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Flaky Vinegar Pie Crust

Vinegar Pie Crust
The basic ingredients in a pie crust are butter, flour, salt and water. I typically add in a little bit of sugar, even if I’m making a savory pie, because it helps the crust to brown more. One ingredient that you can add to a pie crust that is a little more unusual is vinegar. Vinegar helps tenderize pie dough because it slightly inhibits gluten development, leading to a crust that is flakier and easier to work with. The great thing about vinegar is that you really only need a little bit of it to help your dough, so you won’t know what that “secret ingredient” after baking!

This Flaky Vinegar Pie Crust is a reliable recipe for producing a tender pie crust. It uses just a small amount of vinegar compared to the amount of water in the dough, but it is just enough to make a difference in the finished crust. You can make this crust by hand or in the food processor, and both methods with give you good results. Since the dough is more tender, it will need less rest after rolling and shaping it to your pie plate. You will still need to rest the dough before baking it to allow it to relax a little, but it tends to spring back less and hold its shape better than other pie doughs.

You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar in this recipe. I prefer to use apple cider vinegar because it has a very subtle flavor. White vinegar has a much stronger scent and you may be able to smell it in the dough as you are working with it. You won’t be able to smell or taste either vinegar in the finished crust, but I still opt for apple cider vinegar when I have the option.

Flaky Vinegar Pie Crust
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup butter, cold and cut into several large pieces
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
6-10 tbsp ice water

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar and salt until combined. Add pieces of cold butter and toss to coat in the flour mixture. Rub butter in with your fingertips until it is broken down into pieces about the size of and almond. Some pieces of butter may be slightly larger, some may be slightly smaller. This can also be done by pulsing the ingredients in a food processor.
In a small bowl, combine vinegar and ice water. While stirring your dough with a fork, gradually add in the water until the dough comes together into a slightly shaggy mass. If the dough becomes too sticky, add in an extra tablespoonful of flour.
Turn dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and press firmly until the dough comes together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before rolling.

Makes enough for 1 double crust pie or two 9-inch crusts

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  • Ines
    November 8, 2013

    Good advice! I had read somewhere about a similar technique using vodka instead of vinegar. I haven’t tried either, but I was wondering if you had and, if so, do you have any preference?


  • jennifer
    November 8, 2013

    My mom swears that vinegar is the key to her awesome pie crusts. She reminded me of that again just last month when I flew in for a visit. We had planned to make apple pies but ran out of time so made apple bars instead.

  • dena
    November 9, 2013

    I agree with you about using apple cider vinegar. i use it in stead of white when making a pie crust.

  • Nicole
    November 10, 2013

    Ines – Vodka will work in the same way as vinegar, however I do prefer vinegar. I find that more people seem to have vinegar in their kitchens, so it tends to be cheaper and more readily available.

  • Jenny
    November 18, 2013

    I’ve been using vinegar in pie crusts for years and prefer it over the vodka crusts. I ran out of apple cider vinegar once and had to sub white wine vinegar – and the crusts came out even better!

  • Lesa
    December 24, 2013

    I am going to try this pie crust today. But it sure would of been helpful if you would have given the baking of the crust along with the recipe…..as I have my mom’s recipe but I FORGOT to put the temp of the oven to bake it!! DUH!

  • Donna Jarrow
    November 27, 2014

    A friend suggested adding 1 Tbsp white vinegar for double pie crust recipe. I used single crust for my Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. My husband asked what was wrong with the pie. ARGH. I noticed a bitter taste in the back of my throat. Ended up throwing the pie away. Maybe the apple cider vinegar would have made the difference and a lesser amt. Plus a little sugar. Not sure I will try again tho. Expensive mistake.

  • Donna
    November 27, 2014

    OOPS. I’m new to blogging, etc. Should have left my last name off. Oh well…still not sure I will use vinegar again.

  • Jenny Price
    March 21, 2015

    The best! Just like my moms!!!

  • Marianne
    July 31, 2017

    Trying it right now and I’ll let you know… But I didn’t roll the crest out I hardly handle that and just simply pressed it and the pie pan… We’ll see, they are in the oven right now!

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