I honestly didn’t like pie crust until I started experimenting with homemade dairy-free versions. Now I have a few favorites that I could enjoy with or without filling, including this dairy-free flaky pie crust. The recipe is from my flagship book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. It combines the fresh taste of homemade with a bakery-worthy texture that complements both sweet and savory pies.
This is the Best Dairy-Free Flaky Pie Crust (IMHO)
What’s the secret to a good, flaky pie crust? It’s actually not butter. I use coconut oil to create those light layers, but have included other options with the recipe and in the FAQs below.
Can I Make this Flaky Pie Crust Ahead?
Yes, you can. If not baking the crust immediately, tightly wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 2 days. If the dough is too crumbly, let it warm at room temperature for about 10 minutes. It should soften up for easy rolling.
Can I Freeze this Flaky Pie Crust?
You actually have two choices with freezing. You can bake the crust ahead, and then freeze it. This option also works well if you want to freeze a whole pie or pot pie. Or, you can press the dough into the pie tin and then freeze it. You can remove it from the freezer, fill, and bake.
I Don’t Like Coconut. What Can I Substitute for the Oil?
If it is simply a matter of taste or preference, just use refined coconut oil. Refined coconut oil has a very neutral taste and scent. If it is an allergy issue, you can substitute palm shortening or palm oil. For other substitutes, see my Dairy-Free Oil Pie Crust Recipe (to be posted soon!).
Can I Substitute Vegan Butter for the Coconut Oil?
You could, but it won’t produce as flaky of a pie crust. I recommend using my Dairy-Free Buttery Pie Crust Recipe if you want a nice crust with rich buttery flavor.
How Does Coconut Oil Work Better than Butter?
Oils are pure fat, and oils with a higher amount of saturated fat, like coconut or palm oil, set up quite firmly when chilled. These solid little bits of oil throughout the dough create little pockets as the pie dough bakes, resulting in flaky layers of goodness. Butter and vegan butter alternatives are high in saturated fat, but they also contain a certain amount of water. This means they don’t set up as firmly when chilled, resulting in slightly less flaky layers.
Do I Need to Chill the Pie Dough?
If you follow the ingredients and directions, using semi-solid or solid coconut oil and adding cold water, you shouldn’t need to chill the dough. But if the dough sits in a warm environment, you might want to briefly refrigerate the dough to ensure the coconut oil doesn’t melt.
Can I Use a Food Processor to Make the Pie Dough?
If that’s how you like to make pie dough, then go for it! This dairy-free flaky pie crust recipe will mix just fine in your food processor. I like to keep it simple in preparation and clean up, and just use a bowl and a whisk.
How Can I Make this Recipe Gluten-Free?
In theory, you could substitute your favorite baking gluten-free flour blend for the all-purpose flour. But pie crust does tend to be finicky with gluten-free swaps. Instead, I recommend you use my Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Pie Crust Recipe (to be posted soon!).
What Pie Recipes Does this Dairy-Free Flaky Pie Crust Go With?
This dairy-free flaky pie crust works well with just about any type of pie. We love it with savory pies, like pot pie, and sweet pies, like pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie, and cream pies. I use virgin coconut oil in this vegan pie crust recipe when the buttery hint of coconut goes with the pie, like with a coconut cream pie or curry pot pie. For pies where a simple pie crust flavor is best, I use refined coconut oil.
Special Diet Notes: Flaky Pie Crust
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ to 1 tablespoon sugar (omit for a savory crust)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil, solid or semi-solid
- 3 tablespoons cold water, plus additional as needed
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
- Whisk the coconut oil into the dry mixture until coarse crumbs form. You can alternatively use a pastry cutter or fork to cut the coconut oil into the dry mixture.
- Add the cold water and stir until it comes together into a dough, bringing it together with your hands when needed. If the dough is too dry, splash in a little more water.
- Press the dough into a 9-inch pie pan, and crimp the edges as desired.
- Fill the pie and bake as directed. If you need a pre-baked crust, use the Blind Bake Option below.
Rolled Pie Dough Option: This dough can also be rolled out for use as a bottom or top crust. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll the pie dough out with a rolling pin into a rough circle that is bigger than your pie pan. Gently fold it in half, and in half again, and carefully transfer it to your pie plate. For the bottom crust, gently unfold the dough to cover your pan and lightly press it into the bottom. Fold any excess overhang under and crimp the edge. For the top crust, unfold the dough atop your filling, trim any excess overhang, and seal the pie by crimping the bottom and top crusts together.
Whole Wheat Option: You can substitute whole wheat pastry flour for all or part of the all-purpose flour. It’s a finer, lighter grind than regular whole wheat flour, so it works well in pie crusts. But it will still be just a touch heartier.