Lard and Butter Pie Crust

This lard and butter pie crust is the flaky, tender, flavorful piecrust you’ve longed for but may not have had the nerve to make.

Lard and Butter Pie Crust

An unbaked lard and butter pie crust, with fork pricks all over on a wooden table.
This lard and butter pie crust is the flaky, tender, flavorful piecrust you’ve longed for but may not have had the nerve to make.
Editors of Cook’s Illustrated

Prep 15 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 45 mins
Dessert
American
12 servings
214 kcal
4.85 / 20 votes
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Ingredients 

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour stashed in the freezer until cold
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 13 tablespoons cold butter cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) cubes
  • 8 tablespoons cold lard
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

Directions
 

  • In a food processor fitted with metal blade, combine the flour, salt, and sugar.
  • Toss in the butter cubes and process with five 1-second pulses.
  • Toss the cold lard into the processor and continue pulsing until the butter is no larger than the size of peas and the flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, about four 1-second pulses. Dump the flour mixture into a medium bowl.
  • Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of ice water over the flour mixture. Working quickly, use a fork to fluff and mix thoroughly. Squeeze a handful of dough—if it doesn’t stick together, add the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • Handling the dough as little as possible, divide it into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other. Flatten each portion of dough into 6-inch discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll each portion of dough to slightly larger than your pie plate. Carefully drape the slightly smaller portion of dough in the plate. If desired, prick the bottom crust with the tines of a fork, if desired.
  • Fill with your favorite pie filling recipe, top with the remaining portion of dough and crimp the edges. Trim any excess dough that hangs over the edge. Freeze the unbaked pie for up to several weeks or transfer it to the fridge for at least 30 minutes before baking according to your recipe. Originally published January 9, 2002.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 214kcal (11%)Carbohydrates: 22g (7%)Protein: 3g (6%)Fat: 13g (20%)Saturated Fat: 8g (50%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 33mg (11%)Sodium: 305mg (13%)Potassium: 53mg (2%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 2g (2%)Vitamin A: 874IU (17%)Vitamin C: 3mg (4%)Calcium: 31mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

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.

Originally published June 30, 2019

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Comments

  1. Decided at the ripe old age of 72 it was time to start making my own pie crusts. Can’t wait to try this recipe. I love pie and I love butter. Will let you know how it turns out. Will load up a picture of the pie when done tonight. Loved reading all of the comments.

  2. OMG, you guys, I have such pie crust anxiety–probably because my grandmother was the master of it and I just don’t make pies all that often. Today, in a nod to Grandma Rose, I decided to make her French-Canadian tourtiere (which she served on New Year’s Day), and which I’ve made before, but usually with an all-butter crust. I decided to try this one because… pork + lard… seemed like the thing to do. But the recipe does not tell you what to *do* with the lard–“toss it in? I love you guys and the recipes are always quite well written, but this stymied me. I didn’t want to toss in a 4-oz. chunk of frozen lard, so I cut it into several pieces before placing them in the food processor. But they barely incorporated at all. I had to cut them manually. Then, it took 9 tablespoons of water to make a dough that only barely came together. It’s in the fridge now, where I’m leaving it until I get my courage back. But can you tell me what I’m doing/not doing here? I’m usually a pretty fearless cook, but pie crust gets me every time. Help?

    1. I hear you, Suzanne! It has taken me years to get over my pie crust anxiety! I think part of your issue was using frozen lard. You want it to be cold, but not frozen, which was probably why it didn’t incorporate as well. Did you weigh your flour? If you were a bit heavy-handed, that may also have contributed to the dryness of the dough. Do keep us posted on how it turns out.

      1. Hi Angie:
        I didn’t weigh the flour, as the recipe doesn’t indicate any. However, I suspect I was on the light side, as I use the scoop method and the dough, once it rested in the fridge, was probably wet. It was pretty challenging to work with, but I just patched it where necessary and put the finished pie in the freezer for a few minutes while waiting for the oven to come to temp. Perhaps I misread one of the comments, where Renee mentioned that she keeps her lard in the freezer. Anyway, the pie just came out of the oven, so I’ll report back after we taste it!

  3. Hi I am BRAND NEW to baking pies. I am allergic to soy so I can’t have Cristco or anything. I used snow lard from the store, being so new…it could be a mess. I followed the directions to a T for the first batch, but I think my second batch the butter was an issue and my lard sat out for a minute while I prepared the second batch. So, the first ones came together great but the second ones were hard to put together, kept crumbling, and just didn’t “feel” right. I put them in the fridge and I’m going to roll them out tomorrow. Can you help with this issue or tell me what I did wrong? I’m thinking it might be the too warm ingredients…

    1. Kelley, I suspect that your instincts are correct. Working with cold ingredients is critical for making pie dough. Some bakers will even occasionally grab an ice cube and rub it between their hands to keep them cold for working with the dough. The overnight rest should have allowed your second batch of dough to fully hydrate and hopefully, it will be smooth sailing today.

  4. I never make pie crusts but during the pandemic I am working on my baking skills. The crust turned out wonderfully but not very pretty but i was able to mash pieces where it tore to mend it. I made an apple pie and read a post that said to toss the apples with sugar and let the juice drain and then thicken it with cornstarch. I then added the apples and cooked them a bit. I now know that i should have let them cool first before adding to the crust but nevertheless it was all delicious. I used nothing but the food processor, no hands as I missed that direction but still very flaky!

    1. I’m so glad to hear it, Liz! I’m also pie crust challenged, but I’ve been working on it and it gets easier every time. So delighted it was a success for you. Can’t wait to hear what you try next!

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