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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.

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!

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

Lard Pie Crust

This tender flaky lard pie crust recipe is straight from my great grandma's recipe box. It practically melts in your mouth.
4.63 from 189 ratings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Servings (Enough for a single 9″ pie)
Calories 134 kcal


  • cups all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup lard leaf lard if you can find it
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons cold water


Making the Dough

  • Stir together flour and salt.
  • Cut in lard until you have a crumbly mixture.
  • Add just enough water to make it come together into a dough.
  • 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.


  • 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.



Serving: 1servingCalories: 134kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 2gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 12mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @carleecooks or tag #cookingwcarlee!
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!

Recipe Rating


Friday 7th of July 2023

I’ve had your Grandma Doris’s key lime pie with the melt in your mouth crust. I would love to talk more about all the recipes.


Friday 7th of July 2023

I am going to have to see if I can get my hands on that key lime pie recipe!


Friday 9th of June 2023

Well, I haven’t baked pies for 60 years 😉 but I’m a competitive chef, and let me tell you this is such a versatile crust. Cut with more salt if you want a more savory result. Cut with a pinch of sugar if you want a sweeter result. Also, author pretty much emphasized that quality of animals lard will essentially make or break this recipe. If you’re using an old generic brand of lard, I’m sure this recipe won’t taste well. Spend the extra money on quality people!!!!


Tuesday 16th of May 2023

I’ve baked pies for 60 years and I’m sorry to say this is the worst crust I’ve ever made. (Sorry) it was miserable to roll out cold so I had to let it warm up some, tore like crazy while trying to roll it, and after it was baked it was literally just crumbly. Never again!

Joy O'Dell

Sunday 6th of August 2023

@Jane, I also have made pies for 85 years. I have always used pure lard. My sister lived on a farm and every time they sent animals to be slaughtered she would get severl conatainers of pure lard. She always gave me one container. From your description of how your crust was, my guess is you did not put in enough water and probably over did the "cold" part of it. I measure the lard and flor and make the crust right away. I do not put it the fridge. There is no need to do that. I have made so many pies in my life I can do it in my sleep. When every I go to a pot luck I am always asked to bring a couple of pies. I do put the dough into balls and rest it, but not in the fridge. I roll out the size I need and put in my pie pan. I continue with my filling and then put The top crust on. Then I pat the top with cream or milk and sprinkle sugar over it. Beleive me, if can get this down you will making the best pie crust ever.


Wednesday 17th of May 2023

I am sorry it didn't work for you.

Doreen power

Thursday 30th of March 2023

I'll follow thos recipe from now on


Thursday 30th of March 2023

Oh yay! I am glad you like it!


Saturday 28th of January 2023

This recipe was perfect! I made it for Turkey pot pie, the family can't wait for me to make another one. Plus I have had requests for berry and cream pies also. I rendered my lard from a pig we raised last summer. Thank you for this great recipe, it will be a family favorite for years to come!


Sunday 29th of January 2023

I can't tell you how happy this makes me! And what a treasure to have homemade lard. I am so glad my great grandma's recipe is now becoming a favorite in your family as well.