This homemade pie crust recipe is made in the food processor and is the only pie crust recipe that works for me! It’s got both butter and Crisco in it, and makes enough for two pies, or one double-crust or lattice pie.
Pie crust has been my culinary nemesis. I have tried my mom’s recipe and method (which just uses oil and requires you to roll the dough super thin between two pieces of waxed paper), and loads of other “no-fail” pie recipes. Each one has always ended in frustration, ripped pie crusts, and a renewed vow not to make pies (except for around the holidays, when I’ll suffer for the sake of tradition).
HOWEVER, everything changed when my mother-in-law shared her recipe with me. It was unlike any other recipe I had ever tried. It had baking powder in it. And a little sugar. It was also made in the food processor, which meant no using knives or forks to cut in the butter. No looking for my pastry cutter (which I can’t find anywhere, by the way) to speed up the job.
In other words, this is THE BEST PIE CRUST RECIPE on the planet.
The food processor is the ultimate “speed up the job” tool. And with this recipe, it is magical. (However, you can still make this pie crust with just a pastry blender, or even your bare hands! I’ll explain how below!)
In addition, I discovered the pastry mat, which means no more pie crust to peel off waxed paper. YAY!
So, here’s what you need to make this amazing, super easy pie crust from scratch:
- Baking powder
- Cold Butter
- Food Processor
- Pastry Mat
- Rolling Pin
This is the food processor I have. It’s a Hamilton Beach variety. Just make sure you use a large food processor (not a little one) or there won’t be enough room.
I got this OXO Pastry Mat, and I love it! The measurements and markings make it so you that you never have to guess if you’ve rolled out your pie crust big enough.
How to make pie crust from scratch
First, add all your dry ingredients to your food processor.
To your flour mixture, add your chunks of butter and your Crisco (or other brand of vegetable shortening). Remember that for pie crusts, you want to use cold butter. (It’s o.k. for the shortening to be at room temperature).
It’s important that you use cold butter so you can get a flaky pie crust. You don’t want the butter to get soft or melt while you’re working with it. You want little bits of cold butter to melt and release steam in the oven. This is what helps create that delectable flaky crust.
(Note: If you don’t have a food processor, you can mix this in a large bowl using a pastry cutter or your hands. If using your hands, just rub the butter and Crisco into the flour mixture using your fingers–not your whole hands, which are too hot and will melt the butter.)
You want to pulse it until it looks like coarse crumbs. There should still be little lumps of butter and shortening.
Add the water. (I use ice water). You can either just pour it in, then put the lid on and pulse. Or if your food processor has a chute, you can pour the cold water down the chute while the blade is spinning.
The pie dough will look like big, wet, crumbles. It won’t be smooth or come together. That’s o.k.
Pick up some dough and pinch it. If it comes together and you can form it into a nice ball without crumbling, you’re golden! If it seems a little dry, you can add a little water–up to a tablespoon more of water. But don’t add too much water, and don’t overmix! If the dough seems to wet, add just a little flour and quickly pulse again. We want to inhibit gluten formation, which will make your dough tough. The more you work the dough, the more gluten will form. (Great for bread–not so great for pastry).
Dump the dough out of the food processor onto your pie mat or work surface. Use your hands to press it all together into a smooth ball.
If you don’t have a pie mat, you can also use a floured surface, like your countertop or a cutting board. You can also use waxed paper or roll the dough out between two lightly-sprayed pieces of plastic wrap. Wiping your counter with a damp rag beforehand will help the paper or plastic from moving around while you’re rolling.
Cut the ball in half and set the other half aside. You can use the excess dough for a two-crust or lattice pie. If you don’t need it right now, you can flatten it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze it until you need it.
If desired, lightly flour your rolling mat, and then press your dough into a disk.
Start rolling your crust, picking it up and rotating it every few rolls. For a 9-inch pie plate, you’ll want to roll your crust out to about 13 inches in diameter. Another reason I love this pie mat is because you can easily see how big your crust is.
Now to transfer it to your pie dish, lift up one edge and start gently rolling it over your rolling pin.
Then you can unroll the dough over the top of the pie pan and voila!
There you have it! The perfect crust using simple ingredients!
This dough is so easy to handle and super forgiving! If it rips or cracks, the excess dough makes for the perfect patch. It’s the perfect thickness, and you’ll always have plenty without feeling like you have to roll it paper-thin.
This recipe will make one double crust pie, or two single crusts.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, cold
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 1/4 cup water, cold
- Add all the ingredients except the water to a food processor. Pulse until fine crumbs form. There should still be small lumps of butter and shortening.
- Add the cold water and pulse several more times until a wet, crumbly dough forms.
- Pinch the dough. If it comes together and is easy to form into a ball, you are good to go. If it still seems dry and crumbly, you can add up to an extra tablespoon of cold water and then pulse a few more times. Be careful not to overmix. If you feel like your dough is too wet, don't worry about that. You can add extra flour to your rolling mat to compensate.
- Pour all the dough out onto your rolling mat. Press together into a ball. Cut the ball in half and set one half aside.
- Lightly flour the rolling mat. (If your dough seems wet, heavily flour the mat). Press the dough into a disk and start rolling, picking up the dough and turning it as you go. If your rolling pin is sticking and tearing the dough, add more flour to the top of the dough. (If using a 9-inch pie plate, try to roll your dough to 12-13 inches in diameter).
- When rolled to the right size, pick up one edge of the dough and begin rolling it over the top of your rolling pin. Keep rolling until the dough has been transferred from the mat to the rolling pin.
- Gently unroll the dough from the rolling pin over the top of your pie plate.
- Press down and shape the edges as desired. Bake according to your chosen pie recipe.
You'll want a large food processor and a silicone pastry mat in order to make this recipe the easiest ever!
To blind-bake the crust, bake at 375 degrees F. for 30 minutes. To par-bake the crust, bake at 375 degrees F. for 20-22 minutes. For more instructions and tips, be sure to read the "Common Questions" part of the post below this recipe.
Common Pie Crust Questions
Unsalted or salted butter?
True blue technical bakers will say unsalted butter. The reason? Using unsalted butter allows you to control how much salt goes into your recipe.
However, I’ve used both unsalted and salted butter with this recipe — to be perfectly honest, I really didn’t notice a difference.
Do I need pastry flour to make pie crust?
No, you don’t.
However, you do want to be careful about the kind of flour you’re using to make a pie crust.
You want to avoid high-protein bread flour — that’s what you use to make chewy bagels! Pie crusts are meant to be tender and flaky, so I recommend using a medium-protein all-purpose flour or a low protein pastry flour.
Just keep in mind that pastry flour can be a bit tricky to work with. So if you’re not the most confident pastry maker, I’d stick with all-purpose flour.
How do I blind bake a pie crust?
Blind baking just means you bake your crust before adding a filling.
This technique is used when you’re making a custard or fresh fruit pie (like Lemon Meringue, French Silk, or Strawberry) — since these kinds of pies don’t require the filling to be baked.
Remember, if you simply throw your pie crust in the oven, you may run into the following problems:
- As your crust bakes, steam pockets will cause your pastry to puff up.
- The sides start to sag and leave you with a slouchy crust.
For me, a puffy pie crust center is the worst! Puffy center = less filling.
To stop these things from happening, you’ll need to put something in your crust to hold it in place while it bakes. Many bakers use pie weights or baking beads. But you can also use dried beans or rice kernels. I’ve even heard that some people use loose change!
Just remember to put a layer in between your pastry dough and the weights (please don’t put your loose change directly on your pastry dough).
You can use parchment paper or foil.
At the very least, prick the bottom of your crust with a fork if you don’t plan on using any weights to keep the crust from puffing up. But be prepared for your sides to slide down. (This is super sad, especially if you’ve made a really pretty decorative edge).
When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes. If your edges start to darken, be sure to cover them with a shield. (Scroll down for more info on this).
After baking, carefully remove the parchment paper and any weights. Let the crust cool completely before adding the filling.
What is par-baking and should I do it?
If a recipe mentions par-baking, don’t panic.
Some recipes may require you to do a full blind bake. This is where you fully bake the pie crust and add in the filling afterward.
Recipes that require par-baking are simply telling you to partially bake the crust and then add the filling.
For example, say you are baking an apple pie. You want your crust to be extra crispy, but aren’t sure how to go about getting that extra crispy goodness. Or you might be worried that your bottom crust will be soggy. (And as we all know from watching The Great British Baking Show, there is nothing worse than a soggy bottom!)
In this case, all you need to do is put your pie crust in the oven and partially bake it. Once it’s partially baked, you can add in your apple filling. Simple as that!
To par-bake, follow all the instructions for blind-baking, but just bake for a shorter time–around 20-22 minutes total. The crust will finish baking once you have added your filling and baked the whole thing in the oven.
How do I stop my pie crust from browning?
If you’re like me you’ve probably had trouble with the edges of your pie crust over-browning. There is an easy way to remedy that. All you need is a guard or shield to cover your edges.
With a simple search, you’ll notice that you can easily purchase a pie crust shield from Amazon. Or you can make one from aluminum foil.
The easiest way to do this is to fold a square of aluminum foil in half, and then in half again. Cut out a quarter-circle from the center, and then open up the aluminum foil. You’ll see that you’ve cut a big circle out of the middle. Then you can just gently lay the aluminum foil over the top of your pie. The middle of the pie will be exposed, but the edges will be covered by the foil.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to watch your pie crust as it bakes. About halfway through baking, check on your crust! If you notice that the edges are baking faster than the middle, it’s time to add your crust shield.
Does my pie crust need an egg wash?
Not all pies need an egg wash.
However, if you want your pie crust to be a little darker or are adding decorative pastry cut-outs, then it’s ok to do an egg wash.
Can I freeze my pie crust?
If your pie crust is still in a giant ball of dough, press it down to flatten it slightly into a thick disk. Then simply wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap (or heavy-duty aluminum foil). Then place that in a freezer bag and put in your freezer for future use.
However, say you’ve already rolled out the dough and have it already set up on the pie plate or pie tin. You can still freeze it! Again just wrap the unbaked pie crust in some plastic wrap or aluminum foil, place it in a freezer bag, and put that in your freezer. You can bake a frozen pie crust that is already in a pie plate or tin (there’s no need to wait for it to thaw). Simply add a few extra minutes (around 2 to 3) to the suggested baking time.