Commando Dave's BBQ

No-Fail Pie Crust

The perfect pie crust for all of your needs.

No-fail Pie Crust

Based on America's Test Kitchen's fantastic pie crust, this is my go-to pie crust for all pies whether they're sweet or savory. Don't worry: the alcohol in the vodka burns off during the baking (vodka is a must as it inhibits gluten development so the pie crust remains flaky).
Prep Time15 minutes
Course: Key ingredient
Keyword: Pie Crust
Calories: 3479kcal


  • 1 Food processor You can do this by hand as well with a pastry cutter
  • 1 Set of measuring cups
  • 1 Set of measuring spoons
  • 1 Easy-to-pour cup Any cup works (as long as it holds a least 1 cup of liquid), but I like to use a cup that is easy to drizzle the contents without half of it running down the back of the cup.
  • 1 Container of plastic wrap
  • 1 French rolling pin I prefer the French rolling pin because the tapered ends make it easier to roll out the pie crust into a circle


  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter Must be cold
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening Must be cold; I like using butter flavored shortening
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup vodka Must be cold (I store mine in the freezer).


  • Add dry ingredients to food processor and blend until mixed together.
  • Add butter and shortening in 1 tbsp portions so that they will blend easier in the food processor.
  • Pulse together the dry ingredients, butter, and vegetable shortening until the butter and shortening are pea-sized and fully incorporated into the dry ingredients.
  • Combine the water and vodka in an easy-to-pour cup.
  • While pulsing the food processor, slowly drizzle in the water and vodka mix until the pie crust is fully formed and pulling away from the sides of the food processor.
  • Remove the pie crust from the food processor and gentle shape into a ball.
  • Wrap the pie crust ball in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  • Remove from the refrigerator and divide in half. Return one half of the pie crust, wrapped in the original plastic wrap, to the refrigerator while rolling out the other half.
  • Lay out two pieces of plastic wrap to use as a base for rolling out the dough (as the dough is sticky and we don't want to add unnecessary amounts of flour). Ensure the plastic wrap has a 1/4" or so overlap so there is no seam under the pie crust (we don't want it sticking to the counter).
  • Press the pie crust into a round disk on the plastic wrap. The disc should be about 1" thick.
  • Take a separate piece of plastic wrap (about 15" long) and cover the disk of pie crust. We want the crust covered top and bottom with plastic wrap to make it easier to roll out.
  • Using the rolling pin, gently roll the crust into a circle just large enough to fit into your pie plate so that the crust comes all the way up to the sides of the plate.
  • Remove the top of the plastic wrap so that you can flip the crust over (sliding your hands under the plastic wrap on the bottom of the crust) and set it into your pie plate. Save the plastic wrap to roll out the top layer of the pie crust.
  • Set the pie crust into the refrigerator while you roll out the other pie crust for the top of the pie.
  • Roll out the other half of the pie crust using the same plastic wrap and technique described above.
  • Remove your pie plate from the refrigerator.
  • Add whatever pie filling you're using and then cover with the top half of the pie crust. Bake as per the directions of filling recipe.


This is the go-to pie crust I use for all of my pies, whether they're savory pies like my Guinness & Game Pie or a sweet pie (can you say Colorado Palisade Peach Pie?). This recipe originated from the team at America's Test Kitchen, and they hit a home run for all of us who've been frustrated by inconsistent pie crusts. This pie crust is super easy to work with, especially if you use plastic wrap to help with rolling and handling (because the dough is sticky). It's critical to use vodka in this recipe (it doesn't have to be an expensive vodka; I use Costco's French-made vodka) because the vodka inhibits gluten development, which keeps the dough super flaky.


Calories: 3479kcal | Carbohydrates: 262g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 242g | Saturated Fat: 112g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 35g | Monounsaturated Fat: 78g | Trans Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 361mg | Sodium: 2358mg | Potassium: 376mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 4205IU | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 15mg
  • The perfect pie crust for all of your needs.

don't worry
be happy.