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Great Grandma’s Lard Pie Crust

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

Lard pie crust pastry fitted over apple pie filling with vent holes in the middle, ready to go in the oven.

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.

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

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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

Looking down on piece of deep dish apple pie with lard pie crust on small dessert plate with fork, ready to eat.

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. 

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.

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

What is the secret to a good pie crust?

There are two secrets that make a super tender crust. The first is keeping it nice and cold.

Start with cold water and lard and refrigerate the crust again before you bake it. The second is to work the dough as little as possible.

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

Lard pie crust pastry fitted over apple pie filling with vent holes in the middle, ready to go in the oven.

Lard Pie Crust

Servings: 12 Servings (Enough for a single 9″ pie)
Author: Carlee
This tender flaky lard pie crust recipe is straight from my great grandma's recipe box. It practically melts in your mouth.
4.66 from 202 ratings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • cups all purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ½ cup lard leaf lard if possible
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons cold water

Instructions
 

Making the Dough

  • Stir together flour and salt.
    1½ cups all purpose flour, 1 pinch salt
  • Cut in lard until you have a crumbly mixture.
    ½ cup lard
  • Add just enough water to make it come together into a dough.
    3 to 4 Tablespoons cold water
  • Pat into a flat disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill at least a half hour.
  • Roll into a thin circle and fit into your pie pan.
  • For the flakiest crust, put the crust lined pie plate back in the refrigerator for another 15 minutes. Or go ahead and proceed to bake according to your pie filling's instructions.

Blind Baking the Crust

  • To bake the pie shell without fillings, preheat oven to 425°F. 
  • Prick the crust a few times with a fork, then line with parchment paper or foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 12 minutes.
  • Carefully remove paper or foil and weights then ake 8 to 10 minutes more for a partially baked crust, or for a fully baked crust 10 to 12 minutes longer until golden brown.

Notes

  • This is enough for a single pie crust. Double the recipe for a double crust pie.
  • You can make pie crust dough ahead of time if you want. Store the disk of wrapped dough in the refrigerator for up to three days or freeze it up to three months. Defrost frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight before using.
  • Using a good quality rendered lard will make for the best pie crust. If it's not by the shortening or butter, you may ask at the meat counter or at a local butcher shop.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 134kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 2gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 12mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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4.66 from 202 votes (191 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




Jane B

Monday 17th of June 2024

The best pie crust/pie I have ever made in my life! I used sourdough starter instead of water, just enough to hold the crust together (about a half cup of very active/bubly starter). Wrapped it tight and put it in the fridge overnight. I used fresh lard from the local butcher (125g). I made a double crust pie out of the recipe by dividing the dough and rolling it thinly between two sheets of parchment paper. This was the flakiest most tender crust I have ever eaten, no soggy bottom even though I used frozen strawberries and rhubarb. I used a scraper to help peel the parchment paper off by pulling the paper straight back, any extra dough got tucked in behind the edge to make it a little thicker keeping all the yummy juices from spilling out and making a beautiful fluted edge. I have been making pies for about 50 years and up to 20 at a time as a summer camp cook when I was a teenager. I highly suggest you double the recipe and store the second half of the dough for another day.

Carlee

Monday 17th of June 2024

I love the idea of using sourdough starter instead of water. I can't wait to try that!

Jill

Friday 22nd of March 2024

The crust is delicious. Your instructions are very helpful. My only problem is I never have enough crust (one crust pie) to flute the edges. Am I just not rolling thin enough?

Carlee

Friday 22nd of March 2024

Thank you! And probably. Unfortunately finding the sweet spot is hard

eileen

Tuesday 23rd of January 2024

We made this in bulk when I was a child. 6 cups flour and a pound of lard. Added salt as well but I'm not sure how much. We kept the dry mix in a jar and measured out 1 1/2 cups and added ice cold water. Rolled it out with a bit of flour and into the pie pan. No fancy tips or tricks. I'm going back to this because the pastry made with other fats just isn't worth it.

Carlee

Wednesday 24th of January 2024

I love that so much! What a fabulous idea to have the mix ready to go and such a fun memory.

Fiona

Tuesday 23rd of January 2024

Great recipe, very happy to have found it, thanks. Today I’m making sausage rolls with it. I will admit to being a bit lazy and doing it in my food processor - carefully - still fabulous pastry 😊

Carlee

Wednesday 24th of January 2024

The food processor is great for pastry as long as you know when to quit! I am glad you liked it!

Gary Soderberg

Tuesday 19th of December 2023

Wouldn't it be great to just get a recipe online without 15 pages of crap and pop up ads!

GP

Sunday 31st of December 2023

@Gary Soderberg, Do (or did) you work for free? Didn't think so.

Laura

Sunday 24th of December 2023

@Gary Soderberg, click “print recipe” and all the extra goes away ☺️ I’m going to try this today with lard I got from my friend who has pigs!!

Carlee

Wednesday 20th of December 2023

Thanks for your feedback! I do my best to provide the best content I can that’s free and accessible to people at any skill level. The additional information included with each of my recipes contains tips and tricks, troubleshooting guides, answers to frequently asked questions, and more! I realize not everyone may need the extra info, so I also have a jump to recipe button to make sure those needs are covered too. As for the ads, running a website costs money. So do the ingredients to make all of these recipes. The ads help offset the time and expense of sharing the information with everyone. There are plenty of ad-free resources out there, but most cost money to access.