A piece of lemon pie on a plate.

FOOD PROCESSOR PIE CRUST: EASY PIE DOUGH RECIPE & TIPS

Making food processor pie dough from scratch is a fast, easy and enjoyable method that saves on manual effort and clean-up. The tips and tricks below will show you how to prepare the dough for homemade, flaky pie crust in a food processor in no time. Use this guide to create delicious, savory butter pie crusts and mouthwatering, sweet crumb pie crusts, and get recipes and additional tips.

A KitchenAid® food processor with butter and flour in the bowl, sitting on a kitchen counter next to a fresh loaf of bread.

WHAT IS THE BEST FOOD PROCESSOR FOR PIE CRUST?

You can make different types of pie crust in food processors using the multi-purpose s-blade that comes standard with most food processors. If your model includes a dough blade, it's a great choice for flour and butter crusts commonly found on fruit pies. A 7-cup food processor or larger should give you enough capacity for a standard 9-inch pie. Choose a larger or smaller food processor according to the amount of pie crust you want to make. It’s better to have a little extra capacity.

A KitchenAid® food processor with flour in the bowl.

FOOD PROCESSOR FEATURES FOR MAKING HOMEMADE PIE DOUGH

The basic ingredients in a traditional pie crust recipe are flour, salt, fat (butter, lard or shortening) and water. It seems simple enough, yet the key to a flaky crust is very cold fat. A food processor allows you to cut nearly frozen fat so it won’t melt into the flour. 

  • A feed tube for pouring in liquids as your dough comes together

  • A dough blade for traditional buttery and flaky pie crusts
  • A pulse function to ensure you don’t overwork your dough
TIP:

Gluten in a flour crust can easily become overworked, resulting in a tough, dense pie dough. Using the Pulse function mimics cutting butter into flour by hand and helps you keep a close eye on your progress so you can stop at just the right consistency.

A homemade blueberry pie sittlng next to a couple of plates of slices of the pie.

HOW TO MAKE BUTTER PIE CRUST IN A FOOD PROCESSOR

Imagine hearing the crackle of the delicate, golden flakes of a sweet or savory pie crust as you cut into it. That mouthwatering sound is attributed to one of the secrets to great tasting pie–very cold butter. With a food processor, you can pulse the ingredients with precision, creating a consistency that can result in a flaky pie crust.

This versatile type of pie crust is right at home wrapped around savory sauteed meats and vegetables, lining a classic pumpkin pie or delicately perched atop a latticed grilled peach pie. Follow these steps to create a delicious, flaky pie crust that can complement most pie recipes. If you’d like to learn more about food processor functions, explore how to use a food processor step by step.

While amounts and exact directions will vary by recipe, the general process for making pie crust in a food processor will be roughly the same.

FOOD PROCESSOR BUTTER PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS

To achieve that classic, flaky, melt-in-your mouth texture with a golden finish you’ll usually find a 3-2-1 ratio of flour to fat to liquid. Though quantities and nuances vary, these standard ingredients are almost always included: Keep in mind that you can substitute butter for lard or shortening.

  • Flour

  • Salt

  • Sugar (if sweet)

  • Butter

  • Cold water

STEP 1. ADD DRY INGREDIENTS TO FOOD PROCESSOR WORK BOWL

Add the flour and a pinch of salt and/or sugar, depending on your recipe, to the work bowl of a food processor fitted with your standard multi-purpose s-blade or a dough blade. Pulse a few times to aerate your ingredients.

STEP 2. ADD COLD CUBED BUTTER TO THE PROCESSOR AND PULSE

Cube the cold butter and add it to the work bowl. Continue to quickly pulse the food processor 3 to 5 times until butter is incorporated and you begin to see large pea-sized crumbs. Uneven pieces are fine, just watch that you don’t overprocess the dough because this will result in a less flaky, more dense pie crust.

STEP 3. SLOWLY ADD COLD WATER THROUGH TUBE OR DRIZZLE BASIN

Slowly add cold or ice water 1 ounce at a time as you continue to quickly pulse the food processor. If you run the food processor non-stop, the gluten in the flour may be overworked resulting in tough, dense pie dough, rather than light, flaky and airy. Pulsing better mimics how you would cut the butter into the flour with your hands.

STEP 4. CHECK PROGRESS ON FOOD PROCESSOR PIE DOUGH

Stop the food processor and use your fingers to pinch the dough. It should look loose, yet easily clump together. If it easily clumps together, you’re done. If it's still too dry, add more water a little at a time until you achieve the desired consistency. You want it to remain clumpy, not a smooth consistency.

STEP 5. CHILL DOUGH

Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it slightly into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for around 30 minutes to an hour, or according to your recipe to give the butter a chance to re-solidify. Firmer fat means less sticking while rolling the dough and ensures that you don’t overwork the gluten.

STEP 6. ROLL FOOD PROCESSOR PIE DOUGH OUT

Roll out your chilled pie dough on a cool, floured surface. As you roll out the dough, rotate it frequently while adding more flour as needed to avoid sticking to the surface until it’s 1/8th of an inch thick.

STEP 7. CUT PIE CRUST TO SIZE

Flip your pie pan upside down and place it on top of the rolled out dough. You should have about two inches of space around the pie pan, which will give you enough dough to run up the sides of the pan, plus a little extra for creating a cleanly crimped edge. Add your pie ingredients to the pie dough or chill for later use. If you’d like, you can follow up this step by blind baking your food processor pie crust using pie weights.

A piece of custard crumb pie on a pie server next to a cup of tea and the rest of the pie.

HOW TO MAKE CRUMB PIE CRUST IN A FOOD PROCESSOR

This type is an easy pie crust for a food processor and only takes a handful of steps to come together. You can use graham crackers, cookies or wafers. Quickly create moist and crumbly cheesecake crusts, custard pie crusts and more.

FOOD PROCESSOR CRUMB PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS

These are the types of ingredients you can expect to find in a food processor crumb pie crust recipe:

  • Graham crackers, cookies or wafers

  • Sugar and/or spices

  • Melted butter

STEP 1. ADD DRY INGREDIENTS TO FOOD PROCESSOR WORK BOWL

Place dry ingredients such as graham crackers, cookies, sugar or spices depending on your recipe into your food processor bowl with a standard multi-purpose s-blade. For a smaller food processor bowl, you can work the ingredients in batches.

STEP 2. PULSE DRY PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS WITH FOOD PROCESSOR

Process the ingredients on high for a few minutes or pulse your food processor until you have fine crumbs. Look for a crumb consistency with no lumps. This will result in a smooth, even pie crust.

STEP 3. MIX BUTTER INTO PROCESSED DRY INGREDIENTS

Add the melted butter to the mixture in your food processor and pulse until all ingredients are mixed together well and evenly. For smaller food choppers, put the mixture into a bowl and drizzle with the melted butter. Mix well, until evenly coated.

STEP 4. PRESS CRUMB PIE CRUST INTO PAN

Pour the crust mixture into your pie pan. Press it down evenly at the bottom and up the sides of the pan using your fingers. You can also use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the pie crust down, working it evenly throughout the pan. Then you have to option to either bake the pie crust so it’s ready for your pie filling or chill it to use at a later time.

The food processor multi-purpose s-blade.

multi-purpose s-blade

best for:
  • making crumb pie crusts
  • cutting butter
  • chopping fresh herbs or nuts into pie dough
The food processor dough blade.

dough blade

best for:
  • replicating hand mixing
  • making crumb toppings for pies
  • creating classic pastry pie crusts

WHAT FOOD PROCESSOR BLADE DO YOU USE FOR PIE CRUST?

A standard multi-purpose s-blade and a dough blade both work great for making butter pie crusts in a food processor. For crumb pie crusts, use the standard multi-purpose s-blade for best results as it works best for chopping ingredients such as graham crackers, cookies and wafers. 

The multi-purpose s-blade is the classic accessory and comes standard with most food processors. If your recipe calls for cutting or chopping ingredients — like cutting butter or chopping fresh herbs or nuts, like almonds into pie dough — you can use a standard multi-purpose s-blade.

Select KitchenAid® food processors feature a dough blade that does not cut or chop, but replicates a hand mixing result. This blunt blade is best for making classic pastry pie crust recipes with your KitchenAid® food processor. This is the type of crust you typically find on fruit pies or savory pot pies and hand pies.

Learn more about food processor blades and accessories in the How to Use a Food Processor guide.

Hand pies made with a food processor in a dish with dipping sauce

HOW TO MAKE PIE CRUST WITHOUT A FOOD PROCESSOR

You can make pie dough manually with a pastry blender, also known as a pastry cutter. It’s a handheld tool with metal strips or wires looped around and connected to a handle. This tool requires you to press it into your butter and flour mixture over and over until you get the right texture. You can follow these tips to make pie dough with a pastry blender.

Another way to make delicious, flaky pie crust is to use a stand mixer with a flat beater or pastry beater. The pastry beater was specifically designed for the challenging task of cutting cold butter into dough to make light and flaky pastries like pie crusts. The pastry beater is an easy substitute for a hand-held pastry blender or cutter. Explore more tips on how to make homemade pie crust with a stand mixer.

TRY THESE FOOD PROCESSOR PIE CRUST RECIPES

If you’re looking for some pie inspiration, or to try your hand at blind baking, check out yummly.com for some of the best pie crust recipes that use a food processor. No food processor? No problem. Just follow this guide for how to make pie crust with a stand mixer.

A KitchenAid® food processor with flour and butter in the bowl.

SHOP KITCHENAID® FOOD PROCESSORS FOR YOUR PIE CRUST RECIPES

Explore a full lineup of KitchenAid® food choppers and food processors and try your hand at a range of KitchenAid® food processor pie crust recipes or your own favorite recipes.

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