Gallery: Step-by-Step: How to Make the Best Pie Crust

I've written rather extensively about the science of pie dough, so I won't bore you with another 5,000 words on the subject. Instead, I'll give you the short version of the story, followed by a full-on, step-by-step illustrated version you can follow along with in the kitchen. It's an essential holiday skill that everyone should have in their pocket.

  • The Ingredients

    This recipe will form enough pie dough for one double-crusted pie or two single-crusted pies. Start with 12 1/2 ounces of all-purpose flour (that's about 2 1/2 cups), 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 1/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter (20 tablespoons), cut into pats, and 6 tablespoons of cold water.

  • Combine the Dry Ingredients

    Combine all Dry Ingredients

    Combine salt, sugar, and 2/3 of the flour in a food processor and pulse a few times until they are evenly incorporated.

  • Add the Butter

    Add the Butter

    Scatter the butter chunks evenly over the top of the flour mixture.

  • Pulse to Incorporate

    Pulse to Incorporate

    Seal the processor and pulse it to start breaking up the butter. In a typical pie crust recipe, you stop when the butter is in pea-sized pieces. But this time, we're gonna keep going.

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  • Keep Pulsing!

    Keep Pulsing

    Keep going until no dry flour remains and the mixture resembles a dough that collects in clumps.

  • Add the Remaining Flour

    Add remaining flour

    Spread the dough out around the bottom of the food processor bowl using a rubber spatula, then sprinkle it with the remaining flour.

  • Pulse One Last Time

    Pulse one more time

    Pulse the dough one last time to incorporate, about 5 short pulses. The moist dough should break up, with plenty of dry flour still surrounding it.

  • Transfer to Bowl and Add Water

    Step 7

    Transfer the dough to a bowl using a rubber spatula and sprinkle with the water.

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  • Fold Dough

    Fold Dough

    Use the spatula to fold the dough over itself, incorporating the water.

  • Continue Folding

    Continue folding

    Continue folding the dough until it forms one solid ball.

  • Transfer to a Floured Bench

    Transfer to a floured bench

    Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface. This dough will be quite a bit more moist than a traditional dough. Don't be afraid to use a little extra flour!

  • Divide Dough in Half

    Divide dough in half

    Use a bench scraper to divide the dough into two even pieces.

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  • Shape and Refrigerate

    Shape and refrigerate

    Shape the dough into two 4-inch disks. Wrap them tightly in plastic and refrigerate them for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days before proceeding.

  • Dust Generously With Flour

    Dust generously with flour

    When ready to shape the dough, pull out one ball, set it on a well-floured work surface, and sprinkle with more flour.

  • Start Rolling

    Start rolling

    Use a tapered rolling pin to start rolling the dough out into a circle, lifting the dough and rotating it while rolling to achieve an even shape.

  • Finish Rolling

    Finish rolling

    Continue rolling, changing the angle of your rolling pin as you go to get an even shape and thickness. The finished dough should overhang your pie plate by an inch or two.

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  • Transfer to Pie Plate

    Transfer to pie plate

    Pick up the dough by carefully rolling it around your rolling pin, using your bench scraper to help lift it off the work surface. Unroll it over a pie plate.

  • Fit It In

    Fit it in

    Gently lift and fit the dough into the pie plate, getting down into the corners.

  • Trim


    For a single-crusted pie, use a pair of scissors to trim the dough so that it overhangs the edge by 1/2 inch all around. For a double-crusted pie, at this stage, fill it and drape your second round of pie dough over the top. Trim it to a 1/2-inch overhang along with the lower crust.

  • Tuck


    Tuck the overhanging edge under itself all the way around the pie. (If making a double-crusted pie, tuck both the top and bottom crust edges together under the bottom crust.)

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  • Flute

    Step 20: Flute

    Flute the edges of the pie crust using the forefinger of one hand and the thumb and forefinger of the other.

  • Finished!


    The single-crust pie shell is ready to be blind-baked or filled. For a double-crusted pie, brush with an egg white, sprinkle with sugar, and cut vent holes in the top with a sharp knife before baking.