This flaky and tender pie crust is marvelous. It should be: It’s inspired by a recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum. It’s easy enough for beginners and never fails to turn out a crust that’s both buttery and tender, which can be a tricky balance to achieve. And yet, this recipe ensures you do so with ease.

An uncooked pie crust rolled out on a floured surface with a rolling pin alongside.

Flaky and Tender Pie Crust

5 / 2 votes
This flaky and tender pie crust is an incredibly easy, never fail pie crust recipe that boasts butter galore for flakiness as well as cream cheese for tenderness.
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories248 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour


  • 1 1/3 cups plus 4 teaspoons pastry flour* (or substitute bleached all-purpose flour), plus more for the work surface
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • One package cream cheese, chilled and cut into quarters
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar


  • In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder and process until blended.
  • Add the cream cheese and process until a coarse dough forms.
  • Add the butter and pulse just until crumbs of dough that are the size of peanuts form.
  • Add the cream and vinegar and pulse until the chunks of butter are the size of peas.
  • Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently press the dough until it holds together in a smooth, flat disk.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes before rolling it out according to your recipe.


Pastry Flour Substitute

If you don’t have pastry flour, to achieve the same tenderness in your pie crust, use a blend of bleached all-purpose flour and cake flour. For every cup of pastry flour required, use 2/3 cup all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup cake flour.


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 248 kcalCarbohydrates: 29 gProtein: 5 gFat: 14 gSaturated Fat: 8 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 35 mgSodium: 40 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 1 g

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Photo © 2005 David Leite. All rights reserved.

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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  1. I have not yet made this recipe but am excited to try it! Is this for an 8″ pie crust? 10″? I was not sure what to plan on. Also, you indicated that you make these ahead and freeze them. What do you cover them with to best preserve them in a freezer? For how long have you successfully frozen one? Thank you!

    1. Sharon, this will make enough dough for a single 9-inch pie crust. If you’d like to freeze it, you can pop the chilled dough disk into a resealable bag or you can roll out your crust and place it into your pie plate and freeze it that way. If you’re freezing your whole pie plate and crust together, you’ll need an extra large resealable bag. I’ve had success with both methods, and the dough can be frozen for up to 3 months.

  2. I am a novice at baking. Does this pie crust recipe make enough to cover the apples with a crust too? Is this what is meant by a single pie crust?

    1. Debbie, generally a single pie crust just covers the bottom of the pie shell, but not the top of the pie. You’d want to make two in order to have enough to have a top crust.