An unbaked lard and butter pie crust, with fork pricks all over on a wooden table.

Lard and Butter Pie Crust

4.82 / 55 votes
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.
David Leite
Servings12 servings
Calories214 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes


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


  • 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.
Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

Adapted From

Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 214 kcalCarbohydrates: 22 gProtein: 3 gFat: 13 gSaturated Fat: 8 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 33 mgSodium: 305 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 2 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2002 Cook’s Illustrated. Photo © 2019 Lynne Ann Mitchell. All rights reserved.

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.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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4.82 from 55 votes (38 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    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!!

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

    2. 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!

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

    4. 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…

    5. 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!

    6. 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.