How To Make Flaky Pie Crust

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Butter Vs Shortening Vs Lard:

Easy All-Butter Flaky Pie Crust Recipe – How to Make Homemade Pie Crust

Lard or shortening Lard and shortening are 100% pure fat compared to butter which is a mixture of fat and water. Pure fat tenderizes more effectively because it is insoluble in water, so it coats flour particles and prevents wheat proteins from hydrating and cross-linking to form a strong gluten network. Commercial shortening has a higher melting point than butter which means that it will withstand the warmer temperature of your hands and resist melting or oiling out. This provides more insurance that your fat will remain solid in the dough, and solid fat is required for flakiness. Lard makes incredibly tender, crumbly and flaky pastry due to its particular fat composition. It consists of relatively large fat crystals and has a wide melting range so that it is still soft and pliable when cold making it easy to work with the dough.

How To Make Our Favorite All

Weve been making pie crust the same way in our kitchen for years. We cut butter into flour until the butter and flour look crumbly and have pieces of butter the size of peas. Then, we add just enough water to form the dough into a ball. That was until we found a better way. A homemade pie crust recipe, rather a pie crust method, thats consistent and makes dough thats a dream to roll out.

Its not that our previous method failed us. We just came across another way of how to make it. A while back Cooks Illustrated reworked pie dough.

You may have heard of it they added vodka to their recipe. .

Cooks Illustrated looked at the science behind pie crust and it made sense. Our high school science teachers would be proud.

Heres all you really need to know: Gluten is an enemy to pie crust. Some gluten is okay and actually needed for structure, but too much can really mess things up.

So, remember this: less gluten formation = flakier and more tender pie crusts.

Back to the vodka. Thats what got all the hype why wouldnt it, right? In their recipe, the vodka replaced some of the water.

The theory is that vodka doesnt promote gluten formation, whereas water does. So, by replacing part of the water with vodka, it helps the pie crust become flakier and more tender.

We love the idea and many swear it works, but adding a 1/4 cup of vodka to our homemade pie dough recipe just didnt sit well with us. Its not something we store in our home often and its expensive.

Tips & Tricks For A Perfect Pie Crust

  • Add your water very slowly. If your crust has reached the desired consistency, stop adding water. Too much water will make the dough tough, but too little water will make the crust dry and it will fall apart when you are working with it.
  • Dont over-mix the dough or it will become tough. Use a pastry blender for the best results.
  • Roll the dough out on a non-stick pastry mat to avoid it sticking to your work surface and tearing.
  • Use a spatula to slowly lift the dough on all the edges and release it from the work surface, being sure not to tear the dough.
  • When transferring the crust to the pie plate, fold it in half or quarters to transport it without it tearing. Unfold the crust on your pie plate.
  • You want plenty of dough to overhang the plate, so you can fold it under for a thicker crust on the edges.
  • If you are baking the crust with no filling, be sure to poke holes on the bottom and edges with a fork, so you dont get large air pockets.
  • When baking a pie crust, filled or not, cover the edges with tinfoil for the first half of the baking time, so the crust on the edge doesnt get overdone.
  • Dont waste the scraps of crust! Sprinkle them with some cinnamon and sugar. Bake them on a cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes for a snack the kids will love.

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How To Transfer The Rolled Out Dough

So once you have this beautiful rolled out pie crust, how do you get it IN the pie pan? Well there are two main ways. I prefer method #2, but both work well.


  • Once your dough is rolled out to the thickness that you want, roll one edge up onto the rolling pin, and continue loosely rolling until the crust is wrapped around the rolling pin.
  • Place your rolling pin over the pie pan and gently unroll so the dough wraps itself over the pie pan.
  • Then just shape the dough as desired in the pan.


  • Once your dough is rolled out to the thickness that you want, gently fold it in half, then in half again to make a triangle shape.
  • Gently lift up the dough and place it in the pan, with the folded point towards the center.
  • Now just unfold the dough, carefully, and shape it as desired in the pan.
  • I like this method, as its easier to get the dough centered.

Flaky Homemade Pie Crust Recipe

How To Prevent Soggy Pie Crust

The Chunky Chef10/22/2020

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Learn how to make the most incredible and flaky pie crust! Once you make this pie crust from scratch youll never want to use those pre-made crusts again. Save this recipe for every holiday!

This is the first of a series of recipes here on the site that Im calling Back to Basics. In this series youll find recipes that are common building blocks for beginner cooks, as well as homemade versions of pantry/store-bought staples, such as hot sauce, condensed soups, stabilized whipped cream, etc. With easy to follow instructions, detailed notes, and step by step photos, youll be on your way to being a master in your kitchen in no time!


Making a perfect pie is one of those things that even seasoned bakers can have trouble with. And a lot of the problems and frustrations are from making the pie crust.

Speaking of pies, did I ever tell you guys about the time I made pecan pie soup? I have to tell you and its embarrassing, but hopefully will help you guys understand that EVERYONE has had a baking fail or two in their time.

I made the filling according to my Moms recipe and was so excited as I slid it carefully into the oven. When the timer went off, I went to check it so excited to see the final result.

Recommended Reading: Campbell’s Pot Pie Recipe

Store Bought Pie Crust Options

Over time, I have played around with just about every imaginable alternative to homemade pie crust. There are a variety of options, some worse than others.

  • Frozen, pre-formed in the pie tin
  • Frozen chunk of dough
  • Refrigerated crusts you roll out
  • Box mixed that you just add water

and the list goes on! While some of those are better than others, nothing compares to old-fashioned homemade pie crust.

A flaky pie crust that is so tender it just flakes apart when you delve your fork in to it, cant be beat. It is a must have for amazing pie recipe like Apple Pie, Cranberry Custard Pie or Homemade Peach Pie.

Work Quickly To Keep The Ingredients Cool

One universal truth when making crusts is that you need to keep everything cool, particularly the butter. Warm butter will be absorbed by the flour instead of coating it, resulting in a tougher, less flaky crust.

Once you take the butter out of the fridge, work quickly to make the pie crust. Refrigerate the dough between each step. If you want to make a pie during hot weather, try to make it in the morning or in the evening when the temperature is a little cooler. You can also refrigerate your rolling pin and cutting board. Or just work quickly and refrigerate frequently. If youre blind baking your crust, refrigerate or freeze it as the oven preheats.

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How To Make Homemade Cherry Pie

This cherry pie recipe is so easy All you need to do is mix, fill and bake. The hardest part is pitting the cherries. For that, you might want to buy a cherry pitter or if youre like us, cheat and use one of our suggestions below for how to pit cherries without a cherry pitter.

Stir cherries with sugar, corn starch, lemon juice, vanilla and almond extracts then stir. Roll out a pie crust , fill then top with another crust. Bake and cool. Its that easy.

To be honest, the hardest part is actually waiting for the pie to cool you really want to wait 2 to 3 hours before cutting into the pie. We know its torture!

What Does Flakiness Of Pie Crust Depend On

How to Make a Flaky Pie Crust

Depending on the size of the fat particles in the dough, depending on the amount of flakiness in the baked crust depends on the size of the fat particles in the dough. It will be easier to crust the mixture the more fat is involved, as it will be flakier. A baked crust is full of flakiness if the fat particles in the dough are small.

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Choosing The Right Fat

At its core, pie dough is a simple 4 ingredient formula.

Flour + salt + water + fat = pie dough

The type of fat used is usually a big debate among bakers! Lard, butter and shortening are the main types. Lard is harder to come by nowadays, so I never use it.

So why use one over the other?


Back in the 50s, shortening came about as a shelf-stable alternative to butter, and quickly rose in popularity among bakers.

  • Shortening has a higher melting point than butter, which means it wont melt into the dough as much when mixing and rolling it out.
  • Pie crusts made with all shortening will also hold their shape better.
  • Shortening lacks buttery flavor and can give a sort of greasy mouthfeel.


  • Has the best flavor.
  • Produces a flakier crust due to the water content, which steams as it bakes, puffing up the dough.
  • Has a lower melting point than shortening, so it can be trickier to handle and if it gets too warm.
  • Tends to puff up more when baking, so it doesnt hold its shape quite as well.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both! For me, and for this recipe, I prefer a mixture of both shortening and butter. Shortening for the ease and shape, and butter for the flavor and puffy flakiness.

However, when Im craving some nostalgic flavors, I whip up a pie made with all shortening, like my Great Grandma used to make .

How Do You Keep A Pie Crust From Flaking After Baking

  • Reduce water by applying the flour by tablespoons at a time. Add just enough liquid as necessary until your dough comes together with no kneading needed.
  • Blind-bake your crust.
  • The time has come to stop smoking by fighting the Puffer, not the Cigar.
  • Egg wash.
  • Take advantage of chocolate as an added layer to your crust.
  • Drain the fruit.
  • Read Also: Original Key Lime Pie Company

    Use Cold Fat In Pie Crust

    Why the emphasis on temperature? Keeping your pie dough as cold as possible helps prevent the fat from melting. If the butter melts inside the dough before baking, you lose the flakiness. When the lumps of fat melt in the oven as the pie bakes, their steam helps to separate the crust into multiple flaky layers as explained above. Warm fats will lend a hard, crunchy, greasy crust instead of a nice tender flaky crust.

    I keep some of my butter in the freezer and transfer it to the refrigerator a few hours before beginning the crust. This way it is part frozen and very, very cold. For shortening? Just keep it in the refrigerator.

    All Butter Vs Shortening Vs Mixed Crusts

    Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust

    Pie crusts are made by working fat into flour when the fat melts during baking, it leaves behind layers of crispy, flaky crust. Yum. But just what fat you use in your pie is a matter of much debate one that really boils down to personal preference. While some people prefer lard and shortening crusts because they can be easier to work with, I prefer all-butter crusts because of their lovely, rich flavor. Here, Im sharing my go-to method for making an all-butter pie crust, which I promise is practically foolproof.

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    Quick And Easy Flaky Pastry

    How To Make Quick and Easy Flaky Pastry. Simple to follow instructions, great for pies, strudels, turnovers and freezer friendly too!

    How To Make Quick and Easy Flaky Pastry. Simple to follow instructions, great for pies, strudels, turnovers, and freezer friendly too!

    Don’t go buying the shop stuff!

    Now there’s no need because here, we show you an easy step by step guide for how you can make some delicious flaky pastry which will take your breath away! It’s amazing!

    This is a really easy and quick recipe. Low-cost ingredients, delicious, light, crispy pastry, and a sure way to impress your family and friends! Go ahead and try it!

    This site contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, check Privacy Policy.

    People are often frightened to make pastry, or pie dough. It can be daunting, overwhelming, tricky, and let’s face it, it can be easier to just buy ready made pastry from the supermarket, no mess, no recipe needed, just roll and use…and of course nowadays, you can get pastry that is ready rolled!

    So why should I bother sharing a pastry recipe with you? Well, once you’ve made your own pastry, it is very unlikely you will go back to the shop bought stuff. For one thing, it’s cheaper to make your own flaky pastry, you know exactly what ingredients you are putting into your pastry, and the flavors and textures are really like no shop pastry!

    How To Make Easy Flaky Pie Crust

    In a large mixing bowl, cut shortening, butter, flour, and salt together with a pastry blender.

    Add cold water, and stir with a fork until it forms a ball. If there’s still flour at the end, add water, a teaspoon at a time. You want the dough to be stiff, not sticky, so be careful not to add too much water.

    Divide in half, and form into discs. Cover in plastic wrap, and let the dough chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

    If you need a little help with the next steps, check out my post for tips on rolling out pie crust.

    Recommended Reading: The Key Lime Pie Company

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