Press In Pie Crust

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Making press in pie crust from scratch is like kid’s play when you use my Gramma John’s Pat in Pan Pie Crust recipe. It’s simple and delicious and easy for kids and adults alike!

apple pie on checked cloth with plates and forks

Making your own pie crust can sound like a challenge you think you can’t tackle. But I promise you can. Homemade pie crust that is easy is not a unicorn in your kitchen. 

Let me introduce you to the easiest homemade pie crust there is. This press in the pan pie crust.

preschool boy holding pie crust he made himself

Do you see how HAPPY that child is? He just made his first pie crust. He’s so incredibly proud of doing it himself.

You’ll be that happy, too, when you learn our family secret for an easy, pat-in-pan pie crust.

You see, for years I was hesitant/resistant to ever pick up a rolling pin. First, it intimidated me that I’d mess up. I didn’t like dough sticking to the work surface or tearing when I tried to pick it up.

Secondly, I didn’t really need to! I had my Gramma John’s recipe for pat in the pan pie crust!

Press In Pie Crust

Pat in Pan Pie Crust is the easiest, most foolproof recipe you could use for pie dough. Its pat-in-pan nature makes it simple for kids to help — and easy for everyone to master.

My preschoolers always loved this recipe when we made pies together. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect. You can smooth out the crust after letting them have a go at it. It’s what Gramma John always did for me.

pie shell that was pat in the pan

What is a no-roll or press in pie crust?

A no-roll or pat-in-pan pie crust is just that. You don’t roll out the dough. You simply pat (and smush) it into the pan, spreading it with your fingers and the palm of your hand to get it to take shape.

This pie crust works for any number of dessert pies, provided you don’t need to roll out a top crust. The ratio of butter to flour makes for a very tender crust that will tear easily if you roll it out. 

Stick to pies with bottom crusts only, for best results, such as:

If you need a double pie crust or want to roll out shapes, use this traditional recipe for homemade pie crust.

Do you have to grease the pie plate first?

No, you don’t have to grease the pie plate before placing in the dough. There’s enough butter in this pie dough to allow it to easily release from the pan after baking.

However, if you want to be doubly sure, you can rub the butter side of the butter wrapper across the dish or use a nonstick pie plate. I have this one from USA pans. Slices of pie practically fly right out of it.

pie crust crumbles in food processor and in bowl with pastry blender

How do you make press in pie crust?

The method for making a pat in the pan pie crust is basically the same as for a traditional roll-out dough, only this dough has a little more butter in it.

Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade or in a small mixing bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture by pulsing it in the food processor or using a pastry blender by hand. Continue this process until coarse crumbs form. 

Add the cold water a bit at a time, mixing well, until pea-size balls are formed.

Transfer the dough bits to a pie plate, spreading to cover the bottom of the pan. With the palm of your hand press the dough quickly into the pan, squishing it up the sides of the pan, until the dough covers the entire bottom and sides of the pie plate.

Crimp or trim the top rim of dough. Bake or fill according to your recipe.

step by step images of making pie crust

Do you need special tools to make homemade pie crust?

It might seem that you need special tools to make a homemade pie crust, that’s not really true. You can totally MacGuyver if need be.

Home bakers for years have used a fork or two knives held together to act as a make-shift pastry blender. That said, there are some tools that are nice to have, including:

Is it expensive to make homemade pie crust?

Making a homemade pie crust, particularly this one costs very little in comparison to commercially made pie crust. Not to mention this tastes a lot better! 

By my calculations, a single crust only costs about $0.80! And that’s with premium flour. So, you’re in a good place if you start making your own pie dough.

That said, there are ways to keep your costs low:

  • Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. When I find regular kitchen staples on sale, I buy a lot. I’m currently using a price book to track prices and that’s saving me money. For this recipe, keeping an eye on the price of flour and butter can help keep the price down. I buy my butter at Costco for around $2/pound and buy premium flour for about $3 to $4/5-pound bag.
  • Buying in bulk – Bulk pricing can reduce your unit cost dramatically. It’s usually cheaper to buy a big bag of flour than it is a small one. I have gotten into the habit of buying cases of flour from Bob’s Red Mill or VitaCost so that I always have baking supplies on hand. Store extra flour in the freezer to extend its shelf life and protect against pests.

lemon meringue pies being topped with meringue

If you prepare this recipe, be sure to take a picture and hashtag it #GOODCHEAPEATS. I can't wait to see what you cook up!
0 from 0 votes
Press in Pie Crust
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
Making pie crust from scratch is like kid’s play when you use Gramma John’s Pie Crust recipe. It’s simple and delicious!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pie, pie crust, pie dough
Servings: 1 pie round
Calories: 1265 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter cut into chunks
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cold water
  1. In a medium bowl, combine together the flour and salt. Add the butter chunks and cut them into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, or two knives held together. You can also use a food processor for quicker work. Kids can do this with a fork if that is easier for them. Work these ingredients together until they form pea-sized crumbs. 

  2. Quickly stir in the cold water a tablespoon at a time and combine until a large pea size clumps form. Transfer these to the pie plate. 

  3. Pat the dough into a pie plate, pushing the dough across the bottom of the pie plate and up the sides.

  4. Use as is in recipes that call for an unbaked pie shell. For recipes that call for a pre-baked crust, bake it for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees until light golden brown. Cool completely before pouring in your filling.

Recipe Notes

You don't have to grease the pie plate before placing in the dough. There's enough butter in this pie dough to allow it to easily release from the pan after baking.

Nutrition Facts
Press in Pie Crust
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1265 Calories from Fat 846
% Daily Value*
Fat 94g145%
Saturated Fat 59g369%
Cholesterol 244mg81%
Sodium 1976mg86%
Potassium 125mg4%
Carbohydrates 91g30%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 16g32%
Vitamin A 2836IU57%
Calcium 46mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

toddler girl pressing dough into pie plate

Remember making this pat in the pan pie crust is easy, and it’s okay to let the kids help!

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Nancy M. says

    Wow! That does sound easy!

  2. srlsfamily says

    that seems so easy. have you ever made it with whole wheat flour?

  3. Heather says

    I’ve been looking for an easy pie crust. Guess I’ll look no further. 🙂

  4. Phoebe @ Cents to Get Debt Free says

    I love my grandma’s pie crust recipe–it is similiar. So incredibly easy, and can tastes great made with whole wheat instead! Got to love that!

  5. Emily @ Little Home says

    I love that this doesn’t use Crisco! I am bookmarking it for later! Thanks!

  6. Heather says

    Love the picture. He looks so happy with his accomplishment! I am terrible at pie crusts, but I may try this one, it looks so easy.

  7. Shari says

    I am loving all your recipe/baking posts. I concur with the previous comment–gives me courage to try stuff when the recipe looks doable and the picture inspiring. 🙂

  8. Jamie says

    How precious is he?

  9. Christy says

    I just found your blog, and I like it!

    I have a question — should the butter be cold out of the fridge or room temperature? Does it matter?

  10. Anonymous says

    I'm enjoying your blog… thank you!!
    Answer to Christy's question is:
    Yes, the butter should be cold out of the fridge. Room temp might seem easier, but it doesn't really work.
    Today I'm making meatloaf and will make squash baked with homemade apple pie filling. (pie with acorn squash as the crust)

  11. Nicci says

    Probably a dumb question, but is the flour all-purpose?

    • Jessica Fisher says

      yes. I use unbleached.

  12. Ashley says

    Quick question does this make a good top crust as well?

    • Jessica Fisher says

      It can, but it is very delicate. I often use a different crust recipe for rolled out recipes.

  13. Donna says

    Hi Jessica! Made two of your slab apple pies with this crust last week….sooo good. A keeper recipe for sure. You are right…so easy! Thank you for sharing.

    • Jessica Fisher says

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  14. Betsy Cherepko says

    I have never had great success with pie crusts, but today I made your apple pie with this crust and my-oh-my…I could not get enough of this crust! It is so flaky, buttery, and simple! My 4 year old loved pressing this out into the pie pan. I will never roll another crust…if I can avoid it. Oh and the apple recipe was delicious too!

    • Jessica Fisher says

      My feelings exactly.

  15. Katherine Telch (aka) Katy says

    Thank you for the ray of sunshine in my life on this grey Monday weather wise here in the NW. I so enjoy your daily posts every day and today it’s even more sweet as I was filing some of the saves and putting them in the proper folders…pie crust is not my favorite but Gramma John’s looks doable to me…the special part is the picture of your smiling son’s face presenting his pie crust! Thank you, thank you!

    • I love that picture of him. It’s about five years old, and I miss that time. (Even though now is good, too.)

  16. Lisa says

    I made this crust today for a blackberry pie, and I will never use another recipe! So light and flaky and delicious! I took my chances and patted out a top crust on some parchment paper, and it worked pretty well. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  17. Wow! This looks great! Will definitely be keeping this recipe on hand, and can’t wait to think up an excuse to use it! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing it so generously….xoox

  18. Megan Nelson says

    Easy and delicious! I had to sub gluten free baking flour and it turned out great!

  19. Stacey says

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I’m very intimidated about pie crust but i think i can duplicate your recipe!

  20. Barb Schmidt says

    Well… my mother, many years ago, sighed and told me “You just can’t make pie crust!” after my umpteenth try at rolling one out evenly. I even convinced my oldest daughter to be the family pie baker. I need to try this, and maybe redeem myself after so long.

  21. Ms. B says

    I realize this is an old post but I found it today and am so inspired! I’ve never thought to freeze a pie for a quick, delicious dessert and am excited to try this out, along with your chicken pot pie recipe. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  22. Lauri says

    Would this covert over to gluten free? just change the flour type?

  23. Abeer says

    Hi! This is a wonderful recipe, always use it and it turns out lovely. I was wondering if it’d be okay to refrigerate it for a day before using it? I’m hoping to prepare the crust before I actually make the pie for my guests to divide the work load!

    • Yep! You can definitely refrigerate it a day or two in advance. You can also freeze it.

  24. Gayla says

    I made this and it completely crumbled once cooked and did not hold together

    • I’m sorry to hear that. It sounds like there was a problem with your ingredients. I’m happy to troubleshoot with you if you’d like to figure out what went wrong.

      • Gayla says

        I think it may have been too much butter so it fell apart. I will try it again. It still tastes great but just crumbles.

        • I’m sorry to hear you were having trouble. It should be very flaky, but not crumbly. Perhaps add a bit more water?

  25. Allen Bryant says

    This pie dough recipe is wonderful. My daughter had Celiac Disease and therefor cannot eat gluten. This is the only recipe for pie dough that I have found (and I’ve tried several} that easily converts to gluten free. Thanks so much.

  26. Kathleen says

    5 stars
    This is the same crust recipe I have always used (Martha Stewart) but without refrigerating it and then rolling it out first. Making it now for a quiche. So easy!

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