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!

188 Comments

All Comments

  1. Thank you Sally!!!!
    Especially for the digestive biscuits part 🙂
    I used to always forgo these recipes the minute i read “graham crackers” – which are not available in India!
    Quick question – a lot of recipes i read call for cold cubes of butter instead of melted butter. Does it make any difference?

    1. Cold butter and the crumbs won’t fully mix together and there would likely be pockets of butter in your crust. Meaning, it would fall apart. Liquified butter is much easier to work with.

  2. If it’s available in your country, I would also recommend trying this recipe with Speculoos, especially if it’s for a cheesecake!

  3. I love your tips Sally! They’re so useful, even for people who feel fairly comfortable with baking. I never would’ve thought to use a measuring cup to pack the crust down — definitely way easier than a spatula or my fingers! (Although I maaaaayyyy miss licking a few of those graham cracker crumbs off of my finger tips. But shh, that’ll be our little secret!)

  4. The brown sugar caramelizes the crust and tastes so much better (in my opinion) than using just plain white sugar!
    Sometimes I get fancy and melt white chocolate chips along with the butter for graham cracker crusts bases in tarter recipes, like lemon or key lime pies. Or I add cocoa to crusts that have a complementary filling. That’s the best thing about graham cracker crusts: customizable along with easy!

      1. Sally? 
        If I want to prep the crust a day ahead, can I bake it today & then add my filling tomorrow?  It’s for a Sweet Potato Pie.  I have a GREAT filling that I’ve used before, but wanted a graham cracker crust this year & just want your opinion! If I can pre-bake the crust today, would it be OK to put the filling in & then in the fridge & then bake it on Thanksgiving?

  5. Dang, Sally! You’ve done it again. Thank you for all the interesting facts and tips. I have made your blueberry lemon cheesecake bars to bring to parties and they’ve been a huge hit. I love a good graham cracker crust. 🙂

  6. This is one of those basic recipes everyone needs a tried and true version of – thanks! I like to use brown sugar for a bit more depth of flavour. I love the smell when a graham cracker crust is baking – so yummy!

    How do you feel about store-bought graham cracker crumbs? I tend to go for those to skip the crushing step (and so I can eat all of the graham crackers in the house instead!) I do find they get stale in the cupboard if I don’t use them all up quickly.

    1. Store-bought graham cracker crumbs are perfect– but I agree, I find they become stale quickly even when sealed tightly.

      1. I have several rectangle lock n  lock storage containers (think loaf of bread)…that I use for saltines, ritz, and graham crackers. One container for each type of cracker I keep in my pantry….they NEVER go stale. They would just sitting on the pantry shelf though which drove me nuts. 

  7. Great tips!! Graham cracker crust is a great skill to have, its so versatile and there are endless amounts of desserts you can make with it!

  8. Graham crackers ARE so confusing!! WHY???? I feel like I always need to clarify a million times when I have graham crackers as an ingredient in my recipes. Glad I’m not the only one. Also… A solid graham cracker crust is so important! Brittle bottomed pies are the worst.

  9. I will be pinning this so I can have it handy. I always forget the measurements for a good graham cracker crust. You are right– makes such a difference in the overall taste of the pie when you do a homemade. My favorite dessert to use the graham cracker crust is for French Silk Pie! I made one at Christmas along w/ a homemade peach cobbler. No one touched the cobbler, they all wanted the pie! (used homemade whipped cream & chocolate shavings to top it as well, I never use Cool Whip anymore.) French Silk is my husband’s favorite pie, thought it does take a huge amount of time to mix it, it is worth it!! (Thank goodness for stand mixers for this one!)

  10. I like the taste of the pre baked crust, even for no bake fillings and especially for an ice cream based filling.
    Love your basics info and, of course, all your recipes.

  11. You’ve definitely got me making a lot more at home and skipping the premade versions at the grocery store. Not only do they taste like a million times better, they usually don’t take up all that much time and keep more money in my pocket 😉 I love graham cracker crusts, but usually skip the added sugar. I just make sure to pack everything super tight (usually with the back of a spoon but I’ll have to try the measuring cup trick! You’re look super cute). I usually use them for cheesecakes, but I prefer this type of crust for any type of pie as well.

  12. I LOVE pie with a gram cracker crust. Specificity coffee yogurt pie or chocolate pudding pie 🙂 honestly, I’d take pie over any other dessert, any day. I think it’s because it’s two desserts in one- a crunchy, buttery crust, and then a creamy filling.

  13. Thank you for the UK shout out! 🙂 Just one question though: what’s the weight of the one and a half cups? Just so I don’t whizz up, for example, 20 biscuits, and realise I’ve got way more than 1.5 cups of crumbs! Thanks Sally.
    Lx

      1. Thanks youuuuuuu!! 🙂 I love that you give all your measurements in grams and ml as well as cups and spoons, makes it so much easier to be accurate 🙂 Lx

  14. You had me at funfetti.

    Okay, okay, you obviously had me way before that. But this is so exciting. I agree that store-bought graham cracker crusts taste stale, so I’m thrilled that now I can make a delicious one anytime!

  15. Thank you Laura!! Now I have an idea of what I’m going to bring to the BBQ this weekend…something that will require this graham cracker crust!! xo

  16. I make my graham cracker crust this way as well…..I perfer the rolling pin method as I don’t like my crust too fine. I also add a little cinnamon – not as much as the cinnamon flavored grahams have but just a hint in the background. Wonderful tutorial, Sally. I plan to try your s’mores recipe,

  17. Would love some help! I’m heading to America at the end of the year, my first time! I need to make a list of all the wonderful things I have to try (baking wise) that I can’t get here in Australia.
    My list already includes graham crackers & cool whip. What else is a must? Might have to take some of your recipes over with me to experiment! Can’t wait 🙂

    1. Do you have fluff (also known as marshmallow creme) in Australia? It’s often used in fudge or to make peanut butter and fluff sandwiches!

  18. hi, Sally
    I have fallen in love with your blog in probably 1 day. love it, you make the recipes and methods so simple, your photography is amazing 🙂 great work

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