When my parents were married, my dad gave my mom a jewelry box with an inscription on the inside. It said, “A Pie a Week Keeps the Husband Sweet.” Needless to say, after more than 40 years of marriage, mom became an expert pie maker. I spent years baking with mom to learn her craft. Those special times created lasting memories, and prepared me for the challenge of creating the best gluten-free pie crust.
This flaky gluten-free pie crust recipe is tried and true. It’s been tested in my household countless times and is loved by all of my readers.
I think what amazes people most, is how light and buttery this gluten-free pastry tastes, even though it’s made without top allergens. Each tender bite is deliciously egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, corn-free, optionally dairy-free, and even nightshade-free!
How to Make the Best Gluten-Free Pie Crust (Vegan Friendly)
This recipe might appear fairly simple, but I would be remiss if I didn’t share some tips. Making gluten-free pie crust is an art and a delicate science, particularly when special diets come into play.
Let Each Pie be Unique
Before you get started, keep in mind that pie crust doesn’t necessarily have to look good, it just has to taste good. If you look closely at the pastries in local bakeries, you can even see how seasoned bakers make folds to hide imperfections. Or they might embrace a “rustic” theme, since it adds character and comforting homemade appeal. Pie crust pros know it’s how they prepare the dough that matters most, which can mean spending less time on appearances.
Keep Contact to a Minimum
Truthfully, gluten-free pastry dough is a bit more forgiving than wheat-based pastry dough. Since there isn’t any gluten, it doesn’t become tough when worked a little too much. But it can lose some of its flakiness if kneaded or re-rolled too many times. As you work the dough, the fat melts and becomes more thoroughly dispersed. This can lead to a relatively uniform pastry without as many light layers.
Cool is the Rule
I use organic non-hydrogentated shortening, which is dairy-free and solid at room temperature. (Cold unsalted butter can be used if you are okay with dairy.) Once the shortening has been blended with the flour, it makes coarse crumbs. Adding cold water as needed keeps some of the fat pieces from melting and blending into the dough before baking. You might see some marbling in the dough. These little fat pockets are what makes this a flaky gluten-free pie crust, so they’re important!
Consistency is Key with Gluten-Free Pastry
You’ll notice that I use a range for the amount of water in the ingredients. How much you need can vary by climate, or simply how much moisture your flour decides to absorb that day! What’s most important is how the dough feels.
I add just enough water for the crust to come together. If the dough isn’t easily coming together into a ball, then I add a little more water. You don’t need to stick to the exact range of water listed – just trust the texture. When you handle the dough it should be soft, pliable, and just a touch on the moist side.
Don’t Get Stuck when Rolling
In the picture below, you can see my lightly floured disk of dough sitting on a piece of floured parchment paper. I use a good dusting of flour and parchment for extra insurance. You can roll the dough out, using more flour as you go to prevent sticking, or place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and roll it out between the two parchment sheets.
Don’t worry too much about the edges, but try to make sure the gluten-free pastry dough is rolled out to a relatively even thickness so the gluten-free pie crust bakes evenly. The last thing you want is a crust that’s doughy in some areas and too crispy in others!
Move Your Gluten-Free Pie Crust with Care
Once the dough is rolled out, you have two options for transferring it. After you peel off the top sheet of parchment (if used), you can use the bottom sheet of parchment to help invert the pie crust over top of the pie plate. Just make sure you say a little prayer first!
It’s Okay to Make Repairs
Once in a while, tears in the gluten-free pastry dough will happen. It’s just a fact of pie making. If it’s a small tear or just a piece that stuck to your rolling pin, go ahead and patch it up. But if it’s a large tear or a complete demolition, don’t be afraid to re-roll the dough. One or two re-rolls shouldn’t affect the flakiness too much. If you’re concerned, you can refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes to keep the fat in the dough cool before re-rolling.
Consider a Pie Crust Maker Bag
It isn’t essential, but a pie crust maker bag is wonderful for frequent gluten-free pie bakers. It’s an inexpensive (about $5 to $7) circular zippered bag that you can roll your pie crust between. The bag takes the place of parchment paper, is reusable, and it helps to roll out and transfer the dough like a dream.
I use a pie crust maker bag in the video below to roll out my gluten-free pie crust. As you can see, I keep the dough floured so that it doesn’t stick to the inside of the bag. My Facebook readers found this video very helpful, so I hope you will too! You can buy the pie crust bag HERE.
Gluten-Free Pie Crust Substitutions
As mentioned above, making flaky gluten-free pastry is truly part science. It’s taken me years to find the right ingredients and to perfect the ratios. I’m happy to aid in suggestions if you must make a swap. But if you substitute another flour or ingredient for one listed, I can’t guarantee the end result of your gluten-free pie crust.
Wonderful Pie Recipes using this Gluten-Free Pastry
This gluten-free pastry works well as a top or bottom crust, so it can be used for almost any type of pie. Because I don’t add sugar, it can even be used in savory recipes, like pot pie or quiche. But I tend to bake dessert most often with this gluten-free pie crust. It works great in these recipes:
Gluten-Free Corn Syrup-Free Pecan Pie (My dad’s favorite!)
Mom’s banana cream pie was my absolute favorite growing up, so it’s on my list to make soon! For more inspiration, check out this Ultimate Guide to Gluten Free Pie by my friend, Sandi, of Fearless Dining.
*Double this Gluten-Free Pie Crust Recipe to make a top and bottom crust.
- 1/3 cup sorghum flour
- 1/3 cup millet flour
- 1/3 cup arrowroot starch (or tapioca starch)
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup cold palm shortening (or butter or vegan butter)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 3-5 tablespoons cold water
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sorghum flour, millet flour, arrowroot starch, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, and sea salt.
- Cut in the palm shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add the apple cider vinegar and water, and stir gently until the mixture comes together to form a dough.
- To roll the dough, lay a piece of parchment paper on a work surface and lightly sprinkle with flour. Place the disk of dough in the middle of the parchment paper, sprinkle the disk with flour, and roll the dough into an 11-12 inch round starting from the middle and working out towards the edges. Keep sprinkling the dough with flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin.
- Using your rolling pin (as pictured above) to aid in moving the dough, carefully ease the crust into a 9 inch pie plate. Or use the bottom layer of parchment paper to invert the entire pie crust over the top of the pie plate (say a little prayer) and gently peel off the parchment paper. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie pan (if there are any tears in the crust, simply wet your fingers and try to smooth them out as best as you can).
- Trim down the edges of the pie crust leaving about 1/2 an inch of excess dough. Fold the excess dough underneath and crimp the edges.
- Fill and bake as desired.
I find it convenient to use a 14"pie crust bag to roll out my crust. A pie crust bag is a clean, flat plastic bag that zips around the edges. You simply dust the inside of the bag with flour, and then roll out the dough between the layers. It makes transferring the dough to the pie pan a breeze. Normally you can find these at your local kitchen store or online.
Temperature, altitude and humidity will affect pie crust dough. If you find the crust difficult to roll out and you think it’s too dry, simply throw it in a food processor (or your mixer), add 1 tablespoon of cold water, and pulse 3-5 times. Check the dough. If you think it will hold together and roll out properly – great! If not, continue to add more cold water, teaspoon by teaspoon until the dough comes back together.
While this crust has superb flavor and texture, because it is gluten-free, it doesn't have the bend to it that a gluten-filled crust would have. So making a lattice weave isn't possible. If you want a lattice-like design on the top of your pie, simply cut strips of pie crust pastry, and then carefully lay the strips down in a criss-cross pattern without weaving them. Attempting to weave your pie crust strips will most likely result in them breaking.
To prebake the crust without filling: Preheat oven to 375°F and prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Line the crust bottom with coffee filters or parchment paper and fill with a single layer of dried beans. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pie crust begins to change color around the edges. Remove the coffee filter or parchment paper and then beans. Bake for an additional 5-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Cool completely before filling.
Bragg USDA Gluten Free Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, with The Mother
Spectrum Naturals Organic Shortening, All Vegetable, 24 oz
Pyrex 9 Inch - 23 Cm Pie Dish
Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Easy No-Mess Pie Crust Maker Bag, 14-Inches
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