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How to Make Pie Crust: Vegetable Shortening Pie Crust Recipe #LovethePie


We are gearing up for pie around here!  Love the pie is next week, so I asked my good friend Shaina if she’d come over and share some pie crust how-to’s and one of her favorite pie crust recipe, Vegetable Shortening Pie Crust.

Be sure to click over to Shaina’s blog, Food for My Family, to get the all-butter pie crust recipe along with instructions on how to make pie crust by hand.

By the time Shaina’s done with you……..you’ll have no excuse to  NOT to make pie!

Take it away Shaina…………………………….


The first component, and one of the most crucial, to a pie is a good, flaky crust. You can have the best apple filling in the world, but if your crust is lackluster, it’s hard to pick around it and scrape those apples out. Plus, pie without crust is, well, hardly pie.

The beauty is that crust doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be rather easy, and you barely have to get your hands dirty. There is a bit of precision involved, but once you get past that, you’ll be well on your way to turning out successful crusts each and every time.

Types of Pie Crust

First you need to think about the type of crust you want. You have a few options.

  1. Cookie Crust: Cookies crusts are great cheater crust. Turn crunchy cookies to crumb (add a bit of sugar depending on the cookie variety), add melted butter and press into the pie plate.
  2. Pastry Crust: A pastry crust requires a bit more work, but it delivers that flaky crust that we probably all associate with pie.

Pastry Crust Varieties

If you decide to choose a pastry crust, then the next piece of the pastry puzzle is determining your ingredients. Pastry crusts can be made with a variety of different fats and flours. You could go for:

  • an all-butter pie crust
  • a shortening crust
  • or a mixture of butter and shortening/lard.

How to Make Shortening Pie Crust

Here I’m going to demonstrate the shortening crust with a food processor preparation method. The food processor does the work for you, and this method can be used with any crust fat you choose to use. I know some people who swear by their Crisco crust and others who are butter devotees and still others who love them some leaf lard. If you want to make a pie crust by hand using a pastry cutter or a simple, everyday fork, you can check out my post including an all-butter crust recipe.

Let’s get started:

First, did you know the way you measure matters? Measure your flour by scooping flour with a spoon into the cup. Don’t use your measuring cup as a scoop, as it packs the flour down and gives a different measure.

Chilling your ingredients means the fat will take longer to melt. The longer the shortening you’re using is in the hot, heated room and exposed to the air, the better the chance it will melt as you mix. Those fat chunks are essential to a flaky crust. Chilled ingredients (and sometimes even bowls) helps to slow this process and prevent it.

It’s good to have lumps in pie crust. If you mix until all the shortening pieces are broken up, you won’t get the flaky layers that are created by those fat pieces getting rolled thin.

Add just enough water to get the dough to come together. Too much water will result in a sticky dough that will be tough when baked and also hard to work with.

When your dough is finished, wrap it as a disc and let it chill. You can make dough a day or two in advance or freeze it for up to a month.


Types of Pie Crust

1. Cookie Crust: Cookies crusts are great cheater crust. Turn crunchy cookies to crumb (add a bit of sugar depending on the cookie variety), add melted butter and press into the pie plate.

2. Pastry Crust: A pastry crust requires a bit more work, but it delivers that flaky crust that we probably all associate with pie.

Pastry Crust Varieties

  • an all-butter pie crust
  • a shortening crust
  • or a mixture of butter and shortening/lard

Vegetable Shortening Pie Crust

Yield: Makes two 9 inch pie crusts.

Vegetable Shortening Pie Crust


  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (for sweet pies)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-vegetable shortening (butter flavored, if desired), cut into 1/4-tablespoon-sized pieces and chilled
  • 6-10 tablespoons ice cold water


  1. Add the flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse lightly until mixed. Add in cold shortening pieces and pulse just until crumbs start to form, 3-4 pulses. You should see a mixture of pea-sized crumbs and small crumbs.
  2. Sprinkle the first 4-5 tablespoons over the crumbs and pulse twice. Add in water a tablespoon at a time until the flour appears slightly moistened. Try to avoid using all the water, and only pulse once in between each tablespoon addition.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into two discs. Wrap each disk and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. When time to make your pie, remove the crust discs from the refrigerator and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle a small amount of flour on top and flour a rolling pin. Roll the disc into a circle, being careful to work quickly and not handle the dough too much. When the dough is approximately 1-2 inches larger than the pie plate, transfer the dough to the plate and gently press into place. Try not to stretch the dough, as this disrupts the fat pockets that give pie crust its flaky texture.
  5. Fill and bake as directed for your pie.


Vegetable Shortening Pie Crust adapted from Crisco’s Classic Crust

Copyright © 2009-2011 Shaina Olmanson (Food for My Family)



Shaina Olmanson Food for My Family

About Shaina

Shaina Olmanson is the home cook and photographer behind Food for My Family and Olmanson Photography, a daily contributor to Babble.com’s Family Kitchen Blog and the food editor for Lifetime Moms.

She strives to teach her four children to cook and prepare real food in a day and age where many people have turned to convenience foods because they are so readily available and hopes to encourage others to do the same. Shaina can usually be found in one of three places: cooking, at the computer or behind the camera.

You can also find Shaina on Facebookand Twitter


more by Cheryl »

Cheryl Sousan

A self-proclaimed neat freak, Cheryl chronicles her journey through homemaking on her blog, TidyMom.net, where she shares recipes, tutorials, crafting and her ever-growing love for photography. This St. Louis mom juggles her passion for life, her daughters and her tiger-loving husband, all while her obsession with tidiness cleans up the trail blazed behind her. Google+


  1. Great post!! I am pie crust challenged!!! I will be printing this post and giving it another try!

  2. Great post Shaina! After this and our lesson last week I really have no excuse 🙂

  3. I am hopeless when it comes to pie. I cant make a good one to save my life. BUT! Now that I have read this there is hope for me!! I cant wait to try this, thanks so much Shaina and Cheryl!

  4. I will give this one a try for sure!

  5. I love pie, hate making the crust, but will keep this in mind for my next attempt.

  6. Woo hoo! Shaina’s a great person to lead us into the pie party well equipped with a reliable pie crust recipe. Great post!

  7. Thanks for sharing these fabulous tips . I am baking a lot of pies for the holidays and look forward to giving this a try.

  8. Great post! I LOVE pies, but hate making crust. This is very helpful for those who struggle:-)

    • Thanks, Amy! My first memory ever from when I was a year old was watching my mom try to get a pie crust to come together during a tornado. What’s funny is that is the only memory I have of her making a pie crust.

  9. Love the post, crusts are still a challenge to me. One problem I have is to know how much crust to leave around the edge for crimping and to get a pretty crimped edge…………..can you help us a little further?? TIA!

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  11. Pie crust produces an irrational fear in me, but you really do make it look so easy. Great post, Shaina!

  12. You have the perfect crimp on your pie crust. I have to admit, I’m slightly jealous.

  13. Great post, Shaina – I’ve always been a little afraid of pie crusts, so I’ll definitely have to try this method. Now you can you do a post on that perfect crimp?

  14. Terrific post! I’m definitely pinning this one to try soon!


  15. Great tutorial! My mom makes a shortening pie crust, though I almost always opt for an all butter crust. Might have to give this one a try, though. One can never make too much pie. 🙂

  16. This year (while I was on Maternity leave) I said I was going to “perfect the pie”.
    Unfortunately, It did not happen. I have managed to get a few pies out but nothing fantastic. This is a great post… I will have to take a shot at the food processor next. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Great post! I love a good flaky pie crust. I use leaf lard and butter mixture but this looks tasty too!

  18. I usually shy away from making my own crust but thanks to Miss Shaina, I fear the crust no longer!! Can’t wait for all the pie goodness!

  19. Thank you for this wonderful tutorial….just in time for all the pie making for this holiday season. 🙂

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  21. The recipe I use has a tablespoon of vinegar — some how it works like magic and really helps the dough roll out nice. Do you have any tips for preventing the juice inside the pie from leaking out? I try to pinch the seams and use water, but sometimes I still get leakage. 🙁 How do you seal the top and bottom crusts together?

  22. I tried your recipe and it was a big hit with the wife and kids. I am going to make it for the extended family for my Thanksgiving pies. The smell while cooking was a pleasant torture, but the final product was well worth the wait. Thank you so much for sharing. I used a combination of shortening and butter and it was great. Should I par-bake the crusts for pumpkin?

    • Hi, Woody. I’m so glad you enjoyed the crust! For pumpkin pies and most custard pies, crusts are often par-baked. You can cut a square of parchment and fill it with dry beans or pie weights before baking (350 degrees for about 10 minutes), and I usually cover the edges with foil so they don’t get too brown in the final baking. Many recipes will also specify whether they want the crust par-baked, too.

      Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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  24. I made my first pie in 17 yrs last month, can you believe it!? I am now smitten so I can’t wait to try out this crust recipe.

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  26. Looks great! The way you crimped the edges is my new favorite way to do pie crusts! It’s so easy, but comes out beautifully everytime!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  29. I always do the cheater crust – busted! This looks less threatening than what I had imagined for making a pie crust though. I think I’ll be trying it soon! Thanks!

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