Whenever I leave this world, I hope that my friends and family will think of me fondly and say, “That Erin. She baked a serious pie.” Especially if I used my Darn Good Whole Wheat Pie Crust.

Whole Wheat Pie Crust

Hopefully, they’ll also mention something about my being a good person—while eating slices of pie.

I have a fierce, somewhat inexplicable desire to be a great pie baker. The only rational interpretation I’ve found for this compulsion is that I consider pie to be the dessert translation of love. It’s messy, it’s intentional, and it doesn’t have to be perfect to be magnificent. In fact, I consider “pie” and “love” so synonymous, I once baked heart-shaped pies. Totally rational.

While I have many, many pies to bring into the world before I consider myself a “serious” pie baker, judging by the number of empty plates I’ve left in my wake thus far, I’m at least “respectable,” an honor I attribute to the fact that I finally broke down and started making my pie crust from scratch.

Or possibly my Cherry Pie Filling as well.

Homemade pie crust intimidated me. I believed it to be hard, time-consuming, and a feat that could only be achieved by professional bakers and seasoned grandmothers (often one and the same). I was convinced that, if my pie crust wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t worth making.

It doesn’t have to be perfect to be magnificent.

How to make perfect Whole Wheat Pie Crust that's tender and flakey every time.

How to make the best Whole Wheat Pie Crust

The Beauty of Homemade Pie Crust

As it turns out, pie crust is neither time-consuming nor the baking equivalent of Mt. Everest. In fact, if you use a food processor, it takes a grand total of 10 minutes. Silence the voices that tell you pie crust is hard, that flakey is impossible, that homemade isn’t worth it. (This Oil Pie Crust is 100% worth it!)

While I do think that making a perfect pie crust from scratch requires long practice, fortunately for us, the distinction between “perfect” pie crust and “darn good” pie crust is a minute one, and darn-good pie crust can be made by just about anyone with a positive attitude and a willingness to embrace butter.

In my quest to leave a positive pie legacy, I’ve tried a plethora of different pie crust recipes and techniques. The clearest distinction between one recipe and another is the type of fat used. My Grammy uses 100% shortening, while some of my favorite bakers like Deb and Joy swear by all-butter. Between the two, I find that shortening is indisputably flakier, but butter wins for best flavor, so I opt not to choose and use a combination of both. The butter/shortening ratio in this recipe from Ina Garten (mostly butter, some shortening) nails both flakey and flavor, and the final version of today’s whole wheat pie crust recipe is closely based on it.

Whole Wheat Pie Crust Recipe

How to Make a Whole Wheat Pie Crust from Scratch

Forever dedicated to lightening up my favorite comfort foods, I conducted a series of healthier pie crust recipe experiments. I swapped part of the butter for oil. I tried Greek yogurt. I even browned the butter to see if the stronger flavor would allow me to use less.

The results: only butter and shortening will do. (To the person silently insisting, “lard!” I’m sure it would work famously—I just didn’t go there.) Pie crust is worth doing properly. Embrace the butter and shortening.

How to make whole wheat pie crust from scratch

Fortunately, my attempts to sneak whole-wheat flour into the pie crust were roaringly successful. A blend of half all-purpose, half whole-wheat pastry flour still gives a tender, flakey texture, and the whole wheat adds a light, nutty flavor that’s delightful combined with any pie or quiche filling.

Tips for Pie Crust Success

  • Overall, the most critical success factor to pie crust making I’ve found is restraint (in all things but butter anyway). When working in the butter and shortening, do not overdo it. The butter/shortening chunks should remain large, nearly the size of your thumbnail. When adding the water, stop just as soon as the dough is moist enough to hold together when pinched.

Homemade Whole Wheat Pie Crust

  • The second critical success factor: keep it cold. The colder you can keep the ingredients (and the less you handle the dough), the flakier your crust will be.

Easy Whole Wheat Pie Crust

Once the ingredients are combined, pop the dough into the fridge for some extra chill time, then we are ready to roll.

The Best Whole Wheat Pie Crust

Now, I’m not going to pretend that I am an expert pie-crust crimper. In fact, I rewatch this MarthaStewart.com video every time I bake a pie. Then, I remind myself that a beautiful crimp and a mediocre crimp taste identical. My edges might never be Martha-perfect, but remember, perfect isn’t what we’re after.

We’re after darn good, and this whole wheat pie crust is all of that and more.

It doesn’t have to be perfect to be magnificent.

Delicious Sweet and Savory Pie Recipes

How to make Whole Wheat Pie Crust

Whole Wheat Pie Crust

Whole Wheat Pie Crust

4.56 from 9 votes
An easy recipe for whole wheat pie crust that's tender and flakey every time. Use this recipe for all of your favorite pies and quiches.

Prep: 10 mins
Total: 1 hr 30 mins

Servings: 2 (10 inch) pie crusts

Ingredients
  

  • 12 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 6-8 tablespoons ice water (about 1/2 cup)

Instructions
 

  • Cut the butter and shortening into a small dice, then place them in the freezer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Place the all purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, then pulse a few times to combin. Scatter the butter and shortening pieces over the top. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of chickpeas. Some of the pieces will be small and others will be larger (about the size of a thumnail).
  • With the machine running, add 4 tablespoons ice water to feed tube. Add the remaining water one tablespoon at a time, just until the dough is moist enough to hold together with a small portion is pinched between your fingers. Pulse the machine until the dough forms a shaggy ball. Place the dough on a lightly floured board and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Once chilled, divide the dough in two. Use both immediately or wrap and refrigerate for up to two days or freeze for up to two months.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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79 Comments

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  1. I couldn’t fins Whole Wheat Pastry Flour in my store but I keep King Arthur 100% Organic Whole Wheat Flour in my freezer. Can I adapt the Whole Wheat Pie Crust recipe to use this flour?

    1. Hi Margaret! If you use regular whole wheat flour vs. the whole wheat pastry flour, your crust will be more dense and have a more pronounced wheat flavor. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t be delicious! It just depends on what you prefer. You could also try doing 1 cup whole wheat plus 2 cups all-purpose flour. I hope that helps!

    2. Hi my crust tends to have spots that are darker than the crust when I bake. Is this from the butter?

  2. I love this pie crust. I made it tonight for a chicken pot pie and it was flaky perfection. I used 1 cup AP flour, 1/2 cup WW flour and 1 1/2 cup WW pastry flour. It was delightful. I am going to use the leftover pastry for apple hand pies.5 stars

  3. I made this crust once with just all purpose flour and it worked swimmingly. Today I tried to make it with WW pastry flour and it was the driest dough I have ever worked with! Will definitely make again, but will stick to just all purpose flour so I don’t waste butter again ?3 stars

  4. Will it work to sub coconut oil for the shortening? And is whole wheat pastry flour the same thing as white whole wheat flour? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sarah! I haven’t tried that swap myself, so you’d be experimenting. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes! Whole wheat pastry flour is different from white whole wheat flour. It will work in this recipe, but it will result in a more dense and wheat-flavored crust. I hope this helps!

  5. Not sure why you would put sugar in this pie crust. I am trying to find a good recipe for whole wheat pie crust to make individual pot pies to freeze and use, as needed. I am convinced I can make a better batch of pot pies than those frozen things at the store. But I can’t see having sugar in a pie crust for chicken pot pie.

    1. Hi Bonnie! The sugar helps enhance the flavor of the pie crust and makes it more tender, but it does not make it taste overly sweet. I hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it!

  6. Looks great! I’ve never made pie crust before. Any tips for making this by hand? I don’t have a food processor.

    1. Hi Lisa! You could certainly do it by hand using a pastry cutter, forks, or two knives. I find if I’m not using a food processor, a pastry cutter is the easiest. I hope this helps!

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