Skip to main content

Easy-to-Make Flavored Pie Crusts

Mary loves cooking from scratch using natural ingredients. Here she shares some of her favorite recipes and products.

Pie crusts that you can make from scratch.

Pie crusts that you can make from scratch.

From-Scratch Flavored Pie Crusts

When was the last time you made a pie crust from scratch? If it has been some time, I would like to show you a simple way to make an oil-based pastry crust, which is perfect every time. Whether you are making something sweet, such as a fruit or custard pie, or a savory dish, such as quiche or a meat pie, these simple additions to your homemade crust will tantalize your taste buds.

The addition of seeds, nuts, and spices is nothing new, but it's a technique that has been forgotten in everyone's rush to use a ready-made crust. Making a homemade crust is easy and much tastier, and it will fill you with the satisfaction you'll never find from opening a box.

Crunchy Pie Crusts

Before I get to the recipe for the oil-based pie crust, I would like to remind you about other types of crust options which also add a bit of crunch—and as such, added interest to your pies.

Crunchy Pie Crust Options

Mix ingredients together and press into pie plate. Bake for indicated period of time.

Makes a 9" PieQuantity when crushedSugar Butter or MargarineBaking temperature and time

Cookie: Use chocolate, vanilla or gingersnaps

1 1/2 cups


1/3 cup melted

350° 10 minutes

Graham Cracker

1 1/2 cups approx 20 squares

2 Tablespoons

1/4 cup melted

350° 10 minutes


1 1/2 cups ground nuts

3 Tablespoons

2 Tbls softened

400° 6-8 minutes


2 Cups crushed

2 Tablespoons

1/4 cup melted

350° 6-8 minutes


2 Cups crushed pretzels

1/4 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup melted

350° 10 - 12 minutes

Flavoring Additions for Pie Crusts

Although the crusts mentioned above use graham crackers, cookies, pretzels or nuts are great choices, don't stop there. Below are additions you can make to a traditional crust to give your pies extra pizzazz to the taste and texture. I always like to surprise my guests and give them something they weren't expecting. Something which makes an ordinary pie a little special. Try these the next time you are making a pie. These get added in with the flour.

  • 1 teaspoon celery seed: Savory such as quiches
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese: Savory such as a meat pie or Mexican Style quiche.
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon: Fruit or custard pies. Also would suit a meat curry filling.
  • 1½ teaspoons shredded lemon or orange peel (use a zester for this). Fruit filling, chicken, or fish.
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped nuts such as walnuts, cashews, or almonds: Fruit fillings, custard, or savory fillings would work with this type of crust.
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds: Chicken pot pie, lemon pie (yes, lemon pie).
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ: Fruit or savory fillings.

These are just a few of the additions you can add. When you begin to think of the other options, which include seeds, nuts, herbs and spices, you will begin to wonder why you waited so long to begin incorporating these into your crusts. One which I would avoid is the addition of candies, as the sugar would melt and potentially burn.

Pumpkin pie crust

Pumpkin pie crust

Why Use an Oil-Based Pastry Crust

I think some people are intimidated by the thought of making a pie crust from scratch, worried that it might not turn out. I know how you feel because I have been there. Now I only make crusts that use oil and not shortening, lard or butter. The reason is I live in the tropics, and it is always warm here.

If you have watched any top chef making a traditional crust, they try and keep everything as cool as possible to ensure their crust turns out flaky. This was a complete non-starter for me, as it is never cool here. That said, I wasn't about to give up eating pie and needed to find an alternative. The oil pastry doesn't seem to mind being manhandled a bit. The one caveat here is I do use cold water, which has been refrigerated.

I find this type of crust easier to make, to roll, and it turns out great each time. That is everything I want from a pie crust. I think when you try it, you too will find it the perfect crust.

Savory pie crusts

Savory pie crusts

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

15 min

25 min

1 pie crust


For a Single Crust (8 or 9 Inch):

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (I prefer to use sunflower, canola, or corn oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water
  • flavoring addition of your choosing (see above)

For a Double Crust (8 or 9 Inch):

  • 1 3/4 all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (see note above)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons cold water
  • flavoring addition of your choosing (see above)


  1. Mix flour and salt together. If making a flavored crust, now is the time to add your spices, herbs, nuts or seeds. Now add the oil and mix to combine.
  2. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix until the pastry comes together and leaves a clean bowl. If your pastry seems dry, add more oil. Note: You may need less water than is written if you live in a humid area.
  3. If you are making two crusts, divide dough in half.
  4. I use a pastry board that has been covered in plastic wrap. Lightly dust your surface with flour. Tip: You can also use a large (and clean) fruit and vegetable bag from the grocery store. It is much cleaner and easier to work with than flouring your board. Alternatively, you can use a silicone mat. I also cover my pastry with more plastic wrap whilst rolling. Here too it is much cleaner.
  5. Begin rolling the dough. Change directions frequently to get a round shape.
  6. When you think you are getting close to the required size, simply flip your pie pan upside down to check. Allow a little overhang (refer to photo).
  7. When you are happy with the size, remove the top portion of the plastic. If you are using a fruit/veg bag, simply cut the top half away using a good pair of kitchen scissors.
  8. Position your inverted pie pan on the crust. Gather up the plastic and being careful not to pull it too tightly, gently turn the pie pan, crust and plastic. Don't worry if you get some tears. These can easily be mended with a little extra dough and a dab of water.
  9. Gently ease the crust to the bottom of the pie pan. Cut off any excess overhanging crusts with either kitchen scissors or a knife.
  10. Fold under any jagged edges, so you are left with a tidy pie edge. Avoid creating thick sections of crust, as they can become too unattractive when baked.
  11. You can finish the edge as you wish. I normally use a pinch method. With the thumb and index finger of my right hand, I gently pinch the crust whilst pushing the index finger of my other hand between the two to form a V shape like you see in the image. ** If you are preparing a two-crust pie, don't pinch the edges now. Wait until you have the two crusts in place and pinch them together to seal.
  12. Prick the bottom of the pie crust with a fork to allow steam to escape.
  13. If you need to bake the crust, line it with parchment paper or foil and add baking beans to hold its crust down. Bake at 475° for 12-15 minutes.
  14. If you are going to use this for something which needs to be cooked, add the ingredients.
  15. For the top crust, roll as above and with the aid of the plastic wrap, lift into place. Pinch edges together.

How to Make a Lattice Pie Crust

If you think it is difficult to make a lattice pie crust, it isn't. The video below shows how to do with ready-made dough, but you now know how to make your own dough! Easy-to-follow instructions will leave you with a beautiful and decorative crust.


I hope this has given you the courage to pick up a rolling pin and explore the world of home baking. It is such a satisfying experience to watch as people tuck into your creation that you have made from scratch. It seems to be a rare experience these days, and people appreciate the effort.

You will hear them say, "You really made this?"

You may also hear people say, "Oh, I can't make pies; the crust never turns out for me." Share the knowledge of just how easy it is to make a great crust.

© 2015 Mary Wickison