Photo by Victor Protasio; Prop styling by Audrey Davis; Food styling by Torie Cox.
Yield
Makes 1 double crust for a 9-in. pie (or 2 single-crust 9-in. pies)

Shortening gives this easy homemade pie crust its flaky texture and butter lends it delicious flavor.

 

 

How to Make It

Step 1

Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Drop in butter and shortening. Using your hands, a fork, a pastry cutter, or two knives, work butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles cornmeal with some small pea-size pieces.

Step 2

Using a fork, quickly stir in 1/2 cup ice water (mixture will not hold together). Turn dough and crumbs onto a clean surface. Knead just until dough starts to hold together but some bits still fall away, 5 to 10 times. Divide dough in half and pat each half into a 6-in. disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 20 minutes and up to overnight.

Step 3

Pie Crust Without Fear: Even experienced cooks can find it intimidating to make pie pastry. The following tips will help you turn out a terrific crust with ease.

Step 4

Keep the dough cold and the butter chunky. For a flaky crust, keep the butter from melting into the dough before baking. Why? Those bits of butter, which should be roughly pea-size, are meant to melt in the oven, giving off steam that creates flaky pockets. If the dough seems to be softening too much as you're working with it, throw it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. As you roll out the dough, you should see veins of butter running through it.

Step 5

Roll out from the center. It's much easier to roll dough into a circle if you work from the center out to the edge in all directions.

Step 6

Don't overdo it. Overworking the dough and using too much flour can make pie crust tough and dry. Try to keep a light hand with both, rolling just enough to reach your desired size and using only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the counter.

Step 7

Use a pie crust bag. This handy tool takes the strain out of rolling by providing a nonstick round frame for the dough as you roll it out, allowing you to use less flour and avoid shaggy edges. Simply put your chilled dough in the bag, zip it up, roll it out, and transfer it to your pan. The bags come in different sizes for regular and deep-dish pies and are available from many online sources (such as www.sugarcraft.com; $3 to $6 per bag).

Step 8

Use store-bought dough. If you're short on time (or patience), you can always use ready-made dough. In our tests, we preferred Pillsbury Just Unroll refrigerated pie crusts ($99), which have a nicely crisp texture (if slightly bland flavor) and Trader Joe's Gourmet Pie Crusts ($49), which have a more buttery finish.

Step 9

Crimp the edges. Crimping or fluting the edges of a double-crust pie seals the dough and keeps the filling from leaking out during baking. Even on a single-crust pie, crimping can create a helpful dam effect. There are many good techniques, but our favorite is to pinch the dough around the index finger of one hand using the thumb and forefinger of the other.

Step 10

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Chef's Notes

If you would like to use lard--which also contributes flavor and flakiness to pie crust--substitute 2 tbsp. lard for 2 tbsp. of the shortening. Try to get good-quality lard from a butcher shop if you can; it's generally much better than ordinary grocery-store lard.

Ratings & Reviews

khrist1n's Review

KatrinaH
June 09, 2013
This was the first pie crust I made. Now I no longer fear making pastry. It is super easy to follow and as long as you don't over work the dough it turns out fantastic.

Andreams88's Review

Andreams88
October 25, 2012
Good recipe.

KatrinaH's Review

MommyG
October 06, 2012
Awesome and easy pie crust recipe! I use this for all my pie baking. The trick to a great crust is very little mixing of the shortening and butter. Both should be very cold when you work with the dough. The finished product should have visible sections of shortening and butter. Once baked, it will all melt and make a flaky, delicious crust.

Piemaster's Review

litgourmet
August 27, 2011
I have altered recipe as follows: 11 tablespoons shortening, 4 tablespoons butter

sjacobs01's Review

khrist1n
October 27, 2010
OUTSTANDING is right. It makes 2 pies crusts, and I've used it twice so far. My husband now refuses to ever let me buy store bought again. And that's fine with me...I made this with my first made from scratch homemade pumpkin pie. Because the recipe called for the pie plate to cook on a cookie sheet I cooked it about 15 minutes longer...also because I was a little concerned that the ceramic pie plate hadn't cooked the pumpkin filling quite enough yet. Regardless of which recipe you follow- this is the BEST and easiest recipe EVER (in my humble opinion). LOVE IT. It's a lifer for me. Oh, I used the crisco at room temp and it never seems to be a problem :)

MommyG's Review

sjacobs01
October 23, 2009
Best pie crust recipe ever! The only one I use now.

LisaPepin's Review

LisaPepin
August 27, 2009
Excellent! I used to make a family recipe just using lard but the combination of butter & shortening made my pie turn out terrific! This is definitely now my "pie dough" recipe. I'm making it again this evening for a summer peach pie.

litgourmet's Review

Piemaster
August 09, 2009
Buttery, flakey, just a hint of sweetness; oh, so good. Easy, too. If you haven't made pie crust before, this recipe would be a great one to start with, because it explains precisely what to do.