A graham cracker crust recipe for baked pies and no bake pies! We could also title this post The Anatomy of a Graham Cracker Crust. In other words, we’re making our own graham cracker crust from scratch today and it’ll be the best graham cracker crust you’ve ever had!
NEVER buy a store bought crust again – this one is easy and tastes SO MUCH BETTER!
Graham cracker crust is one of my favorite pie crusts. I don’t think I can choose an absolute favorite, because I love all of them too much. But a good graham cracker crust is a must have in your baking arsenal. So many pies can be made to pair with the graham cracker flavor because it’s so versatile. You can fill it with creamy s’mores chocolate pudding or even an easy blueberry-lemon dessert filling.
Now, I know you can buy ready-made graham cracker crusts at the grocery store. They’re found in the baking aisle and all you have to do is pop off the top and pour in your filling. There’s absolutely no work, so I totally understand the draw of those crusts. I’ve used them in a pinch, and they were a pretty standard thing on our shopping list when I was growing up. There’s really nothing wrong with them…
I think everyone needs a from-scratch graham cracker crust recipe in their arsenal. What if you want a pie right now and can’t get to the store? And, let’s face it. As good as those store-bought crusts are, they sorta taste like the aluminum foil pie tin, right? Or is it just me?
Store-bought is great in a pinch, but homemade is always better. #mytwocents
Table of Contents
How many graham crackers do you need?
The main ingredient in this pie crust is graham crackers, obviously.
(If you’re out of the USA and are curious what a graham cracker is, they’re similar to digestive biscuits, and you can make this crust out of those, I think.)
You have two different options when starting with graham crackers: whole and crumbs. One is cheaper, one is easier.
Should you buy whole graham crackers? Or crumbs? It doesn’t matter at all!
The biggest question: What if you’re using whole crackers but it calls for crumbs? How many do you crush?
Graham cracker whole sheets vs crumbs comparison
3 full graham cracker sheets = approximately 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
Which means that, for this recipe, you need 1 1/2 cups crumbs which is 9 full graham cracker sheets (usually 1/3 of the package).
How to grind your crumbs
Now, say you’re starting with whole graham crackers. Do you HAVE to have a food processor? NO!
I tried crushing the crackers in my food processor and in a plastic bag using a rolling pin and, when compared with the store-bought crumbs, they were all exactly the same.
Moral of the story: use your favorite graham cracker or crumbs, and crush them the easiest way for you.
Other Ingredients Explained
Besides graham crackers you need:
- Brown Sugar
- Melted Butter
Let’s talk about sugar for a second. 99% of recipes you see use granulated sugar. That’s fine, you can use that if you want. I like using brown sugar. Brown sugar is my favorite kind of sugar, and graham crackers are very brown sugary. It fits.
I used unsalted butter in all my recipes, but you can substitute salted if you need too. You won’t notice a huge difference.
Cinnamon gives the crust a little secret flavor that goes with just about everything. But, if you’re not a cinnamon person, you can leave it out.
I mix all my crumb crusts with a FORK. I like how a fork works for mixing together the crumbs, and then again when adding the butter. It makes it more crumbly somehow.
It’s the texture of very coarse sand. You pour this mixture into a 9″ pie plate. Make sure you measure your plate. 9″ is standard, and I think this would even do well in a 9 1/2″ pie plate. But anything over (or under) that and you need to edit the recipe.
Pie Plate Tips
This recipe is written for a 9-inch pie plate. It’s a thick pie crust, so if you want it thinner you could use a bigger pie plate or a deep dish. Anything smaller and it’ll be too thick, so either make two or use a portion of the crumbs.
Another secret to the perfect graham cracker or cookie crust is compacting the crumbs. You need to really, really compact them. I use the bottom of a glass for the bottom of the pie plate. Press it good!
Then I use my fingers for the sides. Again, use a lot of pressure. Try to get it as even as possible.
This is important if you’re going to fill and bake the pie. It really depends on what you’re filling it with, but anything that is liquid (like, say, a lemon bar filling) will soak through any gaps. So it’s important it’s very compacted.
How to use your crust
1. No Bake Pie: Chill the crust for at least one hour before filling with your no-bake filling. Chill according to the recipe directions, then cut and serve. The crust is semi-crunchy and perfectly sweet. It may crumble a little more on cutting than the baked version, but it’ll hold together nicely.
2. No Bake Filling Pie with crunchier crust: Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 325°F. Let it cool completely, then fill and chill according to the recipe directions. A baked graham cracker crust will be more crunchy and be less crumbly, but you have to use your oven.
3. Baked Pie: Bake the pie for 10 minutes at 325°F, then fill it with your liquid/baked pie filling and bake the pie as directed in the recipe you’re using.
Either way you make it, this graham cracker crust is the best base for your pies. It’s easy, comes together in mere minutes, and tastes way better than packaged.
Last minute tips
- Use real butter for best results. Butter substitutes and low fat butter will cause the recipe to be oily.
- Remember that 3 graham cracker sheets = approximately 1/2 cup crumbs.
- When this pie is made for a no bake pie it can be hard to slice the first piece. After that the pieces will come out easy.
- Use any kind of filling for this pie, like coconut cream, banana, peanut butter, or lemon.
Try using this crust with the following pies:
- Lime Curd Pie
- No Bake Strawberry Shortcake Pie
- S’mores Pie
- Chocolate Chess Pie
- Banana Pie
- Coconut Cream Pie
- No Bake Peanut Butter Cheesecake Pie by Something Swanky
Have you made this recipe?
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Perfect Graham Cracker Crust Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs from about 9 whole graham crackers
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon optional
- Pinch of salt
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- If you’re using whole graham crackers, finely crush them in a food processor or place them in a ziploc bag and roll with a rolling pin.
- Stir graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Add melted butter and stir with a fork.
- Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9” pie plate. Press hard to compact. You can use a glass to press the bottom, but use your fingers to press the sides.
- To make a no-bake pie: Chill pie crust for at least one hour before filling. Cover if chilling longer. Make pie as directed.
- To make a baked graham crust: Preheat oven to 325°. Bake crust for 10 minutes, until it just starts to brown. Cool completely before filling.
- To make a baked pie: Preheat oven to 325°. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Fill with pie filling and bake according to recipe directions.
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Tools to make this recipe:
Check out all of my pie crust recipes for even more inspiration!
NEVER buy a store bought pie crust again when you can make this easy 4-ingredient Graham Cracker Crust. Use it for ANY pie recipe – bake or no bake!
All text and images © DOROTHY KERN for Crazy for Crust. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be accurate.
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Published on: June 11, 2014