Standard Pie Crust Recipe

I’ve received lots and lots and lots of requests for a pie crust that’s simpler than the one that’s currently on the site. This is an excellent standard pie crust that comes together quickly. Of course it still needs lots of resting, both after it’s made and whenever it’s shaped, to ensure it doesn’t shrink up during baking. This recipe makes enough for a double crust pie. If you’re making an open-topped pie, that’s fine. Just freeze the remainder for next time! Talk about pie the easy way.

13 ounces (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold butter
5.5 ounces (11 tablespoons) cold vegetable shortening or lard
4-5 tablespoons ice water

Cut the butter into small pieces and refrigerate them for at least half an hour, or freeze for 10-15 minutes. Spoon the shortening or lard onto a plate, freeze it 10 minutes, then cut it up and keep it refrigerated or frozen until you’re ready to use it. Whisk together the flour and salt. Add the butter pieces and cut them in with a pastry blender or with your fingers until the pieces are tiny. Do the same with the shortening/lard until the mixture looks like coarse meal.

Add the water and with a spoon or spatula work it in. If a dough doesn’t come together add another teaspoon or two until you can easily gather it all into a ball. Knead it lightly…i.e. fold it over two or three times, tops. Then divide the dough into two pieces, flatten them into disks and wrap them in plastic. Store the disks in the refrigerator for an absolute minimum of an hour. Two or three is better.

The dough will keep in the fridge for up to five days, up to a month, well wrapped, in the freezer. If you make a fair number of pies, double or even triple this dough, portion it, wrap it and freeze it. Thaw it overnight before using.

17 thoughts on “Standard Pie Crust Recipe”

  1. “Spoon the softening or lard onto a plate…” – surely you mean shortening?

  2. Can we start getting recipes with metric measurements? I don’t know how anyone still puts up with the old American system, especially in baking.

    1. One particularly, and probably only, nice thing about the SAE (non-metric) system is that it usually halves easily, over and over. That said, I never could figure out why a tablespoon is three teaspoons, it drives my binary mind nuts.

    2. Hey Evan!

      I’ll see what I can do about that. It a lotta conversions!

      – Joe

      1. Being European, I usually don’t mind the American system, since for a few years I didn’t have kitchen scale but had measuring cups (proudly brought from USA round trip; here in Latvia we have measuring cup sets in different volumes). But what can drive me crazy, is recipes which measures solid things like butter in cups or tablespoons; my mind just didn’t get it until recently I was in Canada and saw that there are cups marked on butter packages, like we have grams on baking margarine packages. Mystery solved! Several times I have put double (or, vice versa, half) amount of butter in recipe simply because forget how much in grams was one cup (result was edible, though; Russians have a good saying that “one can’t spoil porridge with too much butter” :))

        1. I’m going to remember that one, Antuanete! That’s a saying I’ll use for sure.

          But yes I can certainly see the butter-in-tablespoons problem. That’s why I try to use weights consistently. I don’t always succeed, but I try. The thought of going back and converting everything to metric really gives me a headache, I’ll confess. Maybe one day soon I’ll bite the bullet and do it.

          – Joe

          1. Joe, I don’t think anyone expects you to convert measurements in all archived recipes, in that case we wouldn’t see a new posts from you for a long time (and who could live without news in your blog for a week? not me!) For future posts, though, it would be really helpful to have both measurement systems in recipes.

  3. Where do I find The Perfect Pie Crust that is linked to on The Standard Pie Crust Recipe? The link doesn’t work. Thanks

    1. Hey Brenda!

      Everything is under the menus on the left side. This recipe is under Pastry Components…however I just fixed the link so you can access it from the post. Sorry about that!

      – Joe

  4. Ahh! Now I understand why it’s “easy as pie”….after like 3 different recipes and attempts it finally came together super-easily, and looked like it was supposed to. I guess it was too dry before. Thanks for your extra-clear recipe and instructions!

    1. My very great pleasure, Michelle! So glad it worked for you.

      Come back soon!

      – Joe

  5. Dear Joe:

    If you could see me making pie crust you would double over laughing!
    First, I cut up the refrigerator cold butter into small dice and put that in freezer. (was taught never more than 10 minutes because you want the butter to absorb as much flour as possible).
    Second, I pull out of the freezer my flour and salt, which has been in there for 10 minutes in a metal bowl.
    Third, I take half the butter and grated on the big hole side of the box cutter. (was taught not to use my hands to get some butter into layers because hands are too hot). But, you do need some of the butter to be in chunks and some of it to be in flakes. (never told how much of each)
    Fourth, put the chunks of butter with 3/4 of flour into food processor pulse exactly 3 times, take out and add to the remainder of flour with flakes in the metal bowl. Combine the two using hands (or better yet my expensive new dough thingy)
    Fifth: and now for the water–ohh, the fear of it ! I have a dry kitchen so, I have been told to add extra water (never told how much extra). Try to use a fork to sort the pieces with water away from dry pieces which haven’t absorbed any water. Then add more water to the dry pieces. Then combine the two on wax paper, shape into disc, and cool down in frig for 20 minutes.
    I know this is awkward and I saw dear Aunt Babe make many a prize winning pies (county fairs), she never went through anything like this!
    My fear starts when I don’t get all the flour into “cornmeal size”.
    That is compounded terribly when I add the water and some flour gets involved and some does not. I can handle the roll out part very nicely.
    Do you have any insights, or additional suggestions. Also, I used to use lard, but was talked out of that, so now I use only real butter, which I love. Can I substitute butter for the lard in your recipe?
    Do you use your fingers to rub some of the butter into the flour to get flakes, or do you just skip the flaky part?
    Thank you again,

    1. Hello Annelee!

      I hardly know where to start! 😉 First and foremost I’d say don’t sweat it. There’s so much hype and pressure about perfect pie crusts these days that most people have simply given up trying to make pie, and that’s a shame because they’re not supposed to be scary and complicated, they’re supposed to be simple and fun!

      If dryness is a problem, just add more water. Nothing to be afraid of in that department. Some flour simply has less moisture in it. The main thing is to get the dough to a workable consistency. Don’t worry about “cornmeal” textured dough either. Butter pieces can be up to the size of large peas or even corn flake-sizes flakes and everything will work out fine.

      Butter or lard, with one works great and you absolutely can go all-butter with this crust. What have I missed?

      Your friend,

      – Joe

  6. Just made a homemade crust yesterday, it was so flaky and good!!
    August 15 th was National Lemon Meringue Pie Day, so I had to make one!!

    It was also Julia Child’s Birthday.

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