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.

Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust! Find the tutorial on completelydelicious.com

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!

Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust! Find the tutorial on completelydelicious.com

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.)

Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust! Find the tutorial on completelydelicious.com

First, combine the flour, salt and sugar (if using) in a bowl and add the cold butter cubes.

Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust! Find the tutorial on completelydelicious.com

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.

Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust! Find the tutorial on completelydelicious.com

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.

Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust! Find the tutorial on completelydelicious.com

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.

Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust! Find the tutorial on completelydelicious.com

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!

Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust! Find the tutorial on completelydelicious.com

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.

Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust! Find the tutorial on completelydelicious.com

To transfer the pie crust to your pie dish, gently roll it up onto the rolling pin.

Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust! Find the tutorial on completelydelicious.com

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.

Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust! Find the tutorial on completelydelicious.com

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.

Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust! Find the tutorial on completelydelicious.com

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.

And enjoy!

Foolproof Pie Crust | completelydelicious.com


How to Make Perfectly Flaky Pie Crust

Yield: Dough for 1 double crust pie

How to Make Perfectly Flaky Pie Crust

Flaky and flavorful pie crust, perfect for any pie!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) water, cold

Instructions

  1. Combine the flour, sugar (if using), and salt in a bowl. Add the cubed butter and toss to coat. Dump the mixture out onto a clean surface and use a rolling pin to roll the butter into thin sheets, combining it with the flour. Use a bench scraper to scrape the rolling pin and to bring the mixture back into a pile as necessary. Continue until all of the butter is incorporated into the flour. Mixture will be very flaky.
  2. Return mixture to the bowl and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill the butter.
  3. Remove from freezer and add the cold water. Use a spoon and then your hands to stir the mixture until it comes together into a ball. If mixture is too dry, add additional water a teaspoon at a time.
  4. Divide the dough in two and flatten into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 5 days. Dough can also be frozen (double-wrapped) for up to 2 months.
  5. When ready to roll out, let the dough rest at room temperature for five minutes. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a rough 13 inch circle. Dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to 9-inch pie dish. Fill pie with desired filling. Repeat with the second disk of dough. Cut dough and make a lattice over the filling, or leave the circle intact and cover the filling completely, cutting a few vents with a sharp knife.
  6. Fold the edges of the top and bottom crusts together and use your index fingers and thumb to pinch into a pattern. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar, if desired.
http://www.completelydelicious.com/2014/11/how-to-make-perfectly-flaky-pie-crust.html

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57 Responses to Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust

  1. This pie certainly does look perfect! Great tutorial :)

  2. I’m stunned by how detailed you are for this great pie crust recipe! This makes preparing pie crust so much easier with all the visuals. What a great recipe, too – I’ve never heard of vodka used in pie crust and I love cooking/baking with alcohol so I’m excited about this idea! Will probably making a looooot of batches of this pie crust this fall and winter! :)

  3. Alba says:

    Wonderful tutorial! Gotta try it! xo

  4. You have just solved the world’s problems with this tutorial. Seriously. I’ve seen vodka used several times in recipes, but the buttermilk is new to me. Okay, I’ve found another new fave. LOVE you for this!

  5. Deborah says:

    First of all, I’m so intrigued because I’ve never seen a pie crust made like this before – I must try it!! I did try the vodka crust recipe from Cooks Illustrated a few years ago, and while it tasted good, it was so hard for me to work with and totally shrunk. But I think I need to give this a go!

  6. This is just what I needed for my pies. I’m never satisfied with the way my apple pie crust turns out but when I follow this post, I’m sure it will turn out perfect. Neat idea with the volka. Thank you.

  7. ashley says:

    Hello Annalise!

    I’ve never made a pie crust before so will try this out (minus the vodka). Hopefully it’s a keeper since I love pie! I was wondering though, is this pie crust recipe specifically for certain fillings: fruits such as apples / blueberries or is it good for creams such as pumpkin, banana cream / chocolate pudding? I wouldn’t want to make this and have the pumpkin ruin the crust.
    Also, my husband’s family is part Mexican and sometimes they make something called an empanada during the holidays. I was wondering if you happened to know whether I could use this pie crust recipe to hold the fillings or if that’s a completely different recipe? Thanks in advance!

    *If any other commenters happen to know the answers to my questions please feel free to let me know! Thank you!

    Warmly,
    Ashley

    • Annalise says:

      I use this crust for all recipes where a pie crust is required- fruit pies, cream pies, hand pies (like empanadas), etc. I haven’t ever had a problem using it in conjunction with various fillings. Use it if you like and come back and tell me what you think. Thanks for the comment, Ashley!

  8. Absolutely gorgeous, Annalise!! I was lucky enough to try this crust and it’s delicious. Flakey, buttery & almost sugar cookie like taste. It was scrumptious. I’m going to have to try the trick of rolling the butter in the flour! Thanks for the great tips!!

  9. Great tutorial. I’ll have to try your techniques.

  10. This will be my go to pie crust recipe from here on out. Thank you for years of deliciousness :)

  11. What a fantastic tutorial!
    You’ve provided great detail and photos. I can’t wait to try it.

  12. Pat secrest says:

    I am a seasoned cook but have never seen a pie crust this different. Pie is my one challenge that I have never mastered. Am so anxious to try this one.
    Thanks for the great detail.

  13. Shelly says:

    Hello Annelise,I found you on Pinterest and i love the detailed instructions and photos.I look forward to making your recipes.Keep up the good work.

  14. Lisa says:

    Made this last night, turned out great! I was worried because my mixture seemed too dry to form a “ball” as shown in the picture (it wouldn’t hold together) despite adding 3+ tbsp of vodka. But the end product was flakey and wonderful!

    • Annalise says:

      This happens to me sometimes too, every batch of crust is different. But after chilling, even the crumbliest dough seems to roll out well and turn out flaky and delicious. So glad you had success!

  15. Jodie says:

    Hi Annalise! The oblivious non-American I am, I’ve never made a pie crust before, I’ve not even had a genuine pie whatsoever in my entire life yet. But also the blog-reading girl I am, I figured pie must be delicious, and I also figured with my mom’s birthday today and also my own coming up in ten days I needed to make a pie (also it’s almost Thanksgiving, and I always look for excuses to bake). With my own pie crust. I was pretty afraid of pie crusts since every single person who writes a blog about baking always goes “I used to be afraid to make my own pie crust from scratch” or “I still am afraid of doing that” – but also they always go “But then I discovered this special pie crust recipe, go try that, don’t be afraid of making your own pie crust from scratch”. So I tried yours because it seemed to be the least suspicious method to me and made an awesome Pecan Pie from that (Hello, lover). While it’s still cooling down, I’m a hundred percent sure that’s it’s going to be a huge success. The pie crust turned out to be perfect, not too wet, not too dry, overall awesome and this is definitely not going to be the last pie I’ve made. Thank you so so so much for the recipe!
    Lots of love from Germany! =)

  16. Samantha says:

    I am definitely going to try this recipe. Thanks for the details and pics and the great information about the dough. One thing I do with left over dough is make cinnamon and sugar pinwheels. Roll out the extra dough, spread a very thin layer of butter on the dough and then shake some cinnamon and sugar on the dough. Roll up the dough to form a long tube and then cut the tube to make pinwheels. You can then place them in a pie plate or cookie sheet and bake them in the oven. They are really good. My mom always made these when making pies, and everyone would fight over them!

  17. Alvin says:

    Hello Annalise!

    I have recently conquered my fear of making pie crusts from scratch and stumbling upon your tutorial I am eager to test and improve from my previous attempt. I previously used a processor to blitz together the butter and flour but since my processor was too small it barely did the job. I will be trying out your method this weekend for my apple crumble pie!

    I have a slight concern that hopefully you could answer. Where I come from buttermilk is very hard to come by, and extremely expensive if it’s even available at all. Can it be substituted at all with regular milk (even if it means losing the unique flavor)?

    Greetings from Hong Kong!

    • Annalise says:

      Hi Alvin! Feel free to substitute the buttermilk with whole milk or even water, though since they are both a little thinner than buttermilk, start with 1/3 cup, adding more if necessary. You can also make your own buttermilk with whole milk and a lemon. Place 1/2 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup, then add enough milk to make 1/2 cup. Let sit for 5 minutes, and voila! Good luck!

  18. Carrie says:

    Hi Annalise,

    I love your blog. Thank you for sharing! My question here is about the weight of the flour in this recipe. One cup of all purpose flour weighs 120 grams, so 2.5 cups would be 300 grams. Your recipe says 2.5 cups (375 grams). Can you please clarify?

    Thanks!

    • Annalise says:

      Thanks for the comment Carrie! That was a math error I thought I had corrected long ago, but I guess it never took. It’s definitely fixed now!

  19. Hannah says:

    My name is Hannah. I’m thirteen years old, and really, really looking forward to using this recipe-it looks fantastic! I’ll be making it for my dads birthday today, actually, for some lemon meringue pie.
    I would really like to see some of your end results with this pie crust recipe-do you think you might be able to post up a pic? It would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks! ;D

    • Annalise says:

      Hi Hannah! Thanks so much for your comment. Your Dad is one lucky guy, lemon meringue pie sounds like a great birthday treat! If you look on this post, right above the recipe, I have links to several other recipes where I’ve used this pie crust and posted pictures of the final product. Hope this helps!

  20. Pie crust is something I always had trouble with. I am so looking forward to trying this. Thanks!

  21. Toni Shawver says:

    Hi! Just wanted to let you know that I found this recipe on Pinterest while searching for the perfect crust for my new pie recipe! Go check it out! The pie couldn’t have been as great as it was without your flaky recipe to support it!!

    https://asylummom.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/the-very-best-peach-crumble-pie-with-caramel-whiskey-sauce/

    • Annalise says:

      Gorgeous looking pie! Peach, caramel and whiskey?! Come on, you’re killing me. :)

      • Toni says:

        It’s worth trying! I took it to a local culinary friend here to test the new recipe and his exact words were “That shit is delicious! Don’t change a thing in that recipe!” He LOVED your crust, too! And so do my kids, who keep taking the crust bits off the ends of my pie >_>

  22. Carlotta says:

    Hi Annalise!

    I’ve just made this, and it’s wonderful, thanks a lot for your tutorial. I’ll put it on my blog! I’ve already wrote about your chocolate cake (the one of Julia Child)
    Your blog is really nice! I love it!
    Thanks,

    Carlotta

  23. Erin says:

    I stumbled across this the week before Thanksgiving, how lucky am I? Pie crusts have always been my ‘eeek’ thing…just threw some out of my freezer from last year (shhh, don’t tell) that I had made and they didn’t turn out to my liking. I’m so trying these next week and will let you know how I do! Thanks so much!

  24. Genevieve says:

    Just wanted to stop in and say that I used your piecrust recipe for Thanksgiving pies. I followed the steps exactly and it was a breeze! It would have been better if I had one of those scraper things, but either way it turned out fabulous! Thanks so much!

    • Annalise says:

      I’m so glad to hear the tutorial worked out for you and you enjoyed the pie crust! And yes, a bench scraper is an absolute must, maybe a stocking stuffer idea? :)

      • Genevieve says:

        I would love that idea. Will you by chance be putting together a post with your favrite Holiday recipes? I would be all over that one!

  25. christine says:

    Hi Annalise,
    Thank you so much for this post!!! It was my first time making a traditional pate brisee (I’ve only tried a spelt flour pie crust before) and your pictures & instructions helped soo much, it came out perfectly delicious! And the process was enjoyable as well :) Loved your tip about rolling out the butter into thin sheets–thank you so much!!

  26. William says:

    Hi!

    I’m 17 and my girlfriend and I are competing with different dishes – and this week it’s pie! She has been making pies for years and this will be my first… :$. I’m looking forward to using this crust and I’m sure it will impress :) I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    You have given me a chance at this contest ;)

    Thanks,
    William

  27. Amazing tutorial, thank you so much for sharing it! I’ve always been a little intimidated by pies and I’ve never been completely satisfied with the final results I got. So I can’t wait to follow this easy step-by-step method and see if things get a little better!
    I have just one question: is brushing the top of the pie crust with the mixture of egg and water a necessary step or can I go without it?

    thanks so much again!

    • Annalise says:

      Not at all necessary! Just an extra step I usually take. Feel free to not do it though. And please let me know how pie baking goes! I’d love to see a picture too! :)

  28. Nice job with the tutorial, Annalise!!

  29. David says:

    Fantastic tutorial and oh so simple? Perfect timing for me since I used to rely on Betty Crocker and then they went and changed their pie crust mix. Been looking for a reason to start making pie crust from scratch so I plan to start with this one! Thank you!

  30. Beverly says:

    I love to make pies. I think pie crust doesn’t have a great flavor because I always make it with Crisco.I think butter would give it a better flavor. Going to try this. Thank you

  31. Genevieve says:

    Hi Annalise,
    I wanted to stop by and tell you that I have been using your pie crust recipe exclusively for over a year now. I am the dessert baker of the family and I even tossed aside my mother’s recipe for this one. This crust always turns out wonderfully and your instructions are fabulous! (ie I have never screwed it up!) Looking forward to using it for pies for Thanksgiving next week. I can’t decide what to make pumpkin, blueberry, apple? Too many choices! Many thanks!

    • Annalise says:

      Hi Genevieve! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I’m so happy to hear you love my recipe. Happy pie baking next week, I say bake them all! :)

  32. Brianna says:

    Hi Annalise! I have tried (and failed) at many pie crust recipes, most recently a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving…I’m sure a lot of it is user error ;) Anyways, going to give yours a shot and hope I’ve finally found the one! Quick ? – I see many comments about vodka, but that is no longer mentioned in the recipe. Is that something you recommend using instead of water? Or do you use water/buttermilk exclusively now? Does it matter whether you use water or buttermilk? What is the difference, mostly flavor? Just wondering as I want to give it the best shot possible! Thanks so much :)

  33. Elizabeth says:

    I have such a hard time with pie crust for some reason, this tutorial was amazing and my crust for my chicken pot pie turned out absolutely perfect and so flakey!! Thanks so much for this!

  34. Julie says:

    Hello,

    After buying two very expensive, poorly made pies this Christmas, I’ve decided that I would try my hand at it.

    I like your tutorial, but I couldn’t find anything about baking times and temperatures. For a single, pre-baked crust pie, how long and at what temperature? For a double crust, I assume that would be in the pie recipe itself?

    • Annalise says:

      The baking temperature and times will depend on the type of pie you’re baking, so follow the instructions provided by whatever recipe you’re using for the filling. Does that make sense? Hope this helps!

  35. Julie says:

    Yes.

    Thank you for responding.

  36. Lavender Child says:

    Hi!
    I’ve just prepared a glorious Apple Pie with your crust, and it turned out so great, I’m amazed!

    I live in Germany and have tried so many different recipes for pie crust, to get that American flaky style – none worked. Yours did! It’s perfect that it’s just butter, most other stuff used in American recipes I can’t get my hands on here. I used 405 wheat flour and weighed the ingredients according to your gram indications. I sifted the flour three times, because you can’t get all-purpose flour in Germany and I’ve read that American flour is pre-sifted. So since I couldn’t get the flour to have the volume as yours did, I just used the weight and wow, that dough was working!
    It’s the first I tried that I was actually able to transfer to the dish without it ripping. The way you rolled the butter into the flour+sugar: brilliant.
    I pre-cooked my apple mixture slightly, so that the apple bits would remain their shape (and used two different kinds, as according to the tips of the American test kitchen).
    I pre-heated my oven to a higher degree than I normally would (220 Celsius) and baked the pie on the lowest step for 10 minutes, then reduced the heat to 175 degrees and baked for 50 minutes. It looks perfect. So flaky.

    I am so grateful for your recipe, you cannot imagine :D

  37. Tami says:

    I’m confused….I don’t see where there is buttermilk or vodka used in this recipe. Yet, I see comments about them? Please advise.

    • Annalise says:

      Hi Tami! As it states in the post, the recipe has been updated with improvements since I originally posted it several years ago. I no longer feel like vodka is necessary so I’ve left it out of the new version. And I’ve listed water as the liquid instead of buttermilk as it’s more universal, though I do explain in the text that buttermilk is a great flavor variation that can be used.

  38. Patricia says:

    Can I make a mince meat mixture for this pie crust!!!!

  39. Gloria. says:

    Hi Annalise this pastry recipe is the best!easy to make I have made all kinds of pies small and large sweet and savoury and it never fails me thank you so much! :)

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