Flaky Vegan Pie Crust

This vegan pie crust is flavourful, flaky, and easier to make than you might think. It’s perfect for making sweet and savoury pies. I’ve used it to make pumpkin pie, peach galette, tofu pot pies, and tofu quiche.

Making pie crust, vegan or not, can be a little daunting. But pie dough is more forgiving than you think! If your pie dough is cracking while you roll it out or it sticks to your counter when you try to transfer it to your pie plate, stay calm! A little patience goes a long way. Pie crust folklore suggests that the best pie crusts are always difficult to roll out. True or not, it’s a comforting notion if you’re struggling with a crumbling pie dough.

Something that makes pie crust seem challenging is that you’re relying on look and feel throughout the process. How small or large you cut the butter into the flour will change the amount of water you need to add. I’ve included pictures to help you gauge how fine to cut the butter and how much liquid is just right.

In this post, I included my best vegan pie crust tips, pros and cons of different fats, and step-by-step photos to walk you through the process.

Ingredients and supplies for making a vegan pie crust.

Essentials for Making Vegan Pie Crust:

  • Digital scale
  • Mixing bowl
  • Pastry blender (or a fork)
  • Fork
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rolling pin
  • Off-set metal spatula
  • Pie plate

What makes pie crust flaky?

Pie dough is made up of both pockets of fat coated in flour and hydrated flour (water + flour). By cutting tiny pieces of fat into the dough and then rolling it out, you create super thin layers of fat and hydrated flour. While you bake the crust, the fat melts, the dough gets crisp, and those flaky separated layers become obvious. This is why it’s important to keep everything cold, it keeps the fat in a solid state so it can create those flaky layers when baked.

An uncooked vegan pie crust with fluted edges on a marble counter top.

Best Vegan Pie Crust Tips:

  1. Measure flour and vegan butter by weight. A cheap, digital kitchen scale is one of the best tools your can have in your kitchen. It ensures consistent results just as the recipe developer intended. Why does it matter so much? The density of 1 cup of flour can vary greatly from person to person. One person’s 1 cup can weigh as little as 120 grams, while another’s can weigh as much as 180 grams. In a recipe calling for 2 cups of flour, a “dense measurer” could be using 1 whole extra cup of flour to the recipe! If that’s not enough, measuring by weight is faster, easier, and uses fewer dishes.
  2. All ingredients and equipment should be as cold as possible. Place your measured butter and flour (plus extra for rolling), mixing bowl, pastry blender, fork, rolling pin, and spatula, in the freezer before getting started. If you have a large marble cutting board that you can roll your dough out on, chill that too!
  3. Add the (ice cold) water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and use as little as possible. Too much moisture = too much steam = a tough pie crust. (Adding too little water will make your pie dough harder to work with and prone to cracking. With a little patience your crust will still turn out flaky and tender.)
  4. Tightly wrap and chill your pie dough for at least 2 hours before rolling it out. This chills the dough and hydrates the flour making it easier to work with.

Cubed vegan butter in a glass bowl.

Vegan Butter vs. Vegetable Shortening vs. Coconut Oil

Vegan butter, vegetable shortening, and coconut oil are all solid fats which is exactly what you need for making vegan pie crust. But there are pros and cons to each.

Vegan Butter (Recommended for best flavour)

Choose a “vegan butter” that’s solid and hard to spread when cold. I always use Earth Balance for vegan pie crust. Do not use vegan margarine (like Becel Vegan) or any other products that are easy to spread straight from the refrigerator.

  • Flavourful (classic butter taste)
  • Easy to work with, roll out, etc.
  • Not a pure fat. Depending on the brand you use, they’ll have varying moisture levels. (Use Earth Balance for best results.)
  • More expensive than shortening

Vegetable shortening (Affordable and easy to work with)

  • Bland flavour
  • Very easy to work with, roll out, etc.
  • Pure fat – no need to worry about varying moisture levels
  • Less expensive than vegan butter

Coconut oil (Most difficult to work with)

  • Coconut flavour (regular coconut oil) or bland flavour (refined coconut oil)
  • Difficult to work with
    • Requires strict temperature control. Coconut oil quickly moves between a solid and liquid state with minor temperature fluctuations.
    • More time consuming (requires time to chill and warm while working).
  • Pure fat – no need to work about varying moisture levels
  • Price varies depending on brand

How to Make Vegan Pie Crust

Before you get started, chill all ingredients and tools.

1. Mix the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

Cutting the vegan butter into the flour to make vegan pie crust.

Left: Cutting vegan butter into flour to make vegan pie crust. Right: Vegan pie dough with just enough water.

Left: How the vegan pie dough should look after cutting in the vegan butter. Right: Crumbly vegan pie dough that’s just starting to clump together with enough added water.

2. Cut the chilled vegan butter into the flour using a pastry blender or fork until the fat is in small pieces. The image above (left) shows the ideal texture.

Note: If you don’t cut the butter small enough, you’ll need to add more water to make the dough workable. Too much water = a tougher crust. If the butter is cut too small, the crust won’t be as flaky.

3. Slowly add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, while gently mixing with a fork. Keep adding the water and stirring until the vegan pie dough starts to clump together on it’s own. The image above (right) shows how the dough should look, crumbly, but starting to hold together. The dough shouldn’t be wet or sticky.

Left: Vegan pie dough ready to be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Right: A compact disk of vegan pie dough before chilling.

4. On your countertop, lay out a piece of plastic wrap (I use 2, laid out in a cross shape.) Dump the crumbly vegan pie dough in the center of the plastic wrap. Very tightly wrap the dough into a flat disk so that the dough doesn’t appear crumbly at all. Refrigerate for 2 hours before rolling out.

Tip: After wrapping the dough into a disk, squish it down, applying enough pressure to make the dough expand within the plastic wrap. This will make the dough compact and will help prevent cracked edges when you roll out the dough.

Left: Chilled vegan pie dough on a floured marble surface ready to be rolled out. Right: Measuring the rolled out vegan pie dough against a pie plate to check for size.

5. After chilling the dough, unwrap it and place it on a liberally floured surface. Start rolling from the center of the dough, out to the edges. Roll out the pie dough in different directions to achieve a roughly circular shape.

Tip: After every few passes with your rolling pin, use your metal spatula to release the dough from your work surface. Add more flour as needed.

Tip: If you’re concerned about the pie dough sticking, roll it out on a floured piece of parchment paper!

6. Roll out the dough until the dough is at least 2 inches larger than your pie plate. Gently lift the pie dough from your work surface using your metal spatula, and transfer it to your pie plate.

Tip: You can roll the dough onto your rolling pin to help transfer the dough to your pie plate.

Tip: If you have a ton of excess pie dough, you can cut away some of the excess to make it easier to transfer to your pie plate.

Forming and mending the vegan pie dough inside the pie plate.

7. Making sure the dough lays flush with your pie plate, all the way into the corners. Leave 1 inch (2.5 cm) of excess for folding and fluting the edges, and cut away the rest.

8. Use your fingers to gently mend any cracks by lightly pinching and massaging them to smooth them out.

Before and after fluting the edges of the pie crust and pricking the bottom with a fork.

9. Slowly and gently fold the excess dough under itself to make a smooth, clean edge, folded on the lip of your pie plate.

10. Use the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand and the thumb of your non-dominant hand to pinch/flute the edge of your pie crust. Use a fork to pierce holes in the bottom of the crust.

Tip: For an easier alternative to fluting the edges, use a fork to press into the edges for a decorative effect.

Uncooked finished vegan pie crust ready for filling.

11. Chill or freeze your pie crust until ready to use.

In most cases you do not need to pre-bake or “blind bake” your crust. Only pre-bake the crust if the recipe calls for it.

Print

Flaky Vegan Pie Crust


  • Author:
    Brittany Mueller

  • Prep Time:
    2 hours 30 minutes

  • Total Time:
    2 hours 30 minutes

  • Yield:
    1 pie crust

  • Category:
    Pastry, Baking

  • Method:
    Pastry

  • Cuisine:
    Vegan


Description

This vegan pie crust is flavourful, flaky, and made with vegan butter. It’s perfect for making sweet and savoury pies.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) salt
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) vegan butter (Earth Balance Buttery Spread)
  • 48 tbsp (60120 ml) ice water

Instructions

Before you get started, chill all ingredients and tools.

  1. Mix the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Cut the chilled vegan butter into the flour using a pastry blender or fork until the fat is in small pieces.
  3. Slowly add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, while gently mixing with a fork. Keep adding the water and stirring until the vegan pie dough starts to clump together on it’s own. The dough should look crumbly, but hold together. The dough shouldn’t be wet or sticky.
  4. On your countertop, lay out a piece of plastic wrap (I use 2, laid out in a cross shape.) Dump the crumbly vegan pie dough in the center of the plastic wrap. Very tightly wrap the dough into a flat disk so that the dough doesn’t appear crumbly at all. Refrigerate for 2 hours before rolling out.
  5. After chilling the dough, unwrap it and place it on a liberally floured surface. Start rolling from the center of the dough, out to the edges. Roll out the pie dough in different directions to achieve a roughly circular shape.
  6. Roll out the dough until the dough is at least 2 inches larger than your pie plate. Gently lift the pie dough from your work surface using your metal spatula, and transfer it to your pie plate.
  7. Making sure the dough lays flush with your pie plate, all the way into the corners. Leave 1 inch (2.5 cm) of excess for folding and fluting the edges, and cut away the rest.
  8. Use your fingers to gently mend any cracks by lightly pinching and massaging them to smooth them out.
  9. Slowly and gently fold the excess dough under itself to make a smooth, clean edge, folded on the lip of your pie plate.
  10. Use the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand and the thumb of your non-dominant hand to pinch/flute the edge of your pie crust. Use a fork to pierce holes in the bottom of the crust.
  11. Chill or freeze your pie crust until ready to use.

Notes

Refer to blog post for additional recipe notes and tips.

Keywords: vegan pie crust, vegan pie dough

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