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Flaky All-Butter Pie Dough

Serves: 8
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1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ice cubes
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and the salt. Place the bowl, along with a rubber spatula and pastry cutter, if desired, in the freezer. Let chill until cold to the touch, 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a 1-cup liquid measuring cup or small bowl, preferably with a lip, with ice cubes. Cover the ice with cold water.

Once the flour is cold, add the butter and toss gently to coat each piece in the flour. Use your hands or a pastry cutter to gradually work the butter into the flour: Pinch and rub the pieces of the butter into small flat disks between your fingers, tossing frequently to break up and evenly incorporate large pieces of butter. If you're using a pastry cutter, cut through the pieces of butter until they form small, flat, pea-sized pieces, tossing frequently to evenly incorporate the butter. After a few minutes of cutting in the butter, you should end up with a rough meal filled with large flakes of butter. 

Now switch to the spatula. Drizzle a couple tablespoons of the cold water into the dough, making sure to leave all of the ice in the measuring cup. Use the spatula to mix the water into the dough by gently stirring, smearing and pressing the dough against the side of the bowl. The goal here is to incorporate the water into the flour while also creating large flakes of butter in between the flour. Drizzle in another tablespoon or so of water and continue to mix. If the dough is still quite dry, add another tablespoon of water and continue to mix. You'll know you've added enough water when you can pinch the dough and it holds together without feeling dry. There still may be a few bits of flour in the bottom of the bowl and the dough will still look shaggy; this is okay.

Turn the dough out onto the counter and fold a couple of times to form a solid ball of dough. You should still see flakes of butter in the dough. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using in your desired recipe. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Photo Credit: Kate Williams

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