This flaky butter pie crust is the best never fail flaky pie crust recipe! If you're looking for a no fail pie crust with butter, add a little vodka to make it the flakiest, best pie crust recipe ever! You can also double the recipe to make this flaky pastry recipe into a double pie crust recipe! Use it for my Brown Butter Sweet Potato Pie Recipe or my Pecan Pie Tart! Or save leftover scraps for my Pie Crust Cookie Twists!
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All Butter Flaky Pie Crust Recipe
Homemade flaky butter pie crust is a truly magical thing. For many years in my baking I used store-bought pie crust. And I still don't have anything against store-bought crust if time is a factor. But if you have a food processor and a few minutes to try it out, this no fail pie crust with butter is actually super easy to make yourself. And it's totally worth it.
For this flaky pie crust recipe you'll either need a food processor or a stand mixer. A food processor works more quickly, but I've found that a stand mixer can do the job too! The key is to make sure that the bowls and attachments stay cold, and NOT to overmix! Pie crust can be intimidating, but once you try this easy never fail flaky pie crust you'll be making homemade pie crust every time!
What is the secret to a flaky crust?
If you've got a bar cart with a little spare booze, this is your moment! Half of the liquid in the dough is vodka, and you might be wondering why? It's because vodka produces the best never fail flaky pie crust recipe!
What causes flakiness in pie crust made from butter?
Vodka evaporates more quickly, which allows those flaky bits to form more easily in the oven, and because it replaces water, there's less water to promote gluten development in the dough. The alcohol cooks off, and because vodka is basically flavorless, there's not impact on the flavor of the crust. The result is a tender, flaky all butter pie crust that is much more forgiving than a typical all-butter crust recipe.
If you don't have vodka, you can use any spirit with at least 40% alcohol, like tequila, rum, or whiskey, but just be aware of the flavor that your spirit of choice might produce in your crust. Although to me, a pie crust with hints of bourbon or rum sounds very interesting! If you don't have vodka or another spirit, white vinegar is a great alternative.
Flaky Butter Pie Crust Recipe Ingredients
Check the recipe card below for precise measurements, but here are the simple ingredients you'll need for this no fail pie crust with butter:
- all-purpose flour - be sure to measure your flour correctly -- either using a food scale to measure out 160 grams (my recommendation), or use the spoon-and-level method.
- sugar - you can omit sugar if you're using this recipe for a savory recipe like chicken pot pie, or my Heirloom Tomato Galette with Herbs. Omit sugar for a savory pie.
- salt - Just a bit of salt helps to add flavor to this all butter pie crust!
- butter - Your butter should be very cold to achieve flaky layers. I like to take the butter straight from the fridge, cut it into ½-inch cubes, and then pop it into the fridge for about 15 minutes to get it extra cold. If you use salted butter, cut your salt down to ¼ teaspoon.
- ice water - Again, it should be icy cold! I like to let some water sit in a cup with a few ice cubes in it, and add the 2 tablespoons of ice water from that cup.
- vodka - this is the most important ingredient to get that flaky texture! What you'll do is add vodka to bring the dough together and allow it to be pliable, but because vodka doesn't affect gluten formation as much as water does, your pie crust will remain flaky every single time! If you don't have vodka, you can substitute white vinegar, or another spirit like rum (would be perfect for my Pecan Pie Tart recipe)!
For this flaky butter pie crust recipe, you'll need either a stand mixer, a food processor, or a pastry cutter. Once the dough is chilled, you'll also need a rolling pin to roll it out. Then you'll need a pie pan! This recipe fills a 9-inch pie plate.
Never Fail Flaky Pie Crust, Step by Step
Check the recipe card below for detailed instructions! But here are the basic steps for this flaky butter pie crust recipe:
- Combine dry ingredients: flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or food processor. You can also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment
- Add frozen, cubed butter to the flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Slowly add in ice-cold water while mixing until just barely combined. Mix in vodka, adding a bit more as needed to help the dough come together. Be careful not to overmix, and avoid touching the pie dough with your warm hands!
- Press into a disk of dough on a lightly floured surface. Then wrap in a couple layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
Tips and F.A.Q.
An all butter pie crust recipe can become tough due to an excess of gluten development, either from too much water or overworking the dough. To prevent that with this no fail pie crust with butter, we're replacing some of the water in the dough with vodka, which doesn't activate gluten the way water does. To further prevent gluten formation, don't overmix your pie dough! Just mix it barely enough to bring the dough together. That way you'll ensure the best flaky pie crust recipe!
Definitely butter! Pie crust made with butter has that delicious butter flavor that you can't get with shortening crust! Also it has just enough gluten formation to make the crust sturdy, and the pockets of cold butter expand as it bakes to create that flaky pastry recipe we all want!
Unsalted butter! Even though I love baking with salted butter, I'd recommend using unsalted butter for the best pie crust recipe. Unsalted butter allows you to ensure your butter is fresh, and you can more precisely regulate the amount of salt in your flaky butter pie crust recipe.
Your butter should be very cold for this flaky pastry recipe! If it's room temperature, it'll melt faster in the oven and won't make the air pockets you need for a flaky texture and the perfect pie crust!
This homemade pie crust recipe makes one single layer of pie crust for the bottom of a pie pan -- to make a top crust as well as a bottom crust, click the "2x" button at the top of the recipe card below to double the ingredient measurements.
This recipe makes a sweet pie crust, but to make a savory pie dough, you can just omit the sugar and follow the rest of this easy pie crust recipe as usual!
This flaky butter pie crust recipe is perfect for recipes like my Leek and Asparagus Quiche with Bacon and Gruyère, fruit pies like my Cherry Crumb Pie, or with hand pies like my Sweet Potato Pop Tarts or my Peach Mango Pie recipe! You can also make a double pie crust recipe and use it for my Deep Dish Caramel Apple Pie!
If you try this recipe, I would love it if you could leave a star review rating and comment below! It’s so wonderful hearing your feedback! And don’t forget to share your creations with me by tagging @chenee_today on Instagram!
Equipment you may need
- pastry cutter
- Cube cold butter into ½-inch cubes and place in freezer for 15 minutes to chill.½ cup unsalted butter
- Measure your flour (with a kitchen scale, if you have one) and add to bowl of food processor or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. You can also just add it to a large bowl if mixing with a pastry blender. Add in sugar and salt and whisk to combine.1¼ cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon salt
- Add your cubed butter straight from the freezer, and pulse, or mix on the lowest setting, or cut with pastry blender until butter is incorporated into flour in small, pea-sized lumps.
- Add in your cold water, and mix to incorporate. Then add vodka as needed to allow dough to come together.2 tablespoon ice water, 2 tablespoon vodka
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface and, with floured hands, form into a flat disc and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours, or overnight.
- Roll out onto a floured surface with a floured rolling pin until it's 12 inches in diameter. Carefully roll onto rolling pin to transfer into your pan.
- To transfer to pie pan, wrap pie crust gently around floured rolling pin, hold rolling pin above the edge of the pie pan, and gently unroll. Press crust lightly into pan and crimp sides.
PIN this flaky butter pie crust recipe for later!
Last Updated on October 17, 2022 by Chenée Lewis