A graham cracker crust offers two distinct advantages over a traditional pie crust. Versatility comes first. Bake or no-bake, plain or flavored, used in pies or packed beneath cheesecake or dessert bars—the choice is yours. The other advantage is that this crumbly crust is incredibly easy to make, with just three simple ingredients and no special tools like a rolling pin or pie weights needed.
Ingredients for Graham Cracker Crust
- Crushed graham crackers: A food processor or blender easily turns graham crackers to crumbs. Alternatively, put them in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag, and firmly roll a rolling pin back and forth across it until the crackers crumble completely.
- Sugar: Graham crackers typically contain sugar, but you still need a bit of sugar for its binding power. Replace granulated sugar with brown sugar for a hint of molasses.
- Melted butter: Butter adds richness and holds the crust ingredients together. Unsalted butter is fine since most graham crackers contain a bit of salt already. You could swap in shortening or coconut oil, but it will alter the flavor.
Step 1: Mix the ingredients
In a small bowl, combine the crumbs and sugar. Add the butter, and mix until well blended.
Step 2: Fill the pie plate
Using your fingertips or the flat bottom of a drinking glass, press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-inch pie plate.
Editor’s Tip: The crumbs on the sides should be as thick as those on the bottom so that they hold their shape when cut and served.
Step 3: Chill or bake
For a no-bake pie, refrigerate the crust for 30 minutes before filling it.
Alternatively, for a baked crust, bake at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes, until the crust looks lightly browned. Cool the pie shell on a wire rack before filling it.
Editor’s Tip: If the crust slumps down the sides of the pan while it bakes, use your fingertips or the drinking glass to push it back into place while still warm from the oven.
Graham Cracker Crust Variations
- Use flavored graham crackers or cookie crumbs: Instead of using traditional graham crackers, opt for flavored grahams, chocolate cookies, wafer cookies or even gluten-free shortbread. Just avoid chewy cookies, which are too soft to form a crunchy crumb layer.
- Make a chocolate crust: Swap in chocolate graham crackers for a mild cocoa flavor. For even more flavor, mix in a couple of tablespoons of baking cocoa plus some warm spices like cinnamon or ginger.
- Make a nutty crust: Toasted and finely ground almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts can replace some of the cracker crumbs in this recipe. For a similar flavor without actual nuts, brown the butter before mixing it with the other ingredients.
Can you freeze graham cracker crust?
Graham cracker crust freezes quite well for up to three months. If baking the crust first, let it cool completely, then seal it (pie plate and all) in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag before stashing it in the freezer. A no-bake crust can also be frozen for just 15 minutes, instead of refrigerated for 30 minutes, to chill it before adding a filling.
Graham Cracker Crust Tips
You’ve got questions on making the perfect graham cracker crust, and we’ve got answers. Catherine Ward and Ellie Crowley, Taste of Home culinary assistants, offer their professional tips for us on baking these crunchy crusts.
Should you bake a graham cracker crust before filling it?
Whether or not you bake a graham cracker crust before filling is up to you. Leaving it unbaked is a simple option that will yield a softer crust (and a cooler kitchen), while baking will melt the butter and sugar to bond or “set” the crust, making it firmer. Either way, your graham cracker crust pie will turn out delicious.
Why does my graham cracker crust get so hard?
If your graham cracker crust turns out a little harder than you’d like, you may have added too much butter, which firms when chilled. You may have also packed the crust too hard when forming it in the pie plate. Pack the crumbs just enough that the crust feels firm yet not too solid.
What kind of pies use a graham cracker crust?
Graham cracker crusts are great for pies of all kinds. They also make a great base for recipes like cheesecake and bar recipes like these lemony dessert squares. Find some of our best graham cracker crust pies to bake this week!
Can you make a graham cracker crust ahead of time?
Yes! You can make this graham cracker crust recipe up to three days ahead of time when stored in the refrigerator and three months ahead of time when stored in the freezer in a covered container.