Lard and Butter Pie Crust

Lard and Butter Pie Crust Recipe

Just for a day, put aside all thoughts of diets, waist sizes, and cholesterol and make a pie with this marvelous lard crust. You may never go back.–Editors of Cook’s Illustrated

LC Further Reading Note

If you’re one of those people who shudders at the thought of lard, we don’t blame you. After all, everyone knows that too much fat in your diet makes you… well… fat, right? Well, prepare to embrace the lard (figuratively speaking), because we have some further reading on the matter that might change your mind. Author Jennifer McLaggan contends that it’s not so much ‘a lifetime on the hips’ as ‘a lifetime of happily eating delicious pie’, in her piece Why Animal Fat Is Good For You.

If you’re still unsure, or if you want to make Cook’s Illustrated’s original recipe, you can substitute cold vegetable shortening for the lard. But trust us, you’ll be missing out.

Lard and Butter Pie Crust Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 45 M
  • Makes enough for a double-crust 10-inch pie


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 13 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 8 tablespoons cold lard
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water


  • 1. Mix flour, salt and sugar in food processor fitted with metal blade.
  • 2. Cut in butter cubes with five 1-second pulses. Add cold lard and continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal with butter bits no bigger than small peas, about 4 additional 1-second pulses. Turn mixture out into a medium-sized bowl.
  • 3. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of ice water over mixture. With a fork, fluff to mix thoroughly. Squeeze a handful of dough — if it doesn’t stick together, add remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • 4. Divide dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other then flatten into 6-inch discs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling. Fill with your favorite pie filling recipe.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Joan Osborne

Jan 09, 2002

This was one of the best pie crusts I’ve ever tasted. It was also one of the easiest to make. With this recipe in your arsenal, you’ll always get great compliments on your pies.

  1. K. F. says:

    I made this pie crust adapted from Cook’s Illustrated. It was absolutely fantastic. The crust was so flaky and delicate, and the taste was very delicious. I love making pies, and this is the recipe that I will be using. Thank you so much.

  2. Darrell Fluman says:

    I have been making the original Cook’s Illustrated recipe for years to rave reviews. People cannot get enough of the crust. The effect of the substitution of lard is subtle. If you are looking for a crust recipe or even if you already have a favorite, you should give this one a try. You and your guests will be pleased.

    P.S.The success of this recipe is partially due to the use of a food processor. It’s the best way to cut fat into flour. If you do not have one, borrow one for this recipe.

  3. Sherry W says:

    Absolutely the best pie crust I have ever made. I usually use lard in my pie crusts and I ran across this one in my web search. Made Christmas pies with this recipe, and one wife at dinner was amazed that her husband didn’t leave his pie crust for her to eat! Also, I always had to cover the outer crust on pecan pies but with this recipe the outer crust was perfectly browned by the time the pies had finished baking.

    A question: Can this crust be used for savory dishes like quiche? If not, could you make it savory by removing the sugar?

    • Denise M says:

      Hey Sherry, The second time I made this crust I forgot the sugar and it was still fantastic! So when I want to make chicken pot pies I’ll just skip the sugar.

  4. Denise M says:

    OMG!!!! This is the best crust ever! I will never buy pre-made again that’s for sure. Summer is almost here and I think I’ll be making my berry pies ahead freeze them and always have one on hand to throw in the oven. I even froze extra dough and used a month later and it was as good.

  5. WKChandler says:

    I have tried every crust recipe out there, this is the best I have ever made. People
    go nuts over it. If you are looking for the “perfect one” this is it.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      We’re not going to argue with you, WKChandler. Lard, in just the right proportions, makes everything better…so glad you had the same experience that we’ve had. Appreciate you chiming in…just curious, what filling accompanied this crust?

  6. Eileen says:

    Do you roll the dough with additional flour or roll between parchment paper with no or little extra flour? Should the water be added so most of it sticks together and some still falling off or more water so that it sticks well (but not saturated, of course!)?

    Thanks for the recipe!

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Eileen, I would add just enough water for the dough to begin to come together. As far as rolling out the dough, either method would work fine, just a little flour to prevent sticking, if needed.

  7. Stevie says:

    How long and at what temperature do you suggest to bake the pie crust only without any filling?

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Stevie, I usually pre-bake my crusts for 15 minutes at 375, then remove the weights and bake another 6 to 8 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Be sure that the crust is chilled before placing it in the oven.

  8. Patty says:

    Would I be correct that 8 tablespoons of lard would be 1/2 cup? Better still could you provide weights for the lard because I don’t think it weighs as much as butter and cold lard is much easier to weigh.
    Thanks for the help

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Patty, most weight tables should show butter and lard as weighing the same. 1/2 cup is equal to 4 ounces.

  9. Beate says:

    Does it matter which brand of lard you use? I do not have access to leaf lard from a butcher. Will store bought lard work? Looking for suggestons.

  10. Jen says:

    Should I use salted or unsalted butter?

  11. Roberta Appleby says:

    We picked a couple bushels of apples so I canned some applesauce and made some roasted apple pie filling to freeze…was looking for a good recipe for crust to make with the leaf lard my son had rendered after taking a butchery class… I’m thrilled that I came across this website!! I made a couple of roasted apple hand pies that were absolutely delicious! Didn’t feel like pulling out my food processor so I used my pastry cutter and it worked great! Will be my new go-to pie recipe…next will be a savory roast beef pie for my son’s birthday…Thanks!!

    • David Leite says:

      Roberta, so happy you found the crust and us! We love meeting new readers. Let me know how the birthday pie turns out.

    • Frances Kim says:

      Welcome to Leite’s, Roberta! I’m so jealous of your apple harvest and would love to hear more about what you’re doing with it. And way to tease us with the roast beef pie…please keep us posted, and thanks for stopping by!

    • Lindsy says:

      Mmm—a roast beef pie sounds so good now that the fall weather has started setting in. Welcome to the site, Roberta!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Roast beef. Apple hand pies. Kindred souls, Roberta. Lovely to hear from you. Looking forward to hearing which recipes from the site you try next…

    • Dan Kraan, LC Community Moderator says:

      Hey, that sounds like a delicious way to kick off the fall season, Roberta! So glad you enjoy the site and best wishes for your son’s upcoming birthday!

    • Carol Anne Grady says:

      There is something lovely about leaving the food processor where it is, and making pastry by hand, isn’t there? So glad you found your first Leite’s recipe, and like Renee I look forward to hearing what you try next.

  12. Beth Price says:

    Hi Roberta, I’m fascinated by the butchery class and leaf lard- would love to hear more!

  13. Chelsea SanClemente says:

    Oh wow, this crust. I’ve been baking pies for about 3 years (which doesn’t seem like long, but I make a LOT of pies. It’s my thing) and have mostly just used different butter crust recipes. I tried this recipe after I discovered that a fancy meat shop near my work sold leaf lard, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to just butter again. The only change I made was I put in 16 tbsp of butter (a stick and a half). My old butter pie crust recipe used 3 sticks of butter, so this was still less fat than normal for me.

    I made 2 pies for my coworkers, and everyone agreed that this was the bust crust they’d ever had–even the ones who had pie-making moms. I’m about to make pies for 3 very large Thanksgiving dinners, so I might try hacking this together with the Cook’s Illustrated vodka crust recipe and use some combo of shortening/lard/butter to save money (fancy leaf lard is expensive) but I will definitely be saving this recipe for later use.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Love to hear that, Chelsea. The melding of lard and butter in pie crust is a revelation, is it not?! I use that vodka trick all the time. It’s magical. Happy, happy Thanksgiving.

  14. Lizabeth Craig says:

    I made your lard and butter crust tonight for an amazing chicken pie recipe I have and I have to say it was the most amazing pastry I have ever made! What a fabulous recipe and it turned out so perfect! can’t wait to use it for a fruit pie this fall! Thanks SO much!!

  15. Courtney says:

    This is the recipe I used for my lard and butter crust last year and let me tell you, I’ll never go back to Crisco again!! I bought some leaf lard from Surfas (a specialty store here in Los Angeles). It was plentiful and cheap. I then rendered it in my crock pot for many hours (and it STUNK! Word to the wise, put your crock pot outside if you don’t want your house to reek.) I was left with three mason jars full of beautiful, snow-white lard that I used in the crusts. I was a bit nervous because of how bad it smelled while rendering, but it really turned out amazing. This is my go-to crust recipe and method from now on!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      We couldn’t agree with you more, Courtney, on all counts (including the stench of rendered lard). So glad you feel the same as us about this spectacular pie crust recipe!

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