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Recipe: Vinegar Pie Crust

Pumpkin pie filling (20 oz.), 2 eggs & 5 oz. condensed milk baked in a vinegar crust. Please pardon the messy fluting!

Pumpkin pie filling (20 oz.), 2 eggs & 5 oz. condensed milk baked in a vinegar crust. Please pardon the messy fluting!

Vinegar Pie Crust

I'll tell you a little secret about vinegar pie crust: it's not vinegary at all!

In fact, it's light and flaky. My mother-in-law calls it a "no-fail" recipe, and I have to agree: it's hard to ruin. You (and your children) can play with the dough as much as you like. It won't get tough. And if you make a mistake, you can wad it up and roll it out all over again. You can even patch it—no harm done.

Vinegar must be one of the most versatile products on earth.

  • You can use highly concentrated vinegar straight out of the bottle to kill weeds.
  • You can mix ordinary household vinegar with water to create an inexpensive window-washing agent.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of vinegar to a gallon of water, and you have an effective organic treatment for fungal diseases on plants.
  • And vinegar blended with olive oil makes an excellent wood polish.

Amazingly, vinegar tastes good too, adding zip to salads, dressings, and marinades. And it is a key ingredient in a no-fail homemade pie crust.

Vinegar pie is an inexpensive alternative to lemon pie and a great dessert for times of year when fresh, local produce is scarce. Many versions of vinegar pie exist. The no-nonsense recipe below is from Grit magazine. It makes one thick 8-inch pie or one thin 9-inch.

Why Make Your Own Crust?

Frozen pie shells taste more like cardboard than crust, and refrigerator pie crusts (although better) aren't exactly flaky. But pie crust made with vinegar is both flaky and flavorful.

Once you get the knack of rolling it out, you'll find that it's almost as easy as wrestling a frozen crust out of the bag or unrolling Pillsbury's best. And it definitely tastes better.

Apple pie made with vinegar pie crust sprinkled with sugar & cinnamon? Delicious!

Apple pie made with vinegar pie crust sprinkled with sugar & cinnamon? Delicious!


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup Crisco or another shortening
  • 1 egg, well-beaten
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar


  1. Blend together the flour and salt.
  2. With a fork, two knives, or a pastry cutter, work the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles little peas.
  3. Mix together the egg, water, and vinegar, then add this to the flour mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. Divide the dough into two balls.
  5. Begin working with the dough balls immediately, rolling them out into two pie crusts on a floured towel, pastry mat, or board. (You don't have to chill them.) You should have enough dough for two 8-inch pie shells.
  6. If desired, fill with vinegar pie filling (see the recipe below).

Quick Tips for Making Vinegar Pie Crust

  1. To easily transfer rolled pie crust into the pan, drape it over the rolling pin and then gently unroll it over the plate.
  2. If making a double-crust pie, don't bother to flute the bottom shell. Instead, simply use a sharp knife to cut away the excess dough.

Recipe for Vinegar Pie With Meringue Topping


  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 eggs (separated)
  • 1 8-inch pie crust (baked)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar


  1. Mix the first five ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir constantly until the mixture becomes thick and clear. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks. (Don't add too much too quickly--you'll scramble the eggs!) Return it to the saucepan and cook for two minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool. When the mixture is lukewarm, pour it into the baked pie shell.
  4. Mix 1/4 cup sugar, cream of tartar, and egg whites until stiff. Spread over the pie to the edges.
  5. Bake 10-12 minutes at 325 degrees until lightly browned.

© 2011 Jill Spencer