Incredibly Flaky Pie Crust with Butter and Yogurt

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Sneak Peek: This recipe for an incredibly flaky pie crust with butter and yogurt (regular or Greek yogurt) is guaranteed to make your next pie memorable. Mix the dough with a stand mixer.

flaky yogurt pie crust shell--baked

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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

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.”

Ever since my 30-minute brush with fame, I’ve been obsessed with pie crusts. This flaky buttery pie crust is my best and favorite recipe to date. I think you will love it, too. It is worthy of your favorite pie filling. Speaking of favorites, be sure to take a look at my favorite pecan pie and my grandma’s Magic Pumpkin Pie.

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
Flaky pie crust with cinnamon and sugar sprinkles on top and baked

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 buttery pie crust with yogurt:

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, and salt at low speed for five seconds in a large bowl.

adding butter to mixing bowl

Cut butter into eight pieces and add to the flour.

Mix on low speed for about 45 seconds. (I count it off). Some of the pieces should be the size of peas while others will look more like oatmeal or bread crumbs.

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 your work surface–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 a buttery 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

After placing the dough into a pie dish, fold the rough edges under. Crimp as desired.

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 the oven to 425˚ F.

unbaked pie crust lined with aluminum foil

After docking the pie crust with a fork, cover the pie crust 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 the crust to the oven uncovered for another 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.


FAQ about homemade flaky pie crust:

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.

📌Kitchen Secret📌
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.

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.

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.
The dough should be well chilled but not frozen when you place it in the oven.

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.

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.

Can I use an egg wash on my pie crust?

Yes. It is good for adding shine to your crust. Mix 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Whisk it well. Glaze the crust immediately before placing it into your hot oven.

yogurt crash course signup

Are you interested in more recipes with yogurt?


If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately to Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! Paula


Flaky Butter Pie Crust with Yogurt 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.
5 from 35 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) a Flaky Pie Crust with Yogurt:
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 it 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

Nutrition Facts
Flaky Butter Pie Crust with Yogurt Recipe
Serving Size
 
1 slice
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
129
Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
12
g
18
%
Saturated Fat
 
8
g
50
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
55
mg
18
%
Sodium
 
84
mg
4
%
Carbohydrates
 
4
g
1
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
2
g
4
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Pies
Cuisine: American
Keywords: Greek yogurt pie crust, yogurt pie crust recipe
Did you like this? Leave a 5-star rating inside the recipe at the top! 🤩 No comment is required.

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Recipe Rating




55 Comments

  1. It is sooooo good and easy too.

  2. By the way, my pastry cloth is so worn out there is a hole in the middle, but I cannot find a new one. Everyone seems to have gone to the silicone mats. Does anyone know where to find the old-fashion pastry cloth and roller stocking???

    1. I just bought a new one at Ace Hardware. Have also seen them in the grocery store. You can always use a linen-like dish towel if it’s big enough.

  3. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit says:

    Pie crust and I have a love-hate relationship. I love eating it and hate making it. 🙂 I’ll have to try this one- I haven’t found one yet I couldn’t mess up but I hope this one will be the first!

  4. You are so smart! Your crust looks wonderful.

  5. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Yay! The crust recipe is here! Not that I’ll dare make it…but I can admire it from afar…

  6. I have several excellent pastry recipes, but have never tried one with yogurt. Will definitely give this a try.

  7. wow, you are a very good cook, that looks delicious.

  8. It looks and sounds just wonderful! Who needs filling, right?

  9. Looks like a very interesting recipe. I like the idea of the tang of the yogurt. I’ll bet you could also make the dough in a food processor.

    1. A food processor would work or you could just make it by hand the old-fashioned way.

  10. I’m not much of a pie crust making person but this looks so flaky, easy, and good. I’m still admiring not only the crust, but the banana custard pie too! 🙂

  11. Paula, I learn so much from you!! This is brilliant! Love this post…your instructions are perfect. I have had my eye on the Flour book for a while now…I think its time to be added to my collection! Thanks for this…have a great week! xo

  12. Perfect looking pie crust! I love the “cookies” – that’s what I call a cook’s reward. 😉

  13. Who need the filling when you have such a nice flaky crust.
    Mimi

  14. Vodka piecrust is my favorite, but I can’t wait to try this!

    1. Hi Tamara, If you’re talking about the one in Cooks Illustrated, I’ve tried it too. Good. I think you would enjoy this one too.

  15. I am pie crust impaired, but you can bet I am going to try this!

  16. This looks so fabulous. It’s going on my must-try list!

  17. I’m the family pie maker at Thanksgiving- I can’t wait (but I will for the sake of my waistline) until the fall when I can pull out this recipe! Thanks! I’ll report back in November… PS I bought all the stuff I need to make yogurt- now I need to work up the courage to actually do it!

  18. 5 stars
    I have been making mine with all butter and cold water for the longest time. when you posted yours earlier this year with the yogurt i had to try and I keep coming back for it. Its the perfect crust for us and is my go to now. Just came back looking for it since I cant find my copy (we just moved across country). Thanks for the perfect crust for us!

  19. I just found your blog and recipes through Pinterest – I LOVE the sound of this pie crust! I have been on a very similar mission to find the perfect crust and I am super excited to try this one out! Thank you for sharing!! And, of course, I pinned both the crust recipe as well as those delicious looking crust cookies! Yum!! 🙂

    1. Thanks Jade,
      Hope you like it. It’s the flakiest pie crust ever! pr

  20. I’ve had this pinned for quite some time and I wish I had found it/did it sooner!! It turned out SO WELL!! I made it with greek yogurt {I followed your direction of thinning it down} and used it as the crust for a strawberry cream pie. My friends couldn’t stop complimenting!! So happy to have found a healthier pie crust! Thanks for sharing.

    1. You’re welcome, Michelle. It is one of the best-kept secrets on this blog.

  21. 5 stars
    I think I found my new way to make crust, so trying this out soon! Thank you!!

  22. 5 stars
    I use this pie crust regularly…for apple pie, for peach pie, for chicken pot-pie, for pumpkin pie. Is is delicious…and a little bit different. It is also simple and “fool proof”.

  23. For 30+ yrs I have made pie crust w/ lard and egg yolk and vinegar. I thought the vinegar was only to neutralize the lardy taste. Wow that acid must be what makes it flakey. What a revolation. I love the buttery taste and it is getting very hard to get pure lard. The only thing I would recomend (who am I to try to teach you ) is using a food processor instead of the stand mixer. I have tried both and seem to have more control w/ the FP. I think it’s because the dough is just handled less that way. Also it is so quick. I just assemble all measured ingredients in various containers and do one recipe at a time. I have very arthritic hands and I can still make 5-6 pastry disks ready for freezer in less than 40 minutes.
    I enjoy your site and every recipe I have tried ( a good many) and always tell everyone where I got the recipe.
    Meet you in person in heaven someday. Maybe we will share a kitchen.

  24. I make my pie crust in a food processor, takes the work out of it and it always comes out perfectly in seconds. The mess is contained in the processor, less clean up. First, pulse the dry ingredients and the fat ingredients until it flakes into small crumply pieces then add your wet ingredients and put processor on slow to medium speed until the dough forms into a ball all by itself. I put my butter in the freezer for 10 minutes before using it for pie crust. I roll my crust between wax paper. I used apple cider vinegar in mine but I am going to try this pie crust recipe, it sounds and looks yummy.

  25. just wanted to let you know this has been my go to crust since you posted it. I usually use sour cream instead of the yogurt. Thanks so much.

    1. Cool! Haven’t tried sour cream but why not? Sounds great.

  26. I thought I was seeing doubles!! I read this exact recipe then realized one was supposed to be an adaptation. Not an adaptation to me! I know some people are very territorial about their recipes. I just read a review on one blog where an actual adaptation was ripped apart by the original author as not being adapted. Just thought you would like to know.

    http://www.alaskafromscratch.com/2013/11/13/flaky-butter-greek-yogurt-pie-crust/

  27. 5 stars
    I have been making mine with all butter and cold water for the longest time. when you posted yours earlier this year with the yogurt i had to try and I keep coming back for it. Its the perfect crust for us and is my go to now. Just came back looking for it since I cant find my copy (we just moved across country). Thanks for the perfect crust for us!

  28. 5 stars
    I think I found my new way to make crust, so trying this out soon! Thank you!!

  29. 5 stars
    I use this pie crust regularly…for apple pie, for peach pie, for chicken pot-pie, for pumpkin pie. Is is delicious…and a little bit different. It is also simple and “fool proof”.

  30. Dear Paula. I like the recipe but I would like to make it with non fat yogurt. Do you know what the nutitional values of the fat, protein, energy, etc might be if i use low fat yoghut? Do you know how I can calculate this? Perhaps you can direct me to a website that calculates this? Thank you very much.

  31. carl bryan says:

    I read one comment that mentioned making cookies from pie crus……did not see that anywhere in this article.
    I love the idea of keeping lettuce in glass jars & sealing. I eat more salads now.

    1. I’ve never heard of pie crust cookies but you could easily use the pie crust dough and cut out “cookies” with a cookie cutter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake. Invite me over to eat some.

      Glad to hear you are eating more salad. The vacuum-pack technique did the same for me.

  32. What why….. This is my go to recipe.. so sad please repost soon!! Thank you for sharing amazing recipes!

    1. Thank you for reposting the recipe!

      1. You’re welcome, Kelly.

  33. Could this recipe be doubled to make a two crust pie? Or should I make two batches. I made this a while back, and it was delicious. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I have tried it and decided I would just make 2 batches next time because it seems to turn out better when I make the batch twice instead of doubling. I’m not sure why. Doesn’t make sense to me. I may try it again.

  34. I have made this several times, and it is delicious. Where is the video on how to smoosh the pie crust on the plastic wrap? After smooshing, how do you get it into a nice ball? Thanks for helping me save money by making my own pie crust.

    1. Oops! Looks like I was planning to do it and completely forgot. Moving that to the top of my to-do list.

  35. 5 stars
    I am not a great Baker but this recipe turned out magically for me. The pastry is buttery, flaky and crispy. Amazing!!

  36. Pamela Lizee says:

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

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

  37. 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!

    1. 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.

  38. 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”?

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

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