The Best Flaky Pie Crust Recipe

This is a pie crust recipe without a food processor. It’s super light and flaky and full of layers. This is an all-butter crust that makes the perfect pie crust for sweet and savory pies!

baked crust.

Don’t be intimidated by making your own crust. It’s not hard, and I’ve got a few key steps to ensure you get a perfect crust each time! I always add some acidity to my crust, whether it be yogurt or lemon juice, and I laminate it! Laminating the dough just means folding it up and rolling it out, which creates beautiful layers. The same thing you would do when making puff pastry.

The fat in the pie crust is a key factor in creating a flaky pie crust. In this recipe, cold chunks of butter are cut into the dough until it’s broken into coarse breadcrumb pieces with a few pea-sized butter pieces in there too. I always cut my butter by hand with a pastry cutter because it lets me control the size of the butter pieces in there. A food processor can really quickly cut them too small.

When the pastry hits the oven, the water in the butter evaporates and creates air pockets in the pastry.

This pie crust is great to keep in the freezer for any time you’re baking a pie. Use it for pecan pie, old-fashioned lemon pie, or blackberry hand pies!

Double crust pie dough

Key Ingredients

  • Butter. You can use salted butter or unsalted butter but a good quality butter is best. The added salt component in the recipe can be slightly adjusted if salted butter.
  • Flour. All-purpose flour is my go to!
  • Sugar and salt.  The sugar is optional, but together with the salt, it enhances the crust flavor
  • A bit of acidity. There are lots of options for this. You can use yogurt, lemon juice, or vinegar.
  • Ice-cold water – just a little bit to help bring the dough together.
super flaky pie crust.

Top tips for achieving the perfect flaky crust

  1. Keep the butter cold. Keeping the butter cold at all times is essential. Using cold yogurt will help with that too. If the butter melts into the dough, you won’t get the reaction of the water evaporating in the oven, and won’t be flaky.
  2. Consider shortening. If you are in a hot environment, you may want to swap half the butter for shortening. While butter makes a flakier crust with more flavor, shortening is easier to work with as it has a higher melting point than butter.
  3. Make the pie crust dough by hand. A food processor might save time, but cutting the butter by hand makes a superior crust. There is the risk of cutting the butter too small when using a food processor, which won’t make it as flaky.
  4. Handle the dough gently. Bring the dough together with just enough liquid without working it too much. Once a dough forms, roll it into a rectangle, then fold it into layers like a pamphlet. This process is similar to lamination in inverted puff pastry and makes a flakier crust.
  5. Don’t add too little or too much water. Dough hydration is essential. Too much water and you’ll get gluten formation that’ll make your crust tough. Not enough water or too much flour will make your dough crumbly and impossible to roll out. Find that perfect balance where the dough stays together when pressed but isn’t sticky or dry.
  6. Rest the dough. And speaking of balance, don’t forget to give your dough some rest time. Two hours is ideal for relaxing the gluten and making your crust tender and delicious. And if you’re not ready to bake just yet, freeze that dough for future use!
  7. Bake the pie crust properly. Properly baking the pie crust is essential to achieving a flaky texture. You want it to be nice, crisp, and flaky, so follow the recipe and bake it perfectly. And voila! You’ll have a pie crust that’s flaky, delicious, and ready to be filled with all your favorite goodies.
  8. Don’t skimp on pie weights when blind baking. This one is often overlooked but very important, especially for a flaky crust like this. You need enough weight to hold down the pie dough and stop it slipping down the edges. The weights should fill up the whole dish. I use around 1kg of rice as my pie weights.

Visual guide

cutting butter into dough.
I like to cut the butter by hand with a manual pastry cutter.
You want the butter to be cut small, but with a few pea-size pieces of butter in there too.
The liquid has a bit of acidity. I usually use lemon juice or apple vinegar with iced water.
yogurt added to flour.
But yogurt works really well too!
hands mixing pastry.
Only add as much liquid as needed, so it holds together when pressed but it’s not overly sticky.
crumbly dough.
I press it into a mound and then pop it in the fridge for a bit to cool the butter again.

Laminating

folded pie crust.
Laminating is just rolling the dough out and then folding it up.
folded pie crust.
Fold it into thirds like a pamphlet.
Do the roll and fold twice, then cut the pastry into two. It makes enough for a double pie crust.
mound of pie dough.
Use your hands to form each piece into flat(ish) discs.

Rolling a single pie crust

  1. Lightly dust your work surface with flour.
  2. Place the chilled pie dough on the floured surface and evenly sprinkle some flour on top. Press down gently with a rolling pin, starting from the center of the dough and working your way out.
  3. Rotate the dough 90 degrees after each pass to ensure a nice and even circular shape. Continue doing this until you get a crust thickness of about 1/6-inch around 1 inch/ 3 cm larger than your pie plate.
  4. Once the dough is rolled out, gently place it into the pie dish, ensuring it is centered. Press the dough lightly against the bottom and sides of the pie pan. Trim any excess dough hanging over the edge, leaving about a 1/2-inch/1 cm overhang. Tuck the overhang under itself, creating a thicker edge.
  5. Fluting the dough – To flute the dough, use your thumb and index finger to create a V-shape on the outer edge while pressing your other index finger from the inside of the crust to form a U-shape between the V.
hand folding pie crust.
Tucking the overhang in creates a better edge to flute.
pie crust.
A fluted crust is so pretty!

Par-baking

Some pie crusts require par-baking before filling to ensure the crust’s texture remains crisp and flaky. This involves blind baking the crust until it’s partially cooked. It’s often used for a single-crust pie recipe with a pie filling with a shorter baking time than the crust.

How to partially blind bake a crust

Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Using a fork, gently prick the bottom and sides of the pie crust to prevent puffing during baking. This flaky pie crust recipe likes to puff a lot! Line the crust with parchment paper. Spread the pie weights, rice, or dried beans over the parchment-lined crust, and make sure you fill it high enough!

Bake it for approximately 10-15 minutes until the edges of the pie crust are lightly browned. Remove it from the oven and lift off the parchment paper and weights. Place the crust back in the oven for another 2-3 minutes until the bottom stops looking wet. 

par baked crust.

Full Baking

Sometimes, the pie crust must be fully baked before adding the filling. This method is used when the filling doesn’t require baking or is pre-cooked. Fully baking the crust ensures it remains crisp and flaky, even after adding the filling.

How to fully bake a pie crust

To fully bake a pie crust, blind-bake it as described above up to the step when removing the pie weights and parchment paper. Lower the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C) and place the pie crust back in the oven for 15-20 minutes until it’s nicely golden brown and baked through.

Lemon Pie crust flaky
I use a fully baked pie crust in my old-fashioned lemon pie.

Rolling a double pie crust

  1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the bottom crust to 1/6-inch around 1 inch/ 3 cm larger than your pie plate. Add it to your pie plate, and gently press it in around the edges. Fill the pie with your filling and place it in the refrigerator while you roll the second layer.
  2. Roll out the second disc of pastry into a 12-inch circle. You can drape this second layer of crust on top of the filled pie, or create a lattice crust. If you’re not making a lattice top, add 2-3 slits in the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape when baking.

Lattice crust

  • Cut the dough into 10-12 strips of dough, depending on how wide strips you like.
  • Arrange 5-6 strips vertically over the pie, placing the longest strips in the center and the shorter ones towards the edges.
  • Fold back every other vertical strip halfway. Place an unused strip horizontally across the center of the pie, laying it over the strips that remain flat. Unfold the folded strips back into position, covering the horizontal strip.
  • Repeat this process with the remaining vertical strips, folding them back and placing another horizontal strip to weave the pattern. Continue this with all the strips until the pie is fully covered.
  • Cut off the uneven excess, but leave around 1/2 inch / 1 cm. Roll up the bottom crust to tuck in the lattice strips and seal the top and bottom crust together. To flute, push a thumb from one hand into the dough edge between the thumb and index finger and thumb of the opposite hand. Continue this all around the dough edges.
Lattice crust.
I love the look of wide strips of dough.
Rolling pie dough crust
Tucking in the edges neatens the pie and creates a surface to flute.

Related recipes

Here are some great pie recipes to try this in!

The Flakiest Pie Crust

Elien Lewis
This easy pie crust recipe is made by hand, without a food processor. It's super flaky, light, and buttery. This recipes makes enough for two single 9-inch pies, or one double crust pie.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Course Pies
Servings 9 -inch double crust
Calories 223 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 315 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 225 g unsalted butter cold
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar or see notes for yogurt substitution
  • 150 g ice-cold water

Instructions
 

  • Chop the butter into small cubes. Add the cubes to a bowl and place them in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes to ensure they are cold.
  • To a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, and salt and mix them together. Add the cold butter cubes to the flour.
  • Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into small pieces and rub it into the flour, or use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour. The end result should be like coarse bread crumbs with a few pea-sized butter pieces in the mix.
  • Add the lemon juice or vinegar to the ice-cold water. Drizzle around 3/4 of the water into the flour.
  • Use a spatula or your hands to combine the dough and add as much extra water as needed, a tablespoon at a time. It should hold together easily when pressed but not be sticky. If the dough is crumbly, add a bit more water.
  • Tip the dough onto a lightly floured bench and form it into a mound. Wrap the dough up tightly and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes before continuing with the next step.

Laminating

  • Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rough 10-inch/25cm rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. There's no need to measure it perfectly; lengthen it to around 10 inches.
  • Fold the bottom ⅓ of the dough up to the middle, then fold the top ⅓ of the dough over the top to make a pamphlet shape.
  • Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat this process once more.
  • Once finished rolling, cut the dough into two and use your cupped hands to shape each piece into a disc.
  • Wrap the dough discs up tightly using. Chill it in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days before using it in your favorite pie recipes.
  • See instructions on how to blind-bake or fully bake a pie crust in the above post.

Notes

*The cup sizes given are US-sized cups. Note that these are smaller than metric cups. For best results, use grams.

Yogurt Pie Crust

Instead of using lemon juice or vinegar, you can use 120g (1/2 cup) of natural or greek yogurt, and a little bit of extra ice water as needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 223kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 4gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 213mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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