How to Make Pie Crust

Picture of How to Make Pie Crust
A good, tender, flaky pie crust is a wonderful thing. Thankfully it's easy, even for a double crust pie.

Perfect for Poached Pear Pie.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Gather tools and ingredients

Picture of Gather tools and ingredients
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold butter, cut into small chunks
or replace 2-4 tablespoons butter with lard or shortening
1/4 cup cold vodka1 (or other alcohol 80-proof or higher - it will all cook off)

food processor with chopping blade
plastic wrap
rolling pin
pie plate

And, of course, the pie filling of your choice.

1The vodka allows you to work the dough just like you'd used ice water, but all the alcohol evaporates in the oven leaving a better-textured crust.  There's less gluten aggregation, so your pie crust will be more tender.

Step 3: Add butter

Keep the butter in the refrigerator or freezer until you're ready to go, and pull each stick out individually for use.

Unwrap the butter, and cut it into lots of little cubes. I generally make three cuts lengthwise, flip the slabs, give them another three lengthwise cuts, then whack the sticks into cubes.

Drop the cubes into the flour, making sure they don't stick together. Once you've covered the exposed flour surface cover the bowl and pulse once, then add another layer of butter cubes. The fine layer of flour they pick up will prevent sticking when you add more butter.

Continue until all the butter cubes are in the food processor bowl, then pulse until the butter has turned into small sandy chunks, about 30 seconds. A few bigger chunks are fine.
osku3 years ago
I am not sure what shortenings are but using Google translator as help I have made a question: can I use coconut shortening (if that makes sense)?
This is the best pie crust I have ever eaten! Flaky and delicious...
margrove4 years ago
Good instructable, thanks!
Please tell: what is the weight of a "stick of butter"?
gauch margrove4 years ago
a stick of butter usually weighs 90g
In the States a stick is 1/2 cup or 1/4 pound.
Kaiven7 years ago
do you know what ingrediants are used in apple pie?...hmm...cinamon,apples...uhuhuh...
canida (author)  Kaiven7 years ago
Basically the same thing you see here.

Apples, spices, sugar, lemon juice, maybe a bit of cornstarch if they apples are juicy.
Kaiven canida7 years ago
how can you tell if the apples are juicy?
canida (author)  Kaiven4 years ago
I recommend biting them to find out.
Kaiven canida4 years ago
Oh wow these are old comments. But thanks for the reply :D
Kaiven canida7 years ago
thanks canida!
Tobita Kaiven6 years ago
Butter with te apples for a savory taste
Blackberries and ginger are a great addition to a apple pie as well
ok. thanks
how many grams of pastry will this make? thanks!
Mmmm....<br/><br/>I just used this in <a rel="nofollow" href="">this</a> pie. Its a tad hard to work with, but thoroughly delicious. Thanks very much!<br/>
notker7 years ago
mmmmhh yummy.... nice Instructable in two weeks I try this one
Wow... that looks delicious.
zachninme7 years ago
What pies were those? I spotted some blueberries and pears (Although I only knew they were pears from the description... I thought they were apples...) I see zest, and I think those are peaches?
canida (author)  zachninme7 years ago
Blueberries + D'Anjou pears Poached Bosc pears Nectarine + ginger More Instructables forthcoming with specific pie recipes.
Wow, those sound good... *waits for more pie ibles*
lisarea7 years ago
I just learned a pie crust magic trick, where you use half water and half vodka for the liquid. Because gluten can't form in alcohol, the vodka lets you add more liquid so the dough is more pliable and easier to work with, without making it too tough. This came from a recipe in the current issue of Cook's Illustrated, but I just adapted the vodka trick to my regular pie crusts. I've made two that way so far and the crusts were perfect both times.
canida (author)  lisarea7 years ago
Cool! Thanks for the tip- I haven't had time to read the most recent CI. I'll try it, and add it to the list above!
PIEEEEEE! Seriously.... why do you guys have all the Pie AFTER I leave?
Sorry, but nobody loves you... you poor creature! They made muffins... change your name to T4h_Pieinator, and you'll get some.
Just out of curiosity, is there any possible workaround to create this wonderful dough if a food processor is nowhere to be found?
canida (author)  arbitrarylogic7 years ago
Exactly what zer0vector said.

You can also use two table knives to cut against each other. The idea is to literally cut the fat into layers of smallish flattish pieces.
You can "cut" the fat into the flour using a variety of methods, the food processor is just the fastest and involves the least elbow grease. You can use a pastry cutter, a fork, or I've even used a potato masher in a pinch. Make sure the biggest chunks of fat are about the size of a pea.