How to make pie dough that’s extra flaky is a tough one, especially if you’re just learning. We’ll walk you through it, step by step, and show you how to make a light and flaky laminated pie crust you’ll be proud of.

This technique I learned in pastry school that I’ve adapted over the years. It combines the classic method of making pie dough with an abbreviated lamination (rolling out the dough and performing a series of folds) to make it extra flaky. I’ve also found this method to be great for home bakers who have trouble working with dough.

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The dough is worked significantly more, but this method produces a light, flaky result rather than making the dough tough. It also makes the dough smoother, which can make it easier to roll out, handle, and crimp.

Make the pie dough

Make your favorite all-butter pie dough, making sure the pieces of butter are no smaller than walnut halves—if necessary, err on the side of larger pieces rather than smaller, and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Roll and fold the dough

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to about 1/4 inch / 6 mm thick. (The exact size and shape don’t matter here, just the thickness.) Fold the dough in half, then in half again, into quarters. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes, then repeat this folding process once more.

Chill the dough

Tuck the edges of the dough under to help form the dough into a rounded shape, then wrap it again and chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

If you made a larger batch of dough for multiple crusts, you can perform this technique with the full batch (then divide it as necessary) or with each individual portion.

Originally published November 18, 2021

About Erin Jeanne McDowell

Erin Jeanne McDowell is an author, recipe developer, and award-winning food stylist with a specialized focus in baking. Her first book, The Fearless Baker, was named one of the Best Baking Books of 2017 by The New York Times. She’s a regular contributor to New York Times Cooking, Food52 (where she also serves as Baking Consultant at Large), and PureWow. She hosts weekly baking classes on Food Network Kitchen and the series “Bake It Up a Notch” for Food52. Erin has been featured in The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Food and Wine Magazine, Food Network Magazine, and Rachel Ray Magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, Fine Cooking Magazine, Bake From Scratch Magazine, and Sift Magazine. She lives and works in North Bergen, New Jersey. @emcdowell

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