An easy tutorial for how to make your own homemade pie crust!
Let me tell you, making your own pie crust should never be intimidating. In fact, making your own homemade pie crust is actually pretty easy. To make things even easier, I’m breaking everything down in this post. Trust me when I say that you’ll never go back to buying store-bought pie crust again once you learn how to make your own!
To start you’ll need some flour, salt, sugar, butter, shortening, and ice water. Each of these ingredients plays a crucial role in creating a delicious pie crust.
Flour: I use all-purpose flour when making homemade pie crust because it’s what I always have on hand. One important thing here, make sure to measure your flour correctly. Too much flour in your pie crust can take your crust from flaky and tender to tough and blah. Here’s my post about how to measure flour with the spoon and level method. Or even better, use a food scale to measure your flour! You’ll need 318 grams of all-purpose flour in this recipe.
Salt & Sugar: The salt and sugar help to enhance the flavor of the pie crust. Salt is a very important ingredient when it comes to making your own homemade pie crust, so don’t leave it out or cut the amount down. As far as the sugar, you can leave it out if you like. If you’re using this pie crust recipe for a savory recipe, then omit the sugar. I love to add a little bit of sugar to my pie dough!
Fat: Some pie crust recipes call for all butter, a combination of butter and shortening, oil, etc. For this recipe I use a combination of cold butter and cold vegetable shortening. The butter gives your pie crust a delicious buttery flavor and the shortening helps give the crust structure and keeps it tender.
One important thing, make sure your butter and shortening are cold. Not soft, not warm, I’m talking COLD. Straight from the refrigerator right before you add it to the flour mixture. Why? When you put the pie crust in the oven, you want little bits of cold fat in the crust. The little bits of fat will melt as the crust bakes and create little air pockets, which is what gives you a beautiful flaky crust.
Ice Water: You’ll also need some ice water to help bring the dough together. Measure out some water, add some ice to it, and stir it around so it’s nice and cold. Then measure out the exact amount of ice water the recipe calls for and add it one tablespoon at a time. Too much water in your pie dough and you’ll end up with a sticky mess, too little water and you’ll end up with a crumbly dough that won’t hold together. Gently mixing in one tablespoon of ice water at a time is the best way to add it.
Ok, so let’s get to how to actually make the pie crust.
To start, you’ll whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Then add in the cold cubed butter and cold vegetable shortening and cut it into the flour with a pastry cutter. If you don’t have a pastry cutter you can also use two forks to cut the fat into the flour mixture. I really suggest investing in a pastry cutter if you can, I paid just a few dollars for mine and I love it.
You want to see about pea sized pieces of fat, some bigger pieces are fine too. You can also use a food processor to make your pie dough, but I prefer to do it all by hand.
Next, you’ll slowly mix in your ice water. Remember, just add the water one tablespoon at a time and gently mix it in. One tablespoon at a time is the perfect amount, so you don’t end up with too much water in your dough and a sticky mess. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of ice water, you may not need the full amount. Only use enough ice water to get the dough to come together.
Once you add enough water, the mixture will start to look like this and when you squeeze it in your hand it will hold together. Just a note, try not to use your hands too much when making the dough. Your hands are warm and can quickly melt the fat in your dough. Remember cold fat is what you want here!
Once the dough comes together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and gently pack it into a ball. Cut the dough in half and flatten it out into two discs. Wrap each disc of dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least one hour.
Once you’re ready to roll out your dough, lightly flour your surface and rolling pin. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on the lightly floured surface. Using your rolling pin, apply even pressure and gently roll it from the center out, turning the dough about a quarter turn after a few rolls. Make sure to flour your surface and the top of the dough as needed to prevent the dough from sticking.
You’ll want to roll your dough out to about 12 inches in diameter. I suggest using a ruler to measure the dough and make sure it’s the right size. This is the perfect size for a 9 inch pie plate, so you have a little overhang and have enough dough to flute the edges. I like to cut off the excess, leaving about 1 inch of overhang. Then I just fold the overhang under so that I have enough dough to flute the edges. Here’s a great tutorial for different ways to decorate the edges of the dough.
Easy, right? This recipe will make a double crust or two single crusts. I’ve also included notes in the recipe for freezing instructions, in case you only need to use one pie crust.
- 2 and ½ cups (318 grams) all-purpose flour, spooned & leveled
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
- ½ cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into a few pieces
- ½ cup ice water
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt until well combined. Add the cold cubed butter and cold vegetable shortening to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until you have small pea sized crumbs (some larger pieces are okay).
- Slowly drizzle in one tablespoon of ice water at a time and gently mix it in. Once the dough starts to come together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and pack it into a ball. Cut the dough in half and flatten it into two discs. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- To bake the pie crust: Roll the dough out to 12 inches in diameter, transfer the dough to a 9 inch pie plate, gently fit it in, trim any excess dough, and decorate the edges. Line the pie dough with parchment paper or foil, making sure to cover the bottom and the sides, then fill with pie weights (dried beans or dry rice work well too!). Bake with the pie weights at 400°F for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the parchment paper (or foil) and the pie weights. For a partially baked (blind baked) pie crust return the crust to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes or until bottom of the crust looks dry. For a fully baked pie crust, return to the oven and allow to bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
To freeze the dough: Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag. Dough can be frozen for 2-3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Adapted from Better Homes & Garden New Cookbook 15th Edition