Homemade Pie Crust

If making a Homemade Pie Crust scares you, let me help you! This pie crust recipe is really  simple and you will have a beautiful, flaky pie crust to be proud of.

fingers pinching together a pie crust


 

Homemade Pie Crust vs Premade

Trust me, I was just like you and not wanting to make a homemade crust. It was too hard, time consuming, and stressed me out. Well that is until I started making one- perfecting pie crust.

You will need to plan ahead because your it needs to “chill”. But you can keep the dough mixed up and frozen in your freezer for just the perfect occasion. 

wrapped pie dough in plastic wrap

So take a deep breath and jump right in. You will look like a pro in no time! 

Pie crusts can be made for traditional sweet pies as well as savory, think of the possibilities. Personally I love a good homemade crust on a pot pie or quiche, and making individual hand pies is so fun too.

I know, I know.. I have many recipes using a frozen pie crust. And I love and appreciate the ease they bring to a recipe. But trust me when I say that making a crust is not only delicious but  it will bring you a new sense of self accomplishment too.

docked cooked pie crust with apple pie sitting near by

Homemade Pie Crust Ingredients: 

  • Flour 
  • Salt 
  • Sugar 
  • Vegetable shortening 
  • Butter 
  • Cold water 

The ingredients are all simple. And most recipes are also very similar but I want to share with  you why I choose to use both vegetable shortening AND butter. Because it does make a difference. 

Why Fats are Important 

To make a light and flaky homemade pie crust you need a balance of fats. So many people talk about an all-butter pie crust and while this is great for flavor, it isn’t for texture.

Ideally lard is the best ingredient to  use but I have found that lard is difficult to find and not always available. Which is why I  choose to use vegetable shortening and butter.

cutting together fats in a pie crust

Fats provide texture to the final pastry product. Fats can also give flavor depending on what Fat  is used. Primarily there are 3 types of fats used in pastries. Lard, butter and vegetable  shortening.

I choose to use 2/3 cup vegetable shortening and 7 tablespoons butter. You will want a good level measurement or each and honestly, it’s best if it’s cold. So throw the shortening into the  refrigerator for 30 minutes or more.

To measure shortening, I like to use a piece of plastic wrap inside my measuring cup. It also makes clean up so easy when measuring shortening and you just throw the plastic wrap away. Trust me, give it a try. 

cut together ingredients in pie crust

Butter should also be COLD. Typically most if not all cubes of butter have tablespoon  measurements on the paper coating. Measure 7 tablespoons of good cold butter for your homemade pie crust.

Cold Fats are Important 

Using cold fats is very important. Keeping the ingredients as cold as possible helps to prevent  the fats from melting. When fats begin to melt into the recipe, you will lose the flaky texture you desire.

crumbled pieces of pie crust dough in a hand

Ideally the fats will melt as the pastry bakes which releases steam into the mixture. This is how flaky layers are created. 

Why I use Both Butter and Shortening

It comes down to flavor and I love the flavor that butter gives to recipes. Using all butter doesn’t yield as good of results as using all shortening or lard does.

homemade pie crust dough in a glass mixing bowl

The flaky texture is  something we all desire but no one wants a crust that tastes flat. So a balance of shortening  and butter gives the flaky texture I enjoy as well as flavor that we all desire. And it works for  both sweet and savory pies too. 

How to Make Homemade Pie Crust

And now onto the pie crust tutorial.

I like to get the water prepared by adding 3-4 ice cubes and filling a measuring cup with water. Let it sit so the water gets good and cold. Then In a large bowl add all purpose flour, salt and  sugar and mix it together.

Cut shortening and butter into flour mixture. I find using a pastry cutter  works best but using a fork will do the job too! You want the mixture to look coarse. 

Next remove the ice from the cold water and measure ½ cup. Drizzle 1-2 Tablespoons at a time  into the flour mixture and mix. I will use a large fork at this point to mix the water into the  dough.

how to make pie crust process shots

As more water is added, the dough will begin to take shape. You won’t want to over mix and  the dough will come together quickly. Adding too much water will make a tough pie crust and  adding not enough makes a crust dry and crumbly. 

You can use a food processor, but only in short, pulses to combine.

Once dough is formed, shape into a ball and cut in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and  place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Ideally overnight if possible. A pie crust ball can be  kept up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months when frozen.

hands pushing together pie dough and dividing it in two

Prepare a lightly floured surface and begin to roll homemade pie crust dough from center in all directions to create a  circle. Move dough on floured surface so it does not stick.

Using a rolling pin to roll dough onto is ideal when moving dough to pie pan for baking. Trust  me. This dough is fragile and very difficult to move without supporting it completely.

rolling out pie dough with rolling pin

Lay dough on pie pan and with your hands gently make sure the dough fills the bottom and  rests on the sides. Pinching dough with your fingers to create a nice ribbon on the top edge is  always fun too. 

rolling dough onto a rolling pin

That’s it! To bake make sure to follow the pies recipe. Some will call for pre-baked pie crust and others will bake once filled.

Blind Baking a Pie Crust

Not all crusts will require you to pre-bake them, but some will. In this case you either want to dock the pastry, also known as piercing it, or use pie weights. Sometimes it

piercing unbaked pie crust with a fork

Docking allows steam to release so your pie doesn’t get soggy and also so it doesn’t bubble up in the center.

Pie weights will weight it down so it is too heavy for steam to develop in the first place. If you don’t have pie weights, raw, dry beans will also do the trick.

pin for homemade pie crust for pinterest

Delicious Pie Recipes:

Chocolate Chip Cookie in whipped cream in chess pie

Chocolate Chip Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookie Chess Pie is a traditional southern chess pie stuffed with chewy chocolate chip cookies and served with a dollop of whipped cream. 
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The Best Apple Pie

The Best Apple Pie Recipe is an all-American dessert recipe that pairs tart apples with the perfect amount of sugar and spice. 
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Easy Pumpkin Pie

This Easy Pumpkin Pie is just perfect for Thanksgiving! Perfectly creamy and delicious, this pumpkin pie recipe is perfection!
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hand piercing together pie crust
pinching together pie crust edges

Pie Crust Tutorial

5 from 7 votes
Making a Homemade Pie Crust has never been easier! With both butter and shortening, you get a perfectly flaky crust every time!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 2 pie crusts

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Prep the water by adding 3-4 ice cubes and filling a measuring cup with water. Let it sit so the water gets good and cold. In a large bowl add the flour, salt and sugar and whisk together.
  • Cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or fork. The mixture should look coarse.
    cut in shortening and butter to flour
  • Remove the ice from the cold water and measure ½ cup. Add 1-2 tablespoons at a time into the flour mixture and mix with a large fork.
    smooth pie dough
  • Once dough is formed, shape into a ball and cut in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Ideally overnight if possible.
    two pie crusts wrapped in plastic wrap
  • Prepare a lightly floured surface and begin to roll dough from center in all directions to create a circle. Move dough on floured surface so it does not stick.
    roll out pie dough
  • Using a rolling pin to roll dough, move the dough to pie pan for baking.
    roll dough on a rolling pin
  • Lay dough on pie pan and with your hands gently make sure the dough fills the bottom and rests on the sides. Pinching dough with your fingers to create a nice ribbon on the top edge.
    pinching together pie crust
  • Bake crust according to the pie recipe you are following.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings.

Notes

As more water is added, the dough will begin to take shape. You won’t want to over mix and the dough will come together quickly. Adding too much water will make a tough pie crust and adding not enough makes a crust dry and crumbly.
A pie crust ball can be kept up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months when frozen.

Nutrition

Calories: 1547 kcal, Carbohydrates: 125 g, Protein: 17 g, Fat: 110 g, Saturated Fat: 42 g, Trans Fat: 11 g, Cholesterol: 105 mg, Sodium: 1174 mg, Potassium: 179 mg, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 6 g, Vitamin A: 1225 IU, Calcium: 37 mg, Iron: 7 mg
Author: Rebecca Johnston
Calories: 1547
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: homemade pie crust
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
angle of homemade baked pie crust
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

5 from 7 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

    1. Hi Tracey- great question! You should be able to swap them 1:1 for no problem, but I have no personally tested it. If you do, come back and let us know how it worked out!

  1. 5 stars
    I never realised how easy to it was to make a pie crust! I’ll never buy storebought again after this 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I love that your recipe uses a combination of shortening and butter – it adds so much more flavor! Great recipe – it’s a keeper!