This paleo pie crust recipe rivals a wheat crust! Made with 8 ingredients including almond flour, cassava flour, and tapioca flour, this recipe makes a smooth, pliant pie crust dough that you can roll, fold, flute, and weave. It's gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free, with vegan with a nut-free option too.
As a former pastry chef, I have strong opinions about pie crust: it needs to be buttery, flavorful, tender, and flaky or it isn't worth the effort.
Most paleo pie crust recipes use a single flour and they tend to turn out pale, crumbly crusts that don't feel or taste like the real deal. I set out to see whether I could make a paleo pie crust that rivaled my favorite gluten-free pie crust which I developed for my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker.
Using that recipe as a starting point, I tested three versions with different blends of gluten-free flours. One used only cassava flour, one used cassava plus almond flour and tapioca flour, and one used cassava and tiger nut flours for nut-free.
While all versions were good, the version made with cassava, almond, and tapioca flours was the clear winner. This crust tastes every bit as buttery and delicious as its wheaty counterpart, you won't believe it's free of grains and gluten.
Cassava & Almond Flour Pie Crust
This paleo pie crust recipe tastes and feels shockingly like a wheat flour dough. A few techniques borrowed from classical pastry create a smooth, pliable dough. The crust bakes up tender and flaky, just the thing to encase your favorite galette, quiche, pie, or tart.
PLUS! Sarah and I made a stop-motion video to show you exactly how to do it.
Grain-Free Pie Crust Ingredients and Substitution Suggestions
- A blend of cassava flour, almond flour, and tapioca flour create a pie crust that feels and tastes surprisingly like a wheat crust. Bob's Red Mill flours are milled in certified gluten-free facilities. Their fine grinds join forces here: cassava flour's sticky quality replaces the need for gluten, tapioca flour makes the dough extensible (stretchy), and blanched almond flour adds richness, tenderness, and browning. These mild-flavored flours make a neutral dough that pairs well with any recipe, sweet or savory.
- You can swap in almond meal, hazelnut flour, tiger nut flour, or more cassava flour in place of the almond flour. You could also try using Bob's Paleo Baking Flour in place of all of the flours; it has a similar blend of ingredients.
- Ground chia seed or flaxseed adds more sticky goodness to the dough, helping to make it pliable and flaky. I use white chia seed or golden flax, which I grind in a coffee grinder, as the color blends in with the dough. But any chia seed will work. Alternatively, omit the seeds and use 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum instead.
- Butter adds richness and flaky layers. Some paleo-dieters include butter in their meals, preferring grass-fed butter, while others stick to ghee or plant-based butters. Butter seems to be ok for me in moderation, so I use it here. If ghee is your preference, follow the method in my ghee pie crust recipe to chill and incorporate the ghee. For a vegan almond flour pie crust, use vegan butter, coconut oil, or palm oil instead.
- Salt sharpens the flavors.
- Ice water brings the dough together while keeping the butter cold.
- Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar help tenderize the dough.
The key to this gorgeous grain-free pie crust lies not only in the blend of ingredients, but also in the method.
First, we make sure to hydrate the dough properly. Proper hydration helps activate the sticky qualities of the tapioca flour and chia seed to mimic gluten. This dough needs to feel slightly more moist than a wheat flour dough. When squeezed, it should easily come together, but it shouldn't feel wet or sticky.
Butter Size and Temperature
Next we start with cold butter and we leave lots of nice butter chunks in the dough. There should be some chunks that are the size of large peas or small hazelnuts, with some butter worked into the dough.
Turning the Dough
After the first chill, we give the dough a couple of "turns" meaning we roll it out and fold it up. This technique is traditionally used to make puff pastry and croissants. In fact, this paleo pie crust recipe is similar to a "rough puff pastry." As the dough is rolled out, the butter chunks elongate into sheets. When we fold up those sheets, we get many thin layers of butter and dough. When the cold dough hits the hot oven, the butter gives off steam which lifts the layer of dough above it.
If the butter gets worked into the dough more, the resulting crust will be more tender and soft, while more large chunks of butter make a crisper, flakier dough.
How to make paleo pie crust: step-by-step photos and instructions
Paleo Pie Crust Variations
Grain-Free Nut-Free Pie Crust
Omit the almond flour and use either all cassava flour, or tiger nut flour (also made from a tuber and not a nut) in its place. Sub by weight if you can, and add 1-2 more tablespoons of ice water as needed to bring the dough together. This version doesn't brown as nicely as the version with almond flour, but it gets the job done!
Vegan Almond Flour Pie Crust
For a paleo vegan pie crust, swap in a good plant-based butter for the dairy butter. Miyoko's butter is the closest I've found to dairy butter in terms of flavor, firmness, and workability. Alternatively you can try this with chilled coconut oil or palm oil. These oils are more solid when chilled, so you'll want to let the dough soften up more before rolling it out. Omnivores can try this with lard. You can also use 50/50 butter and lard or shortening.
Almond Flour Double Pie Crust
You can use a double batch of this paleo pie crust dough to make a double pie crust, lattice crust, or cut-out crust, as shown here. The cut-out version, which I learned from Laura of Tutti Dolci, is my favorite and the method that graces the cover of my cookbook. This easy paleo pie crust method uses rounds of cut dough to form a pretty tiled top. You can cut the rounds into any shape you like: rounds, fluted rounds, stars, hearts, leaves, squares – the options are limitless. Overlap the shapes atop the filled crust, leaving some windows for steam to escape. Gently brush and dab the top with plant milk and sprinkle with a little coarse sugar or maple sugar.
Paleo Apple Pie Crust / Paleo Pumpkin Pie Crust
Use this almond flour pie crust with any pie, galette, or quiche recipes you like. Try my recipe for paleo apple pie, sweetened with maple syrup and kissed with cinnamon and lemon. Or make this paleo pumpkin pie recipe with a creamy, spiced filling.
Easy-Roll Paleo Pie Crust
If you're pressed for time and want to skip the extra folding steps, you can double the tapioca flour in the recipe and increase the ice water as needed (7-9 tablespoons). The pie crust will be easy to roll out without doing the turns. A reader found this out when she accidentally doubled the tapioca flour, and I tested it to make sure it worked. The only downside is that the crust will be slightly less buttery and tender, but it will still be the best paleo pie crust out there.
I hope this post was ins-PIE-ring! Please let me know what you make with it in the comments.
*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 paleo pie crust recipe, I’d love to know. Leave a comment and rating below, and tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
Flaky Paleo Pie Crust with Cassava FlourPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 5-6 tablespoons (80 ml) ice water (from 1 cup ice cubes filled with cool water)
- 2 teaspoons strained fresh lemon juice (or 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar)
- ½ cup (75 g) cassava flour
- ½ cup (60) blanched almond flour (or more cassava flour or tiger nut flour for nut-free)
- ¼ cup (28 g) tapioca flour (or arrowroot flour; double this amount for an easy-roll crust - see note below)
- 2 ½ tablespoons (15 g) finely ground chia seed or flax seed (I grind mine in a coffee grinder)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (decrease if your butter is salted)
- 8 tablespoons (115 g) cold, unsalted butter or plant butter sliced ¼-inch thick (or chilled ghee, lard, or palm oil)
Make the dough:
- In a 1-cup measuring pitcher, stir together 5 tablespoons of the ice water and the lemon juice.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cassava, almond, and tapioca flours with the ground chia seed and salt.
- Scatter the butter pieces over the top but don't run the mixer just yet! Open the feed tube and gradually pour in the ice water/lemon mixture as you pulse the mixer until all the liquid is incorporated. Open the lid and give the dough a squeeze; it should hold together easily, with lots of butter chunks the size of large peas. If the dough is dry, replace the lid and drizzle in more ice water by the teaspoon while pulsing the mixture until the dough is evenly moist but not sticky. Take care not to overmix the dough. Note that this dough prefers more moisture than a wheat flour pie dough.
- (If making by hand, combine the dry ingredients in a lage bowl and use a pastry blender or your fingers to work the butter into the size of peas. Drizzle in the water by the tablespoon as you toss the mixture with a silicone spatula to bring the dough together as described above.)
- Remove the food processor blade and gather the dough into a ball, flatten into a disc, and wrap in plastic wrap, a plastic bag, or (my favorite!) beeswax wrap. Chill until firm, 30 minutes or up to several days.
Turn the dough:
- This technique, traditionally used when making puff pastry and croissants, makes the dough more pliable and flaky. If you'd like to skip this step, see the easy-roll variation below using more tapioca flour and water!
- Roll the dough on a piece of floured parchment into a large 1/4-inch thick rectangle. The dough will crack and tear at first and that's ok! Periodically dust the dough with cassava flour, sweeping excess flour away with a dry pastry brush. To flip the dough over, place a second piece of parchment on top of the dough, grasp everything with your hands, and bravely flip the whole thing over. Flour will fly everywhere so have your work surface clear!
- Fold the dough in thirds like folding a letter, then fold in thirds the other way. Flatten the folded dough slightly, re-wrap, and chill until firm, 30 minutes.
- Repeat the rolling and folding process one more time. The dough will become more smooth and pliable the second time around.
Shape the crust:
- Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap, and place on a lightly floured piece of parchment. Roll out the dough into a 12" circle, dusting the dough lightly with cassava flour as needed, rotating and flipping it to prevent it from sticking.
- Ease the dough into a 9" glass pie plate, fit it into the corners, and trim it to a 1" overhang. (Save the scraps to patch any tears in the dough post-parbaking.) Fold the overhang of the crust under, 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.
- Chill the crust until firm, at least 30 minutes. Once the crust it cold, you can wrap it and refrigerate it for up to a day, or freeze it for up to a month or two. (If using a glass pie plate, let the frozen crust stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before placing in a hot oven, otherwise the glass can shatter.)
Bake the crust:
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400º. If you have a baking stone, put it on the rack as this will help the bottom of the crust stay crisp. Place the cold crust on a rimmed baking sheet. Fill and bake as directed in your pie recipe, or...
- To blind bake the crust, line it with a piece of parchment paper, and fill to the top with pie weights, dry beans, raw rice, or clean pennies, 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 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 5-8 minutes longer (for a parbaked crust) or until deeply golden, 8-12 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. A par-baked crust can be made a day ahead, wrapped tightly, and stored at room temperature for up to a day or two, refrigerated for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to a few months.
- 10 minutes to mix the dough
- 30 minutes to chill
- 10 minutes to roll and turn the dough
- 30 minutes to chill
- 10 minutes to roll and turn the dough a second time
- 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
- Well-wrapped dough will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days and frozen for up to 2 months.
- A well-wrapped unbaked crust will keep refrigerated for up to 2 days and frozen for up to 2 months.
- A well-wrapped parbaked crust will keep at room temperature for up to 1 day, refrigerated for up to 3 days and frozen for up to 2 months.
- Once you've gotten a feel for making this dough, I recommend making a double batch at a time. Keep the extra dough in the freezer for the next time you're ready to bake.