This Vodka Butter Pie Crust is the best and only pie crust you will ever need. It is flaky (thanks to the vodka), buttery, bakes beautifully, and no soggy bottoms EVER. Follow this simple recipe for foolproof pie and you will quickly become a pie expert!
Make mini pie crusts using the backside of a cupcake baking pan with this ingenious method: Mini Pie Crust Recipe. I also recommend making my Pie Crust Cookies with your scraps or make a whole batch to snack on!
I love this Vodka Butter Pie Crust so much and boy was it a labor of love. I spent a lot of time experimenting with butter versus shortening, vodka versus water, food processor versus pastry cutter. I chilled all my ingredients, some of my ingredients, and none of them. I froze my prepared dough, I refrigerated it, I worked it multiple times to see it’s durability. I baked it various ways in cherry pie, chicken pot pies, blackberry hand pies, strawberry pop tarts, fruit galettes, etc.
What I am getting at is it is well tested and versatile because I know how hard it is to sift through recipes online and in cookbooks to end up feeling overwhelmed. I started making pies because I wanted to create the gorgeous crust designs I kept seeing on Pinterest. So, with the experimentation and frustration, came practice and also knowledge I want to share with you!
Watch This Quick, 30 Second Video Tutorial:
This Vodka Butter Pie Crust Recipe Is Good For:
- Sweet or savory pies and pastries
- Recipes that require a blind baked crust
- Recipes where you bake the crust and filling at the same time
- Ornate pie crusts
Why Vodka Makes Pie Crust Flaky
Vodka results in a lighter and flakier pie crust, no matter the quality of vodka you use. Essentially we are replacing two thirds of the water with vodka to limit gluten development and keep our crust from getting tough and dense as we work it. But don’t worry because as the crust bakes the vodka evaporates out completely. You will never taste it!
Ingredients In Vodka Butter Pie Crust:
You will only need 5 ingredients to make a vodka pie crust. Keep reading for notes and potential substitutions on each ingredient.
- Unsalted Butter: The higher quality, the better. Cheaper butter tends to have a higher water content which isn’t great for pies. I do want to note too that some recipes call for shortening but butter is the way to go (it gives the crust so much flavor).
- All- Purpose Flour: Go with a mid grade or higher quality unbleached flour, I use King Arthur. The flour is one of our main ingredients and we want to make sure it is as pure as possible.
- Granular Sugar: This adds a tiny bit of sweet but you will want to omit the sugar completely if you are looking for savory crust.
- Vodka: Use whatever you have on hand, no need to go out and buy the best bottle either. Vodka is vodka and it will evaporate anyways. I use a cheap $8 bottle I get at the gas station and it always works great.
- Water: Just a little cold water goes a long way in helping our dough come together.
- Food Processor: This make it easier and evenly distributes the ingredients into the dough. It also allows you to work quicker so the butter doesn’t start to melt and make a mess. If you opt for the by-hand method you can use a large mixing bowl (chill it in the refrigerator prior to using) and pastry cutter or your hands.
- Marble Rolling Pin
- Glass Pie Plates
- Pie Weights: These are used for par baking or blind baking crusts, it helps to weigh it down and reduce the amount of shrinking.
How To Make Vodka Butter Pie Crust
Here’s a quick overview on how to make this flaky pie dough recipe, the recipe card will have complete details.
1. Add flour and sugar to the food processor, pulse until incorporated (2-3 times)
2. Add your cold unsalted butter chunks and pulse until mixture is sandy and the chunks of butter are now pea sized (about 5 to 10 pulses).
3. Slowly add your vodka to the butter/flour mixture while pulsing. After the vodka is incorporated it will still be fairly dry.
4. Add one tablespoon of cold water at a time, while pulsing, until the mixture comes together into a smooth ball (NOTE: mine usually takes two tablespoons of water but it depends on how dry your ingredients are and can take up to 4 tablespoons).
5. Remove from your food processor and divide into two equal crusts. Wrap them in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for one to two hours to firm up. If you are crunched on time, you can place the crusts in the freezer for thirty minutes.
The best way to store vodka pie dough is wrapped in a few layers of plastic wrap. If kept in the refrigerator they will last for 2 weeks and up to 1 month.
You can also freeze pie crusts to use later! The disks of pie dough can be frozen for up to 6 months. When you want to use them just thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.
Preparing the Pie Crust for Baking
- Remove your crust from refrigerator or freezer and set it aside until it becomes pliable enough to roll out.
- Lightly flour your surface, rolling pin, and dough (this is to keep it from sticking). I use a marble rolling pin because it is cold and heavier which is perfect for rolling out pie crust.
- Starting at the center and rolling outward, continue to roll until desired the thickness is achieved (I like mine as thin as I can get it, around ⅛ inch thick). If your dough starts sticking to your rolling pin, add a dusting of flour and continue.
- Fold your dough in half and then in half again so it resembles the shape of a pizza slice, transfer it to your pie plate, and unfold it.
- Trim off any excess dough and crimp it to your liking.
- Prick holes in the bottom of your pie crust to release excess steam and moisture.
- Freeze the pie crust for 10 minutes, or refrigerate for 30 minutes, before par baking or filling your crust with it’s filling.
Follow your favorite recipe for continued directions and baking instructions or use my par bake (blind baking) method below.
PRO TIP: Make Pie Crust Cookies with any leftover scraps you may have. Find the full instructions here! They are so crispy, delicious, and can be made into almost any shape you want!
How To Par Bake Your Crust
Par baking is also known as blind baking and it is when you partially bake your pie crust. For this you will need parchment paper and pie weights (you can also use dry beans or rice).
- Place parchment paper on top of the chilled pie crust and fill it with your pie weights.
- Bake at 425° F for 15 minutes and then remove the parchment and pie weights. Be careful it will be hot!
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350° F and bake for 5 more minutes. If you are wanting the crust to be fully cooked, bake it for 15 minutes instead of 5 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
The Cardinal Rules for Pie Crust
- Work with cold ingredients. You want your ingredients to be as cold as possible when making this vodka pie crust, especially if you live in a warmer climate. If the butter melts either from being room temperature or from room temperature vodka and water, you will have a sticky mess trying to get your crust to come together. So, start by chunking your cold butter and measuring out your water and vodka (all in separate containers) and put them back in the refrigerator for thirty minutes or so. While you wait, measure out your flour and sugar and get your food processor ready.
- DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT skip chilling the crusts! Chilling them gives the crust time to rest and meld together and ensures your butter has firmed up. If you try rolling them out room temperature or warm they will stick to your rolling pin and become a mess. The same rules apply to your crust prior to baking them no matter what method. If you try baking them room temperature or warm, the butter will melt into a greasy pool and your crust will be hard, crunchy, and have no flakiness.
- Handle the dough as little as possible. The more you overwork or over roll the dough, the more gluten that builds up in the dough. Too much gluten in pie crust makes them dense, thick, and flavorless once baked.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
9 times out of 10 this happens because the butter got too warm to fast as it was baking. To keep this from happening you want to make sure you freeze the pie prior to baking it in the oven. You may also want to try a better quality butter if you are still having issues.
Yes! This recipe makes two 9 inch crusts, perfect for double crust pies or ornately decorated pies.
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Vodka Butter Pie Crust
- Food Processor
- 2 sticks unsalted butter; cold
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (omit if savory crust)
- 1/4 cup vodka; cold
- 2-4 tablespoons water; cold
Making the Pie Crust
- Place the all-purpose flour and granular sugar into the food processor. Pulse a few times so the flour and sugar becomes incorporated.
- Cut butter into 1/2 inch cubes. Place in food processor with the sugar and flour mixture. Pulse again for about 15 seconds or until the chunks of butter are broken down. The mixture should resembles sand.
- Using the feed tube, slowly pour in the vodka while your processor is running. Once the vodka is incorporated the mixture should be beginning to form. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until your dough comes together into a ball.
- Remove dough from food processor and form two even sized disks.
- Cover dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours or 30 minutes in the freezer.
Preparing the Pie Crust for Baking
- Remove from refrigerator or freezer. Set aside until it becomes pliable enough to roll out.
- Lightly flour the work surface, rolling pin, and dough. Roll out until desired thickness is achieved (⅛ inch thick is best).
- Fold the dough in half and then in half again so it resembles the shape of a pizza slice, transfer it to the pie plate, and unfold it.
- Trim off any excess dough and crimp the edges using any method.
- Prick holes in the bottom of the pie crust to release excess steam and moisture.
- Freeze the pie crust for 10 minutes, or refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Either par bake your crust using the instructions below or follow your favorite pie recipe for continued baking instructions.
Par Bake the Crust
- Place parchment paper on top of the chilled pie crust and fill it with pie weights, rice, or beans.
- Bake at 425° F for 15 minutes and then remove the parchment and pie weights.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350° F and bake for 5 more minutes. If you are wanting the crust to be fully cooked, bake it for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Store in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 7 days.
- Store in the freezer, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 6 months.
3 Rules for Pie Crust:
- Work with cold ingredients. Chunk your butter and measuring out your water and vodka (all in separate containers) and put them back in the refrigerator for thirty minutes to chill.
- Do NOT skip chilling the crusts at any point in the process.
- Handle the dough as little as possible when making the dough, rolling out the dough, or decorating your pie.
Metric conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.