Here’s my handy guide on how to make an easy vegan pie crust that’s buttery! Because mastering a flaky pie crust is crucial in making delicious pies. The good news is this easy vegan pie crust recipe isn’t complicated. See how I use only 7 ingredients to make this pie dough perfect every time! I use a secret ingredient to make the flakiest pie crust ever! I even provide a gluten-free option too!
One of the most important parts of any pie is the pie crust. I guess that’s not rocket science. But the really tricky part is making that pie crust in a way that results in a flaky crust, suitable for any pie filling.
That flaky part is where things can get kind of complicated!
What I’m sharing with you today is my trusted, favorite recipe that I’ve been using (and refining) for years. Follow along as I show you how to make a simple vegetarian pie dough.
Here are some expert tips to help you make this vegan pie crust for yourself:
- The first thing to remember when you’re making a flaky pie crust is you want to use as little liquid as possible (too much liquid will make the crust chewy)
- I use a combination of both vegan butter (Earth Balance) and vegetable shortening. The vegan butter creates a buttery flavor in the pie crust
- You can substitute coconut oil for the vegan butter if you prefer a coconut oil pie crus
- You’ll notice vodka in this pie crust recipe. Don’t worry, the alcohol evaporates as its baking, but it makes the dough more malleable and easy to work with
- A pie crust is basically a pastry, and like most pastry doughs it needs to rest and be chilled, so be sure to refrigerate the dough before rolling it
- I use a food processor to keep this recipe simple, however, you can use a pastry knife or cutter if you have that
- I keep a cheap bottle of vodka in the freezer for pies, but if you don’t have any cold, simply pour some over ice, let it sit, and then pour into a measuring cup
- You can substitute vinegar if you prefer not to use vodka
- You can use half all purpose and half whole wheat pastry flour to make a whole wheat pie crust
- Once the dough balls are prepared, you can freeze the dough at that point. Simply place them in a sealed container or in a freezer bag and freeze up to 1 month. Before rolling, allow them to sit on out counter and thaw out, about 45 minutes to an hour.
Vegan Pie Crusts
There are lots of different kinds of dairy-free pie crusts. For example:
- I made a gingersnap pie crust for my Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Hazelnut Cream.
- You can create your own Oreos crust, like this one using Golden Oreos, Vegan Banana Cream Pie
- Here’s a healthy, raw pie crust using nuts and dried fruit that is more like a vegan tart: Chocolate Pie recipe
- Or you can make a vegan graham cracker crust like this one, Vegan Cheesecake recipe!
- You can’t go wrong with a flaky crust like this one. This Vegan Pecan Pie recipe shows how to bake your crust with a custard.
- You can buy premade piecrust these days. The following are vegan pie crusts you can buy at the store: Marie Callendar’s Pastry Pie Shells, Mrs. Smith’s Deep Dish Pie Crust, Oronoque Orchards Deep Dish Pie Crust, Whole Foods Wholly Wholesome Gluten Free Pie Shells. Always check labels because sometimes these companies will change their ingredients.
See? Lots of pie crust recipes, including some healthier versions. Of course, the pie crust I’m talking about today is the more traditional kind of pie crust. I’ve been using (and adapting) this pie crust recipe over the years and it produces a flaky crust every time!
But it includes a kind of controversial secret ingredient.
How to Make Vegan Pie Crust
I like to use a food processor to make my pie crust. It makes it a little easier to get the vegan butter evenly distributed throughout the flour.
The first thing is to combine the flour, salt and sugar in the food processor and give it a few pulses to combine.
Is Shortening Vegan?
Be sure to read the labels to make sure your shortening is vegan. However, most shortenings are made from vegetable oil, but it’s always good to double check. Basically, shortening is a fat that is firm at room temperature. It’s perfect for creating a flaky crust!
Most pie crusts fall for a combination of butter and shortening. But we’re making this pie without butter. How do we get that buttery taste?
I use vegan butter, otherwise known as Earth Balance. It helps if these are both cold, so I keep them in the fridge. Chop up the vegan butter and shortening into cubes and then add to the flour mixture. After a few pulses, the fat is equally distributed throughout the mixture.
I’ve made this crust using both all-purpose (unbleached) flour and whole wheat pastry flour. It works both ways. So you can replace the flour below with 100% whole wheat pastry flour or some combination of the two and still achieve a nice, flaky vegan crust.
How do you make flaky pie crust?
I use a secret ingredient to make flaky pie crust. The trick is to minimize the amount of moisture you use, but still have enough to roll out the dough. My favorite trick requires alcohol.
I’m actually using vodka in the pie recipe. I learned about this trick on 101 Cookbooks. Heidi recommends including a little vodka because it helps make the pie crust more malleable and flakier.
Vodka adds moisture to the pie crust dough, allowing it to be malleable enough to work with while you’re preparing it. Of course, it bakes off in the oven, leaving a nice, flaky crust.
Once your dough is ready, divide it in half and wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes. That chilling step is important because it helps the dough firm up and makes the rolling out process much easier.
The next step is to follow your pie recommendations. For example a pumpkin pie will call for an unbaked pie crust, whereas a chocolate pudding pie will call for a baked pie crust.
That’s our post for How to Make Foolproof Flaky Vegan Pie Crust. Use the recipe below to make your own and stay tuned because there’s some pretty fabulous pie recipes coming your way this week.
Foolproof Flaky Vegan Pie Crust
- 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) vegan butter cut into slices
- 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening cut into pieces
- ¼ cup cold vodka
- ¼ cup cold water
- Pour 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor and pulse until combined, about 2 seconds.
- Add vegan butter and process until just combined. Add the shortening slices and pulse until dough collects in clumps, about 15 seconds.
- Add remaining cup of flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed (4 to 6 quick pulses). Empty mixture into a medium bowl.
- Sprinkle cold vodka over dough and stir until combined. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.
- Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days. These dough balls can be frozen too. Place in freezer bags and freeze up to 1 month. When you’re ready to make the pie, set out on the counter to thaw for about an hour before rolling.
- From this point, follow the directions for your pie recipe. Some pie recipes will require pouring the custard into an unbaked pie crust whereas others will require baking the crust prior to pouring in the custard.