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Basic Pie Crust

  • Yield: 2 9-inch crusts


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 10 tablespoons chilled butter, lard or shortening, cut in small pieces
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons ice water


  • Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add butter or lard and cut into flour using your fingers, a pastry blender or 2 knives, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Stir in water with a fork, 1 tablespoon at a time and work in with your hands until dough is just moist enough to come together in a smooth ball. You may not need to use all the water. Be careful not to overwork or dough will be tough. If you're making 2 crusts, cut in half and shape each half into a flattened round. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  • Remove 1 round of dough from refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a circle about 14 inches across and 1/8-inch thick. Gently fold dough in half, then in half again so that you can lift it without tearing, and unfold it into a 9-inch pie or tart pan. Crimp edges or pinch in a decorative border. Fill and bake as directed in recipe. Dough may be prepared up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated, or frozen.