All-Butter Hand Pie Dough

Disclaimer: This is not my recipe all the credit goes to Lisa Ludwinski the recipe is from Sister Pie cookbook linked: here

When I say this is the only hand pie dough recipe you will ever need, I truly mean it. I absolutely love butter pie dough, because of the rich and flaky crust, it results in. However, people always say lard and shortening are easier to work with. So many times I see this as the fat in pie dough instead of butter. This is due to butter being breakable when cold and softening too quickly. Have no fear, this recipe is full proof! Yes, I am an experienced baker but if you follow the directions and correct measurements, I’m sure it will turn out fantastic for you too.


Makes: enough for 10 hand pies

Disclaimer: This is not my recipe all the credit goes to Lisa Ludwinski the recipe is from Sister Pie cookbook linked: here


  • 3 ¾ cups (476) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) (169.5 g) unsalted European-style butter, straight from the fridge
  • 1 cup ice-cold water with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar* (See Note)


  1. In a large stainless steel bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and stir to mix well. Place the sticks of butter in the bowl and coat on all sides with the flour mixture. Using a bench scraper, cut the butterinto1⁄2-inch cubes. Work quickly to separate the cubes with your hands until they are all lightly coated in flour. Grab that bench scraper once again and cut each cube in half. I always tell my pie dough students that it’s unnecessary to actually cut each cube perfectly in half, but it’s a good idea to break up the butter enough so that you can be super-efficient when it’s pastry blender time.
  2. It’s pastry blender time! Switch to the pastry blender and begin to cut in the butter with one hand while turning the bowl with the other. It’s important not to aim for the same spot at the bottom of the bowl with each stroke of the pastry blender, but to actually slice through butter every time to maximize efficiency. When the pastry blender clogs up, carefully clean it out with your fingers (watch out, it bites!) or a butter knife and use your hands to toss the ingredients a bit. Continue to blend and turn until the largest pieces are the size and shape of peas and the rest of the mixture feels and looks freakishly similar to canned Parmesan cheese.
  3. At this point, add the water-vinegar mixture all at once, and switch back to the bench scraper. Scrape as much of the mixture as you can from one side of the bowl to the other, until you can’t see visible pools of liquid anymore. Now it’s hand time. Scoop up as much of the mixture as you can and use the tips of your fingers (and a whole lot of pressure) to press it back down onto the rest of the ingredients. Rotate the bowl a quarter-turn and repeat. Scoop, press, and turn. With each fold, your intention is to be quickly forming the mixture into one cohesive mass. Remember to incorporate any dry, floury bits that have congregated at the bottom of the bowl, and once those are completely gone and the dough is formed, it’s time to stop.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl, place it on a lightly floured counter, and use your bench scraper to divide it into two equal pieces. Gently pat each into a 1-inch-thick square, working quickly to seal any broken edges before wrapping them tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or, ideally, overnight. When you go to roll out the crust, you want the squares to feel as hard and cold as the butter did when you removed it from the fridge to make the dough. This will make the roll-out way easier. You can keep the hand pie dough in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for up to 1 year. If frozen, remove the dough and place it in the refrigerator to thaw one full day before you intend to use it.

  • Notes: You may not need all of the apple cider vinegar/water mixture. The recipe calls for ¾ cup but I had to use up to 1 cup for mine. Keep an eye on your mixture and add what feels best for you, for the correct consistency described.
  • Fill one cup liquid measuring cup with about 1 inch of water and freeze until completely frozen. Just after you mix your dry ingredients, grab it from the freezer and fill it with water +2 tablespoons or so of apple cider vinegar.
  • If you do not plan ahead that’s OK. When you’re ready to make the dough, simply fill a 1 cup measuring cup about halfway with ice and then add water and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.

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