This recipe for Homemade Pie Crust is simple enough for beginner bakers and you will wish you had made your own pie crust sooner. This crust calls for shortening and butter for flavor and flakiness.
I often hear people say how they are intimated by pie crust. While I agree the thought can be daunting. The process is actually much simpler than most people imagine. Too simple actually.
Today’s recipe is one of my favorite pie crusts. I’ve used it time and time again when making chocolate chai cream pie, caramel sweet potato pie, apple raisin custard pie, and caramel apple pecan streusel pie.
There are two key ingredients in this pie crust recipe – butter and shortening. Shortening is flavorless but creates a flaky, crispy crust. So I used shortening for flakiness and a little more butter than shortening for flavor.
I also like to add a little sugar to the dough when I’m making crust for sweet pies. It’s not necessary when making crust for savory things like quiche.
The crust is so wonderful and versatile, but you may want to try my latest version for flaky and tender pie crust!
Steps for making pie crust at home
Remember to always use cold ingredients. The butter and shortening should be used straight from the refrigerator. You can also take the extra step of chilling the flour before using it.
Cold ingredients equal a super flaky crust.
Cut the cold fats into the flour with a pastry cutter just until coarse crumbs form. Don’t stress yourself over the large clumps. Some of those left in are okay!
Did you know vodka works wonders in pie crusts? This tip comes from Cooks Illustrated and it’s absolutely genius! The alcohol inhibits gluten formation so the crust stays tender, light, and flaky.
Mix half vodka and half ice water then drizzle it over the flour/fat mixture and toss it with a fork. You will know you have enough water when the dough holds together once you squeeze it.
The dough shouldn’t be so wet that it’s sticking to your fingers but it should be moist enough to hold its shape when squeezed.
If you prefer not to use vodka, simply replace it with more water. But I highly recommend you give the vodka a try!
Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a tight ball. Work quickly so that the warmth of your hands doesn’t warm up the fats. Flatten the dough ball into a disc and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.
The dough needs to refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling it out to make a pie. And once it’s rolled and shaped into your pie dish, place it back in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
This ensures the dough is extra cold before going into the oven.
The recipe below gives ingredient amounts for a double pastry pie. If you need only one pie crust, you can freeze the other disc of dough for later use.
Homemade Pie Crust
- 3 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons cold shortening, cut into pieces
- 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 5 tablespoons ice water
- 5 tablespoons vodka
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two knives cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture just until coarse crumbs form. Don’t try to work it in too well. Large clumps are perfectly okay.
- Combine the ice water and vodka and drizzle just enough over the flour to moisten it. You will know you have enough liquid when you can squeeze the mixture and it holds together. Shape the dough into two balls and flatten each ball into a disc. Wrap the discs with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.
- Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Place it in a 9-inch pie pan gently without stretching it. Trim the edge so there’s a 1-inch overhang over the sides of the pie pan. Fold the excess dough under so it sits up on the rim of the pan and flute as desired.
If you are using the second disc for a double pastry pie:
- Roll the second ball of dough into a 12-inch circle. Cut slits in the center and gently place the dough over your filled pie. Crimp the edges as desired and baked as directed for the recipe.
Make ahead tip
- Prepare the pie dough through step 2 and freeze the discs for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.