Amazingly flaky, light and tender gluten free pie crust recipe isn’t difficult to make when you use the right ingredients and follow some easy how-to steps with this recipe.
Fair warning: this post is l-o-n-g NOT because it’s difficult to make a great gluten free pie crust, but because I want to REASSURE you in every possible way that it’s really quite easy and that YOU can do it!
I’ve written out my secrets and tips, I’ve shared my fool-proof gluten free pie crust recipe, I’ve included videos of the steps, I’ve recorded a podcast to walk you through everything you need to know to make a great gluten free pie crust, and I’ve shared step-by-step photos so you can consult this post as you make a pastry for yourself. Don’t let the length of the post scare you — it’s all here to help!
Just look at this gorgeous, flaky gluten free pie crust. It’s within reach, and YOU can make it, even if you’ve never made a homemade pie crust in your life!
As I travel the country speaking to gluten-free groups and teaching gluten-free cooking classes, it seems that rolling out pie crusts is the one thing that scares people the most about baking. There are many techniques I’ve developed over the years, and I’ve gotten it down to quite a science!
One way many folks find it easy to roll out and transfer crusts is by using a pie crust bag.
Check out this video below.
If you haven’t seen one of these handy kitchen accessories, take a look at my video showing how to use them! (You can also find these in my store)
Another favorite of mine is using a silicone pastry mat and my favorite rolling pin covers. Together, they are so versatile and make it easy to transfer pie crusts or to roll out sugar cookies or ravioli or or or … you get the idea!
Here’s a quick video of how to transfer a gluten free pie crust using a rolling pin and a silicone mat.
I also have a video showing how to use these mats and rolling pin covers for rolling out gluten-free pie crusts.
But the most important trick to making a deliciously flaky and remarkably easy-to-roll-out gluten-free pie crust, is to start with the right ingredients.
My gfJules™ All Purpose Gluten Free Flour is the main ingredient, and the special blend of gluten-free flours and xanthan gum gives doughs made with my flour extra stretch, making it far easier to roll and transfer top and bottom crusts.
I’ve also found that a combination of butter (or non-dairy alternative like Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks or lactose free Green Valley Organics® Lactose Free Butter) and shortening makes for a flakier crust. Note: I do NOT like using coconut oil in place of shortening. It doesn’t play nicely with the flour and makes for an oily dough that is more brittle and sticky — no fun to work with!
Using cold water and a surprise secret ingredient that no one will ever taste (scroll down to recipe for ingredient) also makes it easier to work with the dough, and yields an amazingly delicious crust that’s flaky and soft every time.
Consult my recipe below and be sure to look at the step-by-step photos at the bottom, where I show how to transfer the crust.
Because doughs made with my gfJules Flour actually have STRETCH to them, it makes it easy (yes, easy!) to transfer pie crust without tears! (Or maybe that was just me who cried over broken, crumbly gluten free pie crusts when I first got started???)
One final thought before I let you go on to the recipe and techniques outline below: I find myself answering lots of emails in advance of pie baking season and folks are all worried that they’ll make a tough pastry crust. In answer, I usually write pretty much the same things, so I’ll copy a note I wrote recently below, in hopes that it also helps YOU make your best pie crust ever!
As for flakiness of pie crust there are a couple keys:
One is to make sure the butter is super cold when adding it. I like to cut it into pieces and then put it in the freezer while I’m measuring the flour and getting everything ready.
When you add the butter, cut both it and the shortening into the flour/salt mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives cutting against one another, and only cut it as much as you need to integrate the fats into the flour into small balls, without working it too much. Then add the vodka or cold water (start with only 3Tbs) and mix with a fork, adding only as much more cold water as you need to get the dough to hold together without being wet. A wet dough is a heavy dough and you don’t want that!
I then wrap the dough in cling wrap and leave on the counter for 30 minutes if it’s not too warm in the kitchen, or refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes if you think you worked it too much or the kitchen is warm.
Roll it out and into the pie pan and then … I’ve found that covering the crust with wrap again in the pan and putting it in the freezer while you work on other things, THEN filling the crust, is a great way to keep those fats nice and cold before baking. The steam that is generated from the fats melting in the oven is what causes most of the flakiness, so if you have lots of little balls of fat throughout the crust, as opposed to melty strands of fat, it creates more flakes.
That being said, overcooking the crust can also make it tough, so brush the crust with egg or oil or milk to help it brown so you aren’t tempted to leave it in the oven too long, waiting for it to brown.
For even more pointers on making pie crusts, watch my video how-to or listen to my Blog Talk Radio show all about pie crusts. See below for step-by-step photos!
Here are some videos showing the recipe in action
Gluten Free Pie Crust Recipe and Tips
Light, flaky, buttery ... these are all the adjectives you want associated with your gluten free pie crust, and they're what you'll get with this no-fail recipe!
1 Gluten Free Pie Crust (double for 2-crust pie)
- 1 cup (16 Tbs.) gfJules™ All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour (135 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 Tbs vegetable or palm shortening*
- 3 Tbs COLD butter or non-dairy alternative ( e.g. Green Valley Organics® Lactose Free Butter or vegan Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks)
- 2 Tbs vodka* + 2-4 Tbs cold water (OR 4-6 Tbs. cold water) (add more or less to get the dough to hold together but not be sticky)
- egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbs. water) OR milk (dairy or non-dairy) for brushing on crust
To Make the Dough:
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Cut in the shortening and cold (not frozen, but very cold) butter using a pastry cutter (or the flat paddle attachment on a stand mixer or a food processor). Add the vodka/water gradually to make the consistency you need to form a ball – err on the side of it being wetter rather than crumbly. Don’t over-work the dough, or it may become tough when baked. Form a disc with the dough, wrap in plastic and set aside on the counter for 30 minutes while you make your filling.
Rolling the Dough:
After allowing the dough to rest, roll the pastry out onto a surface dusted well with gfJules™ All Purpose Gluten Free Flour.
Use a flexible pastry mat (e.g. Silpat) and rolling pin covers or a pie crust bag for rolling and transferring your gluten free crust easily.
Gently roll in each direction — do not press down on the pin while rolling — to a circle with a diameter at least 1 inch larger than that of your pie pan.
Click on the picture for this quick video on how to easily transfer a gluten free pie crust into the pan.
To Transfer the Crust:
1- Gently lift an edge of the rolled out crust over your rolling pin. 2 -With one hand under the baking mat, use the pin in the other hand to lift the crust so that it is supported by the rolling pin as you pull the crust gently off of the baking mat. 3- Transfer gently over the pie plate to center. 4- Drop gently into the plate and press in with floured fingers. 5- Pat into your pan.
For a One Crust Pie, cut the edges of the crust to an even length of approximately 1-inch larger than the diameter of your pie plate.
Gently fold the edges under, then press with a fork or pinch into a fluted design between your fingers. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze while you make your fillings.
Fill with your desired filling.
For a Two-Crust Pie, double the ingredients and divide the doubled pie crust dough before setting aside. Shape each half into a disc and wrap each in plastic wrap. Repeat the rolling out steps for the first crust and cover with plastic wrap, then freeze for 30 minutes or while you prepare the fillings. Fill the pie and lay the second crust gently onto the top of the filled pie pan.
Cut off all but 1/2 – 1 inch of excess pie crust from around the edge of the pan. For fruit pies, cut small slits in the center of the top crust to allow the hot steam to escape. Brush the crust with egg wash or your milk of choice – this step helps it to brown nicely.
If there are any tears in your top crust, never fear! Simply take leftover crust and use decorative cookie cutters to cut out leaves, pumpkins, etc. Wet the backside of each cut-out with a dab of milk, then lay on top of any tears to cover the flaw.
Use pie crust shields to prevent crust edges from over-cooking. Available in the gfJules.com store.
Fold approximately 1/2 inch of excess pie crust over all around the edge to form the crust, then using your fingers, press a fluted design or use a fork to go around the crust to finish.
Your pie is now ready to bake or to freeze for later baking. For directions on how to freeze the pie dough and bake later, hop to my post on that method. To bake now, follow the instructions below.
Single-Crust: Preheat oven to 400º F (static). Brush the crust with egg wash or milk, then cover edges with foil or pie crust shields to minimize burning. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375º F (static) and bake an additional 20 minutes, remove the pie crust shields, and bake an additional 10 minutes, or follow directions for your specific pie recipe.
Double-Crust Pie: Preheat oven to 400º F (static). Brush the crust with egg wash or milk, then cover edges with foil or pie crust shields and bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 375º F (static), remove foil and brush again with egg wash or milk. Bake an additional 35-45 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling, or follow directions for your specific pie recipe. (Cover again with foil if the crust is browning too much during the bake).
Unfilled Pie Crust (Blind Bake): Cover crust in pie plate loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375º F (static).
Prick the bottom of pastry all over with tines of a fork. Cover the pastry with parchment paper and pour pie weights, dry rice or dried beans on top to cover 1 inch. Brush the crust edges with egg wash or milk, then cover crust edges with foil or pie crust shields. Bake for 15 minutes or until the bottom of the crust no longer looks raw.
Remove the parchment paper and weights. Return to bake for 6-8 minutes if filling with quiche, pumpkin or key lime type filling which will be baked further; for cream pies and refrigerated fillings, bake 10-15 minutes more. Don’t wait for the crust to turn brown before removing or it will have over-cooked. Cool completely on a wire rack before filling for refrigerated pies.
See full instructions at my post on baking a frozen pie crust.
* Both butter and shortening are recommended. If you do not have or want to use shortening, another option is coconut oil, however the dough will be quite fragile to work with and difficult to transfer into the pie plate. Lard is suitable if that fits with your diet. Otherwise, liquid oil is another option. You may use all cold butter for the crust as well, but the flakiness in the pastry will be reduced.
Pin it for later!
why use the vodka in the pie crust? my husband does not eat anything with alcohol. Yes, we know the alcohol bakes off, but alcohol, cooked or not can trigger his gout. What else could be substituted that will give the same results?
Hi Marci, if you read the information about the vodka in the text, there are a few reasons why using it adds to the tenderness of the crust and is beneficial to the recipe. That being said, I’ve also noted that a white vinegar used in its place is a close second as a recipe sub. Hope that helps!
Any ideas on changing for high altitude? It was difficult to work with. Lots of small pieces. Dough seemed like perfect consistency before I rolled it. I used 4T vodka and about 4.5 water. 2nd crust I added another half T and seemed better and let it sit for 1 hour. It rolled easier but tough. Other thing I may try is letting it sit longer in the fridge with final half hour at room temp. Not sure I can add much water without it being sticky. Thanks for any ideas anyone may have. I’m researching online too.
Hi Melissa, check out my gluten free baking at high altitude tips. Drier air will definitely impact a recipe like this, so you were right to add more liquid. Err on the side of more vodka, as you can add more than water and it will bake out, but still add cautiously so it doesn’t get too wet. If the dough is crumbly or unable to be rolled, you definitely still need to add more. You could also alter the shortening:butter ratio and increase butter and reduce shortening, as there is more moisture in butter. Let me know how it goes!
I made this with an adaptation of your pot pie recipe. I hate shortening, but I had some bacon grease which I figured I could use for lard. Also, the only vodka here…since we use it for herbal processing, not drinking, is 151 proof! So I used 1 T and subbed water for the second. Not sure what the vodka does, but crust tasted disgusting before baking but was the yummiest, flakiest ever when it was done!!! I actually haven’t had pie crust in about a decade. It was very exciting. Thanks so much!!!
Well Cris, I have to say that I’m glad you went with it and trusted the recipe! Whatever you had to do to get there, you got the yummiest, flakiest gluten free pie crust ever! Congratulations!!! On to baking more pies — that IS exciting!!!! Thanks so much for sharing your results with me! 🙂
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Best pie pumpkin pie I have made in years!!! I didn’t have vodka and used tequila instead and it turned out great!
Fantastic!! I’m thrilled that you went with the tequila and loved the results!!!
Can I ask you please why the vodka, just curious. Also as I live in the UK I am wondering if this would still be successful using an alternative gf flour? Dove’s is a very popular one here.
Hi Sandra, check out the intro to the recipe where I explain in detail about the “vodka trick”! 🙂
I don’t know anything about Dove’s blend, but compare the ingredients to the ratios in this homemade blend outlined in the recipe in this article comparing gluten free flours. Also, we DO ship to the UK, if you ever want to check out costing, just put various items into the cart with your address and see what the sweet spot for shipping might be! Hope that helps. Happy baking!
I’m going to dive into some pie-making once I get some shortening. Do you have a preference of type or brand. Any good organic one’s out there I can look for?
Cheers and thanks for all the amazing recipes. There are so many I want to try out.
Wonderful, Anna! So glad to hear you’re ready to start some gluten free pie making! I personally really like Spectrum Palm Oil (organic) shortening. It’s linked in my recipe!
This was the prettiest pie crust I’ve ever made!! I took a picture before I baked it – just in case I dropped it or burned the top 😂. I absolutely love your all purpose gf flour. I’m still learning how to transition the recipes which call for just almond flour though. The moisture level is still off in some of them. I think they are maybe just bad recipes
What a beautiful pie, Kim!!! I love that you took a before photo — just in case! I do that too, but try not to jinx anything! LOL!
So happy you’re loving my gfJules Flour and recipes. I’ll tell you something about using almond flour recipes though: almond flour has a totally different moisture requirement in recipes, as well as fat absorption and needs. SO … I would never recommend using almond flour recipes with my gfJules Flour. My flour was designed to mimic the baking properties of regular all purpose flour, so it works best in recipes calling for regular all purpose wheat flour or of course the recipes in all my cookbooks and here on my gfJules site. I hope that helps. Here’s more information on different gluten free flours. Happy baking!
Hi Jules, As you requested I am sending this comment about making your GF Jules pie crust. As an experienced and mature (never say old!) woman in her 80’s, I have made hundreds of pie crusts. Since finding your wonderful gluten free products I use only the GF Jules recipe and flour along with the ingredients listed in the recipe. I use the shortening/butter combination. NEVER had a problem until last week! After 2 failed attempts I decided to find out what went wrong. I did everything the same way with the same ingredients as always, including using my food processer. When I added the shortening to the flour/salt mixture I could not get a “crumb” result. When I added my vodka/water to it , it would not process into a smooth ball, just a mess. I decided not to give up. My shortening was not really old (in this case I do use the word “old”), but it was the only variable that I thought might be the culprit. I bought a new, fresh container of Crisco shortening and gave it another try. Yea !!! It turned out beautifully once again. So – if a customer has a problem like I did, not to worry or stop using Jules’ flour. Make sure the shortening is fresh, bright solid white and firm. And best if chilled before using. I love your products. And I love you for making them!!
Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Dona! I hope it will help in case anyone else has troubles making gluten free pie crusts, but also to inspire folks not to give up!!! Very happy you didn’t, and you reaped the rewards of a delicious gluten free pie crust once again!!
Happy baking! xoxo
I have made many a pie crust in my lifetime, and my favorite was the ATK Foolproof Vodka crust. I h ave been gluten free for perhaps 14 years, and keep trying various recipes. It must taste good! I live in Germany, so your gfjules flour is not an option, but I have found a super flour here in Germany that probably is similar, but it doesn’t have Xanthan Gum in it. For a one crust pie, how much Xanthan Gum should I use? I am trying 1/2 tsp. this time. Is that enough?
Hi Susie, of course! You deserve a great tasting pie crust!!! Have a look at my article on gluten free flours for ratios, including xanthan gum recommendations. I hope it’s helpful!
Before GF, I was an accomplished home baker. It has taken me 3 years to attempt a GF pie crust. I use your flour for breads and cookies and have been pleasantly
surprised. I made your single crust to top a pot pie. I used the butter, crisco, vodka, water method. What a beautiful, forgiving dough. I bake my pot pie at 450 for 10-12 min, but was unsure about this for the crust based on your cooking times. So, I followed your times with foil, exactly as written. The crust was lovely and flakey, but was not brown. How do I get it to brown? Than you for all your wonderful products, you are a true blessing to those who thought they would never bake again.
Oh my, Kristen, that IS lovely!!! I’m so happy you trusted yourself and the recipe and my flour and went for it! The browning is the bugaboo with gluten free crusts, and it’s why we definitely need to brush something on TOP to brown, since waiting for the actual crust itself to brown will just lead to overcooking the crust. The best thing to do is to use a full egg wash (one whole egg mixed with a tablespoon or so of water, then brushed on top — you likely will not use the whole egg though). Next best is to brush with your favorite milk or even oil. On a pie (not a pot pie) I will often sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar for color and it’s quite nice, or you can also warm a bit of apricot preserves and thin with water and brush on top which works quite well. Let me know how it goes next time and share another pretty picture!!! Happy baking!
The first time I made this it turned out amazing. The second the crust was so hard… any ideas of what I did wrong?
I made the pie crust a few weeks ago and the husband, who is a crust snob, said it was the best he had since him mother’s crust (which was famous in the family). I roll the dough out between 2 pieces of parchment paper and it works wonderfully. Your recipes make me feel “normal” again. Thank you.
oh Kathy, that is so wonderful! That is EXACTLY the way you deserve to feel, and your husband’s praise is what we’re going for! Thanks so much for taking the time to write me a note and share your gluten free pie crust successes with me! May all your gluten free baking be happy from here on out!!!
I have watched your video and follow the recipe to a T. But my crust always comes out tough. What do you think is the problem?
Hi Phylis, overworking or too warm ingredients are usually the culprits, so I’d start there, but other than that, what butter are you using? what shortening? are you using my gfJules Flour? The next thought is always just the simplest: that the pie is overcooked, or at least that the edges are. Another possibility is that the crust is rolled too thick. Let me know about these things — we’ll get to the bottom of it!