This easy pie crust is as close to fool-proof as crust can be. If you’re looking for a homemade crust recipe that is as easy as going to the store this is it!
I made five batches of pie crust the other day, it’s easy to freeze and use later (more on that at the end). Pro tip – for one them I added in lemon zest because I anticipated a pot pie in my future and the lemon zest will add a little something-something extra. If I’ve sparked your interest, this optional added deliciousness is added in the recipe below.
Keep your Easy Pie Crust Ingredients Cold!
This is the key to a flakey buttery crust. You want to keep your ingredients cold so that the shortening and butter do not become homogenous with the dough, the goal is to see chunks of both when you roll it out (see picture above) these will create the flakiness as the crust bakes in the oven.
If your kitchen gets warm like mine, I keep the oven off while I make pie crust. I also measure out all of the ingredients and then keep them in the refrigerator, pulling out only what I need as I work through the recipe.
In the recipe there is a step for chilling your dough. This step is super important, it allows the ingredients to get cold again allowing your shortening and butter to set back up to prevent instant melting when it goes into the oven. Science has proven that the cold ingredients will create the best flakey crust.
Tips to rolling out your easy pie crust successfully!
Chilling also makes it easier to roll out. If your dough is too cold or too warm, rolling it out will become difficult. It’s easiest to take your dough out of the refrigerator, let it rest on the counter while you grab your rolling pin and pie pan and then start to roll. If the dough is too cold it will break apart, that’s okay just wait a few more minutes and try again. If the dough is too warm it will stick to your rolling pin and be hard to get a smooth even crust, if you run into this problem, pop it back into the refrigerator to chill longer.
I’ve discovered a few tricks along the way that will hopefully help you too!
Make sure you have flour handy, a piece of parchment paper, your rolling pin, pie plate and patience 🙂
Step 1: Sprinkle flour on the parchment paper and place your dough disk in the center.
Step 2: Sprinkle flour on top of the dough. Using your rolling pin start in the center.With medium pressure, press down as you roll from one end to the other. You want to try to keep the same pressure on the rolling pin during the entire roll so that the dough stays even in thickness as you roll it out back and forth.
Don’t forget to stop (quickly) to admire your butter pieces. Woohoo!
Step 3: Measure. Once you think you’re done rolling, test it out. Place your pie pan over the dough top down to make sure you rolled your dough out enough to fit inside of the pan.
Step 4: Once you know it will fit, you will want to put the dough in your pie pan. This is an easy-fool-proof way. With your pie pan upside down on your dough (like the picture above), pull your parchment paper off the edge of your counter slowly and with your other hand underneath the parchment paper so that you can turn it upside right to look like this:
Step 5: Slowly pull the parchment paper off your dough. You may pull a piece of the dough off but don’t get discouraged, just press it back down and slowly peel the the parchment paper away from your dough. Remember, any holes in the dough is be patched up (and no one will see it because it’s on the bottom of the pie).
Step 6: Dust your hand with flour and repair any crust holes, piece together crust that may have been separated during the transition.
Step 7: The most important part if you ask me – step back and admire your hard work!!
Pro tip – I usually put the crust back in the refrigerator for one last blast of cold (about 10 minutes). You can also do all of these steps ahead of time and bake it the next day. If you do that, just loosely cover the crust with a little piece of parchment paper and foil, then remove, fill with your pie filling and bake.
Easy Pie Crust
- 2 ½ cups All Purpose Flour
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 cup COLD Shortening
- 3 TBSP COLD Butter
- ¼ cup COLD Whole Milk
- 1 Lemon Zested (optional)
- In a bowl add your flour and salt, stir to combine the salt throughout. If you’re adding lemon zest, which I highly recommend for pot pie! You will want to add in the zest at the same time of the flour and salt.
- Break up the shortening and cube the butter into small squares. Add to the flour.
- Using a pastry cutter you will slowly combine the ingredients. You will push the pastry cutter through the ingredients and then pull it up and push back down cutting through the cold shortening and butter creating smaller and smaller individual pieces (see picture below). You want this to happen so that when it bakes it will create soft flakey layers in your crust.If you do not own a pastry cutter you can also do this step with a bench scraper. Cutting through the ingredients over and over again. This will take a little more muscle but trust me it works! This is how we did it in culinary school and I may even prefer this method.
- When you get it to this stage, you want to keep on going for 30 more times, trust me, count it out and it will then be PERFECT. You want to look for the dough to start sticking to each other, but still have individual pieces of the butter showing through.
- At this point, you will take your whole milk from the fridge and pour it in the dough. I use the entire 1/4 cup of milk.If you find that the dough become too sticky after the milk is added in, you can sprinkle a little more flour in to make it easier to handle. It should not drip milk but it should be wet to the touch.
- As you can see in the disk of dough you will still see butter pieces and swirls of milk.
- Since this recipe makes two 9-inch pie crusts, you will want to divide the disk into two. At this point, you can also admire all of your hard work. See your dough showing off all of her layers and butter pieces?!?! Yay!! – soft and flaky crust is in the making. You did that with all of your muscle!
- Now you will form the dough into two dough disks so that you can put back in the refrigerator to chill for at least 20 minutes up to 2 days. At this point, you can also freeze your dough disks to use in the future. Just make sure you wrap it up tightly to prevent freezer burn. When you want to use the dough, I recommend taking it out of the fridge and allowing it to thaw out in the refrigerator – remember you want to keep your ingredients COLD. This can take a day or two so plan ahead!