Classic Single Pie Crust

Recipe by PJ Hamel

This pie crust recipe makes the flakiest, most tender, single pie dough — perfectly sized for a single-crust, 8" to 10" pie. Use King Arthur Pastry Flour Blend for an extra tender texture, or all-purpose flour that's slightly sturdier. The combination of shortening and butter ensures that this pie dough holds its shape while baking but still had the delicious flavor of creamy, rich butter.

10 mins
40 mins
single crust for an 8" to 10" pie
Classic Single Pie Crust
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  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.

  2. Add the shortening, working it in until the mixture is evenly crumbly. 

    A baker holding a handful of flour to show the sandy texture after the shortening has been cut in.
  3. Add the butter to the flour mixture, and work it in roughly with your fingers, a pastry cutter, or a mixer. Don't be too thorough; the mixture should be very uneven, with big chunks of butter in among the smaller ones.

    Butter in a mixing bowl with the dry ingredients.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of water, and toss to combine.

  5. Toss with enough additional water to make a chunky mixture. It should barely hold together when you squeeze a handful, though the remainder may look quite dry.

  6. Shape the dough into a disk about 1" thick, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes or longer; this resting period allows the flour to absorb the water, making the dough easier to roll out. If you decide to let the dough chill longer than 30 minutes allow it rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling, to allow the butter to soften up a bit. 

  7. When you're "ready to roll," remove the dough from the fridge. Roll the dough to the size needed (about 12" for a 9" pie). Place it in a pie pan, and refrigerate it while you prepare your filling. 

  8. Fill and bake your pie as directed in the recipe.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Learn how to make pie crust like a pro with this quick video, Four Tips For Fail-Proof Pie.

  • Want to make this recipe gluten-free? For great results, substitute King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour for the all-purpose flour in this recipe. Be sure to bake thoroughly; gluten-free baked goods often need a bit more time in the oven.

  • You may be comparing this recipe with our Classic Double Pie Crust, and wondering why it's not exactly half the size of that recipe. Think about it; can you guess? A single-crust recipe is made assuming it will be used as the bottom crust of a pie; and the bottom crust, usually rolled to a diameter of 12" or so, requires more pastry than a top crust, usually rolled 9" to 10" diameter. Thus this recipe is slightly more than half the size of a typical double-crust recipe.

  • You may want to bake the crust prior to filling; this is typically done when the filling itself doesn't need to be baked (e.g., lemon meringue, chocolate cream). For details, see our blog post, Prebaking pie crust.

  • Water tends to reduce crust's flakiness and tenderness; so the less water you use, the better. Keep that in mind as you're gradually adding enough water to bring the pastry together; using a water bottle to moisten dry areas of the pastry is a good way to keep your water usage down (see details in our blog post: Pie, Any Way You Slice It.)

  • Never mind the pastry blender; did you know your stand mixer does a great job with pie crust? See the details in our blog post, How to make pie crust in your stand mixer.