The last traditional pie crust I made from scratch was over twenty years ago, when I was trying to impress my future in-laws with a homemade pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. It looked gorgeous when it came out of the oven, but right after snapping a photo of it, it slipped out of the pan and hit the floor.
The crust didn’t crack. In fact, not a speck crumbled from it, because it was hard as a rock.
I think it might have broken one of my floor tiles, though.
That’s why I was happy to discover that if you’re crust-challenged like me, there are a lot of super-easy alternatives out there that help you turn out a delicious pie without having to stress over a homemade dough crust.
These crusts, made out of unexpected ingredients like leftover rice and cookie dough, are going to help me save face, save time and maybe even save some of my precious floor tiles.
Top: Atlantic Beach PIe With Saltine Crust | Certified Pastry Aficionado
Cookie Crumb Pie Crust
Making crusts from cookie crumbs is a classic baking hack. In her post How To Make a Cookie Crumb Crust, Jennifer at Bake or Break offers a lot of tips for making a basic cookie crust using everything from graham crackers to shortbread cookies to Oreos. I think it’s a smart, creative crust idea to try with your leftover cookies — if you ever have such a thing.
Phyllo Dough Pie Crust
Store-bought phyllo dough seems like such a logical substitute for pie crust, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner! This recipe for Flaky Strawberry Cream Pie at Canadian Living offers detailed instructions for the crust assembly, then suggests using fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream to fill it up. So easy, and hey, you might even have a box of phyllo in your freezer right now that you can experiment with. In the name of pie-science, of course.
Rice Pie Crusts
This is the most interesting option for creative pie crust ideas that I’ve seen. I always have leftover rice, and now I know what I’m going to do with it. (Besides making fried rice.) Turns out, if you mix cooked rice with butter and bake it, it makes a great gluten-free crust for savory dishes like this Zucchini Quiche With Rice Crust at Live Lighter. Doesn’t that look gorgeous? I’ll bet a rice-based pie crust would also make a clever bowl for serving some stir-fry at a party, too.
Saltine Pie Crust
I’ve never heard of making a crust out of Saltines, but I’m going to have to try this creative pie crust idea myself, since I’m a huge fan of the salty/sweet combo. I learned that there’s something called an Atlantic Beach Pie that requires a Saltine crust, and this recipe for it at Certified Pastry Aficionado looks amazing, from top to lemon meringe-filled bottom. She offers tons of helpful tips too, so be sure to click through. Saltines – not just for morning sickness!
Cookie Dough Pie Crust
If you don’t mind a little extra sugar with your pie (and really, who does?) using store-bought refrigerated cookie dough for a crust seems like a brilliant idea. Just press the dough into a pie pan, bake and then fill. Here’s a recipe for Peanut Butter Pie With a Sugar Cookie Crust at The Domestic Kitchen that I think is a wonderful way to get you started. You may never use that cookie dough for cookies ever again.
Store-Bought Pie Crust
There is no shame in buying a ready-made pie crust from the store. In fact, if I had done that many years ago, we could have enjoyed a delicious pie that Thanksgiving instead of eating the filling out of bowls. Even cookbook authors and pro chefs often tell you to skip the effort of rolling your own (so to speak). So I looked up a few “best store-bought pie crust” lists and the two names that kept popping up are Oronoque Orchards Deep Dish Pie Crusts (our editor Liz’s own favorite) and Trader Joe’s Pie Crust. I’ve used the crusts from Trader Joe’s to make pot pies, and they were delicious – and easy – even for the crust-challenged like me.