Easy 3-Ingredient Pie Crust

$2.34 per recipe
by Monti - Budget Bytes
3.80 from 10 votes
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This scrumptious and super easy pie crust recipe comes together in minutes and has just three ingredients: flour, butter, and water. You don’t need any special tools to make it, just a little know-how. That’s right. Contrary to popular belief, making pie dough from scratch isn’t complicated. That’s what relationships are for.

Overhead shot of a fully baked pie with a napkin, cup of flour, and rolling pin. surrounding it

What’s in a 3-ingredient pie crust?

Traditionally pie dough is just a mix of flour, liquid, fat, and salt. And while you can get super fancy with all of those ingredients, I use all-purpose for the flour and ice water for the liquid. By incorporating frozen, salted butter into the mix, I kill two birds with one stone. (For the record, I’ve never killed a bird with a stone, though my patio door did a number on one once). If you don’t have salted butter, add 2/3 teaspoon of sea salt to your flour.

I prefer using butter as opposed to other fats because it adds rich, creamy, nutty notes to the dough. You just can’t get that with shortening and other fats, which often leave a tasteless greasy film on the roof of your mouth. #shudder.

What is the secret to a good pie crust?

The secret to a good pie is never to break the golden rule: keep everything cold. I won’t get too deep into the science of it all, but if you’re interested, check out How to make perfect pie crust with the power of science.

For this easy 3-ingredient pie crust recipe, make sure to freeze your ingredients, especially in the summertime, when your kitchen can be a hot, steamy mess. Yes, I put everything in the freezer: the butter, flour, even the tools. When I worked in a kitchen with no AC (nightmare), I would roll out the dough on a frozen cookie sheet. If you don’t have the space/patience for all of that, just freeze the butter and make sure you use ice water.

Can I freeze pie dough?

Absolutely! Because it only stays fresh in the fridge for three days, I keep WAY too much of this dough tucked into my freezer, where it keeps for up to three months. (What can I say? I prefer to eat my fruits and veggies wrapped in flaky layers of pie crust. Judge me all you want. My life is delicious.) To prevent freezer burn, double wrap it in either plastic or beeswax and then keep it in a freezer-safe container. Thaw it out in your fridge a day before you plan to use it.

What can I make with pie crust?

What I love the most about this 3-ingredient pie crust is how versatile it is. You can use it to make a double-crust apple pie or a savory chicken pot pie. The dough is flexible enough for hand pies and sturdy enough for a galette, like our awesome Blueberry Lemon Cream Cheese Galette. You can even use the scraps to make the most amazing little cookies, which I should totally share with my kid, but instead, I stash them away because every mom needs her secrets. (If you know, YOU KNOW.)

Side view of fully baked pie.
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Easy 3-Ingredient Pie Crust

3.80 from 10 votes
This super easy pie crust recipe comes together in minutes and has just three ingredients: salted butter, all-purpose flour, and water.
Overhead view of baked pie on a countertop.
Servings 2 Crusts
Prep 10 mins
Resting Time 2 hrs
Total 2 hrs 10 mins


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus some for dusting) ($0.34)
  • 2 sticks salted butter, frozen (1 cup) ($2.00)
  • 1/2 cup chilled water* ($0.00)


  • Sift the flour through a fine mesh sieve and then spoon 2 3/4 cups of flour into dry measuring cups. Use the back of a butter knife to level the flour before adding it to a large bowl. Place in the freezer to chill while you grate the butter.
  • Grate the butter sticks on the box grater's large holes. When the butter becomes challenging to handle, chop what's left of it into dice-sized pieces.
  • Add the butter to the flour. Use a spoon to toss the butter and flour like you would a salad. Work quickly until the butter is completely covered in flour and the mixture resembles a shaggy, coarse corn meal.
  • Spoon four tablespoons of chilled, icy water onto the flour/butter mixture. Mix quickly with a fork, incorporating the flour gathered at the bowl's bottom.
  • Continue to add water tablespoon by tablespoon, mixing between each addition, until you can lightly pinch the flour/butter mixture and it holds together in a dough.
  • Use your hands to press the shaggy bits of dough into a ball quickly. Then, lightly flour your work surface and shape the ball into a flat disc, about six inches in diameter and three to four inches thick.
  • Wrap the disc of dough tightly in plastic or beeswax. Let it rest in the fridge for at least two hours, preferably overnight.
  • Use the pie dough in your favorite recipe or keep the pie dough in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to three months. This recipe is for a double crust.*

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*The amount of water used will vary depending on multiple factors, like the humidity in the room. 
*When you roll out the dough, you must let it rest in the pie pan for at least an hour in order for the butter to solidify again, before baking.
*You can blind-bake this dough at 350°F for about 40 minutes. Make sure to use pie weights to prevent bubbling and a foil ring to prevent burning.  If you are making a filled pie, temperatures and bake time will vary, depending on the filling and the thickness of the required crust.


Serving: 1recipeCalories: 1436kcalCarbohydrates: 131gProtein: 19gFat: 93gSodium: 730mgFiber: 5g
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Overhead view of baked pie on a countertop.

How to Make Homemade Pie Dough – Step by Step Photos

Flour being sifted into a white bowl.

For an accurate measurement of volume, sift your flour, and don’t scoop it into your measuring cups. Spoon 2 3/4 cups of sifted flour into the cups, and then use the back of a butter knife to level it off. Place it in a large bowl and put that in the freezer while you grate the butter.

Overhead shot of a hand grating butter on a box grater.

Grate two sticks of salted butter that have been frozen solid. When you get down to a three-inch knob of butter, and it’s getting tricky to keep your knuckles out of the party, chop the remaining butter into diced-sized pieces.

Overhead shot of flour and butter mixture being tossed with a fork.

Take the bowl of sifted flour out of your freezer and add the grated butter. Use a spoon to mix the flour and butter as if you were tossing a salad. Mix until all of the butter is coated with flour.

Overhead shot of water being added to flour and butter mixture.

Add 1/4 cup of chilled water to the flour and butter mixture. Use your spoon to toss the mixture and incorporate the water. Continue adding water, tablespoon by tablespoon, tossing between each addition and incorporating flour that has shifted to the bottom of the bowl.

Once most of the flour has started to clump together with the butter, grab a bit and pinch it together. It should form a dough with a texture like play-dough, neither dry nor wet. If your dough is crumbly when you pinch it together, continue to add chilled water.

Overhead shot of two hands holding dough shaped in a flat disc over a white bowl.

Press the bits of dough together into a ball and flatten it into a disc about 6 inches wide and three inches thick. Wrap it tightly in plastic or beeswax cloth and set it inside an airtight container. Let it rest in the fridge for at least two hours, preferably overnight.

Overhead shpt pf pie dough being rolled out by hand.

Slice the rested dough an inch above the center line and shape both halves into a disc. Place the larger half on a lightly floured work surface. Roll from the center up, down, left, and right. Lift the dough, rotate 15 degrees, and repeat the sequence until it’s 14 inches in diameter and the thickness of an ear lobe

Overhead shot of two hands using a rolling pin to place rolled out dough in a pie pan.

Place your rolling pin on the bottom edge of your crust and roll it onto your rolling pin. Place the pin on the top edge of a greased pie plate, centering the crust. Unfurl the dough towards you, then press it into the plate.

To prevent steam from forcing the bottom crust to bubble up, use a fork to dock the dough, pressing the tines all the way through. Optional if using a liquidy filling: separate an egg and beat the white until frothy. Brush a thin layer over the bottom crust to seal the crust. Rest the pie plate in the freezer.

Overhead shot of hands fluting pie dough.

Roll out the top crust to 11 inches in diameter. Take the pie plate out, add your filling, and brush water on the outer edges of the bottom crust. Place the top crust over the filling, fold the bottom crust over it, and pinch the two together to seal.

Overhead shot of hand using a pastry brush to place egg wash on pie dough.

Optional: Beat the remaining egg yolk with a tablespoon of cream or milk and brush it onto the top crust. This will help with browning. You can also use plain milk or cream.

Overhead shot of knifecutting steam vents into uncooked pie top crust.

To prevent the pie crust from bubbling up as it bakes, cut steam vents into the top crust. Rest the pie in the freezer for fifteen minutes.

Overhead shot of a fully cooked pie with a golden-brown pastry.

Place your chilled pie on the middle rack of a preheated oven and bake according to recipe directions.

Look at all that flaky goodness for a little over a dollar! Yum!!

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  1. This recipe is currently making a buttery mess out of our oven, which is just so frustrating. :( I followed all of the instructions and comments: grated frozen butter, kept the flour in the freezer while grating, refrigerated for several hours (roughly 7), used icy water, docked the bottom crust…and still, I had to put another baking sheet under the pie pan, and I’m pretty sure my pot pie is going to be ruined.

    The only thing I can think is that me taking the crust out and rolling it 10-15 minutes before filling my pie and baking it may have made the dough too warm. But if that’s the case, I think it should be added to the instructions that the dough shouldn’t be removed/rolled until RIGHT before baking. 15 minutes is not a long time.

    1. Hi Renee,

      You were correct in your analysis. When you roll out pie dough, you must let it rest in the pie pan for at least an hour in order for the butter to solidify again before baking. I’m sorry you had a rough go of it. XOXO -Monti

  2. This was the easiest and best pie crust I have ever made! Honestly, I will never buy a frozen crust again – I followed the directions and it was perfect. Thank you!

  3. I’ve made this pie crust three times. Twice with a chicken pot pie and once with an apple pie. I am a terrible baker but this turned out amazing all times. Buttery, flaky and delicious. I did have some chunks of butter in the dough but it once baked, these went away. It’s pretty easy to throw together with so few ingredients.

  4. Also, as I am reading through the comments- seems as if the butter needed to be frozen, but it doesn’t say that in the recipe. This could be where the confusion is.

    1. Hi, Kristy! You are CORRECT! As Monti mentions in the first paragraph of the recipe card, “By incorporating frozen, salted butter into the mix, I kill two birds with one stone.” If anyone is having trouble with messy, melty butter, they either suffer from “hot hands” or that means it hasn’t been in the freezer quite long enough. It will still soften pretty quickly, so you can freeze it overnight. (I actually keep all my extra butter in the freezer, since it will keep that way for up to four months!)

      I’ve also updated the recipe card to make sure that it is absolutely clear that frozen butter is needed to make this technique work.

      – Marion :)

  5. The grated butter was really messy, hard to handle and did not mix well. I ended up with chunks of butter in the dough.

    1. Hi, Kristy! Sorry you had some problems with the butter. I’d recommend making sure your butter is as frozen as possible when you start to grate it. If there are any larger chunks left over, toss them in the flour mixture and then press them flat the into the flour with your fingers until they are pea-sized. You do want some flecks of butter in the dough (to help create flaky layers), but too big and they will melt out of the dough. — Marion :)

  6. Just like the other commenters, I followed the recipe to the letter. The dough looked beautiful when I was finished, with little bits of butter scattered throughout but when I baked it, butter absolutely overflowed the pie plate and I ended up with a buttery, smoky oven and two ruined pies. I’m hoping I have enough ingredients in the house so I can try to make Thanksgiving pies again tomorrow. It’s the first disappointing result from Budget Bytes.

    1. Hi Ginny, I have been making this crust for over a decade. I have won awards for this crust. I am writing a book based on it. The crust recipe works. There are a number of things that could be going wrong.

      1. Your butter chunks are too big. Grate the frozen butter into shredded cheese-sized chunks. Grate as much of it as possible, and then chop the rest into pea-sized pieces. Leaving large chunks of butter will force it out of the crust as it melts.
      2. Your crust is too thick. This is a recipe for a double crust. If you are rolling it into just a single crust, it will be too thick, and the butter will melt out of it as it heats. The crust should be no thicker than 1/4 inch.
      3. Your oven is not at the right temp. Please use an oven thermometer. I don’t care how new or how fancy your oven is- 90% of ovens aren’t calibrated. Using a cheap $5 oven thermometer will guarantee that you are baking at the correct temperature.
      4. You are not baking on a middle rack. The crust needs to have enough room away from the heating elements to bake evenly. A middle rack also allows for better circulation of air.
      5. You are not docking your crust. You must dock the crust, to allow the steam created when the butter melts to escape.

      I hope this helps. Happy holidays.

      XOXO -Monti

      1. I appreciate the detailed hints and I’ll try the recipe again after the holiday. My butter pieces were very small, around pea-sized and I did use one batch of the recipe for two crusts. My mistake was the docking! I printed the recipe for the crust and worked off of that since I don’t have a handy way of viewing a website in the kitchen. The instructions for docking were only in the step-by-step photos and not in the printed recipe and I skipped that step. I will also try the egg white wash since the two pies that were ruined were sweet potato and pumpkin. Thanks for the tips! I’m looking forward to trying it again.

  7. I’ve made this twice now (both with Monti’s apple pie), and both times came out amazing – rich, flaky, and *very* buttery. The first time, I rested the dough in the fridge for two hours, and the second time I rested it overnight; it came out equally well both times, so it’ll be good to know that I can make this ahead or on the day of, as needed.

    1. Thank you so much for making my recipe Rose!! I love that pie crust. It’s super clutch- and so easy to remember. XOXO -Monti

  8. I made this with the chicken pot pie recipe. After 50 minutes in the oven the pie was absolutely swimming in a boiled butter bath and wouldn’t finish cooking! I ended up having to drain about 1/4 cup of melted butter from the dish before sticking it back in the oven.

    I can’t tell where I went wrong! I triple checked that I used the amount of butter it called for. Any ideas?

    1. I made this crust on the weekend for an apple pie. Sadly same as Patricia mine was swimming in a boiling butter bath, crust would not cook properly and I wound up throwing the whole thing out. Shame.

      1. It sucks that happened. It’s so much work for a disappointing result. Did you grate the frozen butter? If the butter isn’t cut to an appropriate size it will leak. Let me know. I’ve made this crust literally hundreds of times. I’m curious what could have gone wrong as I have never once had an issue. XOXO -Monti

  9. Hello! Quick question – I did not realize the butter needed to be frozen and I used it right out of the fridge. Currently the dough is in the fridge resting overnight, but before I make my chicken pot pie tomorrow did I mess it up completely by not using frozen butter?

    1. It’s hard to say as I wasn’t there and didn’t see how much you worked the dough. The key is to still see chunks of butter in the dough. As these melt in the oven, the steam they give off creates flaky layers. But if you overworked the dough and coated all of the flour in butter, you won’t have a flaky result. Instead, you will have a cookie-like consistency- which still doesn’t suck! Congrats on being fearless and making your own dough! XOXO -Monti