Hot Water Crust Recipe on Food52 (2024)


by: Erin Jeanne McDowell



8 Ratings

  • Makes enough for one large (deep dish) double-crust 9 inch pie or about 2 dozen mini pies

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Author Notes

There's a reasons the Brits swear by this crust: it's crisp as can be, but still has a lot of flavor. But it's biggest pro is it's sturdiness. This crust does for pies what gingerbread does for holiday houses—it stays put, and holds up incredibly well. That means you can go deep dish without fear, and fill it chock full with any kind of filling without worry! You have to work with the crust while it's still warm, so be sure you have your filling ready to go before you start the crust. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

  • 2 1/2 cups(10.62 oz) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup(2.12 oz) bread flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon(3 g) salt
  • 1/3 cup(2.66 fl oz) water
  • 1/2 cup(4.00 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup(4.00 oz) lard (or shortening, if you must)
  1. Have your filling ready to go. In a large bowl, whisk the all purpose flour, the bread flour, and the salt to combine.
  2. In a medium pot, bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Add the butter and lard and stir until melted. The mixture should be hot—if needed, bring it back to a simmer briefly.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour the hot liquid into it. I usually start mixing it with a fork—but a silicone spatula or wooden spoon works too. Mix until the mixture forms a shaggy mass: It should form a ball but not look smooth.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it on a clean, smooth surface until it’s smooth, 2-3 minutes.
  5. You have to work with the dough while it’s still warm—divide the dough as needed for your recipe. You can roll the dough out (between two sheets of parchment paper is best and helps prevent sticking, ripping, and tearing). You can also press the dough into a pan. For deep dish pies, I tend to opt for a combination—rolling the dough out, then patching the holes as needed—just be sure to patch well! You want smooth sides and no chance for leakage.


  • Pie
  • British
  • Bake
  • Dessert

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Megan McFarland

  • Kaley Marie Lopez

  • Jeff Clark

  • Greenstuff

  • Etta

Recipe by: Erin Jeanne McDowell

I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

24 Reviews

Tianna March 24, 2024

😩. I have Erin’s pie book and this recipe is NOT the same as in the book. I made the recipe in the book and it was exceptional. I tried this one and, as other reviewers stated, it never did come together. Please update this to match the cookbook!

AndrewJ January 16, 2024

I have been making pork pies for Christmas for about eight years. I kept notes as I tried different things for both the filling and the crust. I had the filling very close to what I wanted but the crust was not there yet. I was trying to achieve something like the crispness of the Walker's Pork Pie from Leicester crust. (I'm not sure how they do it since the ingredients on the label are the same as other pies.) This was the closest I have come. I threw away the rest of the notes:) One thing that required a change of thinking was the cooking time. Rather than cook to an internal temperature, I watched the crust instead and cooked longer than I had before. It was about two hours for a pie that was "built" in a 6" springform and then the spring-side was removed to leave a free standing pie. I did use an eggwash for ten minutes at the end. I also used ghee for the butter since I found some sticks that were easy to measure. I doubled the recipe to make three pies of the same diameter. This is my go-to recipe from now on. Bon Appetit!

Alex December 29, 2023

This crust does NOT work at all. The “dough” was a soft gooey mess that never formed a dough. I rechecked all the proportions and I know I added everything as specified. The resulting crust after adding much more flour was more like shortbread cookies than a stiff sturdy crust. Do NOT use this recipe!!!! I made a pie with this recipe and we had to scoop the filling out and eat with a spoon. The pie would have no chance of holding up or being cut into slices.

Corinne P. January 10, 2021

I really loved this recipe. It is similar to what Paul Hollywood recommends in ingredients and quantities. It was harrowing getting everything in my deep dish pan and I ended up doubling the amount to make sure I had enough for a deep dish (which I was glad I did), but it worked out beautifully. Thank you for the recipe!

Megan M. September 25, 2020

This recipe is so crisp and buttery! I did one and a half for a 9in springform and make little rosettes for the top. Its soooo crumbly to work with. I forgot to get more parchment and it was a complete patch job. I have tried it 3 times now and comes out beautifully. I did put 1.5 tbsp of garlic powder 1/2 tsp of pepper and 1 tsp of italian seasoning to fancy it up and it was so yummy!

Kaley M. August 10, 2020

Was worried because the dough seemed pretty greasy, but it came out so crisp and delicious! Doubled the recipe to make a top and bottom of a 9 in pie.

Henry A. April 15, 2019

I made this crust for the 1st time using your recipe and method....I made chicken, shrimp and fish gumbo filling and then followed your recipe. This crust "made" the pie. This crust is everything you said it was, shortbread texture, crisp, freestanding delicious. 24 hours later... It's not soggy, still crisp and delicious...

dimanville August 14, 2022

Would love your recipe for the chicken, shrimp and fish gumbo!

Kate January 18, 2018

Have to say this is one of the best crust recipes i have ever tried. Obviously the people who said it was too greasy didn’t bake it long enough but i can’t fault them on that as this article doesn’t give those instructions. I had to go find that on another site for this recipe that went all the way through the baking process. Another thing missing on this is that When you use a 9” spring form pan for a deep dish pie you need to double the recipe if you want to put a full top and any decorations. Going to remember that for next time. This weekend i am going to try it out on a quiche recipe and see how it goes. Thanks for the recipe!

Celia H. March 1, 2018

Can you tell us the site you used for a follow up to go through the whole baking process? Thanks

Lauren L. August 4, 2018

This is a good guide to the baking process, though the recipe is a bit different than this one.

Lauren L. August 4, 2018

(I know this is months/years later for most people... but this page is still one of the top results under "hot water pie crust.") I also recommend not bothering to roll the crust. If it's not coming together like you want it, add a touch more hot water. The dough should be very pliable. (You can do the whole thing in a blender if you want to. Very easy.) For the bottom crust, just throw the lump of dough in whatever vessel you're using to bake, then form it by hand so the thickness is uniform. If you have a very firm pie filling, you could do the same thing with the top crust instead of rolling it.

Henry A. April 15, 2019

I used an 11" x 2½" spring form pan and increased the recipe to 1½ which I should have been doubled. My crust was dry and crisp like a shortbread cookie... Awesome recipe...

Dot W. January 3, 2018

I, too, was not happy with this recipe. Mine was greasy as well and I wonder if it's because I live in the U.K. and the butter is different??? It refused to roll out thick and I had to raise the pie by hand in order to get the thickness needed to support the filling. Cosmetically, it was a bit of a bake off disaster, but it tasted lovely!

E L. October 16, 2017

I was not happy with this recipe. The dough was oozing grease, had an unpleasant gritty texture when cooked, and didn't have enough salt. I did make mine with all butter (I don't eat pork), which would have changed the fat-water ratio slightly. However, a Guardian recipe calls for wildly different ratios of flour (half bread, half all-purp), fat, and water. Going to try that one, as this was pretty bad.

Gerard October 13, 2017

I have very good success with hot water lard crusts for hand pies (pasties with afters). I use a baker's percentage (flour=100%) flour/lard 59%, flour/water 69%. I only use metric measurements doing conversation at 28.35 g/oz. There are many sources of weight per cup for baking ingredients. I use 4.25oz/spooned cup for AP flour. This post gives great tips for using the crust. However, after making the conversions, I find the recipe too greasy for my liking. Will not try it.

Jeff C. August 25, 2017

I agree with some of the previous comments as I found the dough ended up with way too much fat as it was extremely soft and left trails of fat during kneading and baking. Also I had a hard time getting this amount of dough to cover the sides, bottom and top of a standard spring form pan. The crust ended was delicious (it has to be with this much fat), but was way to thin to support a meat pie and my pie crumbled during cutting. Next time I am using flour for a sturdier, thicker and more plentiful dough.

eran February 19, 2017

I tried making this recipe yesterday (reducing the amounts by 1/3 for a 7" pan), but something went wrong somehow, and it ended up very sandy and not crispy at all... I may have somehow measured the amount of butter/lard incorrectly, but I don't really think so, any ideas what went wrong there?

eran February 19, 2017

And I also used clarified-butter instead of Lard, after reading on the internet that it should be ok as a substitute, but I don't know it this was maybe a mistake as well...

Greenstuff December 5, 2016

Really nice! But why so many significant figures on your conversions to weight? And the mix of grams and ounces?

Etta November 24, 2016

I made this crust following the instructions for Three-Tiered Thanksgiving Pie. There was enough dough, just; my husband and I both thought the pies would have worked better had the crust been thicker. There was also a lot of melted grease on the baking tray after the pies came out of the oven, and the dough did seem quite greasy when I was working with it. I wonder if the flour-to-fat ratio is a bit off.... Not sure if/when I'll try this again, but I would try adding more flour to the dough next time (or seeing I can find another, similar recipe somewhere to cross-check with this one).

Alicefive November 6, 2016

I made a raised chicken and ham pie using this crust recipe. I did make a double batch and had some left over so I added some decorative elements to the top. It was AWESOME! The crust was very tasty.

Brooke W. November 1, 2016

Really had a hard time with this. There wasn't enough dough to go all the way up the sides of the pan. I couldn't crimp the two crusts together, there simply wasn't enough to work with.

Sophie V. October 29, 2016

Would LOVE to see pics of the kneaded dough- I couldn't get mine to come together and rolling it was, thus, terrible (although I admit I have never been able to roll a proper pie crust). Patching it is, then!

Hot Water Crust Recipe on Food52 (2024)


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