The flakiest all-butter pie crust is easy to prepare and practically impossible to mess up with my tried and true recipe and step-by-step instructions.
This pie crust tutorial has been on my website for a few years and is one of my most popular posts. But as I was baking a pie the other day I realized it was in desperate need of an update— with clearer photos and a few minor changes to reflect my current method.
The recipe is my go-to for all of my pie baking. I know there are a lot of recipes and opinions out there when it comes to pie, but this is the crust that never fails me. It’s flaky and full of flavor. And if making pies intimidates you, this foolproof method is a great place to start.
So, are you ready to bake a pie? Let’s go!
What you’ll need to get started: all-purpose flour, salt, cold butter and cold water. You can also add some sugar to compliment the sweetness of a fruit or creamy pie.
And if you’d like to add a little more flavor to your pie crust, you can also substitute the water for another cold liquid. I love to use buttermilk for fruit pies. (Note: I used to recommend using a little vodka in the pie crust. I no longer use it ever and don’t think it’s necessary.)
First, combine the flour, salt and sugar (if using) in a bowl and add the cold butter cubes.
Dump everything out onto a clean surface. Then take a rolling pin and flatten the butter cubes into the dry ingredients. Have a bench scraper handy to bring it all back together into a pile, and also to remove butter from the rolling pin as necessary.
The goal is to have sheets of butter visible amongst the dry ingredients. This helps give this pie crust its flakiness.
Break up any really long sheets of butter with your bench scraper or a knife.
Once the butter has all been rolled out, gather up the mixture and return it to the bowl. Place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes. Then, make a well in the center and add the cold water.
Use a large spoon and then your hands to bring the mixture together into a ball. If necessary, add more cold water 1 teaspoon at a time. Adding too much water can produce a tough crust, so error on the side of slightly crumbly. The dough should hold together in a ball, but a few loose crumbs are okay.
Divide the dough in two and flatten each into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
The pie crust dough will keep in the fridge up to 5 days and in the freezer (double-wrapped) for up to 2 months. Making pie crust ahead of time is a great time saver!
When you’re ready to make your pie, work with one disk of dough at a time. Unwrap it, place it on a floured surface, and let it come to room temperature for a few minutes.
Roll out the pie crust with a rolling pin, working from the center out in a clockwise motion (1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock, etc.). After a few passes with the rolling pin, I use my fingers to rotate the dough a quarter turn, to make sure it’s not sticking. If there’s any sticking, I use my bench scraper to un-stick it and re-flour my surface.
You want your pie crust to be 2 inches wider than the width of your pie dish. So for a standard 9-inch pie dish, roll the dough out to 13 inches.
To transfer the pie crust to your pie dish, gently roll it up onto the rolling pin.
Then center it over your dish and unroll it from the rolling pin.
Now, if you’re making a double crusted pie, go back and roll out the second disk of pie crust.
Fill the bottom crust with your desired filling. If you need some recipe inspiration, have a look at my archives. Some of my favorites are my Mile High Apple Pie (pictured in this post), Cranberry Blueberry Pie, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and Coconut Curry Chicken Pot Pie.
If making a double crusted pie, place it on top now. Cut slits to vent steam as it bakes, or if you’d prefer, you can also make a lattice.
Pinch top and bottom crusts together, tuck into the pie dish, and crimp edges as desired. To create this traditional crimped edge, I used my thumb and index fingers.
I like to brush my pie crusts with an egg wash made of 1 large egg + 1 teaspoon water. It gives it a nice golden shiny crust. But it’s optional. You can also sprinkle with sugar after brushing with egg wash. Also optional.
Place the pie on a sheet pan (to catch any drips and also to make it easy to take in and out of the oven) and then bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling through the vents.
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