You know how you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover? The same could probably be said of pie: No matter how unassuming in appearance it may be, there could still be a delightfully flavorful filling tucked inside. 

Except, bold book covers are still the ones that draw the eye, just like a stunning pie will immediately elicit intrigue and admiration. Maybe we should think of things the opposite way: Don't you want a pie crust that looks just as good as the inside tastes?

When it comes to decorative pie crusts, no design is more classic than a lattice. Offering a suggestive peek at the enticing fruit filling underneath, it's a simple way to gussy up any pie presentation. 

Here’s how to pull it off.  

Choosing your crust  

Just about any pie crust recipe can be used to make a lattice. Use your go-to recipe, or choose one of our reliable recipes like Classic Double Pie Crust or  All-Butter Pie Crust. For particularly intricate designs (like this quilted pie crust), Rustic Milk Pie Dough is a good choice because it's extremely easy to work with.

Rolled-out pie crust
All-Butter Pie Crust makes for a beautiful (and tasty) lattice. (Photo by Liz Neily)

It can also be helpful to increase the recipe to 1.5x the original batch so you’re working with extra dough. That way, you’ll have a few backup strips in case some are accidentally cut too wide or narrow, and they’ll also be long enough that you can easily trim any ragged ends for a neater appearance.   

Cut your crust into strips 

Once you’ve lined your pie plate with the bottom crust and added your filling, roll out the top crust you’ll use to make your lattice. Make sure your dough is very cold before you start rolling and weaving.

As with all pie crust, you’re going for a relatively even circle. About 12" wide is a good size for a standard 9" pie.  

Circle of crust cut into strips

Trim any ragged edges, then use a pizza wheel, knife, or pastry wheel to cut the crust into even strips. You can make them as narrow or wide as you’d like (1/2" to 1" is a good range), but try to make the width of the strips as equal as you can for a traditional design. A ruler is helpful to be precise, though eyeballing works fine as well. If you want to ensure consistent sizing, this easy-to-use pie crust cutter creates 3/4" strips for a lattice-top pie. 

For a nice decorative touch, use a pastry wheel with fluted edges to cut your dough.   

Half the strips of dough

Carefully remove every other strip of dough and set aside. These will be the horizontal strips of your lattice.  

Start weaving  

Pie with vertical strips over filling

Lay the vertical strips across the top of your pie, with an equal amount of space between them.  

Pie with vertical strips folded back and one horizontal strip over filling

Peel back every other vertical strip, then lay one of the horizontal strips across the width of the pie, snuggled up close to the folded-back strips.

Partially woven lattice pie crust

Unfold the vertical strips so they lie flat against the pie. 

Pie with opposite vertical strips folded back and another horizontal strip added

Next, peel back every other vertical strip, starting with the strips you didn’t unfold before. Lay a horizontal strip across the width of the pie, spaced an even distance from the first horizontal strip. 

Half woven lattice crust

Unfold the vertical strips so they all lie flat against the pie. 

Fully woven lattice pie crust

Repeat these steps, folding back every other vertical strip and laying a horizontal strip across the width of the dough, until you've covered the entirety of the pie.  

This technique is easier to grasp when you see it in action, so watch how it’s done in this video:  

As you work, you may find your pie dough growing warm and greasy, making it difficult to handle. If that happens, simply stick the pie and unused pie strips in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes to cool down, then resume weaving.  

Once all your strips are in place, you might need to wiggle and move them a bit so that you have even spacing between them. This can be tricky, so be as gentle as possible!  

Experiment with your lattice design

There are many ways you can switch up your lattice to make the design your own. One of the simplest is to ditch the evenly sized strips and cut your dough into a variety of widths, alternating between narrow and wide. This creates a unique pattern you can weave in many different ways. 

Collage of lattice made with alternating widths
By using both narrow and wide strips of dough in your lattice, you can create even more artistic designs. (Photos by Mark Weinberg)

Finishing up the lattice  

Pie with crimped lattice crust

Trim the excess dough from the sides, then use your fingers to crimp the edges of the pie. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sparkling sugar for a little extra glitz, if desired.  

If you're looking for the final baked version of the pie above, it was sadly burned to a crisp in a tragic oven broiling accident. (We have plenty of baking mishaps at King Arthur too!) But here's another lattice-topped apple pie to inspire you ...

The Best Apple Pie
Our Best Apple Pie has both a stunning crust and flavor-packed filling. (Photo by Mary Lagier)

One thing to keep in mind is that the fruit filling of your pie will likely bubble up through the open gaps during baking, which can stain your crust. Your pie may not wind up totally spotless in the end, but that slightly imperfect appearance is part of the beauty of baking, particularly in rustic fruit desserts. Embrace it!  

Ready to explore even more intricate crusts? See additional pie designs in our posts How to weave a quilted pie crust and Decorative pie crust tips.  

Cover photo by Kristin Teig

Jump to Comments
Filed Under: Tips and Techniques
Rossi crimping pie crust
The Author

About Rossi Anastopoulo

Rossi Anastopoulo grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, which is how she fell in love with biscuits. She didn’t have any bakers in her household (with the exception of her grandmother’s perfect koulourakia), so she learned at a young age that the best way to satisfy her sweet tooth was to make dess...
View all by Rossi Anastopoulo