Cooking Advice

How to Roll out Pie Crust

Intimidated by homemade pie dough? Follow our expert step-by-step photos and instructions on how to roll out pie crust perfectly every time.

By Amy Traverso

Sep 07 2015

Pie Crust
Photo Credit : Amy Traverso
There are several ways to roll out pie crust, and I’ll show you my three favorites here. But first a few all-purpose pointers: 1) Always roll out from the center. This helps you produce a nicely rounded crust of even thickness. 2) Work (relatively) quickly. You don’t have to race here, but you don’t want to leave your dough out at room temperature for too long. Instead, you want your butter as cool as possible so that it doesn’t melt until it hits the oven. 3) Don’t worry about shaggy edges. If you’re keeping your dough properly chilled, it will tend to crack at the edges as you roll it out. If the cracks are large and widespread, your dough may be either too cold or too dry. Mist it with a small amount of water and see if that helps. You can also let it sit at room temperature for three minutes to soften. Otherwise, just patch the dough as needed to create a circle.
Dough on a well-floured counter
Okay, so let’s look at techniques. Lately, I’ve been fond of just free-handing the job on a nicely floured counter. My dough tends to have a good amount of butter, so I can be fairly generous with the flour and not have to worry about a dry crust. I turn the dough over to make sure it’s floured all over.
Flour, flour everywhere
And then I start rolling. As I said above, I always work out from the center, first going up toward twelve o’clock, then making my way clockwise around the dough.
Rolling, rolling, rolling
You can turn the dough a bit as you go to prevent it from sticking to the counter. I also recommend flipping the dough once for the same reason.
Turning the dough
Soon, you’ll have a nice circle. Notice that the edges aren’t perfectly clean. That’s fine.
Just about done
To transfer the dough, simply roll it up loosely around your rolling pin and release it into the pie plate.
Let the dough drop into the plate, then press it into the edges.
And that’s it. However, if you’re new to making pie crust, two other techniques can make it a little bit easier. The first is to roll the dough between two big sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap. This keeps your counter tidier and ensures that the dough won’t stick. It also requires very little flour. I decided to illustrate this method by using parchment on the bottom and plastic on top.
Plastic wrap and/or parchment paper keep the dough from sticking to the counter.
Once you have your circle of dough, just peel off the top layer of parchment or plastic, turn the dough over, drop it into the pie plate, and peel off the other layer. No muss, no fuss. Finally, you can buy a little gizmo called a pie crust bag. You put a disk of dough into the center of the round bag (they come in different sizes), zip it closed, and then start rolling.
Using a pie crust bag for a perfectly round crust
The dough conforms itself to the round shape of the bag, then you simply unzip it and drop it into your pie plate. The cleanup can be a little awkward, but the results are very good. So there you have it: My three favorite methods. Let me know if you have a favorite technique of your own. This post was first published in 2011 and has been updated.