Why It Works
- Combining graham cracker crumbs with melted butter yields an easy, versatile crust.
- A pinch of salt amplifies the sweet, nutty flavor of the crumbs.
Known for its versatility, low effort-to-reward ratio (especially if you’re using store-bought crackers), and sweet, nutty flavor, not many can resist the allure of a classic graham cracker crust. Consisting of just graham crackers crumbs, melted butter, and salt, it's a well-loved staple for those with a sweet tooth.
Making graham cracker crust is a straightforward affair: mix the crumbs and melted butter together, and season to taste with a pinch of salt. From there, scatter the moistened crumbs in a nine-inch pie plate or tart pan, and press into an even layer with help from a flat-bottomed drinking glass or measuring cup.
If you’re going the no-bake route, which we call for in our easy no-baked cheesecake, it's important to really compress the crust to avoid a crumbly texture, since there’s no baking involved to bind the crumbs together. Then, pop the crust in the fridge to chill until needed.
To bake the crust, which we opt for in our lemon-ricotta cheesecake and would be equally delicious if substituted for a flaky pie crust in this butternut squash pie, prepare the crust, then simply follow the instructions in the recipe; you’ll be rewarded with a buttery, toasted, crisp crust worth savoring.
- 8 3/4 ounces (about 2 cups; 250g) graham cracker crumbs, store-bought or homemade (see note)
- 2 1/2 ounces (about 5 tablespoons; 70g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Kosher salt, to taste
In a medium bowl, combine crumbs, melted butter, and a pinch of salt to taste, folding with a flexible spatula until the crumbs are fully moistened.
Scrape into a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan, spread into an even layer, then compress firmly with a flat-bottomed drinking glass or measuring cup; this will naturally push the crumbs up the sides of the pan.
Keep pressing until the crumbs are in a compact, even layer across the bottom and sides of the pan. Use as directed in your recipe of choice.
flexible spatula, 9-inch pie plate or tart pan
To make graham cracker crumbs from whole crackers, place graham crackers in food processor bowl and pulse until into fine crumbs, 10 to 12 pulses. Alternatively, you can place the crackers in a zipper-lock bag and crush into fine crumbs with a rolling pin.
If using a springform pan, lightly grease the pan first, then wrap the bottom piece in foil before assembly, and tear away the excess so the pan sits flat. If using a traditional cake pan, lightly grease the pan and line the bottom with a parchment round. For both, compress the moistened crumb mixture into an even layer along the bottom of the pan, then proceed with the recipe of your choice.
Feel free to swap the graham cracker crumbs with an equal volume of store-bought or homemade Biscoff cookies for a deeply spiced caramel flavor.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Wrapped in plastic, the crust can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.