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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78 Comments

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  1. What did our ancestors without food processors do? I always wonder.
    This looks amazing. I love whole wheat crusts for savory quiches, or for nuttier fruit pies. It’s such a great balance!

    1. I’ve used a fork and if I ever get lucky I’ll have a pastery blender. Something you use manually. Hands work well too.? I love your receipes I cook with alot of whole grains.

  2. Pie crusts are my baking Achilles heel, so I’ll have to try this one. The addition of whole wheat flour is a great idea!

  3. Erin, you make this sound so easy. I am one who is intimidated by pie crust, but now I’m going to attempt it. After all, what do I have to lose? Just a few ingredients and maybe a little pride…. Lol.

    1. You have NOTHING to lose Diane, that’s the beauty of it! Worst case scenario: just cut the crust dough into strips, sprinkle it in cinnamon sugar, and bake. You’ll have a tasty snack (and pie crust strips are YUMMY on ice cream too). I believe in you :)

      1. Back in the day whenever my mom would make her homemade pie crust, she would take any leftover crust pieces and put a little dab of butter on them and then sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon on them, and then she baked them for us! When I was young, I always liked the sweetened crust better than the pie she was making! LOL!!! 

        1. That sounds so yummy! Thank you for taking the time to share this adaptation! Also, you can print this recipe by clicking the “Print” button under photo in the recipe card. I hope this helps for the future!

  4. Love this tutorial! I, too, have been super intimidated by homemade pie crust. I’ll have to give this one with whole wheat flour a go for sure.

  5. A gorgeous pie crust that you should be extremely proud of. I need to try this one at home. 

  6. I’ve always been an all-butter kind of pie baker but love the flakiness of shortening as well. This is just a great balance of both worlds. Now if only I can crimp like you, then life as a pie baker will be complete. 

  7. AMEN SISTER!! I am a firm believer in the idea that pie=love. And pie crust from scratch is soooo worth it. I’m just loving everything you said in this post! :)

  8. Your pie crust looks perfect! Your tips and step by step shots are spot on and I love the whole wheat flour you snuck here too :)

  9. Wow that pie crust really does look amazing! And I love that it’s whole wheat, that’s awesome!! Pinned :)

  10. I just love that you found a way to use whole wheat in a pie crust! Pie crusts are not my forte – I battled it out with a quiche recipe I was trying to make … I need to try again! haha

  11. I honestly prefer whole wheat flour in most baked goods. I find that cookies and pies made solely with AP flour kind of bland. I can’t wait to try your recipe for this pie crust – spring is pie season, right?

  12. pie is my favorite dessert! Love that you made the crust whole wheat! also, your crimped edge does look perfect to me! 

  13. “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be magnificent”

    Now that’s a great mantra for those of us with perfectionist tendencies… This is what I need to be repeating to myself so that I can finish my current project at work… and maybe I will reward myself once I do finish it by making me some pie…. yes…! Alright then, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be magnificent….”

  14. Yeah!! I love making pies…I’ve always been of the mind that if something screws up, who cares? It may lead me to waste an ingredient or two (not the best thing when working with the expensive stuff), but I haven’t met a recipe yet that I’m afraid of. I love the idea of incorporating whole wheat in a pie crust. Way to go!

  15. Lady, this pie crust looks more than just “respectable”! I’m horrible at crimping pies. Thanks for the tip about the Martha Stewart video! I need to check that out the next time I make pie!

  16. I’m a shortening and butter pie crust gal as well. I love the flakiness shortening gives, but that butter flavor is irreplaceable. I need to try sneaking in some whole-wheat flour next time. Also, that crimping is picture perfect! 

  17. Thanks for sharing! I am new to pie baking, but have been scared to try making crust. I figured it just wasn’t worth it. I am going to try making my own crust after reading this post!

    1. Stephanie, this makes me so happy to read! I avoided pie crust for years, but this recipe really is pretty straightforward. Now that I’ve gone homemade (and it tastes SO GOOD), I just can’t go back! I do hope you try it. I bet your crust will be just amazing!

  18. Hi Erin, what a great post. I love baking pies myself, but I’ve never thought about doing a whole wheat crust! I’ll have to try this sometime. Just one question: is whole wheat pastry flour different than regular whole wheat flour? I have whole wheat flour in my pantry already, so would I be able to use that?

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Lara, if you love baking pies, you’ve got to try whole wheat! Whole wheat pastry flour is actually much finer than regular whole wheat flour and the protein content is different too (which impacts how light and flakey the crust is). If you use regular whole wheat vs. the whole wheat pastry, your crust will be more dense and the wheat flavor more pronounced, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be delicious! It just depends on what you prefer. Maybe try doing 1 cup whole wheat plus 2 cups all purpose. (Or just pick up some whole wheat pastry flour. I love having it around!). Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions :)

  19. I think your edges are pretty close to perfect!  Way better than mine, my edges always look awful, but it totally doesn’t matter cause homemade pie crust still tastes great!  I agree, using shortening and butter makes the best pie crust, but I have never tried whole wheat flour before.  I will definitely be doing that soon!

  20. Did you ever try making it with 100% whole wheat pastry flour?  I’m gonna try it with some peaches!  Love peach season!

    1. Marci, this would be fabulous for peach pie! I have done 100% whole wheat pastry flour and wasn’t as happy with the results. It came out a bit too crunchy and the wheat flavor was a little too strong. I think the half and half is worth it in this case. Just my opinion, for what it’s worth :)

  21. Good stuff Erin. I have been retired for about a month.  I bought myself a bread machine and a food processor. My doctor does not want me to consume any bleached flour. I was thinking of trying a mixture of whole wheat pastry flour and unbleached white flour.  I think I remember reading that backing powder also adda to the flakeness of the crust. The last and only pie crust I tried was one from Alton Brown had for apple pie.  I will try yours next. 

  22. I used to have a whole wheat pie crust recipe that made enough for 4 crusts. It was easy to make, wonderful to eat and froze superbly. Sure wish I could find it again!
     

    1. Ann, you can try doubling this one if you like! I hope it’s a good as your original. We do like it a lot :)

    1. Good question, Kelly! I started calculating nutrition info for my recipes in 2016, but unfortunately it’s very time consuming, so I am not able to go back and add it to recipes published before then. If you’d like, you can calculate it for free at myfitnesspal.com (the site I use) or other online sites! I’m sorry that’s probably not the answer you were looking for, but I hope My Fitness Pal can be a good resource for you!

    1. Hi Deirdre, I’m not sure what you mean—this pie crust recipe doesn’t need a dutch oven or pot. Were you referring to the pot pie or another recipe that uses the pie crust?

  23. I tried this when I made the chicken pot pie recipe. This is the best crust! It was great with the pot pie and I’m sure it will be even better in a peach or apple pie. It was so easy to make too.  

    Would this need to be pre-baked for a dessert pie or would it depend on the filling?  5 stars

    1. Hi CJ! I’m glad you love the crust. This would only need to be prebaked if you’re using it for a refrigerated no-bake type pie or one where the directions instruct you to use a parbaked or prebaked pie crust.

  24. I’m making this for a luncheon for my best friends today…..I hope my crust works out with whole wheat and all purpose flours as I don’t have whole wheat pastry flour. Any suggestions on how to make up for this? More butter, less shortening?5 stars

    1. Hi Marilyn! If you use regular whole wheat vs. the whole wheat pastry, your crust will be more dense and the wheat flavor more pronounced, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be delicious! It just depends on what you prefer. Maybe try doing 1 cup whole wheat plus 2 cups all purpose. I hope that helps.

  25. I’m excited to try this!! :-) I was feeling overwhelmed with the thought of making homemade pie crust but after reading your article, you made me feel so cheered up to make that ‘darn good pie crust ‘ that I was sure that patriotic Amber Waves of Grain song was playing in the background somewhere. ??❤Thx a ton for helping me realize I don’t have to be perfect at this!?

  26. Love your recipes but most time it’s annoying to FINALLY get to them. It’s time consuming, irritating , annoying  and many times I  don’t have time to go through all the reading. 
    Why not jump to the real recipe  and make it more user friendly??? 4 stars

    1. Hi Jean! There’s a “jump to the recipe” button at the very top of every recipe post if you prefer to skip past the informational recipe background, step by steps, and photos that are provided in the blog post.

  27. The only thing that would make this recipe better is if there was a printable recipe.   I don’t like having to scroll for the different  parts of the recipe. And, I don’t want to get flour on my iPhone, so a printed copy would be perfect! 4 stars

  28. Erin, you and your recipes have a special folder on my computer. I pulled this one out to try today and although I was certain it was a failure when I dumped it out of the food processor, it rolled beautifully and tastes divine! Can’t wait for your cookbook — i love your writing style and even enjoy reading your blog posts for food I know I will not eat (read SEAFOOD!). Thanks for sharing so many great recipes! My next project is puff pastry — my family would love this and i haven’t ever tried cooking with it. It’s already on the grocery list for this week! Merry Christmas5 stars

    1. Hi Ash! I haven’t tried this swap, but you could experiment with it. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  29. I plan to make the chicken pot pie recipe for dinner tonight and I want to use your whole wheat piecrust recipe also. I don’t have any whole wheat pastry flour but I have whole wheat flour and all purpose flour. Could I use that combination maybe in a 3 to 1 ratio instead of 1 to 1?   I have white whole wheat flour also.  You may have guessed I am trying to avoid a trip to the store.
    I love all of your recipes!
    Lois Rouse

    1. Hi Lois! If you use regular whole wheat vs. the whole wheat pastry, your crust will be more dense and the wheat flavor more pronounced, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be delicious! It just depends on what you prefer. Maybe try doing 1 cup whole wheat plus 2 cups all purpose. I hope that helps.

  30. Erin! Your biggest fan here – I want to make your chicken pot pie this weekend and I want to use this crust recipe, I just don’t have a food processor :( I’m waiting for Amazon to deliver one, but of course because of everything going on, its taking a long time.

    Is there any alternative in your view? I have a big blender? Or could I use my hands if I don’t overwork the dough?

    Otherwise, I suppose I will have to practice some patience…

    Thanks for your help! Obsessed with your recipes.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Olivia! 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!

      1. Hi Erin,
        Thank you for your help – I managed to get my hands on a pastry cutter, and it worked! I did this paired with your glorious chicken pot pie – I was a popular food-girl this weekend, so thank you again, as always!5 stars

    1. Hi Frankie! 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!

  31. 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!

  32. 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

  33. 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

  34. 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!

  35. 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!

  36. 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!