Crazy for Crust

Nov 06

My Favorite All Butter Pie Crust {step by step photo tutorial}

**This is a long post detailing how I make my favorite All Butter Pie Crust. There are lots of pictures! If you just want the recipe, scroll all the way down to above the comments and there will be a printable recipe card.**

All Butter Pie Crust Tutorial with step-by-step photos |

I kind of can’t believe that my blog is called Crazy for Crust and I do not have one dedicated crust post. I mean, I make lots of crust, and lots of pie, but I’ve never done a pie crust tutorial. It’s time to change that!

I’m going to break down my favorite pie crust recipe for you, step-by-step, with photos. I’ve been using this pie crust recipe for about 5 years now, and it is my absolute favorite one.

Now, let me tell you a secret: you don’t always have to use a scratch crust. You are perfectly welcome to bring Pumpkin Pie to your mother’s house for Thanksgiving using a refrigerated crust (Pillsbury is my favorite). In fact, I’ve done that myself. But sometimes you want to do it from scratch – and I think everyone should be able to make a pie crust. I know so many people are scared of the dreaded pie crust – but there really isn’t anything scary about it. It’s easier than you think. Making your own will taste great – I promise. Even if it’s not the prettiest thing in the world – it’s going to taste better than store bought. And I’ll tell you  a secret: half the time my crust isn’t the prettiest. And you know what? I don’t care. It tastes great just the same.

Now, to make a good pie crust you need a few things: fat, water, flour, and salt. You can use a few different kinds of fats for pie crust, the most popular being butter, shortening (Crisco), or lard. Now, I’m going to go against the grain and tell you my crust is all butter. I don’t like lard. I don’t like Crisco. I’ve got nothing against either of those products (in fact, I do use Crisco occasionally) but I don’t like them in my pie crust. I love butter so that’s what I use. And guess what – I’m bucking tradition even more – I use SALTED butter. I always use salted in my cooking…that’s just me. You can totally do this with unsalted butter, but add 1/4 teaspoon more salt.

Okay, are you ready for a step-by-step pie crust tutorial? This post is very photo heavy, but you’re going to see the crust every step of the way. Let’s get started!

When you start making a pie crust, you need to think ahead a little. Everything needs to be COLD. Cold butter and ice water are the keys to a successful crust. Before you start, dice your butter and then put it back in the refrigerator. Then fill a measuring cup with ice and water.

All Butter Pie Crust (1 of 13)

Add your flour and salt to your food processor. (Remember, if you’re using unsalted butter, add an extra 1/4 teaspoon of salt.)

Now, if you don’t have a food processor, don’t fret. You can do this by hand with a pastry cutter. I’m just really, really lazy. If you’re using a pastry cutter, just whisk the flour and salt first.

All Butter Pie Crust (2 of 13)

Add your butter. It’s COLD, straight from the fridge. Don’t touch it too much. Don’t go answer the phone. Cold, straight from the fridge to the food processor!

All Butter Pie Crust (3 of 13)

Pulse a couple of times. If you’re using a pastry cutter, now is the time to hope you’re been working your arms. Put some muscle into it!

This is what it will look like:

All Butter Pie Crust (4 of 13)

Add your ICE water. Not the ice, just the cold water. Start with 2 tablespoons.

All Butter Pie Crust (5 of 13)

Pulse a few times, let it run a few seconds. I always add a third tablespoon of water at that point, always. But, depending on altitude and humidity and your kitchen and the star alignment, you might not need the third…or you may need a fourth. Run the processor and your mixture should go from this:

All Butter Pie Crust (6 of 13)

To this:

All Butter Pie Crust (7 of 13)

If it’s not coming together add more water, but wait to see if it comes together. You do not want a wet dough. It takes a few seconds for it to turn into the ball.

At this point, I do something unconventional: I don’t chill it yet. *gasp*

I hate rolling chilled dough. Like, I’d rather eat beets. So instead, I roll out my dough, put it in my pie plate, THEN chill it while I make my filling. This dough is sturdy enough to roll right away, and if it’s rolled out, it chills faster. Win-win, in my book.

(FYI, I do the same thing when I make sugar cookies!)

Okay, so now you have a dough ball. Turn it out onto a cutting board or a silicone baking mat (like a roul’pat or a silpat) that’s been dusted with flour. FYI, if you’re using a cutting board or marble slab, you’ll need more flour. Silicone is better if you have it – less sticking with minimal flour, which is your goal. The more flour you add, the tougher your crust is going to be.

All Butter Pie Crust (8 of 13)

Press it into a disk with your hands, flour your rolling pin and roll it out into a circle.

All Butter Pie Crust (9 of 13)

Keep rolling…

I like to pick mine up and flip it over and around every few rolls until it gets too big to do that. This is important because that way you know it’s not sticking to your surface. There is nothing worse than rolling out the perfect dough and have it crack and break when you go to pick it up.

Roll it until it’s about 1/4″ thick. Or, well, this thickness:

All Butter Pie Crust (11 of 13)

In the 3 times I made crust last week I could not find a ruler. #damnkids

The easiest way to transfer your crust to your pie plate is to roll it up on the rolling pin. If you’ve moved your crust around a bit, it should roll up no problem.

Note: you have to hold your rolling pin with a finger so it doesn’t unroll. Just a word of advice. Otherwise you’ll have a pile of unrolled crust. Not that I’d know or anything…

All Butter Pie Crust (12 of 13)

Put it in your pie plate. Press it to fit, gently. This crust fits best in a 9″ pie plate. Beware: not all pie plates are the same size. Some are 9 1/2″, some are 10″, some are 7″. Be sure what size you have before you start. If I’m using a 10″ pie plate I double the recipe and use 2/3 of the dough.

All Butter Pie Crust (13 of 13)

I like to lay the overhang flat around the pie rim, then fold it under if possible. It won’t be overhung that much around the whole pie plate. Some will be flat, some will have enough to fold under.

All Butter Pie Crust (1 of 6)

On the left I had enough to fold over, there in the center, not so much. That’s okay!

Now you decide how you want your edges. Crimped? Forked? (I’m sure there’s an official word for “forked” but whatever, I like making up my own vocabulary.)

All Butter Pie Crust (1 of 2)

BTW, that was a fun shot to get. {Look ma, no hands on the camera!}

This is what your crimped pie looks like:

All Butter Pie Crust (2 of 6)

Or make it pretty with a fork:

All Butter Pie Crust (3 of 6)

And it will look like this when you’re done:

All Butter Pie Crust Tutorial with step-by-step photos |

Another way I like to dress up my pie edge is to make a second crust and use small cookie cutters to cut shapes and put them around the edges. Stars, maple leaves, santa stockings, whatever. Last year I used the back of an icing tip to make round circles using this method:

{Pumpkin Bread Pudding Pie}

Pumpkin Bread Pudding Pie 3 wor


If you want to do that method, you’ll need a second pie crust.

Also note: I only ever fill this pie crust and bake. I’ve never blind baked it for a custard filling.

Then all you have to do is fill your pie and bake it! Here’s a tip so your pie crust isn’t too brown after baking (I hate a dark crust!): Tear off strips of foil that are about 1 1/2″ thick. (No need to measure, just guesstimate.) Tear those in half and wrap them around the pie, like this:

pecan pie foil1

{That Toffee Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe is coming Friday!}

Then bake the pie, as directed. About 10-15 minutes before the pie will be done, remove the foil. So many recipes say to add the foil if the pie is getting too brown, but how are you supposed to do that without burning your fingers? (Um, you can’t. That’s a fact.) Make a preemptive strike – cover first, then remove so the edges can brown to a normal color.

And hey, all you crust haters who eat the filling and throw away the crust: this will make you like it,  I bet. I bet you hate it because it’s brittle and burned…if you follow that tip it won’t be! :)

So, that’s it. My Favorite All Butter Pie Crust. What will you fill yours with?

All Butter Pie Crust Tutorial with step-by-step photos |

I hope you love this pie crust as much as I do!

My Favorite All Butter Pie Crust

Yield: 1 pie crust for a 9" pie


  • 1/2 cup butter, diced and chilled (I use salted butter, see note)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons ice water


  1. Make sure your butter is diced and cold before starting. Make sure you're using ice water also.
  2. Combine flour and salt in food processor. Pulse once to mix. Alternately, whisk in a large bowl if you are not using a food processor.
  3. Add butter and process until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of water and pulse, a few times. I always add a third tablespoon of water and pulse until the dough forms a ball. This takes a few seconds. If you find your mixture is too dry, you can add another tablespoon of water. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  4. Alternately, without a food processor, cut your butter in using a pastry cutter. Work in one tablespoon of butter at a time, then turn out the dough onto a floured surface.
  5. I recommend using a silpat or roul'pat or other similar silicone surface for rolling. But you don't have to, you'll just have to use more flour. Press the dough ball into a disk and roll to about 1/4" thickness. Be sure to flip and rotate your dough as you go so it does not stick to your surface. Roll out the dough to a few inches larger than your pie plate (about 12" for a 9" pie plate).
  6. Place in pie plate and press to fit. Tuck under any overhang and crimp or use the tines of a fork to decorate the edges. Chill until ready to fill.
  7. This pie crust is great for filling and the recipe makes 1 crust that fits comfortably in a 9" pie plate. For a bigger pie plate or for a double crust, double the recipe.


If you are using unsalted butter, increase salt to 1/2 teaspoon.

If you double the recipe for a 2 crust pie: start with 3 tablespoons of water and add more as needed. The rest of the items can be doubled exactly.

Need some pie ideas to fill your crust with? Check out my Pie Recipe Collection or these pies:

Frozen Pumpkin Meringue Pie

Blueberry Crumble Pie

Macadamia Nut White Chocolate Pie

Sweets from friends:
Snickerdoodle Chess Pie by Something Swanky
Peanut Butter Pie with White Chocolate Ganache by Wine & Glue
Blueberry Crumble Cream Pie by I Wash, You Dry

Or check out my Crazy for PIE Pinboard!

129 Responses to “My Favorite All Butter Pie Crust {step by step photo tutorial}”

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  2. Suzanne posted on May 13, 2014 at 7:50 am (#)

    You have saved my sanity with your tip about rolling out the dough before chilling….makes all the difference in the world, and no more tears over dough I can’t budge. Thanks!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 13th, 2014 at 11:23 am

      You’re welcome!! Thanks Suzanne!


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  4. Daniela Mary Gantuangco posted on June 2, 2014 at 9:06 pm (#)

    LOL! I made the crust and it turned to a HUGE bubble! I put too much! But it ended up YUMMY!!!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on June 3rd, 2014 at 6:45 am

      Oh no! Did you blind bake it? I’ve never done that, but you have to be sure and poke it with a fork first, so that it doesn’t bubble up!


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  6. Mav posted on July 13, 2014 at 11:11 am (#)

    Tried the crust. went good for the first time. I’m very happy :) Thanks for sharing.
    will try rest of your recipes too


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 13th, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!! :)


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  9. Jessica posted on September 2, 2014 at 7:04 pm (#)

    I used this as a bake-and-fill crust….. not sure what that that’s technically called, haha. I baked it at 475 for about 12-15 minutes I think, and it was amazing. I filled it with coconut banana cream pie :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 2nd, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Awesome Jessica! Glad to know that worked!!


  10. Kim and Kira posted on September 17, 2014 at 10:19 am (#)

    This recipe is so easy and so good!! I will never use another pie crust recipe or store bought crust again!  This was AMAZING!!!  Than buoy so much!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 17th, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      Yay!! It’s absolutely my favorite!


  11. Alexis+@+Upside+Down+Pear posted on October 7, 2014 at 2:30 pm (#)

    I know this was posted over a year ago, but I’m sooooo glad I found an easy all butter crust recipe! I feel like every one I’ve checked out has shortening (which is almost never found in my kitchen) or has very specific directions that if not followed will result in a failed crust! This year I am planning on finally making an apple pie, but I wasn’t sure what crust to use. I’ll definitely have to give this one a go!!


  12. Gobakelah posted on October 13, 2014 at 7:58 pm (#)

    I hope im not too late to comment on this! But hello hello. Your pie shell looks amazing and the recipe is so easy! I hail from the humid sauna of Singapore, and while I love a good pie or tart, I can’t seem to get a good consistency of pastry. It looks so easy to roll up onto your rolling pin but mine will stick everywhere! I can’t even pick it up off the table because the pastry won’t retain its shape. Do you have any tips on how to deal with pastry, or could it be the temperature which i’m chilling the dough, which is currently at 1 degree celsuis in the fridge? Thanks for the great recipe!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 14th, 2014 at 6:28 am

      You possibly need more flour to make it less wet (if you’re noticing that the dough is very wet, add 1-2 tablespoons of flour at a time until you can work with it). Quite possibly the humidity and temperature is messing with you as well, make sure the dough is very chilled before you roll it out, instead of doing as I’ve shown and rolling it warm!


      • Gobakelah replied on October 14th, 2014 at 5:18 pm

        Thanks so much for the tips! Will definitely try it out next time I make pastry. Though when I try to chill the dough it becomes a brick when i take it out of the fridge, I think setting the fridge at 1 degree Celsius was a bad idea haha!

        • Dorothy Kern replied on October 15th, 2014 at 8:06 am

          That’s why I love rolling it out first, because I hate rolling cold dough!! :)

  13. Thom Pantazi posted on October 16, 2014 at 10:57 am (#)

    Thank you so much for a wonderful post.  I love to cook but am new to baking.  I made my first quiche last night for Boss’s day today.  It was a hit so I decided to try some more. I did use a store bought dough and wanted to try my own.  I also purchased two 9.5 inch pie pyrex plates. Sine I will like be making all my pies in them, I assume I could simply increase the amounts by equal proportions and get enough for the larger plate.  My thought was to increase it by 25% so that would be 5 oz of butter instead of 4 oz, 12.5 oz of flour instead of 10 oz and salt should be 3/8 teaspoon instead of 1/4 teaspoon.  Water would still increase slowly.

    Does this sound correct?

    By the way, I am so glad you were emphatic about the cold butter and water.  I would not have worried about it and run amuck.  Thanks again.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 16th, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Yes, that sounds perfect! Thank you and enjoy!!


  14. Meredith posted on October 17, 2014 at 5:24 am (#)

    This is the first pie crust I have ever tried to make. It was fabulous!! Can’t say enough about it. So good!!


    • Yesenia replied on October 18th, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      This is my first time making a Pie Crust and i want to know at what degree should it be cooked in? I see that i have to cook it for 15 to 20 minutes. Thanks for the step by step and the Humor absolutely loving this recipe.


      • Dorothy Kern replied on October 19th, 2014 at 3:33 pm

        Thank you! Bake the pie according to your pie directions (for a filled pie) or at 350° for an unfilled pie. Just be sure to poke the bottom with a fork if you’re baking it unfilled. :)

      • Yesenia replied on November 2nd, 2014 at 4:14 am

        Thank you so much for the reply baked it at 350 as you suggested and it turned out fantastic. Love this recipe thanks for sharing

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  16. Antje posted on October 24, 2014 at 10:10 am (#)

    I never use anything else than butter in my recipes. But I absolutely HATE salted butter. I don’t know why it even exists. Why put salt in butter? It is not in there by nature.
    I immediately can taste when something sweet is baked with salted butter. And you just need to add more sugar in cakes with that much salt. So it makes no sense to me.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 24th, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      I’v recently started using unsalted butter (after I wrote this post). Unsalted can always be substituted, with 1/4 teaspoon of salt added to the recipe as desired.


  17. Alidoodles posted on October 24, 2014 at 10:31 am (#)

    I made this and wow wonderful especially the crust and top–I am going to experiment with the filling and get back to you on that, but I have a big question for you….I am looking to eventually get a food processor and just want to know what size capacity is the one you use for this??? Thank you Dorothy…


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 24th, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      Whenever anyone talks food processors I say go BIG. I think mine is a 12-cup. They’re expensive, but I used to have a small 4-cup one and it was horrible for most recipes – nothing would fit. I think 9-12 cup is perfect for most recipes, and it’ll fit the crust perfectly.


  18. Dena Vucetich posted on October 26, 2014 at 5:49 pm (#)

    The crust tastes delicious but I found this hard to make, especially when you double the recipe. Found it to stick to my rolling pin and counter and really just did not roll out well…at all. Don’t think this is for beginners.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 26th, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      If it seems to stick too much, then you can chill it for a little bit before rolling it. I like to roll it right away to make it easier, because if you chill it too long the dough turns into a brick. But definitely if it’s too sticky, you can chill for about 10-15 minutes, then try again. It all depends on the warmth in your house, if your butter is cold enough, how your processor runs…etc.


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  21. Sarah posted on November 10, 2014 at 12:44 pm (#)

    Awesome recipe! I live in in Italy where it is nearly impossible to find shortening so this all-butter pie crust recipe is PERFECT! 


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 11th, 2014 at 6:42 am

      Enjoy Sarah!! Thanks for including me in your round up!


  22. Polly Brennan posted on November 15, 2014 at 6:50 pm (#)

    You just saved my Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. We are redoing our kitchen and I couldn’t find my cookbook with the tried and true pie crust recipe. Hoping this will be every bit as good! 


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  24. Liz posted on November 25, 2014 at 8:17 am (#)

    Absolutely wonderful recipe!  I made this crust for pumpkin pie and received rave reviews.  Making it again for thanksgiving, but thinking of using the unsalted butter instead.  Thanks for the tutorial and pics!


  25. Janey posted on November 26, 2014 at 12:18 pm (#)

    First pie crust I have made with such little fuss.  Making pumpkin and chocolate pies for our vegetarian Thanksgiving meal.  Thank you so much. 


  26. Emily posted on November 29, 2014 at 9:45 pm (#)

    So this recipe turned out more like a biscuit and tastes like crap. My pie was ruined so thanks! Won’t ever recommend.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 30th, 2014 at 7:57 am

      I’m sorry that happened to you Emily! Can you let me know more about what happened? Did you maybe add too much flour? Was the pie a pre-bake (like a pudding) or a baked pie, like apple? I’ve made this crust hundreds of times with success so I’d like to work out what went wrong for you.


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  29. brocha posted on January 25, 2015 at 8:01 am (#)

    I would like to know if you can use a regular food processor with the S blade


    • Dorothy Kern replied on January 25th, 2015 at 8:03 am

      Yes, mine is a Cuisinart 12 cup, with the S blade!


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  33. Jeb posted on March 15, 2015 at 10:12 am (#)

    Fantastic!  I was going to make a 50/50 pie crust (half butter, half shortening) but when I found out I had no shortening in the house, I searched around the web for an all butter crust.  Since I was short of time and they all told me I had to put the dough in the fridge for a few hours, I added the keywords “no wait” and found yours.

    Glad I did.  I had never made the dough in a food processor before, since I kind of like working with my hands, but I tried it this time and I was amazed at how quick, easy and simple it was.  My favorite part was how easy it was to roll out right after I pulled the ball of dough out of the food processor.  I’ve always had issues with the cold dough cracking when I tried to roll it out, and this rolled out so easily that my 9 year old daughter could do it without any problems.

    One tip that you mention, but that I would reinforce that you should really run that food processor for a good long while before deciding to add any extra water.  I was surprised at how long it took, but it eventually balled up just beautifully after that third tablespoon of water.

    Not surprisingly, the crust in the finished pie, was delicious. Personally, I’m often more fond of eating the crust with a little filling on it than the rest of the pie – and in our house, everything is better with butter.  This crust was just one more positive example.  If we ever have less than 2 pounds of butter in the fridge, my wife starts to get nervous 😉

    My one question is, does the dough actually need to be refrigerated at all?  Is anything gained by putting the crust-filled pie plate it in the fridge before filling it?  Would the pie suffer at all if you had the filling ready and just put it directly into the crust right after putting the crust in the pie plate, and then popping it right in the oven?  We did exactly what you suggested, put the crust in the fridge, while we made the filling (apple), and it came out great – but is it necessary?



    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 15th, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      I’m glad you enjoy it; I too prefer the crust to the filling! I always chill the crust before making the filling because it’s warm from rolling and touching it and there is more of a chance it’ll darken faster and/or melt off, especially since it’s all butter. I need to update the recipe, but I recently did a one crust filled pie and it melted down the pie plate the first time I tried it because it wasn’t cold enough. So the colder the better!


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  36. Cassie posted on March 30, 2015 at 5:48 am (#)

    Hi Dorothy!  I’ve made this crust a few times with success!  I want to make the carrot cake pie for Easter but want to make the dough on the Friday before. Is this possible?  How would you recommend I do this?  Thank you!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 31st, 2015 at 6:43 am

      You can make the whole pie on Friday and just chill it until Sunday. It’ll be fine!


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  39. BAMSKI posted on June 26, 2015 at 4:59 pm (#)

    I have made a lot of crusts but your method is the best, the food processor is great for pie crusts and pierogi dough(for any one who is interested in pierogi)-Polish filled dumpling. I am in total agreement with all your opinions, especially using salted butter and rolling out the dough before it is chilled, I never had luck with chilled dough or beating it several times with a rolling pin, that never helped. I am 65 years young and bake a lot for a big family so I want to Thank You from the bottom of my heart for sharing your information.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on June 27th, 2015 at 8:21 am

      I’m SO glad you like the method! It’s the easiest I’ve found, that’s for sure!


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