How to Make a Perfect Graham Cracker Crust

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Learn how to make a thick, buttery homemade graham cracker crust with only 3 ingredients.

Learn how to make a thick, buttery homemade graham cracker crust with only 3 ingredients. Plus, a recipe for s'mores pie!

Here we go, readers! Another lesson in my baking basics series. Today I’m teaching you exactly how to make a sweet, buttery graham cracker crust. One you can use for baked and no-bake pies, bars, and other desserts. I chose this as the topic for today’s lesson because it’s something we all should know how to make. Master a graham cracker crust and the rest is easy as pie. Um, literally.

Graham cracker crusts are simple. There is no reason to buy a pre-made crust from the store that inevitably lacks flavor and to be honest– tastes a little stale. Is it just me? I really don’t like how they taste at all! Homemade graham cracker crust tastes about 1487834x better. I actually did the math. It’s crunchy, buttery, and graham crackery (i don’t know) at the same time. And it’s made from only 3 ingredients. Just THREE!

The PERFECT Homemade Graham Cracker Crust. Here's exactly how I make it every time!

I always use the same recipe for homemade graham cracker crust. Whether I’m making s’mores pie, blueberry cheesecake, nutella cheesecake bars, or key lime pie (in SBA cookbook). The same 1-2-3 ingredient crust.

Look how thick and buttery it is! Store-bought ain’t got nothin’ on this homemade thick-style graham cracker crust. (These are my lemon blueberry cheesecake bars. ↓)

Creamy Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars. So simple to make! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Here is exactly how to make my favorite graham cracker crust.

Start by grinding up your graham crackers. You need 10 graham crackers. 10 full sheet rectangle crackers. (Each full sheet graham cracker has 4 mini rectangles/2 squares with perforated edges.) Why are graham crackers so confusing? You just need 10 full sheets.

10 full sheets = about 1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs.

You can use honey flavor graham crackers, cinnamon, chocolate, low fat, whatever. I usually just buy whatever brand is on sale and use a flavor I think would pair best with what I’m making. Chocolate flavor graham crackers would make SUCH a good crust for these strawberry cheesecake bars. Don’t have graham crackers where you live? I’m looking at you, UK readers! Use 1 and 1/2 cups crushed digestive biscuits instead.

The PERFECT Homemade Graham Cracker Crust. Here's exactly how I make it every time!

You can use a food processor or blender to grind up the graham crackers. Or do it the old-school way and crush them in a zipped top bag with a rolling pin. Make sure you, uh, close the zipped top bag. Blonde moment alert. Whoooooooops!

Here is the blender I use for crushing graham crackers. I also use it for crushing Oreos, blending sauces and marinades, making basil pesto, homemade peanut butter, seriously smooth hummus, everything else.

Mix the crushed graham crackers with 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 5 Tablespoons of melted butter. I like to use a good amount of butter (shocking) in my graham cracker crust for flavor. Not only this, butter is the binding agent here. Does your graham cracker crust always fall apart? There probably isn’t enough butter to hold the crumbs together.

What is the purpose of the sugar? As the crust sets (either in the oven for a baked dessert or the refrigerator for a no-bake dessert), the sugar crystals assist the butter in binding the crumbs together. For an extra pop of flavor, try using brown sugar instead of granulated sugar in this graham cracker crust recipe. If you love brown sugar as much as I do, you have to try it that way.

The PERFECT Homemade Graham Cracker Crust. Here's exactly how I make it every time!

Mix it all up.

The mixture will be thick, sandy, and coarse.

The PERFECT Homemade Graham Cracker Crust. Here's exactly how I make it every time!

The trick to a really great graham cracker crust is to pack it down. Really, really pack it down. The crust needs to be tight and compact, which is especially important if you’re using this crust for a no-bake pie.

I like to use a flat bottomed small measuring cup to help pack it down and smooth out the surface. This works like a charm and I highly suggest you do it too.

The PERFECT Homemade Graham Cracker Crust. Here's exactly how I make it every time!

You could certainly just use your fingers, but I find the measuring cup is much easier and creates an ultra tight, smooth crust.

Make sure you pack the edges as well.

The PERFECT Homemade Graham Cracker Crust. Here's exactly how I make it every time!

If you’re making a no-bake pie/dessert: chill this pie crust for at least 2 hours before filling it. Chilling the crust before adding your no-bake filling solidifies the melted butter/sugar mixture, ensuring a compact crust.

If you’re making a baked pie/dessert: pre-bake this crust per your recipe’s directions. I usually pre-bake for 10 minutes at 300°F (149°C) or 7-8 minutes at 350°F (177°C). Then, fill and continue with your recipe’s directions.

Liiiiiiiike s’mores brownie pie.

The PERFECT Homemade Graham Cracker Crust. Here's exactly how I make it everytime!_

And nutella cheesecake bars.

Nutella Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Graham cracker crust is the base of so many incredible desserts, so it’s important to have a really really solid recipe for this dessert staple under your belt. And it’s so easy to master. Not to mention, unbelievably good.

Repeat: buttery! thick! crunchy! graham crackery! the best!

Come back tomorrow for a new recipe using my beloved crust. One word: funfetti. 

Graham Cracker Crust

Learn how to make a thick, buttery homemade graham cracker crust with only 3 ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (150g) graham cracker crumbs (about 10 full sheet graham crackers)
  • 5 Tablespoons (72g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. If you're starting out with full-sheet graham crackers, you can use a food processor or blender to grind them up. Or crush them in a zipped top bag with a rolling pin.
  2. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and granulated sugar together with a rubber spatula in a medium bowl until combined. The mixture will be thick, coarse, and sandy. Press the mixture into the bottom of the dish or pan and slightly up the sides. This crust will fit into a 9 - 10 inch pan. Make sure it is tight and compact. Use the bottom of a flat measuring cup like I do in these photos. It helps! The crust will be thick.
  3. For a baked dessert, pre-bake this crust per your recipe's directions. I usually pre-bake for 10 minutes at 300°F (149°C) or 7-8 minutes at 350°F (177°C). For a no-bake dessert, chill the crust for 2 hours before using in your recipe.
  4. Make ahead tip: It's freezer friendly! Freeze the prepared crust in your pan for up to 3 months. Thaw before using in your recipe. For shorter storage, keep the prepared crust in the refrigerator for a few days before using in your recipe.

Recipe Notes:

Variations: use cinnamon, honey, or chocolate flavor graham crackers depending on your dessert recipe. I usually use honey flavor because it is the most mild. If I'm baking a chocolate treat, I like to switch things up and use the chocolate graham crackers. Try using brown sugar instead of granulated sugar for a hint of molasses flavor.

Non-US readers: Use 1 and 1/2 cups crushed digestive biscuits instead.

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Try this crust out in my Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake! Yessss.

Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake

 

Q: What is your favorite recipe using a graham cracker crust? I’m always looking for new ideas!

190 Comments

All Comments

  1. Sally,

    I have made a similar crust using Vanilla Wafer Cookies for a cheesecake recipe, but it came out rock hard and difficult to cut. (Very tasty, though).  Any suggestions on what went wrong?

  2. I am making mini cheesecakes, other recipes day to put the crust in a cupcake pan, will I have to adjust the time/temp I put the crust in the oven? My cheesecake is no bake, should I just put the crust in the fridge for the 2 hours? I like your recipe the best & want to use it so please help!

  3. Curious as to whether or not I can add extra butter in lieu of the sugar or use Erythritol as I cannot use sugar. I don’t think the erythritol has the same properties as sugar as a binder but would be more interested in using additional butter if possible and the erythritol more for flavor.

  4. What would you suggest if putting your pumpkin pie filling in this crust? How long to pre bake the crust before hand and with your pie filling?
    Any tips? Thank you!

  5. This is the first time baking a crust in oven. i used honey graham crackers and crushed them baked it at 350 for 8 min and crust was hard and candylike. i am making a baked chessecake that has to go in oven for another 30min. Is this crust going to be rock hard?

  6. My secret ingredient for homemade graham cracker crust is a must.If you like pecans you have to incorporate them into your pie crust next time by just adding a couple of tsp chopped.Mmmm mmmm what a difference it makes!

  7. Sally: I am planning on making the perfect graham crust recipe and want to use a 10 inch pie plate. I know the recipe said 9-10 inch pie plate. I want to make sure I have enough crust. Should I add a few more of the ingredients?
    And if so about how much of each one ? I love ALL of your recipes keep it up and give lots of hugs and kisses to your baby.

  8. I made this crust as directed and chilled it before filling with no bake cheesecake. It was completely stuck to the pan and difficult to serve. Any tips to keep it from sticking?

    1. I had the same experience The crust is absolutely delicious but I had to scrape it from the pie pan with a butter knife. I would be interested in any solutions to this issue too.

      1. I also had the crust stick to my glass pie pan. I was kind of embarrassed because I had company to serve it to, and the pieces were all mangled. I won’t use this recipe again.

  9. My husband’s grandma was diagnosed cancer a month ago and started her chemo, for this thanks giving she asked me a pumpkin pie, i love to cook and bake but never tried to bake a pumpkin pie and i want to do what she wants for thanks giving coz i want her to be happy. Is this a good crust for pumpkin pie? And if im going to make this sunday. Is it possible for me to make the crust on friday and thaw it on sunday? Is it good to bake it even its frozen? If not, how many hours to wait for me to put the pumpkin mixtures and put in the oven? I hope someone can help me. Thank you.

    1. Hi Liz! What a wonderfully special pumpkin pie it will be. You can use this graham cracker crust for a pumpkin pie. You can also use a traditional pie crust if you’d like: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/10/26/the-great-pumpkin-pie-recipe/

      If you decide on this graham cracker crust, you can freeze it. I recommend you prepare it, bake it for about 10 minutes (because it will be baked again with the pumpkin filling), then freeze it. You can pour the pumpkin filling into the crust even without thawing the crust first.

  10. If I am going to use this recipe for the banana cream pie, should I bake it first? In your instructions, it says if the pie is a no-bake (which the banana cream is), why would I still want to pre-bake this crust?

    Thank you!

  11. I am making pumpkin cheesecake bars today in a 9×13 inch pan. The recipe does not call for the graham cracker crust to be cooked; just chilled before adding the pumpkin cream cheese mixture. If I use this recipe, should I bake it?

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Reviews

Questions

  1. I tried baking my first cheesecake tonight and when I took it out the oven butter had come out the bottom of the pan. Any idea why?

    1. This crust is plenty for a larger pan. It’s makes a generous amount for a 9-inch round/square pan and you can easily extend to fit a 9×13.

  2. Would you recommend lining the 9-10” pan with parchment paper? I’m using it as the crust for a no-bake vegan/ gluten free chocolate and peanut butter cheesecake. Yum!

    1. I don’t use parchment when making the graham cracker crust with butter and regular graham crackers. I’m unsure if it’s necessary with a vegan and gluten free version.

  3. My crust, after pressing it with the measuring cup, looks rather greasy and buttery; is this normal, or is it a sign that I used too much butter?

  4. I am wanting to make a chocolate cream pie with graham cracker crust in a springform pan.

    Will this be possible? Any suggestions how I should do this. Thanks

  5. I’m exited to try this crust recipe for my cheesecake! I usually line my pan with Parchement before the crust, because I often bake for parties and other people, and need to be able to remove it from the pan easily. Does the parchment affect the crispiness or flavor of the crust?

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