My favorite all-butter pie crust recipe — easy to make either 100% by hand or with the help of a food processor. See notes above for more helpful tips. (This recipe makes enough for one standard 9-inch pie crust. Please double the recipe if you need a double crust.)
- 1 1/4 cups (150 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115 grams) cold unsalted butter*, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup ice water
- Mix the dry ingredients: Combine the flour, sugar (optional) and salt in a large mixing bowl or a food processor. Whisk or pulse briefly until combined.
- Cut the butter into the dry ingredients: Sprinkle the diced butter evenly over the dry ingredient mixture. If working by hand, use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is evenly dispersed into pea-sized (or smaller) bits. If using a food processor, briefly pulse the butter and dry ingredients together 5 to 7 times until the butter is evenly dispersed into pea-sized (or smaller) bits, then transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
- Add water: Sprinkle the dough evenly with the ice water. Use a spatula to quickly mix the water into the dough until it is evenly combined, and the dough begins to form moist clumps. (If the dough is not sticking together, you can add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of water to help it clump.) Try not to overmix the dough.
- Form a dough ball: Using your hands, quickly pack the dough into a ball (like you’re packing a snowball). Then flatten the ball into a 3/4-inch thick disk.
- Wrap and chill the dough: Wrap the dough disk tightly in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days, until ready to roll out and use.
*Chilled butter: You want the butter to be fresh-out-of-the-fridge chilled (not frozen, not room temperature) when it is added to the dry ingredients.
To roll out the dough: Once the dough has chilled for at least an hour, transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Unwrap and lightly dust the top of the dough and the rolling pin with flour. Then gently roll the dough into a circle that is at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick (the perfect size for a 9-inch pie plate). Carefully transfer dough to the pie plate, and gently press the dough into the sides of the plate without stretching it. Use kitchen shears or a knife to trim off any excess pastry, leaving about a 1-inch border of crust around the top of the pie plate. Carefully lift and fold the outer 1/2-inch edges of the crust back under itself, pinching the crust gently to sculpt an upstanding ridge. Use your fingers to crimp the dough (see photo) to form a scalloped edge, or create whatever other decorative crust design you prefer. Chill pie crust for at least 15 minutes before continuing with your recipe.
To blind-bake the crust: If your recipe calls for a blind-baked (pre-baked) crust, use a fork to poke a few series of holes in the bottom of the chilled crust. Then use parchment paper or aluminum foil to line the inside of the crust, shaping it gently around the inner edges to form a mold of the crust. Fill the bottom of the crust with pie weights or dried beans. Then bake immediately at 400°F for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and carefully lift out the foil/parchment and weights and set them aside. If the bottom of the crust has started to bubble up, poke it with the fork a few more times. Return the crust to the oven for 10-12 minutes for a partially baked pre-baked pie shell (it should be lightly browned), or 15-17 minutes for a fully pre-baked pie shell (it should be a deep golden brown).
To make a lattice crust: See my detailed step-by-step photo tutorial for How To Make A Lattice Pie Crust.
For an extra golden or sugary crust: Use a pastry brush an egg wash (an egg whisked together with a splash or milk or water) on the surface of the crust before baking. Sprinkle with a little sugar, too, if desired.
Recipe update: Recipe has been updated slightly in November 2019 to include instructions for how to make a pie crust by hand. I also now recommend mixing the ice water into the dough by hand, versus doing that step in the food processor, as it is easy to accidentally over-mix the water using a food processor.