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All butter pie crust

Golden, flaky, and full of buttery flavor–take your baked goods to perfection with an all butter pie crust that’s versatile and freezes great.

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a pie shell with crust in it ready to be baked

For years I made a basic pie crust with vegetable shortening. It’s the way I was taught and what I thought was best.

Then I learned two pivotal lessons:

  1. Vegetable oil and shortening is not what you want to eat . You can read why we quit it here.
  2. A butter pie crust is doggone delicious, more flaky and more delicate than it’s shortening version. I made my first one for an apple slab pie and I kid you not–it changed my pie baking life.

How to make a pie crust with butter step-by-step

Step 1: Put your favorite brand of all purpose flour in a bowl with salt and sugar (the sugar is optional–for savory recipes leave it out). Mix those together with a fork.

a bowl of flour with salt and sugar

Step 2: Use a box grater to grate cold butter into the flour mixture. You can use two forks or two butter knives to cut the butter in also if it’s easier for you. I find a box grater to be the easiest way. Toss the butter gently with the flour to separate any large lumps.

a bowl of flour with a pile of grated butter piled in the center
a bowl of flour with butter mixed in

Step 3: Add cold water and mix to form a ball of dough. Try not to over mix it. Work in any dry pockets of flour from the bottom of the bowl and avoid adding any more water. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill the dough about 15 minutes before moving on. This makes the dough easier to work with.

a bowl of mixed dough

Step 4: Once your dough is chilled, divide the dough in half and roll one half about 1/4″ thick. Use a knife to cut a circle that’s 2-3 inches wider than your baking dish. If your dish is deep make sure to add extra so your dough fits. You can always trim off the extra after you get it in.

To place your dough in your dish, starting at the top, lay your rolling pin on the dough and gently fold the dough over the pin. Roll the dough very loosely around the pin and lift into your dish.

a circle of pie dough on a counter with a pie plate on top

Step 5: Fit your dough to your dish and trim away any excess dough to about 1″ over the edge of your dish. Fold that 1″ under so it’s even with the edge of your pie dish. Use a fork to press lines into the dough, or use your fingers to crimp the dough. Bake according to your specific recipe.

Need some great pie crust recipes? Try these:

Apple Crumble Pie

Easy Blackberry Pie

a blackberry pie on a table with berries around it

Chicken Pot Pie (leave out the sugar for this one)

a pie plate of chicken pot pie with a scoop out and a spoon in it
a pie shell with crust in it ready to be baked

All Butter Pie Crust

Prep Time 15 minutes
Chill 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 16 people
Author Rachel Ballard


  • 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar omit for savory recipes
  • 3 sticks cold butter
  • 3/4 cup cold water


  • In a large bowl, add the flour, salt and sugar and stir to combine.
  • Use a box grater to grate the butter into the flour. Toss to coat and separate the pieces, breaking up anything larger than pea sized.
  • Add the cold water and stir to combine. You may need to use your hands to work the dough together. There will be crumbly bits of flour in the bottom of the bowl; just press the dough down into those places until all the dry flour has been incorporated. In total this should take no longer than a minute.
  • Divide the dough in half, press into a disc shape and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 30 minutes or up to a week before using. Dough also freezes well tightly wrapped for up to 6 weeks.


Makes 2 9-inch crusts. Serving size is based on 1/8 of the pie. 


Calories: 267kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 3gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 443mgPotassium: 36mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 529IUCalcium: 9mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword homemade pie crust

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    1. I have tried a ton of crusts for fried pies. On my fried pie recipe I still list store bought because none of the homemade versions I’ve made lately really suit me. For flavor, I’d far and away prefer this one but I can’t guarantee it’s not going to fall apart when you fry it. If you do try it it’s going to make a LOT of pies…maybe 25 or 30 if you used the whole batch of dough? –Rachel

  1. Rachael,

    My problem with pie crust is always the same. I do everything you say, but when it comes to putting it into a ball, the mixture is so dry that it simply will not form a ball. I then react by putting more water in to get a ball. Why does this happen every time I try to make a pie crust

    1. Hey Allen, The first thing we have to troubleshoot is how you’re measuring your flour. Always remember that when you’re measuring flour you need to do it by not scooping into the bag or into the bowl or you will end up with way too much flour in the recipe. Always use a spoon to lift the flour into the cup and then level it off. The next thing to remember is that humidity levels in every home and region of the country are going to vary so that means that giving a set amount of liquid to the flour can be very difficult because no two homes are the same. Pie dough will always look crumbly in the bowl, but test it by squeezing a portion of it with your hand. Does it hold together? If it does then you can likely bring it together the rest of the way on the countertop. If it’s still too crumbly in the bowl, addmonly one tablespoon of water at a time until you can get it to hold together. –Rachel

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About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.