Baking Tips

Three Levels of Pie Crust for Every Type of Baker

From beginner to advanced, we’ve got the recipe for you. 

Published Nov. 16, 2023.

Does the thought of making pie crust send a shiver down your spine? Or are you looking to improve your already impressive pie crust skills?

Either way, you’ve come to the right place.

At America’s Test Kitchen we have more than two dozen standalone pie crust recipes. How do you know which one is right for you? With options ranging from beginner to advanced, this guide will help you choose a pie crust recipe no matter where you are in your baking journey.

Happy pie baking.

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Level 1: Beginner

I like to call these “pat-in-the-pan crusts.” They’re as simple as adding melted butter to flour, crushed cookies, or crackers and then pressing it right into your pie plate. No refrigeration, rolling, or crimping required.

Start with our basic Pat-in-the-Pan Pie Dough and pile in your favorite filling. Or try any of these other deliciously easy recipes that use this type of crust:

Level 2: Intermediate

These recipes include making, rolling, and shaping your pie dough. Utilize the food processor, which evenly distributes the chilled fat without the warmth of your hands. Whether you’re team sour cream, shortening, or all-butter, we’ve got the recipe for you. These intermediate recipes are a bit more technical, but you’ll taste the effort in every tender, flaky bite.

Show off your homemade pie crust with these recipes:

180 Foolproof Recipes

The Perfect Pie

Your ultimate guide to baking beautiful, foolproof versions of the corner bakery classics and French patisserie favorites—plus a host of whimsical, modern pies and tarts of all kinds.

Level 3: Advanced

Think of this as the experimental level. Flavor up your pie crust with fresh herbs such as sage or thyme. Update your apple pie with a cheddar cheese crust (seriously). Add walnuts, almonds, or peanuts to make your pie dough extra nutty. Experiment with flours other than all-purpose, such as whole-wheat or rye.

Then, transform your masterful pie crust into any of these recipes:

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