This easy Vegan Pie Crust Recipe creates a crispy, buttery pie crust perfect for your next vegan pie. You can master a flaky crust using only 7 ingredients. To make perfect vegan pie dough, use my secret ingredient! See post for a gluten-free option as well.
You’ll love filling this pie crust with a vegan chocolate pie filling topped with vegan meringue. It’s not only delicious, but it’s also beautiful too!
One of the most important parts of any pie is having a perfect pie crust. That’s not rocket science. But the really tricky part is making a simple pie crust that results in a flaky crust, suitable for any pie filling.
That flaky part is where things can get complicated, but we’ll walk through step-by-step so you can make a pie crust from scratch easy and delicious!
This is my time-tested, and favorite vegan pie crust recipe. In fact, I’ve been using (and refining) it for years. Follow along as I show you how to make simple vegetarian pie dough.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Using both vegan butter and vegetable shortening creates a flaky crust with the best buttery flavor
- Adding vodka makes the batter extra flaky because most of the alcohol evaporates in baking, leaving behind the best crust texture
- Keeping the ingredients cold helps to bake a perfect crust time and time again!
Pie Crust Ingredients
This crust is made with only a few simple ingredients: flour, salt, sugar, fat, and liquids.
- Flour — I recommend all-purpose flour for this recipe, but you have options. I have made this crust using whole wheat pastry flour (not the same thing as whole wheat flour), and it’s great. You can also use gluten-free flour (more on that below).
- Salt — we’re adding salt to bring out the flavor in this pie crust.
- Sugar — I’m recommending a bit of sugar because sugar helps to prevent the formation of gluten in the flour, making for a more tender crust.
- Fat — We’ll use a mixture of vegan butter and shortening. The butter adds the best flavor, but the shortening adds the flakiness.
- Liquid — You have to have liquid in the dough to hydrate the flour and bind everything together. In addition, the liquid and the fat creates steam in the baking process, creating lift in the baked crust. I recommend a combination of chilled vodka and water. See more on why I’m using vodka below.
Use Cold Ingredients in Pie Crusts
Keeping your pie dough ingredients — like the fat and liquids — as cold as possible prevents the fat in the unbaked pie from getting soft. If the fat gets soft and melty in the dough before baking, you can say bye-bye to a flaky crust. It isn’t going to happen.
However, if you can keep that fat intact in the dough, then as the pie bakes, the lumps of fat melt in the oven and produce steam. That steam helps creates little micro-layers of flakiness. I think this may have been what my sisters called me when I was a kid, but I digress.
So, think of it this way, a warm dough will yield a hard, greasy crust, whereas a cold dough will yield a tender, flaky crust.
How to Make Vegan Pie Crust
Let’s talk about this pie crust recipe. First things first, 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.
Here’s the dilemma: If you over-process your dough, it can overwork the gluten in the flour, resulting in a chewy crust. You also want big bits of butter throughout the crust, because that’s what makes it flaky. So, just be sure to use the processor in short bursts.
Step One: Mix Dry Ingredients
Combine the flour, salt and sugar in the food processor and give it a few pulses to combine.
I’ve made this easy pie crust recipe 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.
Step Two: Cut in the Fat
Store both the vegan butter and vegetable shortening in the fridge (or even the freezer) for about 30 minutes prior to making your crust. Why? Because you want bits of fat distributed throughout the dough and working with cold fat helps achieve that.
Chop the cold vegan butter and shortening and then add these slices to the flour mixture. After a few pulses, the fat should be equally distributed throughout the dough.
Step Three: Add Liquid
When you add liquid to all-purpose flour it immediately begins activating the gluten. That’s one reason I’m using equal parts of water and vodka. I learned about this trick from 101 Cookbooks. Heidi recommends including a little vodka because it helps make the pie dough to be more malleable and flakier.
To chill the water and vodka, pour it in a glass with ice. Then measure it out and pour it over the crust.
Sprinkle the cold vodka over the pie dough and stir until combined. Next, add the chilled water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.
Step Four: Cover and Chill
This is a double pie crust recipe, so once your dough is ready, divide it in half and roll the dough into discs. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 3 days. Or you can freeze it where it will last up to 2 months!
I love having a disk of frozen pie dough in the freezer for those spur of the moment times when I want to make a pie. It happens!
That chilling step is important because it helps the dough firm up and makes the rolling out process much easier.
Step Five: Follow your Pie Instructions
The next step is to follow your pie recipe instructions. For example, a vegan pumpkin pie will call for an unbaked pie crust. In that case, you would roll out the dough, place it in the pie pan, and crimp the edges of the dough. Once the filling is ready, pour it in the unbaked pie shell and bake it all together.
Alternatively, a chocolate pudding pie usually calls for a baked pie crust. In that case, you would roll out the dough, place it in a pie pan, crimp the edges, prick the bottom of the pie with a fork, and bake the crust. I oftentimes will add pie weights to the crust while baking it so that the crust doesn’t develop bubbles as its baking.
Don’t have pie weights? Add a sheet of parchment paper over the unbaked crust and top that with some dried beans. I’ve done this and it works!
How to Roll Out Pie Crust
Here are some favorite tips for when the dough is properly chilled and you’re ready to roll out the crust. Begin by lightly flouring a surface or you can roll the dough between two sheets of waxed paper.
Either way, just remember to be gentle when rolling your dough. Using a rolling pin, always start from the center of the disc and roll out away from the center. This requires turning the dough frequently. So roll, and turn, then roll and turn. You get the idea.
For a standard 9″ inch pie pan, I like to roll the dough out to be about 11 – 12″ in diameter. Yes, I keep a ruler in the kitchen. Or you can get a fancy pie rolling sheet that gives dimensions.
Then transfer the dough into the pie pan and trim and flute the edges.
Is Cristco Vegan?
Basically, shortening is a fat that is firm at room temperature. Most shortenings, such as Cristco, are made from vegetable oil and are therefore vegan. However, read the label to make sure your shortening is made without animal products like lard. Shortening is often recommended for pie crusts because it helps make them crispy and flaky.
- 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 create steam in the crust, making it 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
- Use a vegan butter that’s firm when cold. If it’s overly spreadable, it will not work for a pie crust.
- A pie crust with shortening is an easy way to make a flaky crust. However, you can substitute coconut oil to make a coconut oil pie crust
- This food processor pie crust keeps things simple, however, you can use a pastry knife, cutter. or even a fork
- 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 the counter and thaw, about 45 minutes to an hour.
How do you make a flaky pie crust?
Pie dough involves pockets of fat surrounded by hydrated flour. We’ll be using a food processor to cut the fat into the flour and then rolling it out to make a pie crust. While that crust is baking, it gets flaky because of the layers of fat and hydrated flour throughout the dough.
The best trick to making a flaky pie crust is to minimize the amount of moisture used, while still having enough stickiness to the dough to roll it out. Be sure to not over-process the dough and use minimal liquids to create the flakiest pie crust possible. My favorite trick uses alcohol.
Vodka adds moisture to the pie dough, allowing it to be malleable enough to work with while you’re preparing it. Of course, most of it bakes off in the oven, leaving a nice, flaky crust.
Vegan Pie Crusts
There are lots of different dairy-free pie crusts out there. Let’s discuss some of the options you have for your next vegan pie. For example:
- This Oatmeal Pie Crust is simple to make and undeniably flavorful
- 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 Pastry 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.
So, you see, there are lots of vegan pie crust recipes, including some healthier versions too.
That’s our post for How to Make Pie Crust. Use the recipe below to make your own and stay tuned because there are some pretty fabulous pie recipes coming your way this week.
Foolproof Flaky Vegan Pie Crust
- 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour , divided
- 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.
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.