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Learn how to make a thick, buttery homemade graham cracker crust with this easy recipe and my perfected shaping methods. You need just 3 ingredients, and it tastes so good, I guarantee you’ll never go back to store-bought graham cracker crust. And if graham crackers aren’t available where you live, we’ve got a tested-and-approved biscuit crumb crust alternative for you!

cooled cheesecake pie in glass dish on black circle wire rack.

Today I’m teaching you my practiced-and-perfected method for making a deliciously buttery, sweet graham cracker crust that’s wonderfully crisp and crumbly, but still holds shape. You can use it for pies, bar desserts, cheesecakes, and more—like cheesecake pie, banoffee pie, and lemon blueberry cheesecake bars.

Master a graham cracker crust, and the rest is as easy as s’mores brownie pie. 🙂

forkful and slice of s'mores brownie pie with toasted marshmallows on top on white plate.

Can’t I Just Buy a Pre-Made Graham Cracker Crust?

Yes, you can! But a homemade graham cracker crust is much easier and quicker than you think. Pre-made crusts always seem to lack flavor… and definitely taste a little stale.

When it comes down to it, the taste and texture of a homemade graham cracker crust is on a completely different level. Maybe even a different planet. Buttery, sweet, crispy, crumbly… and made from only 3 ingredients. Just THREE! And here they are:

graham crackers, butter, and sugar in measuring cup on marble countertop.

Grab These 3 Ingredients

  1. Graham Crackers: (Well, obviously.) You need about 12 full sheet graham crackers, to yield about 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) crumbs. You can also purchase graham cracker crumbs in most grocery stores in the baking aisle. Graham crackers are an American pantry staple and come in classic honey flavor, but you can also find chocolate, cinnamon, and low-fat versions. Any flavor would be fine in this graham cracker crust recipe. I prefer to use the Nabisco Honey Maid brand original graham crackers—more info on that below.
  2. Butter: Melted butter binds the tiny crumbs together, and makes this crust taste unbelievably buttery and delicious. You need 6 Tablespoons (85g) of butter for a pie crust, but only 5 Tablespoons (71g) for a cheesecake crust. (Full cheesecakes can be really heavy and wet, so that is why I slightly reduce the butter.)
  3. Granulated sugar: As the crust bakes, the sugar crystals assist the butter in binding the crumbs together. Graham crackers are already sweet, so we don’t need to add much sugar, just 1/4 cup.

Nabisco Honey Maid Brand vs. Store Brand

After testing multiple brands, my very scientific conclusion (LOL) is that the best graham crackers to use for this crumb crust are the Nabisco Honey Maid brand. The store-brand graham crackers we tried were lighter in color and the texture wasn’t quite as crispy. 

When pressing the crust made from store-brand crackers into the pie dish, it felt more moist, and a bit mushier. Which makes sense, because the Honey Maid ones feel harder/crispier as if they’ve been baked longer, so the store-brand graham cracker crumbs feel a bit mushier when you add the melted butter.

All that said, you can certainly still make this crust with any brand of graham crackers you have! (And I’m not getting paid by Nabisco to tell you to buy their products, just genuinely a fan!)

two graham crackers pictured side-by-side to compare generic brand and Nabisco brand.

Graham Cracker Math

Graham crackers can also vary slightly in size and weight, and occasionally manufacturers change the size or amount you get in a package—which means my team and I have to go through all our recipes that use graham crackers and update them! (In case you’re wondering why your printed recipe may no longer match the recipe on the website.) Some math info you may find helpful:

  • 12 graham crackers should yield about 1.5 cups of crumbs when they’re finely ground, or about 180g. (12x15g)
  • 1 full sheet graham cracker = 14–16g, or about ½ an ounce
  • 12 full sheets = 168–192g 
  • 1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs = roughly 180g

How to Make Your Homemade Graham Cracker Crust (It’s Easy)

Start by grinding up your graham crackers. You can use a food processor or blender for this, but if you don’t have one, just put them in a zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin. You want really fine crumbs, so feel free to take out all your frustrations on these crackers!

graham cracker crumbs in food processor.

Mix the crushed graham crackers with the granulated sugar, and then stir in the melted butter. The mixture will be thick, sandy, and coarse. Try to smash/break up any large chunks.

graham cracker crumbs in bowl and melted butter in liquid measuring cup.
graham crumbs in bowl and crust being pressed into glass pie dish.

Prevent Your Graham Cracker Crust From Falling Apart

The ratio of ingredients is important, but what matters most is how you press the mixture into your pan. The technique you use can make or (literally) break a great graham cracker crust:

  1. Don’t be nervous that it’s crumbly: The mixture inevitably feels too crumbly as you start pressing it into the pan, but when you start applying pressure, it will stick together.
  2. Use your hands first: Press the bottom and around the sides with medium-firm pressure until the crumbs aren’t moving around anymore—you don’t want any loose crumbs. You can use a small flat-bottomed measuring cup to help smooth out the surface, just don’t pack it down too hard.
  3. Don’t pack too tightly: The crust needs to be compact, so it doesn’t crumble apart, but not so tight that it bakes into a hard, dense crust. You really just want to pack it until the shape has set and it’s no longer crumbly.
  4. Keep it rounded if making a pie: This sounds a bit odd, but you don’t want a right angle at the bottom edges where the sides and the bottom meet. Instead, you want it a little bit rounded so it stays connected when you slice into it—so the side crust doesn’t immediately separate from the bottom crust. Slide a spoon around the inside of the crust where the sides and bottom meet, to get that rounded shape.

I like to use my thumb on one hand and 4 fingers on my other hand to go around the top and sides. You can see me do this in the video tutorial below, too.

two hands pressing graham cracker crust into glass pie dish.

And, as explained in the 4th success tip above, running a spoon around the inner sides helps the crust keep a rounded shape, so the slices of your pie stay intact:

hand using a spoon to smooth and round out graham cracker crust mixture.
graham cracker crust pressed into pie dish.

FAQ: What Size Pan Does This Fit?

You will want to use an ungreased 8-inch, 9-inch, or 10-inch pie dish, cake pan, springform pan, or square pan for this recipe. It’s not enough for a 9×13-inch pan. If you’re making a 9×13-inch dessert, I recommend 1.5x the recipe.

FAQ: Does Graham Cracker Crust Need to Be Baked?

Typically, yes. After shaping into your pan, this crust should be baked, and the amount of time really depends on the recipe you’re using, and whether it’s a baked or a no-bake filling. Check the pie or cheesecake recipe you’re using for crust baking and cooling instructions.

I usually pre-bake this graham cracker crust for at least 10 minutes at 350°F (177°C) before adding a filling. If you’re making a no-bake pie/dessert: cool the crust before filling it, unless the no-bake pie recipe you are using states otherwise.

Or try my no bake cheesecake, which uses a brown sugar graham cracker crust that isn’t baked at all.

Digestive Biscuit Crumb Crust Alternative

For non-US readers, my team and I tested out making this crust with digestive biscuits (we used McVitie’s brand), and here are our findings:

Though different in size and shape, 1 standard digestive biscuit weighs just about the same as 1 full sheet graham cracker, about 15g. Digestives are similar in flavor to graham crackers, but the texture is slightly different. Digestives aren’t quite as crispy-crunchy as graham crackers, and disintegrate faster when wet, as those who like to dip them into their tea will know. We found that we needed some extra crumbs in the crust to help absorb the melted butter.

We’re also adding a bit more sugar, because digestive biscuits contain about half the amount of sugar as graham crackers. So the final recipe for a digestive biscuit crumb crust that works as a great alternative to this graham cracker crust is:

  • 200g digestive crumbs (about 2 cups; 13–14 standard digestive biscuits)
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted

Prebake for a bit longer than the graham crust, 12–15 minutes at 350°F (177°C).

Graham cracker crust is the base of so many incredible desserts, so it’s important to have a really solid recipe for this baking staple under your belt (or apron ties). And it’s so easy to master. Not to mention, unbelievably good. Repeat: It’s buttery! Thick! Crunchy! Graham crackery! Just the best!

slice of cheesecake pie with graham cracker crust.

Other Crumb Crust Alternatives

You could also make this crumb crust with speculoos biscuits (like Biscoff), vanilla wafers, or Ritz crackers instead of graham crackers. For an easy Oreo crust, see my Oreo Crust guide.

Q: Have you tried any other alternatives for a graham cracker crumb crust?

Print
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two hands pressing graham cracker crust into glass pie dish.

Graham Cracker Crust

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 9-inch pie crust 1x
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) graham cracker crumbs (about 12 full sheet graham crackers)
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  1. If you’re starting out with full graham crackers, use a food processor or blender to grind them into fine crumbs. You can also place them in a zip-top bag and crush them into fine crumbs with a little arm muscle and a rolling pin.
  2. Stir the graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl, and then stir in the melted butter. The mixture will be thick, coarse, and sandy. Try to smash/break up any large chunks.
  3. Pour the mixture into an ungreased 8-inch, 9-inch, or 10-inch pie dish, cake pan, springform pan, or square pan. With medium pressure using your hand, pat the crumbs down into the bottom and up the sides to make a compact crust. Do not pack down with heavy force because that makes the crust too hard. Simply pat down until the mixture is no longer crumby/crumbly. Tip: You can use a small flat-bottomed measuring cup to help press down the bottom crust and smooth out the surface, but do not pack down too hard. If making a pie, run a spoon around the bottom “corner” where the edge and bottom meet to help make a rounded crust⁠—this helps prevent the crust from falling apart when you cut slices.
  4. For a baked dessert, pre-bake this crust per your filling recipe’s directions. I usually pre-bake for 10 minutes at 350°F (177°C). For a no-bake dessert, cool the crust completely before using, unless your filling’s recipe instructs otherwise.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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 up to 3 days before using in your recipe.
  2. What Size Pan Does This Crust Fit? Use an 8-inch, 9-inch, or 10-inch pie dish, cake pan, springform pan, or square pan for this recipe. It’s not enough for a 9×13-inch pan. If you’re making a 9×13-inch dessert, I recommend 1.5x the recipe.
  3. Graham Crackers: Use cinnamon, honey, or chocolate flavor graham crackers depending on your dessert recipe. I usually use honey flavor because it is the standard graham cracker flavor. If I’m baking a chocolate treat, I like to use the chocolate graham crackers. The best graham crackers to use for this crumb crust are the Nabisco Honey Maid brand (not sponsored, just our conclusions!). 
  4. Other Cookies/Crackers: You can substitute the graham cracker crumbs for speculoos biscuit (like Biscoff), vanilla wafer, or Ritz cracker crumbs. For an easy Oreo crust, see my Oreo Crust recipe.
  5. Non-US Readers: Don’t have graham crackers where you live? Use 200g ground digestive biscuit crumbs (about 2 cups; 13–14 biscuits), 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar, and 6 Tablespoons (85g) melted butter. You may need to add a few extra minutes to the pre-baking time, as digestive biscuits are not quite as crispy-crunchy as graham crackers.

Keywords: graham cracker crust

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi! This recipe looks DELICIOUS!!! I am excited to try it, but I have a question about pan size. Should I double this recipe for a 9 by 13 pan?

    1. Hi Donna! Doubling the graham cracker crust recipe would be too much for a 9×13 pan (it’s already so thick!) so I recommend 1.5x the recipe.

  2. Hi Sally!! This is excellent, thanks for sharing! I have 3 questions 🙂

    1. What size pan would best fit the quantity of your crust recipe?
    2. In order for the crust not to stick to the pan, should I grease/butter the pan, put parchment paper, etc.? What’s your best recommendation for that?
    3. I want to try replacing the cocoa powder crust that’s in this recipe (https://www.tastemade.com/videos/ferrero-rocher-cheesecake) with your graham cracker crust. Everything else will be the same, just the crust will be replaced with yours. Do you think that will work?

    Thanks a million!

    1. Hi Natalie! 1) I suggest a 9-inch pie dish. 2) No need for greasing or lining the pan. There is enough butter in the crust to prevent any sticking. 3) I can’t see why not!

  3. my first totally from scratch graham cracker crust. It was for a “best Key Lime Pie” experiment with 2 different pies. I pre-baked one and did not for the other. I prefer the non-pre-baked crust…softer. I also would make it a bit less sweet and a bit thinner for key lime pies. Everyone (9 people total) loved the crusts and spent time discussing and raving about it.
    Packing it tight was a key to success. Thank you….well done!

  4. Key Lime Pie is my husband’s favorite dessert. After a disastrous attempt a few years ago, I’d always used store bought crust. But, since I’ve tried SO many of your recipes and they’ve all been AMAZING, I went with this one and it truly is great! Thank you for your recipes!!

  5. Hey Sally, I was wanting to make a crust with Oreo cookies. I love this crust but was wanting a chocolate crust for my next cheesecake variation… Would they be a solid replacement in this recipe or would you recommend a different recipe all together?

  6. Just used this recipe to make mini strawberry pies. It’s a really good crust that I’ve used before. Just wanted to let others know that one recipe of this filled five of the mini 5 inch aluminum pie plates. I wasn’t sure how many it would fill, but it worked out perfectly for five.

  7. This recipe is perfect. Contrary to others’ experiences, this was NOT TOO HARD and CUT PERFECTLY. Don’t mess with this crust. Sally is right. It is perfect.

  8. I did your recipe like I did with any other of your recipes and once again, it didn’t fail me! It wAs a success and turned out really amazingly delicious! Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Salma, I haven’t tested an 11 inch pan but 1.5 times the recipe should be enough.

  9. I just substituted gluten free “Graham” crackers in this recipe and was happy with the outcome. Glad it worked out so well.

  10. Great crust!!!
    Where can I find the recipe for the dessert shown…with the golden marshmallows on top??
    It looks very interesting…would love to try it!

  11. I just want to say that not only do you know how to make fantastic food, you also really know how to put a good recipe website together. It is always a joy to use your recipes. I greatly appreciate the jump to recipe button, as my phone tends to reload the page multiple times. It make it so much easier. You have no idea how handy your site is to me. Every single recipe is always a hit. Thank you!

  12. question…i am diabetic…can i leave the sugar out…sounds like it is needed to solidify the crust??

    1. Hi Lesley, You can try reducing the sugar in the crust, but if you leave it out completely the crust will be pretty crumbly. We haven’t tested this with any sugar substitutes. Let us know what you try!

  13. Hey Sally!
    I was wondering if I could pre bake the pie crust even though my key lime pie is no-bake to save time. Also do you have any tips about meringue?

    1. Hi Willa, you can bake the pie crust before adding a key lime pie filling if you prefer. You can reference this lemon meringue pie recipe for meringue tips!

  14. Sally … can you or ANYONE please tell what wonderful pie is in the pictures for this Graham Crust Recipe. Because of the toasted marshmallows and the fact it’s a Graham cracker crus I am guessing some sort or S’mores Pie … can you PLEASE let us all know what it is and what the recipe is for the ENTIRE pie. Thank you and I look forward to not only using this crust to make a Crème Brûlée Pie but future pies. Doe the Crème Brûlée Pie I plan on adding a little espresso powder to the melted butter prior to mixing it with the Graham Crumbs and Sugar.

  15. I’m getting ready to try your lemon meringue pie recipe and combine it with the Graham Cracker crust that you have provided for us above. I will follow your recipe’s to the letter and send comments directly after the first few slices are tasted.
    Thanks for making this delectable information available.
    Cheers Peter

  16. I made this and it was actually the best recipe I’ve used out of all the ones I’ve tried over the years. The crust came out perfect. Its firm enough but still has the crumble. Flavor is excellent and the amount of butter is just right. I actually wind up using too much sugar, a half cup. I added a pinch of salt and some cinnamon.

  17. Thank you Sally, firstly, for all of your mouthwatering and foolproof recipes, and secondly for TEACHING us how to do everything! Posts like this really help us get creative, and bring to life all of the random desserts that I get in the mood of. This week I followed this recipe with Ritz crackers, and filled it with peanut butter mousse, topped it with caramel chip ganache and toasted peanuts. YUM!

    1. Hi Miriam! Thank you so much for making and trusting our recipes and for your positive feedback. That dessert sounds absolutely incredible!

  18. I like to use a glass tumbler to press my crust. I find the handle on say a spoon or measure cup makes it harder to press the outside edge which is where most of the crumbling occurs.

  19. Hi Sally☺️
    Thank you so much for sharing your amazing recipes with us!
    When I make a graham cracker crust, for a baked cheesecake, the crust ends up like cement…seriously, it’s hard to get a knife through it!
    What am I doing wrong??
    Any help / suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!

    1. Hi Bev, for next time, you can try lessening your pre-bake time by a minute or two. That should help with the hardening. Also, you’ll want to firmly pack in the crust but not as hard as possible — if it’s packed too tightly, the crust can become hard and difficult to cut. Hope this helps!

  20. The crust for perfection for my homemade strawberry rhubarb cheesecake! I added extra graham crackers and melted butter using two full sleeves of honey graham crackers and a full stick of butter. 8 minutes at 350 Fahrenheit was amazing!

  21. I use a similar recipe but I will try yours – plus i’m addicted to your website and recipes. I’m wondering, can I use this recipe in cupcake tins and then fill with the brownie pie filling? That way it’s easier for guests and no cutting just biting!

  22. I make this and it is always good.
    I just want to say measure your crushed graham crackers because the sheets of crackers do seem a little smaller than they used to be.

  23. Hi! Do you think I could make this with chocolate graham crackers and use it as a base for peppermint bark? Also, does this need to be kept refrigerated or is room temp fine? Thank you!

    1. Hi Lauren, you can definitely swap the regular graham crackers for chocolate graham crackers. We haven’t personally used a graham cracker crust for bark, but that should work just fine. We’d recommend keeping it in the refrigerator so that it stays hard and sets. Let us know what you try!

    1. Hi Kate, you can try reducing the sugar in the crust, but if you leave it out completely the crust will be pretty crumbly. Let us know what you try!

  24. Hi, Judy – I have tried speculaas (windmill cookies), and that works, too!

  25. I plan to make this recipe for my family for Easter dinner. Can I make this graham cracker crust recipe to put in individual baking cups. Also, I want to put on top of the crust cooked chocolate pudding. Do I need to bake the crust or put in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

    1. Hi Cynthia! You can use this recipe for individual crusts like we do with our mini no-bake cheesecakes. It isn’t completely necessary to bake the crust for a no-bake filling, but we recommend baking the crusts for a quick 5 minutes in a 350°F (177°C) oven. The crusts are a little sturdier this way.

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