All-Butter Pie Crust

all butter pie crust


I’ve been working at improving my pie crusts for years. I’ve asked every baker I know for tips. (Flatten the dough slightly before rolling it out. Freeze the dough before working it.) I’ve written stories about pies. I’ve amassed a large body of knowledge about how to make a beautiful, tasty pie crust. I just struggle to actually do it. But I’m getting better. And that should give all of you flailing at any cooking skill hope, right? After 15 years of so-so pie crusts, my mental block is lifting!  So here’s my favorite pie crust recipe (all butter!). At the bottom is a link to a Smitten Kitchen tutorial that really helped me progress. Remember to keep at it — whatever it is that trips you up — even when progress is slow.

Makes dough for 1 double crust. Halve if you need only a single crust.


  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose , unbleached flour; can also use whole wheat pastry flour in combination with white flour or on its own
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter (cold and cut into small pieces)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup cold water


  1. Fill one cup measurer 3/4 way full of cold water then add two ice cubes. Set aside.
  2. Combine flour and salt in large bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, working quickly so as to keep butter cold. Do not over mix. Stir in about 1/2 cup cold water with fork until flour is moistened, adding more water a tablespoon at a time, as needed. Do not over mix. Form dough into two balls. Wrap 1 ball in plastic wrap; refrigerate. Fatten the other, slightly.
  3. Roll out dough with rolling pin on lightly floured surface into circle. Fold into quarters. Place dough into ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Unfold dough, pressing firmly against bottom and sides. Trim crust to 1/2 inch from edge of plate. Set aside.
  4. After placing pie filling into bottom crust, remove top crust dough from the refrigerator. Roll out on lightly floured surface. Place atop filling. Trim if needed. Then crimp with fingers or flatten two crusts together with fork. Carefully cut small holes in top crust to vent.

For a 411 on an all-butter pie crusts, check out this post.






6 thoughts on “All-Butter Pie Crust

  • I love making pie crusts and the less I think about it, the better it is. Lately I have been using my own rendered lard which is super in pies. My only tip to add to yours is to leave it wrapped up and sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes – it is easier to roll then.

    • Thanks for the tips, Hilda! One of my goals this winter is to render my own lard. I do think that would help. My refusal to use shortening probably has a lot to do with my struggles. All butter crusts are tough to pull off, I’m told.

      • Definitely preparing your own lard is worth the bother – and it keeps very well. I have been using it for pies, but also in other baked things, sometimes alone and sometimes mixed with other fats. The texture for pie crusts is different from butter which works best for crumbly biscuity textures (sablee in French), but when you want light and flaky – 100% lard is great. I use 3 cups flour, 1 cup lard, a bit of salt and water to hold it together.

      • So helpful, Hilda. Can’t wait to try this recipe…

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