How to Make Pie Crust from Scratch

Here’s how to make pie crust from scratch, a classic homemade pie crust recipe that results in a tender, flaky pastry that works every time.

How to Make Pie Crust from Scratch | Homemade Pie Crust Recipe

I’m relatively new to pie-making. Some of my excuses: I’m spoiled with a mother, mother-in-law, and grandma who make standout pies. I’ve never been good at baking. It’s too time consuming, etc. Plus, is just for special occasions, so why bother learning now. Right?

As kids, my sister and I learned an intense love for pie. Our favorite, my mom’s best peach pie, would appear just 2 to 3 times per summer. It was a lesson in moderation, and perhaps made the pie even better in our minds. And of course there was my grandma’s pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. But the first step to special pie: the crust.

It’s surprising how quickly this pie crust recipe comes together, and a great activity to do with friends, loved ones, or even kids. Yes, it might take a little longer than picking up a store-bought pie, but as Alex and I drank our coffee together on a Saturday morning and rolled out the dough, we knew there was something special in spending a quiet morning in an age-old tradition. So no, it’s never too late to learn! Keep reading for how to make pie crust from scratch: my mom’s homemade pie crust recipe.

How to Make Pie Crust from Scratch | Homemade Pie Crust Recipe

How to make pie crust from scratch

This pie crust recipe comes together with very simple ingredients: mainly flour and butter. In terms of special equipment, it’s handy to have a pastry cloth and rolling pin cover. The pastry cloth helps to keep the dough from sticking, and provides those helpful lines for cutting out the circle of dough. A rolling pin cover also helps to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin cover. We rarely make pie crust, but when we do we love having these tools handy; they’re fairly inexpensive and are helpful.

The main concept of making pie crust from scratch is as follows: mix together the dough of flour, butter and a few other ingredients, chill for a few minutes so the butter can harden, and then roll it out into a uniform thickness. Cut the crust into a circle then drape it into the pan. (I loved watching my mom doing this growing up!) And finally the best part: fold over the edges and crimp them with your fingers. It’s fun and super satisfying to see the end result.

If it’s your first time making pie crust from scratch, make sure to read our homemade pie crust recipe carefully and don’t expect perfection. We’ve found from experience that it comes with time. And the best part: dough scraps! You can put cinnamon sugar on them and bake them along with the pie, or just eat them raw, which is our preference — any other dough fiends out there?

How to Make Pie Crust from Scratch | Homemade Pie Crust Recipe

Ways to form pie crust edges

As you can see in these photos, my mother is the queen of homemade pie crust. I’m pretty sure she can crimp pie edges in her sleep! If you (like me) are unable or unsure how to crimp a pie crust, here are some easier ways to style the pie crust edges:

  • Use a fork — Fold some of the excess pie dough over the edge of the pie plate towards the center of the pie and then use the back of a fork to press the pie crust down. The fork gives the pie a rustic-looking edge.
  • Fold over the edges — If you don’t want to deal with crimping the edges at all, simply fold all the excess dough over the top of the pie (this works only for pies with just a bottom crust). This technique resembles a galette and also looks beautifully rustic.
  • Use a spoon Use the edge of a spoon to form a scalloped edge along the pie crust. You’ll need to first cut away the excess pie dough before making the scalloped edges, though.
How to Make Pie Crust from Scratch | Homemade Pie Crust Recipe

Tips for the best pie crust

Learning how to make pie crust from scratch will take some practice, so don’t give up if your first batch is less than perfect (it’ll still taste delicious, no matter what it looks like!). A few things to keep in mind when making homemade pie crust are:

  • Use all-purpose flour — Now isn’t the time to experiment with whole wheat flour or flour alternatives. All-purpose flour is a must for this pie crust recipe, and we haven’t found a good substitution for it.
  • Don’t over work the dough — It’s important that you mix the pie dough just until it sticks together, but no longer. If you over work the pie crust, it’ll toughen up and it won’t be flaky once baked.
  • Add a little water at a time — In a similar vein, you need to be careful when adding the water to the flour mixture. Depending on the time of year and the weather conditions, you may need more or less water than what the recipe calls for. Add in a little at a time until you’re satisfied with the consistency of the pie dough.
How to Make Pie Crust from Scratch | Homemade Pie Crust Recipe

How to freeze pie crust

If you love the idea of making homemade pie crust but dread the thought of having to make it from scratch every single time you want to make a pie, I recommend making a big batch of pie crust and freezing it for later! This makes homemade pie prep so much faster, while still letting you enjoy a completely from-scratch pie.

To freeze this homemade pie crust, first divide the raw pie dough into two even-sized balls (this recipe makes enough for two crusts, which is why you need to divide it in half). Wrap each dough ball in a double layer of plastic wrap, and then seal them in a freezer baggie. These pie crusts should keep for up to three months if stored this way!

When you’re ready to use the pie crusts, let them thaw completely in the fridge before rolling them out and placing them in the pie plate as you usually would. You may need to let the thawed pie crust rest on your counter for a few minutes if it’s too stiff to roll out immediately.

How to Make Pie Crust from Scratch | Homemade Pie Crust Recipe

Looking for more dessert recipes?

How to make pie crust is an excellent dessert making skill. Outside of this homemade pie crust recipe, here are some of our favorite dessert recipes on A Couple Cooks:

Looking for more pie recipes? 

This recipe is…

This homemade pie crust recipe is vegetarian.

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How to Make Pie Crust


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 crusts 1x

Description

Here’s how to make pie crust from scratch, a classic homemade pie crust recipe that results in a tender, flaky pastry that works every time.


Scale

Ingredients


Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix 2 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon baking powder. Slice the butter into pieces, then cut it into the flour mixture using a pastry blender until a coarse meal texture is obtained.
  2. Sprinkle about 5 tablespoons cool water over the flour, mixing gradually with fork until the dough sticks together. Add additional water by the tablespoon until the dough comes together but is not sticky (we added an additional 2 tablespoons – if you add too much water, add another bit of flour). Form the dough into two balls. If desired, chill the dough for about 15 minutes.
  3. If you have a pastry cloth, set it up and dust it with flour; otherwise, flour a clean work surface. Put on a rolling pin cover (optional), and coat the pin in extra flour. Place one ball of dough on the cloth and roll it evenly from the center to the edge, until the dough is about ⅛-inch thick. Trim the dough to an even 12-inch circle with a pizza cutter (which corresponds to the 9-inch circle on the pastry cloth).
  4. Using a rolling pin, transfer the dough to 9-inch pie pan. Gently center and push the pastry towards the bottom of the pan. Fold the 1-inch of overhanging dough backwards and seal it to form a rim. Using your index finger and thumb from one hand and a knuckle from your other hand, crimp the edges of the crust.
  5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 with the second dough ball in a second pie pan. Cover this shell in plastic wrap or foil and freeze it for later use, which shortcuts the time to your next pie.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Dough
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: Pie Crust, Homemade Pie Crust, How to Make Pie Crust, Crust, Dessert, Butter, Flour,

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

14 Comments

  • Reply
    molly yeh
    July 21, 2014 at 8:33 am

    i LOVE these photos! i’ve been getting lazy and buying store-bought these days… but you may have inspired me to break out the pastry cloth.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      Thanks, lady! It’s actually wasn’t so bad – and freezing the second one made the second pie WAY easy!

  • Reply
    Jeanine
    July 21, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    You look like a pie pro! Gorgeous!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      Thanks so much, friend!

  • Reply
    hayley
    July 21, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Lovely pictures and post! Seems super easy to make too! dailydoseofdarling.com

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      Yes, it’s surprising how easy it was! Though we have tried a few times so have some practice…

  • Reply
    Chloe
    July 21, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Love this post! It’s really all about moderation :) Who doesn’t enjoy a few spoonfuls of dough every once in awhile?!

    Chloe
    alattelipstick.com

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      Haha, yes please! I’m a sucker for dough :)

  • Reply
    Elyse
    July 21, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    I love your pastry mat- so much easier than trying to guess when rolling and cutting.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Yes! It’s a huge help – we love it!

  • Reply
    Nina
    July 22, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I started making my own pie dough a few years ago when I realisez how easy it was, and much healtiher than store-bought pie crust. Yeah, it may contain butter, you may use unrefined flour, but other than that there’s no hydrogenated fats or preservatives or nasty taste enhancers, food dyes, or anything with a name exceeding 12 letters that only a chemist would understand… So I’m convinced that homemade pie crust is way healthier! Plus, it tastes better and cooks better in the oven than store bought. If you want to make fit a bit more in your whole diet, you can use semi-whole wheat or spelt flour, and olive oil. I usually mix 150g of flour, 4 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt (plus 1 or 2 tsp sugar if making dough for a sweet pie like yours, but this is optional) in a bowl until crumbly and add water gradually until a ball forms. In the end, the taste of olive oil is very faint (but if you use strongly flavoured olive oil, you will taste it, which is sometimes a very good thins in savoury pies or even in sweet ones! Try it and you’ll be amazed!) and you can flavour your dough with herbs, spices, seeds, citrus peel, dried seaweed etc according to your needs and taste, or add in cornmeal or oats for a different texture!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Nina, thanks for this wonderful idea! We’d love to try the whole wheat / olive oil variation! Next time :)

  • Reply
    TimedEating
    August 6, 2014 at 4:42 am

    Pie crust looks lovely. This shortcrust pastry is exactly the pastry I use for lemon meringue tart and it works a treat, although I crumb the butter and flour together by hand as I love getting my hands in there. Wondering why you add the baking powder though as it’s not traditional in shortcrust (pate brisée) but it might add some lift. The recipe for the lemon meringue tart is here if you’d like it timedeating.co.uk/lemon-meringue-tart

  • Reply
    TimedEating
    August 6, 2014 at 4:45 am

    Oh, one tip I picked up in prokitchens… when rolling the dough take two layers of cling film (I think you guys call it Serran Wrap in the US?). Place the dough on top of one and cover with the other. Then when you roll the dough won’t stick to the rolling pin and stays more even – this means you don’t have to add more flour which tightens the dough and reduces the crumbliness (which is the best bit!). Then to transfer the dough you simply remove one layer and can use the other layer to transfer.

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