Pie Crust Recipe (without food processor)

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This Pie Crust recipe shows how easy it is to make a single pie crust that’s tender and flaky by hand in 10 minutes.

Pie Crust Recipe (without food processor)

Nowadays, I find myself making pie crust with a food processor because it’s so simple to toss everything in a food processor and make a pie crust. That’s until it’s time to do the dishes!

However, I’m a teacher that believes you shouldn’t take a shortcut until you’ve made it the old-school way and understand everything about the dish. Having this knowledge allows you to utilize the shortcuts but get the same results as the traditional way.

Making a pie dough by hand is a lot like making biscuits. And I love biscuits. You cut the butter into the flour, add some liquid to moisten the dough, make a dough ball then form into the desired shape.

Yes, I know I just made it sound easy, and that’s because making a pie crust by hand without a food processor is that easy. It doesn’t matter if you’re making a single pie crust recipe or a double pie crust recipe.

This pie crust recipe is all you’ll need to consistently produce buttery, flaky pie crust that’s perfect for cobblers, hand pies, chicken pot pies, galettes, or your favorite pie.

full shot pie crust

Key Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for your flaky pie crust.

All-Purpose Flour

Pie crust needs gluten to create layers of flaky deliciousness.

Sugar

I like making a sweet pie crust, so I add a little sugar to my crust.

Salt

A small pinch of kosher salt will wake up all the flavors.

Unsalted Butter

You want to use cold butter in your recipe. If you only have salted butter at home, use it and omit the salt in the recipe.

Shortening

A little shortening coats the flour and helps form layers of flaky crust. I only use non-hydrogenated shortening because it’s not chemically processed.

Water

Cold tap water is perfect. I like to add one ice cube to the water, so it’s extra cold water.

If you’re going to make cranberry sauce at home, you’ll need a few key ingredients.

pie crust overhead

How to make a Flaky Pie Crust Recipe?

The key to baking is the technique, patience, and confidence. That’s how I will teach you to make a flaky pie crust recipe.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter and cut fat shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or fork until it resembles coarse cornmeal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.

Stir in ice water until pie dough forms (add another tablespoonful of water if needed). The flour should be loose, knead dough 3-5 times until all flour is incorporated into the dough. Flatten pie dough into a disc shape, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

Use a rolling pin to roll out pie dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12″ round. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. You can trim and crimp the edges with a fork, fold the extra dough under itself, and make a design. Pierce evenly with a fork, and pre-bake in a 425°F oven for 10 minutes until light brown. Then pour in the pie filling of choice and follow the pie recipe instructions.  

That’s how easy it is to execute a homemade pie crust recipe.

Pie crust side shot

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks

Here are a few notes to keep in mind while making a homemade pie crust.

  • If you do not have any shortening, you can use whatever oil you have on hand.
  • Remember, the shortening doesn’t need to be cold, but the butter definitely needs to be cold to create the perfect flaky crust.
  • Cold tap water is perfect.
  • You can use gluten-free flour to make a gluten-free pie crust. Bob’s Red Mill makes the best gluten-free baking flour.
  • Double the recipe for a double-crust pie. If you do, evenly divide the dough before wrapping it in plastic wrap.
  • Swap vodka for water for the perfect pie crust. Vodka stops the gluten from forming, so it makes the flakiest pie crust.
  • If you do not use alcohol, white vinegar creates tender pie crusts too.
  • Using a floured wine bottle is a great option if you do not have a rolling pin.
  • If you notice your pie dough is too soft while rolling it out, stop and place it back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
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FAQs

Here are the top questions readers have about making pie dough.

What can I use instead of a food processor for pie crust?

If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a pastry cutter or fork to make a pie crust.

Can you make pie dough without a pastry cutter?

If you don’t have a pastry cutter, use your hands or two forks to cut fat into the flour.

How do you make a crust without weights?

My favorite way to make my pie dough is without pie weights. The simplest thing to do is pierce the inside of the pie dough equally with a fork. This will prevent the crust from rising. This works only for recipes that include shortening or a combination of shortening and butter.
 
Before baking an all-butter pie crust, you will need to place parchment paper and either pie weights or dry beans on the dough to prevent it from caving in.

Do I have to bake the pie crust before filling it?

It’s also a good idea to pre-bake a pie crust before adding the filling so that it is firm and won’t get soggy or leak as the filling cooks.

What is the correct ratio of a single pie?

There is no one specific ratio for pie crusts. My ratio is 1 1/4 cup flour to 8 tablespoons of fat to 2-3 tablespoons of water for each pie crust.

Is pie crust better with butter or Crisco?

This is a matter of personal taste. I prefer a mix of butter and shortening in my pie crust. The flavor comes from the butter, while the shortening acts as an insurance policy because butter releases water when it cooks, but the shortening high melting point helps the crust hold its shape.

What is the trick to making a good pie crust?

If you’re making a pie crust, cold butter, cold water, and even colder shortening are required. The flour, sugar, or no sugar in the recipe may differ, but using cold fats helps to produce a flaky, delicate pie crust. Also, allowing the pie dough to rest in the fridge after being made allows the fats to solidify, resulting in long streaks of fat throughout the pie dough when rolled out.

How do you shape a single pie crust?

After the pie dough has rested in the fridge, roll out to 1/8 inch thick, then transfer the dough to a pie plate and press it into the bottom and sides of the plate.

What does shortening do in a pie crust?

Shortening is easy to combine with flour and makes rolling out the pie dough much easier. It produces an excellent tender and flaky crust. It’s also the ideal option for creating striking crust or attractive patterns that will retain their form during baking.

Is shortening necessary in pie crust?

Shortening is not necessary for pie crust; you can use coconut oil, oil, lard, or butter.

How do you substitute shortening for butter in pie crust?

You substitute shortening 1:1 for butter in a pie crust.

What does butter do in a pie crust?

Butter is an essential component of pie dough since it aids in the formation of a flaky and soft crust. When melted, it covers the flour particles and creates small pockets of steam while the pie dough bakes. This makes the crust light and fluffy. It also produces the most delicious pie dough.

Do you use cold or warm butter for pie crust?

Always use cold butter for the best pie crust that’s tender, firm, and flaky.

How to store pie dough?

Store pie dough in the fridge for 7 days in an air-tight container. Freeze pie dough in a freezer bag for 3 months. Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours before using.

Slice Of Southern pecan pie

Pie Recipes

Now that you have the perfect pie crust down, here are some recipes you can use it with.

Latest Recipe Video:

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Before You Begin

Before getting started, here are the steps I use to get organized. 

Step 1: Get all ingredients for the pie crust out on the counter.

Step 2: Measure everything out.

Step 3: Follow the recipe and get ready for some delicious pie.

Now you know the key to pie crust success is all in the technique; be sure to try this recipe. It is easy to follow these simple steps and wait for the dough to chill. If you happen to run into trouble, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below. I’m always happy to help. Now go ahead and bake with confidence!

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Pie Crust Recipe (without food processor)

Kenneth Temple
This Pie Crust recipe shows how easy it is to make a single pie crust that’s tender and flaky by hand in 10 minutes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 9-inch pie crust
Calories 1439 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour plus more for rolling dough
  • 1 tablespoon raw cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons cold shortening
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter and cut fat shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or fork until it resembles coarse cornmeal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.
  • Stir in ice water until pie dough forms (add another tablespoonful of water if needed). A few pieces of flour should be loose, knead dough 3-5 times until all flour is incorporated into the dough. Flatten pie dough into a disc shape, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
  • Use a rolling pin to roll out pie dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12″ round. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. You can trim and crimp the edges with a fork, fold the extra dough under itself, and make a design. Pierce evenly with a fork, and pre-bake in a 425°F oven for 10 minutes until light brown. Then pour in the pie filling of choice and follow the pie recipe instructions.

Notes

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks
Here are a few notes to keep in mind while making a homemade pie crust.
If you do not have any shortening, you can use whatever oil you have on hand.
Remember, the shortening doesn’t need to be cold, but the butter definitely needs to be cold to create the perfect flaky crust.
Cold tap water is perfect.
You can use gluten-free flour to make a gluten-free pie crust. Bob’s Red Mill makes the best gluten-free baking flour.
Double the recipe for a double crust pie. If you do, evenly divide the dough before wrapping it in plastic wrap.
Swap vodka for water for the perfect pie crust. Vodka stops the gluten from forming, so it makes the flakiest pie crust.
If you do not use alcohol, white vinegar creates tender pie crusts too.
Using a floured wine bottle is a great option if you do not have a rolling pin.
If you notice your pie dough is too soft while rolling it out, stop and place it back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
Storage:
Store pie dough in the fridge for 7 days in an air-tight container. Freeze pie dough in a freezer bag for 3 months. Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours before using.

Nutrition

Calories: 1439kcalCarbohydrates: 132gProtein: 17gFat: 95gSaturated Fat: 50gPolyunsaturated Fat: 10gMonounsaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 6gCholesterol: 181mgSodium: 1178mgPotassium: 192mgFiber: 4gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 2102IUCalcium: 45mgIron: 7mg
Keyword pie crust by hand, pie crust recipe without food processor, pie crust with butter, pie crust with shortening, pie crust without food processor, single pie crust recipe
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