Making Standard Pie Crust

This pie crust isn’t as perfect as oh, say, the Perfect Pie Crust on the site, but then sometimes being perfect takes a little too much time and energy. This recipe is time-tested, and when done well rivals even a “perfect” crust for that elusive combination of tenderness and flakiness that pie lovers live for.

Start by assembling your ingredients and spooning your shortening (or lard) onto a plate. Refrigerate it for a good half an hour or freeze it 10-15 minutes to firm it some.

Cut it into pieces that are reasonable small…no need to go too nuts, then put them back in the fridge while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

Cut the butter into small cubes and return them to the fridge or freezer.

Combine your salt and flour.

Whisk it together.

Now add the butter pieces.

Quickly rub it in with your fingers or cut it in with a pastry blender. Then add the shortening/lard.

Work that in until the mixture look about like this.

It’ll be fairly moist already. It won’t take much water to bring it together.

Add a few tablespoons and bring the dough together a bit with a spatula.

Then dive in with your hands and work it gently until you have something like this:

Divide the dough into two equal portions, pat them into disks and refrigerate them until you’re ready to use them.

This crust freezes perfectly for up to about two months, so if you’re make an open-topped pie, just save the other for another purpose. Multiply this recipe two or three times for a large batch that will see you through weeks of pie making!

15 thoughts on “Making Standard Pie Crust”

  1. Hi Joe,

    If I freeze the dough, is a zip top freezer bag sufficient to keep it safe in the freezer? Also, how long will it need to sit in the fridge to thaw before using? Thanks!


    1. Yes, Eva, you can use a freezer bag, no problem. I’d let it thaw overnight just to be safe, but six hours is probably enough.

      – Joe

  2. Hi Joe! Thought I’d pass along my master pie crust recipe that I used to win a $25000 scholarship to The Culinary Institute of America. The filling was apples and that recipe is at my site as well.

    I use a food processor to make it and it comes out perfect every time. I also use shortening for texture and butter for flavor. Plus the butter lets out steam which makes the crust nice and flaky.

    Still loving your site. You do a great job!

    1. I’ll never turn down a good pie crust recipe! Thanks very much for everything, Dave!


      – Joe

        1. Just scroll down, Katryna! I put the recipe up last week. I’ll combine the posts when I archive them, but for now they’re displayed separately.

          – Joe

          1. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!

  3. One trick I picked up from some antique cook books is to add a small pinch of baking powder — no more than an eighth teaspoon for a double crust recipe — to the flour mixture. The slight amount of leavening produces a lighter texture without sacrificing the flakiness, and results in an extremely tender crust.

    Of course, pastry purists may cringe at the thought of it, as I did at first. But curiosity got the better of me, and now it’s in my go-to recipe.

    1. Oops, spoke too soon. I see now that the Perfect Pie Crust recipe you linked to in this post also includes a little baking powder. Carry on.

      1. Nope, I appreciate that. It definitely adds to our discussion here.


        – Joe

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