How to Make a Pie Crust

Pie Crust 101: How to Make a Perfectly Flaky Pie Crust

The quintessential pie crust is golden, flaky, buttery and…surprisingly easy to make. With just five simple ingredients (and no special equipment required), you can be on your way to made-from-scratch apple, banana cream or pumpkin pie in no time. Let the baking begin.

You probably have all the ingredients you need on hand already:

• Flour
• Butter
• Sugar
• Salt
• Water

What’s the Trick to Making Flaky Pie Crust?

The number-one trick to making a flaky pie crust is keeping your wet ingredients as cold as possible. A perfect pie crust’s flakiness comes from little pockets of butter that melt and steam when baked to create layers in the crust. Here are some tricks to keeping everything cold, cold, cold:

• Use a glass or stainless steel mixing bowl.
• To make sure butter is at its coldest when it’s added to the dough, cut it into 1/4" cubes immediately before using.
• Ice-cold water can be achieved by keeping ice in your water until ready to use, then straining the ice out right before incorporating into the dough.
• Don’t skip the final refrigeration step, since gluten needs time to rest in order to yield that covetable flaky crust. Without resting, you may end up with a hard or chewy crust.

Is Pie Crust Better with Butter or Shortening?

Ah, the great debate: butter or shortening? This comes down to personal preference (and perhaps what you have on hand). Shortening has a higher melting point, making it ideal for creating a flaky crust. But butter has that unmistakable flavor. For this reason, some bakers are partial to a butter-shortening combination to reach peak flakiness combined with top flavor.

Whichever your preference, make sure you keep it cold. You can keep butter in the freezer and thaw in the fridge for a few hours before using. For shortening, just refrigerate prior to use.

For our favorite basic scratch-made pie crust, we use butter.

Recipe: Basic Flaky Homemade Pie Crust Recipe

This pie crust recipe yields two crusts. Use them for a top and bottom, or for two open-topped pies.


• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 Tbsp. sugar
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 cup cold butter, cut into ¼” cubes
• 1/2 - 3/4 cup ice cold water


Step 1: Mix flour, sugar and salt in a medium to large bowl. It’s OK to leave out the sugar if you’re using this in a savory recipe, like a quiche, but don’t leave out the salt since it enhances the flavor of the crust.

Step 2: Using a pastry cutter, 2 butter knives, 2 forks or clean hands, cut butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. When finished combining, you should be able to see a few pea-sized pieces of butter in the mixture.

Step 3: Add water a couple of tablespoons at a time and combine using a fork. Stop when the mixture just holds together when squeezed in the hand. Be careful not to overmix at this step, since overworked gluten will toughen your crust.

Step 4: Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Place each half on plastic wrap, then press into round disks and wrap tightly.

Step 5: Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour to give the gluten time to rest. This step is crucial to achieve a tender, flaky crust.

Step 6: Use dough immediately, or wrap well and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Basic Flaky Homemade Pie Crust

Using only five ingredients, this easy homemade pie crust is buttery, flaky and delicious. This recipe makes enough for a standard double-crust pie.

View & Shop Recipe

Now that you’ve made your pie crust dough, it’s time to get baking. Find inspiration in our collection of pie recipes, then easily add all the ingredients you’ll need to your online shopping cart. For even more easy meal ideas, head to our Easy Meal Solutions page.