Homemade Buttery Flaky Pie Crust

Today I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about making the perfect buttery flaky pie crust. This is the one and only pie crust recipe I use. It’s been passed down through generations. Stands the test of time. Old-fashioned, yet never out of style. Wins my heart every single time.

Salted caramel apple pie on sallysbakingaddiction.com

There is nothing more satisfying than making a pie completely from scratch. From the golden crust to the juicy filling and everything in between. Pies are so damn tasty for one reason: they’re time consuming. This shouldn’t scare you! It should intrigue you. Because if you can bake an exceptional homemade pie, congratulations. You’re a talented baker.

Let me help you get there.

As the base holding all of the pie’s contents, pie crust’s flavor is in every single bite. Start with a solid crust and you’re that much closer to pie-fection. !! Today we’re going to explore my pie crust recipe, preparation tips, how-to’s, and troubleshooting.

Pie Crust Ingredients

This crust is made with a few simple ingredients: flour, salt, cold water, and fat.

Start with quality flour. Did you know that not all all-purpose flours are created the same? King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (adoring fan girl. they do not know I exist.) is my go-to for not only pie crust, but for pretty much ALL baked goods. Now, I admit. Sometimes I buy cheaper flours that are on sale, but in general– KA flour is my top choice. Why? Its high protein level: “At 11.7-percent protein, it tops ordinary American all-purpose flours by nearly 2 percentage points.” (from KA Flour site)

What does this mean? Baked goods rise higher and stay fresh longer.

A gluten free pie crust, you ask? I’ve never made one. Do you have a solid recipe for one?

How to Make a Buttery, Flaky Pie Crust! Tips, tricks, and recipe included!

Next up in my pie dough: salt. An obvious ingredient. Brings out the flavor. Pie crust shouldn’t be sweet.

Now, the final ingredient(s). They’re highly debatable. There are strong opinions out there for butter crust vs. shortening crust vs. lard crust. (I rarely use lard because it’s not as easy to come by for most people– though it makes a TASTY crust.) If you despise shortening, my pie crust recipe isn’t for you. If you want a crust recipe that stands the test of time, using good old shortening just as mom did– read on.

How to Make a Buttery, Flaky Pie Crust! Tips, tricks, and recipe included!

Why I Use Shortening and Butter

Not all fats are created equal. Why shortening? With its high melting point, shortening aids in creating flakiness. Flaky, tender, melt-in-your mouth crust. Why butter? Butter imparts unparalleled, impeccable flavor. Nothing beats butter. I use both to create a crust that is full of tender flakes and rich in buttery flavor.

A Tasty Experiment: I recently performed an experiment. The tastiest kind, of course. I prepared an all-butter version to compare to my beloved butter/shortening crust. One thing was clear: the all-butter crust created a lighter textured crust with more defined flakes. This is due to the butter’s water content. As the crust bakes, the butter’s water converts to steam, creating light flakes. Get it? Because of all this butter, I found that the all-butter crust didn’t have a perfectly neat-edged crust. The all-butter crust tasted like pure butter. The butter/shortening crust (1) was just as flaky and tender in my opinion and (2) tasted buttery and like pie crust (think: diner style cherry pie). Both crusts were great. But the butter/shortening won in terms of texture, flavor, and appearance. This KA Flour blog post had similar results (great read if you’re a pie nerd like I am!).

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.

How to Make a Buttery, Flaky Pie Crust! Tips, tricks, and recipe included!

Pie Crust Tutorial

(Print-friendly recipe below!) Start with flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the cold fats. Use a pastry cutter (or two forks) to cut in the fats. Cut in the fats until the mixture resembles coarse meal. You should have some larger pieces of butter and shortening when you’re done.

How to Make a Buttery, Flaky Pie Crust! Tips, tricks, and recipe included!

Next: ice water. Measure 1/2 cup (120ml) of water in a cup. Add ice. Stir it around. From that, measure 1/2 cup of water (since the ice has melted a bit!). Drizzle the cold water in, 1 Tablespoon (15ml) at a time, and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon after every Tablespoon (15ml) added. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps. I always use 1/2 cup (120ml) of water.

If too much water is added, the pie dough will require more flour and thus become tough. If too little water is added, you’ll notice the dough is dry and crumbly when you try to roll it out and handle it.

How to Make a Buttery, Flaky Pie Crust! Tips, tricks, and recipe included!

Vodka in Pie Crust? Speaking of liquids. Have you heard of adding cold vodka to pie dough? It comes as no surprise to me that the geniuses at Cook’s Illustrated rave about it. They say that half of the pie dough’s moisture should come from vodka, which is 40% pure alcohol. This alcohol doesn’t promote gluten formation, helping the crust stay flaky and tender. Basically, it is a BLESSING to those of us who accidentally overwork pie dough. If you want to try using vodka– use 1/4 cup cold vodka and 1/4 cup ice cold water in the below recipe.

How to Make a Buttery, Flaky Pie Crust! Tips, tricks, and recipe included!

Back to my pie crust recipe. After the ice water is added, let’s chill it. Here are the steps:

  • Transfer the dough to a floured work surface.
  • Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats.
  • Form it into a ball. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky.
  • Cut the dough in half.
  • Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 5 days. Or freeze!

How to Make a Buttery, Flaky Pie Crust! Tips, tricks, and recipe included!

Visible Specks and Swirls of Fat in Pie Dough

These specks and swirls of butter and shortening will help ensure a flaky pie dough. They are a GOOD thing!

How to Make a Buttery, Flaky Pie Crust! Tips, tricks, and recipe included!

How to Roll Out Pie Crust

After the dough has chilled, start preparing your pie. Roll out the crust. Always use gentle force. You are not mad at the crust. When rolling dough out, always start from the center and work your way out in all directions, turning the dough with your hands as you go.

How to Make a Buttery, Flaky Pie Crust! Tips, tricks, and recipe included!

Turn, roll, turn, roll.

How to Make a Buttery, Flaky Pie Crust! Tips, tricks, and recipe included!

Roll the dough to fit a 9-inch pie dish. I typically roll the dough into a 12-inch circle so that there is enough crust to go up the edges of the dish and so I can trim and flute.

Do NOT be overwhelmed. I made sure to break everything down very easily, so a lot of the text in this recipe is me being as thorough as possible. Be sure to read through additional tips and troubleshooting below. Let me know about your pie adventures!

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Homemade Buttery Flaky Pie Crust

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 pie crusts
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


This recipe is enough for a double crust pie. If you only need 1 crust for your pie, cut this recipe in half OR freeze the other half per the make ahead tip instruction below.


  • 2 and 1/2 cups (315g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup (148g) vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) ice water


  1. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening.
  2. Using a pastry cutter (the one I own) or two forks, cut the butter and shortening into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal (pea-sized bits with a few larger bits of fat is OK). A pastry cutter makes this step very easy and quick.
  3. Measure 1/2 cup (120ml) of water in a cup. Add ice. Stir it around. From that, measure 1/2 cup (120ml) of water– since the ice has melted a bit. Drizzle the cold water in, 1 Tablespoon (15ml) at a time, and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon after every Tablespoon (15ml) added. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps. I always use about 1/2 cup (120ml) of water and a little more in dry winter months (up to 3/4 cup).
  4. Transfer the pie dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form it into a ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands.
  5. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 5 days).
  6. When rolling out the chilled pie dough discs to use in your pie, always use gentle force with your rolling pin. Start from the center of the disc and work your way out in all directions, turning the dough with your hands as you go. Visible specks of butter and fat in the dough are perfectly normal and expected!
  7. Proceed with the pie per your recipe’s instructions.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare the pie dough through step 4 and freeze the discs for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using in your pie recipe.
  2. Salt: I use and strongly recommend regular table salt. If using kosher salt, use 1 and 1/2 teaspoons.

Keywords: butter pie crust, homemade pie crust

How to Make a Buttery, Flaky Pie Crust! Tips, tricks, and recipe included!

Pie Crust Tips

  1. I prefer using a glass pie dish when I make pie. Why? Glass dishes conduct heat evenly, which allows the bottom of the crust to bake thoroughly. Also, you’ll be able to see when the sides and bottom of the crust has browned.
  2. Keep everything cold. Cold fats are key, as you now know. On a hot day, you can even measure and chill your flour in the refrigerator before beginning. When taking the pie crust out of the refrigerator to roll out and fill, make sure your pie filling is ready to go. If not, keep the pie crust in the refrigerator until it is.
  3. Preheat the oven so that the cold dough will go into a hot oven.
  4. If your pie recipe requires pre-baking– let’s say you’re making a pie with an especially wet filling– follow my how to blind bake pie crust guide and use pie weights. Without pie weights, the dough will puff up, then shrink. Pie weights are made from metal or ceramic beads and work to weigh down the crust to prevent the puffing/shrinking. Dried beans can also be used! Whichever you choose, be sure to line the crust with parchment, then fill the empty pie crust with the weights all the way to the top of the pie dish rim prior to baking. More on pie weights.
  5. Use a pie crust shield to keep the crust edge covered, which protects it from browning too quickly or worse– burning. Use an adjustable silicone pie crust shield that you can fit to the size of your delicate pie crust. Metal can break the crust. Alternatively, you can cover the pie with a piece of aluminum foil. Cut a large circle in the center of the square so the center of the pie is exposed.
  6. If your pie recipe requires a pre-baked pie shell, such as banana cream pie, french silk pie, or a tart, here is what to do: prepare the pie crust through step 6. Roll out the chilled pie dough into a 12-inch circle, carefully place the dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth, then trim and flute the edges. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork, then line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake at 375°F (190°C) until it begins to color around the edges. (15-20 minutes)

Troubleshooting Pie Crust

  • Prevent a crumbly pie dough. Make sure you use enough water when preparing your pie dough. Too little water will make your dough unworkable. Read more about water above.
  • Prevent a tough baked pie crust. Tough crusts are the result of not enough fat in the crust, as well as overworking the dough. Use the recipe above (plenty of fat) and don’t work the dough too much.
  • Prevent a burnt crust with a pie shield! See above.

Pie Recipes! Recipes to try using this crust: peach pie (in my cookbook!), cherry piechicken pot pie, pumpkin pie, quichebaked apples, salted pecan pie tarts, apple crumble pieblueberry peach pie, homemade pop-tarts!, and salted caramel apple pie.

How to make my FAVORITE pie crust! This is my go-to recipe!


Comments are closed.

  1. I made this pie crust yesterday and it turned out great. The shortening, in my opinion, put it over the top. Thanks for another great recipe.

  2. Kristy Kotscherofski says:

    My first time making a pie dough myself in years, turned out great, and the pics were a perfect help! I needed just a titch more water, less than a tbsp, but other than that, it was worked out great!

  3. Diane Schmidt says:

    Hi Sally, love your recipes. I was wondering if I could add some cheddar cheese to this recipe?

    Thanks, Diane

    1. YES! I haven’t tried it with this crust but I think it would be delicious (cheddar apple pie!!). I’d try adding 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese. Let me know how it works!

      1. Diane Schmidt says:

        It was delicious Sally. Made it for chicken pot pie. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes

  4. Heather M. Whipple says:

    I found a recipe on pinterest for a fresh strawberry pie that i can use this homemade pie crust for

  5. Hi Sally! This is a bit of an emergency >< I made the dough (really delicious btw, this is my second time using your recipe) and I left it to chill in the fridge for a couple of days. But when I wanted to use it for my apple pie, my oven exploded !! Well, at least the inside exploded, the outside is still okay. So I was wondering if you have any advice on how to cook the dough because I really don't want to waste it. The only equipment I have left related to heat and cooking would be my stove and microwave. Or perhaps there's another recipe I could use the dough in? I apologise in advance if this question has came up before, thank you for helping!

    1. Hi Nadira! So sorry to hear about your oven! This pie dough can be frozen for 3-6 months with no problem. Freeze the dough so you can use it when the oven is all fixed. 🙂

  6. My family loves pie! You should see all the pie at holiday time. Thanks so much for your crust recipe. I have pretty good luck with the crust but I never put the crust in the refrigerator after I make it. I’m going to start doing that as I’m sure it would be easier to work with. I look forward to using this recipe for my next pie.

  7. Best pie crust ever! I used to be afraid of making pies, but no more! This recipe makes an easy pie crust that’s absolutely delicious as well. I always use five tablespoons of water instead of eight so I’m glad the recipe says to add it one tbsp at a time instead of all at once because then I’d have a sticky mess, but with the clear instructions it always turns out great.

  8. I’ve made your pie crust twice now, once for your chicken pot pie and today for your deep dish apple pie. It is an excellent recipe! Flaky, buttery, and no soggy bottoms! My problem lies in dividing the dough. If I divide in half, the bottom crust is not enough to cover over the sides. Should I be rolling it out bigger? I use a slip mat with measurements. Or should I just divide it where the bottom crust has more dough? I’m using a 9 inch deep dish pie plate (ceramic).

    1. Hi Connie! I’m so glad you enjoy this pie crust recipe. I suggest using a larger portion for the bottom crust. Maybe closer to 1/3 for the top and 2/3 for the bottom crust. I usually eyeball it and always use the larger portion (if not totally even) for the bottom.

  9. Hi Sally,
    Will a Cuisinart food processor change anything? I actually purchased one because most recipes call for one for pie crust.. Just saw yours!!!! but want to try the food processor.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Terry! You can definitely use your food processor for the pie dough.

  10. Hey Sally! If I may ask, how did you weigh your shortening? (148g) Did you weigh it when it was chilled or at room temperature? I actually live in a tropical country. Mine breaks so easily when I rolled it out, so I had a hard time placing it on my pie dish but it turned out flaky when it was cooked. I assumed my flour is not enough for my 10×2 pie dish. What do you think?

    1. Hi Leah! I weigh it when it’s chilled. If the pie crust is cracking and breaking, you actually need a little more moisture. (Unless it was breaking from being too flimsy and wet? In that case, add a little more flour!)

  11. Sally,
    I am trying this pie crust with cup4cup gluten flour blend substitute and lard instead of shortening. I live in Chile and I can’t get crisco here – only lard, and I didn’t realize we were out of “normal” flour when I started. I used 1/2 cup cold water minus 1 tablespoon. It was nice and moist until I placed it on the floured surface and divided and flattened. I’m nervous the crust is going to be too dry and fall apart. My question is can I add more water if in 2 hours my crust crumbles? How do I rescue a “too dry” pie crust?

    1. Hi Lacey! If you find your pie crust is too dry as you are rolling it out, moisten your fingertips and very gently massage into the dough. The dough needs extra moisture if it’s cracking and falling apart.

  12. Hi Sally,
    I’m asking about the recipe above, there isn’t egg or egg yolks included. I used to put two egg yolks in my old recipe that I have. What is your opinion ??

    1. Hi Ghada! Eggs aren’t typically used in traditional pie crust, but sometimes they are added for extra richness. I do find they cause crusts to shrink a little more. Feel free to test with this recipe though!

  13. Judy Sclafani-McDaniel says:

    I am making 10-inch pies for Easter. Your recipe is for a 9-inch pie. Is there a formula to convert the 9-inch recipe to a 10-inch?

    1. Hi Judy! The best way to go about this would be to double this recipe to yield 4 pie crusts, then use that amount of dough to yield 3 pie crusts. Not sure how many you needed!

  14. Hi Sally,

    Whenever I try to flute the edges on this pie crust, it never holds its shape. Is the crust too thin or warm? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Heather! It’s both, actually. If the pie crust is too thin, it will melt and completely lose its shape. There isn’t enough substance to hold. And when the pie crust is too warm, the butter begins melting even before the pie goes in the oven. This means you lose all the flakiness and structure. I recommend keeping the pie dough on the thicker side. If a thicker crust means using 1.5 crusts for the bottom of 1 pie, do it! (This pie crust recipe yields 2 crusts, so it’s enough for using 1.5 crusts. Save extras in the freezer.)

  15. Hi! I totally forgot I ran out of all purpose flour – I do however have King Arthur White whole wheat flour? Is it possible to use that instead or would it change the consistency of the crust?

    1. Hi Kim! The crust will taste heavy and dense and may not absorb as much liquid. I 100% recommend all-purpose flour, but you can certainly try the substitution if you’d like.

      1. Okay thank you! I made my husband go out and get me all purpose because I didn’t want to cut any corners. I now have the disks in the freezer and going to roll them out towards the end of the week and prepare the filling on Saturday evening for Easter Sunday. Looking forward to making this and hoping it comes out as well as yours looks!

  16. Hi Sally – will this work for the crust of a ham & cheese quiche? Also, could I make the dough the night before & leave it in the fridge?

    1. Yes and yes! I use it for a couple of my quiche recipes:
      Goat Cheese Spinach Sun-Dried Tomato Quiche
      Cheesy Spinach Quiche
      Pre-bake the crust as directed in those instructions. You can make the pie dough in advance and store for 5 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. Have fun baking!

  17. Hi, Sally! Is it easy to double this recipe or would you recommend making it just for two crusts? Thanks! Happy Easter

    1. Hi Herica! You can double, but I find results are much more consistent and successful making two batches. 1 recipe yields 2 crusts.

  18. I’ve always had trouble with pie dough; probably because I need more practice. This, however, was the best pie crust I have ever made. It was indeed flaky, and tender, and delicious, and I wanted another piece of pie so I could eat more crust. This in my new “go to” pie dough recipe. 🙂

  19. Vera-lynn says:

    I have read some recipes that call for vinegar to be added to the mix. What does the vinegar do.

    1. Hi Vera-Lynn! Vinegar helps prevent the formation of gluten. Too much gluten weighs down pie crust, making it tough and dense. I don’t usually add it to this recipe, but you certainly could add 1-2 teaspoons.

  20. I have always made lard crusts. You are right, they are very tasty! I was wondering about using your recipe, but substituting lard for the shortening. Have you ever tried that and/or how do you think it would work?

    1. Hi Julie! Yes, you can sub lard in for the shortening– makes a deliciously flaky and rich crust! Same amount.

      1. Thanks! I will be trying that today!

      2. Peggy Blair says:

        Yes lard is the best way to go. My grandmother taught me how to make a pie crust years ago an everyone want my recipe for the crust. Love that you add this to your coment. God bless you honey.

  21. Hi from Australia 🙂
    I’m excited to try making this lovely recipe which I will this week. You said that, ‘This recipe is enough for a double crust pie’, though you mention that you divide the dough into two. Is it recommended to use the whole dough for a thicker pie base rather than dividing in 1/2 and having a thinner base?
    Also for your Lemon Meringue Pie recipe would the full amount of dough be ok, or thinner? Hope I make sense. Looking forward to hearing your answer, and can’t wait to try these recipes 🙂 Thanks Sally

    1. By “double crust” I mean one crust on the bottom and one crust on the top! It would be too much dough to use the entire thing on the bottom. For the lemon meringue you only need the bottom half so after you cut the dough in half, use one for the bottom and you can freeze the other for later!

      1. Shell Hickin says:

        Oh bummer, I went ahead and made the pie dough crust using the double. Thicker but if at first you don’t succeed try again. Not sure whether to use it with the lemon meringue pie but maybe I’ll try. Or keep it and make a pumpkin pie. Thanks anyway Sally 😉

  22. Hello. Can I only use butter instead of butter and shortening?

    1. Hi Samar! Here is my all butter pie crust recipe.

  23. Hi Sally, is this crust good for savoury pies like meat pie?
    Also, how does the crust on your mixed berry galette compare with this basic one here?
    Thanks again,

    1. Hi Vincent! You can use this crust for savory pies, yes. This crust is an all-purpose crust where the buttermilk cornmeal crust has that added flavor and texture from the tangy buttermilk and crunchy cornmeal.

  24. Laura Courson says:

    I know what Crisco/lard is and butter, but I’m not sure what shortening is. I don’t see margarine anymore in the grocery store. What name does shortening come in. Is it shaped in a package of four just as butter is?

    1. Shortening is what the Crisco is. 🙂

  25. Amy Schwartz says:

    I’ve not run across such great instruction. I can’t wait to try your crust. As I was reading the comments section, I saw one about a mixed berry galette!! Searching for it now!!

    1. Here you go! https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/mixed-berry-galette-buttery-cornmeal-crust/

  26. I used this recipe with Sally’s blueberry pie recipe, and it turned out wonderful. I made it during one of our cold, dry Minnesota months and used a full 3/4 cup water. Another great recipe!

    1. Thank you for the great tips Sally! I will definitely be trying this. One question I have is that I always have problems when rolling out my pie crust. I am never able to keep it completely round. The edges always fan out and crack and I end up having to try to pull them back together. It usually ends up being a lot of wasted dough. Is there a way to prevent this?

      1. Hi Sean! Happy to help. When the edges of the pie dough crack as you roll it out, lightly moisten your fingertips with cold water and press your fingers into the cracks to mold the dough back together. The cracked dough is thirsty and a little extra water will help as you roll it out.

  27. Hi Sally. I have butter flavored shortening (Crisco) in the fridge. Could I use that instead of vegetable shortening? Thank you.

    1. Hi Sarah! I believe your product is still vegetable shortening– totally OK to use in this pie crust.

  28. Easy recipe and delicious crust. I made blueberry pie with this crust and it was the best pie I ever baked. My husband loved it, too. Then I baked Rhubarb pie with All-butter crust and, even though the pie was delicious (Rhubarb Pie is my favourite), the crust was a bit too dense and hard. I prefer the one with Crisco shortening as it was lighter and so flaky.

  29. Carol Townsend says:

    I always use the food processor to mix pie dough. Any reason you don’t? I find it faster and more user-friendly.

    1. Hi Carol! I like to get a feel for the dough using a pastry cutter and the food processor can sometimes over-mix things. Use what you like best!

  30. I want to make a chicken pot pie would this work for it?

    1. Hi Kim! Definitely 🙂 I have a recipe for chicken pot pie using this crust recipe!

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