Do you love pie, but stress about the crust? Welcome to a very large club.
Never fear. Homemade pies aren’t just for those people who were born with the domestic gene. After making this graham cracker crust, you will be able to start your very own new club called “Look, Ma, I Made a Pie!”
How to Make Graham Cracker Crust
This graham cracker crust is buttery, crunchy, and a cinch to make. This recipe is your first lesson on Day One of Pie School.
Just crush some graham crackers—you can do that, right? Now, mix them with a little sugar and melted butter, press them into a pie pan, and bake. In the words of the famous Ina Garten, how easy is that?
PIES TO MAKE WITH GRAHAM CRACKER CRUSTS
The fillings for pies made with graham crackers are great in summer—how about an ice cream pie? Topped with whipped cream, you look like a genius when you pull one out of the freezer.
Then there are key lime pies, lemon icebox pies (pictured above!), chocolate pudding pies, banana cream pies, Greek yogurt tarts with fresh berries, and let’s not forget cheesecakes! So many pies, so little time!
WAYS TO ADAPT THIS RECIPE
You can spice up the basic crust in this recipe with a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom or any other spice that complements the filling. Ditto for orange zest, lemon zest and, of course, let’s not forget vanilla extract.
This recipe can also be adapted to many other dry cookies such as vanilla wafers, chocolate wafers, gingersnaps, and one of my favorites, Biscoff cookies. You will need 1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs for one 9-inch pie.
Baked or Unbaked Graham Cracker Crust?
This crust will work either way. If you want to use this crust right away, simply press the ingredients into the pie pan and chill it, and then fill it according to your recipe instructions. This is especially useful for pies that don’t require baking but instead, chilling, such as the Lemon Icebox Pie.
However, you can certainly use this crust and bake it before you fill it and bake according to your individual recipe’s directions. It will just have an extra toasty flavor!
MORE TIPS FOR EASY GRAHAM CRACKER CRUSTS
- Finely grind the crumbs. This ensures the crust will hold together well when the crumbs are pressed into the pan. If you don’t have a food processor, you can enclose the broken graham crackers in a plastic bag and roll over them with a rolling pin.
- Nut sure your butter is mixed in? After you mix in the butter, you’ll know it’s ready when a handful of the crumbs hold together in your hand when you squeeze them.
- The secret to an even crust: Spread the crumbs in the pan first, so you can evenly distribute them. Use your fingers to press the crumbs into the sides first and then the bottom.
- Press the crumbs really well: One you have the crumbs evenly distributed around the pan, use a dry measuring cup wrapped in plastic wrap (to prevent it from sticking to the crumbs) and press firmly into the sides and bottom of the pan.
THESE PIES AND CHEESECAKES LOVE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUSTS!
Easy Graham Cracker Crust
- 12 rectangular graham cracker sheets (about 6 ounces), broken into pieces equaling about 1 1/2 cups
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon or orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set a rack in the middle position.
2 Make the crumbs: In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until finely ground. You should have about 1 1/2 cups.
By hand: Enclose the broken graham crackers in a heavy-duty plastic freezer bag. Seal the bag and roll over with a rolling pin to crush the graham crackers until they are fine crumbs.
3 Mix the crust: Add the butter and optional orange zest and vanilla (if using) to the food processor. Pulse until combined.
4 Press the crust into the pie pan: Spread the crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pie pan. With your fingers, press it into the sides of the pan all around, and then into the bottom of the pan.
Cover a dry measuring cup with plastic wrap (to keep it from sticking to the crumbs). Gently re-press the crumbs into the pan to make them even and compact, starting with the sides first. Tamp down the crumbs on the bottom so the crumbs are even and compact.
5 Chill the crust (optional): If you want to use this immediately and/or are filling it with something that doesn't need baking, such as our Lemon Icebox Pie, you don't have to bake first. Place the assembled crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to allow the butter to become firm. Remove and fill according to recipe directions.
6 Bake the crust (optional): If you want to bake this crust for the toasty flavor it imparts before filling it, put it in the center of the oven for 10 minutes, or until the edges are just slightly browned. Set the pie pan on a rack to cool to room temperature and use according to your recipe directions.
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