I’m a self-proclaimed pie fanatic and this easy, All Butter Pie Crust is my absolute favorite pie crust recipe! It’s super flaky, easy to make, and comes together quickly!
I’m here to teach you how to make a homemade pie crust that will be so easy, so delicious, and so flaky without any stress! Making a pie crust from scratch is one of the most intimidating recipes that a home baker will encounter. A yeast bread is almost equal, and I can not only teach you how to make both, but I can make you an expert!
Your pie crust texture is 100% dependent on the fat that you choose to use. I’ve experimented with it all, and I’ve got a suggestion for you.
If you’re a beginner and you’ve already struggled with making a homemade pie crust, let’s take a step back and make my mom’s fail-proof pie crust recipe. It is so easy and the addition of egg and vinegar along with using cold shortening makes for a really easy pie crust recipe.
However, if you’re really looking for the best pie crust recipe that’s not difficult and really brings flavor and texture, well that’s an all butter pie crust.
Ingredients in an All Butter Pie Crust
Making a flaky pie crust is one of the most basic recipes with perfectly basic ingredients:
- Ice Water
You’ll notice this recipe adds a touch of sugar, which I’ve found does not sweeten the crust but does create a flakier, more golden crust.
Keep reading to find out why I made this an all butter pie crust recipe!
How to Pick the Best Source of Fat for Your Pie Crust
There are a few different fats that you can use for a pie crust. I’ve used lard a few times, but honestly I don’t find it to be worth it. Here’s a breakdown of each fat and why I’ve settled on butter.
Using Lard in Pie Crust
- Pros: Lard produces an extremely crisp, flaky crust. Its melting point is higher than butter, so it doesn’t soften as quickly while you handle it so you can really bust out a good crust.
- Cons: I don’t like lard because it’s too darn hard to find a good quality lard. And your pie can 100% taste like whatever lard you use. No thanks.
Using Shortening in Pie Crust
I have absolutely nothing against shortening. It’s cheaper to buy than butter, so there’s that going for us. Sometimes I use both shortening and butter so that I can get in the flavor but still end up with a decorative crust.
- Pros: Shortening has a higher melting point than any other fat, so it’s easy to cut into pie dough and roll out. It’s also awesome when making any kind of decorative pie crust, because doughs made with shortening hold their shape the best during baking.
- Cons: The flavor is lacking with a shortening crust.
Using Butter in Pie Crust
Ahhhhh, the best ingredient in all the world. I love the flavor, I love the texture of the flaky crust and I love that I always have butter on hand.
- Pros: Butter has the best flavor and it forms light, flaky layers in pie crust. This comes in part from the water content of butter, which evaporates as the pie bakes and turns to steam, separating and puffing up the layers in dough. It’s a heavenly thing.
- Cons: Butter can be a bit harder to work with than shortening because of it warms and melts so quickly. If your dough feels too soft? Chill it for 15 minutes. Too hard? Allow it to sit on the counter for a few minutes.
How to Make a Pie Crust From Scratch (with Photos!)
Step 1: Make sure your fat is in the fridge keeping chilled. Place the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl and mix to combine.
Step 2: Quickly cut the butter into large chunks and add to the flour. Cut in using a pastry blender depending on what you’ve decided on above.
Step 3: Fill your measuring cup with ice and water to keep it extra cold and create a well in the center of the flour and quickly add using tablespoons and stirring together with a fork until the dough is just starting to come together but is still very shaggy and floury.
Step 4: Place plastic wrap on the counter and dump the dough and flour bits out. Gather into a ball as best you can and wrap tightly in the plastic.
Step 5: Place in the fridge to chill again for a few minutes before using.
Tip: Do the squeeze test and if it stays in your hand the pie crust is ready even though it looks shaggy in the bowl. Also, when you form it into a disc, a marble slap can help keep it cool.
Wrapping the pie dough in plastic wrap keeps the dough from drying out and allows it to chill in the fridge so that the butter isn’t melting in the crust.
Picking the Best Pie Crust for Your Pie
First, tell me what kind of filling you’re going to be making. Ahhhh, you didn’t think I’d be asking that, right? The way you make your pie crust is determined by the filling. Here’s why:
When to Make a Flaky Pie Crust
Flaky crusts are best for fruit pies, like our razzleberry pie. You want that tender, lofty flake when paired with a fruit. Flaky crusts are made by leaving the fat in larger pieces in the crust – the size of walnut halves or slightly smaller.
Why? Larger pieces of fat begin to evaporate moisture when the pie goes into the oven and the evaporation creates steam which forms air pockets in the crust, creating a flaky final texture
When to Make a Mealy Pie Crust
Mealy Crusts are best for cream or custard pies, like our French silk pie, because it won’t get soggy as the pie rests. Mealy crusts are made by mixing the butter into smaller pieces — the size of peas or smaller. Less evaporation occurs, making a tighter, firmer crust.
Here’s a great example. When making a pot pie crust you would choose which kind of pie crust?
It’s not a fruit, but it’s not a custard either…
You’re right, still go with a more mealy crust because you want that sauce inside to not destroy the crust! Make sense?
Should I Use an Egg Wash on This Pie Crust?
Why use an egg wash for pie crust and is it necessary? I think so! You cannot achieve that beautiful, golden, shiny crust without an egg wash.
Why Is Pie Crust Too Crumbly To Roll Out?
If the crust is crumbly and hard to roll, it is too dry. Add a few sprinkles of cold water, until the dough is evenly moist. Do not handle the dough too much.
Why Does Pie Crust Shrink?
Pie crust shrinks when the dough hasn’t been “rested” long enough. Resting time allows the gluten to relax , and will play a big role in preventing shrinking.
How to Crimp Pie Edges
I learned how to crimp a pie crust edge when I was growing up and because of that I haven’t really thought much of it until I needed to teach my own daughters.
To crimp the edges: Using the index knuckle or finger of one hand, push the inner edge out while pinching the outer edge in with the thumb and index finger of the other hand.
How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust
Refrigerate the crust for at least 30 minutes after shaping it in the pie plate. It can be refrigerated for up to overnight wrapped in plastic wrap if you need.
Bake at 375 degrees F with pie weights for 15 minutes.
Can You Freeze Pie Crust to be Used Later?
Yes, pie dough freezes very well. Wrap the unbaked pie crust tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place in a freezer bag and seal tightly. Thaw in the fridge for 2 hours before baking.
Tips for Making the BEST Pie Crust
- It’s crucial that all of your ingredients are super cold! Use ice water and butter that was taken straight from the fridge, otherwise your pie crust won’t turn out flaky!
- Once the ingredients have all been combined, stir just until the pie dough comes together. Do NOT overwork the dough, otherwise you’ll wind up with a dense pie crust.
- I often move my dough into the fridge after cutting in the butter and again once everything is combined just to keep it chilled.
- Place the all butter pie crust into the freezer for a few before baking to avoid shrinking.
Essential Pie Baking Tools
Whether or not you’re a pie fanatic you’re going to want these few essentials to ensure your pie turns out.
- Pastry Blender: I’m a big fan of hand cutting in the fat over a food processor which can over work the dough. Look for one with a good handle and strong cutters. I prefer this OXO version.
- Silicone Baking Mat: It’s large, you don’t need extra flour which will dry out the crust and it’s got sizes on it so no ruler needed to roll out the perfect sized crust.
- Wooden Rolling Pin: I’ve always used a handled rolling pin but have recently decided that a French pin is much more my style as it’s easy to turn and smooth to roll the dough.
- Pastry Cutter: Making a lattice pie or just want a fancier edge? It’s all about this one simple tool and bonus, this one is double sided.
- The BEST Pie Dish: The gold in this pie dish will promote even baking without dark edges!
- Pastry Brush: To make a gorgeous crust you need an egg wash and this is the pastry brush I prefer.
- Pie Stamps: This is NOT essential but if the top crust makes you nervous you can stamp out cute shapes and bam, it’s beautiful!
- Pie Weights: Ditch the dried beans and buy reusable pie weights. They are a must for a blind pastry crust.
You’re never going to need another pie crust recipe again! This one is so buttery and flaky and perfect! I would almost just eat the crust plain, but why would I do that when I fill it with even more deliciousness?!
Our Favorite Pie Recipes:
- Razzleberry Pie
- French Silk Pie
- Peach Pie
- Strawberry Pie
- No Bake Chocolate Pie
- Tomato Pie
- Apple Pie
- Pumpkin Pie
- Blueberry Pie
- Pecan Pie
- Marionberry Pie
- All our PIE RECIPES!
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All Butter Pie Crust
- 2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter , very-cold and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (this is 2 sticks)
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Granulated Sugar
- 8 Tablespoons Ice Water
- Place the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and mix well.
- Add the butter and using a pastry cutter or two forks, mix until the butter is pea sized.
- Add the ice water (see note), just a few tablespoons at a time, stirring gently with a fork until the dough is just coming together but is still crumbly. Test that the dough is ready by squeezing the dough in your hands until it holds.
- Smash the dough together and separate into two balls.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for 1-2 hours or up to 2 days in advance (you'll want to let the dough sit on the counter a good 10 minutes before rolling). See notes for freezing.
- Allow to sit out for a few minutes and then roll out dough as the pie recipe instructs.