The Only Pie Crust Recipe and Tutorial You'll Ever Need

If making the perfect, flaky pie crust is the one thing holding you back from rockstar status in the kitchen, I totally have your back today.

Today I’m sharing with you the most perfect, amazing pie crust I’ve ever made. I’ve been perfecting this recipe for the last few months in order to share it with you. It is simple (no food processor or special tools required) and I truly believe it is fail-proof. I’ve made it dozens of times and it never ceases to amaze me. In fact, I am 99.9% sure I’ll never use another pie crust recipe again because this one has truly changed my life. Dramatic? Oh just you wait. Your life is about to be changed, too.

The secret? Throw all you know and love about traditional pie crusts out the window because instead of that classic ice water drizzled in at the end, this recipe uses sour cream. I know. I know! Pie crusts made with sour cream are not a new thing; they’ve been around forever (but the concept is new-ish to me). And before you ask, I have no idea what the chemistry is behind the perfection, but it works. Not only is the dough extremely easy to work with but the crust is buttery and flaky and simply the best in the entire universe.

The Only Pie Crust Recipe and Tutorial You'll Ever Need

Below, I have a handy-dandy tutorial for you. I’ve separated the tutorial out into main sections (i.e. Rolling, Crimping, etc.). You can click on the separate links to take you to a specific section. Already have mixing the dough handled and need a little guide on crimping the edges? Don’t worry, I have a link for that. Pretty sure you know how to roll it out just right but don’t know how to get it into the pie plate? There’s a link for that. Is trimming the edges a breeze but you’d like a little peek into blind baking? Link, link, link.

I am hoping that by sharing this tutorial and no-fail pie crust recipe now, it will instill in you a feverish desire to become a Great Pie Master (so I’m not alone in my obsession).

I’m a pie-making machine now that I’ve found this recipe. Seriously, I can’t be stopped. In fact, I have an unbaked pie crust all pretty and crimped sitting in a pie plate in the refrigerator just waiting to be used even though I have no specific plans for it yet. Never any harm in keeping a pie crust ready to be used in an instant, I always say. I make pie crusts now when I’m bored. Just because I can. With this pie crust recipe and tutorial under your belt, you’ll be good to go for the holiday season. And now that I’ve shared it with you, my life is officially complete.

Update: a few extra notes: be careful not to measure the flour with a heavy hand (I use the spoon-and-sweep method, don’t shake the cup to level!) and it’s ok if you have to add more sour cream just do so gradually so you don’t end up with too much as it will make a gummy/dense crust. Also, keep in mind that the real key to ending up with a light, flaky pie crust instead of a tough pie crust is minimal handling of the dough in every step – from mixing to rolling. The more the dough is handled, the more those butter pieces break down which means they won’t create those lovely pockets of steam while baking which creates the flakiness. 

The Perfect Pie Crust

Yield: Makes 1 single 9-inch pie crust

The Perfect Pie Crust

This recipe can be easily doubled for a double crust pie.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (not lowfat or light), plus an additional tablespoon or three if needed

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk together the flour, salt and sugar.
  2. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the butter into the dry ingredients.
  3. With a fork, toss the butter and flour mixture until the butter pieces are all evenly coated with flour. Don't break down the butter pieces in this step, just lightly toss until they are coated with flour.
  4. Spoon the sour cream into the bowl. Using the same fork, mix the sour cream into the butter/flour mixture by pressing the fork down into the sour cream in order to mash the large clumps of sour cream into the flour and butter. A commenter suggested using a pastry blender which will help incorporate the sour cream a bit better. The sour cream won't mix in like a traditional pie crust with ice water. But take care not to overwork the dough trying to get the sour cream mixed in - if the butter pieces get too small and overprocessed, the crust will be tough.
  5. After a few turns with the fork, it is easiest to use your hands to pull the dough together. It will look a bit shaggy but as you press it together (quickly and firmly so the the butter pieces don't melt), it should start to form a cohesive ball.
  6. If it still seems overly dry, add a teaspoon or so of sour cream at a time until it comes together.
  7. It's ok if there are still a few dry spots or cracks in the dough. The mixture should not be overly wet or sticky. At the same time, it shouldn't be falling apart either. It should hold together when pressed (see the pictures below). Many of you have had to add quite a bit more sour cream. That's ok as long as the crust isn't overly saturated (then it will be dense and gummy). Much of that depends on how you measure flour - if you pack the flour into your measuring cup, you'll obviously need more sour cream (try to measure the flour with a light hand).
  8. At this point the dough can be rolled out on a lightly floured counter or it can also be pressed into a flat disc and wrapped in plastic to be refrigerated for 1-2 days or frozen for up to a month.
  9. To roll out, lightly flour your countertop and using firm, even strokes, roll from the center outward, turning the dough a quarter turn every few strokes. The less you mess with the dough the better - even rolling - so try not to overwork it. Roll it out to a thin crust as quickly as possible.
  10. Roll the dough over the rolling pin and unroll it onto the pie plate. Gently lift up the edges of the pie crust and settle it into the bottom of the pie plate without pressing or smushing.
  11. Trim the edges to within 1/4-inch. Fold the short overhang underneath the top edge of the pie plate and crimp all the way around.
  12. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using. To blind bake (prebake the pie crust), line the refrigerated crust with foil and fill with dry beans or pie weights. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Gently remove the foil and beans/weights and return to the oven to bake for another 10-12 minutes until nicely golden.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/the-only-pie-crust-recipe-tutorial-youll-ever-need/

Recipe Source: tested and perfected by me (Mel) after seeing the idea for it on The Kitchn

Mixing the Pie Dough | Rolling Out the Pie Crust | Putting the Pie Crust in the Pie Plate | Trimming and Crimping the Edge of the Pie Crust | Baking and Blind Baking |

Mixing the Pie Dough

The Only Pie Crust Recipe and Tutorial You'll Ever Need

Mixing the Pie Dough | Rolling Out the Pie Crust | Putting the Pie Crust in the Pie Plate | Trimming and Crimping the Edge of the Pie Crust | Baking and Blind Baking |

Rolling Out the Pie Crust

The Only Pie Crust Recipe and Tutorial You'll Ever Need

Mixing the Pie Dough | Rolling Out the Pie Crust | Putting the Pie Crust in the Pie Plate | Trimming and Crimping the Edge of the Pie Crust | Baking and Blind Baking |

Putting the Pie Crust in the Pie Plate

The Only Pie Crust Recipe and Tutorial You'll Ever Need

Mixing the Pie Dough | Rolling Out the Pie Crust | Putting the Pie Crust in the Pie Plate | Trimming and Crimping the Edge of the Pie Crust | Baking and Blind Baking |

Trimming and Crimping the Edge of the Pie Crust

The Only Pie Crust Recipe and Tutorial You'll Ever Need

Mixing the Pie Dough | Rolling Out the Pie Crust | Putting the Pie Crust in the Pie Plate | Trimming and Crimping the Edge of the Pie Crust | Baking and Blind Baking |

Baking and Blind Baking

The Only Pie Crust Recipe and Tutorial You'll Ever Need

Mixing the Pie Dough | Rolling Out the Pie Crust | Putting the Pie Crust in the Pie Plate | Trimming and Crimping the Edge of the Pie Crust | Baking and Blind Baking |

169 Responses to The Best and Only Pie Crust Recipe {& Tutorial} You’ll Ever Need

  1. Haley Oakes says:

    I’m planning to try this fascinating recipe for Thanksgiving. I have two questions. 1) How long will an unbaked pie crust keep in the refrigerator? And 2) Once baked, do I need to fill the pie crust that day, or would it keep until the following day?

    • Mel says:

      I’ve kept an unbaked pie crust (already in the pie plate) covered in the refrigerator for up to three days. If it’s been baked, it’s probably fine well-covered for another day (a humid climate might make the crust soften a little, though).

  2. Amy says:

    How much is 10 Tablespoon of butter ? Sorry..I live in Germany and I do not have American package butter

  3. Christina says:

    I made pie crust (not this recipe) last night and have it chilling in the fridge.. when I go to roll it out tonight, do I have to let it sit at room temp or can I struggle through rolling it fresh from the fridge?

    • Mel says:

      It kind of depends on how long the pie crust has been refrigerated. Longer than an hour or so and it might help to let it sit at room temp for 10 or so minutes.

  4. Carli Hancock says:

    I didn’t read the recipe carefully enough and bought bleached flour. Will this make a drastic difference?

  5. Debra Chilson says:

    Mel, does this make enough for a deep dish pie? Or would I need to add to it? I only make deep dish pies, that way I know that slice is awesome and no skimping around! Love those pies!

    • Donna says:

      I need to know too Mel! I’m making a deep dish!

    • Mel says:

      I just rolled out several of these pie crusts today and one recipe was large enough to fit my big 10-inch tart pan so I don’t think you’d need to add any to fit a deep pie plate (especially if you roll it out thin).

  6. kadar says:

    If I use this for a pumpkin pie do you know how long I need to bake it prior to filling the crust? Thanks!

  7. kc says:

    Didn’t care for this recipe, although it may have been user error but didn’t seem to have the right texture. Back to the classic crisco recipe for me

    • Janan says:

      I grew up with my mom baking cakes & cookies all the time, but not pies, over 19 years. We moved to another city and a new friend introduced her to a new pie recipe with vinegar and egg, called a “No Fail Pie Crust Recipe.”. She started making pies like crazy. So now our traditional Christmas pies are buttermilk pies and pumpkin or apple pie.

  8. MaryLee says:

    So if you are using the pie weights and foil, do you not have to prick the bottom of your pie when making a single crust?

  9. Erin says:

    Totally user error on my part, but I didn’t read he part about refrigerating the pie crust until after the pie was filled and in the oven. My pretty little edges immediately went all gloopy on me :( It’s definitely not going to be a pretty pie, but I’m hoping it still tastes the same. It’s just past midnight on Thanksgiving morning, I am NOT staying up to make another! If they want pie, they will eat ugly pie.

  10. Haley says:

    For some reason when I baked my pie crust it was just swimming in butter. It was a soggy, icky mess. Major bummer! I wish mine looked like yours.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Haley – the only reason(s) I can think that would happen is if your butter pieces weren’t small enough or if there was too much liquid in the dough. Do you think either of those could have happened? I’m sorry it didn’t turn out.

  11. Leigh says:

    Hi- I want to make this crust for a Thanksgiving gathering over the weekend. May I use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream? I am in Italy and I don’t know of a sour cream substitute that would have the tartness of sour cream other than yogurt. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Leigh – I haven’t tried it with Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream so I can’t say for sure but usually Greek yogurt subs well for sour cream (I’d say not to use fat-free or low fat though).

  12. Erin says:

    Haley, that is exactly what happened to mine. It was awful. Probably the worst pie crust I have ever made.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Erin – I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you. I’ve never had the issue you and Haley described (despite having made this crust dozens and dozens of times). Any chance your butter pieces weren’t processed small enough or too much liquid/sour cream was added to the dough?

      • Erin says:

        I maybe added an extra tablespoon of sour cream because it wasn’t sticking together. And the butter seemed to grate into nice small pieces because it was frozen. But as the pie was baking the butter was just leaking out all over the bottom of the oven. I did double it so maybe that threw things off.

  13. Laurie says:

    Just baked a pie using this crust recipe… The pie crust oozed and leaked butter all over my oven, caused major smoke, set off the smoke alarms. Could not believe how much butter leaked out! The house smells, had to open windows in 30* weather, had just cleaned my oven, people are coming over. Wow :(( … Disaster! Followed the directions exactly… Hope it taste good :/ ! Will not make this again will stick with the frugal gourmets recipe tastes great, is easy, and does not do this!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Laurie – sorry this didn’t work out for you. Just like the two commenters above, I’m not sure what would have gone wrong since I’ve never had that happen in the many times I’ve made it. My guess is that the butter was in still too large of pieces. Either way, it sounds like you have a pie crust recipe you love to stick with.

  14. Ann D. says:

    The same thing happened to me when I made this (as others have described with the excess butter and crust falling off of the edges into the oven). I really, really wanted this to work. I’ve tried it twice, and it happened both times. I felt like even though the butter was frozen, it got all melty by the time I was done grating it all, so I tried to put it back in fridge to harden again. The texture was also almost tough and chewy. Still love you though, Mel, and all of your other recipes I’ve tried.

    • Mel says:

      Hey Ann- thanks for checking in on this recipe. I’m sorry you had the same issues! It’s super baffling to me why this is happening when so many of us have had it work out so well. I know that doesn’t help (no one likes to hear that a recipe works out for others when it wasn’t that great for them). I’ll definitely keep my eye on it as I continue to make it. I want it truly to be perfect and no fail for everyone! I think one of the issues may be if people are adding liquid to make a soft dough – the dough is fairly crumbly when I pat it into a disc shape to refrigerate; it presses together when I grab a clump of it but it is by no means a soft dough like a sugar cookie dough or something like that. Anyway, sorry again!

  15. Michelle says:

    Mel, I love this recipe so much, I’ve passed it out to several people in the last few days! I made mini apple galettes with this for Thanksgiving (don’t know why, but it sounded good in my head!). They were a huge hit and the dough was fabulous to work with!!! I did it just like you described above, added just 1/2 cup of sour cream, and put it in the fridge after mixing it. After 30 or so minutes, the texture is perfect, and rolls out as easily as play-doh! It’s flaky, delicious!

    I wonder if some people are having difficulty aren’t chilling it enough before baking. When I made a sample of the galette, I hadn’t refrigerated it directly before baking, and the crust kind of melted and lost its shape. For subsequent ones I chilled the assembled pies for 30 minutes before baking, and they set up perfectly!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for weighing in on this, Michelle! It helps to hear from someone else who has had good success with the recipe. I agree that chilling the dough is crucial. Thanks for your comment! (The apple galettes sound fabulous!)

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