No Fail, Sour Cream Pie Crust

Easiest, flakiest homemade pie crust EVER! No machine required. This buttery pie and pastry crust is our favorite, anyone can make!

Move aside food processor! Be gone tough pie crusts! I hath found the holy grail of pastry doughs.

It is flaky, it is buttery, it is un-fussy, and it needs no difficult-to-clean equipment, just your clean hands and a large bowl. The secret?

Sour cream. No added water, instead you add sour cream. I’m not kidding. This method works and it couldn’t be easier.

The recipe comes from my friend, former Zuni Cafe chef Kathi Riley, who has been using it as her go-to pastry crust recipe for 25 years and who graciously shared it with me to share with you.

Why does this pie crust recipe work?

The biggest issue with flour-based pie crusts is toughness. Toughness develops when protein strands in gluten form when the flour and water come together.

By rubbing the flour initially with butter, you coat the flour protein molecules in fat. When you add sour cream, you add moisture that is surrounded by fat. Both the fat in the butter and the fat in the sour cream help keep water molecules away from protein molecules, resulting in a more tender pie crust.

Tips for pie dough success:

This pie dough works a little differently than classic pie dough:

  • Take the chill off the butter: Many pie crust recipes call for working with very cold ingredients, which is important for an all-butter pie crust. But in this recipe, you’ll work the butter into the flour with your hands, which will only work if the butter isn’t too cold. Take the butter out of the fridge and let it sit out for a few minutes in a warm spot before working it into the flour mixture.
  • Squish the butter into the flour: As you work the butter into the flour, squish it so that some of the cubes flatten into the flour. Pressing down with your knuckles in the bowl can help with this. Flattened pieces of butter will result in flaky layers.
  • Stir the sour cream: Use full-fat sour cream and if it has separated in the container, stir it before adding it to the dough mixture.
  • Make sure your dough disks do not have cracks in them: Do not worry about overworking the dough to form the dough disks; because of the way we incorporate fat, this is a very forgiving pie dough. Do what you need to do to get the dough to hold together well. As you work it into disks, it should end up smooth, having the consistency of play-doh. Once you wrap the dough disk in plastic wrap, you can massage the dough and the edges with your warm hands to close any cracks.

Make These Pies with This Crust!

  • Apple Pie
  • Blueberry Pie
  • Sweet Cherry Pie
  • Pecan Pie
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

How to make the easiest pie crust ever

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