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Incredibly Flaky Yogurt Pie Crust

Preview: This recipe for an incredibly flaky Yogurt Pie Crust (regular or Greek yogurt) is guaranteed to make your next pie memorable. Mix the dough in a stand mixer.

You need this recipe for a pie crust made with yogurt if:

  • You love a tender and flaky pie crust
  • You often have unflavored yogurt in your fridge
  • You like to make pie crust from scratch
FLAKY-ALL-BUTTER-PIE-CRUST-WITH-YOGURT

As a young County Extension agent, I made a guest appearance on a TV cooking show at 5:30 one Saturday morning.

My topic was “How to make a perfect pie crust.” Of course, it had to be right the first time through—no retakes were allowed. But, after practicing for weeks, I got pretty good at rolling out a pie crust.

Ever since my 30-minute brush with fame, I’ve been experimenting. This yogurt pie crust is my best and favorite recipe to date. I think you will love it, too. It is worthy of your best pie filling.


Recipe inspiration:

A few years ago, I ran across a crust recipe in a magazine (remember those?) calling for sour cream in addition to butter. This article gave me an idea.

unbaked yogurt pie crust
Can you see the tiny pockets of butter throughout the crust? These carry the promise of extreme flakiness!

What if I replaced the sour cream and water with yogurt?

I tried it, and It worked.


Why does yogurt make a pie crust flakier?

A bit of research revealed why sour cream is a little-known secret to flaky pie crust. The same principle seems to apply to yogurt.

The acid in the sour cream slows down the development of gluten (the structure-forming protein in flour), which makes for a more tender and flaky crust.”

The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

The acidity of the yogurt acts the same way vinegar or lemon juice does in some recipes. The yogurt also replaces water as a binder. A touch of sugar and an egg yolk increases the richness and encourages browning. 

I don’t understand it, but the yogurt seems to work magic. Your reward is a crust that’s full of layers and flavor.

cinnamon sugar pie crust

Ingredients and substitutions

  • FLOUR: Use all-purpose flour, bleached or unbleached. A high-protein flour may cause the crust to be tough.
  • SUGAR: You may leave this out if you prefer, but it adds flavor and helps the crust to brown.
  • SALT: Salt is optional, but it enhances the flavor.
  • BAKING POWDER: I’m always tweaking my recipes. After experimenting with baking powder as recommended by the Kitchn, I added it to the recipe. You can’t taste it. True to what the Kitchn says, it does add the slightest lift to the crust and keeps it from shrinking.
  • BUTTER: Be sure the butter is cold. Frozen is good. If your butter is salted, no need to add the extra salt specified in the recipe.
  • YOGURT: Although I use my homemade unflavored yogurt, this recipe also works with store-bought regular nonfat yogurt, vanilla-flavored nonfat yogurt, and nonfat Greek yogurt.  If you use Greek yogurt that is VERY thick, thin it with a bit of milk before measuring.
  • EGG YOLK: If you prefer not to use an egg yolk, leave it out and increase the amount of yogurt to 1/3 cup.

How to assemble a yogurt pie crust:

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, and salt at low speed for five seconds.
adding butter to mixing bowl
Cut butter into eight pieces and add to flour.
Mix on low speed for about 45 seconds. (I count it off).
Combine yogurt and egg yolk. Add all at once to the flour.
Dough should look crumbly after mixing.
Mix on low speed for 12-15 seconds. All particles should be barely moistened but not yet coming into a ball. You’re going for a shaggy mess that will hold together if you squeeze it between your fingers.
pie crust crumbles
Dump the dough onto a big piece of plastic wrap or a floured tea towel.

How to “smoosh” the crumbles (aka as fraisage):

Don’t miss the video showing how to do this.

smooshing pie crumbles
Take the palm of your hand and slide it face-down from the middle toward the side of the pile to smoosh the crumbs together and flatten out the big pieces of butter. Work your way around the mound, smashing the dough crumbles into one big clump. There should be no significant and visible pieces of butter. If the butter pieces are too large, they may melt as the crust bakes and drip onto the oven floor. Not good.
ready to roll out dough
Wrap and chill the dough for at least 1-4 hours to allow the gluten to relax.

How to roll out yogurt pie dough:

how to roll out pie dough--story board
Use a well-flour pastry cloth and rolling pin sock for easy roll-out.
picture tutorial showing how to get pie dough into a pie shell and look good

How to blind-bake this yogurt pie crust recipe:

Addendum 11/12/21: After getting my hands on the fabulous “The Book on Pie” by Erin McDowell, I have changed the instructions for par-baking this crust. She recommends NOT freezing a rolled-out pie crust. Better to chill it in the refrigerator. You can freeze the dough (up to three months) before rolling it out. But don’t freeze a rolled-out crust or bake it straight from the freezer.

The other thing Erin suggests is to heat the oven to 425˚F. The bake is faster and helps to prevent the crust from shrinking. Of course, you still need to dock the crust and put some weights inside the pie shell, as shown below.

I tried her suggestions, and sure enough, my pie crust baked up better. The directions are revised accordingly.

Chill prepared pie crust while you preheat oven to 425˚ F.

unbaked pie crust lined with aluminum foil
After docking the pie crust with a fork, cover the pie with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper. Use two pieces of foil if necessary to cover the entire crust. Press it snugly into the shape of the pie shell.


***Kitchen secret for cheap and handy pie weights:

My favorite is a heavy chain like you can purchase by the foot at your local hardware store. There’s no reason to chase beans or pie weights around the kitchen.

using a chain as a pie weight
Fill the pie shell with weights of your choice.
blind-baked pie crust
For a partially baked crust (as seen above), bake for 15-17 minutes at 425˚ F. The crust should be barely turning brown. Next, remove the weights and foil and allow it to bake for 2-3 minutes longer. For a fully baked crust, return crust to the oven uncovered for another 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

FAQ about homemade yogurt pie crust:

1. Why does my pie crust drip butter?

Most likely, the pieces of butter were too large after you finished cutting them into the flour. An easy way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to grate the butter. See #4 below.

Just in case:

I always place it on a rimmed cookie sheet covered with foil or a silicone baking mat when baking this pie crust. The cookie sheet will catch any buttery drips that might otherwise fall to the oven floor and burn. Also, the foil will make clean-up a breeze.

2. Why is my pie crust tough and hard to cut?

You have likely overprocessed the dough. Another reason is adding too much liquid or too much flour.

3. Why did my pie crust shrink when pre-baking it?

Several possibilities:

  • The dough was over-processed.
  • The dough was stretched while placing it into a pie pan.
  • Dough should be well chilled but not frozen when you place it in the oven.

4. Can I make mix this up by hand if I don’t have a stand mixer?

Yes. Here’s an easy tip for making sure the butter pieces get mixed in well without overdoing it. Freeze the butter, then grate it by hand. Add it to the bowl containing your flour mixture and stir until you get a crumbly dough. Then, proceed with the recipe as written.

5. Can I freeze this pie crust?

Yes. Freeze the dough for up to 3 months. Double wrap to avoid freezer burn.

When ready to make a pie crust, let the dough thaw in the refrigerator overnight.



Are you interested in more recipes with yogurt?



Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, you can help others and me by leaving a 5-star 🤩 rating in the comment section below. No comment is required.

p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: Paula at saladinajar.com.

Hope to see you again soon!
Paula


Yogurt Pie Crust Recipe

This recipe for an all-butter pie crust with unflavored yogurt produces an incredibly tasty, flaky, and tender crust that bakes up beautifully, even without a filling.
Paula Rhodes
4.52 from 33 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Chill time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Course Pies
Servings 8 slices

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour - 150 gr
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar - 4 gr
  • ¼ teaspoon salt - 1.5 gr
  • teaspoon baking powder - 1 gr
  • ½ cup cold, unsalted butter - 1 stick, 113 gr
  • ¼ cup unflavored regular yogurt or Greek yogurt - 71 gr
  • 1 egg yolk - 14 gr

Instructions
 

  • Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder at low speed for 5 seconds.
  • Cut butter into 16 pieces and add to flour. Mix on low speed for about 45 seconds. (I count it off).
  • Combine yogurt and egg yolk. Add all at once to the flour.
  • Mix on low speed for 12-15 seconds. All particles should be barely moistened but not yet coming into a ball. You're going for a shaggy mess that will hold together if you squeeze it between your fingers.
  • Dump the dough onto a big piece of plastic wrap or a floured tea towel.
  • Take the palm of your hand and slide it face-down from the middle toward the side of the pile to smoosh the crumbs together and flatten out the big pieces of butter. Work your way around the pile until dough is smashed into one big flat clump. There should not be any large and visible pieces of butter. If the butter pieces are too large, they may melt as the crust bakes and drip onto the oven floor. Not good.
  • Fold plastic wrap up around dough, pressing gently to form a smooth round patty approximately an inch thick.
  • Wrap and chill the dough at this point for at least 1-4 hours. When ready to roll out, allow to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  • Using a well-floured pastry cloth or a silicone pastry mat and a pastry sock-covered rolling pin, roll out pie dough to a diameter about 1-1/2 inch larger than your pie plate.
  • Place a 9-inch pie plate upside down on the dough and flip the dough into your pie pan using a pastry cloth to hold on as you invert dough.
  • Peel pastry cloth off the dough and carefully fit dough inside pan being careful not to stretch it. If dough sticks to cloth, use a knife to carefully loosen it and lightly dab with flour to repair.
  • Trim crust about a half-inch past the rim of your pie plate. Turn under any excess dough so it is even with the side of the plate. Form decorative edge as desired. (If the dough seems too soft to work with, refrigerate until firm.)
  • Place the shaped pie crust back into the refrigerator until ready to bake. It should be well-chilled (but not frozen) when it goes into the oven.

Video

Notes

How To Blind-Bake (no filling) Greek Yogurt Pie Crust:
When ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator and use a fork to dock the crust. Press a piece (or two) of non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper to the inside of the pie crust. Fold the edges of the foil carefully over the decorative edge to protect from over-browning. Although you could fill the pie crust with beans, rice, or pie weights, I prefer to use chain-link sold by the foot at hardware stores.
Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for 15-17 minutes. For a partially baked crust, carefully remove foil and weights, and let bake another 2-3 minutes until the crust is light brown.
If you need a fully baked crust, continue baking the crust (uncovered) for 8-10 minutes longer or until golden brown.
If you have trouble with the butter leaking out of the crust when baking:
Freeze the butter, then grate it. Add to the flour mixture and continue with the recipe as written.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 129kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 2gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 84mgPotassium: 19mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 387IUCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Greek yogurt pie crust, yogurt pie crust recipe
Cuisine American
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recipe Rating




sara

Thursday 2nd of December 2021

I'm assuming the baking powder gets added with the other dry ingredients.

Paula

Thursday 2nd of December 2021

Yes, you are right. I fixed the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to write. Hope your pie crust turns out good for you.

Kathy

Tuesday 21st of September 2021

Forgot - one more question - the sock - just a regular cotton sock (Like a tube sock or crew sock) or is there such a thing as a "Pastry sock"?

Kathy

Tuesday 21st of September 2021

I'm pie crust challenged? Can't roll one out in a circle to save my life. Any tutorials on that? I make all our pies at the holidays and would prefer homemade over Pillsbury. My Mom used to make them but even she quit making them when she got a pie crust that came in a little box and all she had to do was shape it. Don't even think it's made anymore. Also, what is the purpose of the weights (chain) when baking the crust? Can't wait to try this!

Paula

Tuesday 21st of September 2021

Hi Kathy, Check out my Traditional Flaky Pie Crust with Shortening (Easier for Beginners) where I have more detailed pictures.

The purpose of the weights is to keep the pie crust from rising up in the middle when you are baking it without a filling (something you would do for a cream pie). Is you buy a pastry cloth, it often comes with a "sock" or cover for your rolling pin. It's open on both ends. Here is one.

Pamela Lizee

Sunday 19th of September 2021

Great recipe. Thanks for all your recipes and tip. I’m a much better bread maker thanks to you

Paula

Monday 20th of September 2021

Thanks for writing, Pamela. Comments like yours keep me going. Have a great week!!

Laura H

Tuesday 14th of July 2020

I am not a great Baker but this recipe turned out magically for me. The pastry is buttery, flaky and crispy. Amazing!!