Oil Pie Crust, My Mom’s Best Recipe
May 09, 2013, Updated Oct 12, 2023
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Oil pie crust is made with neutral oil, flour, water, and a touch of salt. Make divine pie crust using this easy dough recipe, and no butter. This vegan crust is ultra flakey!
Everyone who knew my mother knew that the hallmark of her character was grace. Pure grace. This was reflected in her face, her home, her kitchen, her conversations.
And her pie.
I love watching people taste my mom’s pie for the first time. Always, always (while chewing): what is this crust? Always, always: Mom glowed.
The fillings for my mom’s pies are excellent, traditional, and sturdy. What puts them and any good pie in a class by themselves, though, is the crust, her crust: golden, shattering flakes and absolute readiness to crumble when eaten (and not before). Hint of salt, such a harmony with the sweet fillings. Above all, of course, is the flavor of this crust. Here is supreme taste where there is no butter, and a flavor of toastiness that defines the very notion of deep golden brown. I find that unless it’s my mom’s crust, I tend to leave on the plate whatever crust wasn’t touched by filling. Hers I will eat every crumb off my plate and yours too if you look away for more than a second.
Table of Contents
Why you’ll love oil pie crust
This recipe is a no butter pie crust, flaky, with a hint of salt. The dough makes for the perfect vegan pie crust, and the best part is that it’s sturdy enough to support any filling. It’s easy for first time pie makers, the simple, basic ingredients will make this your go-to recipe.
Watch my how-to video!
It’s sort of “rustic,” this video, but still…:
Oil Pie Crust Ingredients
Flour. Unbleached all-purpose flour. Easy as that. Plus a little extra flour if you’re making fruit pies and need to coat the filling so it holds together.
Salt. One teaspoon kosher salt, or half a teaspoon table salt.
Oil. I like vegetable oil or canola oil for this pie recipe. Coconut oil works if that’s what you have on hand!
Ice water. This is crucial. Cold water, in the right amount, will make the dough soft and pliable. Don’t even need to go to the grocery store for this!
Milk. Any kind of milk works, even an alternative like almond milk, on top of the pie before baking to give it that golden brown look. And if you don’t brush milk on top, the crust will be fine, still great!
How to make oil pie crust
Step 1. Mix the ingredients. In a large bowl, mix flour and salt together. Add the oil, except for the extra teaspoon, and stir until the flour mixture is incorporated and a pea-sized meal forms.
Add the cold water one tablespoon at a time, incorporating as you go. The pie dough should be soft and pliable, not cracking and dry. You can add more oil if needed to achieve this consistency, but not water. Divide the ball of dough in half.
Step 2. Roll the dough. Use sheets of wax paper to assist in rolling and transferring the dough to the pie plate. Oil dough does not fold and move the way butter dough does, so the wax paper is essential! Place one of the dough balls in the center of one of the pieces of waxed paper, and shape it into a flat disk. Cover with the other half of wax paper and roll with a rolling pin to 2 inches larger than the pie pan. This will allow the dough to slide down into the pie plate and still cover the rim.
Step 3. Transfer the rolled crust to the pie plate. Remove one side of the wax paper, invert the crust into the pie dish, and slowly, carefully remove the top sheet of wax paper. If necessary, use a sharp knife or pastry cutter to trim excess crust around the perimeter of the pie plate.
Step 4. Fill the pie with your filling. Then, if making a double crust pie, repeat the steps to roll out the top crust, and lay it, centered, over the filling.
How to Crimp and Finish the Pie
Crimping seals the pie closed on a double crust pie, and makes the decorative crust edge for that and for a single crust pie. Make the crimping as decorative or as simple as you’d like. Cut vents in the top crust with the tip of a sharp knife, to allow steam to escape.
To finish the top crust of a double crust pie, coat the top crust with milk. Rub or use a pastry brush to spread a light coating of milk over the top of the pie. This coating creates a bit of gloss with the golden brown finish on top.
From here, bake your pie as directed depending on your pie filling. A general rule for fruit pies is 425°F for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Cooling is important to allow fruit pies to set up so they aren’t runny when cut. Serve pie slightly warmed or room temperature.
Tips for making excellent oil pie crust
Do not chill the dough as you would a butter crust. Roll out oil crust at room temperature to ensure a flaky pie crust result.
If you find the dough is too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time to increase the quantity of dry ingredients. Vice versa, if the dough is too dry, add more oil (instead of water) to increase the wet ingredients.
This can also be a single crust recipe, just don’t use the other half on top of the pie. Save the other half by wrapping it in plastic wrap and storing in the freezer. Or, roll the crust and shape it in a pie plate, and freeze that, ready to make a pie when you are, just add filling and bake! Or bake, then add filling if it is not a baked filling, as with cream pies.
Make Ahead and Storage
Make ahead crust works well for single-crust pies (meaning, no top crust is needed, as in cream pies and streusel topped pies). Once you roll and crimp the crust in its plate, place that in the freezer until frozen solid. This protects the edge.
Once frozen, lay a piece of wax paper over the top, then wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and freeze.
Freeze a whole pie with double crust using the same process as above, but fill the pie and add and crimp the top crust.
To bake a single crust pie from frozen, use a pie crust protector or crimped foil around the edge of the crust to prevent the edges from burning, because the crust will need to bake longer than from room temperature dough. Be sure to prick the base of the single pie crust with a fork, or use pie weights or dry beans to hold down the crust while it bakes at 350 degrees, or until golden. Cool, then add the filling and proceed as directed for the type of pie you are making.
To bake a frozen whole pie, bake from frozen per the heating instructions for that pie, typically starting at 425°F and reducing after 15 minutes to 375°F. For frozen, each of those baking times will increase and a crust edge protector should be used so the edge doesn’t burn while the filling bakes. If the top is browning before the pie filling is fully cooked, set a piece of foil lightly over the top to prevent over-browning while baking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Both make delicious crusts. Oil crust is easier, dairy-free pie crust, and a healthier alternative, my mom and grandmother always used oil. Butter crust is great for savory pies with dense fillings (like pot pies). In any case, homemade pie crust rules!
The sky’s the limit! This oil crust recipe is perfect for your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, coconut cream pie, apple pie, a weeknight dinner chicken pot pie, summertime fresh strawberry pie, any dessert pie, or savory recipes!
Yes, if you use coconut oil it must be liquid coconut oil. For best results and a tender crust, use my Coconut Oil Pie Crust Recipe rather than a straight substitution.
Yes, straight substitute EVOO for any of the other oils (canola, safflower, vegetable) to make an olive oil pie crust recipe.
This can be done, but it will likely affect the texture of the dough and not produce the same flaky results.
Yes, refrigerate for 3 days or freeze well-wrapped for up to 4 months. See instructions above.
Yes, the crust freezes best unbaked, well-wrapped, for up to 4 months. Bake from frozen, no need to thaw. Fill with filling before or after baking depending on your recipe.
Yes, you can bake pies from frozen that have already been baked!
Store the same way as for standard pie crust. Keep refrigerated if the filling is pudding based or should be served cold. Otherwise store the pie at room temperature for a day.
Wax paper is best here because it stands up to the moisture underneath that holds the paper in place while rolling the dough.
More Pie Recipes
Oil Pie Crust, My Mom’s Best Recipe
For 9” double crust pie:
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon vegetable, canola, or other neutral oil
- 4 tablespoons ice water
- 1/4 cup milk (of any sort, to top the unbaked pie to encourage browning)
For 10” double crust pie:
- 2 2/3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 3/4 cup plus 1-2 teaspoons vegetable, canola or other neutral oil
- 5 – 6 tablespoons ice water
- 1/4 cup milk (of any sort)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the oil, all but the extra teaspoon, and lightly stir with a metal spoon until most of the flour is incorporated and pea-sized meal forms. There will be some larger clumps of dough too.
- Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time, incorporating after each addition. The dough should be soft and pliable, not cracking and dry. Add another teaspoon of oil to get there if needed, but do not add extra water. Divide the dough in half.
- Tear off two 15” sheets of waxed paper. Wipe the work surface with a sponge dampened with cold water to keep the paper from slipping. Place one sheet of waxed paper on the damp surface lengthwise in front of you, and place half of the dough in the center of the paper. Shape the dough into a flat disk and cover with the other sheet of paper lengthwise.
- Roll the dough, starting from the center of the disk and working your way out in every direction (think of working around the clock). The dough and paper do not turn; they stay fixed. As the rolling pin moves to the outer edges of the dough, be careful not to press to hard or else the dough will get too thin at the edges. Press more in the center, less at the edges, as you roll.
- Roll the dough 2 inches larger than the pie pan, making room for the dough to slide down into the pan and still cover the rim. The crosswise edges of the waxed paper can serve as a guide at 12 inches. Roll to that edge for a 10” crust, and just inside at 11 inches for a 9” crust. If the dough is rolled beyond the waxed paper, just scrape under it with a thin, sharp knife or spatula to loosen it before picking the crust up off the counter.
- Peel off the top piece of waxed paper and discard. Place the pie plate right next to the crust. Pick up the crust with its paper and invert it over the pie plate. Move the crust to arrange it evenly over the rim of the plate. Remove the waxed paper and discard. Gently lift the edges of the crust and ease the crust into the pan. Trim the crust all the way around the rim right up against the rim. If an area is short of the rim, patch it with trimmings.
- Fill the pie with filling (usually 5-6 cups of sugared fruit with some starch like flour or cornstarch or tapioca to hold it together), then roll the second half of the dough for the top crust just as you did the bottom crust, but roll this circle slightly smaller than the bottom crust (about an inch smaller). After the top crust has been arranged over the pie, trim the crust so that there is ½-1 inch overhang of the top crust beyond the rim. Tuck that overhang under the bottom crust all around the rim. This seals the pie and prevents drips.
- Crimp the edges of the pie in a rope design: place your thumb on the pastry rim at an angle and firmly pinch the dough between thumb and bent index finger. Push down into the rim as you pinch. Make the next pinch with thumb resting against the last pinched edge.
- Cut vents decoratively in the top. Rub or brush the entire top of the pie with milk. Cover the edges of the pie with a pie guard or pieces of foil, crunching it well so it stays in place. The foil is not a perfect science; just get it to cover as much of the edge as possible.
- Bake as directed depending on your pie filling. A general rule is 425 degrees for 50 minutes or so, until a fruit filling is bubbling vigorously and the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool; the filling will firm up some as the pie cools, so it’s always best to bake your pies early in the day on the day they will be served.. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature. The pie will keep on the kitchen counter for a couple of days, loosely covered with waxed paper or foil.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.