Easy as Pie! Crust 101-10 Basic Rules for Persistent Perfection

Pie Crust 101 - 1

I’ve posted this Pie Post once before, but it’s Pie week here at Once Upon a Spice and we need to get back to the basics once again.

Do you want to make pies like Grandma used to bake? As we know, tender flaky crust is the foundation of all good pies. It will make or break the flavors of any incredible sweet or savory filling. Follow these ten tips and you will never cut into a rock hard or rubbery crust ever again.

As easy as pie? You bet! With NO intimidation needed!

1. Use Very Cold Butter

Or shortening or lard. Whatever fat the recipe calls for should be well-chilled and cut into small pieces to start with for the flakiest dough. The fat in a pie crust must maintain some of its integrity in the dough to make the flakes flaky. Starting with very cold butter makes it easier to keep from over-working the butter into the dough. If it’s hot out, you might even want to freeze the butter for 10 to 15 minutes before starting the dough.

butter chunks

2. Chunks Are Okay

Many recipes call for you to work the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles cornmeal. That’s fine, but there should still be a few larger chunks of fat within the dough to ensure optimum flakiness.

3. Limit Water

Start off by using the minimum amount of water called for in the recipe. Water aids gluten development, which you want to avoid for a tender pie crust. Add just enough water (or other liquid) to hold the dough together when pinched between your fingers. The dough will look quite rough. One way to limit water is to use vodka instead (it has less water by volume than water and the alcohol bakes off).


4. Make a Disk

Before you chill or roll-out the dough, take the time to shape it into an even disk about an inch thick and smooth edges. Well-floured hands and a well-floured work surface will make this easier. This will make the dough much easier to roll out quickly and evenly and will help avoid cracking on the edges.


5. Chill the Dough

Chill the dough before you roll it out for at least 30 minutes and up to two days. Again, if it is very hot out, think about freezing the dough for 10 minutes just before you start to roll it out.

6. Roll the Dough, Turn the Dough

Roll out the dough on a very well-floured work surface with a well-floured rolling pin. With each pass of the rolling pin, turn the dough a quarter turn (about 90 degrees). This will let you know the dough is not sticking. If it starts to stick at all, lift up one side of the dough and throw a bit of flour underneath.

Pie Dough Collage 120 dpi @ 10

7. Curbs Not Driveways

Roll out and away from yourself, then pick up the rolling pin to start from the center again. Be careful to keep the pressure of the rolling pin even across the entire circle of dough so the edges of the dough are as thick as the center – you want curbs, not driveways.

8. Let Dough Fall Into Pan

When you line the pie pan with the dough, lower the dough into pan and lift up the edges and let the dough fall down into the “corner” rather than pushing or forcing it. Dough that is stretched will simply pull back to its original shape once baked.

9.  Bake Pie Until Brownhigh-pie.jpg10. Let cool slightly, top with ice cream (or not) & enjoy!!!!


17 Comments Add yours

  1. Such a great post! I’ve never heard the vodka tip before, but I love it! Also, your pictures are gorgeous…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Sweetie! It makes pie baking more fun! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Osyth says:

    My name is Osyth and I am a pie-aholic. And now you tell me to add Vodka to the mix … this could be catastrophic but I will die happy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha! Osyth! Yes you would! No need to remain anonymous! I am too BTW 🙂 Thanks so much, dear friend! xoxo ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Really very interesting !!! Vodka !!!! Hmmmm, this is a ‘must try’. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lynne! The results are pretty incredible! xoxo ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Frances 🌺 says:

    You always add something interesting to your posts Lana…Vodka….Love it and all the photos too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww! Thank you, Frances!! I thought the vodka was fun too! And it really
      works! Especially, if we get too stressed while making the crust! Um, no wait it works IN the crust–that’s right! lol! ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nandini says:

    I am all for a boozy crust Lana 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha! Nandini! Who knew?? Thanks a bunch!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You had me at Vodka…lol 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. haha! Marisa! It really works! Plus we can take a sip if things get a little out of hand 😉 lol! Thanks, Sweetie!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the tips! I hate store bought pie crust and always make my own, but it is an extremely frustrating process. I bet I’m not chilling the dough or butter enough! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so welcome! Thanks for your valued comment! I found that keeping everything cold and handling the dough as little as possible makes for a tender & flaky crust!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. nancyruth says:

    I had heard of using vodka but did not know why. Thanks for the tips.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so welcome, Nancyruth! Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Nena says:

    Wonderful tips!! Thank you:)


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