The flakiest whole-wheat pie crust! This all-butter pie crust is flavorful, flaky and oh-so crispy. Ideal for fruit pies, this crust can also be used for pumpkin pie, pecan pie, pot pie, quiche and more.

baked pie crust in pie plate

Ingredients in Whole-Wheat Pie Crust 

4 images showing how to make pie crust in a food processor

How to Make a Flaky Whole-Wheat Pie Crust

Use a combination of all-purpose flour and whole-wheat flour.

Whole-wheat flour is surprisingly ideal for pie crust. Whole-wheat flour develops less gluten in the cooking process than all-purpose flour. So by replacing some of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat you’re creating a more tender crust.

The best texture and flavor comes by using a combination of AP and WW. I don’t recommend using all whole-wheat flour as the crust comes out too crumbly and dry.  

I’ll keep working on creating a 100% whole-wheat pie crust, but in the meantime I wanted to share this one because it turned out so well. It’s flaky, full of flavor and super easy to make.

three image showing how to roll pie crust out

Butter vs. Shortening

Most pie crust recipes call for butter and shortening (my go-to regular pie crust uses both). The benefit of using shortening in addition to—or instead of—butter is that it’s 100% fat whereas butter is only 80% fat. 

Butter contains up to 16% moisture. And what makes a stodgy crust? Moisture. Shortening promotes tenderness (lack of moisture means less gluten formation), flakiness and even structure. 

So why would one even want an all-butter crust? For one, butter tastes better. And two, many home cooks prefer butter to shortening for nutrition reasons. Both are high in calories and saturated fat, but butter is less processed and offers beneficial fatty acids and nutrients. 

three images showing how to line a pie plate with pie dough

How to Make a Flaky Pie Crust with Only Butter

  • Small pockets of butter. Small pieces, or pockets, of butter in the dough is essential for creating a tender and flaky crust. The pockets of butter will melt during baking, creating thin layers of dough.
  • Use cold butter. In order to create flakiness, it’s important to use very cold butter. Small pockets of butter cannot be achieved using room temperature butter. 
  • Freeze the dough prior to baking. Freezing the dough-lined pie plate prior to baking solidifies the pieces of butter which allows them to slowly melt during the baking process. This step allows the crust to set before the butter fully melts, which creates flakiness.
  • Blind baking the crust. It’s important to blind bake this crust prior to using it. However, the blind baking process is a bit different than most. Instead of using pie weights, the pie is lined with foil and allowed to puff slightly before being pushed back down which creates layers.
four images showing how to crimp the edges of pie dough

FAQ about this recipe

Can this whole-wheat pie crust be used for quiche?

I haven’t tested it, but I imagine it would work well for quiche. It’s sturdy, yet flaky, which is ideal for quiche, especially our Broccoli Cheese Quiche.

One thing to note, if you use this crust to make the Broccoli Cheese Quiche, make about half of the custard filling since this crust is for a regular 9-inch pie plate, not a deep dish pie plate.

Follow the recipe as written, removing the foil layer and baking just until the crust is dry to the touch, about 5 minutes. Fill with the custard mixture and bake until set. If the crust starts to over-brown before the quiche is set, shield the crust with foil. 

Can coconut oil be used in place of butter? 

I haven’t tested this either, but I do not recommend making this with coconut oil. Butter adds flavor and tenderness that just can’t be achieved with coconut oil. 

Test Kitchen Note: this crust recipe is for a regular 9-inch pie plate. Do not use this crust in a deep dish pie plate or it will slide down the sides and shrink in size.

two images showing a fork pricking pie dough and foil lining pie dough

Our Favorite Pie Recipes…

Flaky All-Butter Whole-Wheat Pie Crust

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Yield 1 single pie crust for regular 9-inch pie plate
Category Baking
Cuisine American
Author Lauren Grant


The flakiest whole-wheat pie crust! This all-butter pie crust is flavorful, flaky and oh-so crispy. Ideal for fruit pies, this crust can also be used for pumpkin pie, pecan pie, pot pie, quiche and more.


  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (66g) white whole-wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon (3g) kosher salt
  • 11 tablespoons (150g) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 4 –6 tablespoons ice water


  • Process flour and salt in a food processor. Scatter butter over flour; pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, 7–12 pulses. 
  • Drizzle 3 tablespoons of water over flour mixture. Pulse until mixture resembles wet sand and forms a dough when pinched, 5–10 pulses. (If the dough is too try, add additional water by teaspoon until a dough forms when pinched.)
  • Transfer to a large piece of plastic wrap and gently form dough into a ball; wrap in plastic and flatten into a 5-inch disk. Refrigerate dough until very firm, at least 1 hour.
  • Generously flour a work surface. Unwrap dough and lightly dust with flour. If needed, let dough stand at room temperature until it gives slightly when pressed; 5–10 minutes. Roll dough out into an ⅛-inch thick 13-inch round.
  • Fold dough in quarters; place corner in center of a 9-inch pie plate. Gently unfold dough to cover plate, using one hand to pick up edges of dough and an index finger to press dough into corners and up sides. Trim dough overhang to ½-inch. (Use dough trimmings to patch any thin creased areas caused by folding). Tuck edges of dough under and crimp using thumbs and pointer fingers.
  • Freeze dough-lined pie plate for 20 minutes. Prick bottom, sides and corners with a fork. Line dough with a piece of foil, pressing it flush against the corners, sides, and to cover the rim. Prick foil about a dozen places with a fork. Freeze shell for 30 minutes.

For Pre-Baked 9-Inch Regular Pie Shell:

  • Heat oven to 400ºF (204ºC) with rack set in lowest position. Bake shell 25 minutes, pressing down on foil with an oven mitt to flatten if it puffs. Remove foil and continue to bake shell just until it begins to color, about 10 minutes.

For Partially-Baked 9-Inch Regular Pie Shell:

  • Heat oven to 400ºF (204ºC) with rack set in lowest position. Bake shell 25 minutes, pressing down on foil with an oven mitt to flatten if it puffs. Remove foil and use as directed according to pie or quiche recipe.


Dough can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead of time.


Serving: 1/8 of the recipeCalories: 219kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 4gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 154mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
baked pie crust in pie plate

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine,,, and more.

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  1. Turned out great! But how do you avoid getting little tiny pieces of aluminum foil in the crust after poking with a fork? I had to try to gently pull them out after the pre-bake and before adding our filling. Thank yo7n

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      I’m so glad this turned out well! That should absolutely not be happening with the foil—I’m sorry about that! First, I would make sure the crust is thoroughly frozen before lining it with the foil. If it’s frozen it shouldn’t pick up any foil pieces. Additionally, you could poke a few holes in the foil using a paring knife prior to lining the crust with it. I hope this helps!

      Thanks for reaching out,