How to Make Pie Shells

Have you ever made a homemade pie shell?

Now of course you can pick up a couple of frozen shells pre-made in the freezer section of your local supermarket and save yourself some time; and I confess I have done this from time to time in a pinch!

But nothing compares to the simplicity and uniqueness of a homemade, flaky, tender, buttery pie crust.

pie-shell-resize

If you want to take that next pie to the next level, I urge you to try your hand at the art of pastry in its simplest form ~ a hand formed pie shell.

I prepare my pie shells well in advance and store them (unbaked) in the freeze this way whenever I want to make a pie I can simply grab a raw shell out of the freezer and proceed to make my pie in just minutes!

So how do you make pie shells?

Well, first you need a really great Pie Dough recipe!

4.0 from 1 reviews
Pie Dough
 
Prep time
Total time
 
For 2 -9 " Pie Shells
(Or 1 shell plus 1 top if you are covering your pie)
Author:
Serves: 1.75lbs
Ingredients
  • All Purpose Flour 2ΒΎ cup (356g)
  • Granulated Sugar 1 Tablespoon (12g)
  • Solid Vegetable Shortening COLD ΒΌc (56g)
  • Unsalted Butter COLD 9 Tablespoons (126g)
  • Salt 2 teaspoons (12g)
  • Ice Water Β½ cup (120ml)
Instructions
  1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade attachment.
  2. Add the diced cold butter and cold shortening pulse to distribute evenly
  3. Once the mixture resembles course meal with tiny chunks of fat throughout, add the cold water through the feed tube while pulsing.
  4. Do not add the entire amount of water, wait to see how the dough comes together, as you may not need all, or you may need a tablespoon or two more.
  5. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 5 days
  6. Once you take the dough out of the refrigerator it will be firm and crumbly.
  7. You must break up the dough and re- roll it on a lightly floured surface to make it pliable again, and then proceed to roll your pie shells.
Notes
Pie shells that have been preformed will last up to 2 months in the freezer. Wrap each one with plastic wrap.

Pie dough can be stored for up to 10 days in the refrigerator, or 4 months in the freezer.
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For those who are in need of a Blind Baked Pie Crust- Click HERE!

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60 Comments

  1. Hi Gretchen – I am planning on trying your pie crust. You make it look so easy. In the past I have made crust but had trouble with the bottom of the apple pie not being fully cooked when pie was done. Do you have any suggestions on how to correct the problem?

    1. Great! I hope you try this one is so easy! That is why I blind bake the shell first to avoid soggy-ness (I will be making a post to show how to blind bake the pie shells)

    1. HI Betty, did I write BLOND? it’s supposed to be BLIND bake! woops! Where do you see that so I can change it? thanks
      (and PS- I ll be making a post about BLIND BAKING pie shells!)

      1. In your answer to a question on 7/16-waiting for you blind bake answer – us many of your recipes- been following you for about a year.

  2. Hi Gretchen! Hope you have settled well in your new place! I know you are very busy rebuilding your new blogsite but I have two questions which I hope you are able to help me with:

    1) Can you use this dough to make empanadas? My husband is looking for a flaky empanada dough.

    2) I made your strwberry sponge cake as trial for my daughter’s wedding next month. The crumbs, texture, taste were on point. Sooo good!!! But, I noticed that there is a faint line in the middle of the cake. I guess it did not rise with the strawberry. How can I fix that? If I add 2 oz of pulverized freeze dried strawberry (as suggested by one of your commenters in your woodland bakery blog), will i have to remove 2 oz of flour as well? I did my son’s wedding cake last March using your yellow cake infused with lavender and your SMBC with blueberry and everyone loved it and expects the same for my daughter’s affair. She is requesting a strawberry sponge cake with strawberry SMBC filling in one tier, nutella SMBC in another tier and chocolate SMBC in the third tier. Need your help!!! Thank you, Gretchen!!!

    1. Hi Thanks! I am pretty well settled yes!
      I am not very schooled on empanadas, so its difficult for me to answer confidently- however I will say if they are BAKED empanadas, then YES but if they are fried empanadas I would worry that it will NOT work.
      #2- I do not like to add fruit purees (or much of anything additional really) to sponge cake recipes. It is a fragile recipe not to mention fruit puress are heavy and can change the texture to a rubbery one.
      It is better to add fruit purees to base recipes like Chiffon Cakes (which I have not yet refilmed πŸ™ but plan to ASAP!
      in the meantime if you go to my Gretchens Bakery facebook page in PHOTOS I have alot of the most popular recipes including the strawbbery chiffon cake recipe (no video though) and also there are so many people who have saved the recipes and can share with you right away! Just ask on the main page! Thanks!

      1. Thank you, Gretchen!!! I will do a trial soon. Where do I find your simple syrup recipe and your “What is cake?” link? Best.

        1. Hey there, there is a search bar here on the blog- its a google search bar- highlighted in maroon color.
          Its under a black header that says : SEARCH HERE FOR GRETCHENS RECIPES
          You can type in whatever recipe you are looking for and its pretty forgiving with spelling too! πŸ™‚
          Simple Syrup
          What is Cake

  3. Hi Gretchen,
    Thanks for the recipe and video. You always make it look so simple. I just need some clarification on freezing the preformed pie crusts if I was to make a whole batch at one time.
    – Do you prefer certain type of pie tins to use when freezing the pie crusts?
    -Do you then wrap the whole pie tin in plastic wrap? Is this enough to keep it from freezer burn or should I wrap it again in foil or enclose it with a ziploc bag?
    -And lastly, do I need to defrost the pie shell before filling and baking? If not, then do I need to increase the bake time to account for the frozen state of the pie shell?
    Thank you again for taking the time to post these recipes and especially for answering our many questions.

    1. Great thanks! Regular aluminum disposable tins are great to use
      Yes freeze solid- then wrap the whole ting in plastic- they also fit in gallon freezer bags, for longer storage I recommend both
      I do not thaw before baking – but I have done it both ways – so it is not really better one way or the other (in my opinion)
      Yes bake time will be more (just by a few minutes though) if baking frozen

  4. Hello,
    I have been experimenting with pie crust for a solid year now. I read a ton of different pie recipes and spoke with people from King Arthur Flour and which is about 2 minutes from my school and read a few food lab articles. I eventually came up with a recipe for an all butter pie crust (half the butter is frozen and cubed and the other half is frozen and shaved).
    I really like to perfect all the things I know how to make and I have really been struggling with the apple pie recipe I use, I either cant get the bottom part of the dough to bake all the way through or I have the juice from the apple mix leak. Recently I managed to fix the leaking aspect by bushing apricot preserves on the bottom of the pie and mixing in crushed graham crackers to the mix but I still seem to have mixed results with the bottom pie crust. I tried baking the pie on top of a heated cookie sheet in the oven and I still seem to have mixed results. I was thinking of blind baking the bottom to circumvent this issue but would that work if I still want to use a double pie crust? Do you have any suggestions?

    Regards,

    Jackie

  5. Hi Gretchen! Love your recipes ❀️❀️ wanted to ask you, can I do without shortening in this recipe? Or substitute it with something else. Thanks a ton!

  6. Hi

    On your previous channel you made a chocolate tart using a chocolate pie dough if i remember correctly. how would you change this recipe to make it chocolate?
    thanks

    maria

  7. OK! IfI wanted to make enough dough for 5 pies ( double crust) would I actually multiply the measurements X 5. Like 2 3/4 C. Flour X5= 133/4 flour. Then the rest also. Water, salt etc.. I’ve doubled other recipes but usually just doubled.
    My mom never measured anything and use to make 15 pies for family and customers. Light flakey! Me not so good!
    Thanks for the videos.

  8. I’m looking into food processors to buy and I was wondering which cup food processor would this recipe fit in? I see some online that’s like 7 cup, 9 cup.

  9. I have search and tried many recipes for more than a year and found yours to have the best i am happy i found you! thank you the video helps. thank you mwah πŸ˜‰

  10. Hi Gretchen, do you use high ratio shortening for pie crusts as well? I have been using Sweetex for my SMB ever since reading it on your blog and it is wonderful.

    Thanks!

  11. Hi! Since I do not own a food processor, I was wondering if it would be fine to mix up the dough in a blender or would it be better if I just did it by hand? Thanks so much!

  12. Hello Gretchen,

    I have not checked out your pie dough recipe before this because I was sure mine was the best. Guess what, it’s the same recipe. Mine came from the Baking With Julia Cookbook! lol.
    eileen

  13. Hi Gretchen. I am inexperienced in baking. I’ve tried this recipe 3X and each time my pie dough after refrigerating for 2 hours or so is very crumbly. I have had a very hard time kneading it to a dough that’s soft and workable. I must be doing something wrong. Any suggestions??

    1. Be sure to weigh your ingredients properly too much flour will cause this to be too dry.
      As you see though in my video It does get very dry and crumbly BUT upon re-rolling and kneading it will become pliable

  14. Hi Gretchen! Love your work!! I don’t have shortening. What would happen if I used all butter? Would the measurements be different if I use all butter?

    Thanks,

    Sophie

  15. Gretchen my food processor did not come with a dough blade and I really want to make pie tonight! LOL any suggestions?

  16. Hello Gretchen,
    I was searching for the video that you used the pie rolling pin set in. I also wanted to use the link to order the set. I’m striving for pie perfection, well almost

  17. hi doll, I actually do not own a food processor and was wondering if i can do this another way so that i dont have to buy one JUST to make pie dough….any suggestions?

    1. I usually do it straight out of the refrigerator and it’s fine. You can freeze too though (Ive done that in the past especially when prepping for videos and I know it will be under the hot lights for a little while) Either will work great! Once you grate it, it gets warmer so there is really no harm in freezing if you so choose

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