With this recipe, you’ll be making a flaky, golden dairy free pie crust in no time. It’s more flavourful than a store-bought crust and contains fewer ingredients.
This dairy-free pie crust recipe is the perfect base for all your pies. Nothing is like a homemade pie crust made with dairy-free butter. Most store-bought pie crusts contain dairy. Therefore, it’s safest to make at home for friends and family with a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance.
This recipe can also be made with regular butter for a dairy option.
Ingredients Needed to Make pie crust dairy free
- Frozen Plant butter: Needs to be frozen to prevent overmixing. I like the Country Crock plant butter because it’s one of the best affordable vegan butters. I would love to try Myoko’s.
- Salt: Essential to a delicious crust and enhances the flavours.
- Sugar: Optional. Omit if you’re using a savoury pie filling.
- Wheat Flour: I use an all purpose flour blend. Use half all purpose and half pastry flour to make it lighter.
- Ice Water: It makes it so the butter doesn’t melt as quickly while mixing the crust. Add ice cubes to some cold water. Don’t add the cubes to your crust.
- Lemon Juice: Inhibits the development of gluten which makes the crust flake better.
Why does a pie crust flake?
If you make sure your ingredients are cold and not overmixed it’s easy to achieve a flaky crust. But why does it flake? The more butter to flour there is in the pie dough the flakier it will be.
According to the King Arthur baking blog, in a regular pie crust butter makes it extra flakey, when compared to lard or shortening. It’s because of the water content. It creates steam while the butter bakes into the crust forming more distinct layers.
I prefer using ice cold vegan butter which is a mixture of different vegetable oils and has some water content. The cold butter creates layers in the pie dough. Which is why my dairy free pie recipe creates beautifully crisp and flaky layers when baked.
How to make a Crust that is flaky & dairy free
Some key tips to making a perfect dairy free pie crust is keeping ingredients as cold as possible and not overmixing. Gluten begins to develop and become more elastic as it is mixed and worked with water and fat.
I know overworked gluten forms a crumblier pie crust that is less flakey. Mixing the butter and flour by hand using a fork or a pastry blender, instead of using a food processor, will prevent overmixing.
How To Make A Dairy Free Pie Crust
Step 1: Mix Pastry Dough
First, we measure out our dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl. Then cut in the frozen vegan butter using a pastry blender. Before adding the butter, cut it into small cubes. You want pea sized lumps of flour and butter mixed together. They will form a clump when squeezed together in your hand.
Add in ice water and lemon juice. Gently mix it with a fork until the dough comes together. If it doesn’t form a ball when squeezed together it doesn’t have enough water. Add extra water one-two tablespoons at a time while folding with fork. It should be a crumbly dough when mixed.
Step 2: Rest Dough & Chill
Separate the dough into two balls and form each into a dough disc. The top crust can be slightly smaller than the dough ball for the bottom crust. Flatten each ball into one inch thick round discs and wrap with plastic wrap.
You need to give the gluten time to rest. By resting our dough in the fridge, the gluten will relax and it will keep our plant butter from melting into our crust.
Since vegan butter has a lower melting point, it needs to rest for hour before rolling out. Leave it in the fridge until the next day or up to 3 days before using. It also freezes well as a disc.
Step 3: Roll Out Dairy Free Pie Crust
When you are ready to make the crust, remove it from the fridge for 5-10 minutes. You can use piece of parchment paper that has been well floured as your work surface.
Place your disc of dough on surface and roll out with a rolling pin from the center out. Roll until you have a 12–14-inch circle.
Transfer to the pie pan by rolling onto your rolling pin and then gently adding to the pie dish. Or you can pick up the parchment paper and flip into the pan.
Trim the excess dough with a scissor and leave about an inch of overhang. If it won’t have a top crust, fold up and crimp the edges with your fingertips. Roll out top crust if needed.
Step 4: Egg Wash & Tent
Adding an egg wash will give your non-dairy crust a golden, crisp shiny outer layer that will be the star of your holiday dinner. In order to create an egg wash just mix one egg white with a tablespoon of water! After, brush it over the crust that is showing before you bake.
How to Blind bake a pie crust
I like to blind bake my pie crust for coconut cream pie or any pie recipe that requires it.
Gently pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork in a few places to allow the steam to leave while baking. Then I add in parchment paper and pie weights or fill it with dry beans.
Use a circle of foil gently pressed against the inside sides of the pie to prevent it from sliding down. Do not skip supporting the sides. Bake for 45-50 minutes at 350F. Make sure to check it at the 30-minute mark to make sure it’s not getting overly browned.
How to Tent Your Pie
I find that it is important to tent the edges of the crust with aluminum foil before baking a pie with a filling. This prevents the edges of the pie crust from becoming overbaked and burnt tasting. All you need to do is gently fold the foil around the top edge of your crust.
For dairy free pumpkin pie, you can actually blind bake your crust. It is the key to a crust that is crisp throughout. Just make sure you tent the edges before the blind bake.
Dairy free Gluten Free Pie Crust
If you’re looking for a recipe for dairy free gluten free pie crust, I would try this recipe. It’s made with plant butter and gluten free flour for a gluten-free option.
To prevent over mixing, I would change the way you mix it. Mix the butter in with a pastry cutter by hand. And the water should be mixed in with a fork.
Substitutions & Tips
- Plant Butter: Coconut oil, vegetable shortening, or lard are other dairy-free options. However, the flavour is not as good as with the vegan butter. If you don’t need it to be dairy free use regular butter.
- Lemon Juice: Use vinegar or vodka to help prevent the gluten from developing as quickly.
- All Purpose Wheat Flour: A gluten free flour blend can be substituted on a 1:1 ratio for a gluten free option.
- Sugar: Can omit entirely or use brown or coconut sugar. It helps to brown the dough in the absence of dairy.
- Make sure your butter and water are ice cold when mixing the pie dough. This keeps the butter from melting and mixing into the flour more than it should.
- Tent your pie crust before baking.
- If your vegan butter is too hard to slice with a knife, let it sit out for 5 minutes so soften a bit.
How to store an unbaked pie crust
One of the things I love about pie crusts is that I can make them the day before and store them in the fridge to make a fresh pie the day of. It takes away one step in the process of pie-making for when you have a million other things to do.
Homemade pie crust freezes exceptionally well for up to 2 months. If you want to freeze your vegan pie crust, freeze it when it is a disc of dough wrapped in plastic wrap. If you have the freezer space, feel free to freeze it rolled out and in your pie pan.
Just make sure to put it into a sealed freezer bag. When you want to use it, remove from the freezer and thaw at room temperature until the dough is softened. If it feels too warm, place it back in the fridge for a while before rolling out.
Other Recipes To Try
Dairy Free Pie Crust
- 1 9 inch Pie Plate
- Rolling Pin
- Pastry Cutter
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 cup plant butter frozen*
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½-3/4 cup water
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- In a medium sized bowl mix together the flour, salt and sugar. Using a cheese grater, grate the frozen butter directly into the flour mixture. Or cut it into small cubes using a sharp knife. With a pastry maker or a fork cut the butter into the flour until it resembles crumbs. There should be some pea sized lumps in the flour plant butter mixture.** Grab a handful and squeeze it together. If it forms a clump in your hand it is mixed.
- Pour in ⅓ cup of water and the lemon juice or vinegar. Using a fork, fold together until your dough has a shaggy texture. It should still look rather crumbly and slightly dry. If there are spots of the dry butter flour mix left, mix in water by the tablespoon until incorporated.
- Take a large handful of the dough and gently form it into a ball. Repeat so you have two even sized dough balls. Place each ball onto a sheet of wax or parchment paper. Flatten each ball into a disc about 1 inch thick. Cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- When ready, remove dough from the fridge for 5 Use a rolling pin to gently roll the disc into a 12-14 inch crust. I make mine just under a ¼ inch thick and about 12 inches. I like to roll them out on floured parchment paper to make sure it doesn’t stick.so I can easily flip them into the pie plate.
- Gently flip the crust into a 9 inch pie plate.
- To Blind bake the pie crust for a cream pie or custard, have your crust completely chilled. Then gently pierce bottom of the crust with fork in a few places. Add in parchment paper and pie weights or fill it with dry beans. Make sure to add weights and use a circle of foil gently pressed against the inside sides of the pie to prevent it from sliding down. Do not skip supporting the sides. Bake for 45-50 minutes at 350F. Make sure to check it at the 30-minute mark to make sure it’s not getting overly browned.