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This is such a flavorful and beautiful pie crust. The thing about homemade pie is that I always want to make it memorable, and this Best Butter Pie Crust helps me make some perfect pies. If you want to make a delicious dessert, start with a great crust and give this tasty butter pie crust a try today.

A Raw Pie Crust with apples in the pie. It is on a picnic table with two Braeburn apples, a rolling pin, and is laying on a cloth.
Homemade butter pie crust is so good.

🥧 What makes this recipe special?

A pie crust can turn a good pie into a great pie, and this homemade butter pie crust recipe will help you do that. This is the crust I have been using all throughout our Apple Pie series, but I wanted to give it its own place.

Pie crusts require fat, and people do use other sources of fat for their pie crusts. Lard and shortening are the most common, outside of butter. Butter is better because butter tastes freaking awesome, and it makes a great, flakey crust.

The problem with butter pie crusts is that it can be a balance to get right. The flavor of the butter and its ability to make a flavorful flakey crust make this pie crust so great.

Yes, this butter pie crust does make a delicious apple pie, but we are not limited to apples, are we? This crust can be used for any pie that calls for a traditional pie crust.

This crust makes two discs. Enough for one whole pie that has a top. If you need only one pie crust, say for a Dutch Apple Pie, just halve the recipe and make sure not to split it when the recipe calls for it.

Some of my favorite pies to make with this crust are my American Apple Pie, Blueberry pie, and Rhubarb pie. Of course, think about making some homemade ice cream. Make sure to treat yourself no matter what pie you make with this.

🧈 Ingredients

The measurements are important in this recipe, so make sure to check out the full recipe at the bottom of the page. 

  • Unsalted butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Ice cold water
  • Egg

See recipe card for quantities.

🍲 Instructions

First, I want to make sure you get in the right place for making this crust. A butter pie crust can be a little tricky, but I am here to help! Get to your place of zen.

Pie Crust Zen

If you are anything like me, you did not grow up making homemade pie crusts. Baking hasn’t even really been my forte, but I am getting there.

I do, however, want to help people like me make the best dang pie crust they can. I have worked really hard to provide this great crust recipe.

Ingredients and technique are important, but there really is something more to it. I feel that finding a place of zen is critical in making the best butter pie crust. I advise you to take a look at my Traditional Apple Pie post, where I also talk about the zen of making butter pie crust.

When I started making crust, I was very frustrated. In those early experiments, the raw pie crust was just unmanageable and so difficult to roll out. Cooling is very important, so I thought maybe that was the problem.

It wasn’t. Perhaps I wasn’t adding enough water to my pie crust? No. That was not the problem either, and adding too much water results in a leathery, flaky crust.

I just wanted the pie to work! Even though I was reproducing my recipe and fine-tuning it, I just could not get it to roll out the way I wanted. I would put down my balls of dough and cranked out my rolling pin to force the dough to do what I wanted. It was becoming so frustrating, which did not help things.

Finally, I did figure it out and have been making this crust recipe for several years now. Technique and the ingredient list are of vital importance, but patience was the key. Stopping and working with the dough instead of forcing the dough is paramount to this best butter crust.

Finding that place of zen and being in the moment with that pie crust. It may sound cheesy, but my best pie crusts are the ones where I lose myself in the moment and just spend time with the dough.

How Does The Butter Work

When rolling out the dough, we do our best NOT to incorporate the butter entirely. We do not want our rolled-out pie crust to look like a homogenous canvas. Instead, we want spots of butter to appear throughout the dough.

It is critical to make sure that our butter gets frozen appropriately and the dough is cooled sufficiently. The steps outlined in this recipe are in place to ensure the desired spotting of butter.

When baking, this butter goes to work. It starts to evaporate and creates air that manipulates the uncooked dough. This expanding and release of moisture from the chunks of butter is what gives the dough its flakiness.

Water in Our Pie Crust

When making the dough, we must add water to it. We want to make sure our water is cold. Usually, I fill a dish with ice and cold water and use that. The temperature of the water is the easiest part to get right.

The other variable in this best butter pie crust is how much water to use. The only honest answer is to say that you need to use as much water as is needed.

Super helpful, right? If we add too little water, the dough can be impossible to roll out. If too much water is added, the end product will be leathery and not flakey.

Process for mixing butter pie crust in Food Processor.
Freeze the butter and then pulse the frozen butter in flour. You do NOT want to fully incorporate the butter. The chunks should be about pea sized.

I start with ½ cup of ice-cold water for two pie disks. I add the water slowly, and I make end up adding more water as time goes on. After I added some water and tossed it in, I will take my hand and squeeze some of the dough.

I want it right at that point where it will stay together in a clump but still be a little crumbly. It will be at a place where it will be able to form into a disk and put in the freezer.

Regulating Temperature

Once I get to the point where I have the discs ready to get in the freezer, we should be at a point where the butter is still in chunks, and the dough disks have enough water to keep them nicely clumped together.

This is where the freezer is essential. If the disks are too warm, the butter ends up melting into the rest of the pie crust when we roll it out.

If too cold, we have a rock that is impossible to roll out. I have found that twenty minutes in the freezer creates an excellent pie crust disc that is a perfect temperature for rolling.

Process for making pie crust.
Mix dough with ice cold water until it just sticks together. Place into two balls and put back into freezer for twenty minutes. My rolled-out dough here has been cut to look nice.

Back to the baking zen

The crusts are rolled out after they have spent a little time in the freezer, and this is when it is critical to be patient and find that place of zen. If you are too aggressive with the dough, it can end in disaster.

Still, you have to work with it to manipulate it into a perfect pie crust. Let the dough balls guide you.

🤷 Substitutions and variations

Don’t substitute or vary on this recipe. The thing about baking is that it is a bit more precise than most stovetop recipes.

📦 Storage

I recommend using these crusts right away. That said, you can freeze the dough balls, but make sure to thaw them entirely in the fridge before use… and then put them back in the freezer before rolling, per the instructions.

You can also make a pie and freeze it as a made, but unbaked pie. Make sure to cover tightly and also to thaw in the refrigerator before baking. 

❓ FAQ

What makes butter pie crust different from lard or shortening?

Butter is a bit more difficult to work with, but makes very flakey and tasty crust. 

What does butter do to pie crust?

When baking, if done appropriately, the pockets of butter evaporate and create little pockets in the dough that make it flakey. 

Baked Apple pie on a white table.
Pie Crust can help make a pie and this crust is delicious.

📝 Tips and tricks

  • Have patience! Butter Pie Crust can be a little tricky, but being able to work with the dough instead of against it can make a great deal of difference in your final product.
  • You can use this dough for any traditional pie that is similar to an apple pie filling and needs a nice flakey crust.
  • Remember that the final rolled out dough should look like a pie circle that is dotted with chunks of easily identifiable butter. All of the steps we have taken in this recipe are meant to help make that happen.
  • When baking, your dough will shrink a bit and this can have an impact on the lip of the crust. Be generous with what you leave on the pie when you trim it.
  • Let that pie rest!

🛠 Products used in this recipe

😋 Did you make this recipe?

That is awesome, and thank you so much for giving this Butter Pie Crust recipe a try. If you could leave a rating in the comment area below, it would be greatly appreciated. This lets me know how I am doing and also helps others decide if they want to make this recipe. Most of all, thanks for visiting Ramshackle Pantry.

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A Raw Pie Crust with apples in the pie. It is on a picnic table with two Braeburn apples, a rolling pin, and is laying on a cloth.

Best Butter Pie Crust

  • Author: Ben Myhre
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 2 crusts 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Pie
Save Recipe

Description

Butter Pie Crust makes some of the pie crust. No matter what kind of fruit pie you are making, this flour based pie crust can make the tastiest, flakiest crust around!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 Cup (2 Sticks) of unsalted butter
  • 2 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup ice cold water (approximate)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Instructions

  1. Cut 2 sticks of butter into ½-inch cubes
  2. Place into freezer for 20 minutes
  3. Place 2 ½ cups flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and salt in food processor and pulse a few times to mix.
  4. After butter has been in the freezer for 20 minutes, add to food processor and pulse 5-6 times. The goal is to mix the butter into the flour. The cubes of butter should be no smaller than peas.
  5. Move flour mixture to large bowl
  6. Add water to flour 2 tablespoons at a time. Toss with fork. We want to get to the point when you take your hand squeeze a handful of flour, it should stick together. For this one, it ended up taking 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons.
  7. Once this is done, divide into two. Work each half until it sticks together somewhat well and is in a disk. We don’t want the butter to fully incorporate. If you need to add more water, you can, but do so only very sparingly.
  8. Tightly wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer for 20 minutes
  9. Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit
  10. Take dough out of freezer and unwrap
  11. Get to your zen place. Roll out the dough. I suggest looking at the section above where I talk about rolling out the dough.
  12. Place one pie crust on the bottom
  13. Add whatever filling you need.
  14. Add top crust
  15. Use fingers to pinch crust together
  16. Trim excess dough, but the crust will shink a bit, so leave a bit
  17. Using fork, crimp the two doughs together further
  18. Brush light coating of egg on dough crust
  19. Sprinkle with sugar
  20. Using knife, slit four holes in crust
  21. Loosely wrap the crust edges with tinfoil to help prevent overbrowning of the crust edges.
  22. Put in oven for 35 minutes
  23. Remove tinfoil
  24. Check every 5 minutes and remove when it looks done. 40-45 minutes
  25. Let rest for at least 2 hours
  26. SERVE

Keywords: Butter Pie Crust

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8 Comments

  1. I love this post. I consider myself to be a great cook and baker, but pastry is my nemesis. I find it intimidating and end up not trying. I also only want to use butter, not lard or shortening. You have inspired me. Thank you!

  2. Now this will be perfect for the holidays! I am going to make one before to test it out. I mean …eat the whole thing! Ha! It looks amazing!

  3. That is one delicious looking apple pie. Thanks for the detailed tutorial. I never thought of freezing the dough but now I can see how convenient it is.

  4. I am loving your step by step guide to make this. I will admit pastry is one of those things I generally buy in. But there really isn’t anything like homemade, and wow that golden flaky pie crust <3

  5. Best pie crust recipe ever! Just follow Ben’s excellent directions and you’ll be amazed at how much flakier and tastier your pie is this way compared to whatever you were doing before. It’s the only way I make it now for both sweet and savory pies. Thank you!