No Roll Pie Crust

by Alice Currah on May 15, 2010

I’ve been getting a few emails lately about the type of pie crusts I like to use. Truthfully it depends. Depending on the recipe and how much time I have (which isn’t very much) I will use 1 of 2 types of crusts.

My preferred pie crust is what I like to call “the cheater’s pie crust” because it involves no rolling and produces flaky, buttery, scratch-baking goodness only a homemade crust can deliver. When I’ve baked pies or quiches with this crust most people are surprised when I tell them I used a no-roll method. All of a sudden they become very interested in learning this method because several of them have avoided making scratch pie crust because they feel intimidated by having to roll the dough out. Fair enough.. I don’t fault them and I don’t blame them. Frankly, I don’t like having to roll pie crust out either. This is why I started making scratch pie crust using the no-roll method.

The secret to making no roll pie crust is a food processor and then pressing the dough into the pie plate until it is fully covered. Don’t worry if you don’t have a food processor, you can also use a fork or your fingers. A food processor will just make this recipe extremely easy. Keep in mind this method only works for pies and quiches which require a pie crust shell. If you need a pie crust to over the top of your dish, you will have to roll the top portion out. For beautiful edges around your pie crust, you will use the left over dough mix and roll strands out – like working with play-dough making a long snake like strand by rolling back and forth dough in the palms of your hands. Afterward, you will gently lay the strand of dough around the edge of your pie plate and either use the backside of the fork to make beautiful impressions or the thumb and finger method to make zigzag type edging. When you bake your pie, everyone will think you’re a rock-star for making your own crust. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me and no one has to know you spent very little time working on it.

This method has been used on Savory Sweet Life for this Cherry Pie recipe as well as the Sweet Potato pie.

The other pie crust I use is another cheater’s trick. When I’m short on time and energy I will occasionally buy Pillsbury pie crust from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. It comes with two pie crusts sealed in individual packages and all you do is unroll them, press them into your pie plate and voila! I’ve bought the generic brand of pie crusts as well and have concluded I like the Pillsbury one better. I never buy frozen pie dough already in aluminum pie plates. The reason is this, typically the shells are smaller and they look commercial in nature. If you’re going to cheat using this method, why not make it look like you’ve spent a lot of time making it?

Most recently I used the store-bough crust for the Spinach Ricotta Quiche Recipe I posted here on Savory Sweet Life.

So now you know all my pie crust making secrets. If you don’t tell, I won’t tell. Deal? Deal.
Alice’s No Roll Pie Crust Recipe

Makes 1 shell

1.5 cups of All-Purpose flour

1/2 stick of cold butter (4 Tbl.) cubed

4 Tbl. shortening

pinch of salt

1Tbl. of sugar if using for a sweet filled pie. If using this recipe for a savory pie, omit sugar.

1 tsp. white vinegar
*up to 2 tablespoons of cold water if needed


Using a food processor, pulsate flour, butter, shortening, salt, and sugar until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal. If you don’t have a food processor you can use a fork or your fingers. Add vinegar to the mixture and 1/2 Tbl. of cold water at a time until you get a workable dough. What is a workable dough? When the dough has enough elasticity that you can roll it out on a floured surface without it crumbling on you. You want to be careful only to add 1/2 Tbl. at a time because you also don’t want to have it too wet. You just want to add enough water to your dough so it is workable.

Instead of rolling the dough out, I grab a handful of dough and pat it into my pie plate (which has been coated with non-stick spray). As you pat the dough down, make sure you do it as evenly as possible. You want the crust to be approx. 1/8″ high. Use any remaining dough to make “dough” strands to attach to the edging. To do this, take a ball of dough and rub your palms together back and forth to make a 1/4″ thick strand. Place the strand around the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the edges of your pie crust by using a fork or your fingers. Use this crust for all any recipe calling for pie-crust. Enjoy!

PS: I like to poke the bottom of my pie plate with a fork all over.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny May 15, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Nice; thanks Alice! I think this can easily be adapted for a gluten-free and dairy free version, too…I’d just use a GF AP flour blend and refrigerated ghee or Earth Balance for the butter, and Spectrum’ shortening. I’ll have to try that sometime soon. =)


Kelly May 15, 2010 at 7:46 pm

OOOOOOOHHHHH! Thank you!! I love making quiches but do not love rolling out the dough. I will be using these methods very very soon.


Jessica @ How Sweet May 15, 2010 at 9:07 pm

I am the worst at rolling out dough – this is perfect!


Lynn May 15, 2010 at 9:26 pm

I know this is a post about crusts, but I found out a quiche bakes beautifully and tastes terrific even without a crust! Who knew!? Just spray the quiche pan thoroughly, scoop in the mixture and bake.


alice May 15, 2010 at 10:17 pm

You’re absolutely right. Crustless quiches are really delicious not to mention great for those living a low-carb lifestyle. Thanks for the reminder!


Leslie May 16, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I love the no roll version! I always make my pie crust from scratch. The rolling out is no biggie anymore but I will have you give your method a try next time! Shortcuts are my friend!


Julie May 16, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Brilliant! I haven’t tried this method before. I will now!


Christina May 18, 2010 at 2:12 am

I did the no-roll thing today with crackers, but I hadn’t thought of trying it with pie crust – but I will be trying it next time!


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction May 18, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Very interesting! I have never made a no-roll pie crust (unless you count a crumb crust, but I think that’s entirely different!)… I like the idea, though. I’ll try this on my next quiche!


Kate @ Savour Fare May 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm

I like the crust but I really covet your pie plate. Which I suppose is really a tart plate. But I covet it, make no mistake.


Annette W June 9, 2010 at 6:51 pm

I am out of oil…and need to make a no roll crust. So glad I found your recipe! My question is if I can use a blender. What do you think?

My recipe for my no roll crust is sweet…and made with oil. You can see it at the link included if you are interested (the pie is worth the visit), though I think it’s a common one.


Annette W July 4, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Thank you! This did turn out really well for my pie crust! I find my recipe easier to mix, but this was just as good!


Kaylee Smith August 2, 2010 at 6:13 pm

HI Alice!
I think this is Great pie crust + it was easy to make even an 11 tear old could make this



alice August 2, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Hi Kaylee,
I love this pie crust recipe.. takes all the stress out of having to roll a pie crust. Even my young girls can make this.


tina November 23, 2010 at 3:04 pm

can i make this crust a day ahead and chill it in the fridge? I would like to start today and tomorrow I can make the pie because I have to transport it 3 hrs away for the thanksgiving dinner, lol. Please let me know. Thank you. I am making your pumpkin pie recipe by the way =D So, thank you for the recipes!!


Tabitha - Just Weighing In November 25, 2010 at 8:14 pm

just had to say that I used this recipe today for two Thanksgiving pies and they both turned out great! The pie crust was super easy to make and turned out nice and flaky, thanks!


Yesenia April 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I just found your web site Thank You, for your time and secret recipes ( I’ve already printed three). Many Blessings unto you and your family :) My question is can I use butter shortening for my NO Roll Pie Crust and if yes or for any other recipe calling for shortening do I use less butter? Thanks again;)


alice April 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Hi Yesenia: Yes, you can substitute shortening or butter flavored shortening for the butter. Many people love using half butter half shortening.


kvossler May 31, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Hey, thanks S&S for this recipe. I know it’s 2011, but my husband just used this recipe to make his first pie crust ever! And he rocked it! Thanks to you he’s even more confident in the kitchen.



Corinna August 1, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Wow, I can’t wait to try this no-roll recipe! I’ve fallen in love with Trader Joe’s frozen pie crusts, but your recipe sounds so easy!


Omnia March 12, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Thanks for the great recipe but i would like to know accurately the size of the baking plate i should use to fit for these amounts ( I really don’t understand what a shell is) ..thxxxx


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