Buttery, crisp and flaky, this is a good old-fashioned pie crust recipe. Also known as pate brisee in French, this easy pie crust recipe is simple to make and tastes way better than store-bought.
Everyone has their own favorite pie crust. I like mine buttery, crisp, and flaky. This one is an old, simple recipe that I’ve been using for as long as I can remember and it never fails me. When it comes to pies, I use this recipe almost every time. It’s perfect for those classic pies like cherry pie and apple pie but is incredibly versatile – add a pinch of cinnamon or orange zest to change the flavor however you like!
Scroll down for a step-by-step guide with photos.
Tips for making perfect pie crust
- It’s important to use very cold ingredients when making the dough. Cut the butter into small cubes, then put it in the freezer for 15 minutes. Same for the water and flour – measure the amount you need and place in the freezer to chill. For the water, you could alternatively add some ice cubes, but keep in mind that if you’ve already measured the water, ice cubes melt and will add more liquid.
- Cold ingredients are important because the longer you work with the dough, the warmer and stickier it gets, the more the butter melts, and the harder it will be to work with it. That’s also why you must chill the dough for at least 30-60 minutes before rolling it out, and to be as quick as possible whenever you’re working with the dough.
- Stick to butter instead of shortening. Some recipes contain shortening in addition to butter, which results in a flakier crust, but I use all butter in my recipe for the best flavor. I don’t like to take shortcuts when it comes to my pies :).
- Be careful not to over process the dough. The more you mix it, the more gluten is formed, which results in a tougher crust. This is why I don’t add the water into the food processor to combine with the flour-butter mixture – once you add water to flour and start mixing, gluten starts to form. Combining the water with the butter-flour mixture in the food processer overmixes the dough, and creates tough, dense pie crust. We don’t want that; we want a dreamy, flaky, crisp texture.
- Chill your dough before rolling it out. Otherwise, the butter will start to melt and the dough will be too sticky to work with.
How to make perfect, easy pie crust
Start by processing flour and sugar in a food processor for a few seconds until combined. You can also do the whole process by hand, using a pastry cutter or even 2 forks. Add cold butter and pulse until the mixture becomes crumbly and resembles coarse meal, about 15 pulses.
Remove the mixture from the food processer and pour into a bowl. Add 1/4 cup very cold water, starting with 1 tablespoon and increasing as necessary until the dough comes together. Many times I just use my hand to combine the ingredients together, and the dough should be quite crumbly with large clumps. You don’t want it to be too wet.
Turn the dough to a floured surface and form into a ball. It should come together easily without being sticky.
Divide the dough ball in half.
Flatten each one slightly with your hands to form a 1-inch thick disc.
Wrap each disc with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before proceeding with your pie recipe. If you don’t want to use the dough right away, you can refrigerate it or for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to a month, then thaw it overnight in the fridge.
My favorite recipes with perfect pie crust
- Caramel Apple Pie. Juicy, caramelized apples take this classic pie to new heights.
- Cherry Pie. A perfect summer pie that tastes divine.
- Pecan Pie. Perfect for Thanksgiving, nothing because this delicious classic pecan pie recipe.
- Apple Hand Pies. These perfect mini apple pies are not only fun to make, but look adorable and taste amazing.
- Caramel Pear Pie. Ripe pears and caramel sauce combined with buttery, flaky pie crust is the perfect combo.
Buttery, crisp, crumbly, and flaky, this is a good old-fashioned pie crust recipe that tastes amazing with any filling.
- 2 1/2 cups (350g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks/227g) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup (60-120 ml) very cold water
- Process flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor for a few seconds until combined (Instead of food processor, you can do the whole process by hand, using a pastry cutter). Add butter and pulse until mixture becomes crumbly and resembles coarse meal (different size of butter pieces or some large pieces is fine), about 15 pulses. Add 1/4 cup water and keep pulsing, adding more water as needed, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough isn’t dry and starts to clump together. Do not process to the point that a large ball of dough is formed, rather the dough should be quite crumbly with large clumps. Another way to check if it’s done, is to take a piece of dough and press it between your thumbs – the dough should stick well together without feeling dry or crumbly.
- Turn the dough to a floured surface and form into a ball. It should come together easily without being sticky. Divide ball to half, then flatten each one slightly with your hands to form a 1-inch thick disc. Wrap each disc with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before proceeding with your pie recipe.
- If you don’t want to use the dough right away, you can refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to a month, then thaw it overnight in the fridge.