Gluten-free Pie Crust

by autumn on May 29, 2011

Gluten-free pie scared me for a really long time. Normal people—normal bakers—are scared of pie. By that logic, shouldn’t I, a gluten-free baker, be more scared of pie? Terrified even? I was, but I’ve got a little secret for you: you can do it.

The odds are in your favor. The gluten content in all purpose flour is what can make pie crusts tough. Translation: you don’t need gluten for pie. Dare I say, you might be better off without it. If you’re like me, it’s a good thing to have one less thing in a day to potentially screw up.

Maybe you’re under the impression that you need a pastry cutter or a food processor. Nope. I use a fork. Let me say that again, I use a single fork to mix the butter into the flour when I make pie. You can do that! If you don’t own a fork, I can’t help you. You don’t even need a rolling pin. Buy yourself a bottle of wine, drink it, make pie. Maybe not in close succession, but you get the idea.

Before I give you my recipe—and, really, the recipe is the easy part—I’m gonna give you my tried-and-true, learned-from-experience, just-keep-breathing tips for gluten-free pie making. Because I want you to make pie.

You should:

  • Roll your dough out between two sheets of parchment paper.
  • Generously flour (I find that sweet rice flour is best for this) your bottom layer of parchment paper and flour the top of the dough as you roll to prevent sticking.
  • Trust the butter! There should be visible flecks of butter when you add the liquid to the crust. This was the hardest step for me to master.
  • Not freak out if your dough ends up sticking to the parchment. Throw it in the freezer for a couple minutes and it should come off easily!
  • Keep in mind that pie should look homemade. In other words, pies are prettier when imperfect. If it’s flawless, people will think it came from the freezer.

Gluten-free Pie Crust

Yield: crust for 1 double crust pie, can be halved for single-crust pie


  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (make sure it’s from certified gluten-free oats)
  • 1 cup millet flour
  • 1 t xanthan gum
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 2/3 cup cold butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 4 T ice water

Cooking Directions

  1. Stir together oat flour, millet flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, and salt.
  2. Prepare a cup of ice water.
  3. Add the butter into the flour and begin to incorporate the two. If you don’t have a pastry cutter (I don’t!) just use a fork. You’re done when there are still visible flakes of butter, but you have an evenly incorporated mixture, ie: no big hunks of butter and no flour hanging out by itself.
  4. Using a tablespoon, gradually add cold water, just until the dough comes together. You may need a little more or a little less than 4T. Add 2 T and stir to combine, then add 1 T at a time after that just until the dough comes together. It should hold together in a ball, but not be sticky.
  5. Form two equal size discs with the dough, separate them with a layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Flour a piece of parchment paper with sweet rice flour or tapioca starch, place one disc of dough on the surface, and flour the top of the dough. You'll want to flour the dough a couple times as you're rolling it out to prevent sticking.
  7. When the crust is between 1/4-1/8 inch thick, carefully peel away the top layer of parchment. Use the bottom layer of parchment to quickly flip the crust into the pie plate. Carefully peel away the parchment (this is the step where you might need the freezer) and press down the crust.
  8. Follow directions for the filling of your choice and use the above method to roll-out the top crust.
  9. Follow baking instructions for your chosen recipe.

Pies to try:

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie: The pie pictured above is my crust with this filling. It seems like a ton of fruit, but don’t skimp! After baking, it’s the perfect amount.Via Epicurious.

Shaker Lemon Pie: I have wanted to try the slightly off-beat Shaker Lemon Pie forever. This one is definitely next on my list. Via Smitten Kitchen.

Sour Cherry Pie: When they’re in the market, I can’t wait to put some sour cherries in a pie! Via Lottie + Doof.



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julia May 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Beautiful! And now I’m also dreaming about sour cherries…


2 autumn May 30, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Thanks, Julia!


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