This simple, all butter pie crust recipe is great to keep on hand for any pie making needs. It yields a crispy and flaky final product, and can be used for both sweet and savory recipes! Read on for one special ingredient that'll give you the ultimate crispy, no shrink pie crust!
Looking for a go-to pie crust recipe? Well look no further! This simple pie crust comes together in minutes and only requires a few ingredients. Nothing compares to a homemade pie for dessert after Thanksgiving dinner (or any dinner really), and it's important to have a good basic recipe to build off of.
AND this pie crust has a secret ingredient that yields the absolute BEST pie crust in town, and you most likely already have the ingredient chilling in your cupboard! *Drum roll please*
... It's baking powder! (More on that below)
how to use pie dough:
This recipe is great for a variety of pie baking needs. Some of my favorite ways to use this pie crust recipe include:
- Pecan Pie
- Key Lime Pie
- Pumpkin Pie
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Ground Beef Pot Pie
- Apple Pie
- Blueberry Pie
But really, it's up to you how you want to use this dough. This recipe can be used for both sweet and savory pie making.
The Secret To Flaky Pie Crust AND low to no shrink pie crust!
Baking powder has 2 uses in this pie crust recipe: helping with a crispy crust (that's ultra flakey!) and avoiding shrinkage.
Since baking powder gives some lift to baked goods, adding it to your pie crust will give it more volume and flakey layers. It also has a drying effect when baked, so it crisps the crust and helps with avoiding the dreaded soggy pie bottom!
When it comes to helping avoid shrinkage, the lift that baking powder gives is also useful here. Pie crust wants to shrink as it bakes because of the water in the crust. Baking powder counters that because it causes it to rise, so there's barely any difference at all from when your pie went into the oven and when it comes out!
So all in all, USE BAKING POWDER IN YOUR PIE CRUSTS! It makes pie eating 100x more enjoyable (and it's already enjoyable enough!)
Do keep in mind that a little goes a long way to helping achieve these results! A ½ teaspoon is all you need for this full recipe.
Other tips to guarantee many flaky pie crusts to come!
Pie crust gets its signature flakiness from the fact that it calls for ice cold ingredients. When you make a pie crust with butter, keeping the butter cold is one of the best tips there is to ensure it turns out flaky. With cold butter, you ought to use cold water, which helps keep everything at a good temperature while you work on the dough.
If at any point in the process of making the pie dough you find the butter starts to get warm (or the dough starts feeling warm), stick everything into the fridge for 30 minutes before continuing. When in doubt, it's better to chill a cold dough than it is to keep working with warm ingredients.
What Tool Should You Use To Mix The Ingredients Together?
I highly recommend using a food processor to make pie crust. Using a food processor is probably the easiest and quickest way to make your dough. You should try to avoid leaving your dough out at room temperature for too long because you run the risk of having your butter soften. A food processor can help ensure that all of your ingredients stay cold because you're working more quickly.
If you don't have a food processor, or just don't want to get yours dirty (washing it is no fun), you can definitely use a utensil like a fork or a pastry cutter. You can also use a handheld or stand mixer. I would recommend that you avoid using your hands too much when mixing this dough because the warmth from your hands may soften the butter and ruin your pie's texture.
How To Make Simple Pie Crust:
To start, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a food processor or bowl. Mix or pulse to evenly distribute the ingredients.
As I mentioned, this pie crust recipe can be used for both sweet and savory recipes, so you'll need to adjust the salt and sugar depending on what you intend on making. For savory fillings, add 1 full teaspoon of salt instead of the ½ teaspoon called for in the recipe. If you want a sweet filling for your pie, add 2 tablespoons of sugar instead.
Note: Adding a bit of sugar to your pie crust helps give it a nice golden color when baked, so I would recommend using the full tablespoon even with savory recipes.
Next, add cold, cubed butter to your bowl or food processor. The butter should be cut into cubes that are about ½ an inch each.
Cut the butter into the flour until the butter chunks are smaller but still visible (slightly larger than the size of a pea).
Add ⅓ cup of COLD water to the flour and butter mixture. If your mixture still seems dry after incorporating the initial ⅓ cup, add 1 extra tablespoon of water at a time until the dough sticks together if you squeeze it with your hands.
The mixture will still look quite dry and crumbly, but it should stick together when you pinch it with your fingers (kind of like wet sand).
Divide the dough in 2 and wrap with plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap, shape the 2 balls of dough into disks. Refrigerate the disks for a minimum of 1 hour.
After chilling, your pie crust is ready for filling and baking!
How Long Does Pie Dough Last In The Fridge?
Unbaked pie crust lasts in the fridge for a maximum of 3 days. If you don't plan on using it within that time, you should freeze the dough.
How To Freeze Unshaped Pie Dough:
The best part about this recipe is that it's a good make ahead pie crust. This dough freezes really well and lasts up to 3 months frozen. You can easily divide and double the recipe however you wish, and freeze off larger batches if you'd like as well.
To freeze pie crust, all you have to do is wrap the dough up tightly in plastic wrap, making sure to avoid any major air bubbles. Then, place the wrapped dough in a freezer bag. Thaw the dough in the fridge overnight the day before you intend to use it.
If you're in a rush, I wouldn't recommend thawing frozen pie crust on the counter. If you do, you run the risk of your butter softening and smearing into the dough, which ruins the flakiness of your finished product.
How To Freeze Filled, Unbaked Pie Crust:
After you've made, shaped, and filled your pie dough, place it into a freezer bag and seal well. Take care to release as much air from the bag as you can. Freeze for up to 3 months (depending on the filling).
Depending on the shape you choose for your pie, you may or may not need to freeze the baking dish with the pie. If you're making a standard 9 inch round pie, freeze the baking dish with the pie so you can freeze and bake it in the same dish. Make sure it's both freezer and oven safe!
If you want to make individual hand pies, place the ready pies on a sheet pan and freeze until solid (about an hour). Place the frozen pies in a large freezer bag and seal well. Keep stored in the freezer until ready to use.
When you want to bake either pie, you have 2 options. One option is to defrost the pie in the fridge overnight and then bake normally. Another option is to place the frozen pie in the oven and simply bake it for slightly longer.
**Please note! You can't take a cold glass baking dish and place it in a hot oven. If you did store your frozen pie in a glass baking dish, you need to let it defrost and warm up before baking.
How To Make Pie Dough Easier To Roll Out:
There are two ways to make rolling out your pie dough easier, and both help you avoid getting cracks in your pie crust.
Option one: take the dough out of the fridge about 15 to 20 minutes before you plan on rolling it so it warms slightly. But again, don't let it sit out for too long at room temperature.
Option two: take the dough straight from the fridge and knead it with your hands a bit to soften and warm slightly. Don't go overboard though. Again, you should avoid letting your dough to get too warm and avoid overworking the gluten in the dough.
Pie Crust Variations:
If you want a simple gluten free pie crust, all you have to do is substitute the all-purpose flour in this recipe for gluten-free flour, almond flour, or coconut flour. You can also use a combination of the almond and coconut flour if you'd like. The coconut and almond flour substitutions also work for an easy keto pie crust recipe.
To make a dairy free and vegan pie crust, simply substitute the butter for an equal amount of vegetable shortening and the water for an equal amount of non-dairy milk. Since vegetable shortening doesn't have the same milky composition as butter, you do need a non-dairy milk substitute for the water.
If you liked this pie crust recipe, you may also like some of these other recipes:
- Tart crust
- Apricot jam bars
- Jam filled sandwich cookies
- put your homemade pie crust to use with homemade apple pie!
Homemade Pie Crust Recipe
- 2 & ½ cups all-purpose four
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar * see notes
- ½ teaspoon salt ** see notes
- 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 6 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water
- In a large bowl or food processor, combine your flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Mix or pulse together until evenly distributed.
- Add cold, cubed butter to the flour mixture. Combine using a fork, pastry cutter, or food processor until the butter is broken down, but still chunky (slightly larger than the size of a pea).
- Add 6 tablespoons of cold water and mix to incorporate. If the dough seems too dry, continue to add 1 tablespoon of cold water at a time until your dough holds its shape when you squeeze it with your fingers.
- Portion out your dough evenly onto 2 large pieces of plastic wrap. Shape into 2 disks, and wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour before rolling and shaping your pie.