How to Make the Perfect Vegan Pie Crust

May 27, 2015

I had trouble with pie crust when I started baking. It can be very temperamental, and people often get frustrated when making pie dough. Fear not, because pie dough can actually be easy to make, and there isn’t much difference between vegan and non-vegan pie dough, save the fat you use. It’s so easy to find plant-based fats, like margarines and shortenings, that mimicking a traditional pie dough is super easy to accomplish.

To get our perfect vegan pie crust, we have to first understand its components. Our basic components are flour, fat, and liquid. For vegan pie dough, feel free to experiment and try different types of fats to get the combination you like the most. Here, I use coconut oil in combination with a firm vegetable margarine. I like using coconut oil because of its superior nutritional benefits compared to a shortening like vegetable Crisco. To that I add margarine, for extra flakiness. Some people like to use only margarine. The tiny bit of apple cider vinegar keeps the pie crust tender, and you can’t taste it after it’s done baking.

Maddy’s Perfect Vegan Pie Crust Recipe

1 ¼ C all-purpose flour + extra for sprinkling

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

¼ C cold margarine

¼ C coconut oil, cold (let sit in the fridge for at least half an hour first)

1/4 C ice water

1 T apple cider vinegar


Combine ice water with apple cider vinegar, and set aside in the fridge.

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.

pie dough dry ingredients

Cut in margarine and coconut oil into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or a fork until the fat is just barely smaller than the size of an almond. If you have a food processor, you can use it, but you don’t have to. Lots of recipes will say to get the fat to be pea-sized, but that’s actually too small to get the type of beautiful golden brown crust that you want. So be careful to not cream the fat completely into the dry ingredients, just cut it in so that it is pebbly.

pie dough fats cut in

Grab the water/vinegar mixture from the fridge. Slowly pour into the flour/fat mixture and use your palm to work in the water (or add one tablespoon at a time into your food processor and pulse.) Continue until the dough just comes together. You want the dough to be barely sticky. Do not overwork the dough! If you need more water, you can add it 1 T at a time. If you add too much water, just sprinkle on some more flour.

pie dough together

Once everything is combined, form the dough into a ball, press into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.

pie dough wrapped

Once your dough has rested, take it out of the plastic wrap. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface, and place the dough in the middle. Sprinkle some more flour on top of the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough in a circular motion. Add more flour to the dough on both sides if it sticks to the work surface or the rolling pin. Continue until the dough reaches an inch past the edge of the pan you will be using.

To transfer the dough to your pan, fold the dough in half, then fold again. Pick it up and put the point in the center of the pan.

pie dough folded

Unfold. The edges of your dough should be drooping over the sides of your pan—this is what you want. Cut off any excess uneven edges, then fold the dough over and press into the bottom of the pan. This helps you create a nice, smooth edge for “fluteing” (a fancy baking word for crimping the edges so that they look nice and pretty.) Then crimp your dough onto the pan in whatever style you prefer.

I like to use my thumb, and forefinger, like this, to create nice edges:

pie dough flute

Bake the lone crust for 10 minutes at 350 F, then add the filling of your choice, and bake at 375 F for about 40 minutes or until the crust edges are golden brown and insides are cooked. I did an apple-pear crisp here. Happy pie-ing!

apple pear crisp


Also by Maddy: The Best Tofu Scramble Recipe

More vegan pie recipes: Paleo Chocolate Silk Pie

GF Strawberry Kiwi Tarts

Mini Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

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Photo: Maddy Strassler

Maddy is a vegan baker who lives in Ridgewood, Queens. She holds a B.A. in sociology from Bard College. She has worked for vegan bakeries in New York City and Washington, DC. She enjoys cooking just as much as baking and loves to experiment in the kitchen. Outside of the kitchen, she likes to bike, and spends her time playing guitar with her band, The Meltaways. Follow Maddy on Instagram @madstrass.


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