Perfect Vegan Pie Crust

October 31, 2012


Author Notes: Think a perfectly flaky pie crust is impossible without butter? Think again. This pie crust is totally authentic and yet totally dairy free—all thanks to the magic of coconut oil.Gena Hamshaw

Makes: a double crust for smaller pie pans or a single crust with lattice topping for deep-dish pie pans
Prep time: 20 min

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (more as necessary) coconut oil, cool enough to be solid
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cane or demerara sugar
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cups ice water
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. I like to use a food processor for my pie crusts, which would make some crust connoisseurs cringe, but is fast and easy. Start by placing the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse to combine. Add your solid coconut oil and pulse until mixture is crumbly and will stick together when you squeeze it. Pulse in 1/3 cup water, or until the dough holds together well when you make a handful of it and is visibly starting to come together in the food processor. It’s fine to have a lot of crumbs still—that’ll make a good, flaky crust—but it should be easy to shape into a large ball, too. If necessary, add a little more water until the texture is right. Alternately, you can cut the oil into very small pieces and work them into the flour with bare, dry hands. Add the water and knead the whole mixture together until it has the texture described a moment ago.
  2. Turn dough onto a clean, dry surface that has been dusted with flour. If you’re not ready to use the crust, shape it into a flat ball, wrap with saran, place in a freezer bag, and freeze. If you are ready to use it but not this very second, you can store it in the fridge till it’s time to bake.
  3. When you are ready to use the crust, make sure it’s soft enough to roll, and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large circle—enough that you can imagine easily covering your pie pan—using extra flour to keep things from sticking as you go. Gingerly lift it onto your pie crust (little tears are fine, and you can fix them later). Squeeze the edges to make a pretty, puckered pattern. Refrigerate crust till you have the filling made and are ready to bake it.

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Reviews (43) Questions (5)

43 Reviews

Stefano A. July 19, 2017
worth trying<br />I made this dough using virgin coconut oil. The dough behaved ok and it cooked nicely. I used a peach and blueberry filling, which I poured onto the still raw, but frozen shell (scattered with biscuits crumbs). the tart cooked beautifully in 40 minutes. It was crisp, golden, perfectly cooked and not soggy, nicely short. HOWEVER, it does taste unmistakably of coconut, which I did not like at all. If u r a coconut fan, I would give it a go, otherwise I would explore first other vegan pastry doughs.
 
Cris C. November 13, 2017
Try using refined coconut oil. It doesn't have that coconutty taste.
 
catalinalacruz June 4, 2017
A problem I have using coconut oil in pastry is that the kitchen temperature, always a wild card (the time of year, the weather that day), has a great deal to do with how well it rolls out. It is sort of a Goldy Locks and the Three Bears dilemma. Too warm and it falls apart. Too cool, and it remains to hard to roll out. Even the flour temperature influences the hardness or softness of the dough. There has to be a temperature that's just right, as Goldy Locks would say, but I don't know what it is. And if I did, would my kitchen temperature cooperate?
 
Windischgirl June 4, 2017
That's been my frustration with coconut oil, which is why I rarely use it. It seems to either be crumbly or liquid, not much in-between. Butter and other vegetable fats have a phase that is 'creamy' and spreadable. I share your frustration!
 
Claire S. December 9, 2016
I made two batches of this recipe at separate times (after forgetting I needed a top and bottom crust). The first one was made with unrefined virgin coconut oil and refrigerated overnight. The next one was made the next day with refined coconut oil and rolled out for the pie pan immediately. After transferring from the food processor and trying to roll out, I put it back in the processor to add a splash more water to keep it together, and it came together just fine.<br /><br />I took out the dough from the night before and after a few hours sitting out at room temp, it was still rock hard. I needed to bake it so I put it in the microwave for 30 seconds, which softened it up, but when I tried to roll it out, the dough would not stick together. I looked fine down on the counter, but as soon as I tried to pick it up, it would come apart. I tried adding more water like with the other crust, but it just wouldn't stay together.<br /><br />Does anyone know why one of the crusts worked but the other didn't? Was it the overnight refrigeration and subsequent microwaving? Was it refined vs. unrefined coconut oil? The crust that did work was delicious and I'd love to make it again and want to make sure it works!
 
Jaime S. November 22, 2016
Would this work with turbinado sugar?
 
neshama369 August 8, 2016
my problem with the coconut and vegan shortening is that they start to soften very quickly, unlike butter, when cold, which holds its shape. so, i don't get the pebbly thing. i tried putting it in the frig, and that made it too hard. any ideas?
 
Samantha L. November 26, 2015
I used this recipe for my apple pie this year- I have people who have a real aversion to coconut so I subbed the coconut oil for soy-free Earth Balance spread. It was so easy, everyone(even non-vegans) raved about it, and I've never made a pie crust in my life! Thanks!
 
Samantha L. November 26, 2015
PS I don't have a food processor or fact pastry knife, I just used a butter knife and my hands and it was fine!
 
Cris C. November 13, 2017
That's my plan! I'm going to use 1/2 refined coconut oil and 1/2 Earth Balance.<br />
 
Denise F. November 21, 2015
So there's no pre-cooking of the dough?
 
Renata H. December 16, 2014
I don't know what I did wrong, I followed exactly the recipe but at the end it had a very strong coconut flavor (and it was an artichoke/spinach/tofu filling) and very hard to cut. Could be that I used GF flour?
 
1234cake December 20, 2014
If you want to avoid the coconut flavor I'd recommend refined coconut oil next time. Most extra-virgin types (depending on quality) are going to impart a pretty potent coconut flavor to anything they're used in.
 
Gee November 30, 2014
I made creamy mushroom pies with this and it worked so well! Didn't have quite enough coconut oil so subbed in some Pure (vegan olive oil spread) and it was delicious. It took about 40 mins to fully cook. Thanks :)
 
CJ October 22, 2014
Do you think it would be possible to sub out the flour (or some of it) for buckwheat or almond or a more nutritious alternative?
 
Chantelle R. September 16, 2014
CookedGoose I think it wound press well into a pan . I will try it in muffin tins for mini pie .
 
Chantelle R. September 16, 2014
I used this recipe to make vegan hand pies I used 2 Tb of organic sugar . I was leary of coconut oil working flaky magic in the crust but it awesome . Slightly sweet it played off my filling and stood up to a good stuffing of it . I gave a water bath and a sprinkle fine cinnamon sugar. Big hit !
 
CookedGoose June 27, 2014
Just made this; I thought the crust was a bit too dry when I put it in the pan, but it baked beautifully. I might add a bit more sugar next time. <br />Does anyone think this could work as a pate brisee, allowing one to press the dough in the pan instead of rolling it out?
 
Judith April 20, 2014
Oops, my comment was mostly about the pumpkin pie recipe on this site: http://food52.com/recipes/19560-you-won-t-believe-it-s-vegan-pumpkin-pie<br />Apologies!
 
Judith April 20, 2014
I should add that I have a mini roller that's perfect for rolling out dough right inside the pie plate pan.
 
Judith April 20, 2014
For Easter Dinner today I decided to try this cashew based recipe instead of the tofu based one I've used in the past. My daughter is also allergic to gluten, so I make a pie crust subbing the flour for Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour, and instead of rolling it out I just press and roll it out right inside the pie crust pan. I poke it with a fork in several spots and then bake at 350 for ~14 minutes. Then I put the pumpkin pie filling in and bake. It turned out beautifully! The taste was much more pumpkin like than the tofu based recipe, and my family gobbled it up. For the topping, I make the whipped cream using canned coconut milk that's been in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Just whip it up with 2-3 tbsps of sugar. Make sure the pie is cool before putting the coconut whipped cream on top. This pumpkin pie recipe is a winner! I'll be making it for all future holiday dinners, scrumptious!!!
 
Amanda R. January 15, 2014
How long do you suggest this bakes for, and at what temp?
 
Erin J. January 11, 2014
For savory pie just omit sugar?
 
Drew F. November 22, 2013
Look good
 
Jennifer H. November 14, 2013
Could I use Walnut Oil instead of Coconut Oil? Or is the consistency of Coconut oil very important? The reason I ask, is that one of my sons despises everything coconut.
 
Trees November 24, 2013
You have to use a fat/oil that is solid at room temperature. Vegetable shortening also works and has a neutral flavor.
 
JenniferJuniper June 3, 2014
Coconut oil (especially refined coconut oil) does not have much if any flavor and will not impart a coconut taste onto your crust. I guarantee your son will have no idea there's any form of coconut in it.