How to Make Gluten-Free Pie Crust
Love pie—but don't love gluten? This gluten-free pie crust recipe is what you need for a tender crust every time.
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There’s something about a homemade pie crust that store-bought crust can’t touch: the fresh flavor of butter, the tender crumb and, of course, the tears if things don’t turn out right! It’s a fact: Making pie crust from scratch is a special baking skill, and for those of us who are gluten-free, mastering a gluten-free pie crust allows us to enjoy all the classic pie recipes, from apple to pumpkin.
If you’re unsure about making a pie crust from scratch, there are plenty of gluten-free pie crust alternatives. But if you do enjoy making pastry (or want to learn), there’s good news ahead. While some recipes are tricky to convert to gluten-free, it turns out that taking gluten out of the equation actually makes pie crust easier. Without gluten—which can result in a tough crust if overworked—the dough is a bit more forgiving. Follow along with our foolproof, step-by-step recipe for gluten-free pie crust.
Gluten-Free Pie Crust Recipe
This gluten-free pie pastry recipe from Harriet Stichter of Indiana makes one 9-inch crust. You’ll want to double the recipe if making a double-crust pie.
- 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose baking flour (Here’s a homemade gluten-free flour mix.)
- 1/3 cup ground almonds
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (You can omit this if your gluten-free flour blend includes xanthan gum.)
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter or margarine, cubed
- 2 tablespoons beaten egg (Use 1 whole egg if making a double crust.)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons ice water, more or less depending on the humidity
Editor’s Tip: You can make your own ground almonds in a food processor with 1/4 cup blanched whole almonds. Just make sure not to process too long, or you’ll end up with almond butter!
Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients
Stir together the dry ingredients until well combined. No need to sift; just use a whisk to ensure they’re thoroughly mixed.
Step 2: Work in the fat
Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut the butter or margarine into the flour mixture until pea-sized crumbles form.
Step 3: Add the egg
Stir in the beaten egg.
Step 4: Add a splash of water
Using a fork, gradually stir in the ice water until the dough comes together. Getting the final texture right is one of the secrets to perfect pie crust. The dough should just stick together when pressed with the fork or between your fingers. If it’s too crumbly, stir in additional ice water, one teaspoon at a time, but not so much that the dough becomes heavy.
Step 5: Chill the dough
Form the dough into a small disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.
Step 6: Roll it out
With a rolling pin, gently roll out the dough. To prevent the dough from sticking to your work surface, roll between two pieces of parchment or wax paper. You can also lightly flour your work surface. As you roll, keep lifting up the edges of the dough to make sure they’re not adhering to the counter.
You should roll a couple of extra inches for the crust, so for a 9-inch pie, aim to roll about a 12-inch circle. It should be about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick.
Did your dough tear? It happens! You can pinch the split back together. Unlike gluten-containing crust, gluten-free dough won’t get tough from being overworked. However, you should still use a light touch. You don’t want the butter to dissolve into the dough, or the crust won’t be as flaky. If the dough is getting too soft, stick it back in the fridge for a few minutes to let the butter harden back up.
Step 7: Pat into the pie pan
Carefully transfer the dough to the pie plate. Trim any excess dough at the rim, and pat the crust into place if there are any gaps or tears.
Step 8: Finish the crust
Use a fork to press the crust into the pan, which will add a nice design to the pie, too.
Step 9: Bake
For the most tender, flaky pastry, place the prepared pie crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to allow it to harden slightly before baking.
Before baking, cover the edge of the crust with foil to protect it from browning too quickly. Bake the pie according to your recipe directions, removing the foil during the last 15-20 minutes of baking. Hungry for more? Check out our favorite gluten-free apple pie recipe.
Tips for Making a Gluten-Free Pie Crust
What are some good gluten-free flour brands to use when making gluten-free pie crust?
We like making our own gluten-free flour mix. It’s more affordable than store-bought. If you prefer the ease of a premade mix, there are a number of excellent brands. Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 mix is non-GMO and made in a dedicated gluten-free facility, making it a safe option for severe restrictions. King Arthur Measure-for-Measure flour mix is also a highly rated option. Both work well in most gluten-free baking recipes, too.
Why is my gluten-free pie crust falling apart?
Gluten-free pie crust is delicate, so it can fall apart, especially during tricky moments like transferring to the pie pan. Don’t panic! You should be able to press it back together in the pan. If it’s completely falling apart, the dough probably got too warm. Cover it with plastic wrap and return it to the fridge for 15 minutes to let it harden back up. If it’s crumbling or breaking apart, you probably didn’t add enough liquid to the mix; sprinkle a little cold water over the dough, let it absorb and try rolling again.
Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t give up if an early attempt at pastry doesn’t work.
Can I make this gluten-free pie crust vegan or dairy-free?
To make a dairy-free crust, substitute margarine for the butter. To make the crust vegan, use margarine and an egg substitute. You might also enjoy this gluten-free and vegan crumb crust recipe (flavored with walnuts!).
Can I make gluten-free pie crust ahead of time?
Absolutely! You can make the entire recipe through step 5, wrap the crust tightly in plastic wrap and freeze as long as you need. When you’re ready to bake, defrost the dough in the fridge until it’s soft enough to roll out. Bake as usual.
I don’t recommend baking a gluten-free pie crust (or pie) ahead of time. Gluten-free baked goods simply don’t having the lasting power of gluten-containing baked goods. The dough dries out faster and becomes crumbly. In any case, pies tend to get soggy bottoms if they sit for long.
How can I make gluten-free pie crust more golden?
The secret to a golden crust? Protein! Brush a bit of beaten egg or milk onto the crust before baking to get a gorgeous bronze glow.