Detailed Instructions On How To Make Pie Dough

Have you been looking for Detailed Instructions on How to Make Pie Dough? If you have always been intimidated by pie dough, don’t be! I promise I will do everything I can to break it down and make it easier to try! Once you get the basics down, it is really easy. In fact, I can make my pie dough in under 5 minutes. Yes, it’s that fast. It makes the best pie crust!

Another really great thing about this recipe is it a partial wheat crust. If you haven’t tried making pie dough with whole wheat, don’t worry, it tastes amazing and is so flaky!! I promise you will love it.

cherry slab pie on a slate  surface with slice on small plates and antique forks

Options For Mixing The Pie Dough

What tools do you use for making pie dough? Let me share 3 options that work really well. The first is a food processor. I use a Cuisinart Food Processor. It is one of my kitchen workhorses, and I use it constantly. It makes really quick work on a batch of pie dough. The second is a pastry cutter. This is a really good option if you love aren’t ready to make the food processor purchase yet. The pastry cutter works really well and it is such an inexpensive option! The 3rd option and one pie purist use is….your hands. Yes, only your hands. I rarely use this method, I like to work a little faster than that, but it also produces amazing results!

Before You Begin

Here are a few things to know before you get started. These Detailed Instructions On How To Make Pie Dough are so important but also simple to follow. Make sure and read through them all. Again, it seems like a lot to learn, but once you get the basics, you will be making pie dough in your sleep!! 🙂

  • Make sure all ingredients are chilled. The most important thing in this all-butter crust is to keep that butter COLD until it hits the oven. The reason for this is you want chunks of butter throughout the dough when it goes in the oven. Then as it bakes that butter finally melts and creates small pockets in the dough, creating layers. This keeps the dough flaky and tender. So remember, keep the dough chilled!
  • To go hand-in-hand with the first recommendation, get everything ready to go before you start mixing. This ensures everything stays chilled as you work quickly. This can only happen if everything is laid out and ready to go.
  • Once the dough is made, divide in half, wrap well, and place in the fridge. Give the dough time to chill and relax. This is a legitimate thing, the dough actually does need to relax. It is so much easier to work with when the gluten has relaxed. It needs to be chilled for at least 2 hours.
  • This is a partial wheat crust, meaning I used a wheat/all-purpose combo. I prefer a whole wheat pastry flour for this, but a white or red whole wheat is also great. I have used spelt flour, rye, and einkorn as well. All produce really great results. For this recipe, I will use whole wheat pastry flour.

Mixing The Dough

Okay, with the basics out of the way, let’s get mixing. Start with your dry ingredients in the food processor or bowl you will be working with. In a traditional pie dough, this is only flour and salt.

dry ingredients in a Cuisinart food processor for making pie dough

In the food processor, give this a few quick pulses. With the pastry cutter, just swirl gently, the same with your hands.

blended dry ingredients in a food processor for how to make pie dough

Adding In The Butter

Next, add in your butter. You can see it is in pretty big chunks. They should only be this big if you are using the food processor. The reason for this is the food processor cuts that butter up super fast. If it is too small, to begin with, it will be nothing by the time you mix. If you are mixing with the pastry cutter or your hands, you will want to start with chunks a little smaller than this. I like the butter so cold, I will cut it into chunks, then place it in the freezer while I am working on the rest of it.

butter on top of dry ingredients in Cuisinart food processor for making pie dough

Pulse this several times. You still want to maintain pretty good-sized chunks as you will mix again after you add the ice water. In the photo below you can see what my chunks look like.

woman showing detailed instructions on how to make pie dough

The Ice Water

Add in your iced water. Now, the water is a variable. It depends on your climate, how dry your home is, etc. I will give you a range to try. Start with the smallest measurement listed, then add another tablespoon or 2 as needed.

ice water added to food processor while making pie dough

I don’t like to mix it more than a few pulses, as the food processor can break the butter up too much. The way to tell if you have added enough water is to pinch the dough between your thumb and forefinger. If it sticks together, it is good!

partial wheat pie dough being mixed in Cuisinart food processor

Place on your surface.

pie dough on surface

Press the dough into a log. Can you see those chunks of butter? That is what you are looking for!

woman rolling pie to log while giving Detailed Instructions On How To Make Pie Dough

Now, divide the dough in half. This will be your top and bottom pie crust.

woman holding pie dough discs ready to be wrapped

Wrap these well and they go right into the fridge. You can also freeze this dough for up to one month. Just make sure it is wrapped well so it won’t take on the tastes in your freezer.

wrapped pie dough headed to the fridge for chilling

What To Do With That Beautiful Pie Dough?

Now, once your pie dough has been chilled, it is ready to go. This is where the hardest part of the process comes in. What to make with your dough. Should you go savory? Sweet? Round pie? Slab Pie? Hand pies? The possibilities are endless. I will share a few of my recent favorites!

Pie pops are a huge success at our place and so good! It seems like a good idea to have single-serving portions, but the truth is, I ate way too many of these. Pie pops are that good!!

simple pie pops on surface

Another favorite of mine is slab pie. I am rarely making pie for just our family. I need a pie that can serve a crowd. Slab pies are perfect for this, and the cherry slab pie was a hit!!

cherry slab pie on surface with slices on small white plates with cherry filling in small white container.

We also really love this Chocolate Pecan Pie. It is one of my husband’s favorites. Or…Who am I kidding, he loved every pie I make and each one is his favorite:).

chocolate pecan pie on small white plate with 2 forks

The Best Partial Wheat Pie Dough

This is a recipe adapted from Kate Mc Dermott's recipe from her book Art Of Pie
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword best pie dough recipe, flaky pie dough, wheat pie dough
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Amy- A Red Spatula


  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour You can also easily use 100% whole wheat, no all-purpose if you prefer
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons butter, cut in 1 inch pieces Butter should be chilled. After you cut it into chunks and are waiting to add it in, I like to pue it in the freezer to keep it really cold.
  • 1/2 cup ice water- plus 1-3 tablespoons as needed.


  • Add salt and flours to medium-sixed bowl. Mix to combine. Next add in chilled butter. Blend in with your hands or pastry cutter. If you are using a food processor, I like to pulse it about 10 times. You will want the butter to look like cracker crumbs.
    Now, it is time for the water. Add in 1/2 cup, and mix. If you are using a food processor, pulse about 10 times again. 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 2. Repeat the process and check again.
    Once it is ready to go, turn out onto a surface and knead quickly until it holds together. Divide dough in half and form into 2 disks. Wrap each one seperatly with saran wrap and place in the fridge.
    It is best chilled at least 2 hours. The dough can be held in the fridge for up to 3 days. Or, if you prefer, you can make it ahead and store it in the freezer, wrapped well, for up to once month. Just place in the fridge overnight before using.
    Now, it is ready to go! choose your favorite recipe and get to it!

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