Mom’s Never Fail Pie Crust + Video


For those of you who have been reading A Passionate Plate for a while, you know I have depended on refrigerated pie crusts from Pillsbury for MANY of my recipes. For some reason, I have always been afraid to make pie dough from scratch. I’m guessing a lot of you feel the same way.

It’s crazy that a culinary school graduate who has baked professionally for restaurants could be afraid to make pie dough! Crazy but true. And, all this time, an amazing, Never-Fail Pie Crust recipe has been just a phone call away.


My mom grew up making pies. She lived next door to her Aunt Sally, who actually ran a pie making business out of her home. When my mom was a little girl, she would spend afternoons in her aunt’s kitchen, helping to make the dozens of pies that would be delivered to local restaurants. My mom is a woman who knows how to make pie. And, in my opinion, her pie crusts are the best ever.

This month I decided it was time to learn how to make pie crust from scratch, so Joy and I stopped by on our Washington Apple Road Trip for a pie crust making lesson from my mom. Guess what, it’s not as hard as I thought! I love the taste and flaky texture of this crust. It is WAY better than Pillsbury.

In this post I’m sharing my mom’s Never-Fail Pie Crust recipe with you, step-by-step.

So here we go… it’s time to learn how to make pie crust from scratch. If I can do it, you can do it, too. 🙂



Combine 4 cups of all purpose flour, 1 tsp. of salt and 2 cups of Crisco in a large bowl.

Combine flour, salt and Crisco.


Using a fork or a pastry cutter, cut the Crisco into the flour until it forms grains the size of large peas. There may be a few bigger chunks than peas. That is okay. It’s just important not to cut the Crisco in too much. You don’t want the crumbs to be too small.

Cut the Crisco into the flour. Don’t overmix.


Mix together 1/2 cup ice cold water, 1 egg, 1 tsp. vinegar and 1 tsp. sugar.

Combine the egg, ice cold water, sugar and vinegar.


Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Using a fork, stir gently to combine into a ball, gathering up any loose crumbs at the bottom of the bowl. At this point, you can use your hands to gently knead the dough together.


Divide the dough into four individual balls. Place each ball in a plastic bag and press it down to form a round patty.


Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour before rolling it out.

NOTE: You cannot skip this step. The dough must be refrigerated or it will be too soft to work with easily. Since this recipe makes 4 single crusts, you can freeze what you don’t need for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Gently combine into a ball. Knead gently, then divide the dough.


When you are ready to make a pie, take a bag of dough out of the refrigerator and place  the dough on a well floured surface. Sprinkle additional flour on the dough so the rolling pin won’t stick.

Place the dough on a well floured surface.

Roll the dough out to the desired size. For a standard 9″ pie pan, you’ll want to roll the dough out into a 12 inch circle. Roll out the dough for a few strokes, then gently lift the dough up, sprinkle a little more flour underneath, and continue rolling. Try to roll the dough out as evenly as possible so it is all the same thickness.

NOTE: If the dough is sticking, just sprinkle it with a little more flour. As long as you handle the dough gently, it will not become tough.  If the dough is crumbling, reform it into a ball, kneading slightly, then re-roll it. Pie dough is different from cookie dough, so it might take a few attempts to roll it out just right. Stick with it – it’s worth it and you will get better with practice.

Roll the dough out to the desired size.

NOTE: Once the dough is rolled out to the desired size, you can use a paring knife to trim off any jagged edges.


Fold the dough in half. Carefully lift the dough and place it in the pie pan, then unfold it.

Fold the dough in half so you can easily lift it into the pan.

If you are making a pie with a single crust, like pumpkin pie, trim the crust, crimp the edges, and proceed with the recipe.


If you are making a pie with double crust, like apple pie, add the filling, then brush the edges of the bottom crust with a little milk. Roll out the second crust, fold it in half and place it on top of the filling.

Add the filling. Roll out the top piece of dough. Fold it in half and set it on top of the pie. Unfold.

STEP #10

Unfold the top crust, trim the crust edges, then fold the two crusts under. Crimp as desired and cut a few slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape during baking. Brush the entire pie with a little milk before baking.

After the dough is trimmed and crimped, brush the top of the crust with milk.

That’s it. Easy as pie, right?

Need a little more help? Here is a video of my mom making a batch of her Never-Fail Pie Crust. Watch and learn from a pro!

Need a recipe for your beautiful pie dough? Here are a few suggestions:
Mom’s Apple
Swiss Chard Onion Quiche
Asparagus Pancetta Tart
Grandma Dorothy’s Strawberry Icebox Pie

Mom’s Never Fail Pie Crust

Recipe Type: Baking, Pie Crust
Author: A Passionate Plate
Serves: 4 single crust or 2 double crust pies
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups Crisco shortening
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup ice cold water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and Crisco.
  2. Using a fork or a pastry cutter, blend until the mixture forms grains the size of large peas.
  3. In a small separate bowl, combine the egg, water, vinegar and sugar. Mix well.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and blend just until the dough is combined.
  5. Using your hands gently knead the dough three or four times.
  6. Divide the dough into four equal pieces.
  7. Place each piece in a plastic bag and flatten into a patty.
  8. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour before rolling out.
  9. When you are ready to roll out the dough, place a patty on a board, generously sprinkled with flour and roll out to the desired size.
  10. NOTE: Dough can be frozen for up to two months. Thaw in the refrigerator before use.



  1. […] You can check out my mom’s Never Fail Pie Crust and see her making the recipe here. […]

  2. […] Note: If you’d like to make your own crust, we recommend Mom’s Never Fail Pie Crust. […]

  3. […] complete. Look for more details about Stemilt, Booth Canyon Orchard, Mom’s Apple Pie recipe, Never-Fail Pie Crust, and more later this week! Posted on 10/08/2012 by MaryMiller ← Ginger Carrot Soup […]

  4. Sara says:

    PS great crimping job!

  5. Sara says:

    Interesting to see the use of vinegar again–I haven’t tried it for pie dough but have done so for phyllo dough and it’s really great. I suppose it’s the same theory as using vodka which I also haven’t tried.

    This month’s food and wine has an Alice Medrich flaky yogurt pie dough recipe. I suppose it’s the same theory (acid) and I can’t wait to give it a try as well! I better get baking!

    • Uday says:

      Hi Crumb Boss, your recipe & video make this look easy. Unfortunately for me I don’t own a food pcooessrr yeah I know weird guess I’m waiting for the right one to come along .anyways would you mind if I used an already made pie crust from the store guess it won’t be the same eh. Maybe I should wait ’till after Christmas to make this by then a food pcooessrr would’ve made their appearance in my life. Luv your teaching & recipes have a great one.

      • MaryMiller says:

        Hi, Uday – that is the beauty of this recipe. No food processor is needed. It is simple to use a fork or a pastry cutter to cut the shortening into the flour. 🙂

  6. […] ← White Bean, Kale & Chicken Sausage Soup Mom’s Never Fail Pie Crust → […]

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