This All-Butter Pie Crust is supple, tender, and incredibly flavorful. Learn how to make this easy dough with my tips and tricks and step-by-step instructions for a fool-proof pie dough every time.
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This is my go-to pie dough! It is incredibly simple to throw together, especially if you have a food processor (which is how I make mine). However, you can absolutely make this by hand, and instructions are provided below. I find that it is so easy to work with and bakes up perfectly.
I would compare this crust to something you could buy at the store. While incredibly tender, I would not consider this to be an overly “flaky” pie crust due to the amount the butter is processed. To create a flakier dough, the butter pieces would need to be left larger, and the dough would be folded over itself a few times to create extra flaky layers.
I truly prefer an all-butter pie crust for two reasons. 1.) What average person even has shortening laying around these days (besides my grandma and I mean that in the best way), and 2.) butter tastes SO much better and gives the dough way more flavor! Let’s dive in to the process.
Tips for making a successful pie dough
- Equipment. Food processor, pastry cutter, or two sharp knives. Rolling pin, 9″ pie plate, parchment paper, pie weights or dried rice/beans. Using a glass pie plate is great for beginners so you can actually see how brown the bottom of the pie is.
- Cold ingredients. All of your ingredients should be as cold as possible. After cutting the butter, add it to the freezer while preparing the remaining ingredients.
- Rolling. Be sure to keep the dough as even as possible when rolling out. Use even pressure on the rolling pin as you roll so you don’t make certain spots too thin.
- Make ahead. The pie crust can last in the fridge (in the disc or rolled out and molded into the pie dish) for 3 days.
- Freezing. The dough can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months, tightly wrapped. A formed shell can also be frozen, if completely wrapped in plastic wrap and foil. For the second method, using an aluminum pie tin is best, as sometimes glass can crack going from the freezer to the oven.
Ingredients for all butter pie dough
- Unsalted butter. Cold. Must be unsalted in order to control the amount of salt going into the dough.
- All-purpose flour.
- Kosher salt.
- Ice cubes. The water needs to be as cold as possible when adding to the flour and butter.
Making the dough in the food processor
This is by far the easiest method and my go-to for this crust. Here’s the step-by-step breakdown:
- With a sharp paring knife, cut the butter into 1/2″ cubes and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
- Place a handful of ice cubes into roughly one cup (8oz) water and give it a swirl.
- Add the flour and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse once to combine.
- Add the cold butter to the flour, dispersing it evenly around the bowl. Pulse a few times until the butter reaches pea sized pieces.
5. Measure out 2/3 cup of the ice cold water (leave the ice cubes behind) and drizzle it around the flour. Continue pulsing until the mixture starts to come together and forms a shaggy ball. The dough will easily hold together when pressed.
6. Split the dough into two equal pieces (I like to weigh mine to be super precise, and because I don’t trust my eye 😜) and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Flatten each piece into a 1″ thick disc and place in the fridge to chill for about 2 hours (but up to three days). The crust should feel very firm once ready to use.
Do not skip the fridge time. This allows the dough to fully hydrate which will lead to a supple dough that is very easy to work with.
Making the crust by hand
If you don’t have a food processor, you can absolutely make this crust by hand! The next easiest way is to use a pastry cutter. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, using two sharp knives will also do the trick! Follow all the same steps, then simply incorporate the butter into the flour using the pastry cutter, or by using the two knives to cut the butter into a bunch of small pieces. The idea is to break the butter down into the flour until pea-sized pieces are reached.
Because this part of the process takes a bit longer by hand, once the butter gets broken down, place the entire bowl in the freezer for about 15 minutes to get the butter cold again.
From this point, drizzle the 2/3 cup of water around the flour and use the pastry cutter or knives to fully moisten the mixture until it looks crumbly. From here, use your hands to push everything together into a large ball. If it does not hold into a ball, drizzle in a teaspoon of water at a time until it comes together.
If the mixture still feels slightly dry after coming together, it’s ok! The dough will continue to hydrate in the fridge. Split into two, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Rolling out the pie dough
Once the dough has been in the fridge for about 2 hours, remove it and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes to take the chill off. This helps to prevent the crust from cracking too much.
Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin, then press the rolling pin into the dough three times (top, middle, bottom) to make a slight indent to get you going. Don’t press in the top and bottom on the actual sides, but slightly inside.
Using even pressure, roll forward and backward a few times, turn the dough a quarter turn, and continue the process. Add a dusting of flour anywhere you feel the dough sticking to the counter or rolling pin during this process. Try to keep the dough as round as possible during this process, and keep it an even thickness. Cracks around the edges are inevitable. For cracks larger than one inch, try to work the dough back together with your fingers, then continue rolling.
Once the dough reaches about 1/8″ thick, roll it over itself on the rolling pin, set it over one side of the pie dish, then unroll the dough over top. Press the dough in the bottom and sides of the pie plate with your hands to remove any air and create a good seal.
Next, use a pair of kitchen shears to trim the excess crust so it’s even the whole way around, and about 1″ wider than the pie dish. Fold the excess dough underneath itself so the crease meets the edge of the pie plate. From here, the crust can be left as is, or can be crimped and decorated to your choosing. If you’d like to replicate this partial crimp, check out my Rope Crimp video on Instagram. Place the dough in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden.
Par-baking a pie crust
Par baking a pie crust means that you partially bake the crust so that the bottom and edges start to set, but it is not fully baked and browned. This is common in some fruit pies or custard pies.
To par bake this pie crust, preheat the oven to 375°F while the crust is in the freezer, then dock the crust with a fork on the bottom. Crumble a piece of parchment paper that fits the pie, then spread it into the dough and add pie weights. Evenly distribute the weights so they are pushed fully into the sides. You need enough pie weights to completely fill the crust, or else your sides will be prone to slouching.
I like the fold the parchment back overtop of the weights so that there aren’t any pieces of parchment that could bake into or ruin the crimping design. Bake the crust for 20-25 minutes until the edges are baked, then remove the weights and parchment and continue filling and baking as your recipe instructs.
Blind baking a pie crust
To blind bake the pie crust, follow all the same steps listed above in the “par baking” section. However, you will then return the pie to the oven for another 10-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown and there are no moist spots left in the bottom of the crust. Continue baking a few extra minutes at a time until the crust is fully baked and browned. If at any point, the edges become too brown, simply tent a piece of foil overtop of the pie.
Can I freeze homemade pie crust?
Oh yes! I pretty much have at least one disc of frozen dough on hand at all times. I always keep a stash of my Sweet Tart Crust ready to go, as well. Finally, I choose to freeze mine in the “disc” phase after it has hydrated in the fridge for a couple of hours. Keep the dough in the plastic, then add it to a ziplock bag. This will keep in the freezer for three months. Allow the dough to thaw in the fridge for about 8 hours before using.
Alternatively, you could roll out the dough and prepare it in a pie dish. From here, wrap the entire thing in plastic wrap, then again in foil, and freeze for up to three months. If using a glass dish, take note that certain brands and types of glass can be prone to cracking if going from the freezer to the oven.
Recipes to make with this crust
All-Butter Pie Crust
- 9" pie plate
- Rolling Pin
- Food processor
- Parchment paper
- Pie weights, or dried beans/rice
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 390g
- 1 cup + 6T unsalted butter, cold 311g
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅔ cup water ice, cold 5.3oz
- 1 egg for egg wash optional
- Cut the cold butter into ½” cubes and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a bowl, add about a cup of water and a handful of ice cubes and set aside.
- Add the flour and salt to a food processor and pulse once to incorporate the salt.
- Disperse the cold butter cubes around the flour in the food processor, then pulse the mixture until the butter reaches pea-sized pieces and looks slightly textured, almost like wet sand.
- Measure out ⅔ cup ice cold water (sans ice cubes) and drizzle it around the bowl. Continue pulsing until the dough just starts to form a shaggy ball. The dough will easily press together in between your fingers.
- Remove the dough, separate into two even pieces, then wrap separately in plastic wrap and flatten into a 1” thick disc. Place in the fridge for 1-2 hours until firm. Freeze the other disc of dough if not using (after the chill time).
- Once chilled, remove from the fridge and wait about 15 minutes to take the chill off the dough. This will help you roll out your dough without it cracking. Lightly flour your rolling pin and work surface, then roll out the dough, turning a quarter turn every few rolls to keep it round and even.
- Roll the dough until it’s about ⅛” thick and is at least 2 inches wider than your pie dish. Continue to lightly flour your surface and pin anytime the dough begins to stick.
- Carefully transfer the dough to a pie dish, pressing it into place on the bottom and sides (there will be overhang), and trim the edges with kitchen shears so they’re even and about 1” wider than the dish.
- Fold the sides underneath the crust so the fold meets the edge, then crimp. Follow any recipe instructions of how to fill or bake from here.
- To par bake the crust, freeze the crust for 15 minutes, then dock with a fork all over. Add a piece of parchment paper to the inside and fill completely with pie weights or dried rice/beans. If using egg wash, brush the edges of the crust with a beaten egg. Bake in a preheated 375℉ oven for 20 minutes, then remove the weights and parchment and finish baking according to the recipe.
- To blind bake, follow the same instructions as above, remove the weights and parchment paper at the 20 minute mark, then return to the oven another 10-15 minutes until golden. If you want a very golden edge, you can add another round of egg wash. For a fully blind baked crust, there should not be any moist spots showing on the bottom of the crust. If the crust still appears to have moist spots, continue baking.