Pie

10 Brilliant Ways to Repurpose Pie Dough Scraps

The bonus snacks you're rewarded with every time you make a pie crust.

October  1, 2021
Photo by Julia Gartland

Look at everything you can do with pie dough scraps! Pie dough in all of its buttery, flaky glory can go from scraggly bits piled high in the corner of a floured cutting board to a beautiful, transformative treat.

So why do we throw them away? Are we scared to overwork notoriously delicate dough? Skeptical that we could make anything with such a small amount?

When you make pies for a living like I do, it's impossible not to wonder things like this at 3 A.M. Add a couple shots of espresso and you have a full-blown investigation. Who needs melatonin gummies when you have pie dough scraps to use up?

See, pie dough doesn't want to be manhandled for a couple reasons. The longer you work in a room temperature- or summer temperature-kitchen, the more the butter slivers and shards melt prematurely. Likewise, the longer you mix and fold, the more gluten develops, which is great for (chewy) bread but bad for (tender) pastry. And this is all bad news for re-working scraps.

But the silver lining is that these snags are totally avoidable if you think of pie scraps like you think of yourself at 4 P.M. on a Friday: worked to capacity and ready to relax. As soon as you have your pie dough scraps, swaddle them in plastic wrap, form into a disc, and stick the bundle in the fridge (for at least 30 minutes or up to two days) or the freezer (for up to a month). This will keep the butter in check and help the gluten loosen up. Soon enough, the dough will be ready to have some fun again. Before you work with the dough, let it sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes. This will help the butter to soften, making it easier to roll out the dough without overworking it, while still ensuring that you get nice, flaky layers no matter what you’re baking.

Enter these mini recipes, both sweet and savory. If you have one double-crusted pie's worth of scraps, you could also have, say, an appetizer, or snack, or dessert, or breakfast. When you reroll, shoot for 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick, but no need to get ruler-exact. Bake all of the following recipes at 375°F.

Clockwise from top left: mushrooms puffs, ham & honey palmiers, cheese straws, faux-nel cake, crackers, sandwich cookies, cream puffs, rugelach, salt & pepper palmiers, breakfast crostata. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Sweet Uses for Pie Dough Scraps

If you’re looking for a way to use up pie dough scraps for desserts, I have not one, not two, but five different ways. There are many applications beyond just these several recipes, though. Take the Salt and Pepper Palmiers, for example. Instead of the two most trusted seasonings in my pantry and yours, try them with jam and herbs, Nutella, or nuts and cookie butter. Staff Writer Kelly Vaughan loves to place pie dough scraps in a metal baking tin and sprinkle them with cinnamon-sugar, and bake until the dough is golden brown. Food52 Editorial Lead Margaret Eby says that her dad does something similar; he rolls up pie dough scraps sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar and calls them "pie crust cookies!" They're the perfect sweet treat to snack on in between rounds of peeling potatoes, cutting butternut squash, and forming biscuit dough for Thanksgiving dinner.

  1. Salt and Pepper Palmiers.
    Season a scant 1/4 cup sugar to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Also good: cardamom, anise, or ginger.) Roll the dough into an 8-inch square, brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with all but a couple spoonfuls of the sugar. Incrementally fold the top and bottom edges inward, until they meet in the middle. Sandwich together. (Like this!) Transfer the log to the fridge and chill for about 30 minutes while you preheat the oven. Slice the log into cookies, about 3/4-inch thick. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Squash with your palm, if you'd like wider cookies. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the palmiers are deeply browned. Let cool completely before serving, preferably with pitch-black coffee.
  2. Nutella Rugelach.
    Preheat the oven. Roll the dough into a 9-inch circle and spread on a thick layer of Nutella. Slice into 8 triangles, like a pizza (with a pizza wheel, if you have one). Roll up each triangle, like a little croissant. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, seam side-down. Bake for about 18 minutes, until the cookies' bottoms are browned. Cool completely before serving.
  3. Faux-nel Cake.
    Add one inch of canola oil to a small saucepan and set over medium heat until it reaches about 375° F. Meanwhile, barely mush together your dough scraps, until they form a hodgepodge web. Use a spider to carefully lower the dough into the hot oil. Fry for about 5 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the dough begins to color and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Let cool for as long as you can stand it (I lasted 4 minutes). Douse in confectioners' sugar. Eat with your hands.
  4. Sandwich Cookies.
    Roll out the dough and cut it into circles or squares (I used a wine glass). Sprinkle with raw or regular sugar. Freeze for at least 15 minutes, until firm-this will encourage the shape to hold its own and reduce excess puffing. Meanwhile, preheat the oven. Bake for about 13 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool before sandwiching with whatever you have on hand. My favorites: lemon curd, blackberry jam, melted dark chocolate, any ice cream.
  5. Topless Cream Puffs.
    Find a mini muffin pan, roll out the dough, and cut into circles slightly larger than the pan's cups. Gently nestle the circles into the cups. Freeze for at least 15 minutes, until firm. Meanwhile, preheat the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the bottoms are browned and sturdy. Cool completely, then fill with big plops of barely sweetened whipped cream.
Your pie scraps won't look as beautiful as this dough (sorry), but here's the palmier-shaping idea. Photo by James Ransom

Savory Uses for Pie Dough Scraps

If you’re all pie-d out and can’t take another dessert, there are savory ways to make use of pie scraps too! You’ll meet more palmiers, but this time with ham and honey (I couldn’t give up on alllll of the dessert just yet. After all, it is the holidays!). I also walk you through how to make cheese straws and crackers that may be the best you’ve ever tasted.

  1. Ham and Honey-Dijon Palmiers.
    Roll the dough into an 8-inch square. Generously brush with Dijon mustard, then drizzle with honey. Sprinkle 1/2 cup thinly sliced, finely chopped ham on top. Incrementally fold the top and bottom edges inward until they meet in the middle. Sandwich together. Transfer the log to the fridge and chill for about 30 minutes while you preheat the oven. Slice the log into cookies, roughly 3/4-inch thick. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Squash with your palm, if you'd like wider cookies. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the palmiers are deeply browned. Serve warm, ideally with Champagne.
  2. Cheese Straws.
    Sprinkle 1/4 cup grated sharp, white cheddar over the dough scraps. Bring together lightly and quickly, to form a cohesive disk. Bundle tightly in plastic and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Roll into a rough rectangle and cut into 1-inch strips. Now fold a strip so that it's half the original length, then twirl the two legs together. Repeat with all of the strips, setting them on a parchment-lined baking sheet as you go. Sprinkle a little more grated cheese over each straw to create lacy, frico-like borders. Freeze for at least 30 minutes as you preheat the oven. Bake for 22 minutes, until very colorful. Cool completely before serving.
  3. Crackers.
    Roll out the dough. Cut into tiny circles or squares or goldfish. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, or coarsely ground pepper, or poppy seeds, or everything seasoning. Freeze for at least 15 minutes, until firm—this will reduce excess puffing and encourage the shape to hold its own. Meanwhile, preheat the oven. Bake for about 13 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely before serving with any soft cheese or creamy dip.
  4. Mushroom Puffs.
    Preheat the oven, find a mini muffin pan, and roll out the dough. Cut into circles, slightly larger than the pan's cups. Gently nestle the circles into the cups. Add a heaping teaspoon of duxelles to each dough shell. Pinch shut, like a tiny purse. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the crust begins to brown and the puffs have opened like shumai. Serve warm.
  5. Breakfast Crostata.
    Preheat the oven. Divide the dough in half. Form each half into a disc, then roll each into a circle (about 6 1/2 inches in diameter). To eat, add 2 tablespoons grated cheddar and 2 tablespoons cooked (and squeezed out!) spinach. Pinch and fold the edges inward, to form each circle into an individual crostata (these are rustic, which means whatever you do is right). Use your thumb to create a divot in the spinach. Bake for 25 minutes total, until the bottoms are browned and crisp. At the 12 to 15 minute mark—less time for a harder yolk, more time for a softer one—gently crack an egg into to the center of each crostata. Serve warm.

This article originally appeared on August 30, 2016. We're re-running it because the holidays—and pies galore—are coming!

What do YOU do with pie scraps? Tell us in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Pamela Losey
    Pamela Losey
  • Jinnie
    Jinnie
  • Janet Martin
    Janet Martin
  • Chris Glenn
    Chris Glenn
  • Melisa
    Melisa
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in November 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

11 Comments

Pamela L. October 21, 2021
The best kitchen "reward" is the Jam Roly Poly! Roll out your scraps into one jagged edged 6-7" circle, spread a dollop of jam in the middle, roll loosely and crimp the open ends together. Sprinkle a bit of sugar on top and bake.

All Brits and Commonwealth folks out there will recognize this! See Beatrix Potted for reference ...
 
Jinnie August 6, 2017
I also would like to add that I like some of the above suggestions and will probably make some pie dough just to try them out......Yum!
 
Jinnie August 6, 2017
To this day, like my Mother use to do, I squish them all together, roll them out, spread soft butter on top, give them a generous dusting of cinnamon, then a generous sprinkling of granulated sugar, spread everything together with a knife, roll up into a long log and slice into pinwheels and bake in the oven with the pie for about 10-12 minutes..........everyone loves them!
 
Terry January 10, 2021
same here - we named them 'bakies'.
 
Janet M. August 5, 2017
As Melisa remembers, my mom rolled the bits together, stuck them in a pan to fit, brushed with soft butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. I still do these little treats for my grandchildren if they are here, or hubs if they aren't--he would prefer this as my only use for pie crust pastry
 
Chris G. August 4, 2017
I've been around awhile, (70 years old), we kids grew up with the luxury of a stay at home mom, and we canned a lot of stuff and made we jams and jelly.
When mom made a pie she would roll out the scraps, and cut out rounds with a water glass. put some jam or jelly in the middle of one round, put a second on top, crimp the edges with a fork to seal, poke some holes in the top with the fork, & sprinkle sugar on top before baking. (They looked a lot like a sand dollar. And often some of the jelly would leak out.) And of course there was squabbling amongst us kids over the tarts! :-)
Chris
 
Melisa May 19, 2017
We lay our scraps of pie dough flat onto a piece of foil or parchment paper, brush with cream and top with dark brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake until nice and crisp. Sometimes we just want to make this with all the pie crust and skip the pie.
 
Diane T. September 4, 2016
My pie scraps are transformed into a traditional Acadien dessert call Pets de Soeurs which translate to Nun's farts. We used to love them as kids and still love them now. roll out pie dough scrap, butter well, cover with brown sugar, roll up, cut into wheels and bake.
 
Mark S. August 30, 2016
I would always love my mom would always make tarts from the leftover scraps and Welch's grape jelly.
 
Smaug August 30, 2016
I generally only make one pie at a time, so not a lot of scraps- usually just lay them on a pan as is (I might sprinkle on a little sugar and/or cinnamon if in a wild mood) and put them in with the pie for 10 min or so. I usually manage to eat them all by the time the pie's done.
 
amysarah August 30, 2016
When my kids were little, I often rolled or twisted tart dough scraps around simple cinnamon sugar and/or apricot jam - leftover from glazing the tart - and bake. (May be revisionist history to say I did it solely for their benefit.)