I’ll be the first person to admit that pastry is not my forte. Pie crusts, especially, tend to be time-consuming with a high degree of variability in their success, depending on all kinds of factors. Was the butter soft enough? Or was it too soft? Was my kitchen too hot? Did I let the crust rest long enough? Fortunately, this press-in pie crust recipe – courtesy of my mother-in-law – is a no-nonsense, foolproof way to make an easy and delicious (and gluten free) pie crust from scratch.Jump to Recipe
When I’m feeling creative – or when I don’t have time to pick up a pre-made pie crust from the store – this is my go-to recipe. It requires only 5 ingredients, all of which I regularly keep in my pantry, and the final product is both flaky and delicious. In the photos, I used a 9″ pie pan and a gluten free all-purpose flour; it would also work well in an 8″ pie pan, as it would provide more crust along the edges for a classic “crimped” crust appearance.
The best part about this recipe? It is adaptable for a variety of diets and meals. Whether I’m making a breakfast quiche or a standard strawberry pie for dessert, this pie crust is my preferred recipe whenever we gather with a gluten-free friend group. (Turns out most pie recipes require flour only in their crust, not in the filling – so pies are more gluten-flexible compared to other desserts, like cakes.) When baking for that crowd, I use a gluten free all-purpose flour.
Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 mix is my preference (not sponsored; it’s just what our grocery stocks), but the King Arthur brand also has an all-purpose mix that would likely work well. Feel free to experiment with brands or your own homemade mix; I can’t guarantee your results, but in my experience, this recipe is relatively forgiving.
Another perk: this recipe can be made without dairy! It does call for a small amount of milk, but you can substitute a dairy-free milk without any ill side-effects, as the amount we use is very small. If you’re vegan, this is definitely a recipe that you can enjoy.
Flour. As mentioned above, use either a gluten-free all purpose flour or regular all-purpose flour. This recipe is very forgiving; I’ve also used traditional bread flour and the final crust still had an appropriate (and delightful) texture.
Granulated sugar. I prefer white sugar to brown sugar for this recipe as it has a lower moisture content.
Salt. The basic stuff. We only need a pinch.
Neutral oil. I prefer avocado oil, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Except olive oil! Only use olive oil if you are using this crust for a savory dish, like quiche, as it will lend its own unique flavors to the crust. You could hypothetically also use melted butter if it was the only thing you had on hand – though obviously not if you were baking for vegan friends.
Milk. Use whatever milk you normally have on hand. I have used all varieties of cow’s milk in this recipe; I’ve also tried flax milk and soy milk. When slicing and sampling each pie, I couldn’t taste a difference.
Combine your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, and salt) in a large bowl. Use a fork to mix in the oil and milk. Stir the mixture until it is homogenous; once it is fully combined, it should be roughly the texture of wet sand.
Press the dough into the bottom of your pie pan and up the sides. You may need to use the bottom of a measuring up to help press the bottom of the crust into an even thickness. (Honestly, this is the trickiest part…and it’s not too difficult. With a little trial and error, you’ll be a pro.)
Depending on the size of your pie pan, you can do a couple of different things with the edges of the crust. If you are using a smaller pie crust – say, 8″ diameter – you should have enough excess dough to crimp the edges as you would a traditional pie crust. If using a larger pie crust – around 9″ – you can form the crust into a flat molded top using your hands. As long as the top of the crust does not look jagged or rough – and as long as the thickness is consistent – you should have a perfectly acceptable final result.
Baking time varies for this recipe far more than most other recipes here at Whisk Averse Baking. This crust can be blind-baked – meaning you bake it (and, usually, allow it to cool) before putting in the pie filling. We use the blind-bake process for strawberry pie. If you are blind-baking, place the crust in an oven preheated to 400 degrees F and bake for 10-12 minutes. The crust pictured below was blind-baked.
It is worth noting that most pie crust recipes calling for blind baking require a couple of extra steps. With most pie crusts, you need to place something – be it beans or sugar or fancy pie weights – atop the the crust to avoid it bubbling and to keep it in its lovely pie-crust shape. You can skip that step with this recipe. Because we do not use a leavening agent (like baking soda or an egg), this crust does not rise during baking, and you still end up with a delicious final product. (Thus why this recipe earns a five-star rating in my risk-averse mental recipe catalogue.)
“But wait,” you may say. “My pie recipe calls for an unbaked pie crust!” If that’s the case, use common sense and do whatever the recipe says. If your recipe calls for a long baking time (30 minutes or more), it would be wise to use a shield made of aluminum foil to protect the edges of your crust from becoming over-baked.
Regardless of what substitutions you make or what filling you use, I am confident that this recipe will be a “keeper” for your own recipe book. Don’t forget to pin it to your favorite Pinterest board, leave a message in the comments below, or tag your photos with @WhiskAverseBaking if you make this at home.
Press-In Pie Crust (with gluten-free option)
- 8" or 9" diameter pie crust
- 1 ½ cups flour gluten free all-purpose or traditional all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup neutral oil I prefer avocado; do not use olive oil
- 2 tablespoons milk can substitute dairy-free milk
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Use a fork or whisk to mix in the oil and milk.
- Stir the mixture until it is homogenous; once fully combined, it should be roughly the texture of wet sand.
- Press the dough into the bottom of your pie pan and up the sides. If your pan allows, crimp the edges as you would a traditional pie crust. You may need to use the bottom of a measuring up to help press the bottom of the crust into an even thickness.
- If blind-baking your crust, bake at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. If not, bake as directed by the pie recipe.