Anytime is pie time with this rich, buttery gluten free pie crust! With just a small amount of sugar added, it’s the perfect gluten free pastry dough for sweet or savory pies. Easy to make, freezer friendly and can be made ahead of time - what’s not to love??
- Why this is a great pastry dough recipe
- How to make a flaky pie crust
- What flour to use
- How to make pie dough
- Tips for making the best gluten free pie crust
- How to make this pie dough ahead of time
- Can I use a food processor?
- Blind baking: what it is and when to do it
- Difference between pastry dough (pie crust) and shortcrust pastry
Why this is a great pastry dough recipe
Use this gluten free pie crust recipe for your next pie and you won’t be disappointed! Here’s why:
- The pie crust is light, flaky and works well with either sweet or savory flavours. Making a quiche? What about an apple pie? Both recipes will work with this pastry dough without any modifications.
- It’s easy to make - no fancy kitchen equipment required! You can use a food processor, if you like, but this recipe was developed using no special kitchen tools. All you really need is a bowl, a spatula, a rolling pin and your hands!
- This pie crust can be made ahead of time. The pastry dough can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days before using, or frozen for a longer period of time. It’s always a delight when you have pie crust dough on hand all the time!
How to make a flaky pie crust
The secret to making a flaky gluten free pie crust is all about the butter. It has to be cold, so that when it’s heated in the oven it will steam. This causes the dough to puff up and create that light, flaky texture that we all enjoy!
A good quality butter will give you the results you’re after, as long as it’s kept cold during preparation. Cold water, fridge time, and chilled hands during preparation will ensure your gluten free pie crust is the flakiest it will be.
What flour to use
This recipe was tested using my own blend of gluten free flour. It uses white rice flour, tapioca starch, and sorghum flour - and you can get the recipe right here: Gluten Free Flour Blend (All Purpose). This blend does not contain xanthan gum, as I like to add it separately. (Different recipes call for different amounts of binder.)
If you’d like to use your own blend or a commercially available one, please feel free! Just note that not all flours are equal and results may not be exactly as you expect.
If possible, use a kitchen scale to weigh out your flours (and most of the other ingredients). This makes gluten free baking as accurate as possible, which means more successful bakes.
Want to make your own rich, buttery gluten free pastry dough for your next pie crust? Here’s what you’ll need:
- Plain gluten free flour (without xanthan gum): I use my own blend of white rice flour, tapioca starch, and sorghum flour. You can substitute pre-made blends, but results may not be the same.
- Xanthan gum: a gluten free binder. It’s essential in this recipe. I forgot to add this during recipe testing and the crust was an absolute mess!
- Sugar: only 2 teaspoons, which doesn’t make this crust overly sweet.
- Unsalted butter: pick a good quality one and use it cold for best results.
- Ice cold water: helps bring the dough together and keeps the butter cool.
- If you need to swap out the butter to make this recipe dairy free, you could try a dairy free buttery spread (like Earth Balance). Please note that this was not tested, so I’m unsure what the resulting pie crust would look like. Ensure that whatever dairy free butter you use, it’s cold when making this pie dough.
- If you need to use a different flour blend, please do, but note that the results may not be the same as all gluten free flours are not equal. If you’re using a blend that already contains xanthan gum, omit it from the list of ingredients. Check out the post for my Gluten Free Flour Blend, because there are lots of substitutions for the sorghum flour and tapioca starch in that recipe.
How to make pie dough
Making gluten free pie dough is incredibly easy! With just a few steps, you’ll have a flaky, buttery crust for your favourite quiche or pie!
Start by mixing together all of the dry ingredients: gluten free flour, xanthan gum, sugar, and salt. Mix to combine. Then add in the cubed, cold unsalted butter and toss to coat in the flour mixture. Next, using your fingers, pinch each butter cube to work it into the flour. Once it resembles the texture of sand, add in the cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Mix the dough with a spatula, or your hands, until it starts to come together. Finish making the pie dough by kneading lightly with your hands and forming into a ball. Divide the dough evenly, wrap in plastic and store in the fridge for 30 minutes (or up to a few days).
Tips for making the best gluten free pie crust
Follow these tips for the best outcome when baking your gluten free pastry dough!
- Keep the ingredients cold. Cold butter and cold water are the key to a great pie crust. The cold butter steams up in the oven and gives that light, flaky texture we all love.
- Use a lightly floured surface when rolling out the dough. This ensures that you don’t have sticky pie dough all over the place. (No one likes that.)
- Use a silicone baking mat when rolling out your dough. This isn’t essential, but definitely helps when transferring the rolled dough to a pie plate. Simply roll out the dough on the silicone baking mat, then lift up, invert, and lay it into the pie plate. Don’t have a silicone baking mat? Roll out the dough on parchment paper instead.
- Don’t overwork your dough. Too much rolling and kneading can cause your pastry dough to become stiff. This can lead to a dense, tough pie crust. If the butter gets too warm during rolling, simply pop it back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, then re-roll.
How to make this pie dough ahead of time
One of the great things about this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time. When you get to the point where you wrap the dough and refrigerate it - keep it in the fridge for up to 2 days before using it. Warm the pie dough slightly on the counter before rolling it out.
If you need longer term storage, seal it in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for a few months. Defrost the dough overnight in the fridge, then allow it to warm slightly on the counter before rolling.
Can I use a food processor?
Yes, you can absolutely use a food processor to make this gluten free pie crust. Instead of adding the ingredients into a bowl, add them as directed right into the food processor. Pulse until the dough starts to come together, then turn it out onto a work surface and knead slightly to bring it into a ball.
Blind baking: what it is and when to do it
You might have heard the term ‘blind baking’ before and are wondering what it means. Par-baking is also another term to reference the same thing. It simply means to pre-bake your pie dough prior to adding the fillings.
The reason to blind bake a pie crust is to avoid a soggy bottom after baking. This happens when fillings that are added are super wet, or you aren’t even going to bake the fillings at all (like a lemon meringue pie).
To blind bake a pie crust, preheat the oven to 375℉. Prick the bottom of the crust in the pie plate with a fork several times, then line with a bit of parchment paper. Add in baking beans, or plain rice, and bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges are slightly golden brown and the base of the crust is set.
Difference between pastry dough (pie crust) and shortcrust pastry
So this recipe is for gluten free pie crust, but I also have a recipe for Gluten Free Shortcrust Pastry. What’s the difference?!
The difference between pie crust and shortcrust pastry comes down to the fat to flour ratio and the resulting texture. Shortcrust pastry is ‘short’ because it has double the amount of flour to fat, resulting in a crumbly texture. Shortcrust pastry is best used for tarts and quiches. (But you can always use this pie crust recipe for a tart or quiche, too!)
Pie crust (or pastry dough) has more butter than shortcrust pastry. This means the baked pie crust will be lighter and flakier. Perfect for your next Gluten Free Pecan Pie!
Gluten Free Pie Crust
- 2 ¾ cups (350g) gluten free flour blend (see note below)
- 1 teaspoon (3g) xanthan gum (if using a commercially available gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum, omit this from the recipe)
- 2 teaspoons (9g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon (7g) salt
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter cold and cut into 1” (2.5cm) cubes
- 6 tablespoons water ice cold
To make the pie crust:
- In a large bowl, mix together the gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum, sugar, and salt.
- Add the cold, cubed unsalted butter into the bowl. Using your hands, toss the pieces of butter lightly to ensure they are coated with the flour mixture. Pinch each cube of butter to work it into the flour mixture. The dough will start to resemble the texture of sand.
- One tablespoon at a time, add in the cold water. Work the water into the dough using your hands or a spatula. The dough will be crumbly at first, then become sticky, then finally can be worked into a ball. (Using your hands is the easiest to work into a ball.)
- Separate the dough into 2 equal-sized discs, wrap each with plastic and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Once the dough has chilled, roll it out on a floured surface using a rolling pin. I use a silicone baking mat for this step, as it helps with rolling and transferring the dough to the pie plate. If the dough is a bit too cold, knead it with your hands a few times to make it more pliable prior to rolling. Roll the dough out to a ⅛” (3mm) thickness.
- Transfer the dough to a pie plate, either by hand or inverting a silicone baking mat (if using one) on top of the pie plate. Gently press the dough into the pan and remove any excess dough around the edges. Fix any rips, tears or cracks with excess dough.
- Finish the edge of the pie crust as desired.
To blind bake the pie crust (if required):
- Preheat oven to 375℉.
- Prick the base of the crust with a fork to allow steam to escape during baking.
- Place a piece of parchment paper into the pan, on top of the crust, and cover with baking beans, dried beans or rice.
- Place the pie/tart pan on a baking sheet and bake dough in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the edges are slightly golden brown and the base of the crust is set.
- Gluten free flour: I used a blend of 50% white rice flour, 30% tapioca starch, and 20% sorghum flour. You can blend your own by following this recipe: Gluten Free Flour Blend (All Purpose). Another blend can be used; however, results may not be the same.
- Storage: store wrapped dough in the fridge for 1-2 days. For longer term storage, use an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze dough for a few months. Defrost dough in the fridge overnight and then let it warm slightly on the counter prior to using.