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Basic Pie Dough (For a Single-Crust Pie)

How to make basic pie dough for a single-crust pie?

Basic Pie Dough
In a bowl combine the butter, vegetable shortening, flour, and salt.


  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, chilled and cut into large chunks
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose white flour, plus at least ¼ extra for rolling
  • pinch of salt
  • ice water (just enough to moisten the dough, but not more than ½ cup)


Basic Pie Dough
Add just enough water to the dough. Don’t overwork it.

1. In a large, deep bowl combine the butter, vegetable shortening, flour, and salt. Work the ingredients with your hands until you have pea- and almond-sized lumps of butter.

2. Moisten the dough by drizzling in ice water a little at a time. Don’t spend much time mixing the dough, just concentrate on getting it wet. In other words, add a little water, mix about four times, stop, add a little water, and mix again. Repeat.

3. Once the dough holds together, do a “squeeze test.” If it falls apart, you have to add some more water. If it’s sticky and soggy, you have to sprinkle flour onto it until the wetness is balanced out. Keep in mind, you should never overwork the dough. Making the dough takes little time, and you shouldn’t touch it too long.

Basic Pie Dough
Divide the dough into two balls and form each one into a disk shape.

4. Divide the dough into two balls and form each one into a disk shape.

5. Sprinkle flour on the bottom and the top of your dough to prevent it from sticking to your rolling surface. Roll to a thinness where the dough almost looks transparent.

6. Hold your pie plate above the dough to measure its size. It’s big enough when there’s enough extra width to compensate for the depth and width of your dish, plus 1–2 inches overhang.

Basic Pie Dough
You can also use your rolling pin to place the dough over the pie dish.

7. Lift the dough off the rolling surface slowly and very gently, nudging flour under with a scraper as you lift, and fold the dough back. When you are 100% sure that your dough is free and clear from the surface, place your pie dish close to it and drag the dough over to the dish. Hold the folded edge as this will give you a better grip and prevent the dough from tearing.

Basic Pie Dough
Leave ample dough to make crimped, fluted edges.

8. Stop when the folded edge is halfway across the pie dish, allowing the dough of the covered half to hang over the side. Unfold the dough slowly and carefully until it lies fully across the dish.

9. Lift the edges and the dough will sit down snugly in the dish. If there’s any remaining air space, especially in the corners, use your fingers to remove it. Be careful and gentle.

10. Trim excess dough to about 1 inch from the dish edge, you can also use scissors. Leave ample dough to make crimped, fluted edges.

About Sabina Witres

I loved pies already as a kid. I watched my mom making them and usually I was the one who took the first bite. Now, I make pies myself. I like to experiment with ingredients, sizes and shapes. It's always fun!

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