How to Make Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust
The flakiest all-butter pie crust is easy to prepare and practically impossible to mess up with my tried and true recipe. I promise you’ve never made pie crust like this before!
This flaky pie crust is my go-to for all of my pie baking and I’ve probably made it hundreds of times. 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.
This full tutorial has been on my site for almost 10 years and is one of my most popular posts, and now it’s been updated with even more photos, tips, and a video!
More pie baking help:
- The best tips for making perfect pies
- How to blind bake pie crust
- How to make pie crust in the food processor
- How to prep and store pie crust in advance
Ingredients you’ll need
Let’s get started! Here’s everything you’ll need to make pie crust (full recipe below):
- All-purpose flour
- Unsalted butter
- Coarse salt
- Cold water
- Add granulated sugar to compliment the sweetness of a fruit or creamy pie. If I’m making a dessert pie, I always add it.
- My favorite way to make this recipe is with buttermilk instead of water. So much flavor! Click here to see my buttermilk pie crust variation.
How to make foolproof flaky pie crust
There are three ways I know of to make pie crust:
- Cutting the butter into dry ingredients with a pastry blender. This is probably the most common method.
- Using a food processor, which is great if you’re short on time (click here to see my food processor tutorial).
- By rolling out the butter into the dry ingredients (the method I’m going to show you here).
In my experience, rolling the butter into the dry ingredients is a guaranteed way to get a flaky pie crust. Those flat sheets of butter layered within the dough melt and release steam as the pie bakes, leaving behind little pockets of air, and lots of flakiness.
This method takes a little bit more time, but only about 5 additional minutes, and it works!
Step 1— Combine dry ingredients and add butter
Combine the flour, salt and sugar (if using) in a bowl and add the cold butter cubes. Toss until all the butter is coated in flour.
Step 2— Roll butter into dry ingredients
Dump everything out onto a clean surface. Use a rolling pin to flatten the butter cubes and roll them into the dry ingredients. A bench scraper is handy to bring it all back together into a pile, and also to remove butter from the rolling pin as needed.
Keep rolling until all of the butter has been rolled into the dry ingredients. The goal is to have thin sheets of butter visible throughout the dry ingredients. Break up any really long sheets of butter with your bench scraper or a knife.
Step 3— Add water
Gather up the mixture and return it to the bowl. Place the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes if needed, just to get everything cold again.
Then, make a well in the center and add about 2-3 tablespoons of 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 tablespoon at a time. I always need to add more water, anywhere from ¼ cup – ½ cup total, but it’s different every time and so I start with a small amount and slowly add more. Adding too much water will make the dough sticky and produce a tough crust.
Step 4— Form dough into disks
The dough should hold together in a ball, but a few loose crumbs are okay. I like to dump the mixture out onto a work surface to bring the dough together with my hands. You don’t want to over-work it, but a little kneading and handling is just fine.
Divide the dough in half and flatten each into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Then, you’re ready to bake a pie!
Pie crust tips
- Pie crust dough will keep in the fridge up to 5 days and in the freezer (double-wrapped) for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Making pie crust ahead of time is a great time saver! For example, I usually make pie crusts for Thanksgiving 1-2 weeks before so it’s one less thing to worry about in the busy days before the holiday.
- This recipe can be cut in half for a single-crust pie.
- Pie crust needs to chill in the fridge before you use it, do not skip this step. It hardens the butter, making sure it does not absorb into the flour, ensuring it creates those lovely flaky layers. Chilling the dough also softens the gluten in the flour a bit, helping to tenderize the dough a bit.
- If you need to “blind bake” or partially bake a pie crust, I have a full tutorial on how to blind bake a pie crust too!
- If pies intimidate you or they just don’t seem to come out right, be sure to check out my best tips for making perfect pies. I share solutions for the most common pie baking problems.
- Here’s a list of my favorite pie tools.
My favorite pies to make with this pie crust
I have dozens of pies in my recipe archives, but these are a few faves!
- Mile High Apple Pie
- Cranberry Blueberry Pie
- Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
- Apple Pear Praline Pie
- Black and Blueberry Pie
Shop tools for this recipe
This recipe was originally published November 2013.
Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (300 grams)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar , optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (226 grams), cold and cut into cubes
- ¼-½ cup ice cold water (60-125 ml), as needed (see Notes)
- 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.
- Return mixture to the bowl and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill the butter.
- Remove from freezer and add ¼ cup of the ice 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 tablespoon at a time. I usually end up needing somewhere between ⅓ and ½ cup but it varies each time.
- 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.