Originally published 19 Nov 2014 but updated to be included in the Frugal Festivities series.
Does the thought of making a homemade pie overwhelm you? Pie-making used to feel like a big task to me when I took into consideration making both the crust and the filling from scratch (and in our family, there really isn’t another way besides scratch).
Several years ago, I learned a new recipe along with some tricks that have simplified pie-making for me. The key was making pie crust dough in bulk and then freezing the dough balls.
Making pie crusts in bulk has some wonderful benefits:
- It’s less mess– just clean up once!
- We have pie crust dough in the freezer all year for homemade pies, quiches, pot pies, etc.
- Measuring is a cinch. I am not a fan of measuring out shortening because it’s messy, so I love that my bulk pie crust recipe takes a whole can– no measuring needed!
- Pie-making is half the work, but still with the tasty benefits of a homemade crust.
If you’re a visual or auditory learner, the short video below will quickly teach you everything you need to know about making pie crust in bulk, otherwise keep reading for the bulk pie crust tutorial in words and pictures. There’s a printable recipe at the bottom of the post.
Bulk Pie Crust– Makes 20 crusts
Let’s get started with the ingredients!
- 1- 5lb bag of all purpose flour (hold back about 2 cups)
- 1- 3lb can vegetable shortening
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 Tablespoons vinegar
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups water
You’ll want to get out the biggest bowl you have (seriously!). Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together. Using a pastry cutter if you have one (if not, a fork will suffice), blend the shortening with the flour mixture.
When the flour mixture and shortening are combined, set the bowl aside.
In a separate bowl (I always use the shortening container to minimize dirty dishes), beat together the water, eggs and vinegar using a fork or whisk.
Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and blend with a fork until all ingredients are moistened.
Continue to blend using hands and fold dough into a ball.
Cover dough ball with plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
Use the reserved 2 cups of flour to flour your surface and hands, though you probably won’t need it all. Divide your giant dough ball in quarters. Divide each quarter into 5 equal parts. You’ll have 20 equal-ish pieces of dough. Roll each dough portion into a ball. It’s okay if they’re not perfectly even. You can use the smaller balls for top crusts and the larger ones for the bottom crusts. For a flakier crust, be careful not to overwork the dough.
Wrap each ball individually in plastic wrap, then place balls into a freezer bag. Store in the freezer indefinitely. I’ve stored mine for over a year without any problems.
Each dough ball makes one pie crust or top.
To use, remove the dough balls you need from the freezer and allow to thaw on the countertop or in the refrigerator. If I’m in a hurry (not that that ever happens!), I have also microwaved them for a few seconds to thaw.
Tip– Stick any extra dough “scraps” from making your crusts in a freezer bag back in the freezer. Add to the bag every time you have scraps. You’ll probably get another pie or two from all the scraps.
- 1- 5lb bag of all purpose flour (hold back about 2 cups)
- 4 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. salt
- 1- 3lb can vegetable shortening
- 4 Tbsp. vinegar
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups water
- In a large bowl, combine the flour (don't forget to hold back 2 cups), sugar and salt.
- With a fork or pastry cutter, combine the shortening with the flour mixture.
- In a separate bowl (I use the empty shortening container to minimize dirty dishes), beat vinegar, eggs and water.
- Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and blend with a fork until all ingredients are moistened.
- Continue to blend using hands and fold dough into a ball.
- Cover and chill at least 15 minutes.
- Divide dough into about 20 balls. Each ball should be enough to make a crust.
- To freeze, wrap dough balls in plastic wrap, then store in a freezer bag indefinitely.
Now you’re set to make the pies for all of your holiday meals!
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Wendy Hughes says
It would be lovely if you went back and answered all the old questions for future readers. Thanks for the post.
I subbed the crisco for 1.5 lb lard and 1.5 butter. Thank you for posting!! This is a massive time saver and it’s delicious!! I love it!
Great to hear that worked Ann! 🙂
Alda Feaguson says
I like to use my large roaster pan in order to mix this large dough recipe Love the one time mess too ! I call it being smart laszy LOL
Thanks for the great substitute! I was thinking of using Tallow😁
Susan Hagenmeyer says
Quick question about the vinegar? Why is it included, as in what is its purpose and can you taste it or does the taste bake out? Other than that I like the idea of making this batch ahead and freezing it. Thank you
You cannot taste it at all! I’m not sure of the chemistry behind it, but I think it contributes to the flakiness.
Denise lang says
It does add to the Flakiness
Amazing! I love that I have pie crusts in the fridge at the ready, and so many compliments! Thank you!
Diem Sellers says
Decrease everything in half?
I’m from South Africa and we don’t use pounds, so I have to convert to kg. But what is 1- 5lb… is it between 1- 5 lbs flour, or 1 1/2 lb?
Please help a girl out
Hi. I am also from SA. I think the recipe calls for 1x 5pound bag of flour which is equal to 2.268kg. Just dont forget to remove 2 cups from that total. It would’ve been easier to take 2 cups from our normal 2.5kg bags.
What are you going to use in place of the vegetable shortening. I have never seen it here.
It means 1 five pound bag.
Leanne Lutz says
5#, the 1 just means 1 bag weighing 5#.
Thanks for sharing this. I need to make batches of pies for client gifts. This is a life saver.
Cherilynne Utton says
I’ve never used eggs in pie crust or frozen them. But I think I will now. Cool Recipe or “Hack” as my daughters would say. I like the one commenter who pre flattened them and put them between wax or plastic then froze. Very good tips! Have definitely subscribed. I am Looking forward to more from you.
I found your blog through Pinterest. Thank you for this recipe!! I’ve nrver made pie from scratch. I’ve dubbed it too difficult and I don’t care much for pie. BUT I love quiche and my frittatas are boring without a crust.
The time saver is going to be a huge benefit to my family.
Can this be used for fried pies? and should the flour be sifted?
Thanks for the recipe. May I ask what the egg does? I’ve never heard of pie crust needing egg before. Just wondering if that’s something that helps to preserve it during freezing or what? I’m starting my own pie business and just looking for bulk crust ideas. 🙂 Thanks again!
Can’t wait to try this recipe and feel so prepared for the season! Thanks for sharing!
I made this recipe last year and it was a huge hit. My husband says the store crust can’t stand next to this recipe at all. I’m wanting to make it again but can’t remember to use acv or white vinegar? It doesn’t specify.
I usually use apple cider vinegar, but I think either is fine. Happy pie crust making! 🙂
Rebekah Jones says
My mom always had frozen pie crusts ready all year. She rolled the crust out and put each in foil pans. Her crust was made with Crisco — no eggs. I’ve updated her method by using my food processor. So easy! And I use unsalted butter.
MR. P. says
My stepfather’s favorite desert was pie so Mom was always ready to make one. She always kept a large enamel kettle in her cupboard with the dry ingredients mixed together and the shortening already cut in. When she wanted to make a pie she would take out a couple of handfuls of the premixed ingredients, add enough water so it “felt right” and roll out her crust. She never used eggs or vinegar in her pie crusts though.
When I was beginning Jr. Hi we moved to a property that had several apple trees. From then on she pre-made at least 50 apple pies each fall so Dad could have one very Sunday dinner all year. She froze them unbaked and they always baked up delicious, even after almost a year in the freezer.
I believe the eggs help to hold the dough together
Can I use a hand mixer to blend the dry ingredients with the shortening? I saw an article on a flour company’s blog and a lady has been using her mixer for years because her hands won’t stand up to mixing with fork, pastry cutter, or by hand.
Never heard of putting vinegar in pie crust
This is such a great idea! I like pies, but don’t like to make pie crusts. Getting the bulk of the work out of the way like this would help so much. Thanks for sharing your idea at the #HomeMattersParty this week.
Making in bulk is always so much easier! Thanks for sharing at the Monday Funday Link Party. – Emily
Thanks for a great easy and simple to understand, which is also a huge time saver 😉 #ThinkTankThursday
I pinned this months ago, and I am so glad that I went back looking through my boards. I will be doing a dessert bar for my nieces wedding shower and would like to get some of the prep work out of the way. I will be making these next week and really like the suggestion to roll it out before freezing. I will be making mini/individual pies so this will be a great time saver the day prior to the event to have everything rolled to the correct size. They can thaw in a cooler on the 5-hour trip home and I will not have lost any time waiting for the crust to thaw
I only got 10 10″ crusts from your receipe. Perfect for thick crust when making Easter ham pies. Do you get 10 for 8″ or those made in disposable pans?
I forgot to take out the 2 cups of flour so I added a little oil and some more water. Will this make a different. I really like this recipe.
I forgot to leave out the 2 cups of flour so I add a little oil and a little more water will that make a different. I haven’t used it yet.
Gail Peach says
Why doyou take 2 cups of flour out of the pound bag? Recipe never mentioned it again. This is the recipe I use all the time but never made it in bulk.
I known this comment is old, but in case anyone else has the same question, here’s the answer. It’s two-fold. First, taking out two cups gives you the right amount of flour for the bulk recipe. It’s easier to measure two cups out of the bag than have to measure how ever many cups are in the recipe. Second, the remaining two cups can be used for rolling out the crusts (though you won’t need it all).
Is there a way to substitute the vegetable shortening for something healthier maybe? Thanks lots.
– New At Pie Crusts!
That’s a good question. Pie crust is seriously the ONLY thing I use shortening for. My grandma used lard, but that sounds just as bad to me. I just take comfort in the fact that pie is a special treat, and not something we’re eating every week (or even every month). Let me know if you give the recipe a try subbing in your preferred fat. 🙂
Cherilynne Utton says
actually lard is a healthier alternative to vegetable shortening. Something to do with Polly fats. I use lard all the time and my whole family has no cholesterol problems.
How long do you need to thaw before rolling out?
SHER A BUCKNAM says
Please send gluten free bulk pie recipe
Alice Downs says
My crust was too crumbly to even roll, i have been baking for 56 yrs. but this was a waste of ingredients, does not turn out like a butter crust, sorry but greasy and won’t roll, i’m an awsome pie baker
So from what I am reading, this is a no kneading required to this crust? And after the dough is thawed you just roll it out to fit your pie dish? If this is true I think I will be making my own pie crusts from now on 🙂
Hi Nancy! No kneading required as it isn’t a yeast dough. Enjoy!
What size pie crust does this recipe make?
Normal pie pan size… I’m thinking 9″.
Monica c says
Can I use butter instead of shortening ?
I haven’t tried this recipe with butter, but I imagine it would work fine. Before trying the huge bulk recipe, you’ll probably want to try a smaller batch to make sure it works. I usually use butter for most everything else. Pie crust is the only thing I use shortening for! 🙂
Irini S. says
thanks for the way maintenance of pumpkin
As for the sheet for pies every time the CHEESE PIE builds home in such a sheet always makes double quantity and freeze half as is filled with cheese
When I want to bake, thaw for 1-2 hours and bake normally
God protect you
Lydia @ Thrifty Frugal Mom says
This is great! I love time saving tips like this and since I make most of our food from scratch (pies included!), I’m always trying to find ways to streamline things.
My crust recipe uses butter which I like since I’m not a shortening fan. Now I’m wondering if I could do the same thing with it. Think I’m going to need to try it and see. 🙂
Thank you so much for this recipe! I was searching online for a bulk pie crust recipe and came across your blog, which coincidentally is the same delicious, flaky recipe I use. My husband is going to be thrilled that I can make a sweet potato pie anytime. I will be sharing this for sure.
I made this recipe the Sunday before Christmas. I have used up 9 crusts already! I made 2 fruit pies, a savory Guinness pie, 3 batches of empanadas for our family pot luck, and one given to a friend to wrap brie in. The crust is sturdy and delicious.
Thank you so much for this recipe!
‘Tis the season for making pies! Those all sound delicious. I’m glad the crusts turned out well for you!
MAry Ann says
Stephanie, why hold back 2 cups of flour?
That’s just a quick way to get the right amount of flour. It’s easier to say how much to take out then have to measure out so many cups. 😉 I don’t know about you, but if I have to count to more than four one of my kids will inevitably interrupt me and I’ll lose count! If you’re rolling out crusts right away, you can use that 2 cups to roll the crust out with.
I really appreciate this recipe. It makes sense for our family to make the pie crusts in bulk as we prepare pies for gatherings and gifts. What a great idea!
Hi…quick question. I have to make homemade pie crusts with butter instead of lard b/c of a food allergy my daughter has. Do you think I could bulk made and freeze my recipe with butter just like yours? Any thoughts?
I haven’t bulk made them, but I’ve frozen butter crusts and they thaw fine 🙂
Great idea! I think I’ll give this a try this year. Should get me through Christmas and then a couple of savory dinner pies.
If you have any more holiday cooking posts planned, I’d love suggestions for pumpkin pie using real pumpkins! I’ve found that my old favorite recipes work okay with real pumpkin purée, but it’s tough to get the ratios down just right.
Thank you so much for this recipe! I was just thinking about this today–I really don’t like making pie crust but I LOVE chicken pot pie and savory and sweet galettes. Mmmm…I might make half of this recipe since there are only three of us and we have limited freezer space, but still. That’s a lot of pie crusts! I’ll pass this along to my sisters, too! Thanks again! 🙂
Maia Low says
I do the same, and it is so handy. Except I don’t freeze them as balls, I freeze them as discs. About 6″ round. They thaw faster and are a lot easier to roll out. We use them mostly for “emergency butter tarts” when we have unexpected guests.
Michelle Huey says
OMG ,I just made these pie crusts. This mixed together using hands, just as easy as mixing a meatloaf. The balls of dough are just beautiful, not sticky and very easy to work with. I used two to make an apple pie. Very good, buttery and flaky! My go to pie crusts from now on.
Thanks for this recipe. I won’t say how many years (decades) I’ve been making pie crusts and never realized they could be frozen. We enjoy pot pies, fruit pies, and fried meat pies so my kitchen gets messy frequently. Now it will stay clean.
Also, Mrs. SSC, I like your suggestion for rolling them flat between two sheets of wax paper. Thanks.
Mom @ Three is Plenty says
We use the America’s Test Kitchen recipe with vodka in it. The vodka makes the crust easy to work with and roll out, but not too moist once it’s cooked. I’ve never tried freezing it before to see if it’ll stay.
I use this same recipe only I break mine into smaller batches and do it in the food processor but you have to watch not to over work it. Great.. Great recipe. And like she said it freezes very well but it has to be wrapped properly and yes it will last a year in the freezer. I shape each pie crust in a ball then flatten it and put a large piece of saran wrap around each one. Then when you remove the saran wrap you can roll it between the two pieces of saran wrap. Rolls out so easy with very little mess. This is the only recipe I use and do mine this way all the time. That way you always have a pie crust on hand. Love… love… love this recipe.
I have only tried to make pie crusts once for chicken pot pies and I did not care for the time it took and the way it came out, so never bothered to try again. I just used the refrigerated crescent rolls instead. I am definitely going to try this recipe!
I wanted to share this tutorial on making a pastry cloth with you. I finally made it, but haven’t used it yet. Of course now I can use it with the pie crusts! I thought you may like to make one for yourself too. I was able to customize the size to fit my tiny counter top and will be happy to cut down on the flour mess.
What great tips! Pie is one of those baked goods where store bought can’t even compare to homemade. Seriously I didn’t even like pie until I had the homemade version for the first time. I had never thought about freezing the crust before so thanks for the tip!
Oh that reminds me, this is a kick back from your freezer post but from that post I was inspired to try frozen cottage cheese. I will say the texture of regular cottage cheese was not quite the same when frozen and thawed (I thawed in the fridge for 2 days). However, when I tried the small curd form the consistency was the same as if I hadn’t frozen it. So now small curd cottage cheese with a bit of canned fruit is my go to desert that I can buy in bulk.
Ann turner says
I have made this recipe for years except I use lard ! Very tender crust .
Do you have the recipe for a smaller quantity? I want to try it before making enough for 20.
How can I put this recipe down to like maybe just a regular to crust piecrust?
Would it be an equal substitution? 3 lb. lard for the 3 lb. shortening? Thank you.
Mrs SSC says
We do something similar (although not 20 at a time), but I take it a step further and roll out the pie crust, then sandwich the pie crust between two sheets of wax paper. Then roll each wax paper covered pie crust into a tube shape and freeze it. When I’m ready for a pie all I have to do is let the pie crust thaw enough to unroll and then throw it in a pie pan. I like not having to break out the rolling pin every time!