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Great Grandma’s Lard Pie Crust

Thanks for sharing!

This tender flaky lard pie crust recipe is straight from my great grandma’s recipe box. It practically melts in your mouth.

apple pie with golden homemade lard pie crust.

If the perfect pie crust is on your baking bucket list, you have to give this recipe a try. After a long search, we finally have my great grandma’s recipe for the pie crust she was so famous for.

Luckily we are all the beneficiaries of her decades of experience. Please give it a try for yourself. 

Is there a certain food that instantly makes you think of your grandmother? For my mom, that food is pie.

Her dad’s mother lived in rural Indiana. So visiting was always such a treat for her and her Chicago suburbanite siblings. 

My mom has tried so many pie crusts over the years trying to find one that rivals hers. She has stumbled upon some good ones like her flaky pie crust and even a chocolate pie crust.

flour, lard, salt and ice water ready to be made into pie crust.

Even though they were absolutely great, they just weren’t grandma’s pie crust. Then finally she got the recipe from her cousin.

We finally had it! So you think there would be instant pie, right?

Not quite.

Good lard makes all of the difference 

The key to a great pie crust is using good ingredients. There are so few things in there, the flavor of each one makes a big difference. 

My mom remembers going with her grandma to the butcher to get the lard for her crust. She said “if you don’t have the right lard, it’s not worth making a pie.” 

Leaf lard is the most prized lard around. It is super white and sourced from around the kidneys and loins of the pig.

pastry cutter cutting lard into flour for pie crust.

So we waited until we had the good stuff. MiMi rendered leaf lard from pigs they raised on their little homestead farm.

It was finally time to make a pie. And it was worth the wait.

Of course you don’t have to render your own. Leaf lard is available, you may just need to put in a little effort to find it.

Good has a clean flavor and makes the flakiest pastry. It is worth going out of your way to find the good stuff.

ball of pie crust dough in bowl.

Lard, really?

Yes! Lard actually has a lot of advantages over other fats you could use in your pastry.

Lard blends easily, chills nicely and has such a silky feel in your hands as you work with the dough. It creates such perfect flakes in the crust.

It is easier to work with cold than butter and doesn’t melt as quickly. Plus it has less saturated fat and no trans fats unlike shortening. 

disks of pie crust dough wrapped in plastic wrap to chill.

Tips for a flaky crust

Getting a flaky crust depends on more than just using lard. Of course there are more tricks you can have in your arsenal. 

The first is the temperature of your ingredients. Using cold lard and water will help keep the fat from melting before you are ready.

Chilling the dough before you roll it and again before you bake it also helps. I like to pat it into disks before I chill it.

pie crust rolled into a circle on a silicone mat.

That makes it chill more evenly and you have a head start on rolling it out vs. chilling it as a ball. Of course working it as little as possible will help as well.

The notes on my great grandma’s recipe say to preheat a cookie sheet with the oven. Put the pie pan on the hot sheet pan.

The pan will not only catch any drips, but will also apply even heat across the bottom of the pie. It will help prevent that dreaded soggy bottom. 

It’s pie time!

I used this crust to make my great-grandma’s apple pie. That recipe is coming in a couple of days. 

It is the gold standard of pie’s in my mom’s eyes. She drove across town in snow and subzero temperatures to have a slice. Of course now we love it too. 

pie crust dough in pie pan, ready to be trimmed and filled.

This pie would also make a great pot pie. Whip some up to make an extra tasty creamy chicken pot pie or ham and cheese pot pie

I can imagine great-grandma loving a good old fashioned sour cream and raisin pie. Or whip up a fun oatmeal pie for another fun treat. 

Lard pie crust in pan with crimped edges, ready for filling.

Don’t forget to save those scraps and turn them into cinnamon sugar pie crust cookies! That is a great reward for making your own crust.

Love this recipe? Give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review in the recipe card below!

Yield: 12 Servings (Enough for a single 9" pie)

Great Grandma's Lard Pie Crust

pie crust dough in pie pan, ready to be trimmed and filled.

This tender flaky lard pie crust recipe is straight from my great grandma's recipe box. It practically melts in your mouth.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup lard (leaf lard if you can find it)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons cold water

Instructions

  1. Stir together flour and salt.
  2. Cut in lard until you have a crumbly mixture.
  3. Add just enough water to make it come together into a dough.
  4. Pat into a flat disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill at least a half hour.
  5. Roll into a thin circle and fit into your pie pan.

Notes

This is enough for a single pie crust. Double the recipe for a double crust pie.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 134Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 12mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

This tender flaky lard pie crust recipe is straight from my great grandma's recipe box. It practically melts in your mouth.

Thanks for sharing!

Leela Manilal

Sunday 23rd of January 2022

Instead of lard can we use butter I am allergic

Carlee

Sunday 23rd of January 2022

Sure. Butter or shortening are both options for making pie crust.

Jessica

Wednesday 8th of December 2021

Excited to try this with some home-rendered lard for a meat pie. Do you know if this dough would freeze well? And how would you freeze it?

Jessica

Wednesday 8th of December 2021

@Carlee,

Wow did this ever turn out great, thank you Grandmother for passing this recipe on. It's so quick and easy to make and it was so crispy and flaky. This was my first time making pie ever.

For a pork filled pie, I baked it at 375F for 45 mins or so to get that nice brown crust (I used the excess dough to put a very thin and skimpy top on the pie.) The filling recipe was from a guy named Ricardo's website.

I used my first ever batch of rendered lard for this, I wasn't sure I did the it right but it turned out perfect. It definitely wasn't leaf fat, it was just excess back fat etc from a friend's pasture-raised pig. And my slow cooker's "warm" setting was still hot enough to cook the fat and impart a super porky (and delicious) flavour. So this batch of lard is going exclusively to meat pies, tortillas and other savoury dishes, plus frying and seasoning cast iron. 5 lbs of fat gave 3 pints of lard, I probably could have gotten more but I didn't know when it was done.

Thanks again for my new go-to pie crust recipe. I did double the recipe and freeze one portion, when I use it I'll try to remember to give feedback.

Cheers from Nova Scotia.

Carlee

Wednesday 8th of December 2021

It should freeze great. I would pat it into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap then put it in the freezer. Just allow it to defrost in the refrigerator overnight the day before you plan to use it. I hope you enjoy it, pie crust is such a great way to use that home-rendered lard. What do you usually do with the rest of your lard? We will have a new batch soon too!

James

Thursday 25th of November 2021

I tried making this with the jars that I could get at my local grocery store but it ended up tasting a bit like bacon. Not in a bad way, but not in way that pairs well with with a dessert pie.

Is the reason to use leaf lard because it has a neutral flavor, or does all lard taste a bit like pork?

Carlee

Thursday 25th of November 2021

It must be the kind of lard. Without a lot of other ingredients to mask it, a strong flavored lard would definitely be able to be tasted in the final pastry. It sounds like it would be great for a pot pie pastry though, or use the lard to make fried potatoes or to fry eggs in.

Carlie

Wednesday 24th of November 2021

Is it okay to double the recipe? I know some recipes doubling doesn't work as well so I wanted to make sure first!

Carlee

Wednesday 24th of November 2021

This recipe multiplies easily, so go ahead and scale up. Happy baking!

Elisabeth

Monday 22nd of November 2021

My grandmother always told me that lard made all the difference in a pie crust, but I never realized how right she was, until I made a peach pie, using this recipe this past summer. We had purchased a butchered pig, and one of the things they asked if we wanted was the lard. Thankfully, I was there to say yes when my husband said no. Neither one of us could believe how incredibly this or crust just melts in your mouth! I actually made another pie, intentionally using half butter and half lard because I thought it was a fluke, but it wasn’t. That crust was disappointing, and as soon as I made, yes, a third pie, using only lard as the fat in the crust, it was back to mouthwatering, melts-in-your-mouth goodness. Thank you for sharing this recipe!!! (Side note - alllllllll my pie crusts before this gave me trouble, but this recipe I managed to roll out and put in the pie plate beautifully! So if you struggle with pie crusts, give this a whirl! You’ll be glad you did!!)

Laura M.

Friday 21st of January 2022

@Elisabeth, Your comment gave me some renewed hope for this pie crust challenged grandma! It just frustrates me so much that last time I made one it kept sticking to marble rolling pin and cracking even though I kept floured. I ended up just patting it into the pie pan. I am so determined to master this! I had used a recipe that was butter and leaf lard so I will use this recipe now. If anyone is looking where to buy leaf lard I buy mine from Etsy. Fannie & Flow is the name of their business. Hope that's ok to mention here. Lol, I use it almost everyday! Fry my eggs and I've been known to take a dap for my hands and sometimes my face! :)

Sandy

Tuesday 23rd of November 2021

@Elisabeth, I’m so glad you shared this. The recipe above is from my grandma. After years of searching for her recipe I gave up on trying to find a crust that wasn’t disappointing. It turns out my cousin had it. I actually cried when Carlee made this for me. Just like I remember it!!

Carlee

Tuesday 23rd of November 2021

That makes me so happy! I agree, it's the most tender pie crust I've ever made. I've never much liked making my own crust pastry but now it seems wrong not to. Thank you so much for trying the recipe and letting me know how much you enjoy it!

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