Cook's Illustrated's Foolproof Pie Dough Recipe

A sprinkle of vodka and a good food processor are key to this foolproof pie dough.


Serious Eats

When we talked to Cook's Illustrated publisher Chris Kimball about a 2007 issue of the magazine, we asked what recipes really stood out in that issue. This pie crust is one of them. It's a brilliant recipe," Kimball said. "The secret ingredient in it? Vodka."

The alcohol adds moistness to the dough without aiding in gluten formation, since gluten doesn't form in alcohol.

Recipe Facts



Active: 15 mins
Total: 60 mins
Makes: 1 double-crust pie

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  • 2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon table salt

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices

  • 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces

  • 1/4 cup cold vodka

  • 1/4 cup cold water


  1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

  2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Special equipment

Food processor, silicone spatula

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