Recipes, Special Diets on November 16, 2011 by

Gluten Free Pie Crust Basics

UPDATED: It’s 2016! I wrote this post five years ago. I’ve updated it a bit and fixed some busted links. Leave questions in the comments if you have them. Now, on with the show.


As I mentioned in my post about making a good gluten free gravy, one of the keys to finding a recipe that you can trust is finding the common denominators.  What seems to come up over and over again in the recipes? When I first heard about ratios for baking and cooking, I pretty much ignored it- that stuff is for fancy cooks and people who make their own recipes. However, the more I think about it, applying mathematical thinking to recipes is pretty spectacular. Finding rules for what works and doesn’t work is pretty novel when you apply it to converting recipes to be gluten free. While I’m hesitant to take the plunge and buy the book or download the app, I’m definitely fascinated by this idea of rules to follow for successful baking.

A flaky gluten free pie crust is as easy as pie. // @bobsredmill

Thanks to Gluten Free Canteen and Gluten Free Girl, I found the ratio for pie crust: three parts flour to two parts fat to one part liquid. Does it matter that you’re attempting a gluten free recipe? Not in this case. From everything I have found, a pie crust does not need xanthan or guar gum to be successful. That makes two awesome discoveries in two days! Seems more and more folks cannot tolerate xanthan or guar gum and finding recipes that don’t need one or the other is truly something special around here.

Before we get to the recipes, we’re missing one last piece of the puzzle and that piece is chilled butter and/or chilled water (or milk). If you don’t know why this is so important, let me tell you. Chilled butter is where all of the flakiness comes from in pie crust. As you cut together the flour and butter to make small pea-sized pieces, what you’re doing is creating little fat pockets in your dough. When you cook your crust, the butter melts leaving behind little tiny air pockets… at least, I’m pretty sure that’s what happens. Cold water keeps the butter from melting prematurely.

A flaky gluten free pie crust is as easy as pie. // @bobsredmill

Finally, if you have a food processor—by all means, USE IT. It will make your life easier and produce pretty darn good results. Even Julia Child moved to using a food processor for pie crusts when she discovered how much easier it was.

Here are some recipes that I found for gluten free pie crust that I would stake my Thanksgiving pie on. And you want to know why? They use the same general rules of thumb as the ratio AND they’re almost all the same. We’re getting closer and closer to the big day,  if you can do a dry run this weekend I recommend it. You can do it! I know you can!


Lisa @ GF Canteen says:

Cassidy – I thought ratios were too fancy once upon a time. Anything that reeked of math made me run in the other direction. But now – now I use them for everything (almost) and it is very cool how it actually works (most of the time). Pie crust is one of those times where it always works – dairy free or made with butter – still works. Thanks so much for the mention. And Happy Turkey Day to you and everyone at Bob’s.

Beth Davis says:

This is my easy recipe for flakey, perfect pie crust using Bob’s Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour:

1 1/4 cups (5.5 oz.) Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 large egg
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, plus 1-3 tbsp ice-cold water (if needed)

Whisk together the flour, sugar, & salt. Cut the cold butter into pats, then cut the the pats into the flour mixture till it’s crumbly, with some larger, pea-sized chunks of butter remaining.

Whisk together the egg and vinegar until very foamy. Mix into the dry ingredients. Stir until the mixture holds together, adding 1 to 3 additional tablespoons ice-cold water if necessary. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.

Roll out on a piece of plastic wrap or on a silicone rolling mat that has been sprinkled with gluten-free flour and roll with a & flour-dusted (and if possible, chilled) rolling pin. Invert the crust into the prepared pie pan. Fill and bake as your pie recipe directs.

For a pre-baked pie crust, pierce the crust all over with a fork, paying especial attention to the crease, lay in a round of parchment paper and a pie chain, and bake in a preheated 325℉ for 20-25 minutes until light golden brown.

Catherine Briasco says:

I have found your recipe for gluten free pie crust using Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour. Is this recipe ( l l/4 c gluten free l to l flour, 6 tablespoons cold butter. 1 large egg , cider vinegar etc) for a single crust so that the ingredients should be doubled for a 2 crust pie?

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