This 3 ingredient pie crust recipe is quick, easy, and full of buttery delicious flavor. You'll love how fast this dough comes together and how perfectly it goes with all your favorite pie recipes. From chicken pot pie to sweet fruit pies, this crust can do it all with just three simple pantry ingredients.
A good pie crust is such a comfort food staple. Whether you're making pie for the holidays, or a savory crusted quiche for brunch, we can all agree that the crust really makes or breaks the dish. When making your favorite pie recipe, the last thing you need is an overly dense crust or a thin soggy crust that can't hold the filling.
It's tempting to grab a premade pie shell but trust me, this easy pie dough recipe works for numerous dishes and is so fresh tasting, you won't want to settle for store-bought crust again. Whether you're new to baking or seasoned and comfortable in the kitchen, my recipe for 3 ingredient pie crust will be a new staple for all your pie crust needs.
What is homemade pie crust made of?
There are numerous approaches to making pie crust. Whether they are traditional recipes, limited ingredient recipes such as three-ingredient pie crust and 4 ingredient pie crust, or specialty diets such as vegan pie crust and gluten-free options; each of these has three main elements:
Flour, fat, and water
Some recipes may utilize salt, sugar, and even eggs. These ingredients can be useful but they aren't essential. This easy pie crust recipe uses three main ingredients to create the perfect simple pie crust for any occasion.
Why You'll Love It
Versatile- This homemade pie dough is extremely versatile. Whether you want savory or sweet, it can do both! You can make anything from cute Pie pops, Apple Blueberry Pie, or even a super savory Ham and Cheese Galette!
Easy- Making pie dough doesn't have to be complicated. I like to create delicious recipes but still, keep things simple so they feel manageable for a variety of skill levels. If you've been intimidated by pie crust before or had unsuccessful attempts, this comprehensive guide will give you all the tools for success when making the perfect pie crust.
Budget friendly- Store bought pie crust comes in many forms. Both frozen pie shells and refrigerated dough are readily available at most grocery stores. While $3-$7 may not seem too expensive, you can make your own fresh dough for a fraction of the cost.
What's the secret to a good pie crust?
The secret to a good pie crust is cold ingredients. Of course, there are lots of tips and tricks that go into a delicious golden brown crust but it all starts with the ingredients.
Cold butter and ice-cold water give you the most light and flaky pie crust. While baking, the cold chunks of butter create small pockets of steam that make a light layered crust. Without cold butter, the crust becomes dense.
What can you make with the pie crust?
There are so many yummy things you can make with this dough. This crust is great to use with your favorite pie fillings or you can get creative and try something new.
Savory pies: You can use it as a crust for quiche/tarts. Try my mini Ground Beef Hand Pies, or this deliciously cheesy Potato and Gruyere Galette. A quick taco pie for dinner filled with meat and cheese would be excellent too!
Sweet pie crust: If you like a sweet crust you can add a couple of tablespoons of granulated sugar to the flour when mixing or simply let the pie filling sweeten things up. Try my Blueberry Pie, Pecan Praline Pumpkin Pie, or Cherry Pie! This recipe makes two rounds of dough so that you can make a double crust pie or do a lattice design.
All-purpose flour- All-purpose flour will be the base for your pie crust. Typically, I like to use a blend of all-purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour in my traditional pie crust recipe. I love adding whole wheat because of the flavor and nutritional benefits but all-purpose flour is easily available and will simplify this recipe. The crust will be tender but strong enough to handle a variety of fillings.
Salted butter- Salted cubed butter is a great tool to use in this 3 ingredient pie crust because it eliminates the need for added salt. If you only have unsalted butter, feel free to add ½ teaspoon of salt to this recipe. The most important thing is that you don't use melted butter, only cold butter chunks.
Water- Ice water is the only liquid you’ll need for this recipe. The water must be ice cold for the best results. To achieve this, I like to fill up a large measuring cup with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of ice while I measure out the other ingredients. When I'm ready to add the water, I remove the ice and then measure out the amount of water I need for the recipe. This will give me ice cold water that’s just right for mixing into the dough.
How to Make 3 ingredient Pie Crust
The first step to success is to set up your workstation. When learning how to make a good crust, setting up your mise-en-place for a smooth baking experience is key.
This means measuring out your ingredients and preparing the tools you'll need such as a rolling pin and plastic wrap for chilling the dough.
You have two options when deciding how to make this crust:
A food processor or using a pastry cutter.
How to make 3 ingredient pie crust with a food processor
Using a food processor to make pie crust is an easy way to make the dough quickly. It mixes fast leaving less time for the butter to melt which will keep the dough light and flaky.
- Place the flour into the food processor and scatter the chunks of cold butter on top.
- Pulse it about 10 times. You will want the butter to look like cracker crumbs.
- Pour in ½ cup of water. Pulse about 10 more times.
- Pinch the dough between your thumb and index finger. If it stays together and holds well, it is good to go. If it is still crumbly, add in another tablespoon or two of water. Stop adding water if it gets sticky. Repeat the process and check again before moving on to the next step.
How to make 3 ingredient pie crust without a food processor
This very easy pie crust can be made without a food processor as well. The most important thing is to work quickly so that the butter doesn't begin to melt.
For this, you'll want to avoid using your hands for mixing. Using a pastry blender also known as a pastry cutter is the best way to do this. In a pinch, a potato masher will also work.
- Place the flour and butter into a large bowl. Use the pastry cutter to combine the flour and butter mixture until it looks like cracker crumbs.
- Pour in ½ cup of water slowly, mixing until a cohesive dough begins to form.
- Pinch the dough between your thumb and index finger. If the flour mixture stays together and holds well, it is good to go. If it is still crumbly, add in another tablespoon or two of water. Repeat the process and check again before chilling.
Chill the dough
- Once your dough is made, whichever method you chose, turn the dough out onto a clean lightly floured surface.
- Divide the dough in half and form into two equal disks, about 1-inch thick. Wrap each one separately with saran wrap and place in the fridge to chill.
- The pie dough is best chilled for at least 2 hours before baking.
How to roll out pie dough
- Lightly flour your surface and remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll out each disk several times back and forth in one direction. Rotate it 45 degrees, and roll again gently. If it begins to pull back or shrink up, let the dough rest for a few minutes and try again.
- Continue this process until the dough is the right size for your pie plate. This helps maintain the circular shape. Roll the pie dough to 2-3 inches bigger than your pan. I typically use a 9-inch pie pan for a regular-sized pie. So, I will roll my pie dough into a 16-18-inch circle. This will take into account the height of the pan as well.
- Gently press the pie dough into your pie pan. Tuck the excess dough underneath. Then, crimp the edges to your liking.
- For blind baking: place a piece of parchment into the formed pie dough. Fill with beans or baking weights. Blind bake the pie dough at 385 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove the parchment and pie weights. Bake for an additional 8 minutes.
How to Store Pie Dough
Refrigerator: This pie dough, when wrapped tightly will hold in the fridge for up to 5 days! Yes, 5 days.
Freezer: To freeze pie dough wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap a few times then wrap in foil. These layers of protection are important and will ensure that when your dough thaws, it still tastes fresh. Placing the wrapped disks into a ziplock bag with the date is an excellent way to ensure you use them within the ideal time frame. This pie crust dough can be frozen for up to one month. To thaw the dough, defrost it in the fridge overnight.
How to egg wash a pie crust
Egg washes are an excellent tool in pie baking. While this recipe doesn't require an egg wash, it can serve you in a couple of helpful ways.
- Create a beautiful glossy crust that's darker golden brown than without a wash
- Add structure to the dough and prevent the bottom crust from getting soggy
To egg wash, a pie crust, simply whisk together an egg and a teaspoon of water, milk, or cream in a small bowl. The added liquid helps it brush over the dough easier.
Use a pastry brush to gently sweep the mixture over the pie crust. Do not pour it into the crust. Be sure to get all of the ridges because that will give you the golden picture-perfect crust we all love. It's that simple!
Use the coldest butter possible to start- Cut the butter into chunks and place it into the freezer while you measure and prepare the ingredients. Once you're mixing, work quickly to ensure it stays cold, and refrigerate the prepared dough for at least 2 hours before rolling it out.
Don't overmix- It's so easy to overmix, especially when using a food processor. Pulse the dough and keep an eye on it. Once it sticks between your fingers, it's good to go!
Don't rush the process- Making any kind of dough takes patience and the effort is evident in the taste. If you're new to baking, be sure to check out my guides on How to Cut a Pie to get the most beautiful slices and learn if you need to grease a pie pan before putting the crust in.
Choose your pie dish wisely- When choosing a pie dish consider how you'd like your presentation to look and also the functionality. Glass pie dishes are excellent because they heat evenly and you can peek through at the fully baked pie crust and ensure its doneness. Ceramic dishes can be very pretty but are opaque. Metal pie pans tend to run hotter but are the most budget-friendly.
FAQ 3 Ingredient Pie Crust
To get the extra golden glossy look, you'll want to do an egg wash on the crust before baking. Crack an egg open into a small bowl and add a little water before beating. The water will help the egg brush over the crust smoothly with a pastry brush.
To avoid a tough pie crust, there are three important places to pay close attention to. How you measure, how you mix, and how you bake. Over-measuring the flour by scooping directly out of the bag can compact it and actually put more in your bowl than you intend. If not using a scale, always spoon the flour out into the dry measuring cup and gently level with a knife, being sure not to shake the flour down into the cup.
Avoid over-mixing as this will make the pie crust tough as well. The dough only needs to be mixed until just combined meaning the flour is wet and forms a cohesive dough. For baking, be sure that you pay close attention to doneness cues. While the dark crust looks beautiful, too dark means it will come out crunchy and overbaked. Depending on your recipe, you may need to cover the edges with foil if they brown too quickly.
It depends on what you want to make. Some recipes can swap super easily. Pizza dough is yeasted and pie crust is not. Consider the flavor differences depending on the meal you're making and whether or not a firm pizza crust is appropriate in place of a flaky pie crust.
My butter pie crust recipe is flaky and so simple. The biggest key to getting a flaky pie crust is to be sure you're working with cold butter and cold water. This will help create layers in your pie crust and ensure it's flaky and delicious.
Some pie crust recipes use butter while others believe that Crisco or shortening is ideal. Butter is always going to give you a better flavor. Not only that, it's more sturdy and will make for a lighter, more flaky crust.
Shortening will give you a softer crust and can be good when making decorative elements because it will be less flaky; this can be beneficial to help your decorations or braided pieces hold shape better.
Eggs are great for some pie crusts but they aren't generally necessary. Eggs add structure to the pie crust and make it firm and puffy. This can be helpful with heavy fillings but most of the time a light and flaky crust, without eggs, is all you need.
3-ingredient pie dough
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 14 tablespoons chilled salted butter
- ½ cup ice water
Food processor method
- Add the flour to the food processor.
- Cut the butter into ½-inch chunks. Add it to the food processor as well.
- Pulse several times until the butter is broken up into pea-sized pieces.
- Pour in the water and pulse the dough again. If you need to add in another tablespoon or 2 of water. Pulse again. Don't overmix it though. You can tell it is done when you pinch it and it holds together.
- Divide the dough in half and flatten into disks. Wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge.
- It will hold in the fridge for 1 week. Or you can freeze it and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. If you are freezing it, be sure to place it in a Ziplock bag as double protection from freezer burn.
Pastry cutter method
- This method is very similar to the food processor method except you use a pastry cutter instead.
- Add the flour to your bowl.
- Cut the butter into ½-inch chunks and add it to the flour. With the pastry cutter, cut the butter into pea-sized chunks.
- Add in the ice water and cut it in until it is all combined. Pinch the dough to see if it sticks together. If it does, it is ready. If not, add another tablespoon or 2 of water.
- Divide the dough in half and flatten it into disks. Wrap in saran wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before using.