Want to know how to make pie crust? If you're looking for the best pie crust recipe, you're in luck. Here's a detailed tutorial on how to make pie crust from scratch. Start baking any pie you want after making this homemade pie crust! Great skill to have handy during the holidays 🙂
Pie Crust Recipe | How to Make Pie Crust
Many a person has been deterred from making pie because of pie crust. You’ve probably had the same doubts: Isn’t it finicky? Isn’t it hard to make and work with? It sticks to your work surface, you can’t handle it for too long or the butter will melt, you have to be delicate or the crust will crack… so on and so forth.
I’m speaking from personal experience with those fears; I definitely went through the trials and tribulations of making my own pie crust over the years. My first attempts at pie crust were hard, crumbly, and burnt. I was so worried about messing up the flaky layers of flour and butter that I barely mixed the dough. I was so nervous about keeping the pie dough cold that I used way too much ice water; the dough became too wet and cracked.
I was given a food processor as a present shortly after my initial sorry attempts (thanks, grandma!) and after seeing a few tutorials, I decided to give making pie crust another try. And what a world of difference using good processors makes! It cuts the butter into the flour so well that flaky layers are practically guaranteed. The pie crust dough reaches a perfect consistency in less than a minute. And it is very easy to limit the amount of water you use to the bare minimum–just enough for the dough to bind together, but not so much that it is waterlogged.
So today, I’ll be showing you how to whip up an amazing pie crust in less than 5 minutes for a fraction of the cost that you pay for the store-bought brands– and all you need for this magic to be possible is a food processor!
Ingredients for our homemade pie crust:
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted or salted butter, cut into cubes
- ¼ cup ice water
- ½ teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
You’ll also need the following supplies:
- food processor
- rolling pin
- plastic wrap
- parchment paper
- pie pan (I use a 9.5 -inch pan)
This recipe makes enough pie dough for a 10-inch pie pan–so don’t worry, there’s a lot of wiggle room in case this is your first time.
Pour all of the flour, sugar and salt (if needed) into the bowl of the food processor. (Excuse the dirtiness of mine.) Fit the lid over the bowl of the food processor and hold pulse down for a few seconds to mix the dry ingredients thoroughly.
Divide your cubes of butter into two batches, and place the first batch into the bowl. It doesn’t need to be a 50/50 ratio–we’re just trying to prevent the bowl from overcrowding.
Secure the top of the lid on the food processor (most food processors won’t even turn on until this happens first) and hold the pulse button down for 2-3 seconds. The butter will sound rocky against the blades at first. But after 2-3 seconds, it will sound as if you’re only mixing the flour by itself in the bowl. If you look at the picture, you can see that pea-sized clumps are starting to form in the dough. This is the consistency we’re looking for!
Repeat this step again for the second batch of butter.
Make sure your food processor lid is on tightly and the spout of the lid (the part of the lid that sticks up like a chimney) is open–most lids come with a pusher that blocks food from flying out. We want that pusher out of the picture and the spout open.
Turn your food processor on (don’t pulse it). As the blades whirr, pour a very small and steady stream of ice water into the spout to mix with the dough. The stream of water should be as thin as a skewer stick! Depending on your humidity and altitude, you may or may not use the entire ¼ cup.
After about 10 seconds, the dough will start to bunch up into one large ball. As soon as you notice this happening, stop pouring the water into the bowl. Allow the ball of dough to clump up a little more and then turn off the food processor. Your dough should look like the picture above.
Carefully empty the bowl onto a cool surface that has been dusted with flour. Be careful with the blades, as they are very sharp! I usually dump the bowl upside-down to empty its contents, carefully separate the blade from the dough, then continue with the following steps.
Roll the dough into a ball and flatten. Try to make sure that the edges are round and smooth. Make sure to keep your handling of the dough at a minimum–the butter will still melt very easily at prolonged heat.
Wrap the pie dough disc(s) in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour to rest. This will allow us to work with it later without risking the butter melting too early (and the crust becoming a rock in the oven).
Take out the pie crusts from the fridge and lightly dust them with flour. Let them sit for about 10 minutes to warm up a little bit–otherwise the dough will be unyielding and very hard to roll out.
Roll out a piece of parchment paper that is a little bigger than your pie pan. (That was about 10-11 inches for me.) Dust the parchment paper with flour, then place your dough onto the parchment paper. Take the plastic wrap you used to wrap it in the fridge earlier and place it over your ball of dough. Now take your rolling pin and start to gently roll the dough flat. The dough will be very unyielding at first, but you’ll find that it becomes pliable very quickly.
I use parchment paper and plastic wrap for three reasons:
- Pie dough gets very sticky, and it’s much easier to handle when rolled out between two non-stick surfaces.
- Both of these materials minimize the amount of direct contact my hands will have with the dough, which keeps the butter cold and the layers intact.
- Transferring the pie dough into the pie pan is much, much easier when slowly peeling it from parchment paper directly over the pan.
Roll once up, once down, then rotate 45 degrees and continue the same motion. This will ensure an even, round crust. One of the benefits of working with parchment paper is your ability to rotate the paper itself to rotate the crust instead of having to handle the crust itself.
Remove the plastic wrap. Place your pie dough upside-down (with the parchment paper facing up) on top of the pie pan. Try to center your crust on top of the pan so that you have an equal amount of crust around the edges. Carefully peel the parchment paper from the pie crust, starting at one side and slowly working your way to the other. Once all of the parchment paper is off, the pie crust should fall into the pan like shown above.
Lift an edge of the pie crust and carefully press the dough around the bottom edges of the pan. It’s okay if it tears–pie dough is very forgiving! Just grab some extra crust from the edge of our dough and patch the hole. If you see any air bubbles, pop them with a toothpick and flatten the crust.
And you're done! You've now made a homemade pie crust. You can now add any filling that you want. Before baking your homemade pie, place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. The pie crust needs some time to rest and firm up before being baked. Once you've placed your pie in the fridge, set the oven to 350ºF and allow it to pre-heat.
Once 30 minutes has passed, place your pie (filled with all the delicious ingredients) in the center of your oven rack and bake for 45 minutes. Be sure to check on it at 30 minutes–if it looks like your pie crust around the edges is baking much faster than the rest of your pie, tent the pie with aluminum foil.
Take the pie out of the oven when your crust looks golden-brown but let it cool first! You don't want to get your tongue burned and we have to let the filling set too.
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Much ado about nothing. My mom always made her pie crusts with lard: cut it in, stir in ice water, roll out, and you’re done. Personally, I use Pet Ritz or Aldi’s refrigerated crusts (incidentally, made with lard), unroll it, and done. And very good. I picked up on a tip from Jan Karon’s Mitford cookbook – lightly grease pie tin (I use Pyrex glass “tins”) with butter – and I do mean lightly; I use the wrapper from a stick of butter. Crust won’t stick to pan, and bakes even better,
It’s all about technique and it is a lot about something to those who can’t ever seem to get the technique down for making really good pie crust. It took me a few yrs to get the technique down and some never do…..
Great job in being thorough in your instructions for making pie dough! thank you! I just bought a food processor for the first time in my 62 yrs and even I learned something new about pie crust today! 🙂
Lisa Loperfido says
Awesome, best of luck!
Surely you don’t bake an unfilled crust for 45 minutes. That is for a filled crust, correct? Just thought a novice pie baker might need clarification.
Lisa Loperfido says
Yes indeed, fill it up, then bake away!