Perfect Pie Crust Tutorial

Note:  Due to popular request I am offering the vinyl lettering for the Thankful sign I shared in my Thanksgiving Decor post.  If you are interested in one the cost is $20.00 which includes shipping.  Can not guarantee delivery prior to Thanksgiving.  If you’d like one leave me a comment on this post or email me at

perfect pie crust tutorial

Are you scared of pie crust?  I use to be.  I admit it can be a bit intimidating.  And nothing can ruin a good pie quicker than a bad pie crust!

Pie crust should be flaky and tender not tough.

There are a lot of pie crust recipes out there.  Some of the recipes use shortening and others swear by all butter.

Several years ago a friend and I did a pie crust bake off.  We tried all different recipes and combinations to see which one we thought was the flakiest and the most tender. Today’s recipe is the one I liked the best.  It is also a combination of shortening and butter.

Pie Crust is really pretty easy to make.  The trick is to remember to be gentle and to handle it as little as possible.  Overworking the dough and handling it too much will pretty much guarantee a tough crust.  Today I’m going to share with you my Perfect Pie Crust Tutorial for flaky and tender pie crust every time!

Step 1:  Combine shortening, butter, flour and pinch of salt in a deep bowl.

Perfect Pie Crust
Step 2: Using your hands, (Yes, your hands!) combine the ingredients until little pebbles form. Use both hands!
Perfect Pie Crust

Perfect Pie Crust
Step 3:  Your water needs to be cold.  I put some water in a cup and then fill it with ice cubes.  You don’t need much water and I really don’t know the amount because it will vary according to the day, the weather, etc.  I just splash a small amount into the bowl and then use a fork to start “fluffing” the dough until it starts to hold together.  Do not pour a bunch of water into the bowl.  Add it teaspoon by teaspoon just until the dough holds together. Use your hands to form it into a ball.
Perfect Pie Crust
Dough should be soft and moist but not wet.

Step 4: Divide dough into two balls. While working with one keep the other covered so it doesn’t dry out or you can also freeze it if you’d like for use later. I like to place my ball of dough between two layers of wax paper and flatten it.

Step 5: Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a circle. If you are using a 9 inch pie plate make circle your circle is bigger than 9 inches.
Pie Crust
Step 6: Remove the top layer of wax paper and turn the pastry over into your pie pan and then remove the underside of wax paper.
Press pastry into pie tin.
Pie Crust
Step 7: Using your fingers, flute the edge of the crust.
Pie Crust

Step 8:  Cover the pie with foil or plastic wrap and put in the freezer for about 30 minutes to allow the pastry to firm up a bit.
Pie Crust

Step 9: Then depending on the type of pie you are making you may fill the pie or bake the crust first. For Grandma Zola’s Chocolate Meringue Pie I baked the crust first.

Because the edges of a pie tend to brown quicker then the rest of the pie I usually cover the edges of my pie with foil for half of the baking time.  Last week I found this fun pie edge covers at Winco so I thought I’d give them a try and they worked great and were less than $2.00!
Pie Crust
Step 10:  Enjoy a flaky, tender pie crust!

Chocolate Meringue Pie

For a fun idea to use up your pie crust scraps check out my Pie Fries post!


Leigh Anne

You can also visit me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram.

Perfect Pie Crust

Yield: 2 9\\\" pie crusts


  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1/2 C shortening
  • pinch of salt
  • ice cold water, add teaspoon by teaspoon until right consistency has formed


  • Place flour, salt, butter and shortening in bowl.
  • Use your hands to combine ingredients until small pebbles form
  • Add cold water a teaspoon at a time until the dough begins to hold together and form a ball.
  • Do not over handle the dough. Dough should be soft, moist but not wet.
  • Divide dough in half.
  • Place ball of dough onto wax paper and flatten. Place another piece of wax paper over the top and roll out the pastry into a circle. If your pie pan is 9 inch make sure your circle is bigger than 9 inches so you have enough for the edging..
  • Remove the top layer of wax paper and place pastry into pie tin. Remove other piece of wax paper and press pastry into pan. Use your fingers to crimp the edge of the crust.
  • Freeze for 30 minutes to firm up the pastry. This helps prevent pastry from shrinking during baking.
  • Prick the bottom of crust to prevent bubbling during baking.
  • If pie calls for a baked crust bake at 400 degrees. For the first 10-12 minutes keep the edges of pie covered with foil and then remove for the last 15 minutes. Bake until golden brown.

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  1. 1
    Kris Wolverton says:

    What size pie tins does this recipe call for? Have to make enough dough for pie and tarts!!

  2. 2
    Cheryl S. says:

    Just in time for next Thursday! What kind of flour do you use Leigh Anne? Do you ever cheat and use the pulse option on a food processor?


  3. 3
    Laura says:

    Your recipe is like mine! I think you need both butter and shortening for a good crust. Three things that I do different. My recipe is enough for one crust and I process mine in my food processor. Then I place to dough in the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling it out. I also love to roll the dough out on a silicone pie mat. I love the circle guide on it so I can get the right size.
    Laura recently posted..Honey Corn Bread Muffins

  4. 4

    I’ve never, ever been able to make pie crust. I am pastry challenged. lol. Maybe I’ll try this and see…my family would be so shocked if I actually made a good pie.

    The Domestic Fringe recently posted..WIWW: A Mixed Bag and Pinspiration

  5. 5
    Holly says:

    Thanks for this! My mother-in-law’s recipe works well for her but not me, so I’m happy to try another!

  6. 6
    Cami Reschke says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am still a bit intimidated by pie crust, but hopefully with a bit of practice I won’t have to be. I feel like some of your methods (like using your hands and freezing it for a half hour) will help me avoid the mistakes I usually make. Thanks so much!

  7. 7
    Amie says:

    Leigh Anne, I would love to get a thankful sign from you. It is so cute! Also I’ll definitely try your pie crust recipe. I’ve never been successful with pie crust :)

    Let me know how to take care of payment etc.


  8. 8
    Mentor Mom says:

    I LOVE to bake pies, and always use my Grandma’s Pie Crust recipe. :)

    One tip for not over-browning/burning the crust: if you have a convection oven, cook most of the time on convection bake, and then switch to regular bake for the last 10-15 minutes. This will make your crust golden brown and not crispy.

    :) :) :)
    Mentor Mom recently posted..Love me . . .

  9. 9
    Trisha says:

    Hi Leigh Anne:)

    Thanks for such a great blog! Did you compare pie crusts using lard? I found that lard makes a really flaky crust too. I’m just curious. If I can find another recipe that is just as flaky using ingredients I always have on hand then I’d rather use that than one with lard. although lard makes a tasty crust too. Also, do you have any tricks to keep pie crusts from shrinking? Mine always shrink up–no matter what recipe I use. Thanks for your help!

    • 9.1
      Leigh Anne says:

      Trisha, I only used butter or shortening, no lard.Do you think there is that much difference between shortening and lard? I haven’t ever really worked with lard. By freezing the crust in the pan for 30 minutes prior to baking it seems to help prevent shrinking.

      • 9.1.1
        Trisha says:

        I’m really curious so I’ve been doing some research on this:) Lard is made from animal fats. Modified vegetable oils are unhealthy–shortening. It’s important to get real lard though, not what is sold in the baking isle. Not hydrogenated. You can get real lard in some meat departments. The butchers just pack it up themselves. A lot of people swear by lard for a flaky crust, but some don’t like the taste. I like the taste but don’t always have it on hand. I guess I could buy it and freeze what I don’t use…here is one of the links I found with a thread on this topic.

        I’m excited to try your recipe…Thanks for posting this!

    • 9.2
      Danielle says:

      I have become a lard lover! It is all natural and nowadays people are seing that natural trumps lab made every time! My mom gave me her recipe (similar to yours but she adds a bit of apple cider vinegar as it also helps flake the crust nicely). Her mom used lard but my mom grew up in the time when shortenng was king, so she used that. I currently live in Poland and we have an all natural meat factory so I get lovely lard whenever I want. My mom came here and I suggested we use lard like her mom used. She was amqzed at how much better it is and she said she will never use shortening again!

  10. 10
    Emmy says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I am excited I try it!

  11. 11
    Eligonma says:

    This might sound like a silly question but, could I freeze the crust in the pie pan and use it the next day? How would I protect it from freezer burn? Thanks in advance.

  12. 12
    Ann says:

    This method is similar to the one I learned in my cooking class in high school. The cold ice water keeps the shortening from melting, but keeps it in little balls, so when you roll it out it makes flat little pancakes. When cooked they melt creating the flakes. My teacher preferred lard, but I stick with the shortening instead. I’want to try with the combo of butter and shortening that sounds even better!

  13. 13

    Thank you my family is gluten free, but I will substitute the flour for a gluten free one and try your method. I will let you know how it turns out. :) Amee
    Amee (inspired-housewife) recently posted..Personalized and Inexpensive Fall Decorating Ideas

  14. 14
    Pie princess says:

    I use the same recipe except I use a pastry blender to mix in the butter and shortening. You want to keep the dough as cold as possible so hands off as much as you can. But here is my secret to getting the crust flaky…use half water and half vodka to moisten the dough. The vodka allows you to make the crust a little wetter for rolling, and then in the oven the vodka evaporates completely, leaving the crust more flaky! Try it!

  15. 15

    I need this! Pinning and sharing on my FB page. Thank you for sharing my love!
    The 36th AVENUE recently posted..Burned Wood Christmas Ornaments

  16. 16

    Looks Fantastic! Pinning for future use ;)

    <3 Christina at I Gotta Create!
    Come {link} party with the Wildly Original Crowd.
    Christina at I Gotta Create! recently posted..Wildly Original Link Party #26

  17. 17

    So glad I saw this link on Michelle’s Tasty Creations Link Party. I’m going to pin this and come back for reference when I’m making pies on Friday! I’m going to make an apple pie, do I need to bake the crust before putting in the filling?? Or can I do it all at once? Thank you!!!!!
    Meghan @ The Tasty Fork recently posted..Smoked Almond & Rosemary Chicken Tenders

  18. 18
    Cathy says:

    I always get stuck after patting the dough in the pie plate…there’s overhang, and I’m not sure how much to trim. Do you tuck the excess in under, or over, or what? Can’t ever get it to look good, although I have to say that it tastes great no matter what it looks like!

  19. 19
    Theresa says:

    So pretty! My pie crusts always turn out so ugly, and the taste is nothing to write home about. Thank you for posting the step-by-step, I am going to use this for my pumpkin pies this year!
    Pinning to my recipes to try board.
    p.s. I found a Silicon pie protector at Bed Bath and Beyond last year, haven’t burned a crust since!

  20. 20
    Renee Maine says:

    I can’t wait to try this pie crust! Thank you so much for sharing. Also, I would love the lettering. Just let me know where to send the money! That is a great message to leave up all year long. Love your site. Again, thank you for being so generous.


  21. 21

    I have always been afraid to try homemade crust, I may just have to now! I would love for you to come link it up at I Freakin’ Did it Friday @ Miss Information

  22. 22
    Sherry says:

    Did you use real butter or margarine? Salted or unsalted?

  23. 23
    emily says:

    wow, that is a perfect crust :o) beautiful

  24. 24

    I HAVE to try this!!! My mom makes an incredible apple pie with the best crust but I’ve never been able to duplicate it. I’m going to give this one a try and see if I have better luck. I would really love it if you’d come share with us over at Real Housemoms for our Fabulous Fridays!

  25. 25

    Beautiful! I agree, using both butter and shortening help make the best pie dough. You get that great buttery taste and the shortening helps with the perfect flakiness. One thing I also love doing when I make pie dough is using half water half vodka to help ensure flakier crust and help make it more pliable when rolling it out. :)

  26. 26
    Courtney says:

    Pinned this and filing it away for next week! I’ve been searching for a better crust recipe!!

  27. 27
    Amber says:

    Does this recipe double well? or is it easier to work in smaller batches?
    I can’t wait to try it!

  28. 28
    aurelia says:

    It seem delicious…. But I’m french and I don’t known what is shortening. Can you help me please?

  29. 29

    Normally I roll my pie crust out on the counter, but last time I decided to roll it between wax paper and my wax paper must be cheap and junky, because I was peeling off little flecks of wax paper for quite a while. Sigh. That was annoying.

    I usually use all butter and use the food processor, but I think there’s something to be said for doing things by hand. It’s just more satisfying!

  30. 30
    Karla says:

    Is that the correct amount of butter and shortening. I make a two crust dough and it calls for 2C flour and 2/3C shortening, so wondering about the amount. Would love to try this recipe as I like to use butter also.

  31. 31

    I know how many people have huge issues with their crust! Your instructions are wonderful!
    Thank you so much for sharing this at Wednesday Extravaganza! Hope to see you there again this week :)

  32. 32
    jackie says:

    I love your recipes! I’ve never made a pie crust, but think I’m going to give it a try. My family would most likely be ok with a practice pie or two. I would love to get to get the lettering for your Thankful sign. I’ve thought about the saying numerous times since your post. Things have been a little rough lately, and I’ve needed the reminder. Let me know how I pay for it.

  33. 33
    Amy says:

    Darigold butter is the best!! I’ll be testing out this shortening/butter combo this week! Thanks!

  34. 34
    Julie says:

    i’m going to make my first homemade crust tomorrow but was wondering if the recipe works the same when cut in half?

    • 34.1
      Leigh Anne says:

      I have never halved it as I always make two and if I only need one I just freeze the other to use later or make lots of Pie Fries! I am sure it should cut in half fine though. Enjoy!

  35. 35

    Perfect tip for this time of year! I’m featuring you today… you’re a STAR over at I Gotta Create! Thanks so much for linking up with the Wildly Original Crowd at the party.

    <3 Christina

  36. 36

    Thanks for sharing this with us over at Real Housemoms for Fabulous Fridays! I was so excited to see it there!

  37. 37
    Cera says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Leigh Anne!

    I wanted to let you know that I tried a Gluten Free version of this pie crust last night for our Thanksgiving celebration today, and it worked pretty well! At first I was thinking it was going to be a flop, but after a night in the fridge, it tastes pretty fantastic. I used the crust to make a dutch sour cream apple pie.

    The flour mix I used was: 3/4 c + 6 T White Rice Flour, 1/4 c + 2T of Sweet Rice Flour, and 1/4 c. + 3 T each of Potato Starch, and Tapioca Starch, 1 1/2 t. Xanthan gum

    I used your recommended 1/2 c. of each butter and shortening. It was a bit much for the flour mix, so next time I think I’ll play around with the fat and go 1/3 c. of each. Also, this dough definitely requires refrigeration BEFORE trying to roll out between waxed paper. I divided the dough and pressed it into med. sized rounds and then refrigerated for about a half hour. You have to work FAST in order to get it rolled, transferred to the pie plate and edges fluted before the dough gets too warm. I actually re-refrigerated it for a bit before I was able to get the edges fluted. Then I did freeze it for about 15 minutes before filling and baking.

    When it came out I was seriously bummed! The crust seemed like it was going to disintegrate into powder. I cooled it on a rack and, when cooled, covered the pie and put in in the fridge to deal with in the morning. Well, this morning the crust was just fine and it sliced and plated well! HOORAY!!

    Hope you and your family have a blessed day of giving thanks. And here’s hoping your GF girl gets some wonderful pie! :)

    Cera Lamken

    • 37.1
      Leigh Anne says:

      Thanks for the gluten free version – will have to try that for Christmas for Cali. I made a gluten free, dairy free pumpkin pie for her. I used nuts and dates for the crust and coconut milk in the pumpkin filling.

  38. 38
    Georgia Ferguson says:

    Leigh Anne, I don’t know you but I totally feel like I do. Every single recipe I make from your blog turns out wonderfully. It seems like the recipes people ask for the most are the ones that come from your blog, including this pie crust. The tastiest, flakiest pie crust ever! At any rate, I just thought I’d let you know this is my favorite blog. Keep it up. I don’t know what I’d do without you!

  39. 39

    This is an awesome tutorial! The one I will follow to create my perfect pie crust! pinned! Thanks for sharing.

  40. 40
    Nicole says:

    Thanks! I am going to make a pumpkin pie for Christmas per my son’s request and am nervious about the crust. This makes it less stressful. Question, if I freeze half of it for later, so I freeze it in ball form? How do I handle the defrosting (counter? fridge?)? Also, so I need to worry about it being tougher or more dry? Thanks again!

  41. 41
    Ruth Petty says:

    Hi! I just wanted to share with you that I loved your pie tutorial so much that I used it to make my first Sweet Potato Pie and it was all the rage Christmas day! I have tried so many ~ including Martha’s and I do believe this is the yummiest! I blogged it at:

  42. 42
    Holli says:

    Made this crust tonight for my homemade chix potpie – yum! It turned out perfect. Thanks for making my 1st attempt at a pie crust painless :)

  43. 43

    Easiest way to roll it out, by far! Makin’ me want PIE!
    Mrs. Tucker (Patti) recently posted..Internety Thangs

  44. 44
    pemberly says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe :) 1 question though .. what is the total pre-baking time?

  45. 45
    Emilie says:

    I made pie crusts yesterday (my first time) using this recipe and they turned out so flaky and tender! It was a very easy recipe to follow and didn’t take too much time. I substituted frozen vegetable oil for the shortening (I don’t like using shortening) and it turned out just fine. Thanks so much!


  46. 46
    Hollie says:

    I was wondering would you recommend baking this crust before filling on a pecan pie?


  1. […] Pie Crust I was tasked with making chocolate pie for Thanksgiving this year. I haven’t made a pie before…so I did a lot of Pinterest-ing. I found that this (after a few failed attempts) was the best recipe for pie crust! Here is the chocolate pie filling I used. I tried the pie crust recipe, but it didn’t work out so well… […]

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