Crumb Pie Crust Recipe(s)

Crumb crusts are great for citrus curd pies: key lime, lemon meringue, orange cream, that sort of thing. Graham cracker crusts are probably the most popular crumb crust, but you can also make terrific pie crusts out of vanilla wafers, gingersnaps and other kinds of simple cookies.

For a Graham Cracker Crust

5 ounces (1 1/4 cups) graham cracker crumbs
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) sugar
pinch cinnamon
2.5 ounces (5 tablespoons) butter, melted

For a Gingersnap of Vanilla Wafer Crust

6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) cookie crumbs
pinch salt
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) butter, melted


Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour in the melted butter and rub it into the mixture. The crust mixture should hold together when you squeeze it in your hand. If not, add a little more melted butter.

Press the mixture into a 9″ pie pan. It helps to place a piece of plastic wrap over the mixture to keep it from sticking to your fingers. If you have a tin pie plate in addition to a regular pan, that’s useful for pressing the crust. Place it on top of the plastic wrap-topped mixture and press it down starting the center then outward toward the edges. Gently remove the tin and the plastic wrap.

11 thoughts on “Crumb Pie Crust Recipe(s)”

  1. What about chocolate crumb crusts? Nabisco (I think?) makes a lovely dark chocolate wafer cookie, but at least in my area of the country it’s a very seasonal item. And even around Christmas it’s hit-or-miss as to whether any given store will have them in stock. I’ve tried chocolate grahams (blah), oreos (okay, but more than a little disturbing in concept, considering the cream), and in a moment of desperation even thought about buying and unwrapping a ton of those 100-calorie packs of “oreo thins.” But is there some way to get a good – and by that I suppose I mean nice and dark, some chocolate flavor – chocolate crumb crust from your average grocery store’s usual cookie offerings? Maybe adding dutched cocoa powder?

    1. I’ve lost my mind on the hunt for Nabisco’s FAMOUS chocolate wafers, so freaking annoying. I am in the South and they are usually with ice cream cones and toppings. I am very, very sure the nice grocery manager explained to me why this is but I was seeing red and hearing Valkyrie battle cries. (Mr. Grocery Manager is actually very nice.) So far, the ice cream cone section has held true in 5 different states.

      Even having finally found the wafers I use half oreos. I think the ‘cream’ helps the crusts. When I use oreos the crust is crisper, sturdier and cuts so neatly.

      1. Neat idea, Jenny. Regarding the famous wafers, I guess those things are mostly used for ice cream sandwiches? Just a guess.


        – Joe

      2. Jenny, while they are never cheap (I get them for approximately $5 a package in store), I have found that you can get those cookies from Amazon. I’m in New England, and my grocery does carry them year round so I’ve not been reduced to that sort of desperation (cuz Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake would not be the same!). Here is the link, warning: do not have liquid in your mouth, spit-take is possible.

      3. Fascinating! Thanks – I’ll be sure to check the ice cream accessories section the next time I’m at the store.

  2. I like to save chocolate cake scraps from leveling layers (if I can keep the family from eating them!) to grate (through a larger sieve) into crumbs and toast to make a crumb crust for cheesecake and chocolate meringue pie. I use pretty much the same recipe as the graham crust, but without the cinnamon, and only 3 T butter. It’s similar to an oreo crust, but without having to buy and scrape oreos. I try to keep cake crumbs in the freezer. It’s also a good use for a cake that falls or is too dry.

  3. The flat bottom of a metal measuring cup is also a good tool for pressing a crumb crust into shape.

  4. When I do a pumpkin or apple-butter cheesecake, I use ginger snaps, but add rosemary to the crust. It always gets great reviews!

  5. Sir Pastry – do you have any ideas about a coconut crumb or cookie crust?

    We tried one for our Easter pie and it was an utter fail. It was HARD, stuck to the pan, fairly ugly but if it had been servable it would have been so yummy.

    It was a cookie dough, cream butter and sugar, add an egg yolk, flour and coconut and press into the pan and bake. I am thinking I just should have added toasted coconut or desiccated coconut to plain cookie crumbs and gone from there.

    1. Hmm…interesting. So that was an actual cookie crust (which I’m noticing are all the rage these days). You could try toasting some shredded — unsweetened — coconut and bringing that together with your cookie crumbs. There will likely be some cohesion problems, since cookie crumbs have a hard enough tim sticking together as it is, but if it’s completely cool it shouldn’t be too bad. A little coconut extract would probably help the case in the mix!

      That’s my best idea at the moment, Jenny!


      – Joe

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