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How to make the Best Ever Pie Crust - The only recipe you will ever need

How to Make Pie Crust (Bold Baking Basics)

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Learn How to Make Pie Crust, perfectly, every time, and change your pie-life forever.


Hi Bold Bakers!

Fall is when we tend to make a lot of pies, so I wanted to share my master recipe for How to Make Pie Crust to ensure you know how to make it perfectly, every time.

This recipe is the best I have come across in all of my years of working as a pastry chef. It will be easy for you to recreate at home, too, so you don’t have to buy pre-made pie shells in the supermarkets anymore.

Please don’t buy pre-made pie shells. They make my heart sad.

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Tips for How To Make Pie Crust:

  • Add liquid bit by bit. All flour absorbs water differently, so you might need less or more. You don’t want wet pastry.
  • Leaving the egg out — Replace the egg with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Egg makes it richer but if you don’t eat eggs, use water.
  • Don’t freak out — If you think you pastry is too dry, keep on bringing it together with your fingers. Take care not to add too much liquid.
  • Refrigerate before rolling — Wrap up and place in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. This will help the gluten relax and it will be easier to roll.
  • Freeze the pie crust — Freeze for up to 8 weeks. Roll out your pie crust and place it in the tin. When ready to use take out of the oven and bake directly from frozen. If you are using it for a pie that normally needs to be baked blind just bake it as is, with no beads or beans. Just bake the crust from frozen, eliminating the task of blind baking ever again. Yay!!!
  • Using for savory — Leave out the sugar and this pie works great for savory pies also.

[ Get ready for Apple Pie by making your filling in your Crock Pot! ]

Why does my pastry shrink?

You are not alone here! This is a really common problem and, luckily, the solution is simple. The answer is too much WATER! Adding too much water to your pastry will cause your pastry to shrink. Think about it! When water heats up it evaporates. So in terms of pastry, that mean’s when you go into the oven, the heat makes the water in the crust evaporate, which in turn causes it to shrink. Makes sense now, right?

The solution is to just add the minimum amount of water that you need to pull your dough together into a ball. If it seems like it might be a tad dry don’t freak out and lash in water. A fun fact about pastry is that it expresses water once it rests, so it will actually get wetter as it sits in the fridge for its resting period.

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Why is my pie crust soggy?

This is not something you have done wrong, it just depends on what type of pie you are making. When it comes to How to Make Pie Crust, Quiche, Apple Pie, and pies with wetter filling can have a tendency to have soggy bottom. If you want to avoid this, you can blind bake your pie crust. This simply means laying parchment in your pie crust and filling with dried beans or lentils to weigh it down as it bakes. Bake it until partially good (or fully cooked depending on the pie you are making). This will give you a crisper pastry in the end.

Once you master this Homemade Pie Crust, your holiday season will become much easier. Use this Homemade Pie Crust for my Homemade Pumpkin Pie and my Pecan Fudge Pie.

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4.56 from 43 votes
How to make the Best Ever Pie Crust - The only recipe you will ever need
Pie Crust Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 pie crust
Author: Gemma Stafford
Ingredients
  • 1 ⅓ cups (7½oz/213g) all purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 7 tablespoons (3 ½ oz/100g) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 egg yolk*
  • 2- 3 tablespoons cold water
Instructions
  1. Put flour, butter, icing sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until fine crumbs form.

  2. Mix together the egg yolks and water and add to the dry ingredients.
  3. Pulse until a dough forms, around 10 seconds.
  4. Wrap the pastry in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax before rolling.

  5. Roll on a floured surface to fit your tin or pie dish. A good thickness is 1/4 inch.

Recipe Notes

The pastry can be frozen for up to 8 weeks

if you don't eat eggs then leave the egg yolk out and add 2 tablespoons of cold water instead.

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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

Have you made a recipe? Share photos on my website or across social media with the hashtag #boldbaker.

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170 Comments

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  1. Kim on November 8, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    Hi Gemma, I love watching your videos! You are my favorite baker. If I make the pie crust in advance and freeze it, how long will it take to defrost? Thank you in advance.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 9, 2018 at 10:14 am

      Hi there, great question! From frozen it will defrost in 30 minute to an hour.

  2. Tina on November 5, 2018 at 7:12 am

    Can I use butter flavored shortening? I also never used powdered sugar for pie crusts, sounds tasty. Does the powderd sugar make it a different texture than granulated? I would assume the combination of the icing sugar and egg yolk results in a smooth savory crust. I just want to make sure the crust is sweet enough, I like a flavorful crust. Im also going to add a little vanilla extract for flavoring.

    • Gemma Stafford on November 6, 2018 at 7:46 am

      Hi Tina,
      You are right, the powdered sugar affects the texture of the pastry, it makes it tender, and sweet!
      The egg yolks make it rich, and reduce the amount of water to be added to the mix, this also makes for a tender pastry. You can add a little vanilla to this if you wish, and a hard shortening, a block of margarine, designed for baking will work best for this.
      Thank you for being in touch, happy baking!
      Gemma 🙂

  3. Carla Moscovitch on November 5, 2018 at 5:15 am

    can you use margarine instead of butter and what kind of dairy instead of milk to use in the cakes and pies

    • Gemma Stafford on November 6, 2018 at 7:34 am

      Hi Carla,
      Yes, but do use a hard margarine, in a block, not a tub one which is designed to be soft enough to spread.
      Really for milk you can use any nut milk, almond milk/coconut milk/soy milk will all do the job for you.
      This can be recipe specific, but a lot of baking will work well with a baking marge,
      Gemma 🙂

  4. Barb Tucker on November 4, 2018 at 9:09 am

    When you measure flour do you sift it first? I haven’t seen this mentioned or is this something not done anymore?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 4, 2018 at 8:27 pm

      Hi Barb,

      I don’t sift my flour before I scoop it. Also I scoop, I don’t fill and level my measuring cup.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  5. Susan Barr on October 29, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    You did the mix all by hand and yet the recipe says to put in in food processor. Why the difference?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 30, 2018 at 6:17 am

      Hi Susan,
      I prefer to mix a pastry by hand, it gives me control over the mix. You can of course use a processor, but pulse it, if you over process it wil lbe too difficult to handle. It is useful for people whose hands are not too strong, like mine! Pulse though, and check it as you go,
      Gemma 🙂

  6. Alison Gern on October 27, 2018 at 7:01 am

    Hey Gemma, I love all your recipes and I was wondering if i can substitute regular flour for all purpose gluten free flour?
    Thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on October 27, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      Hi Alison,

      delighted you like my recipes :). Yes you can use gluten free a.p for this recipe. Just note you might need a little more of less water as the flour is different.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  7. Fatima Amorim on October 17, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Hi Gemma, and thanks for making baking soooooo easy and fun.
    I made the pie crust yesterday and I want to make a chicken pot recipe today. But I don’t know if I should bake de crust a little bit before adding the filling. Can you help me?!?!? Thanks 😘

    • Gemma Stafford on October 18, 2018 at 7:40 am

      Hi Fatima,
      A chicken pot pie is usually baked in the raw crust. This allows the flavors to develop, and amalgamate.
      Generally tart cases are baked blind, this is generally because the filling and the pastry cook at different rates and temperatures.
      So, pre cook the filling, cool it, then add to the pastry case, cover with a pastry lid, and bake! Generally you bake this at 180C/350F, it should take about 40 minutes, depending on the depth of the contents,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Fatima Amorim on October 18, 2018 at 11:18 am

        Hi again Gemma, thanks soooooooo much for replying my e-mail so quickly!! I have to say that I LOVE your crazy Dough, I never had to buy bread again and even bake for friends. Yesterday I baked the cinnamon bun but with another flavor that people here in Brazil prefer, guava paste and cheese spread. I took pictures and I will try sending to your site! You make baking seams so easy and you always look so calm and happy!!! I am new in this cooking and baking world,but every time I want to cook something new, I look for you at YouTube!!!! Xoxoxo.

        • Gemma Stafford on October 19, 2018 at 3:26 am

          Hi Fatima,
          The calm and happy look is practiced! panic away under the surface 😉
          Thank you for your very kind words, it is great to have this lovely review of this recipe. Thank you too for your input regarding the changes made. Other bold bakers will be delighted with this,
          Gemma 🙂

  8. Paige on October 17, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    Whenever I made a pie crust, I always encountered a problem —too hard to roll out after taking out from the refrigerator, and it was prone to crack. What would be your solution?

    Thanks.

    • Gemma Stafford on October 18, 2018 at 7:47 am

      Hi Paige,
      This is to do with the amount of liquid you add. Too little is as bad as too much. This is a learning curve. Keeping control of it as you mix really helps. A dinner knife is a good tool for mixing pastry. Add 3/4 of the liquid at once, then the remainder until the pastry comes together in a clean ball. Keep your ingredients as cold as possible and work fast!
      I hope this helps,
      Gemma 🙂

    • Paige on October 18, 2018 at 10:40 pm

      Hi Gemma,

      Is this recipe make only one pie crust?

      • Gemma Stafford on October 19, 2018 at 1:21 am

        Hi Paige,
        This recipe will easily make the base of a tart to fill a 9 inch pan.
        The great thing about pastry is that it is proportional, it is really easy to increase the recipe. The butter will be about 1/2 the quantity of flour, even a little more for some pastry like rough puff/flaky pastry.
        For top and bottom of a 9 inch pie then the pastry quantity will be 12ozs flour, 6ozs butter etc. The big sin in making pastry is over wetting it. Use a table knife to bring it together, this will allow you to keep control. Never dump all of the liquids in together, flour in different places takes up liquids in different ways. Work fast and keep things cold, that is the secret of good pastry,
        Gemma 🙂

  9. Heena on October 8, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Hi Gemma! Thank you soo much for all your videos, they were of great help to me n offcrse for all those who are new to baking 😊

    Have done quite some cakes but have never tried pie or pastry kinda stuff… Hence can you please help me with the Otg setting. Pie is to be baked similarly like cakes or some other function. I know its very basic question but I don’t know oven setting for pie 😔 please guide

    • Gemma Stafford on October 9, 2018 at 3:05 am

      Hi there,
      Really this is a matter of your particular oven instructions, and these vary from type to type.
      If you cannot find the instruction book for your oven google it, they various brands offer online support.
      Basically an OTG uses two coils, one up, for broiling/grilling, and one down which is used for baking, along with the top one. If you are managing cakes in the OTG then really you will just do the same for pastry. Do watch it though, you may need to adjust the top element through the bake. Always pre heat too, this is essential to a good bake.
      Try it! try a small sample, that is easy with pastry!
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Susan Magnant on October 4, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    What is icing sugar?

  11. Debbie on October 4, 2018 at 10:20 am

    What is icing sugar? Do you mean powder sugar

    • Gemma Stafford on October 5, 2018 at 3:47 am

      Hi Debbie, I think I got to this earlier, yes, powdered sugar/confectioner’s sugar/icing sugar, depending on where you live. Just to confuse!
      Gemma 🙂

  12. Raquel on October 4, 2018 at 5:45 am

    Hi Gemma,
    Thank you for all the great recipes!!!
    Is it ok to use margarine instead of butter?
    Need it dairy free!

    • Gemma Stafford on October 4, 2018 at 6:36 am

      Hi Raquel,
      Yes. Choose a block of hard margarine which has been designed for baking. That will work perfectly well when cold.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  13. Suzanne Selph on October 3, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    Cherry Reyes posted a picture. What kind of pie is that???

    • Gemma Stafford on October 4, 2018 at 2:18 am

      Hi Suzanne,
      I hope Cherry Reyes sees this! I know the pie, and to me it looks like apple, but the photo seems light. The pastry is clearly well baked, but the fruit does seem light in color. We will wait to see if Cherry comes back to us about this one, she is a great regular contributor. Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  14. Adee on October 3, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    Hi Gemma , i love your videos ,baking and specially your teaching methods…😍 Can u tell me how to make pies in microwave ? Can i use the same recipe for that too ??

    • Gemma Stafford on October 4, 2018 at 2:49 am

      Hi there,
      Pastry requires heat. That is the surround heat of a traditional oven, it will not be the same thing from a microwave.
      I am sorry, it will not be good,
      Gemma 🙂

  15. George Lloyd on October 3, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Q. Hi Gemma, why is there a top cover on pies?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 4, 2018 at 3:32 am

      Hi George,
      Yes, usually! A tart is open and a pie is closed. However in Ireland an apple tart was always a closed tart, not as deep as a pie, and very delicious!
      300g/10ozs flour etc will line and cover a 9 inch pan. As pastry recipes tend to be proportional it is relatively easy to reduce or increase a recipe.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  16. Veronica on October 1, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    Hi Gemma, how long can the dough be refrigerated before you have to use it?

    • Gemma Stafford on October 1, 2018 at 7:35 pm

      Hi Veronica,

      Keep it in the fridge for up to 48 hours otherwise you can freeze it for a minimum of 4 weeks. 🙂

      Best,
      Gemma.

  17. Victoria on September 30, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    I have a few pies to make so I’m wanting to experiment with different pastry recipes, I’m celiac so I have to substitute or use a recipie that uses gluten free flours, do you think your recipie would work we’ll texture wise with a cup for cup gluten free flour?
    Thanks!!

    • Gemma Stafford on October 1, 2018 at 2:15 am

      Hi Victoria,
      I think it is worth a try, and it is worth trying it with a good brand GF All purpose flour in the first instance. You can of coyrse experiment with other GF flours too, and a blend of coconut flour and almond flour may be good, but a blend will be important to this. Try it, try a small sample recipe, watch the liquids as these flours vary in how they absorb liquids, and experiment.
      There is no reason why they would not work for you, gluten is not so essential in this type of recipe, but the balance is important, do not over wet it!
      Gemma 🙂

  18. Lizzymari on September 29, 2018 at 6:24 am

    How Long does this need to Bake?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 29, 2018 at 5:05 pm

      around 25-30 minutes at 350oF (180oC) or until golden brown.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  19. Julie12 on September 27, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Hi Gemma, I love pie and tried to make it but it was a disaster.
    The filling was awesome but the crust wasn’t cooked at all! So sadly, I had to trash it.
    I am making an apple pie for my mom’s birthday and I am hoping to find what was wrong and some tips so that never happens again.

    Thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on September 29, 2018 at 5:58 pm

      Hi Julie,

      Im really sorry to hear that. I’m really surprised to hear that. Did the pie need to be baked for longer?

      If you didn’t already I suggest that you watch the video to make sure you get it exactly right.
      Gemma.

  20. Lizzymari on September 24, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    Hello Gemma,
    I was wondering, if I want to fill this with apples would the recipe only cover the ground part or also the dough that people put on top?
    And is there a specific form this is meant for or kann you do apple pie in any form, because I don’t have the cake form that people use on the pictures.
    Thanks alot,
    Lizzymari

    • Gemma Stafford on September 25, 2018 at 1:21 am

      Hi Lizzymari,
      This depends on the size of the dish. This recipe will do top and bottom of a 6 inch dish easily. For a 9 inch dish you will need about 12ozs flour/6ozs butter/1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar and a little cold water. One egg yolk will still work with this amount. If you need more than this then two egg yolks.
      Experiment with this. If you do not use eggs add a little more butter.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  21. Hana Saeed on September 20, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Hey Gemma!
    I am planning to do this pie crust and make your “best evet pecan pie” for my mum’s birthday.😊
    You think I can use caster sugar inatead of icing sugar?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 20, 2018 at 7:04 pm

      You can actually just leave out the sugar altogether and it will be totally fine.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  22. Hana Saeed on September 20, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Hey Gemma!
    I am planning to make this pie crust and make your “beat ever pecan pie” for my mum’s birthday😊
    Can I use caster sugar instead of icing sugar for the pie crust?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 22, 2018 at 8:37 am

      Hi Hana,
      Yes, in theory you can, but it will change the texture of the pastry.
      If you have a food processor, or a blender, you can grind the sugar down to a powder (https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/how-to-make-powdered-sugar/) as I did here, it is the same thing.
      Carry on though, it will not be a fail. Control the amount of water and keep the ingredients cold, all will be well,
      Gemma 🙂

  23. zimmyjen on September 17, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Hi Gemma, can I omit the icing sugar and have the pastry still come together? I’m looking for a savory crust.
    Thanks!
    Jen

    • Gemma Stafford on September 18, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      Yes, you can. Great question!

  24. Quinn on September 8, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    Can I use a pastry blender to cut in the butter instead after mixing the dry ingredients by hand?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 9, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      You absolutely can use a pastry blender Quinn. That will work well.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  25. Susan Wolfe on September 6, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Have always made my pie crusts with shortening, but I’m anxious to try this one with butter. I’m thinking a nice, rich
    chocolate pie just might hit the spot! Thanks for sharing all of your easy but very tasty recipes. Have enjoyed every one I’ve made so far.

    • Gemma Stafford on September 7, 2018 at 2:02 am

      Hi Susan,
      Yes! do try this with butter. butter is shortening too, do not be afraid to use this great natural product.
      good to have you baking with us,
      Gemma 🙂

  26. KathyM on August 4, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Thanks for this recipe Gemma. I’m not a fan of vegetable shortening, but love butter. I’ve never made a rolled crust with butter before, only one in a removable bottom tart pan. I’m just wondering if I could I use salted butter if I eliminated the pinch of salt? Now that it’s fruit season in Canada, I want to make some tiny hand pies. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • Gemma Stafford on August 5, 2018 at 4:18 am

      Hi Kathy,
      Yes, this is a great recipe for your tarts, it will hold up really well. Lucky you to have fresh fruits available to you.
      Do chill before filling and baking, this helps the pastry to keep its shape. Do not over wet, this prevents the pastry shrinking. Just sufficient water to bring it together.
      Do use salted butter, Kerrygold is always my choice, as it is what I grew up with. Add a pinch of salt too, but only if you choose, chefs are dangerous around salt, it goes in everything!
      happy baking,
      Gemma 🙂

  27. Sarbani on August 3, 2018 at 9:59 am

    Gemma, you are so kind and truly the best. I wait everyday to watch and learn a new recipe from you. Thank you for making me feel that i too can do this! Love and best wishes from India 😀

    • Gemma Stafford on August 3, 2018 at 3:01 pm

      Hi Sarbani,
      Thank you, you too are so kind, and supportive. That is so important for me too! I am lucky to have so many loyal followers,
      Gemma 🙂

  28. Ronda Smith on August 1, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Gemmas on your pie crust recipe you say use a food processor. I have one but I just really don’t understand how to use it. Is there another way I can do it.

    • Gemma Stafford on August 1, 2018 at 11:33 am

      Hi, great question! You can absolutely mix this by hand by rubbing the butter into the flour. Once you reach the texture of wet sand then add in the wet ingredients and mix until it forms a dough. I hope this helps. Enjoy!

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