Recipes / Flaky Piecrust

Flaky Piecrust

By Mark Bittman

Published September 2, 2018

I’ve used this recipe and technique for years and always been pleased with the results; it may be basic, but piecrusts don’t get much more flaky and flavorful. This is enough dough for a single-crusted pie; simply double the recipe for fruit pies where you need a bottom and top (or lattice) crust.

Photo: Aya Brackett
Photo: Aya Brackett
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Make The Recipe!

Flaky Piecrust

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Makes 1 crust for a 9-inch pie 1x

Time 20 minutes, plus time to chill

Units Scale


  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) very cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if necessary


  1. Use a food processor to pulse the flour, sugar, and salt together. Add the butter and pulse until it is just barely blended with the flour, and the butter is broken down to the size of peas. If you prefer to make the dough by hand, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a large bowl. With your fingertips, 2 knives or forks, or a pastry cutter, work the butter pieces into the dry ingredients, being sure to incorporate all of the butter evenly, until the mixture has the texture of small peas.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons ice water (not just cold water). Process for about 5 seconds or mix by hand with a wooden spoon, just until the dough beings to clump together, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons more ice water if necessary. Add a little more flour if you add too much water.
  3. Press the dough into a disk about 1 inch thick. It’s important not to overheat, overwork, or knead the dough; squeeze it with enough pressure to just hold it together. Wrap in plastic or put in a zipper bag, pushing out as much air as possible. Freeze the disk of dough for 10 minutes or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling. (You can make the dough to this point and refrigerate for up to a couple days or freeze for months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before proceeding.)
  4. Dust a large pinch flour over a clean work surface. Put the dough on the work surface. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough and dust the rolling pin with flour. (Too much flour will dry the dough; you can always sprinkle on a little more if the dough starts to stick.) Using firm but not too hard pressure on the pin, start rolling the dough from the center outward to form a circle. If the dough feels too hard or is cracking a lot, let it rest for a few minutes. As you roll, only add flour as needed to prevent it from sticking to the pin; lift, rotate, and turn the dough with a spatula to form an even circle.
  5. When the dough circle is about 2 inches wider than the pie plate and less than 1/8 inch thick, it’s ready. Roll the dough halfway onto the pin so it’s easy to move, then center it over the pie plate and unroll it in place. Press the dough into the contours of the dish without squishing or stretching it; patch any tears with a small scrap of dough from the edge and seal with a drop of water. Trim any excess dough to about 1/2 inch all around.
  6. If you’re making a single-crust pie, tuck the edges under themselves so the dough is thicker on the rim than it is inside the plate; if you’re making a double-crust pie, leave the edges untucked for now. Put the pie plate in the fridge until the crust feels cool to the touch before filling or prebaking. For a top crust, make a second batch of dough, roll it the same way, and put in the fridge on a flour-dusted baking sheet.

Recipe from How to Cook Everything: Completely Revised 20th Anniversary Edition