No-shrink pie crust – Milk Street

This is my first run at testing Milk Street’s Foolproof Single-Crust Pie Dough. In the recipe they published in their Milk Street magazine, they claim that it makes a crust that doesn’t shrink when it bakes. I’ve had great luck with the Foolproof Vodka Pie Crust originally developed by Christopher Kimball’s other venture Cooks Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen, so I wanted to test this one out too.  It grabbed my attention right away because it uses a novel way of getting the water into the recipe.  It has you make a gel with water and cornstarch by heating it in the microwave for a few seconds.  The recipe also calls for some sour cream, an ingredient that I don’t often see in pie crusts. I wanted to test this no-shrink pie crust right away and compare it to other methods.

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 no-shrink pie crust 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.


No-shrink pie crust – Milk Street

4 stars (13 ratings)
Recipe by: Patrick Jaszewski
Category: dessert
Cuisine: French, American


2 hours, 30 minutes
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 159g (about 1 cup + 2 tablespoons) flour, all-purpose
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1.25 sticks) butter, frozen or very cold, sliced every quarter inch
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream


2 hours
30 minutes
Ready in
2 hours, 30 minutes
  1. Whisk together water and cornstarch in a cup or small bowl until fully incorporated
  2. Microwave on high, stirring once until gooey/set, about 30 to 40 seconds
  3. Set in freezer to cool for 10 minutes
  4. Add flour, sugar, and salt to food processor. Run the processor for 2-5 seconds to incorporate
  5. Add chilled water/cornstarch gel (it should wiggle like gelatin) and pulse 5 times to combine
  6. Add butter and sour cream
  7. Run the processor for a bout 15 to 30 seconds, just until the dough starts to "ball-up" and stick to the blade (see video)
  8. Turn the dough out onto plastic wrap, form a 4-5 inch disc
  9. Wrap up the dough and rest in refrigerator for 1 hour to 4 days
  10. Add the butter and sour cream and process until the dough comes together and begins to collect around the blade, 20 to 30 seconds.
  11. Turn the dough out onto plastic wrap and pat into a 4-5 inch disc
  12. Wrap up the dough and rest in refrigerator for 1 hour to 4 days
  13. Heat oven to 375F
  14. Roll out the dough as needed for your recipe and lay into pie tin carefully- take care not to stretch the dough
  15. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes
  16. Blind bake, covered in foil 3/4 full with pie weights for 25 minutes, rotating once
  17. Remove the foil and weights
  18. Return to oven for 5-7 minutes to brown crust
  19. Cool on a rack for about an hour before filling and using for recipe as needed

Nutrition information

Serving Size: 44g
Calories per serving: 359
Fat per serving: 23.16g
Saturated fat per serving: 14.261g
Carbs per serving: 31.76g
Protein per serving: 5.27g
Fiber per serving: 1g
Sugar per serving: 2.67g
Sodium per serving: 354mg
Trans fat per serving: 0g
Cholesterol per serving: 45mg

Tasting and lessons learned

This no-shrink pie crust worked really well!  I love the flavor of the sour cream in the crust – it’s slightly tangy in a very pleasant way.  The sour cream seemed to aid the browning reactions and added some flavor complexity.  It wasn’t quite as buttery as the Bon Appetit recipe, but it was every bit as good.

Rolling it out took some patience.  It’s a little fussy to work with and there are a lot of steps to bring it together and bake relative to a traditional recipe.  In my opinion, it was not as easy to handle as it was advertised by Milk Street.  It was supposed to roll-out like Play-Doh, but that was not my experience.  I’ll use it again in the future and hope that it will handle better.

Please let me know down in the comments if you’ve had the same experience or if it worked great for you!

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.

View Comments

  • I haven't had great luck with the vodka dough recipe, so I was eager to try the cornstarch recipe. After leaving the dough in the fridge for 2 days, I let it warm up for about 30 minutes, on a plate, under a bowl. It rolled out like playdough! So easy! And then it totally slumped in the oven during the first 5 minutes of baking! I was so disappointed! I didn't use beans because the dough was so sturdy, and I had wrapped it around the rim of the pie dish. It so totally slumped that there were no sides at all. Because I had everything else ready for my quiche, I used a spoon to push the dough up the sides of the dish, and cranked the oven up to 425 degrees (the temperature at which I usually blind bake a pie crust). I broke off some little pieces of the crust, and it was delicious and flaky! The quiche is baking now at 375 degrees. I wonder what I could have done differently, other than the beans. And I don't think they would have been enough to hold the sinking dough. I almost wondered if I should bake the crust on the outside of an upside down pie dish... Has anyone used this to make a 2 crust pie?

    • Thanks for posting and I'm sorry that you had some struggles with your quiche. I've heard other people talk about the Milk Street recipe slumping during the cooking as well. On the Milk Street Podcast, Christopher Kimball talks about how critical it is to rest it in the freezer for 15-30 minutes before baking. Did you take that step? I found that it doesn't shrink as much if you do that. Really, that's a great technique to take to any pie crust.

      Another key piece is to ease it into the pie tin/plate without stretching the dough. Because the gluten has "memory," it'll try to contract and cause the slumping. I know it can feel a little bit like pushing a rope, but it can help mitigate some of the shrink.

      Finally: pie weights. I've tested a variety of options and have found that ceramic weights, pebble stones, or coins work the best. Unfortunately, beans and rice simply don't seem to be dense enough or transfer heat quite right. Of course, you'll want to line your crust with aluminum foil before adding them. :) Fill it nearly to the top and they should help keep the sides of the crust from sagging.

      I hope that helps you and best of luck!

      • I did all the suggestions, except the pie weights. I just got 2 bags from Amazon, but I don't think it will fill the crust to the rim. I think I'll try coins, per your suggest! I'm trying it on a buttermilk pie next. I'll let you know how I make out.

        • Please do! I hope that you have some great luck with the coins. They should keep those sides in place. I'm looking forward to your feedback! :)

          • I ended up baking the buttermilk with the filling, so I didn't pre-bake (I forgot that I didn't need to pre-bake.) And it worked great! No slumping! Because I was in a hurry, I did start rolling right our of the refrigerator, and I did get some cracking, the issue you were having. The first time, I let the dough sit for about 15 minutes before I started, and it didn't crack at all. That might be worth repeating.
            I have my new favorite pie crust! Thank you Milk Street!

          • Awesome, I'm happy you had better luck this time! I'll have to try it again too - we're certainly getting into pie season :)

  • I've made both ATK and Milk Street and I'm really in love with Milk St. That one did roll out like play dough , and I'm surprised it didn't for you. I thought the flavor was stunning.

    • Thanks for posting Bonnie and I'm sorry for the delay in replying to you. I'll have to try making it again, but It didn't roll out as nice for me as I had hoped. One possibility could be a couple of days in the refrigerator before rolling it out may have made it stiffer than if I had gotten to rolling it out right away.

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