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Easy All-Butter Pie Crust (2 Ways!)

This Easy All-Butter Pie Crust bakes up flaky, golden brown, and absolutely delicious. And you can make it one of two ways: by hand or in the food processor!

Either way, it comes together very quickly (like 10-minutes-or-less quick). Then let it chill in the fridge for a bit, and it’ll be ready to roll…and you can use it with both sweet and savory fillings!

So…have you been intimidated by making homemade pie crust from scratch, or you’ve tried to make it but it never came out quite right?

For years, my answer to both of those questions would have been a resounding YES. I definitely bought my fair share of refrigerated pie crust dough.

BUT, my friends, this recipe changed all that for me…and it can for you too!

When I finally decided to conquer my pie crust fears, I really had only 2 requirements as I searched for the recipe:

  1. It had to be easy (duh), and
  2. It had to be made with butter (because most shortening has hydrogenated oils, which we try to avoid using, and also because…BUTTER!).

Finding the right combination of ingredients – flour, salt, sugar (for sweet pies), butter, and water – was pretty simple. Just about every recipe I saw was almost exactly the same.

It was the method of turning those ingredients into the perfect pie crust dough that I needed to settle on.

As it turned out, two methods were so easy and gave me such excellent results every time that I couldn’t decide on just one, and so I’m going to show you both today. Try them and see which one you like best!

Method #1: By Hand (Using Grated Frozen Butter)

This one was my favorite (and to whoever came up with this genius idea…thank you)!

It skips the somewhat tedious step of cutting the butter into the flour with either a pastry blender, two knives or two forks. Instead, you simply toss the grated frozen butter with the flour mixture and then add ice water and mix until the dough starts to form.

So very quick and easy (and bonus: no extra stuff to wash)!

Method #2: Food Processor

This one is also incredibly quick and easy (and the only reason it came in second for me is the extra step of having to clean the food processor afterwards…but it’s worth it, and I really like making it this way as well!).

Just put the flour mixture into the food processor, add cubed cold butter, pulse until the mixture resembles course crumbs with a few pea-sized pieces of butter throughout, and then add ice water and pulse until the dough starts to come together.

a disk of easy all-butter pie crust dough on a floured surface with a rolling pin on the side

With either method, you then dump the dough out onto a clean work surface, gather it together and form a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and let it chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours (and up to overnight). Then it’s ready to use!

Ingredients You Need:

Note: Ingredient amounts are in the recipe card below.

  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt (use a fine-ground salt; coarse salt will not incorporate into the dough as well)
  • Sugar (use for sweet recipes only; omit for savory recipes)
  • Unsalted butter (frozen if using the by-hand method; very cold if using the food processor method)
  • Ice water

Special Equipment Needed:

  • Rolling pin
  • Food processor (for food processor method only)

Note: The above video is just a brief overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full printable recipe with detailed instructions.

Keep it COLD!

The key to a flaky pie crust is very cold butter. Those little butter chunks in the dough will create pockets of steam while baking, giving you that wonderfully flaky crust.

You want to keep that butter as cold as you can. This means work quickly while making the dough and handle the dough as little as possible with your warm hands.

Chilling the dough before using not only keeps the dough and butter cold, it also gives the gluten strands in the flour a chance to relax (which will make it much easier to roll out) and it allows the moisture to distribute evenly throughout the dough.

I recommend prepping the filling before rolling and putting the pie crust in the dish. If you put the dough in the dish first, put the dish in the refrigerator while you make the filling so it stays cold.

Tips for Rolling Out the Dough:

  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes (no longer) before you start; this will make it easier to roll.
  • Lightly flour your work surface, rolling pin and the top of the dough (note that too much added flour can make your pie crust tough, so start with a light dusting and add small amounts as you roll only as needed to prevent sticking).
  • Roll the dough from the center outwards, occasionally lifting it up and turning it a quarter turn (this will help ensure that the dough is rolled out evenly into a circular shape; plus, keeping it moving lets you monitor for sticking…you don’t want to get the dough all rolled out and then realize it’s stuck).
  • Keep your rolling pin clean as you go. If you notice any pieces of dough stuck to the pin, remove them because they will stick to your dough.
  • If you notice small cracks at the edges of the dough as you roll, just pinch them together and continue rolling. The sooner you deal with them the better, as they will only get bigger as you roll.
  • Aim for a circle of dough that is about 3 inches bigger than the top of your pie dish; this will make sure it fits in the dish with enough extra dough to roll under and flute the edges. Also, you never want to have to stretch your dough to fit the pan, as this will cause it to shrink.
rolled out pie dough on a floured surface with a rolling pin on the side

How to Transfer the Dough to the Pie Dish:

You have a few options here. Whichever you choose, make sure the pie dish is close so you don’t have to go very far, and center the dough in the dish as best as you can.

  • Carefully lift the dough with two hands and place it in the dish (this is usually how I do it; I haven’t had a problem with it tearing).
  • Lightly flour your rolling pin and gently roll up the dough onto the pin. Then, gently unroll the dough over the pie dish.
  • Gently gently fold the dough in half and then in half again making a triangle shape. Place the point of the triangle dough in the center of the dish and unfold.
  • Once it’s in the dish, gently press the bottom and sides into the dish (lift up the edges of the dough, if needed, so you don’t stretch it, because stretching can cause shrinkage).

How to Flute the Edges:

  • Fold the edges of the pie crust under so you are left with a nice tall edge all the way around the dish (a higher edge will help hold in the filling better as well as help make sure you can fit in all of your filling).
  • Using the thumb and index finger of one hand and the index finger of the other hand, flute the edges, working your way around the entire crust (if the dough sticks to your fingers, lightly flour them and continue). Like this:
close-up of 2 hands fluting pie crust edges

How to Blind-Bake the Crust (When Needed):

Some recipes call for blind-baking the crust (aka pre-baking or partially baking the crust without a filling). This is common with pies that don’t require a long enough baking time to fully cook the crust or pies where the filling isn’t cooked.

  • Once you have put the dough in the pie dish and fluted the edges, put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Remove the pie dish from the refrigerator and line the crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Leave a bit of an overhang so you can easily gather up the paper and pie weights later on.
  • Fill the crust at least 2/3 full with pie weights (dry beans or uncooked rice make excellent and inexpensive substitutes). It needs to be filled enough so that bottom won’t bubble up and so that the sides don’t shrink.
  • Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 minutes or until the edges are starting to turn brown.
  • Carefully lift out the parchment paper and weights (set aside to let cool).
  • Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork (this prevents the bottom from bubbling up).
  • Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown for a fully-baked crust. For a partially-baked crust, only bake it an additional 7 to 8 minutes or just until the bottom barely begins to brown.
  • Proceed with your recipe as directed.

More Recipe Tips & Tidbits:

  • If you only have salted butter, that’s ok. Depending on how salty your butter is, just reduce or omit the amount of salt in the recipe.
  • How to correctly measure flour: First, fluff up the flour using a spoon. Then spoon the flour into your measuring cup (don’t pack it in) and level off the top with a knife or other straight edge.
    • Scooping the flour straight out of the container with your measuring cup can cause the flour to be too densely packed into the cup, resulting in using too much. And this can make your pie crust (or other baked goods) too dry and crumbly, dense or tough.
  • The amount of ice water you need can vary quite a bit based on how you measured out the flour, the moisture content of the flour and even the humidity in your room, so don’t expect to use the same exact amount each time.
  • The dough will actually be somewhat crumbly before you gather it together (you might actually think it’s a little too dry).
    • To test it, grab some and squeeze it in your hand or between your fingers. If it holds together, it’s good to go. If not, add more water, a little at a time, until it does.
    • Be careful of adding too much water, as it will make your dough sticky and difficult to roll out. If the dough feels wet, there is likely too much water.
  • Making a 2-crust pie? Double the ingredients; after gathering the dough together, divide it in half and shape into 2 discs.
easy all-butter pie crust in a pie dish with a white kitchen towel on the side

This pie crust has such an awesome buttery flavor and is perfect for fruit pies, cream pies, meringue pies, custard pies, chocolate pies, pot pies, quiche, tarts, hand pies, homemade Pop Tarts, and lots more.

Up next is an awesome Dutch Apple Pie using this crust that’ll knock your socks off. Stay tuned!

I hope you try this Easy All-Butter Pie Crust recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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More Recipes You Might Like…

If you make this recipe, I’d love to know how it went! Please leave a star rating and comment below. Thanks!

raw pie dough with fluted edges in a pie dish with a rolling pin on the side

Easy All-Butter Pie Crust (2 Ways!)

This Easy All-Butter Pie Crust bakes up flaky, golden brown, and absolutely delicious. Make it one of two ways – by hand or in the food processor – and use it with both sweet and savory fillings!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Refrigeration/Chilling Time (at least): 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 (recipe makes one 9-inch pie crust)
Estimated Calories: 172

Ingredients

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, use a salt with fine granules, such as table salt
  • teaspoons sugar, for a sweet crust only (omit for a savory crust)
  • ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen if using the by-hand method; very cold if using the food processor method
  • 3½ to 6 tablespoons ice water, approximately (you may need more or less)

Special Equipment

  • Rolling Pin
  • food processor (for food processor method only)

Instructions

Method #1 (By Hand Using Frozen Grated Butter):

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar (if making a sweet crust).
  • Using the large holes on a box grater or hand-held grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture, occasionally stopping to toss the butter in with the flour so it doesn't get stuck in a large clump (I toss it with a fork, and I do this 3 or 4 times as I go).
  • Give the mixture a final quick toss so that the butter is evenly distributed throughout the flour.
  • Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, quickly stirring the mixture with a fork after each addition, just until the dough starts to clump together. As you add the water, try to focus on adding it to any super-dry spots like on the bottom of the bowl.
    The dough is not going to gather into a large ball here. It will still look quite crumbly (you might even think it's too dry). To test it, grab a piece and press it together in your hand or with your fingers. If it holds together without crumbling, it's good to go. If it's too dry and crumbles apart, keep adding water and stirring, a little at a time, just until it holds together when you test it. You have to be careful not to add too much water, because the dough will end up too wet and sticky and will be hard to roll out if you do. Also, don't overwork the dough, as this can cause your crust to be tough.
  • Proceed with "Finishing the Dough" below.

Method #2 (Food Processor):

  • Place the flour, salt and sugar (if using for a sweet crust) into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine.
  • Cut the very cold butter into cubes (about ¼ inch in size) and add it to the food processor.
  • Pulse just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few small pea-sized chunks throughout.
  • Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time and pulsing after each addition, just until the dough starts to clump together.
  • Proceed with "Finishing the Dough" below.

Finishing the Dough (for either method):

  • Transfer the dough to a clean work surface (don't flour the surface). Working quickly so as to not handle it too much, gather the dough together with your hands and form it into a disk about 6 inches in diameter.
    The dough might not be very smooth at this point and that's fine. Don't knead it!
  • Wrap the disk of dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours before using (and up to overnight).
    This chilling step is important, so don't skip it. Letting the dough chill out allows the gluten strands to relax, which will make it easier to roll out. It also allows the moisture to distribute throughout the dough. Finally (and maybe most importantly), it keeps those pieces of butter nice and cold, and those cold pieces of butter will create pockets of steam during baking, which is what gives you that flaky crust!
  • Your pie crust dough is now ready to roll out and use (follow the specific instructions in your recipe for rolling, filling and baking)!
    Be sure to remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes (no longer) before unwrapping and rolling out (this will make it much easier to roll).

Notes

  • The key to a flaky pie crust is very cold butter. Those little butter chunks in the dough will create pockets of steam while baking, giving you that wonderfully flaky crust. You want to keep that butter as cold as you can, so this means work quickly while making the dough and handle the dough as little as possible with your warm hands.
  • If you only have salted butter, that’s ok. Depending on how salty your butter is, just reduce or omit the amount of salt in the recipe.
  • How to correctly measure flour: First, fluff up the flour using a spoon. Then spoon the flour into your measuring cup (don’t pack it in) and level off the top with a knife or other straight edge.
    • Scooping the flour straight out of the container with your measuring cup can cause the flour to be too densely packed into the cup, resulting in using too much. And this can make your pie crust (or other baked goods) too dry and crumbly, dense or tough.
  • The amount of ice water you need can vary quite a bit based on how you measured out the flour, the moisture content of the flour and even the humidity in your room, so don’t expect to use the same exact amount each time.
  • Please refer to the blog post for instructions and tips on rolling out the dough, transferring it to the pie dish, fluting the edges, blind-baking (if needed), and more!
  • Making a 2-crust pie? Double the flour, salt, sugar, and butter; add ice water as needed. After gathering the dough together, divide it in half and shape into 2 disks.
  • Pie dough is freezable. Once you’ve formed it into a disk, double wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place into a freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible and freeze for up to 2 to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight. 
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