Mmmmm… Do you smell that? The smell of fresh-baked pie makes the whole neighborhood smell delicious. What flavor is it? It could be apple, cherry, peach, key lime, or some other decadent flavor.
I don’t know how she does it but Susie Pie Maker next door makes the perfect pie every time! The crust is the perfect twist of crispy, flaky, and buttery and it has just the right flavor. We can never seem to master the crust quite like she does. She tells us the secret is in the flour!
So, what is the best type of flour for pie crust? The best flour for pie crust is all-purpose flour. You can, however, use other types of flour if you need suitable alternatives or a gluten-free option.
In this guide, we will share with you all of the best tips for making the perfect pie crust, mostly touching on the best flour options to use to get the most delicious pie crust you possibly can. We promise you won’t be disappointed with the results when you set out to make your own pie crust!
Keep reading to learn the best flour for pie crust and more.
Your Guide to the Best Pie Crust
Pie crust is one of those things that can be very challenging to make just right. If you’re not careful, you can easily run into issues where it’s too dry or not dry enough.
It seems like it takes the perfect technique to get the pie crust just right and to end up with that golden, flaky crust that everyone seems to love.
How do they do it?
We mentioned before, that the trick is really in the flour. If you use the wrong type of flour, your crust just won’t turn out quite right.
Some people think that a specialty flour like cake flour would be the best but the truth is, cake flour doesn’t give you enough elasticity for pie crust.
All-purpose flour is the highest recommended flour for most pie crust endeavors. What you really need to know is that the flour needs to be a low-protein flour, meaning that the flour has a protein content that falls into about 8-10%.
Cake flour does fall into this category but just know we don’t recommend cake flour alone. If you use cake flour, you should mix it with all-purpose flour or pastry flour.
Aside from that, your best bet lies with using either all-purpose flour or pastry flour as your go-to flour for pie crust.
Protein and Pie Crust
Let’s cover a quick flour lesson.
Flour is made up of 3 primary things – fat (mostly in whole-wheat flour), protein, and carbohydrates/starch. When experienced bakers are selecting the right flour for their task, they base their decision on the protein content of the flour.
Why does the protein make a difference?
Well, ultimately, it’s that protein that determines just how the flour performs. The higher the protein levels, the harder or stronger the flour is. This means that high-protein flours are most suitable for things like breads or items that use yeast as a rising agent.
Low-protein flours are softer and therefore better for softer things like cookies, cakes, pie crusts, and so on. These items typically don’t require a leavening agent to have a successful product in the end. Within each level of protein, there are multiple flour types as well.
When it comes to flour products, the protein levels can range anywhere from 5-15%, which doesn’t seem like much but just 1-2% can make a significant difference in whatever it is you’re making. The higher the protein, the higher the gluten levels as well.
Here’s a good reference as to which levels work for what types of products.
- 14-15% – best for bagels, pizza crust, mixing with other flour types
- 14% – this is whole-wheat and can be great for blending or using with hearth breads
- 12-13% – bread flour, best when used for traditional breads and pizza crusts
- 9-12% – all-purpose flour, best for everyday cooking, quick breads, and pastries (including pies)
- 9-11% – self-rising flour, best for biscuits, quick breads, and cookies (like our chocolate chip cookie recipe)
- 8-9% – pastry flour, best for pie crusts, pastries, cookies, and biscuits
- 5-8% – cake flour, best for cakes
As you can see, many of these flours can cross paths easily. Pie crusts call into both all-purpose flour and pastry flour categories.
The 5 Best Flours for Pie Crust
Now, let’s talk about some specific options for the best flour for pie crust. We have 5 great options to share with you.
|1.||White Lily All-Purpose Flour||Best flour overall|
|2.||Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour||Best gluten-free flour|
|3.||Stone Ground Sprouted Organic Pastry Flour||Best for flaky pie crusts|
|4.||King Arthur Flour Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour||Highest protein flour|
|5.||Hemani All-Purpose Flour||Most versatile flour|
1. White Lily All-Purpose Flour
White Lily is one of the highest recommended flour options for pie crusts. While it’s listed as all-purpose flour, it actually is pastry flour, making it a suitable option for the perfect pie crust.
This is a light baking flour that will perfect your pie crusts every time. Each bag of flour even comes with some delightful recipes that you can put to use when you’re in a baking mood.
This company has been producing high-quality flour since the 1800s. There are even recommendations for how to measure when using in the place of all-purpose flour.
- High-quality flour with a longstanding reputation
- Perfect pastry flour for pie crusts
- Includes additional recipe options
- Includes measurement recommendations
- Made from 100% soft winter wheat
- Advertised as all-purpose flour but really pastry flour
- Can sometimes be hard to find in stock
2. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
Bob’s Red Mill is another highly-recommended type of flour. This is all-purpose flour that comes in a bulk bag so you will have plenty of flour to last you for quite some time and make tons of pie crusts with!
This all-purpose flour is gluten-free and uses a blend that has been mastered by the company for a lot of years. This reputable flour will surely not let you down!
- Bulk bag of all-purpose flour
- Gluten-free flour with all-purpose mixture
- Suitable to wheat flour substitute
- Perfect for pie crusts, pastries, cakes, cookies, and more
- Priced on the expensive side
- Not resealable, you will want to separate out to storage purposes
3. Stone Ground Sprouted Organic Pastry Flour
This pastry flour comes from organic stone ground soft white wheat. It’s another great pastry flour option that will help you get that perfect flaky pie crust that you are looking for. This flour comes in a 5-pound resealable bag.
This flour is USDA Organic certified so you know it has been manufactured with only the best flour to make you the best pastry option. The flour is produced and manufactured in the USA.
- USDA-certified organic
- Stone ground winter wheat
- Comes in a resealable package
- Available in a 5-pound bag
- Limited information about the company and product
4. King Arthur Flour Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
This all-purpose flour is very forthcoming with their information so you know exactly what you’re getting.
King Arthur’s all-purpose flour is an organic, unbleached compound that has a protein content of exactly 11.7%. This may seem a bit high, but it will actually be perfect for your pie crust.
This company is 100% employee-owned and has been a reputable company in the flour industry for many years. The flour is Non-GMO, USDA organic, and contains no preservatives.
- Bulk purchase of 6, 5-pound bags
- 100% organic all-purpose flour
- 11.7% protein levels
- Reputable company
- Can be hard to find in stock right now
5. Hemani All-Purpose Flour
For our last option, we share with you another great all-purpose flour. This comes in a standard size packaging and comes for a reasonable price as well. This flour comes out of India and is a versatile option for both cooking and baking.
This 2-pound bag of flour comes in plastic packaging so you may need to store it differently after you open it but it’s a great option with an ideal protein count for pie crusts.
- All-purpose flour
- Versatile flour produce, ideal for baking and cooking
- 2-pound bag
- Made with high-quality materials
- Limited information about the company and product
We hope that you find this guide to the best flour for pie crust to be a valuable resource for finding quality flour.
We invite you to take a look at the following question and answer section for some additional information.
Should I Sift Flour for Pie Crusts?
When making pie crusts, it is recommended that you do not sift your flour.
Does Flour List its Protein Content on the Packaging?
Unfortunately, flour companies are not required to list their protein content on the packaging. Some companies choose to do so but ultimately, they just have to fall into a certain range for the type of flour they produce.
Not all flour is made the same but you know that pastry flour or all-purpose flour will at least fall into the right category.