This gloriously flaky gluten-free pie crust recipe rivals a wheat crust! It's super flavorful thanks to whole food ingredients: sweet rice, oat, and millet flours plus flax or chia seed (no xanthan gum!). A couple of classical pastry techniques make it easy to work with and give it extra layers.
I'll show you how to use these ingredients and techniques to get the flakiest GF pie crust, plus how to shape and blind bake it for all your pie needs. Use it in sweet and savory pies, tarts, galettes, quiches and turnovers.
The recipe is adapted from my award-winning cookbook Alternative Baker: Reinventing Dessert with Gluten-Free Grains and Flours.
Looking for a flaky gluten-free pie crust that tastes like it was made with wheat flour? I've spent years developing a recipe that tastes and feels like a whole wheat pie crust – buttery, flaky, and full of flavor.
Here's why this recipe is (IMHO) the best gluten-free pie crust out there:
- It's super flaky and easy to work with. It can be rolled out, fluted, weaved, and crimped with ease.
- It's made from whole-grain gluten-free flours that add nutritional value and loads of flavor. As a bonus, you don't need to source a particular flour blend to make it!
- It's free of xanthan gum, which some folks are intolerant of (plus it just sounds icky!)
- You'll feel like a professional pastry chef while you make it! I'll show you a couple of classic pastry techniques that create layers upon layers of flaky goodness.
- It can easily be made dairy-free and vegan by using plant butter.
- You can use it to make pies, savory tarts, galettes, and quiche.
A Decade of Great Gluten-Free Pie
I first developed this gluten-free pie crust recipe in 2013 and I loved it so much, it inspired me to write an entire cookbook about baking with alternative flours and seasonal produce! I was eating a slice of a crumb-topped apple pie ala mode made with this crust, and I literally forgot that it was gluten free. I knew I needed to share it with the world!
This is *not* the simplest gf pie crust recipe out there. More conventional recipes rely on storebought gluten-free all-purpose flour blends that are loaded with starches and gums and don't have much nutritional value. They may be easy to make, but they tend to bake up pale, bland, and pasty.
My recipe starts with whole-grain flours, enough starch to make the dough easy to work with, and flax or chia seed instead of any gums. It's one of the more advanced recipes in my book and on my site due to the number of flours and starches it uses (5) and the techniques it requires (fraisage and turns). But I've been making it over and over for the past ~10 years with no changes. It's very much worth the effort!
But don't take my word for it. Here are a few things readers have said over the years in the comments section below:
Seriously the best gf pie crust I’ve found. It’s the only pie crust recipe I use anymore!
I just made this crust last night and it was the best gf crust I’ve made yet. The texture was fantastic and the dough was easy to work with.
The crust was great! I even got a "this takes just like regular dough!" So flaky and crisp. Can't wait to try it again!
Singularly the best pie crust I have ever made.
Absolutely delicious! I used this recipe for two two-crust chicken pot pies, and the group I served them for loved them! One person commented that if this was how gluten-free tasted, then maybe they should go gluten free!
This pie crust is amazingly good. Buttery, nutty flavor; nearly as easy to handle as wheat dough; and a lovely fine flakey texture. I also appreciate the whole-grain ingredients, and the use of chia instead of gum.
You nailed this recipe!! It was perfectly buttery, flaky magic! I can’t get over how amazing it is! This will forever be my go to gf pastry dough!
I've recently added a few ingredient options to make this pie crust recipe more accessible (such as using pre-ground flax seed instead of having to grind your own chia seed). I've updated the post with beautiful process photos that Sarah helped me shoot for my book.
And I've shared some of my favorite pie, tart, galette, and quiche recipes that you can make with this crust. You can find all my favorite gluten-free pie recipes here!
GF Pie Crust Video
My friends Nadia and Rob made a dreamy video of this pie crust (the teff flour version used for a plum frangipane galette from my book). You can see how the dough comes together between 7 minutes and 12 minutes in the video!
Ingredients & Substitution Suggestions
I've tested this recipe with many different combinations of gluten-free flours and starches and this combination makes the flakiest, easy to work crust. I've added substitution suggestions in case of dietary restrictions or trouble sourcing ingredients. Substitute by weight for best results!
I use Bob's Red Mill flours but any brand should work. You can find these at most well-stocked grocers.
- Sweet rice flour adds stickiness and a neutral flavor.
- Sub any GF AP blend (Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 is recommended as it uses sweet rice flour as its base).
- Oat flour adds tenderness and a creamy / nutty flavor.
- Sub sorghum flour.
- Millet flour adds a buttery flavor and keeps the crust delicate.
- Sub sorghum flour, or for a stronger flavor use buckwheat or teff flour.
- Cornstarch makes the crust shatteringly crisp.
- Sub more tapioca flour (though cornstarch works best!)
- Tapioca flour makes the dough extensible (aka stretchy) so it's easy to work with.
- Sub arrowroot flour.
- Butter makes the crust rich and tender. For best results, use a high-quality European-style butter with a high fat content such as Kerrygold, Vermont Creamery, or Straus.
- For a dairy-free & vegan pie crust, use a good plant-based butter such as Miyoko's cultured unsalted butter. Or get the recipe for a version made with coconut oil in my book!
- Ground flax seed or chia seed add stickiness that make the dough smooth and pliable. For the most attractive crust, use golden flax or white chia seed. These take the place of the usual xanthan gum that's in most recipes.
- Sub 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum.
- Salt and a little sugar sharpen the flavors and promote browning. No need to omit the sugar if using this in a savory recipe; it just enhances the flavor and doesn't add much sweetness.
- Sub maple sugar or coconut sugar.
- Vinegar or lemon juice add acidity that keep the dough tender and prevent it from shrinking as it bakes.
- Yogurt or buttermilk can also be used to add acidity – these make extra lovely dough since they add a little protein as well!
- Ice water brings the dough together.
- Sub chilled water.
What Makes this Pie Crust so Flaky?
Unlike most gluten-free pie crust recipes out there, my version uses two techniques to get big, tender flakes similar to a rough puff pastry.
- Fraisage: scraping portions of dough along the counter
- Turns: rolling the dough out and folding it up over itself
When we leave big chunks of cold butter in the dough, these methods form the butter into long, wide sheets encased within multiple layers of dough.
When the cold dough hits the heat of the oven, the butter sheets let off steam which raise the layer of dough above it.
The process is downright magical and will make you feel like a badass pro baker when you pull your masterpiece from the oven. The photos below show these methods in action!
How to Make a Gloriously Flaky Gluten-Free Pie Crust
- This recipe makes enough dough for a single crust 9-inch pie or a 10-inch tart or galette. Double the recipe if you're making a double-crust pie such as this apple pie with a cut-out crust or a lattice pie.
- This recipe takes several hours to complete, but much of the time is inactive chilling time (for both you and the dough!)
- If you can, make the dough a day ahead. It gets smoother and more workable as the flours absorb moisture in the fridge. It can also be popped in a freezer-safe bag and frozen for up to a year.
- I've shared two mixing methods for the dough: by hand and in a food processor. I usually use the food processor method, which makes the dough more smooth and pliable. But by hand, you have more control over the dough, which is best when you're just starting out, and it tends to be flakier since the butter can stay chunkier.
Method: By Hand
Step 1: Combine the flours, chia or flax seed, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture.
Step 2: Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles gravel with some butter chunks the size of almonds.
Step 3: Stir together the ice water and vinegar or lemon juice (or yogurt or buttermilk if using). Add the ice water mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing the dough with a flexible silicone spatula to moisten it evenly.
Step 4: Squeeze the dough; it should hold together easily without feeling overly wet or sticky, and there should be large pea-sized butter pieces throughout. Note that the dough should feel more moist than a wheat flour dough.
Step 5: To fraisage the dough, dump all the crumbly dough out onto a clean counter or work surface. Working quickly in order to keep the butter cold, use the palm of your hand to scrape portions of dough across the counter.
This will flatten those butter chunks into long sheets and bring the dough together, making it easier to handle. Use a metal bench scraper to scrape up the dough and gather it into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, a plastic bag, or (my favorite!) beeswax wrap and chill until firm, 30-60 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Method: Food Processor
Step 1: If using a food processor, combine the flours and starches, sugar, salt, and ground chia / flax seed in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the butter pieces over the flours but don't run the mixer just yet!
Step 2: Open the feed tube and pour in the ice water mixture in a slow and steady stream as you pulse the mixer. Squeeze the dough; it should hold together easily without feeling overly wet or sticky, and there should be large pea-sized butter pieces throughout. Gently pulse in more ice water by the teaspoon until this texture is achieved. Note that the dough should feel more moist than a wheat flour dough.
Step 3: Gather the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, a plastic bag, or (my favorite!) beeswax wrap and chill until firm, 30-60 minutes or up to 24 hours. It's not necessary to fraisage the dough if using this method since the butter gets broken down into smaller pieces.
Method: Turn the Dough
- Turning the dough (i.e. rolling it out and folding it over itself) is the method used to make croissants, puff pastry, and danish pastry.
- Here it builds extra flaky layers and it also makes the dough more smooth, pliable, and easy to work.
Step 1: Whichever method you've used (by hand or in a food processor), use a rolling pin to begin to press and roll the dough into a large 1/4-inch thick rectangle or oval. The dough will crack and tear at first and that's ok – just smush it back together. Periodically dust the dough with oat flour, sweeping excess flour away with a dry pastry brush.
Step 2: Fold the dough in thirds like folding a letter.
Step 3: Then fold it in thirds the other way. Flatten the folded dough slightly, re-wrap, and chill until firm, 30 minutes.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1, 2, and 3 to give the dough an additional turn. The dough will be easier to roll and more smooth and pliable after the two sets of turns. Wrap the dough up and chill it again until firm, 30-60 minutes and up to 2 days. Or freeze the dough for up to 1 year.
Shape the GF Pie Crust
Step 1: To shape a gluten-free pie crust, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. The dough will want to be a square because of the way we've folded it, so just do your best! Ease the dough into a 9-inch pie plate, taking care not to stretch the dough as this would cause it to shrink when baked. Fit it into the corners of the pan, and trim it to a 1-inch overhang. Fold the overhang of the crust under itself. Save the scraps to patch any tears in the dough.
Step 2: Flute the crust by pressing it between the thumb of one hand and the index finger and thumb of the other hand.
Step 3: Prick the bottom of the crust all over with the tines of a fork. This keeps it from puffing up in any one spot. Chill the crust until firm, 30-60 minutes, or cover and chill for up to 1 day. You can also freeze the crust at this point, but if using a glass pie pan, don't put it straight into a hot oven as it could shatter.
Blind-baking a pie crust means baking it for a time before you've added any filling. This method works best for custard-based pies where the filling takes less time to bake than the crust, such as quiche or pumpkin pie.
Step 1: Place a piece of parchment paper in the chilled crust and fill to the top with pie weights or dried beans. Place the crust on a rimmed baking sheet (to make it easy to maneuver and catch any buttery drips) and bake in the lower third of the oven at 400ºF.
Step 2: Bake the crust for 15-30 minutes (shorter for a metal pan, longer for a glass pan), until the crust will hold its shape when you lift off the parchment. Carefully remove the weights and parchment and bake until the bottom is dry and lightly golden, about 8-12 minutes longer (for a parbaked crust) or until deeply golden, 15-20 minutes (for a fully baked crust).
Step 3: If there are any holes or tears in the dough, use the saved scraps of dough to patch them before adding the filling, baking for a few more minutes post-patching.
TBG Tip: To keep the crust extra-crisp, brush the hot crust with a little bit of beaten egg white, then return to the oven for a minute or two. This creates a barrier between crust and filling, keeping the crust crisp for a couple of days after baking.
Congratulations, you're now ready to fill and bake your gluten-free pie crust!
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Pie Crust / Gluten-Free Vegan Pie Crust
Use vegan butter in place of the butter, and decrease the salt if the butter is salty. I like Miyoko's cultured vegan butter the best. Or get the recipe for a version made with coconut oil in my book!
Grain-Free / Paleo Pie Crust
Get the recipe here for a paleo crust made with almond and cassava flours!
How to use your perfect gluten-free pie crust
Some of my favorite pie recipes wrapped up in this buttery gf pie crust goodness!
- Apple Galette with Maple Walnut Frangipane – flaky buckwheat crust folded around nutty frangipane and topped with thinly sliced apples. Rustic & fancy!
- Maple-Sweetened Apple Pie – perfectly juicy apples sweetened with maple and kissed with spices in a pretty cut-out crust.
- Stone Fruit Galette – flaky pastry wraps slices of summer stone fruit flavored with honey and cardamom.
- Gluten-Free Cherry Pie – make this with fresh or frozen cherries! A slug of whiskey and pinch of spice make the flavors pop.
- Apple Quince Pie – double your pome pleasure with spiced poached quince and tangy apples, all commingling under a lattice crust.
- Strawberry Rhubarb Galettes – jammy berries meet tart rhubarb laced with vanilla and rose.
- Gluten-Free Pecan Pie – not-too-sweet, free of corn syrup, and a little bit boozy.
- GF Apple Tarte Tatin – buttery, caramelized apples baked under a lid of flaky gluten-free pastry.
- Pecan-Topped Sweet Potato Pie – One of my all-time favorites! Nutmeg-scented sweet potato custard beneath a top layer of crispy pecan streusel. So good!
- Gluten-Free Spinach Quiche – crispy crust meets savory custard studded with spinach, leeks, and gruyère cheese.
- Roasted Butternut Squash Quiche – brimming with the fall flavors of roasted winter squash, slivered sage, creamy goat cheese, and sweet leeks.
- Heirloom Tomato Galette – flaky gf pastry wraps cheesy filling and sliced heirloom tomatoes.
- Sweet Potato Kale Galette – a showstopping vegetarian main dish with cheesy kale filling and a pretty mosaic of roasted sweet potato slices.
- Ricotta Beet Tart with Beet Greens Pesto – make use of sweet beets from root to leaf with this stunning savory rustic tart.
- Eggplant Parmesan Hand Pies – pretty much my dream meal! Roasted eggplant, tomatoes, mozz, parm, and basil wrapped in pretty gf pie crust parcels.
- Bacon, Leek, and Fennel Quiche – a hearty dish for cool months, this savory quiche makes a killer brunch.
- Pear, Blue Cheese, and Hazelnut Tart – an exquisite combination of savory / sweet / earthy flavor delights.
The Flakiest Gluten-Free Pastry Recipe
However you enjoy this gluten-free pie dough recipe – savory or sweet, in a pie, tart, quiche, or galette – I hope you love its flaky, buttery goodness. As always, feel free to leave any questions or comments in the notes below.
Happy baking, friends!
*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this gluten-free pie crust recipe, I’d love to know. Leave a comment and rating below, and tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
Tender & Flaky Gluten-Free Pie CrustPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 6-8 tablespoons ice water (from 1 cup ice cubes filled with cool water)
- ½ cup (78 g) sweet white rice flour (preferably Mochiko brand)*
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (35 g) GF oat flour (preferably Bob's Red Mill)*
- ¼ cup (35 g) millet flour (preferably Bob's Red Mill)*
- ¼ cup (30 g) cornstarch*
- 2 tablespoons (15 g) tapioca starch/flour*
- 2 ½ tablespoons (15 g) finely ground golden flax seed or white chia seed (I grind mine in a coffee grinder)
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) sugar (granulated, maple, or coconut)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 tablespoons (115 g) cold, unsalted butter (preferably European-style such as Straus, Kerrygold, or Vermont Creamery), sliced ¼-inch thick
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice**
Make the dough (by hand):
- In a large bowl, combine the sweet rice, oat, and millet flours with the cornstarch, tapioca flour, ground flax or chia seed, sugar, and salt.
- Scatter the butter pieces over the top, and work in the butter with a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture resembles gravel, with lots of butter chunks the size of almonds or large peas.
- Stir together 6 tablespoons of the ice water, drained, with the apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Sprinkle the water into the flour mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing the dough with a flexible silicone spatula to moisten it evenly.
- Give the dough a sueeze: it should hold together easily without feeling overly wet or sticky. Toss in more ice water by the teaspoon until this texture is achieved, adding it directly to the dry floury bits that like to hang out on the bottom of the bowl. You may need up to 8 tablespoons of ice water, total (I always need the full amount but you may need more or less depending on how cold your butter is!). Note that this dough should feel more moist than a wheat flour dough. These GF flours perform better with more hydration and we don't have to worry about making it too moist because there are no glutens to turn tough.
- Fraisage the dough: dump the crumbly dough out onto a clean counter or work surface. Working quickly in order to keep the butter cold, use the heel of your hand to scrape portions of dough across the counter.
- Use a metal bench scraper to scrape up the dough and gather it into a ball. Flatten it into a disk and wrap the dough in plastic wrap, a plastic bag, or beeswax wrap. Chill until firm, 30-60 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Make the dough (in a food processor):
- If using a food processor, combine the flours and starches, sugar, salt, and ground chia / flax seed in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the butter pieces over the flours but don't pulse just yet! Stir together 6 tablespoons of the ice water, drained, with the vinegar or lemon juice.
- Open the feed tube and pour in the ice water in a slow and steady stream as you pulse the mixer. Squeeze the dough; it should hold together easily without feeling overly wet or sticky, and there should be large pea-sized butter pieces throughout. Gently pulse in more ice water by the teaspoon until this texture is achieved. Note that the dough should feel more moist than a wheat flour dough.
- Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, a plastic bag, or beeswax wrap and chill until firm, 30-60 minutes or up to 24 hours. It's not necessary to fraisage the dough if using this method since the butter gets broken down into smaller pieces.
Turn the Dough:
- Whichever method you've used (by hand or in a food processor), remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap, and place it on clean work surface dusted lightly with oat flour. If the dough is very cold, it may need to soften for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to roll. (Note that if you don't have a metal bench scraper to move the dough around, it's best to roll out the dough on a sheet of parchment paper.)
- Using a rolling pin, begin to press and roll the dough out into a large ¼-inch thick oval. The dough will crack and tear at first and that's ok, just smush it back together. Periodically dust the dough with oat flour, sweeping excess flour away with a dry pastry brush. Use the bench scraper to flip the dough over occasionally, dusting the dough with flour to keep it from sticking.
- As you work, if the butter starts to soften or stick to the surface, pop it back in the fridge to firm up for 5-10 minutes.
- Once the dough is rolled out to ¼-inch thickness, fold it in thirds like folding a letter. Then fold it in thirds the other way. Flatten the folded dough slightly, re-wrap, and chill until firm, 30-60 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- Repeat the turning process one more time. The dough will become more and more cohesive and pliable as you work with it, which will make it easier to shape and help it bake up tender and flaky.
- Wrap the dough and chill it again until firm, 30-60 minutes and up to 2 days. Or freeze the dough for up to 1 year until ready to use.
Shape the crust:
- Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap, and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough into a 12-inch circle, dusting the dough lightly with oat flour flour as needed, rotating and flipping it to prevent it from sticking.
- Ease the dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate, fit it into the corners, and trim it to a 1-inch overhang. (Save the scraps to patch any tears in the dough post-parbaking.) Fold the overhang of the crust under itself, and flute the crust by pressing it between the thumb of one hand and the index finger and thumb of the other hand.
- Prick the bottom of the crust all over with the tines of a fork (this is called "docking"). Chill the crust until firm, 30-60 minutes (or cover and chill for up to 24 hours, or freeze for up to several months.)
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400ºF.
- Place the chilled crust on a rimmed baking sheet. Line it with a piece of parchment paper, and fill to the top with pie weights, dry beans, or clean pennies, gently pressing the weights into the sides and corners of the crust.
- Bake the crust for 15-30 minutes (shorter for a metal pan, longer for a glass pan), until the edges are golden and the dough will hold its shape when you lift off the parchment. Carefully remove the weights and parchment and bake until the bottom is dry and lightly golden, about 8-12 minutes longer (for a parbaked crust) or until deeply golden, 15-20 minutes (for a fully baked crust). Use the saved scraps of dough to patch any holes, cracks, or tears in the dough, baking for a few more minutes post-patching.
- Proceed with your pie recipe!
- Can sub for sweet rice flour: gluten-free all-purpose flour (such as Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1)
- Can sub for oat flour: sorghum, chestnut, or light buckwheat flour
- Can sub for millet flour: sorghum, teff, or buckwheat flour
- Can sub for cornstarch: more tapioca flour
- Can sub for tapioca flour: arrowroot flour
- 10 minutes to mix and fraisage the dough
- 30 minutes to chill
- 10 minutes to do the first turn
- 30 minutes to chill
- 10 minutes to do the second turn
- 30 minutes to chill
- 10 minutes to roll out the dough, get it in the pan, shape it, and dock it
- 30 minutes to chill
- 30-40 minutes to par-bake the crust
- The dough can be made ahead, wrapped, and chilled for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 year.
- The shaped crust can be made ahead (baked or unbaked), wrapped, and chilled for up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 year.