant (Le Francais) in the northern suburbs. The article briefly described Banchet discussing a quick recipe for puff pastry that used small chunks of butter at the beginning state rather than a single block. Banchet had mastered it, but his pastry chef could not. Thank you for giving us this. All things come to those who wait, it would seem.

    1. K

      I can only imagine how satisfying it must have been to make this connection! Have you tried Deb’s recipe yet? Am so curious to hear your thoughts.

  27. Kora

    In your other pie dough recipes, I am able to speed the chilling by throwing it in the freezer for 20 min while making the filling. Does this work for this recipe as well? Or does it need time and cold to work?

  28. Thank you so much for the recipe. I tried it and it is so delicious. It remind my a dish I used to eat back in the days when I way living in Europe. I used to hang out in the “café” in Rome Italy and they used to served something similar. I speak about it on my rome travel blog where I also share some of own recipes.

  29. sheri glewen

    I should have stopped reading I guess after first paragraph. But I have years of pie crust experimenting under my belt and always use lard. HAVE used bacon fat. Crisco. Parts of each. Going to do the butter with less flour soon…..Some of the doughs are harder to handle…but I don’t let them rattle me :)

  30. Andrea

    I made this into an apple pie today. It looked gorgeous, you could see all the flaky layers. But it was oh so tough.

    I hate pastry. I’ve never had a pie crust turn out well. I’m a good baker, but pastry eludes me and makes me cry.

    1. Kathy K.

      I hate pastry too! I get frustrated, roll it in a ball and throw it on the floor. Cakes, cookies, brownies turn out perfectly. (I used to trade a friend — her pie crusts for my popcorn for her kids.) Finally decided that I can’t be good at everything. ;)

        1. Adrianne

          I wonder if you overworked it when you rolled it? That can make it tough. The best way I have found is to flatten the round to about 2 inches before I chill it and then to roll it out once and take when I get (sometimes it rips, but Bette to just press the rip together to patch it then to re-roll and make it tough!). My favorite method is in Deb’s first cookbook with a pastry blender (I leave large chunks – the dough should have visible chunks of butter), spatula and ice water. That one always works for me!

  31. With the exception of the sugar, this is the piecrust I grew up with. My mom taught me to add the ice water in tbsp increments, and stir with a fork, instead of dumping it in all at once, but it’s basically the same recipe. It’s delicious – flaky, tender, top of the pie browns nicely, leftovers make great cinnamon sugar cookies for kids….

  32. Brittany W

    Hi Deb, will you be including this recipe in all your future pie recipe posts? I’m a little nervous about a wetter dough, and really don’t want to have a pie making disaster at the last minute. Also I think you are missing an “f” in “Brush of excess flour.”

  33. Pia

    Yes! I swear by Stella Parks’ cube-squashing, book-folding method for pie crust. Another tip: I’m lazy about blind-baking — baking at a high temp (425 is good) on the lowest oven rack setting will get you a crisp bottom crust with no blind-baking required. No soggy bottoms!

  34. Kerri

    I’m really loving the look of the rhubarb tart-in the interest of speed could I just use frozen puff pastry? (Crust makers do not judge!)
    If so, do you think the baking times/temps are similar and could a single sheet be stretched that big?
    Thanks!

      1. Oh my god, this is FABULOUS. I am also butter-crust certified: I get why beginners use Crisco, but it’s not a favorite ingredient of mine. I’m a King Arthur flour girl, because I make fresh pasta a lot: this recipe did fine with KA. The recipe works by laminating tiny sheets of butter, so do keep the butter chunks Lima bean size… Thanks, Deb!!

        1. cy

          I often use half lard and half butter and I love that result. Shortening is tough, although I have made vegan crust with smart balance, It’s just very soft and much harder to work with.

  35. Hila

    That’s really cool. I’m sure I’ll try it out soon, but – it’s important to note for your international readers that this is an American-style pie crust. I mean, you already did it – but I’m not sure that most people outside America (myself included) understand that this kind of crust isn’t good for every application.
    Anyway, thanks for the improved recipes!

  36. David

    This was the best pie crust I’ve ever made! Followed the recipe exactly, but did the folding twice so it was extra flaky, made the night before & kept in the fridge overnight. Filling was strawberry/rhubarb from an old Stonewall Kitchen cookbook and 6 people polished all but a slice of this pie last night. When I was younger, my family had a cook who made an apple pie from scratch every Monday night. Usually just a bottom crust, but sometimes she’d do a lattice-top just to show off. She never measured anything – the crust was flour, Crisco & tap water and always always came out PERFECT. What I learned from her was not a recipe (there being none!) but an attitude about making pie: it’s not hard & just not that big a deal. My friends think that homemade pie is something difficult & miraculous, but I know better.

    1. deb

      No, it’s really not. It’s more of tart breakfast pastry. I wouldn’t go to 1.5 cups, but I might go up to 1/2 to 2/3 cup for a more standard sweetness.

  37. Simply put: the easiest, most successful pie crust I’ve ever made. I baked it this evening with Deb’s “even more perfect apple pie,” and I can’t wait until what it tastes like tomorrow, because it’s dang delicious tonight!
    And flaky, by George this thing is flaky! On-its-way-to-croissant flaky!

  38. Rocky Mountain Woman

    Ok, I’m going to give this a try! My pie crust recipe seems to always take forever and never really live up to my expectations.

  39. MJ

    I finally learned to make a pie by following your previous instructions almost to the letter (I never was able to get my 1/4” diced butter down to pea-sized bits in the dough), and in particular by following your direction to turning the dough frequently as you roll it out. That recipe makes a gorgeous flaky crust. So it will be a major trauma to do it a different way, but I might just have to give it a try.

  40. Connie

    Oh. My. Actual. Goodness! This crust is easy, flaky, crunchy deliciousness. I used it to make a tart for my book club last night. I scattered shredded gruyere on the bottom crust, topped it with caramelized leeks (from your toasts recipe) and finished with a lattice on top. I brushed on an egg/cream wash (just how it sounds – swirled an egg with a splash of cream) on the lattice gorgeousness.
    *It was a hit!* This is my new “Welcome to Spring” thing.
    I will use this crust forevermore. I can’t wait to try it with rhubarb (which is sadly, not yet in season where I live…)

  41. Dee

    Well my mom, who is 93, always used her fingers and just pooh poohed all this fancy stuff. Turns out she was on to something.

  42. S

    I’m glad I made this, but it was a bit of a miss for me. I’ve been making pie crust for years and usually use a recipe similar to the old all-butter crust on this site.

    I didn’t have any trouble making or handling this crust and I prepared turnovers filled with a ginger-plum mix. I don’t think the pastry is noticeably more difficult if you have made a butter crust before and use the tips. However, quite a bit of butter leaked out when I baked the crust (425F, ~25 minutes) to the point where I had a puddle of butter on the pan and it was starting to brown. The turnovers themselves were delicious and the pastry was very flaky, but also kind of tough.

    I thought I followed the instructions closely. However, when I look at the photo above the size of the larger butter chunks are the same, but there are more small pieces in the recipe photo. I suspect this caused the butter leaks. I’ll probably stick with the old recipe, which is very good, v. more tries on this one.

  43. Sarah Jean

    I made this right away when you posted it ! I couldn’t get my hands on rhubarb so I used strawberries instead, it was delicious! My wife declared it to be like breakfast toaster strudel so we made a royal icing and with just powdered sugar and milky and drizzled it on top and then ate it for breakfast 3 days in a row. ( I used the recipe for your rhubarb filming but omitted most of the sugar and added extra berries. So the frosting was perfect on top.) I loved the crust!!!!

  44. Marla

    sorry if this is a repost but my question of a couple of hours ago didn’t post. We have made this twice now and the dough it is so dry and nowhere near sticky. I checked Stella’s recipe which calls for 225 grams of flour, not 260. Did you modify this amount or is this an error?

    1. deb

      This is not an adaptation of Stella Park’s is recipe; I merely like her folding suggestion (although I do it differently). Are you at an altitude? This is a very wet dough for me, almost like a soft cookie dough.

      1. Marla

        I feel like I’ve just met Elvis! thanks so much for replying Deb, and I’m sorry for misunderstanding the Stella association.

        I’m in Boston so no elevation issue. Looking through the comments I see several others who have the same problem. We’re not new to baking or pie dough. There is no way our dough is anything like cookie dough. Strange.

        Reading your blog is like getting and unwrapping a birthday present every week. I can’t wait to see what you’ve got inside for us.

        1. deb

          I wish I could figure it out. I’ve used the formula of 1 cup butter to 2.5 cups flour to .5 cup water for pie doughs forever (and don’t remember any collection of concerns about dryness, except when elevation was an issue). Here, with this update, we’re using the same amount of liquid (.5 cup) and butter (1 cup) but less (less!) flour (2 cups) so it should absolutely be softer and stickier, as it always is for me. I don’t question the reality of anyone else experiencing this; it’s apparently happening. But it makes absolutely no sense to me.

      2. Dee

        I’m having the same issue as some others: it’s dry, neither soft nor sticky at all. I added a bit of extra iced water and it’s chilling in the fridge, awaiting it’s roll out. The pastry making gene eluded me – I ‘ve always made excellent shrunken concrete to date – so I’m a bit nervous but determined to press on and try, even the lattice.
        For those others who found it dry, could it be the flour? I’ve tried a low protein flour specifically for pastry, cakes and biscuits (aka cookies)

            1. Dee

              Well I made it and it tasted ok but oh dear it was tough. I had to pour off about 1/4 cup melted butter that was pooled around the base, and it really wasn’t flaky.
              Undaunted I plan to try again this time with my oven thermometer in use, and measuring extra carefully, and chilling after rolling. But mostly I think I just can’t do pastry. I seem to struggle to roll it without stretching it and I always feel I just have a heavy hand.

              1. Shannon

                I am wondering what kind of butter is being used? Some, like Kerry Gold, have a lower melting temp which means they they melt before they can work to laminated the layers. I figured this out after making an all butter crust like this for years and then tried it with Kerry. The butter over cooked and then the remaining dough over baked. It was all a lovely golden brown though!

    2. Tisha

      I haven’t tried this recipe, but I find Deb’s other recipe to look gorgeous but be a little tough (which I had heretofore thought was me working the dough too much). I started wondering – does anyone else with the dryness problem store their flour in the fridge or freezer? I know that Kenji says that the dough doesn’t pull moisture from the air, but maybe the flour sitting in a fridge is losing moisture to the air?

      1. Adrianne

        I don’t store my flour in the fridge because I feel like it dries flours out a bit. Also, the flour can be made up of different types of wheat that absorb liquid differently. That’s why King Arthur is frequently so loved – it is very consistent. I’m in Oregon and we have Bob’s Red Mill, so I’m used to their all purpose flour now, and it does perform differently than KAF. You might try just s little less flour at first – you can always add some back in during the rolling process – or even when patting your round to chill before rolling.

  45. rainforestmum

    Wow thanks so much for the recipe. I ALWAYS buy store bought pastry and put making my own in the “too hard” category!! Now I’ve printed this and bookmarked it to actually have a go at making my own though :) I actually think I could make this work!
    I’ll keep you posted how I get on after the weekend – cross your fingers!

  46. Elizabeth

    For those who can find it (I render my own) leaf lard makes the best piecrust and is very forgiving. The lard is slightly crumbly and the grains make beautiful flakes. If everything is not cold it is fine. This is probably too fussy an ingredient for most people, but if you can get it the results are amazing. My grandfather told me his mother made the best piecrust and only used lard. Originally I tried the highly processed white blocks from the store which tasted awful and I wondered what he was talking about. Later I owned a copy of Joy of Cooking from the 30’s and they explained about leaf lard. It also makes the best biscuits.
    If you are lucky you can get it cheap like I do from a wholesale butcher.

  47. Jane Hall

    I did a double batch of this recipe and it did not disappoint!
    Although I noticed that I did my lattice at 90 Degrees :- )Nummers!
    IMG_7473.JPG

  48. Robby H.

    I keep seeing the word “croissant” mentioned here and am fighting the urge to make this pastry with chocolate instead of fruit. I mean we’ll have a fruit one soon, but nothing is good at the market just now. Would chocolate be terrible? I’m thinking it should be less due to richness, like maybe 1/2 as much filling?

  49. Jenny

    This is AMAZING. SO flaky and so easy to make- I managed to do it with my 10-month-old crawling around at my feet (and, full disclosure, my 3-year-old in a Paw Patrol black hole). My husband declared it the best pie crust he’s ever had, and I have to agree. Thank you, Deb!

  50. Adrianne

    Uh-oh – now I have to see how this compares to the one in your first book. Thanks to your tutorials, my pie crust has never been simpler! Of course, that made me brag about how easy Poe was to make, only to have my mother-in-law break out a timer to see if it was true! Yep, 5 min is all it takes!

  51. Emily

    I scaled up to 250g butter and flour, 130ml water because of French butter stick sizes, used wholemeal flour because that’s what I had to hand, and left out the sugar to top a chicken pie, retrospectively should have scaled up the salt too. I needed half for a 12″ pie dish. I was pressed for time but half an hour in te fridge in a metal bowl was enough chilling time and the pastry was easy to handle. It cooked up buttery but light and incredibly flaky. Delicious, and hardly more work than a pre-made crust.

  52. MrJay

    What a wonderfully well written guide. I don’t make my own pie crust but now with your guide I think my next pie recipe its time to get making my self. Thank you for sharing.

  53. haislipfire

    I’m so glad I stumbled onto this before easter! I’ve been so inspired with the great British baking show, but like you mentioned in the beginning, I’ve tried a few recipes and they aren’t like I want them. I’m very excited to try this, especially with the thorough directions- I feel like you are talking specifically to me! I need lots of detail.

  54. Erica

    I just used this today to make a loquat pie, and it turned out awesome! It felt really wet and sticky, but I trusted the process and it turned out super flaky and browned nicely! I used Kerry gold salted butter and omitted any extra salt. It was enough for me to do a double crust deep dish pie. Definitely will be using this recipe again!

  55. I just made the flat-pie rhubarb version of this and it’s wonderful, however: the pie was surrounded by a sea of sizzling butter on the pan once done to the extent that I cooled it on a rack just so it wouldn’t soak up the butter and get soggy.

    Did anyone else have this issue? Any thoughts on this?
    Thanks for inspiration, as always!

  56. Lyssa Smith

    I had never made a pie crust before, so I figured I might as well go for broke and make the best one…since I wouldn’t know that it was more or less fussy than any other pie crust. It was so good! I needed more water than the recipe said to make it come together, and it looked nothing like pie crust when I wrapped it up to chill, but I trust you. In the morning I rolled them out with lots of flour and a few folds and it turned out so beautiful. Big puffy flaky layers! I used it to make your sweet cherry pie and that turned out great, but then I made savory hand pies with the leftover dough and those are phenomenal. I did use half lard and half butter though, because I’m from the South and I like the mouthfeel of some lard. Next time less lard – I think 1/4 lard would give me the effect I wanted without being too much. Thanks!

  57. Ashley

    Deb, do you find that you get a lot of butter leakage with this crust? My crust was not as moist looking as yours now that I look at your pictures again, and I definitely had big streaks of butter in my rolled out dough. I was sad to have a tray full of burning/browning butter when baking up an apple pie yesterday (your Even More Perfect Apple Pie) but maybe it’s to be expected. Or am I doing something wrong? It still tasted good and had some distinct, flaky layers so I can’t complain too much, but if I can learn from this – I’m all ears (eyes). :)

  58. Amy

    Just back to say that I made a broccoli quiche with this as the crust and it was superb! Like others, mine dough was dry not wet/moist but I just gathered it up in plastic wrap and went on about my day. When I went to roll it, it was divine, rolled easily altho I did flour the surface well. I didn’t do the folding, I stopped reading the recipe (oops, look squirrel-) it was still flaky and delicious. Thanks Deb!

  59. Meleyna

    Also in the “very dry, did not come together” camp. I weighed my flour (Gold Medal) and measured water in liquid measuring cup. It wasn’t just dry, there was just no way it was going to come together. I added more water and proceeded as normal.

    Dough was definitely flakey, but cannot comment on tenderness. I made it (the rhubarb slab-ish pie) and gave it away. :)

  60. Heather Alderfer

    The crust was lovely, but the filling was too runny. I suspect it is because the rhubarb picked fresh from my garden has a higher water content than that of store-bought rhubarb.

    Would draining the liquid from the fruit before assembling the pie work, or would that pour off too much of the thickening agent and sugar?

  61. Buzzy

    I made this twice with King Arthur All purpose flour. The first time I wasn’t very careful and had problems: I had butter flakes more like huge grapes vs lima-beans, I didn’t weigh the flour and probably added too much by measuring, had to add waaay more water, and thus over mixed the dough to get the water in. The result was flakey and delicious but tough from over mixing and like others I had puddles butter leaking out of the dough–which didn’t look so good but of course still tasty.

    The second time I solved the problems: Weighed the flour! butter chucks not too big! I added the recommended amount of water and while it was fairly dry (not even close to a soft cookie dough) it came together but a bit crumbly. This time the dough was tender, and there was no pool of leaking butter. This one even looked prettier for me as the dough was more uniform and easier to work with.

    I’ve made many pies, but this was the flakiest! horray! Butter is the best answer.

  62. Claudia

    Hey! This really works! I used it with a spinach feta galette. I left out the sugar, added about a tablespoon of fresh rosemary, and a couple of tablespoons of chopped walnuts. It came together so easily! I did put it in the freezer between rolling it out and transferring it to the baking sheet. But really easy peasy. And so, so good! Rave reviews from all. Thanks, Deb! Another winner!

    1. Claudia

      And the next day, the bottom crust isn’t soggy at all, even after spending a night covered in the fridge, even cold (!), even though the spinach is still moist! ❤️

  63. Gretta

    I’ve been struggling with pie dough for months and BOY OH BOY did this one deliver!!! Easy to roll, crazy layers, and forgiving as heck. I think I added more water than the recipe called for since the dough was still kind of dry and it was fiiiiine. I think this is the best pie dough I’ve A) ever made, and B) ever tasted- I’m isually put off by too firm or crumbly pie dough, and this one is the very opposite. I made a pear galette with brown sugar, nutmeg and vanilla and it was heavenly (esp with some yogurt and maple syrup on top :) THANK YOU DEB!!!

  64. Naci

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I avoid making dough-anything because it’s so frustrating and it never turns out well for me. However, I have to make an apple pie for an event, so I decided to use this crust. I was SO nervous, I chose to make a practice pie several weeks early. Amazingly, this crust was really easy to work with, which confused me. The crust turned out beautifully, and the filling needs just a little tweaking for the main event. Thanks again!

  65. Chris

    This was a huge success! I made an old fashion rhubarb pie with a lattice top. Comments from the tasters were “this is the BEST PIE CRUST I have ever tasted” which is HUGE because I consider myself well versed in pie making. Oh Deb! You have helped me make so many delicious recipes! I have always wanted to go to a book signing but live in a smaller town. Some Day I hope to cross paths. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! Make this crust!!!

  66. Jenny

    I tried this dough twice, each time blind-baked for a pie, and each time the tinfoil baked right into it, something that has never happened to me before. The first time I was able to salvage it by carefully prying at it (there were a few thin spots) but the second time I had to throw the whole crust away. Any ideas? I followed all the directions, as far as I can tell.

  67. Hi Deb: A couple of years ago I decided to make and give aways 60 pies for my birthday and used Stella’s (this) recipe. I agree, the flakiness it out of this world, but I find that I have to make sure to place my pie plate on a parchment covered baking sheet because the melting butter seems to go everywhere! Even the next day, putting the leftover pie in the dish on the counter leaves butter all over. My fave pie recipe after 60 pies (about 1/3 sweet, 1/3 savory) is still your All Butter Crust, hands down. I used regular flour, several GF crust recipes (Stell’s is great but anxiety provoking) and even took some of my hand pies on a canoe trip and camplingi in the desert? I also did several shepherds’ pies and Moon Pies for fun.

    1. deb

      Good to know — but just for reference, this isn’t Stella’s recipe. It does have the higher butter proportion (but less so than Parks) but I don’t have you roll it out before you chill it (I had to make a floury mess of my kitchen to pull that off, and there was a lot of waste) or anything. And we’re working the pieces a little smaller. So, don’t rule it out because you had trouble with the other one. I mostly felt encouraged by the wetter dough, got me to rethink what could be improved in mine.

  68. Kirsten B

    A-mazing! Made it tonight with the sour cherry slab pie recipe. Can’t stop eating it because the crust is THAT good. Honestly. I thought I was rushing and it wouldn’t be great. It was perfect.

  69. Thank you for the recipe ! I just discovered your blog and I saw a lot of things that I want to try. I am not a great cook (yet) so I will try the easy ones first.

  70. Sue Buchta

    OMG this pie crust recipe was the best! So flakey, and easier than I thought to work with. I will use it again and again! Thanks!

  71. Heidi

    This was indeed delicious and well laminated. But it was also a danish dough and not a pie crust IMO. It was very like puff pastry from the freezer section. My kids made all kinds of suggestions for turning out danish using this in the future, so it’s going to be part of the rotation—just not for pie.

  72. Howard

    This recipe was a complete disaster for me. I was so disappointed in how this came out. The dough was way too wet. When I baked the first crust the ‘Lima bean’ sized pieces of butter in the crust simply melted and left holes in the crust. Consequently, the crust filled with puddles of butter. Since I had another portion of dough I added more flower to it and it was only slightly better. This may be your new go to crust but I am NOT convinced.

    1. deb

      I’m sorry it gave you trouble. What’s supposed to happen is that those larger pieces are rolled and folded in a few more times — they stretch and get smaller, too. Butter leakage will always happen (not every bit of butter will be fully embedded) but it’s the crust that’s left that matters. Was it flakier? Lighter? Re, seeming too wet — it might have needed to be colder.

  73. I made this yesterday and filled with your Sweet Cherry Pie filling for my husband’s birthday (he’s weird and doesn’t really like cake)- omg it was so good! Buttery, flaky, tender. Probably the best crust I’ve ever made. This will replace your previous recipe as my go-to. Just one minor issue- the dough was actually really dry, so I just added more water a little splash at a time until it turned into a wet, sticky dough like you describe. Perfect.

  74. Philip Robert

    I made a Huckleberry pie for my friends yesterday using this crust recipe. What a game changer. This is the best pie crust I’ve ever made. Thank you for this!