All-Purpose Butter Flaky Pie Crust Recipe

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Tatevosian Yana/Shutterstock
Makes enough pastry for 1 large pie shell or several smaller
Preparation Method
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This is an excellent crust—tender, buttery, flaky. Use this all-purpose pie dough recipe with sweet or savory pies. It’s important to follow the techniques below so your pie crust is tender, not tough.

You’ll also need a 9-inch pie pan and a rolling pin. Your butter must be cold. See all our pie-making tips before you get started!

If you’d like to add a top crust, you’ll need to double your pie dough recipe. See our videos on “How to Make a Lattice Pie Top” and “How to Make A Braided Pie Top.”

Now, what to fill that crust with?  See our 10 Best Pie Recipes!

7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, in pieces
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup ice-cold water

By hand:

All ingredients MUST be cold. Chill the UNSALTED butter and shortening in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. 

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Scatter the butter and shortening on top. Using a pastry blender, cut the fat into the flour mixture until it becomes small, split pea–size pieces that resemble course crumbs. Do NOT overwork the dough.

Sprinkle with half of the water using a fork, one teaspoon at a time, and gently stir until the dough pulls together. Skip now to Finishing Steps below.

By food processor:

All ingredients MUST be cold.  Chill the UNSALTED butter and shortening in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Combine the flour and salt in the processor, cover, and pulse four or five times, to mix. Scatter the chilled butter and shortening on top. Cover and pulse eight to ten times more in 1-second bursts to break the fat into very small pieces. Do NOT overwork the dough.

Using the feed tube, add the water in an 8- to 10-second-long stream, while pulsing. Continue to pulse until the dough forms large, clumpy crumbs.

Some cooks recommend adding the water by hand or the dough gets overworked. Sprinkle water with a fork, one teaspoon at a time. The dough should have small bits of butter; this makes the crust flaky.

Finishing Steps:

Cool off hands under cold water, pat dry, gather the crumbs into a flattened ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pack it into a ball. Gently knead once or twice, then flatten into a 1/2-inch-thick disk.

Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours before rolling. Refrigeration is necessary because it allows the gluten to relax and prevent shrinkage. 

See more tips and techniques for making the perfect pie crust—and pie filling!

About The Author

Ken Haedrich

Ken Haedrich is one of America’s leading baking authorities and a prolific writer—the author of 17 cookbooks and hundreds of magazine articles. Ken has received numerous accolades for his work and is the recipient of The Julia Child Cookbook Award. Read More from Ken Haedrich

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