Homemade pie crust can be super intimidating if you've never made it before. We've compiled our favorite recipe alongside some of our best tips to help you make the perfect flaky, all-butter pie crust. With only three core ingredients, this is a simple, easy pie crust!
ingredients you'll need
- Flour: This is the foundation of a good pie crust. Stick with all-purpose flour to keep the gluten formation low. You can make this with a cake flour, but it will be extremely soft and will probably need an egg to bind it.
- Butter: Fat is the true star of a good pie crust. Full of flavor, the butter crumbles into the crust. As it melts, it creates small pockets in the dough, giving it a beautiful, flaky texture.
- Ice water: Water helps bring the dough together. By using ice water, you ensure that your butter won't melt as your dough is created.
- Sugar: You don't need a lot of sugar in this recipe, but it helps give the crust a bit extra flavor and helps the coloring as it bakes.
how to make the perfect, flaky pie crust
This recipe asks you to step out of your comfort zone and make your dough the old-fashioned way. It takes a bit more time, but if you follow along, you will have the perfect dough!
- Remove your butter from the refrigerator one stick at a time. Quickly cube your butter into ¼" cubes, placing into a bowl and into the freezer. Repeat until all the butter is cubed. Let sit in freezer for 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar until full combined.
- Measure your water, and pour over ice. Set aside while you form together the dough.
- Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture. Continue to work until the butter is in small, pea size pieces.
- Taking a tablespoon, add your ice water one spoonful at a time. After each spoonful, use a wooden spoon to fold the dough together. Repeat until the dough is combined, but still a bit shaggy. Form dough into two discs. Place on individual pieces of cellophane, wrap tightly, and store in refrigerator.
- Let sit in refrigerator at least 30 minutes before using. It can stay in the fridge for up to two days before baking!
Tips and Tricks for a Flaky, All-Butter Pie Crust
Can I use a food processor to make my pie crust?
A lot of recipes call for food processors because they are super easy to use. In my experience, these do not result in the best pie crusts for beginners. While it is faster, you can over incorporate the butter, resulting in a flat, chewy crust. Instead, take a few extra minutes and cut the butter in by hand!
Can I grate my butter instead of cubing it?
Again, if you've made pie crust before and are familiar with what the texture of the dough should be, go for it. If you are a complete beginner, I'd recommend going the "old-school" method until you become more familiar.
What if I don't have a pastry blender?
Want to know a secret? I never really use mine. Half the time, I pull out two forks to mimic the structure of a pastry blender. If all else fails, you can use fingers to press the small cubes of butter into flat discs before adding in the water.
Why does my butter keep melting?
Double check you're keeping it as cold as possible as you are working. Start off with cold butter and give it enough time in the freezer and refrigerator before moving on to the next step. There are, however, some people who cannot handle butter. Their hands are just too hot, and it will melt. If you fall into this category, I find that it helps to minimize how often you spend actually touching the butter while cutting it.
Want to try it out? Check out my Rhubarb Chess Pie! Not rhubarb season? Replace with other fruit to create a fun twist on chess pie!
Flaky, All-Butter Pie Crust
- 2 ½ c all-purpose flour
- 1 c salted butter
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ¼ – ½ cup ice water
- Cube butter into ¼” inch cubes. Place in bowl in freezer for 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dough until it is in small, pea size pieces.
- Begin adding water 1 tablespoon at a time. When the dough is combined but still a bit shaggy, begin to press together into two discs. Wrap in cellophane. Place in fridge for at least an hour. Can keep for 2 days in fridge.