Foolproof Pie Crust


Pictured: Coconut-Oatmeal Rum Pie (with Walnuts.

Nobody knows pie crust better than little old ladies at church. Especially little old ladies at a little tiny town country church. They were born to make pies and they live up to their potential with every flaky, mouthwatering bite. And sometimes they will even tell you their secrets. If you think you can’t make homemade pie crust, you need this recipe. If you think you don’t have time to make homemade pie crust, you need this recipe. If you think homemade pie crust isn’t important, you need this recipe.

You can make this pie crust in under 10 minutes. Probably in 5 if you are in pie crust making races. If not, you can relax and take an extra couple minutes. It is easy, fast, perfect and flaky, and you will feel like a little old church lady when you’re through. Wait, that didn’t come out right…. You will be excited and you will feel like a baking genius! Your friends and family will be amazed, and you will never have pie despair again! And so, with an homage to little old church ladies everywhere–

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How to make Foolproof Pie Crust:

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups shortening or lard
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
1/2 cup very cold water

Add flour, shortening or lard, sugar, and salt to a large bowl.
Mix flour and shortening or lard with a pastry cutter until it looks nice and crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, egg, and water. Add to the flour mixture, stirring in till well-moistened. Knead lightly to mix in all the flour then shape it into a great, big, wonderful ball of pastry dough. (Don’t overhandle.)

Admire it for a moment and think about how proud the little old church ladies are going to be.

And about how wonderful it is to live in a world that includes pie.

Then divide the dough into four equal portions.
Shape each portion into a ball; wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before using. Or, if you want to use it faster, stick it in the freezer for 5 minutes. (You can keep this pie crust dough in the refrigerator for a week before using, or in the freezer for a couple of months. It freezes well–place dough balls in sealed freezer bags for storage.)
To use, sprinkle some flour on waxed paper. Sprinkle some more flour on top of the pastry dough then roll out, adding more flour if necessary to keep it from sticking to your rolling pin. Place in a greased pie pan. I like to just up-end the rolled crust right off the waxed paper on top of the pie pan. Peel off the paper then crimp the edges.

For double-crust pie, repeat the same procedure, venting the top.

This recipe makes two 9-inch double-crust pies or four single-crust pies. This is a great pastry for tarts and pot pies, etc, as well as standard dessert pies.
PIctured: Homemade PopTarts.

Don’t forget the scraps!
Place pie crust scraps on a lightly greased pan and drizzle with melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake scraps at 350-degrees for about 15 minutes then watch everyone fight over them.

Pie is a beautiful thing. Store-bought pie crust is no comparison to homemade, and this is the best pie pastry I’ve ever used. It’s so easy, it’s ridiculous, and it comes out perfect every time.

The little old church ladies have got your back.

See all my pie and pastry recipes here.

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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  1. Snapper says:

    Yum-O! Thanks for that recipe.

  2. Carolyn says:

    OMG! Can I come over for some of this? I could definitely do some pie for breakfast this morning … and can almost smell it. Thanks for the recipe Suzanne. xxoo

  3. Kim A. says:

    I’ll take a cup of tea and a piece of pie, thanks. Yum! (‘Cause it’s not like I’d ever really make one myself.)


    P.S. Nice shot of Sugar!

  4. Becky says:

    I have never had any luck with pie crusts. :no:
    Maybe I will with this one. :yes:
    Looks delicious! :clap:

  5. Amelia says:

    This is like my recipe…three musts in making pie crust is ice water, Crisco, and don’t overhandle. Yes, I am one of those old church ladies.

    Amelia in Oklahoma

  6. Judy says:

    I am going to have to try your crust recipe when I make Rhubarb pie. It really sounds good.

  7. Cyndi Lewis says:

    I’m so trying this. I love to make pies but my crusts are never great. Of course if this recipe doesn’t work for me, I’m standing by my plans to move in with you. LOL! Surely you can house another six (soon to be seven) people. We could share the chicken and goat houses with your livestock. LOL! :thumbsup:

  8. Kathryn says:

    First of all, those ham rolls are just fantastic! I made them, served them, turned around to get my chair, and they were gone! Maybe not quite that fast, but almost.

    Thanks for the piecrust recipe. I will try it this weekend. I love piecrust, and it is so easy to make.

  9. jane says:

    Unbelievable!!!! So thick and flaky!!! Melts in your mouth. What kind of pie is this? Pie is my favorite over cake any day except cake with butter cream icing. But fruit pies and chocolate pies win. I am a minister and yes there is nothing like potluck at the church and can we cook!!! It is always the best meal in town.

  10. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Jane, this one (pictured here) was actually a savory, not a sweet, pie–it was a roast beef pie! (Leftover roast and potatoes put into a pie.)

  11. happyathome says:

    I never say no to a bake sale, especially the church ones! You see so many pie crust recipes and many times atempting them, explatives are involved :hissyfit: ! I am going to try this one. Thanks for the info!

  12. Beth in Michigan says:

    Recipe please…what did you put in the pie?? I’ve never made a savory roast beef pie! How about your favorite fruit pie recipe! Thanks!

  13. Suzanne McMinn says:

    I think what makes this pie crust, by the way, is the egg and vinegar. A lot of crust recipes only call for flour, salt, shortening, and water. The addition of the vinegar and egg makes a real difference here in creating a tender, flaky, no-fail crust. Also, the sugar makes it taste better. You can count on the little old church ladies for sugar, LOL.

    Beth, I’m definitely going to be doing a lot of pie recipes coming up! I love fruit pies, too, especially when I can get fresh, local fruit. This roast beef pie was a no-recipe true “leftovers” pie–roast beef, gravy, and potatoes, just dumped into the pie, baked for one hour!

  14. Jill S. says:

    You always make me hungry . . .

  15. Mary Beth says:

    So how’d you know I’m planning to make pie (well, quiche) today?

    Actually, I think I’m gonna stick with my own ice-water recipe for today, since I’m cooking for 11. But there’s cherry pie upcoming over the weekend…

  16. Kara S says:

    This question will show my ignorance in pie crust making….if you freeze the balls of crust for future use, how long should they be left to thaw? What’s the recommended method of thawing – countertop or refrigerator? I’m envisioning making a couple batches of this crust and storing it. :biggrin: :biggrin:

  17. Ann from Montana says:

    Hmmmm…I am of the flour, shortening, water and salt crowd and not handling it too much, which makes it flaky…also dotting the filling with butter and most fruit pies with a bit of almond extract and so easy once you train yourself to not fuss with it too much…

    ..BUT, I have loved every recipe of yours I’ve tried so will have to try this just to see !!! It looks absolutely beautiful and delicious!

  18. *jan in TN says:

    You Go Girl!!!!
    Making pie crust with one hand and taking pics with the other.
    Can’t wait to try the crust recipe at our upcoming “grounds service”. I too will classify as one of “The little old church ladies”
    They have never tasted what they’re about to receive.
    Left-overs….ideas rushing through my mind.

  19. Gina says:

    Way to make me want pie first thing in the morning!

  20. Carol says:

    In 1982 I tried to make a pie crust. After attempting to roll it out, I put everything down and went to bed. My husband and daughter cleaned up the mess. Now, I come from a LOOOOOONG line of excellent mid western pie crust/bread bakers , so imagine my humiliation. After reading and viewing todays blog, I vow to get up in the dark of night, and attempt a pie crust, and a grandmothers bread…..My daughter is grown, i am divorced, so there will be no witnessess’……pray for me…..

  21. Suzanne McMinn says:

    LOL, Carol!!

    Kara, if you freeze it, just sit it out on the counter and let it come down to pretty much what the temperature would be if you took it out of the fridge instead. Chilled, but not frozen anymore.

  22. Laura says:

    I don’t know who said it, but the phrase “Nothing says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven” came to mind after reading this entry!

  23. Debbie says:

    I am going to have to give this a try. I especially like that’s you can freeze it. I confess, I have gotten nto the habit of purchasing a store bought crust for the convenience of it. I think I will just go get some rhubarb and try it out. I’ll let you know what i think! :hungry:

  24. Debbie says:

    …err, sorry for the typos. 😮

  25. Lyn says:

    Hello!, I have a been a lurker linked from another site and really enjoy your farm stories! I use this recipe ALL the time! The things I like about it…1. on my recipe when it was given to me said it was idiot proof! You can handle it alot and it still comes out tender and flaky! 2. Freezes well, just thaw in fridge! Also if after you make your pie, before putting into the oven, pour a little milk on top brush it around with pasty brush then sprinkle a good srinkling of sugar on top and bake with edges covered til the last 10 minutes or so then take off. I also use this for my chicken pot pie- 1 recipe for a 9×13 (also do the milk with it but no sugar!) Remember when baking pies always bake them long enough!! Until the fruit filling starts to erupt like a volcano thru the slits. It will start out ‘popping fast then will slow to a slow eruption like you see with the lava of a volcano. Then you know you are done! Your pie looks wonderful!

  26. Donna says:

    OMG, don’t EVEN get me started about “pie”. Okay, you already did. LOL My mother in law, in New York, is actually from Kentucky…but she is a small FIESTY woman. Very domineering and needing LOTS of praise. The type that has to be the best and wants all daughters and daughter in laws to emulate the way SHE does things – making pies, canning jam…you name it. So, naturally, I am rebellious. LOL
    Okay, with that too much information. She LIVES to make pies. I made the comment once that my late mother uses storebought piecrust because they are just as good. WRONG THING TO SAY!!! Ha, ohhhh no…my youngest brother in law can tell the difference right off, she says. She thinks no one can live with her pie OR piecrust.
    It is kind of fun to watch her roll them out…she’ll make five in one day, no problem..or more, if that youngest brother in law wants another one or one all to himself. She has antique rolling pins – and certainly the one her mother gave her, that is antique.
    She recipe is very simple – lard, salt and water and flour. I have LITTLE patience at rolling dough out, esp. with my LARGE MARBLE rolling pin (I plan to get a lightweight one). Last Thanksgiving, my back hurt and my crust looked like my back felt and my husband commented “that sure doesn’t look like my mom’s”…he eagerly jumped in to re roll…before I beat him with the rolling pin (just kidding)…and his looked good. He’s a perfectionist. When he made the above comment, I said “well your mom’s back doesn’t hurt!”.
    I can make mile high merangue (meringue?)…but she just makes a sound like “hmm”…no interest to learn, from her thin, crappy little meringue…she has to know it all and be the best. Let me stop. LOL But, each Christmas or any occasion we are up there…there is PIE. I do love pie, thankfully. She would die if there was no pie!

  27. Donna says:

    P.S. – when my mom made homecrust – hers was like yours. I def. remember the vinegar in it.

  28. Donna says:

    I just noticed up there that I need spell check or ebonics check. I meant to say “she thinks no one can live without her pie OR crust”, and HER recipe is simple – not She recipe is simple.

  29. Donna says:

    BTW…she doesn’t step foot in a church (but loves the Lord they say)…but her mom made “hand pies” and was a dear Christian lady who lived to be 90 something. Ha! She lived on a farm in Indiana. Made her own butter, ect.

  30. Susan says:

    That photo is making me hungry! :hungry:

  31. Brandy says:

    I’m going to hold you to your belief that this will work for anyone. Last time I made a pie crust from scratch is was tough. *G*

  32. Donna says:

    It certainly LOOKS scrumptious!

  33. rebecca says:


    I love pie.

  34. Debbie From Iowa says:

    This is me, contemplating making some pie this weekend. Foolproof you say…you’ve given me hope! Got a Foolproof Meringue to go with it?

  35. Amy Addison says:

    No wonder my summer clothes don’t fit! Too much good food!

  36. jaq says:

    I’ve never made a pie, but I’ve always wanted to. I’m bookmarking this entry. Thanks Suzanne!

  37. Sharon says:

    When I had 2 little boys at home, I used to make pies a lot, then the nest grew empty. My original crust recipe was made with Gold Medal Wondra (granulated) flour. A very simple recipe that you mixed with an electric mixer, but when I moved back from OH to WV (home), I could no longer get Wondra, except in a shaker can (too expensive that way), so I kind of gave up. Several years ago, however, I came acrossed an antique pastry cutter (which I had never had before), so I decided to try it. I got my crust all mixed up and while rolling it out, I began to see all these tiny red flecks in my dough. Upon closer examination, I discovered that the paint on the handle of that nifty antique pastry cutter had crumbled off the handle into my douogh and I had to throw the whole thing out. WHAT A DISSAPOINTMENT.
    My MOM WAS ONE OF THE BEST PIE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, but she failed to teach me. Biscuits were a necessity, so I learned that when I was about 10.

    Your blogs are always fun, and usually bring back a fond memory or two.

  38. Holly says:

    I made a blackberry pie with this crust last night. As I got into it, I realized I only had whole wheat flour! I made it anyway, and the crust was perfect! Now I’m using my leftover dough balls to make an apple pie (and I bought some white flour for next time).

    Thanks for a great recipe!

  39. Kay says:

    Thank you very much for the recipe! I made the pie crust, very nervously on Wednesday, refrigerated the four dough balls and made individual ground beef wellingtons on Friday. The meal was a success!!! I haven’t tasted pie crust this delicious in YEARS!!! Store-bought crust DOES NOT COMPARE!!!

  40. cindy smith says:

    i made an apple pie and i use the crust. what right temputer would it be for the pie? thank you

  41. cindy smith says:

    well i tried the crust and it was fantastic. i lost my rolling pin so i rolled it out with a can. i got it alittle thick but it was great. my husband said that the crust was just right flakey and great. i was worried because it was thick and i had the oven on at 425 degrees but i kept a good eye on.

  42. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Hi, Cindy! That’s great! (Sorry, I was away from my computer most of the past couple of days.)

  43. cindy smith says:

    thats okay i know that you are busy. i lived on a farm so i know how it can be. the day starts early when you have animals to feed then the house hold and out to the fields we go. we had peppermint and spearment, corn and also our own garden so it was busy. i have always grabbed recipes here and there and hope that they were good and sometimes they were really bad. but i do have to say that your recipes are always great and you always give the right measurment and everything and that is unusual. i dont even look at the cook book anymore i have a notebook just for your recipes. so i want to thank you very much again

  44. cindy smith says:

    i also wanted to ask you and forgot do you know how to make scalloped corn. my mother made it all the time and i cant find any recipes that are close to just the plan basic ingredients.thank you

  45. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Yes, in fact I’m planning to do a scalloped corn post sometime in the next few weeks (before Thanksgiving)!

  46. Donna says:

    I am anxious to try this recipe as it sounds like my late mom’s. I tried to make my MIL’s piecrust this past weekend and nearly lost my religion!!! It stuck and peeled and ect. – the lard/flour kind…so I want to try this and on the waxed paper – I know it’ll be alot easier, plus, I now have a new pastry blender – I was using two knives, because i got rid of my mother’s old pastry cutter – dumb.

  47. LisaAJB says:

    Do you think anything bad would happen if I used butter instead of shortening? I’m in charge of the pumpkin pie this year and I want an exceptional crust. This is my first year in the family, and I don’t want to be known as “Jesse’s wife who brought that crappy pie to Thanksgiving.” 🙂

  48. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Hi, Lisa. Honestly, I don’t know at all because I’ve never done it with butter. The best thing I can think of is to start a topic thread in the forum and ask–maybe somebody there has tried it that way and would know!

  49. Joni H. says:

    To Lisa, I have tried a butter recipe and it is not as flaky.

  50. Shelly D. says:

    I LOVE this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing. I tried it out on a pie yesterday and my-oh-my that’s a lovely crust! Here’s the link to my post about it along with a few pics of the “masterpiece”.

  51. Shelly D. says:

    I think actually putting the link on here would be helpful, don’t you? :p

  52. Bev says:

    How simple….wax paper! I never make pie crust because I can not get it off the counter and into the pan…

  53. Mia says:

    I’ve just stumbled upon this blog while searching for homemade cake mix. I’m off to try this pie crust recipe! We’ve recently started a small farm – veg, fruit, hens and pigs – so I’m reading your blog with great interest!

  54. Heather says:

    I’ve been perusing your site for weeks now and I was so excited when I saw that your pie crust recipe is the same as mine. I even got mine from a little old church lady. keep up the awesome recipes and stories

  55. Barbara says:

    Holy cow, I can’t thank you enough for this recipe! I MADE PIE CRUST!!!! It was so easy thanks to your tutorial and pictures. My husband used to be the pastry maker in our family till I tried this. Best pumpkin pies ever AND I have two more crusts already made in the freezer the next time I get a hankering for pie. Thanks SO MUCH! Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful.

  56. stacy says:

    I made pies two days ago with a recipe for the crust that i found on-line.. it was a disaster. every one said it was good, but it was entirely to thick.. and dry.. no flakiness whatsoever. tonight i found your recipe.. even as i was preparing the crust i noticed a difference.. i was excited even before i finished mixing it.. it rolled out sooo easy. and when i baked the pie, it was awesome! thank you so much.. i think you have created a monster here.. attack of the pie lady!

  57. JOJO says:

    :snowman: :woof: :snowman:
    Like Stacy, I love this crust! I used it over Thanksgiving and my pies were wonderful. I have been baking pies for over 55 years, and this is the best recipe I have found, and it keeps so well. I try to keep enough for one pie in the fridge at all times. It is really nice if you leave it a bit thicker than you do for a pie and top a cobbler or a chicken pie with it, they turn put fabulous as well. Good stuff!!

  58. MousE says:

    Hello, I just ‘stumbleupon’ed your blog, and I love it! I’m going to try the Grandmother bread and pie crust recipe today.

    I look forward to exploring more of your blog! Really enjoy the writing and photos. Thank you so much.

  59. princessvanessa says:

    Linda, my mom did almost the same thing. She rolled out the excess pie dough, sprinkled on sugar and cinnamon, cut it into strips about 2 inches wide, and placed them on a cookie sheet. After the pie came out of the oven, they went in and were baked until golden brown.
    We didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up and it was “waste not, want not” so that excess pie crust was used.

  60. Terri says:

    OK, I’m embarking on my first homemade pie crust. My new hubs loves pie but, sadly, we live nowhere near a pie shop (like I did when I lived in Utah … ah Croshaws, how I miss you.) So here I go, peach raspberry pie from scratch. I’ll check in later and let you know the consequences.

  61. Jody says:

    This is an awesome recipe. I got mine from a co-worker years ago. She has since passed away but the recipes she shared with me have lived on. It is indeed “fool proof”. Enjoy!!

  62. LK says:

    I have an awesome flaky butter pie crust recipe. I used to be able to turn out a lard crust (using my mom’s multiple-crust recipe) perfectly until we had to use home-rendered lard, and couldn’t seem to get the hang of using “just a bit less” lard to keep it from being WAY too greasy! :bugeyed: Yuck!

    I will try it again, probably after we render our lard this year. This will be my first year trying that…I imagine that it isn’t that hard to do.

    Anyway, I will post the recipe that I use over in Farm Bell Recipes. It is so totally fluffy and flaky! It is called “Puffy Pastry”, and has only 3 easy ingredients…white flour, butter and sour cream. It ALWAYS turns out for me.

  63. Barbara43 says:

    Hi there,
    I’m not great with pie dough ~ maybe your recipe is the one that was created for people like me ~ it looks great!
    Thanks so much for the tip on using the ‘scraps’ ~ what a great idea!
    Thank you for sharing!

  64. DancesInGarden says:

    I am genetically unable to make edible pie crust (I get it from my paternal grandmother. My maternal grandmother could turn cement and iron filings into a feather soft crust I am sure). No matter what recipe I try, you could use my pastry as a ninja throwing star.

    I used this crust recipe tonight to make butter tarts for a bake sale (what was she thinking, assigning me TARTS?). Was the dough easy? Yes. Did it roll out like a dream? Heck Yes. Was it flakey? HOLY CRAP! We are talking so flakey and delicate that it is difficult to pick up the tarts to eat them….in a good way of course LOL!

    Even after re-rolling the scraps several times, the last tarts are as tender as the ones from the first rolling. I did use a food processor rather than a pastry blender, and I did not use waxed paper to roll out (just flour).

    Thank you thank you thank you! Next, can you teach me to make jell-o from a box? Apparently I don’t take direction well and mine never turns out……..tee hee!

  65. bonniel says:

    Hi Suzanne, I have been making this crust for years and it changed my pies. However, today I was making it for double crust deep dish apple pies and it was over moist to start so I didn’t add all the shortning and only some of the water/egg/vinegar mix as it was really wet. It was refrigerated for at least 30 min while I made the filling but after rolling it out when I went to transfer it to the pie dish, it completely fell apart. I now have a patched pie. I still have 2 dough balls in the fridge for pie #2 and wondering if there is any salvaging. I’m not sure what happened differently as I was making dough leaves to decorate my pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, so any sugestions or feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!!

  66. eju87 says:

    Will this work in a deep dish pie pan? Thanks! :wave:

  67. cheri1981 says:

    This is a wonderful crust, I have made pies out of it but the pop tarts have been a hit with my family and my sons friend. I also took them to a brunch bridal shower. I fill them with cream cheese and rasberry pie filling, back them and put a glaze on them

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