The best pie crust recipes start with the best ingredients, handled with care. Basic cookies and cakes are easy, but a perfect pie crust really shows off the skills of the baker. Pies have always been a part of my family’s holiday traditions, and we also baked many pies at our family catering business, so over the years I’ve made a lot of pie crusts. These are some of my favorite “go to” pie crust recipes, along with tips for perfect pies. I’ve also included links to the pie recipes currently on the website. The nut, shortbread, coconut, graham cracker and cookie crust recipes make enough for a generous 9-inch pie crust or a thinner ten inch pie crust.
Mom’s Pastry Pie Crust with Vinegar Recipe
This pie crust recipe with vinegar is the one my mom used for as long as I can remember. The vinegar makes it lighter. (I tried vodka like they recommend on some foodie sites. Vinegar is better.) The egg makes it a little more elastic and easier to form. It makes enough for 3-4 for crusts, depending on how thick you roll the dough. It can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen.
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup non-hydrogenated lard or palm shortening, or half butter/half lard, cold
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 tbsp cold water
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
Cut together flour and lard with a pastry blender to form pea sized bits. Mix other ingredients in a separate bowl, then cut into flour mix with a fork. Mix until just blended. Chill before rolling out between two sheets of wax paper or on a pastry cloth. Makes 3-4 pie crusts.
Nut Pie Crust Recipe – Gluten Free
- 2 cups ground pecans or almonds
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Combine the ground nuts, butter and sugar. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350°F for 5 to 7 minutes to precook crust before final bake.
Coconut Pie Crust Recipe – Gluten Free
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (or butter)
- 2 cups dried unsweetened coconut meat, finely shredded
Combine the oil and coconut meat. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350°F for 5 to 7 minutes to precook crust before final bake.
Shortbread Pie Crust Recipe
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
Sift flour and sugar together into mixing bowl. With pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles cornmeal. Chill 30 minutes. Then press firmly into 9 inch pie pan. Pre-bake at 350°F for 5-7 minutes.
Graham Cracker Crust Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 18 crackers)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
Mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Add butter and mix thoroughly. Press mixture firmly and evenly against bottom and sides of pie pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350°F. Cool and fill with whipped or custard filling. Works just fine with gluten free graham crackers.
Any Cookie Pie Crust
Make Graham Cracker Crust as above, but substitute chocolate or vanilla wafer cookies or gingersnaps in place of graham crackers.
Tips for a Perfect Pie Crust
- Always keep your pastry crust ingredients cold. The bits of cold fat (lard, butter or shortening) melt of form air pockets during baking. If your fat melts during mixing, no pockets, no flaky crust.
- Always work your pastry crust gently to preserve those fat pockets. Blend until just combined. Too much handling makes the dough tough. This also applies for shortbread crust and shortbread cookies.
- Roll the pastry dough to the correct size – don’t stretch it! If you stretch the dough, it’s more likely to shrink back during baking and slip into the pan.
- If making custard pies with a pastry crust, prebake your crust with wax paper and pie weights or a pie weight chain to keep the unfilled crust from puffing up.
- Crimp pastry dough just slightly around the edge of the pan to help keep it from slipping down into the pan.
- Prevent excess browning around the edges of the pie by covering with aluminum foil or a pastry shield. (You can also keep drips out of the bottom of the oven with a pie drip pan.)
- Glass pie plates are my preferred baking option, because they transfer heat more evenly, and the pie will not pick up a metallic taste from the pan.
Pie Recipes on Common Sense Home
- Cranberry-Apple Pie with Maple Syrup and Cinnamon
- Strawberry-raspberry pie
- Old Fashioned Rhubarb Custard Pie
- Easy Cranberry Walnut Pie
- Raspberry Cream pie
Leave a comment to share your favorite baking tips or stories, or any questions you have about baking pies or recipe requests.
Originally published in 2009, updated 2016.