Our All Butter Pie Crust is tender, flaky, and full of butter flavor. Make it in the food processor or by hand and get the same consistent texture every time.
It's almost pie season, so time to dust off the rolling pin and start brushing up on those pie dough techniques. This butter pie crust is a favorite in our house. It's the one we used for this Cherry Pie with Crumb Topping and our Southern Apple Pie Recipe.
Butter Pie Crust Recipe
A fantastic pie starts with a great pie crust. It has to be flaky, buttery, and sturdy all at the same time while complimenting the filling.
When you think of pie crust, you may think of a sweet pie, like pumpkin, apple, or blueberry. Our crust is made with no added sugar, so it's great for savory recipes, too. We love using our all butter pie crust recipe for chicken pot pie, beef pot pie, and turkey pot pie.
How to Make Pie Crust from Scratch without Shortening:
- Before you start, make sure the butter and water are ice cold.
- Add the flour, cubed butter, and salt to a food processor.
- Pulse several times until the mixture looks like cornmeal. It's ok if there are some larger pieces of butter in the flour.
- Continue to pulse, and very slowly add the cold water. Stop adding the water, and pulse a couple of times to allow it to mix, then add more if needed.
- The dough will still look dry but should hold together when pressed.
- Turn it out onto countertop or table, and press it into a large ball or log. If it doesn't hold together, add another teaspoon or two of water.
- Divide the dough in two, and form both halves into discs. There should be specs of butter throughout the dough. Wrap them in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- When you're ready to roll out the dough, let it sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes. It's easier to work with when it's not right out of the fridge. Place it on a very lightly floured surface, and roll it into a 12-inch circle. I like for my dough to be around ¼ to ⅓ inch thick, but that's just preference. Some people prefer a thinner crust.
- Fold the crust in half or into fourths, and transfer it to an ungreased 9-inch pie dish. Carefully unfold the dough. There will be a decent amount of excess dough hanging over the sides.
- Gently press the dough in place, and use kitchen scissors to trim the dough around the edges. You'll want to leave about ½-inch all the way around.
- Roll the excess dough up onto the edge of the pie dish (it doesn't need to be pretty or fancy). Use your fingers to crimp (flute) the edges.
- Place the dough back in the refrigerator for at least an hour to firm back up before baking.
Butter Pie Crust Tips and Variations:
- Flour: Use a quality flour that has a good amount protein and yields a better crust. I prefer name brand over store brand. Something like King Arthur Flour works well.
- Don't Over Work It: The dough doesn't need to be elastic like bread dough. It just needs to be worked enough to come together.
- Salt: A lot of people use sugar in pie crusts, but this is one of John's recipes from years ago and he went with salt. Salt brings out the flavor of the other ingredients. Sugar is fine, too, if you want to add a tablespoon for some sweetness. He omitted it so the all butter pie crust could be used in both sweet and savory recipes.
- Think Ice Cold: I mentioned this above, but it's worth mentioning again. The ingredients need to be ice cold. I like to cut the butter into small cubes before prepping any other ingredients, and pop the bowl into the freezer. Then I put the ice water into the refrigerator. That way everything is nice and cold when it's time to make the crust. Not only that, I chill the crust after each step. That guarantees that the butter has time to firm back up.
- Water: Don't add too much water. The dough doesn't need to be too sticky. Stop adding the water right as the dough comes together and clumps begin to form. It should hold together when pressed.
- Make It By Hand: Instead of using a food processor, place the flour and salt in a large bowl, and whisk to combine. Add the cubed butter (I prefer to use a cheese grater on the butter here instead of cubing). Work quickly and use a pastry cutter or your hands to incorporate the butter into the flour. Add the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough begins to come together in clumps. Turn it out onto a table to form and divide into discs.
Room Temperature: Because this is a butter pie crust, it doesn't need to stay at room temperature long. Storage at room temperature is not recommend if the dough is unbaked.
Refrigerator: The crusts can be stored in the refrigerator (formed as discs and wrapped in plastic wrap) for up to 5 days.
Freezer: The crusts can be frozen for up to 3 months. Form them into discs, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and cover them in aluminum foil. To dethaw, place the dough in the refrigerator overnight.
Recipe Card with Ingredient Amounts and Instructions
- 3 cup(s) (360 g) all-purpose flour, plus more to dust the counter
- 20 tablespoon(s) (283 g) unsalted butter, cold
- 1 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
- ½ cup(s) (118 ml) water, cold
- Prep the butter and ice water first, then place them in the refrigerator to stay cold.
- Add the flour, butter, and salt to a food processor. Pulse several times until the flour resembles cornmeal.3 cup(s) (360 g) all-purpose flour20 tablespoon(s) (283 g) unsalted butter1 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
- Slowly drizzle in the ice water while continuing to pulse. Stop as soon as the dough begins to clump together.½ cup(s) (118 ml) water
- Turn the dough out onto a table or countertop. Press it together with your hands, and form it into a ball or log. Divide it in half.
- Press each half of dough into a disc, and wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
- When you're ready to roll out the dough, lightly flour the work surface. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes, then use a rolling pin to roll it into a 12-inch circle.
- Fold the circle in half or into fourths, and transfer it to an ungreased pie dish. Carefully unfold it, and press it into place.
- Use kitchen scissors to trim the edges, leaving about ½-inch of dough on all sides. Roll the excess dough up onto the edge of the pie dish. Use your fingers to crimp (flute) the dough.
- Transfer the dough back to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using in a recipe.
- See the post for storage recommendations.