How to make pie crust in your stand mixer: easy does it

Is it a good idea to make pie crust using a stand mixer? Or is it really better to combine all of the ingredients — the flour and salt, fat and water — by hand?

The vast majority of pie crust recipes (including those here on our recipe site) direct you to combine the dry ingredients, then work the fat in using a pastry blender, pastry fork, two knives, or your hands.

As far as using one of your handy countertop appliances, some folks say you can make pie crust using a food processor. But never will you see anyone espousing the use of a stand mixer (or electric hand mixer) to make pie crust.

Why is that? We use our trusty stand mixers for everything from brownie batter to bread dough — why not pie crust?

Some say a mixer toughens crust. Others say it doesn’t flatten the fat in just the right way. And for some, I think it’s simply resistance to change: Great-Grandma didn’t use a mixer, and neither do I!

Well, I’m going to tell you a little secret: I’ve been using my stand mixer to make pie crust for years. Nay, decades, ever since I got my first mixer by saving S&H Green Stamps (and if you know what those are, you know how long ago that was!).

Truthfully, you may get marginally flakier pie crust by flattening each little piece of cold butter by hand as you work it into the flour. But these days, my aging hands, wrists, and shoulders — to say nothing of my patience — are sorely tried by the process.

I’ve used a stand mixer to make pie crust forever, and people have always raved about my crust. And I believe that using a stand mixer to make pie crust is a perfectly reasonable solution for those who don’t want to work fat and flour together by hand.

Can you make pie crust using a stand mixer? Yes indeed — and here's how. Click To Tweet

I’m using our recipe for Classic Double Pie Crust here, which combines both butter and shortening. The recipe yields crust with a textural combination of tender shortbread and flaky croissant — with a generous measure of crispness thrown in.

Make pie crust via @kingarthurflour

To make pie crust, first combine flour, salt, and shortening

I put 2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 cup vegetable shortening into the bowl of my stand mixer. I then use the beater attachment at speed 2 to create an evenly crumbly mixture. (I’ve poured the mixture out onto a piece of parchment so you can see it clearly.)

This first step, thoroughly combining shortening with flour, is what produces a tender crust. Fat coats the flour, which helps prevent gluten from forming strong bonds. When you cut into your baked crust, it breaks easily — which registers as “tender.”

Make pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Next, cut ice-cold butter into small cubes

This recipe uses 10 tablespoons of unsalted butter. A baker’s bench knife is very handy here. These butter cubes will separate from one another as you mix them into the flour.

Make pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Add the butter to the flour/shortening

Beat on a low setting (speed 2) until the mixture is unevenly crumbly. That’s unevenly crumbly: you want dime-sized chunks of butter to remain unmixed.

Make pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Like this.

Make pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Add ice-cold water as the mixer is running

The recipe I’m following calls for 6 to 10 tablespoons of water. However much water your recipe calls for, don’t add it all at once; drizzle it in slowly. When you see the mixture start to form larger clumps, stop adding water (and stop the mixer).

Make pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Stop mixing when the dough becomes cohesive

Grab a handful of the crumbs and squeeze. Do they hold together? If not, continue to drizzle with water until the dough is cohesive when squeezed.

Make pie crust via @kingarthurflour

When that happens, you’re ready to add enough of the remaining water to make a crust that comes together nicely, without any crumbs remaining in the bottom of the bowl. Stop the mixer — you’re done!

Make pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Gather the pastry into a ball and transfer it to your work surface. I like to work on parchment; it makes cleanup super-easy.

Make pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Divide the dough

Shape the cohesive dough into two disks. For a double-crust pie, one disk should be about twice as large as the other. The larger piece will be the bottom crust, the smaller one the top crust.

Make pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Chill and roll

Refrigerate for 30 minutes or so, and you’re ready to roll. This short chill lets the flour absorb the water, as mentioned above, and solidifies the fats, making the crust a bit easier to roll.

See that white patch in the photo? That’s a flattened piece of butter, and that’s exactly what you want to see in your unbaked crust: flat chunks of butter, big and small. These butter chunks will translate to flakiness as the pie bakes.

So at the end of the day, how do you know if it’s really OK to make pie crust using a stand mixer?

Make pie crust via @kingarthurflour

The proof is in the pudding — er, pie!

I’m betting there aren’t many who’d turn down this slice of Apple Pie, made with the crust you saw prepared above.

Now remember, there’s no such thing as baking police; if you’ve always made your wonderfully flaky and delicious pie crust using a pastry blender, food processor, or your hands, keep on keeping on. If your pie crust prep ain’t broke – don’t fix it!

But if you hesitate to make pie crust because you’re unsure of your hand-blending technique, or your arms and hands can’t take it, or you simply love the convenience of your electric mixer — go for it. Put away that pastry fork for good — no one will ever be the wiser!

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This isn’t actually a recipe, but rather a blog post about an alternative method that you can use with any pie crust recipe you like. Feel free to visit the recipe used in this example (our Classic Double Pie Crust recipe) and click the “Print Recipe” box in the upper right-hand corner. From there, you can add any adaptations, either from this post or your own experience, by hand. Happy baking! Kat@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Brittany! We haven’t tried it ourselves, but as long as the lard has been refrigerated so that it is cold and doesn’t blend into the flour completely we think it would work just fine to use this technique with a lard-based recipe. Happy baking! Morgan@KAF

  1. Larry

    Pinned this recipe.. Finally tried it, this comes out great. Equal to my hand made, but so much easier on my bad shoulder. I would recommend anybody to use this for a fantastic crust. 8 minutes start to finish!


    I have made this twice and the crust tastes good but it is not flaky. Do you offer one on one courses. I would be interested

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Donald! For a flakier pie dough, you’ll want to leave your butter in larger chunks. The pieces of butter should be about the size of walnut halves. We do have classes that highlight making pie dough, they’re not individual classes but our instructors are always happy to help students and one of the pie dough classes is a four day intensive with lots of opportunities to learn the technique. We hope this helps and happy baking! Morgan@KAF

  3. SarahD

    I used this method to make crust for pi/e day and it came out great. I’m usually hopeless at pie crust, so this was very exciting. I see more home made pie crust in my future.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Rosemary! This article is about the technique of using your stand mixer to make the pie dough, the baking time and temperature will come from your pie recipe as they are also dependent on what the filling is. For recommendations on blind baking crust for things like custard pies, we’d suggest checking out our blog article, How to blind bake pie crust. We hope this helps and happy baking! Morgan@KAF

  4. Laura B

    Ha, I remember S&H Green stamps! This should make you laugh. The very first time I made a pie crust I kneaded the dough as I had never seen my mom make a pie crust but I had seen her make bread. Needless to say, it came out like cardboard. I use my food processor these days and love the way my crust comes out. I will have to try my stand mixer next time. Thank you for the memory.


Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *