Perfect Pie Crust

Perfect Pie Crust

by Amy on May 15, 2014 · 33 comments

Disclaimer: I know there are different techniques to making a pie crust; some bakers use butter only, some shortening only, and others use a combo of butter and shortening. Some roll out the dough with wax paper, some don’t. Some transfer the dough to the pie plate with a rolling pin, while others fold into quarters. Some use a fork to crimp the edges, some use their fingers. It’s all personal preference and an argument that will go down in history as to which is the best way. I’m not here to tell you which way is the best way, the following is just my way. Mmm k? Good. Whew.

You’d think with all my pie ramblings over the last several years that I would make crust from scratch constantly. But I don’t. I almost always use Pillsbury’s. I like their crust. And I’m lazy busy lazy.

But there’s nothing like a homemade crust…if done right. 

Perfect Pie Crust recipe

My mom’s is the absolute best, IMHO. But doesn’t the food from our own childhood always trump everything else?

Note: I included as much detail in the directions as I could, but I can’t really teach on paper how to make a crust. That comes from A LOT of practice. If yours doesn’t come out exactly how it should, keep trying!

Want a visual step-by-step? This is my favorite tutorial by Eat Your Heart Out. Stephie is a master at pie crust making!

Perfect Pie Crust
Makes 1, 9-inch crust
Prep time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 30 minutes

• 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup shortening
• 3 tablespoons ice cold water

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and salt. With a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until peas size pieces form. When the mixture sticks together, sprinkle the cold water over the dough as evenly distributed as possible, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix until the dough holds together, but still a little crumbly. (Do not over process or your crust will end up tough. Take a bit of dough and gently squeeze it in the palm of your hand. If it stays together, you have enough liquid. If it crumbles, you’ll need to add a bit more.)

On a floured surface. Gently shape the dough into a flat round and then wrap it up in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to roll it out, place on a floured surface and gently pat the dough out with your fingers a bit. Then flour your rolling pin; roll dough into a circle large enough to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Start rolling from the center to the outer edge, in single strokes, making sure to move in all directions so that your crust stays in a general circular shape. You should have about an inch of dough outside the edges of the pie plate.

To transfer your crust to the pie plate, take a lightly floured dough blade and carefully work it gently under the edges. Then, using the blade to help you as needed, gently fold the dough in half, then into quarters. Place the quartered dough into your pie plate and unfold it. Settle the dough into the pie plate and using your fingertips, gently press together any cracks.

Run a sharp knife around the exterior to cut off any dough that hangs over the plate. Crimp the edges with a fork.

Place wax paper over the crust and freeze in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag until read to use.

Note: You can also place a piece of wax paper on top of the dough to roll it out and prevent sticking.

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Leave a Comment

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian January 4, 2015 at 7:35 am

What advice can you give to me about the bottom pie crust. I make it the same as the top, most of the time it’s separated from the top. However when baking it is more dense than the top and not as flaky.


Amy @Very Culinary January 4, 2015 at 10:07 am

Hi Brian! What do you mean by separated from the top? Like it separates while you bake it? You can try egg/water wash to pinch the seams together. If you mean that the bottom crust isn’t flaky like the top, it’s because it’s got filling on it. The filling often soaks into the crust, making it more dense. I’ve heard that baking at a higher temp (like 400 or 425) for 10 minutes, then lowering the temp to 350 for the rest of the bake time helps crisp the bottom crust. But you will want to make sure and cover the outer edges with foil and watch the top closely. Sometimes the higher temp can cause the top to brown too quickly. Hope that helps!


Stephanie May 28, 2014 at 11:26 am

Seriously helpful tutorial, Amy! I am SO unbelievably lazy and almost ALWAYS use store-bought crust. But homemade is leaps and bounds better. I need to “retire” and take up a new life as a baker or something.


Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking May 19, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Oh goodness, I need your help Amy… The last pie I tried to bake was a soggy disaster! I hadn’t baked a pie in 2 years, and I’d never thought to parbake the crust… That probably would’ve helped a bit. As would your awesome recipe!


Amy @Very Culinary May 20, 2014 at 8:03 am

I don’t pre-bake the crust, although I know many people and recipes call for that. I actually freeze mine, which seems to work perfectly. But as always, follow the recipe instructions as they are all different!


Joanne May 19, 2014 at 8:48 am

I’m an all butter food processor girl myself, but I really should give this method a try!! An excuse to make pie? You know I’m in.


Carol at Wild Goose Tea May 18, 2014 at 9:56 am

To me it’s not the perfect recipe, but the perfect ‘touch’. I can’t say anything more definite than that. Twice in my life I made a lot of pies and my crust was flakey heaven. It’s been a while since I have been in that pie crust zen mode. It’s a space I am yearning to be again.


Meredith In Sock Monkey Slippers May 16, 2014 at 8:53 am

Love me a good pie crust!


Samantha May 16, 2014 at 6:27 am

I love your disclaimer in the beginning. So true that everyone does something so simple a little differently. Thanks for sharing your version!


Marly May 15, 2014 at 9:06 pm

I love your disclaimer at the top of this post. It makes me think pie crusts are like writing – there’s so many ways to say something…just like there’s so many ways to make a pie crust. Love it!


Shelby May 15, 2014 at 7:33 pm

It’s true-so many recipes and options to make simple pie crust. I finally found my go-to recipe about 5 years ago. Does anyone else use the sometimes called “heart healthy” recipe? It’s made with flour, oil and low-fat cold milk. I use it because it comes together so quickly-rolls out beautifully-is easily repaired or patched, and can easily be sweetened or made savory with cheese added. It is also the only crust I have ever made that bakes beautifully without being filled. It never slides down. Four ingredients stirred with a fork, rolled on wax paper. That’s for me!


Jen May 15, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Pie crust is like bread – you’ve got to let go and learn to love it. Then it will all work out!


Nutmeg Nanny May 15, 2014 at 5:31 pm

I love making my own crust. I personally do a mixture of butter and lard (it’s not gross I swear!) but I have made it with shortening before and liked the results. In my opinion any homemade pie crust is awesome :)


Ray May 15, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Loved the disclaimer, and loved the indecision re busy & lazy!

There are certain things I just know I’m not set out to do. Pie crust is one of them.


Amy @Very Culinary May 15, 2014 at 9:12 pm

That indecision actually went on a few more times. It’s both, really!


Courtney @ Neighborfood May 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Hahah. I love the disclaimer at the beginning of this post. It’s SO true. People have a lot of opinions about their pie crust! I actually tested out a couple of different recipes earlier for the blog, and honestly they were all good, just different. Depends on what you like. And I think like you said, a lot of it has to do with what you grew up with. This crust looks perfectly flaky and delicious!


Colleen (Souffle Bombay) May 15, 2014 at 9:54 am

Isn’t it funny how pie crusts can be personal – I cracked up at your disclosure. Yours looks perfect!


Christiane ~ Taking On Magazines May 15, 2014 at 9:41 am

I make my pie crusts with all shortening, just like you, unless it’s for a savory dish, in which I sometimes include butter. I do just fold mine in half though. :)


Andrea May 15, 2014 at 9:39 am

I come from a pie family–apples from the orchard, rhubarb in the spring. We always use the old Betty Crocker recipe (from the 1950s cookbo0k). It is almost exactly like yours, except half the shortening is cut into the flour and then the other half. It usually rolls like a dream! ICE cold water is key.


Mom May 15, 2014 at 9:03 am

Looks like you had success with combining, rolling and placing in pie plate. Now how did it bake?
Or did you freeze for later use?


Amy @Very Culinary May 15, 2014 at 9:08 am

I froze it first, then made a Strawberry pie which you’ll see next week. It came out beautifully!


Tasha @ ThatsSoYummy May 15, 2014 at 8:32 am

This does look the perfect pie crust, cant wait to try it.


Stephanie @ Back For Seconds May 15, 2014 at 8:26 am

yep, looks pretty perfect to me!


Marjory @ Dinner-Mom May 15, 2014 at 7:08 am

I’m so excited to try this with my girls. I’ve never tried to make one – yikes! It’s on my summer bucket list!


Angie May 15, 2014 at 6:11 am

I agree with you on learning about pie crust through alot of practice. All these little tricks like egg, vodka or vinegar don’t really help as much as a perfectly executed basic crust made with shortening, flour and water.


Dani H May 15, 2014 at 6:08 am

May I just say, it’s about time that we learn your pie crust recipe and techniques since you ARE the Queen of Pie!

“Buttery” crust sounds good, but my mother ALWAYS used Crisco shortening and it makes THE MOST flaky crust ever! Don’t you find it amazing that three basic ingredients plus water can make something so wonderful? (I like Pillsbury’s crust, too, but there are times we need pie NOW and homemade crust is our only option.)



Amy @Very Culinary May 15, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Dani, I was JUST saying that to someone the other day – about three basic ingredients making magic. I swear, I could forego the filling and just eat the crust!


Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) May 15, 2014 at 5:53 am

You can never have too many pie crust recipes. :) They all work so differently and I’m excited to try yours!


christine May 15, 2014 at 5:47 am

I too am guilty of the refrigerated pie crust. The ONLY time I make homemade is usually in the fall after we go apple picking. I’ll have to give your recipe a shot in the fall.


Sarah Caron (Sarah's Cucina Bella) May 15, 2014 at 5:44 am

My cousin and I were recently talking about this. We come from a long line of bakers — but I’ve never made pie crust and she chooses not to (although she knows how). We both opt for Pillsbury. Still, it’s on my bucket list to try making my own, and this is so helpful. Thanks!


Paula - bell'alimento May 15, 2014 at 5:43 am

Well NOW I want a homemade pie. My rolling pin has been sadly neglected for a while ; ) Time to get rolling.


Julie May 15, 2014 at 4:48 am

You use the same recipe that I use 99% of the time. I’ve been making pie crusts since I was a freshman in high school (well, consistently) which was a long. time. ago. And, it was all shortening. Fast forward 12 years to when I got married, and being a (stupid) newly wed, with no job and time on her hands, I made a pie for us with a homemade crust. That was it. No backing out. So, I’ve made homemade crusts ever since then. Stephie has seen me make so many pie crusts–dare I say 100s of them? Anyway, I was impressed by her tutorial. I guess she did learn a few things from me over the years. Thanks for the shout-out for her. Let’s eat pie together sometime, ok? <3


Amy @Very Culinary May 15, 2014 at 9:06 am

Us pie gals have to stick together. Who are all these crazy people who prefer cake? Pffft. Lol.


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