Vegan Pie Crust Recipe — Best Flaky Homemade Crust

Easy Vegan Homemade Pie Crust Recipe creates a crispy, buttery pie crust perfect for your next vegan pie recipe. This guide gives tips on mastering a flaky pie crust without lard using only 7 ingredients. To make a perfect vegan pie dough, I use a secret ingredient! See post for a gluten-free option as well.

A collage of two images shows a pie crust on top and a pecan pie on the bottom. The text in between reads, Foolproof & Flaky Vegan Pie Crust.

One of the most important parts of any pie is having a perfect 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.

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:

So, you see, there are lots of vegan pie crust recipes, including some healthier versions too.

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 double pie crust recipe over the years and it produces a flaky crust every time. But before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about store-bought vegan pie crusts.

Pre-Made Vegan Pie Crust

You can buy premade vegan piecrust at many stores these days. This is a new achievement for vegans and something to celebrate for sure!

Some of these are what I refer to as accidentally vegan products. They may not have intended to create a pie crust without dairy or lard, but it happened and so we’re going with it. Some may have intentionally been creating that type of crust. Either way, it works!

The following are vegan pie crust brands 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.

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 just a bit of sugar but it has a purpose. Sugar helps prevent the formation of gluten in the flour, making for a more tender crust.
  • Fat — This recipe calls for a mixture of vegan butter and shortening. The butter adds the best flavor, but it’s not necessarily flaky. That’s where the shortening comes in, so the two together are perfect.
  • Liquid — You have to have liquid in the crust to bind everything together. In addition, the liquid creates steam in the baking process, causing lift in the baked crust. I recommend a combination of chilled vodka and water. See more on why I’m using vodka below.
Pouring the custard into the prepared pie crust for this amazing Vegan Pecan Pie!

Use Cold Ingredients in Pie Crusts

Why this emphasis on cold fat and cold liquids? 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 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. I know some experts vehemently oppose using an appliance.

Here’s the dilemma: If you over-process your dough, it can overwork the gluten in the flour, resulting in a chewy crust. That’s no bueno. 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

The ingredients for a vegan pie crust are in a food processor
Pour the dry ingredients for your vegan pie crust into a food processor.

On to the ingredients. The first thing you’ll want to do is combine the flour, salt and sugar in the food processor and give it a few pulses to combine.

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?

Note: 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

I use vegan butter, otherwise known as Earth Balance and vegetable shortening. You can store both in the fridge for this recipe because you’ll want them to be cold. In fact, you can even place them in the freezer about 30 minutes before starting this recipe. Why? Because as I said above, you want bits of fat throughout the dough and working with frozen fat helps achieve that.

Flour in food processor is topped with chopped butter and chopped vegetable shortening with more chopped butter beside it.
Add vegan butter and vegetable shortening to the mixed flour ingredients.

Chop the cold vegan butter and shortening into cubes and then add these cubes to the flour mixture. After a few pulses, the fat should be equally distributed throughout the mixture.

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 water and vodka. I learned about this trick from 101 Cookbooks. Heidi recommends including a little vodka because it helps make the pie crust more malleable and flakier.

A food processor is full of crumbly pie crust mixture. A glass of ice water and bottle of vodka sit next to it.
After mixing the fat into the crust, the pie crust is still course and crumbly.

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

Once your dough is ready, divide it in half and roll into discs. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 3 days. Or consider freezing 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!

A bowl shows some dough mixture with a red spatula. A ball of dough wrapped in plastic sits beside the bowl.

Divide the pie dough recipe in half and wrap in plastic wrap and chill before rolling.

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, you would pour the filling 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, 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 Shortening Vegan?

Most shortenings are made from vegetable oil, but it’s always good to double check. Be sure to read the labels to make sure your shortening is made without animal products like lard. Basically, shortening is a fat that is firm at room temperature. It’s often recommended for pie crusts because it helps make them nice and flaky.

Expert Tips

Here are some expert tips in this recipe for pie crust to help you make it perfect every time:

  • 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 best 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.

How do you make flaky pie crust?

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.

A pie crust fresh from the oven with the fluted edges nicely golden.
A pie crust fresh from the oven with the fluted edges nicely golden.

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.

A baked pie crust in a pie pan.

Foolproof Flaky Vegan Pie Crust

Learn how to How to Make Foolproof Flaky Vegan Pie Crust with this quick and easy recipe with accompanying video and even a few step-by-step photos. This will provide crusts for 2 9-inch pie crusts.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegan Flaky Pie Crust, Vegan Pie Crust
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 18 slices
Calories: 145kcal
Author: Namely Marly

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

If you choose not to use vodka, simply replace that with cold water, but use as little as possible.
You can substitute vinegar if you prefer not to use vodka.
Nutrition Facts
Foolproof Flaky Vegan Pie Crust
Amount Per Serving
Calories 145 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 170mg7%
Potassium 18mg1%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Calcium 3mg0%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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.

A pecan pie with a slice removed in a glass pie dish. The words, "How to make foolproof & flaky Vegan Pie Crust" is at the top.

Enjoy!

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45 Responses to Vegan Pie Crust Recipe — Best Flaky Homemade Crust

    • Great question Kimberly! I added a note to the recipe to clarify this, but after you make your dough balls and refrigerate them, you should follow the instructions for the particular pie recipe you’re making. For example, my vegan pecan pie recipe indicates baking the pie crust first. But a typical pumpkin pie will ask that you pour the filling into an unbaked pie crust.

  1. So I’m gearing up to make the pecan pie later today – since it’s an open top pie would I halve this recipe? I’d make two pies, but we already have another!

    • Hi Thea! Yes, this recipe makes enough for two pie crusts so you may want to halve it if you’re only making the pecan pie. Alternatively, you’ll have a pie dough ball in the fridge. We have one right now and I’m itching to make some vegetable stew and put a layer of crust over the top for a quick pot pie. That will have to wait until after Thanksgiving…but doesn’t that sound so good!! 🙂

  2. Hi, have you ever frozen this dough? I really like the idea of making double the dough so I can save time for a pie at another time, and it would be great if I could freeze this too. I’m only asking because of the vodka in the recipe and wonder if it would be affected by being in the freezer.

    • Hi Amy. Yes, I have frozen this dough before and it works like a charm! What I do is follow the recipe through to creating dough balls and wrapping in plastic wrap and refrigerating them. Once the dough has firmed up, simply put the dough balls in a freezer bag (for added protection) and place in the freezer. Then when you’re ready to use it, place it out on the counter to defrost before rolling it. Good luck!

  3. I’m sure you covered this somewhere in your blog, but where do I buy vegan butter in stick form? I’m definitely making this once I solve the vegan butter issue. Also, do you use something like Crisco for the shortening? Thanks!

    • I typically use Earth Balance which you can find at most health food stores and I can find it at all my local grocer stores. I have yet to see it at places like Target or Walmart, but I’m sure it will be there soon enough. You can also use unsalted Fleischmann’s margarine. The salted variety has dairy in it, but not the unsalted for some reason. Earth Balance also makes vegetable shortening which is great, but otherwise you can use crisco for the shortening.

  4. I have made this vodka pie crust as developed by America’s Test Kitchen. The recipe is nearly identical except in the amounts of vegan butter and shortening. How could this be? You use 1/2 the amount as the traditional recipe.

    • Hi Karol. Thanks for your comment. I wasn’t aware of the ATK version of this recipe. I created it based on a combination of my mom’s recipe I grew up making with her and I learned the vodka tip from 101 Cookbooks. I’ve made this recipe countless number of times and feel like it’s nice and flaky…exactly how we love a good pie crust. Hope this is helpful!

  5. Hi I’m fascinated by your lemon meringue pie and I wanted to give it a try but I don’t really understand the difference between vegan butter and vegan shortening. I don’t think we have such products here in Italy. Could you explain what they are? Could I just substitute them by a vegan fat? Thanks

    • Hi Anna! Nice to meet you. We use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, and we refer to it as “vegan butter.” It doesn’t have trans fat which makes it a healthier, dairy-free option. I imagine you could also use coconut oil in this recipe, but you’d want to use refined coconut oil unless you’re ok with a coconut flavor to your lemon pie. Let me know how it goes! In bocca al lupo! 🙂

  6. Your blog notes mention using “equal parts shortening and vegan butter”, but your recipe lists portions that are not equal. Can you tell me which is correct? Thanks.

    • Hi Shelly. Thanks for your comment! The recipe is correct. I believe I experimented with using equal parts and eventually found this ratio to work best. The content has been updated to reflect this. Thanks for your feedback! ❤️

    • Hi Leah, Thanks for stopping by! I have never used coconut oil in this pie recipe before (or I should say “yet” because it’s gonna happen! ), but when I sub coconut oil for other fats I use a 1:1 ratio. So I would recommend using the same amount of fat as in this recipe. Hmmm. Now that I’m thinking about this, here’s what I would do. I would melt the coconut oil and then measure out the amount I need and then refrigerate that. You want the fat to be cold, but coconut oil is so hard that it would be difficult to scoop out the proper amount. Hope this helps!

  7. Hi. Could I replace the butter and shortening with a nut butter like walnut or almond ? How much of those would you use ? Don’t get the vegan butter or shortening here in India!

    • Hi Nomita. Thanks for your note! My first reaction is that a nut butter would not work in this recipe. Do you have coconut oil there? I would try that before I would try a nut butter. However, you could make a different kind of pie crust. For example, I made this pie crust from figs, nuts and cocoa powder. I loved it! That said, I have not tried using a nut butter in this pie crust recipe and so it might be worth a try. I can’t imagine it would result in a typical flaky crust, but it might result in a decent crust. You have me intrigued!

    • Hi Samantha. I use vodka in my pie crust because it adds wetness to rolling the dough, but evaporates during the baking process, leaving a very flaky crust. I sometimes can find vodka samples for sale in the alcohol section of our grocery store, just in case you’d like to try it. Also, vanilla extract is basically the same alcohol content as vodka. That said, I understand if it’s hard to get past the stigma of buying vodka. You can just use water instead, but it won’t be quite as flaky a crust. If it were me I would use the 1/4 cup of water and then maybe one to two tablespoons of water to replace the vodka. I hope this helps!

    • You can go to the Earth Balance site, click on their buttery sticks, then click on the “nutritional info” to see the ingredients.

  8. Hi, there! I’m about to tackle your lemon meringue pie for Father’s Day. I noticed that you recommend making your crust a day before the preparing the pie. This might be a stupid question, but do you actually bake the pie crust the day before or just make the dough a day before and keep it in the fridge overnight – baking the next morning?

    • Hi Amy! Thanks for your comment. Can you show me the recommendation for making the pie crust the day before? I searched both recipes and couldn’t find that. In answer to your question, you have options! You can make the dough balls, wrap and plastic and refrigerate overnight. Then make your pie crusts the same day you’re making the rest of the pie. Or you can make the pie crusts the day before. Typically I will just cover them in plastic wrap and either leave them out on the counter or refrigerate them.

    • Hi Michelle. Yes, this makes two 9-inch pie crusts. If you have 8″ pie pans you’ll just have a thicker crust or some extra crust.

  9. Hi! This seems like an amazing recipe! Since in baking the proportions are so important, I was wondering if you have any idea how much 1 tablespoon of butter is in grams. I’m from Europe and our sticks of butter are probably also of different sizes. I’m imagining quite a bit of possible variation in quantities and my American cup and spoon templates are easy to use for flour or liquids but seem quite unprecize for something like butter.

    • Hi Karolien! I know that baking by weight is a much more precise way to go. Maybe someday this country will take a step forward into the metric system. We can only hope! For now, it looks like 1T of butter equals 14.2 g. Does that seem about right? Let me know how it goes!

  10. It would be great if there is a converter to the metric system in the recipes.
    Trying it out the recipe at the moment, but had to convert everything to grams first.

    • Thanks for this feedback, Chrystal. Actually, my recipe plugin does have a conversion option so we will work to figure it out and hopefully have it enabled soon. Ask and receive! 🙂

  11. Hey, Marley. I just want to chime in about substituting for vodka in the recipe. I have been using vinegar, which I think has similar properties to vodka. The vinegar, like the alcohol, all evaporates and leaves no residual flavor, but tenderizes the crust. Check it out.

    • Hi William! Thanks for your comment. It makes sense that vinegar could be a good replacement since vodka is like 30 – 40% alcohol by volume (ABV), whereas vinegar is more like 16%. It probably acts very similarly to vodka in that respect. My husband is one of those super tasters (flavors can be very strong to him) and he absolutely does not like vinegar. I’m going to test your theory by making a pie crust using vinegar and not tell him and see if he notices. If that works, I think we have a winner! Also, did you use Apple cider vinegar?

  12. I have been using a flaky pie crust recipe for decades that uses vinegar. It is an amazing pie crust with absolutely no vinegar taste after baking. Unfortunately, it also calls for an egg yolk so since going vegan, I no longer use that recipe. I look forward to trying yours.

    • Hi Karen. Great question! Yes, use the entire 1/4 cup. I could have just as easily said “pour” the vodka, but I use more of a “sprinkle” maneuver. The goal is to spread it across the flour and then stir it minimally. That’s the trick to the best crust, you want to make sure you don’t overwork the gluten in the flour. I hope this is helpful.

  13. Alcohol does not completely “burn off” in cooking. While I know that 1/4 cup of vodka is unlikely to cause problems for anyone when distributed through an entire recipe, it is important to stop this fallacy.

    https://www.oasas.ny.gov/admed/fyi/fyi-cooking.cfm

    The USDA has tested this and compiled this chart that is widely used by those with addiction problems and those who treat them.

    • Hi CarolAnn. Thank you for your very kind note. I agree that it’s important to give accurate information. My dad was an alcoholic and eventually gave up drinking in his 60’s. I’ll reference this article from The Spruce Eats discussing how alcohol burns off in cooking. Please note, they also reference the USDA chart as well. Here’s a quote from that article: “…take a liquor that is 100-proof. This means it is 50 percent alcohol by volume. So a baked and/or simmered dish with 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of 100-proof liquor cooked for 1 hour will have 12.5 percent alcohol content remaining, about 1/4 ounce. Divide that by the amount of servings, and the quantity goes down proportionately (.0625 ounces per each of 4 servings).”
      Typically vodka is more like 80-proof so these numbers can be reduced as a result. Obviously, it will depend on the amount of time the pie crust is baked, but for pies like pumpkin pie or pecan pie, they’re in the oven over an hour.
      I hope this information is helpful. Thanks again. Marly

  14. I made this without the sugar But everything else the same, and by hand with a manual dough cutter, it came out perfect for chicken pie and chicken pot pie!!

    • Hi Mette! Yes, you can use all vegan butter. Or you can do coconut oil as well. I’ll add these as notes to the recipe.

  15. This is the first vegan pie crust recipe that has really worked (in terms of being flaky and super tasty)! I followed the recipe exactly, but did everything by hand. Thank you 🙂

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