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Perfect Flaky Pie Crust Recipe

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This easy flaky pie crust recipe turns out every time just like Grandma’s! Step by step tutorial and tips and tricks to getting it just right!

Flaky Pie Crust Recipe

Making a perfectly flaky pie crust recipe, that is tender and flakey and not at all a crumbly mess is truly an art form. Luckily for you, it’s one that I am confident we can work on together to get right. I have lamented for years that my pie crusts just never came out like my grandma’s (the world standard for perfect pie crust).

After a lot of practice, I’m happy to say this pie crust is on par with grandmas!

It takes a little finesse but once you get it, you’ll be able to whip up a perfectly flaky pie crust recipe in five minutes flat without even checking a recipe. The secret lies in the 3-2-1 Pie Crust ratio….3 parts flour, 2 parts fat and one part ice-cold water….and a pinch of salt of course.

Before we jump into it let me share a few tips I have learned over the years of making terrible pie crusts to perfect ones.

Make pie crusts in the morning if it is hot outside.
Almost everything about pie crust has to do with the temperature of your butter. Having a cool house will give you the best chance of pulling this off.

Cold cold butter
I determined in Georgia that because it was so hot there that I needed to actually put the butter in the freezer for about 15 minutes before making pie crust or biscuits. I also will just store my butter in the freezer and remove for 20-30 minutes if that is more convenient.  If your kitchen is super hot you can even pop it back in the freezer for a minute after you slice the butter to cool it back down.

Cut the butter in a variety of shapes
I cut half of my butter lengthwise in fourths and then slice thickly (just a bit less than a cube). The other half I slice in a variety of thicknesses.

Measure your flour correctly or (IDEALLY!) use a kitchen scale.
Dipping your measuring spoon into the flour container and then scraping off the excess will result in close to an extra ounce of flour PER SCOOP! To properly measure use a spoon and gently spoon the flour into your cup, then scrape it off. But even with extra vigilance in this area, you can still end up with a flop due to mis-measuring. Not to mention that different kinds of flours weigh widely varying amounts per cup.

We HIGHLY encourage the use of a kitchen scale for making pie crusts and other pastry products. Not only does it make it easy to nail it each time but it also makes swapping flours a cinch.

Use a food processor or pastry cutter
This flaky pie crust recipe exponentially improved when I started using my KitchenAid 16 cup Food Processor. What takes me 5-7 minutes with a pastry cutter takes 30 seconds with my food processor.

This helps prevent the butter from melting because it is faster.

from scratch pie crust recipe


Ice water
Not cold water or tepid water! It must have ice in it and have set for at least five minutes and been stirred to bring the water temperature down.

Marble rolling pin or cutting board
Optional but amazingly helpful. The cold stone again helps prevent the butter from warming.

Use a flour bag for rolling out.
My mother-in-law actually taught me this trick. Buy an old cloth flour bag and use it as your base for rolling out pie crusts and biscuits. Lay it flat and rub all-purpose flour firmly into the bag until the bag absorbs the flour and creates a smooth surface.

Whole wheat or spelt flour does not work for this purpose so even if your pie crust uses those, use all purpose flour here.

THE #1 SECRET TO FLAKY PIE CRUST RECIPE: Stopover mixing your butter!

The biggest culprit to my quest for a flaky pie crust is that recipe after recipe tells you to cut the butter into crumbs no larger than a pea. THIS IS NOT TRUE FOR A FLAKY PIE CRUST RECIPE!

I went to culinary school a few years ago for a stint and in my quest to perfect this I went back to my old culinary textbooks. When I saw the picture of their flaky crust vs their mealy crust I knew I had found my problem. I was drastically over mixing my butter.

The image on the left shows what your butter should look like for a flaky pie crust recipe. Some small chunks but plenty of chunks the size of walnuts NOT PEAS! I don’t mean to yell but I was so excited when I discovered the source of my problem.

This is what your batter should look like if you are looking for a flaky crust. See all the large pieces of butter still? That’s what causes all those beautiful flakes. This batch even could err a bit on the side of being too mixed still.

PERFECT FLAKY PIE CRUST RECIPE

Certainly, you don’t want every piece as large as that one big chunk in there but the point is that a variety of sizes and larger sizes of butter is key to producing those lovely layers we are all aiming for.

PERFECT FLAKY PIE CRUST RECIPE

Pulsing very little when you add the water is also key, it should remain very shaggy and lumpy. I do 2 very short 1 second pulses for each addition of water.

PERFECT FLAKY PIE CRUST RECIPE

There may still be flour on the bottom, that is okay.

PERFECT FLAKY PIE CRUST RECIPE

Then pour it all out on the table (update: pouring it directly onto the plastic wrap is easier/less clean up!) and gently bring it together into a ball. No kneading or aggressive squeezing! Use your fingertips to start to pull the wet areas to the dry area than at the very end give it a quick squeeze to form a ball. You don’t want to melt that butter just get it somewhat cohesive, split it into two pieces and wrap them up in plastic cling wrap.

If you can’t get it to come together you may have not added enough water to add a little bit of water to the super dry areas. I tend to prefer my dough to err on the wetter side vs being too dry as I find it easier to add more flour in the roll out than to have a crumbling dough.

PERFECT FLAKY PIE CRUST RECIPE

After 30 minutes in the fridge pull it out and roll it out on a well-floured flour bag (more info on that above in my tip section). Fold it in quarters and lay gently into the pie pan.

PERFECT FLAKY PIE CRUST RECIPE

If you want to use the second crust you can just lay it on top, crimp it and slice some vent holes or take a pizza cutter or sharp knife and cut yourself a lattice top.

PERFECT FLAKY PIE CRUST RECIPE

Finish the edge with a simple pinch crust edge, press it down with a fork or get fancy and weave a beautiful lattice top (How To Weave a Lattice Top (Easy Step by Step Instructions). Brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle some coarse sugar on top and bake according to your recipe (blind baking instructions are included in the recipe below).

PERFECT FLAKY PIE CRUST RECIPE

And at the end of the day you will end up with a stunning easy flaky pie crust and a very happy mouth.

Ready to get baking?

Make these dishes with this crust!
Apple Pie Recipe
Mom’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
The Best Quiche Recipe
Heart Shaped Strawberry Hand Pies
Maple Cranberry Pecan Pie

PERFECT FLAKY PIE CRUST RECIPE
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Easy Flaky Pie Crust Recipe

These easy perfect pie crusts turn out every time just like grandmas! Step by step tutorial and tips and tricks to getting it just right!

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 2 pie crusts
Print Pin Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups flour 12 ounces flour
  • 1 cup butter 2 sticks, 8 ounces butter
  • 1/2 cup ice water 4-6 ounces ice water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar for sweet pies only
  • 1 egg beaten, for egg wash
  • Large granulated sugar for sprinkling on top of sweet pies

Instructions

  • 1. Place flour, salt (and sugar if using) into food processor. Pulse several times to incorporate ingredients.
    2. Cut half the butter lengthwise into quarters. Then slice thickly. Slice the remaining half thinly but do not quarter. This provides a variety of sizes of butter to add more layers.
    3. Immediately add to flour mixture and pulse several times in short bursts until butter is just beginning to incorporate. The butter should be in a variety of sizes but some should be the size of walnuts.
    4. Open the food processor and add the first 4 ounces of ice water, pulsing 4-6 very short times. If still too dry add remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time pulsing the dough until it holds together when squeezed between your fingers. Pour out onto plastic wrap and gently press the dough together until it combines.
    5. The dough should form a ball with only a few crumbles when pressed together. It is better to err on the slightly wetter side than to be too dry.
    6. Split dough in two and wrap in plastic wrap (double wrap if storing more than an hour) and chill for at least 30 minutes.
    7. Lay out the cloth flour sack and dust with flour. Use palms of hands to work the flour into the fabric. Flour rolling pin and hands lightly.
    8. Unwrap first crust. Roll out from the center pushing towards the edges, turning it frequently to start and then occasionally to help prevent sticking.
    9. Roll out so that 1-2 inches are left for a crimping the edge. Depending on how deep your pie pan is this will be 3-4 inches larger than the pie pans edge when turned upside down.
    10. Very gently fold the pie crust in half and then in half again and transfer to the pie plate. Unfold and smooth into the pan.
    11. Finish pie crust with a second pie crust (if desired) in a lattice pattern or simply slashing vents into a top crust or crimp single crusts edges.
    12. Place crust in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to allow it to chill thoroughly. Preheat oven to 425 degrees during this time (do not put the pie crust in until the oven is fully up to temp).
    13. Bake according to pie directions if a filled pie or if you are blind baking, line pie crust with foil or parchment paper and weight with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges of the crust are just starting to turn golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
    14. Remove from oven and take out pie weights. Poke the bottom of crust several times with a fork to help release any steam and finish baking: 5 min if pie crust will be finish cooking with filling, 5-10 minutes until golden brown and dry if it will not be baked again.

Notes

Makes enough for a standard sized top & bottom pie crust or a deep dish crust plus lattice. If you are using the small very shallow pie pans you will have extra! Wrap it tightly in double layer of plastic wrap and freeze in a ziplock. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 2420kcal | Carbohydrates: 311g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 112g | Saturated Fat: 64g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 39g | Trans Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 337mg | Sodium: 1106mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 28g

By on September 4th, 2014

About Dani Meyer

Hi, I’m Dani! I’m most importantly mama to 3 wild little dudes. I spend my days cooking, photographing and exploring the Pacific Northwest. I'm a full time food blogger and online business coach.

I’m the author of Stress Free Camping, a 120+ page guide on making epic food in the woods. I’m also the founder of Food Blogger Entrepreneurs, the leading online academy and private community for food bloggers. → More About Dani

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26 thoughts on “Perfect Flaky Pie Crust Recipe”

  1. I’ve never made a pie crust before so this is a new experience for me I only hav on question…..do you have to grease the bottom of the pie plate before putting in the dough? Since I haven actually made the recipe I can’t rate it yet but will when I taste it.
    Thanks for you ur help.

    Nancy Midyett

    Reply
  2. I found you on pinterest and tried to access your recipes, but there is so much ad action going on your site is impossible!!!! Had to go through google and still had issues. It’s not my.phone , I accessed another right before yours and had no issue, ugh!!!!

    Reply
    • Hey Anne,

      I am so sorry to hear of this. We are in the process of changing ad providers for our mobile site today actually. Thank you for your message and I hope you notice a change soon!

      ~Dani

      Reply
  3. The recipe must be for top and bottom because I tried to fit it all in for one pie, and ended up having a very thick crust, albeit flakey and delicious, and still had extra for a mini pie. I am new to making pies, and I followed your strawberry rhubarb pie recipe for the filling. It was very tasty, but I noticed that the tapioca was still visible in the pie once it was finished. Ive never used it before, I couldn’t find “quick cooking tapioca” but found minute tapioca and assumed it was the same thing. Is there a difference or was the pie supposed to still have the granules of tapioca visible in the filing? Not sure where I went wrong here…

    Reply
    • Hi Lizz,

      I’m so sorry for the confusion!

      I reread this recipe and indeed this was supposed to be a 2 crust pie crust recipe. I have updated the recipe and notes accordingly. I have since posting this also realized that there is a huge variety of pie pan sizes and so have noted this in the recipe as well. I use a quite large deep glass pie pan for most of my pies, the smaller metal ones will use less crust. You can always freeze any extra’s you have or like you mentioned make some cute mini pies.

      In regard to the rhubarb pie filling yes there are some visible tapioca’s in that pie filling which we don’t mind. They should be fully cooked of course and not unpleasant at all. You could use a corn starch thickener in it’s place if you find it undesirable.

      Hope that helps and again apologies for the recipe confusion!

      Dani

      Reply
  4. I made this buttery crust for the first time and maybe I missed it but this recipe seemed to be enough for 2 crusts. By one crust do you mean top and bottom of the pie? It seemed like I had a lot of pie crust for one pie. It’s still in the oven so I can’t rate it!!

    Reply
    • Hi Cindy,

      I actually can’t remember (kids=no brain cells left) and I don’t see anything definitive here in my notes. But I would assume that it is for a full pie with top and bottom crust looking at my lattice in the images. I’m going to be making a pie this next week and this is my go to crust so I will report back when I do!

      Dani

      Reply
      • The crust was great and I had never made a butter crust before. But I can tell you for sure that this recipe does adequately make a top and bottom to a pie. I was not aware of that so I made 4 recipes for 2 pies and now have so much left over still wrapped up in the fridge airtight. I am thinking I can just throw it in the freezer and use later. What do you think? It was very good and I will make it again now that I have gone through the learning curve…..but I would recommend that you put that info in the recipe. When a recipe says it makes one pie crust I assumed it was just the bottom but that could only be me…..maybe others would assume that it means top and bottom.

        Reply
    • It could also be that my pie pan is larger than yours, I have a pretty large glass pie pan. If you are using a standard small metal pie pan this will make a lot more dough then you needed. I’ll be sure to note that size down when I bake it and update the recipe to reflect a pan size.

      Reply
  5. 5 stars
    Made Coconut Cream pies and used your recipe for crust! People keep commenting on how this was the best pie that they had ever eaten and I am still getting emails and requests for the recipe!

    Thank you.

    Reply
  6. Thank you so much for sharing this. I live in MS but my mom and gram lived in Maine. I never would have thought how the weather could affect it

    Reply

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