No Fail, Sour Cream Pie Crust

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

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

Check out the video I made of how to make a single crust version of this pie crust!

No Fail, Sour Cream Pie Crust Recipe

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  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Dough chilling time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes dough for 2 single crusts, or 1 double crust

This recipe makes enough dough for a top and bottom crust for a 9-inch pie.

The dough ratio is 1 cup flour: 1 stick butter: 1/4 cup sour cream: 1/2 teaspoon salt: 1 teaspoon sugar. These are the amounts for a single-crust 9-inch pie.

If you are making a 10-inch pie, use 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces, 1  1/4 cup) butter, 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sour cream for a double crust, or 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 1/4 sticks (5 ounces) butter, 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp sour cream for a single crust.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (260 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (skip if using salted butter)
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar (for sweet recipes, otherwise skip)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup, 8 ounces, 225 g) cubed
  • 1/2 cup (115 ml) sour cream (full fat, NOT light sour cream)

Method

1 Cut butter into cubes and let sit for a couple minutes: Cut the butter into cubes and put in a warm spot to take the chill off (don't soften the butter, just let it sit out for couple minutes when you take it out of the fridge).

2 Whisk together flour, salt, sugar: In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, salt (omit if using salted butter), and sugar (if using).

Peach Pie

3 Work the butter into the flour with your hands: Sprinkled the cubes of butter over the flour. Use your clean hands to squish the flour and butter together with your thumbs and fingers. Work the butter into the dough until you have what resembles a coarse meal with some chunks of butter.

4 Add sour cream: Add the sour cream to the flour butter mixture. Use a fork to incorporate into the mixture.

5 Form dough into disks, refrigerate: Use your hands to gather the pastry dough together into a large ball. Use a knife to cut the ball in half. Form into two disks.

Sprinkle all over with a little flour. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for an hour or up to a day ahead.

If you want to freeze for future use, wrap again, this time with aluminum foil and freeze (leave in refrigerator overnight to thaw before using).

6 Remove dough from fridge, let sit for a few minutes, then roll out: After the dough has been sitting in the fridge for an hour, remove it and let it sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature to become more malleable before rolling out.

If it still feels too stiff to roll out, hold your hands around the edges to soften.

To roll out, sprinkle a clean, flat surface with flour. As you roll the dough, check to make sure the bottom is not sticking. If it is, lift it up and sprinkle a little flour underneath.

Roll out to 12 to 14 inches wide, to an even thickness.

You can use this pastry dough for unstructured rustic pies or galettes, or single or double crusted traditional pies. It can also be used for a savory pot pie.

Whether you use the dough for a galette or a double crust pie, it will be prettier with a light egg wash. Just whisk one egg in a small bowl, add a teaspoon of water, and brush lightly over the exposed crust with a pastry brush, right before baking.

This pie crust recipe is difficult to pre-bake. There is more fat in it than a regular crust, which can cause the sides to slump if you bake it without a filling. That said, I have successfully pre-baked this crust by freezing it for at least 30 minutes first, lining it with heavy foil, filling it 3/4 of the way with white granulated sugar, then baking it at 350°F for 50 minutes.

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Sour Cream Pie Crust

Showing 4 of 162 Comments / Reviews

  • Ginny

    Hi, I plan to use this crust to make ‘hand pies’. Do you know if I can re-roll the scraps or will that make the crust tough?

  • Cindy B.

    I have NEVER been able to make a decent pie crust, but this one turned out awesome! I will be using this one from now on…

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Crystal Hall

    Hi, this crust is great, but i have a question that I didn’t visit see on the comment thread. I froze the extra crust and I want to make a buttermilk pie, and I wanted on prebake the pie crust according to your newly edited prebaking instructions. I made a pumpkin pie without prebaking and the bottom crust was soggy. Would the new prebaking instructions this still work with previously frozen crust?

  • Lindsay

    This is one of the best pie crusts I’ve made. I’ve used it many times and it turns out perfect every time. I also love how easy the dough is to work with, it rolls out beautifuly.

  • Maryann

    I’ve used this crust twice now and really like it. I had it shrink a bit both times though, is that normal or did I do something wrong?
    Thanks for all the great recipes on this site!

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