How to Make the Perfect Homemade Pie Crust


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There are few desserts I love more than pie.

I don’t know if it’s the versatility of their fillings, the crust, or the perfect way the two combine, but there’s yet to be a pie I couldn’t find myself enjoying.

Granny was quite the pie baker when I was growing up and her ability to make the perfect pie crust every time is what inspired me to develop this homemade pie crust recipe because, truth be told, if you get the crust right, there’s little you can do to ruin a pie.

For me, the perfect pie crust is buttery and flaky. And, once you perfect it, there’s no limit to the delicious things you can bake (think fruit pies, and pot pies, and cream pies, and even quiches)! Whether you like sweet pies or savory pies, the pie crust is the secret to a great tasting pie.

If you consult my cookbook, Carla Hall’s Sould Food: Everyday and Celebration, you’ll find that this recipe for pie crust dough is the foundation for my custardy sweet potato pie, my butterscotch pecan pie, my blackberry peach crumble pie, and my happy holidays nutmeg eggnog buttermilk pie. It’s also my go-to when I want to make a classic apple pie and my mini apple pie cups.

If you’re new to pie baking, here are a few tips for making the perfect pie crust recipe come out just right to help you get started.

the perfect homemade pie crust

Tips for Making the Perfect Homemade Pie Crust

Keep your ingredients cold.

A lot of baked goods call for room temperature ingredients, but this could not be further from the truth when it comes to baking pie.

The melting of the fats in the dough is what leads to the flaky crust. You don’t want that process to start until your pie goes into the oven so using cold butter and cold water will prevent the fats from melting while you’re rolling.

And yes, ice water makes sense here. Add some to your measuring cup if you’d like.

Cold ingredients are the key to a flaky, tender, light crust.

Use all butter.

Some pie crust recipes call for both butter and shortening, but I am a butter girl through and through.

While shortening does make for a more pliable dough which can make rolling an easier process, I just love the flavor and texture butter provides.

Using all butter in your crust will lead to a flakier, lighter crust with that rich, buttery flavor we all know and love.

Be gentle, chunks are okay.

Unlike a cake or cookie where you want things beaten into smoothness, your chunks of butter should be visible in your pie dough.

If these have melted too much—which can easily happen if you’re going hard on the rolling and handling of your dough—you’re going to be left with a heavy, hard, greasy crust as opposed to the light, soft, flaky one you desire. Again, you want your butter to melt in your oven, not on your counter.

Another drawback of going too hard on your crust is that doing so will cause the dough to develop gluten making your end result tougher in texture.

Roll your dough out evenly.

Use your rolling pin to poll your dough out as evenly as possible. You don’t want uneven thickness or you will have thick clumps of dough in your pie.

You want to roll and turn your dough as you go to help even it out and don’t be afraid to use your hands if necessary to get the dough as thin and evenly flattened as possible.

Let it chill.

I’m going to beat this cold ingredients note to death because it really is so important for a perfect crust.

Once your pie dough is formed, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it chill until firm, at least 30 minutes or up to a day.

Use pie weights when blind baking.

Many of my pie recipes require that you bake your bottom crust before adding the pie filling. This process is known as “blind baking”. If you’re going to blind bake your pie, I recommend filling the bottom pf the crust with pie weights to prevent air bubbles from forming.

To blind bake, put your pie crust dough in the pie dish and then line the dough with aluminum foil or parchment paper and then add the weights on top of that. If you don’t have weights simple dried beans make for the perfect alternative solution.

Aerate your flour.

Properly measuring your flour is super important when baking anything, including pie dough. If you’re not going to weigh your flour, I recommend aerating it to get the most accurate measurements.

Watch my video about how to measure flour here.

The best thing about my classic pie dough is that it calls for just a few simple ingredients and takes very little time.

Make a sweet potato pie with me.

Read on for the full recipe.

Carla's Classic Pie Dough

the perfect homemade pie crust

This go-to recipe will give you a buttery no-fail crust every time.


  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


  1. Dissolve the sugar and salt in 1/3 cup water and chill until cold.
  2. Pulse the flour and butter in a food processor until the mixture looks like a coarse meal with some pea-size pieces. Add the water all at once and pulse until the dough almost forms a ball.
  3. Divide the dough in half and flatten into two disks.
  4. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

Make ahead: You can freeze the dough for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rolling.

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