Foolproof Vodka Pie Crust- (Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated)

This is my adaptation of Cooks Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen’s “foolproof pie dough” crust originally published in Cook’s Illustrated’s November 2007 issue.  While I have their print compilation of all the 2007 recipes, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt posted it as well on Serious Eats.  My version of this vodka pie crust is slightly different in that I prefer to use lard instead of vegetable shortening.  It imparts a better texture, flavor, and has no trans fats.  In the video, I happen to be out of both and I use some schmaltz (chicken fat) instead. This is one of the recipes we tested as part of our YouTube video series investigating 3 different ways of making pie crust.

Our comparison videos

Here is part one of the two-part series.  I go through each recipe up to the point of rolling out and baking the vodka pie dough and two others:

In part two, I roll out each recipe and give commentary on how easy each recipe is to work with.  Finally, I bake and taste each crust and share my feedback.

Here’s the recipe in print.


Foolproof Vodka Pie Dough – (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated)

4 stars (10 ratings)
Recipe by: Patrick Jaszewski
Category: dessert
Cuisine: French, American


1 hour, 13 minutes
  • 354g (12.5 oz or about 2.5 cups) flour, all-purpose (preferably unbleached)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks or 170g) butter, frozen or very cold, sliced every quarter inch
  • 1/2 cup (103g) cold lard, schmaltz, tallow, vegetable shortening, or favorite solid fat
  • 1/4 cup cold vodka
  • 1/4 cup cold water


1 hour, 13 minutes
Ready in
1 hour, 13 minutes
  1. Pulse half the flour with all of the salt and sugar in food processor two times
  2. Add butter slices and lard
  3. Process until dough is to combined and starts to clump together (about 15 seconds)
  4. Scrape sides and bottom of processor bowl
  5. Add the rest of the flour and pulse about 6 times to combine
  6. Pour out into a medium bowl
  7. Sprinkle vodka and water over the dough
  8. Fold in and push down on the mixture until the vodka and water are absorbed and the dough starts to become tacky
  9. Divide dough evenly and turn out onto sheets of plastic wrap
  10. Flatten and wrap into 4-5 inch discs
  11. Chill for 1 hour to 4 days until ready to use
  12. Roll out and use in pie recipe as needed


Note that this nutrition is assuming that you're eating 1/8th of a double-crusted pie (like apple). If the two crusts this recipe yields are for two separate pies, cut the nutrition results in half.

Nutrition information

Serving Size: 1/8th of double crust (91g)
Calories per serving: 374
Fat per serving: 25.29g
Saturated fat per serving: 10.74g
Carbs per serving: 32.1g
Protein per serving: 4.82g
Fiber per serving: 1.1g
Sugar per serving: 2.27g
Sodium per serving: 321mg
Trans fat per serving: 0g
Cholesterol per serving: 24mg

Tasting and lessons learned

This vodka pie crust is super easy to work with and tastes great!  The vodka in the recipe completely bakes off and there is no taste of it remaining at all after cooking.  The vodka adds the benefit of making the crust simple to roll out.  I’ve used this recipe many times in my pies since 2007 and it’s usually my go-to recipe.  When I first used it, I worried that it would be hard to work with because it is somewhat tacky as you roll it out, but if you use just a bit of flour on your work surface and rolling pin, it’ll flatten out like a dream.  Rolls out easier than the Bon Appetit & Milk Street Recipes

When I subbed schmaltz over my normal lard, it did occasionally drip oil in the oven off of the top crust.  You should be doing it regardless, but make sure you have a pan to catch any drips that might come off.  I did not run into that issue when I used my normal lard or shortening.

This is a fantastic recipe and remains my favorite to this day.  Highly recommended!

Patrick Jaszewski @pjaszewski

Culinary Tyrannosaurus, passport stamp collector, home cook, pilot, strength enthusiast, bilingual, coffee roaster, recovering homebrewer. Committed to DIY ethic. Minnesota native transplanted in Pennsylvania. Thunderbird MBA Alumni and Golden Gopher. Undyingly positive and open minded. Drives Jill crazy by questioning everything.

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