Perfect Graham Cracker Crust

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. 

Print

Graham Cracker Crust

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

Description

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

Instructions

  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.

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 a few days before using in your recipe.
  2. 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.
  3. Non-US Readers: Use 1 and 1/2 cups crushed digestive biscuits instead.

Keywords: graham cracker crust

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!

241 Comments

  1. This was a great recipe! I just used it to make a chocolate/banana cream pie with glazed strawberries. It added a great flavour and was not too sweet as to overpower the filling. Thank you so much for this!

    Here is a random fact! Graham crackers were invented in the 1800s by an American man named Sylvester Graham hence the name. That is why the “G” in the name Graham is always capitalized.

    Again, thanks for the recipe!

  2. I followed the directions exactly, baked in a spring pan for cheesecake. Both times the crust was hard a rock, I had to hammer a knife in the cut it. What the heck is happening???

    1. Hi Sarah, Which cheesecake recipe are you using and are you pre-baking the crust? For my no bake cheesecake recipe there is no need to pre-bake the crust. If you are using another recipe that calls for pre-baking, I usually pre-bake for only 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.

  3. I made a delicious cheesecake today( your recipe). But I forgot to pre- bake the crust! I hope I didn’t ruin my cheesecake….HELP!

    1. You didn’t– the cheesecake still bakes for plenty of time. Crust will be just fine!

  4. Amelia Bloodworth says:

    Hi Sally! I was using this recipe for what I originally thought would be the bottom layer for some white chocolate key lime fudge. I broke the box and incorporated broken pieces of pre baked pie crust into fudge after all other ingredients were fully melted and stirred. I feel like I broke the crust wall! It taste great and no crumbs hardly. Thank you for your recipes. When I don’t have a stand by recipe I search your site. I’m never disappointed. You have become a household name.

    1. Thank you so much Amelia! Your fudge sounds SO good.

  5. I’d like to make a no bake cheesecake. But in a 9 1/2 x 13 pan would you know how i could modify recipe for that size…thanks in advance for the help

    1. Hi Georgia! I recommend 1.5x this recipe to yield enough for that size pan.

  6. Glenna Potter says:

    They have reduced the number of sheets in a sleeve and the size of each sheet. 10 sheets now equals one and one fourth cup crushed.

  7. Can we use cream crackers instead of digestive biscuits for pie based recipes? Thankyou.

    1. Hi Salehah, I have never used cream crackers but I looked them up and see that they are a savory cracker, not sweet, so they may not be the best choice here.

  8. gerret wikoff says:

    I want to reduce the sugar in my pie crusts. I have a couple questions – how necessary is the sugar? I have tried crusts with biscoff crackers, graham crackers which are plenty sweet by themselves, and almond meal as well. The other question – my crusts are sticking to the glass pie pan. I was told to grease the pan first, but I am wondering if that is a part of my problem. I notice you aren’t greasing the pan. Was I mislead?

    G

    1. Hi Gerret, You can reduce the sugar in a graham cracker of biscoff crust. I don’t find it necessary to grease the pan for a pie crust as there is so much butter in the crust that it doesn’t stick.

  9. Hi Sally – I’m making Irish Cream mini pies in 4-inch foil pie pans. How long would you suggest pre-baking them and at what temperature (I’m in the US)?

    1. Hi Ann! I’m not entirely sure because it depends on how thin the custard/cream filling is.

      1. Oh, right – I should have said that it’s a no-bake filling made of white chocolate, bailey’s irish cream, sugar, and heavy whipping cream. Thanks so much for your advice!

  10. I am making a coconut cream pie using a pre baked graham cracker crust. I could use some general advice on how to improve the texture of the crust. Too often mine are like bricks and very difficult to cut. And then the last time the crust seemed fused to the pie pan. In trying to serve the pie the crust crumbled into pieces… tasted great, but looked awful.
    I really compress the mix into the pie pan with a metal measuring cup. Should I try only light pressure?
    I am guessing that I grind the crackers too fine in the food processor. Is their a particle size that works best?
    What if I add a bit of baking powder or soda to the mix prior to baking? Or even a bit of flour?

    1. Hi Bob, In the past were you using this graham cracker crust recipe? There is enough butter that it should not stick to the pan but you can always add a round piece of parchment to the bottom of your pan to ensure that it doesn’t stick. When pressing the mixture into the pan if you are pressing as hard as you can that might be too much! Use medium pressure so that it stays compact but doesn’t turn hard. Finally use the photos above as a good visual for how fine I grind up my crumbs.

  11. I have tried this 2 time and each time it has come out as hard as a rock and you cannot cut it no how leaving it stuck to the pan and the filling is like a pudding since it has no bottom I am starting to buy pre cooked one so they will not stick to the pan
    really terrible to bad I have ruined two pie I never baked this it is a non cooked pie

  12. 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!!

  13. 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?

    1. Hi Haley! I recommend the Oreo cookie crust from my Snickers Cheesecake. It’s how I make an Oreo cookie crust every time. Very tasty!

  14. I love the flavor, but the bottom is rock hard! I followed the instructions, and I think the problem is that they say to press very hard. I’ve read up a bit and pressing too hard causes the problem.
    Otherwise a great recipe.

  15. Taste was great for my desert. But like many others above, it was too hard to cut. I did use parchment liner for the pan, and was able to remove the crust from the pan. But cutting it was something else. My suggestion that I will do next time is NOT to pack it tightly, but only firmly press it into the lined pan. And do one pass with pressing rather than multiple passes. I think you want some crumble when using a fork to eat your desert. Otherwise, it was great.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. My tart pan is 11 inch, should I double the recipe?

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

  20. Hi sally, hope all is well with your family as you await the new little one. Know you are busy getting ready for this wonderful time. Could you or one of your assistants help me. I cannot get my graham cracker crust to cut easily as it sticks to the side and bottom of the pie plate. I tried adding more butter, tried using brown sugar and pack it down but it just so hard to get it out of the glass pie dish. Should I use a metal pie plate? Thanking you in advance and God Bless your family in this special time. Your recipes are the best!!!!!

    1. Hi Sandy, Often when this crust is too hard it has been baked too long. Are you using a recipe that required pre-baking? If so an easy fix for next time is to bake it a few minutes less.

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

    1. If you are making the graham cracker crust in a glass pie pan, which I do, I take it out of the refrigerator and soak the bottom of the pan in a hot water bath! Just enough to sit the bottom of the pan in because obviously your cheesecake doesn’t need a bath. It releases the cold butter just enough to get out of the pan and stays a nice crust

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