When it comes to pies, there are generally two types of crusts: pastry crusts and crumb crusts. A flaky pastry crust is delicious, sure, but a crisp graham cracker crust can be the better choice for some pie fillings. Plus, when you’re looking to streamline your pie-making process, they are quicker and easier to make.
Graham crackers are the base for just about every crumb crust out there. The crisp, plain “cookies” are versatile and inexpensive, both of which make them a good option. You can use other cookies such as vanilla or chocolate wafers, but you can never go wrong with graham crackers. The crust really only uses three basic ingredients: graham crackers, sugar and butter.
How to make a graham cracker crust
The first step in making a crust is to pulverize the crackers into fine crumbs. This can be done in the food processor, blender or even by hand using a heavy kitchen object (such as a rolling pin) to crush the crackers. You want the crumbs to be as fine and even as possible, so I highly recommend sticking to the mechanized options.
The crumbs are combined with sugar and butter, then pressed into a pie plate. I recommend greasing the pie plate lightly with butter to help release the crust when it’s finished baking, and to help encourage the exterior of the crust to get crisp in the oven.
Use a measuring cup or a flat-bottomed glass to help pack the moist crumbs down into a tight layer. A firmer pack on the crust means that your filling is less likely to make the crust soggy later.
The crust should be baked until crisp before filling it. You can bake it a day or two in advance, if you want to get your pie prep done ahead of time. The crust can then be filled with any filling you can think of, from pumpkin to chocolate cream.
Variations on the classic graham cracker crust
Most of the time when people use crumb crusts, they opt for a store-bought option. There is no doubt that they are very convenient, but homemade crumb crusts aren’t much more difficult to make.
Plus, homemade crusts give you more freedom to put a unique twist on your recipe: You can easily add other flavors in to the graham cracker base. To give your crust a little more depth or to tie it in with the filling, try one of these easy variations.
- Add 2-3 teaspoons lemon or lime zest to compliment a citrus-based pie filling
- Add 1 teaspoon ground pumpkin pie spice for a fall-inspired crust
- Add 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder for a chocolate crust
Perfect graham cracker crust
Makes 1 pie crust
- 9-10 whole graham crackers
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9″ pie plate with butter.
In a food processor or blender, pulverize graham crackers into very fine, even crumbs. Add in sugar and salt, process to combine. Transfer crumbs to a bowl and add in butter. Stir until crumbs are evenly moistened and the mixture resembles wet sand.
Pour crumbs into pie plate and press into an even layer on the base and sides of the plate. Using a measuring cup or a flat bottomed glass, firmly pack the crumbs down.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the crust begins to turn golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and allow crust to cool completely before filling.
Craving pie? Indulge yourself.
Fall is the perfect excuse to bake a pie. Go ahead, make yourself a slice of heaven.