Perfect your pies with this basic pie crust dough recipe

Friends, let me tell you something about pies. They are the epitome of comfort food – a warm, homemade pie can soothe your soul like nothing else. But here’s the thing – it all starts with the crust.

The pie crust is the foundation of any great pie. The right recipe can make all the difference between a perfect flaky crust and one that falls apart in your hands. That’s where I come in! As an articulative assistant for a baker, I have the perfect recipe for you – Sunset’s Best Basic Pie Crust Dough Recipe.

This recipe is easy to make; once you master it, you can use it as a base for every other pie out there – be it savory or sweet. With simple ingredients such as flour, shortening, butter, sugar, salt and ice water, you can easily create a buttery-flaky pie crust that is delicious and versatile.

Are you ready to make the perfect pie crust? One that will leave your family in awe of your baking skills? Let me guide you through this recipe step by step. Believe me; it is worth it!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Sunset's Best Basic Pie Crust Dough
Sunset’s Best Basic Pie Crust Dough

I’m not one to exaggerate, but let me tell you: this basic pie crust dough recipe is a game-changer.

If you’re like me and love homemade pies, then I promise you’ll fall head over heels for the flaky and buttery crust that will hold together just perfectly.

What’s the secret? Well, it’s thanks to the combination of shortening and butter, which creates that dreamy texture that we all look for in a perfect pie crust.

Not only is this recipe easy to make, perfect if you’re a beginner baker, but it also works great for all kinds of pies! Whether you’re baking your favorite apple pie or want to try something new, like our cranberry pear tart, this basic pie crust will elevate any dish you make.

And hey, let’s not forget about the endless possibilities of substitutions and variations. You can use it as a base for a low carb or gluten-free pie by swapping out regular flour with almond flour, or even use it as topping for a delicious Breakfast Sausage Casserole.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can do with this versatile recipe.

So trust me when I say that once you try this best basic pie crust dough recipe from Sunset, there won’t be any going back to store-bought crusts. It’s simple, easy and will make your homemade pies taste like they were baked by a professional chef.

Ingredient List

 Golden flaky crust made from scratch
Golden flaky crust made from scratch

Here are the ingredients for Sunset’s Best Basic Pie Crust Dough Recipe:


  • 2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable shortening, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 7 to 9 tablespoons ice water

These simple ingredients are enough to create a crust that is as flaky and buttery as a traditional homemade pie crust. The recipe of Sunset’s Best Basic Pie Crust dough recipe uses both butter and shortening, which adds richness and flavor while also ensuring the dough is easy to work with. The flour, sugar, salt and cold butter make the base of the crust while the vegetable shortening and ice water help to hold the dough together, creating a perfect texture.

The Recipe How-To

 The perfect blank canvas for your favorite pie
The perfect blank canvas for your favorite pie

Here we go, the moment you have all been waiting for: making the best basic pie crust dough recipe from Sunset! This recipe yields a deliciously flaky pie crust that will perfectly hold together your favorite fillings. Trust me, it’s worth the effort to make your own homemade pie crust!

Preparing the Ingredients

Before we start mixing our ingredients, let’s make sure that everything is ready to go:

  • Cut 7 tablespoons of butter and 7 tablespoons of shortening into small pieces and place them back in the fridge. We want them cold for maximum flakiness!
  • In a large bowl mix 2 1/2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Get an iced water glass ready.

Making the Pie Crust Dough

Now that we have our ingredients ready, let’s mix them up:

  1. Add the cold cut butter and shortening to the flour mixture.
  2. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, mix until the dough resembles coarse sand.
  3. Slowly add ice water by spoonfuls, mixing after each addition until the dough barely holds together when pinched between two fingers.
  4. Using your hands, shape the dough into two disks, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour before using.

Voilà! You made your very own pie crust dough! If you’re just making a single crust pie or tart, go ahead and freeze the other half for later use.

Expert Tips

  • Keep everything cold! The colder your ingredients and tools are when making pie crusts, the flakier they’ll be.
  • Don’t overwork the dough! Overworking can activate protein cells in flour and lead to a tougher crust.
  • Blind bake your crust! Blind baking means prebaking your crust before adding in filling. This will help prevent soggy bottoms.

Enjoy making this perfect pie dough recipe from Sunset Best Basic Pie Crust Dough Recipe!

Substitutions and Variations

 Master the art of pie crust with this recipe
Master the art of pie crust with this recipe

Are you looking to switch things up and add a personal touch to your homemade pie crust recipe? Look no further, for I have some substitutions and variations that will elevate your crust game.

– Shortening or Butter: While the recipe calls for a mix of shortening and butter, feel free to use all shortening, all butter, or even try using lard (yes, really!) for a different texture and flavor.

– Sugar: For a sweeter crust that pairs perfectly with fruit pies, increase the amount of sugar in the recipe. Conversely, if you prefer a less sweet crust for savory pies, decrease or omit the sugar altogether.

– Flour: All-purpose flour is the go-to for this recipe, but if you’re feeling adventurous, try substituting part of the flour with almond flour or coconut flour for a gluten-free option.

– Liquid: The recipe calls for ice water but you can switch things up by using other liquids, such as sour cream or milk, to add richness to your dough. Another fun substitution is swapping out some of the liquid with fruit juice; orange juice works great with creamsicle pie while apple juice complements classic apple pie.

– Additional Flavors: To give your crust an extra boost of flavor, add spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. You could even replace some of the flour with cocoa powder for a chocolatey twist. And if you’re feeling really bold, try incorporating savory spices like garlic powder or rosemary into your dough.

Remember that experimenting is key in creating your perfect pie dough recipe. Don’t be afraid to try out new substitutions and variations until you find what works best for you.

Serving and Pairing

 A foolproof dough for all your pie needs
A foolproof dough for all your pie needs

Once you have mastered the art of making the best basic pie crust dough recipe, it’s time to think about serving and pairing options. This buttery flaky pie pastry is delicious on its own or with your favorite pie filling.

The Sunset’s Best Basic Pie Crust Dough Recipe is a versatile option that goes well with both sweet and savory pies. Whether you are making a traditional apple pie or experimenting with new flavors, this crust will elevate the taste and texture of your homemade pies.

For a classic dessert, try pairing this crust with classic flavors like pumpkin, blueberry, cherry, or apple. The flaky texture and rich flavor will perfectly complement the sweetness of the filling. For a savory dish such as a chicken pot pie or quiche, the Sunset’s Best Basic Pie Crust provides a perfect base for hearty comfort food.

This homemade crust also goes well with tart flavors such as cranberry or pear. Pairing this recipe with Chef John’s cranberry-pear tart recipe is a match made in heaven. You could also use almond flour instead of regular flour to make this recipe gluten-free.

For low-carb, keto-friendly options swap puff pastry or sour cream-based cheese topping with Sunset’s Best Basic Pie Crust Dough Recipe as suggested by Chef John from Food Wishes whose sausage breakfast casserole uses Sunset’s Best Basic Pie Crust Dough Recipe as base.

Whether you’re based in Los Angeles or St. Louis, this easy homemade pie pastry is sure to impress your guests and family alike. The Sunset’s Best Basic Pie Crust Dough Recipe is versatile, easy-to-make, and perfect for any occasion!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Bring the bakery into your kitchen
Bring the bakery into your kitchen

Making pies can be time-consuming, and it’s always better to plan ahead, especially if you’re preparing for a special occasion or events. You can make the pie dough in advance to save time and reduce stress on the day you’re baking, or make a double batch and store one in your freezer for later use.; that’s why it is versatile, as it allows you to plan your baking process accordingly.

To make ahead of time, after forming the dough into disks or rounds, wrap them tightly with plastic wrap or store them in an airtight container before placing them in the refrigerator. The dough will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days before use. With this method, you can prepare for an occasion without the hassle of making everything from scratch on the day of the event.

If you’ve made too much pie crust dough than needed, it stores very well in the freezer for future baking purposes. Wrap each disk or round of dough tightly with plastic wrap and put inside Ziploc bags. The dough will last for up to three months while stored inside your freezer.

When reheating and using frozen pie crusts, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before rolling out and fitting into a pie dish. The crust should still roll out smoothly and fit perfectly with its flaky texture intact.

Whether you’re planning ahead or have left-over crusts on hand, these make-ahead and storing tips will make your life easier while giving you more flexibility when prepping homemade pies effortlessly.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Get ready for the compliments
Get ready for the compliments

As a baker, I understand the importance of having a perfect pie crust every time. In this section, I will share with you my top tips for making sure you achieve the perfect flaky and buttery pie crust dough using Sunset’s Best Basic Pie Crust Dough Recipe.

Firstly, use cold ingredients. This means having your butter and shortening as cold as possible when adding them to the flour mixture. It is essential to keep these ingredients from heating up to maintain their solid form until they are baked.

Secondly, don’t overwork your dough. When you are mixing your flour and fats with ice water, mix them only until they come together as a dough, not until it gets completely smooth. Over-mixing can cause pie crusts to become heavy, dense, and tough.

Thirdly, add enough cold water in small amounts. Make sure to add just enough water for the dough to hold together—adding too much can make the dough sticky and challenging to manage.

Fourthly, rest your dough before rolling it out. After forming the dough into a ball, put it on plastic wrap and let it chill for at least one hour in the refrigerator. Resting allows the moisture in the dough to hydrate fully and more evenly distributes both water and fat throughout the crust’s structure.

Fifthly, roll out your pie crust on a floured surface lightly, but not too thin. This step helps create layers of air pockets between layers of pastry, generating a flaky texture.

Sixthly, if you want your pie crust to be golden brown on top sides while preventing a burnt edge or soggy bottom then use a shield during baking.

Seventh Tip; Roll out pie dough flexibly with wax paper

Lastly: The best way to ensure that your homemade pies always turn out great is by following this recipe from Sunset’s Best Basic Pie Crust Dough Recipe closely. Happy baking!


As with any recipe, it’s common to have questions or concerns as you embark on your baking journey. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Sunset’s Best Basic Pie Crust Dough Recipe that can help you achieve success and avoid common pitfalls.

What is the secret to making amazing pie dough?

As a seasoned baker, I’ve learned that the key to making the perfect pastry dough lies in a few simple steps. Firstly, it’s essential to keep your butter cold while you’re preparing your dough. This will help ensure that your pastry remains flaky and buttery.

Another helpful tip is to pop any ingredients that you’re not currently using in the fridge to ensure that they remain cold until you need them. This is especially important for ingredients like eggs or milk, which can spoil quickly if left out.

Once you’ve combined your ingredients and prepared your dough, be sure to chill it thoroughly in the fridge. This will help your pastry hold its shape while you work with it and result in a perfectly light and flaky finished product.

When it comes time to handle your dough, make sure to be gentle with it. Overworking your dough can cause it to become tough and less flaky. Additionally, it’s important to evenly distribute your butter throughout the dough, taking care to ensure that no large chunks remain.

As you roll out your dough, be sure to roll away from your body. This will help ensure that your pastry remains even and doesn’t become too thin in any one spot.

Finally, don’t be afraid to leave a few crumbles in your pastry dough. This can actually work to your advantage by creating additional layers and adding to the overall texture and flavor of your finished product.

What is the number 2 most important thing when making pie crust?

When making the dough, it’s essential to have cold water on hand. Fill a glass with ice and water before you start. Gradually add the ice-cold water to the dough, adding only about one tablespoon at a time. Be sure to stop once the dough is moist enough to hold together when squeezed in your hand. This technique helps the dough bind and form a cohesive structure.

What is the secret to flaky pie crust?

When making a pie crust, the type of fat you use can affect its texture. While butter, shortening, or lard all result in a tender crust, an all-butter crust has a higher water content which can make it flakier. As the butter melts and its water turns to steam during baking, it creates thin, crisp layers that give the crust its desirable flakiness.

What makes a better pie crust butter or shortening?

After conducting a thorough taste test, it became evident that butter stands out among other ingredients when it comes to creating a pie crust that is both tasty and robust. While shortening and lard have their own unique uses in baking, they don’t quite measure up to the advantages of butter. For instance, shortening yields desserts that are exceptionally tender. Nonetheless, the butter is the winning ingredient for a delicious, flaky, and stable crust. This knowledge will prove valuable for anyone looking to bake a pie that stands out above the rest.

Bottom Line

in the persuasive style of Martin Luther King Jr.

As we reach the end of this recipe article, let us reflect on the significance of a good pie crust dough recipe. It is not merely a matter of satisfying a sweet tooth or impressing friends and family, but rather an opportunity to showcase our creativity and attention to detail in the kitchen. A homemade pie with a perfect crust is a symbol of craftsmanship and care that speaks to our souls in ways only food can.

So I urge you, my fellow bakers, to make use of this Best Basic Pie Crust Dough Recipe from Sunset and take your homemade pies to new heights. Use this recipe as a foundation for your creative ideas, experiment with different flavors and textures, and let your imagination run wild. And with the substitution and variation options provided in this article, you have the freedom to make it your own while still staying true to the basic principles of a great pie crust.

Remember that cooking is an act of love, and every effort we put into preparing food for ourselves and others is a reflection of that love. With the tips and recommendations shared in this article, you can create not just any-good-pie but truly extraordinary pies that will leave a lasting impression on anyone lucky enough to taste them.

So go forth, my friends, armed with the knowledge and skills needed to create perfect pies every time. Let us embrace the joy and satisfaction that comes from making our own flaky, buttery pie crusts with this Best Basic Pie Crust Dough Recipe from Sunset. Thank you for reading, and happy baking!

Sunset's Best Basic Pie Crust Dough

Sunset’s Best Basic Pie Crust Dough Recipe

From the magazine's August 2007 edition: "It's simple: Use shortening for a flaky texture and butter for a delicious flavor...Makes 1 double crust for a 9-inch pie or 2 single-crust 9-inch pies." Nutrition facts: 168 cal (99 fat cal), 2.1g protein, 11g fat (4.5g sat fat), 15g carb, (0.5g fiber), 270mg sodium, 14mg chol.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: < 15 Mins, Brunch, Dessert, Easy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Calories: 2691kcal


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 tablespoons butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
  • 7 tablespoons shortening, very cold, cut into small pieces


  • Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Drop in butter and shortening. Using your hands, a fork, a pastry cutter, or two knives, work butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles cornmeal with some small pea-sized pieces.
  • Using a fork, quickly stir in 1/2 cup ice water (mixture will not hold together). Turn dough and crumbs onto a clean surface. Knead just until dough starts to hold together but some bits still fall away, 5 to 10 times. Divide dough in half and pat each half into a 6-inch disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 20 minutes and up to overnight.
  • NOTES: "If you would like to use lard--which also contributes flavor and flakiness to pie crust--substitute 2 tbsp lard for 2 tbsp of the shortening. Try to get good-quality lard from a butcher shop if you can; it's generally much better than ordinary grocery-store lard.".

Your Own Notes


Serving: 261g | Calories: 2691kcal | Carbohydrates: 251.1g | Protein: 33.1g | Fat: 173.3g | Saturated Fat: 73.9g | Cholesterol: 213.7mg | Sodium: 4067mg | Fiber: 8.4g | Sugar: 13.5g

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