3 Ingredient Flaky Pie Crust (Easy Recipe!)

Make the easiest and flakiest pie crust with only 3 ingredients: flour, butter, and water! This recipe yields two 9-inch pie crust doughs, so you can make two pies or freeze one for later. This recipe is perfect for beginners and experienced bakers alike. It’s simple to follow and produces a delicious and flaky pie crust everyone will love!

Hand pressing the dough into a pie pan.

Try this easy recipe for a delicious 3-ingredient pie crust! This flaky and flavorful pie crust is perfect for any occasion, sweet or savory. It’s also easy to make and store, so you can always have a fresh pie crust on hand when you need it.

This recipe makes two simple 9-inch pie crusts, enough for one double-crusted or lattice pie or two open-faced pies. In the instructions, I walk you through how to prebake a pie crust. From there, you can freeze the crust or make a pie using your favorite fillings – I find that simple ingredients taste best, like with this peach mango pie!

3 Pie Crust Ingredients

  • Flour: This is the foundation of this recipe. You can use all-purpose or pastry flour.
  • Unsalted butter: You can use any butter, but unsalted is preferred. European is even better!
  • Ice water: Make extra; you won’t need all of the water, but it helps to dip your fingers in while working with the dough.

Vegan modification: For every 1 cup of dairy butter, use 1/2 cup of vegan butter and 1/2 cup of vegan shortening.

Optional Ingredients

  • Salt: For a saltier crust, whisk 1 teaspoon of salt into the flour before adding the butter.
  • Sugar: For a sweeter crust, whisk 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar into the flour before adding the butter.
  • Salt and sugar: To balance out the sweetness of a sugary filling, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar to the recipe.

Three Different Methods to Cut Butter into Flour

Fingers snapping butter into flour.

1. Using a pastry cutter

This is the most common method and the easiest to master. A pastry cutter is a kitchen tool with a series of blades that help you cut the butter into small pieces.

To use a pastry cutter, place the flour in a large bowl and add the cold, cubed butter. Use the pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until the pieces are about the size of peas.

2. Using two knives

This method is a bit more time-consuming, but it works well if you don’t have a pastry cutter.

To cut butter into flour with two knives, place the flour in a large bowl and add the cold, cubed butter. Use the two knives to cut the butter into the flour until the pieces are about the size of peas.

3. Using a food processor

This method is the fastest, but it’s important to be careful not to overmix the dough.

To cut butter into flour with a food processor, place the flour and cold, cubed butter in the food processor bowl. Pulse the food processor until the butter is cut into small pieces, about the size of peas.

Did you know that replacing half of the water with flavorless cold vodka creates a flakier crust? That is because alcohol evaporates quicker than water, leaving behind less moisture, which can result in a flakier crust.

Expert Tips to Make 3 Ingredient Pie Dough

Keep the ingredients cold:

  • The key to a flaky pie crust is to keep the ingredients cold. This prevents the butter from melting into the dough, making it tough. Here are a few tips:
    • Keep the butter in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
    • Use ice water to make the dough.
    • Work quickly and keep your hands cold.
    • If the dough becomes too warm, chill it before rolling it out.

Do not overwork the dough:

  • Overworking the dough can make it tough and prevent it from becoming flaky. When you’re mixing the dough, look for pea-sized pieces of butter. If you don’t see any, you’ve overworked the dough.

Mix the dough by hand:

  • It’s important to mix the dough by hand to avoid overworking it. If you use a mixer or food processor, be careful not to overmix. Stop as soon as the dough comes together.

Protect the edges:

  • To prevent the edges of the pie crust from over-browning, you can use a pie crust shield or make one yourself. To make a shield at home, use a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to go around the crust. Fold the edges of the foil up and over the crust, exposing the center.

Transferring the dough:

  • There are two ways to transfer the dough to the pie plate:
    • Rolling pin method: Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll it out into a circle that is 12 inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to the pie plate by rolling it up on the rolling pin and then unrolling it over it.
    • Quarter method: Fold the dough into quarters. Place it in the center of the pie plate and unfold it. Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
Dough and rolling pin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use my high-performance blender instead of a food processor?

I do not recommend using a high-performance blender to make this 3 ingredient pie crust recipe. The butter will become too small, so you will not have a flaky crust.
How do I modify this recipe for high altitude?

How do I modify this recipe for high altitude?

According to the Colorado State University Extension, “Although not generally affected by altitude, slightly more liquid may improve the texture.” In my experience, I would interpret slightly more liquid as a tablespoon or less.

Note: As long as I can remember, they have been the best resource for baking at altitude adjustments, and I always check their site before adjusting any recipe.

Can I roll the dough in sugar or powdered sugar to create a sweeter dough?

Yes, but I do not recommend it. Rolling the dough in sugar seems like a good idea. However, the sugar is only on the surface, can burn, and is not evenly mixed into the dough. Instead, I recommend adding one tablespoon of sugar to the recipe and whisking the sugar into the flour as you would when mixing dry ingredients for a cake. This will ensure even distribution.

How to Store Dough and Crusts

Dough wrapped with a rolling pin on top.

How to Store Pie Dough

Refrigerator: Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap or in an airtight container. Store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Before using, let the dough come to room temperature for about 10-15 minutes.

Freezer: Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer bag or an airtight container. Freeze the dough for up to 3 months. When ready to use it, thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator, then let it come to room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before rolling it out on a floured surface.

How to Store Baked 3 Ingredient Pie Crust

Refrigerator: Let the baked crust cool completely. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freezer: Let the baked crust come to room temperature. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a resealable freezer bag. Label the bag with the date and type of crust, and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Hand pressing the dough into a pie pan.

Easy 3 Ingredient Flaky Pie Crust: Perfect for Any Occasion

This is the perfect 3 ingredient pie crust recipe for beginners. It's easy to make and produces a flaky, tender crust that's perfect for any pie. Simply combine the flour, butter, water, and salt, and mix until the dough comes together. From there, you can make a pie with your favorite filling!
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dessert, Pastry
Cuisine: American, English, French
Servings: 2 crusts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Equipment

  • Rolling Pin
  • Medium bowl
  • Pie weights (if baking)
  • Plastic wrap

Ingredients

  • 2 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter (cold and diced)
  • ½ cup water (cold)

Instructions

Step One: Combine the flour and butter:

  • In a large bowl, add 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour.
  • Cut 1 cup of cold, unsalted butter into small pieces and add it to the flour.
  • Use your fingertips, a pastry blender, or a fork to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Step Two: Add the ice water:

  • Add 1/2 cup of ice water to the flour and butter mixture and stir until the dough just comes together.
  • Use your hands to form the dough into a ball, using as little pressure as possible.

Step Three: Form the dough:

  • Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

Step Four: Preheat the oven:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius).

Step Five: Roll out the dough:

  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch circle.
  • Carefully transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate.
  • Tip: To prevent the dough from sticking to the surface, lightly flour the surface and the dough before rolling it out. You can also place a piece of parchment paper between the dough and the surface.

Step Six: Set the edges:

  • How to crimp the edge: Trim the edges of the dough so that they overhang the pie plate by about 1 inch. Fold the overhanging dough under itself and press it against the side of the pie plate. Use your fingers or a fork to crimp the edges of the dough.
  • How to flute the edge: To create a fluted edge, use your thumb and forefinger to press down on the dough, alternating between your hands as you work your way around the pie crust.

Step Six: Bake the dough:

  • Place the pie crust on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
  • Let the crust cool completely before adding the filling.
  • Note for fruit pies: If you are making a fruit pie, you may want to prebake the pie crust for 10-15 minutes before adding the filling. This will help to prevent the crust from becoming soggy.
    Note for custard pies: If you are making a custard pie, you do not need to prebake the pie crust.

Notes

  • Use very cold butter. This will help to create a flaky crust.
  • Add the ice water slowly, just until the dough comes together. Overmixing will make the crust tough.
  • Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. This will make it easier to handle and prevent it from shrinking in the oven.
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Too much flour will make the crust tough.
  • If the dough is too sticky, chill it for a few more minutes before rolling it out.
  • To transfer the dough to the pie plate, gently roll it up on your rolling pin and unroll it over the pie plate.
  • Crimp the edges of the pie crust to seal it and prevent it from leaking.
  • For a sweeter crust, add 1-2 tablespoons of sugar to the dough.
  • For a saltier crust, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the dough.
  • For a flavored crust, add 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger to the dough.
  • If you are making a fruit pie, you may want to prebake the pie crust for 10-15 minutes before adding the filling. This will help to prevent the crust from becoming soggy.
  • If you are making a custard pie, you do not need to prebake the pie crust.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Easy 3 Ingredient Flaky Pie Crust: Perfect for Any Occasion
Serving Size
 
12 g
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
193
Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
15
g
23
%
Cholesterol
 
41
mg
14
%
Sodium
 
329
mg
14
%
Carbohydrates
 
12
g
4
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
2
g
4
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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