This Pie Crust Recipe Features an Unlikely Ingredient That You’ll Want to Use Every Thanksgiving

published Nov 15, 2021
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pie crust in baking dish
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

When Sarah Crawford, founder of the popular Broma Bakery blog, recently posted an Instagram reel sharing her pie crust recipe, she enthusiastically asked, “Who knew you could make flakey, buttery pie crust IN A FOOD PROCESSOR?!”

Sure, that’s exciting, but she was really burying the lede. Because, at the end of her ingredients list — after the usual necessities like flour, salt, and butter — she casually added “ice cold vodka or water.” What?! We choose the vodka!

While this isn’t a new technique (in fact, Kitchn has its own vodka pie crust recipe!), it is new to many of her fans. “Never thought about adding vodka! Need to try,” wrote one commenter, to which Crawford replied, “It makes it sewww flaky!” When another asked what the difference was between using vodka or water was, she explained, “the vodka evaporates more than the water which leaves your crust eeeeeeven flakier.”

A little research shows there’s actual science behind this. According to a Scientific American blog post entitled, “How Alcohol Makes a Flakier Pie Crust: The “Proof” Is in the Pie,” the reason for using vodka has to do with gluten. It seems that when liquids — which are essential for binding the dough — are added to flour, they form gluten, and can toughen the dough. Because vodka has less water, it’s able to bind the dough without forming gluten, resulting in a flakier pie crust.

“I know the idea of homemade pie crust can be so intimidating,” says Crawford at the beginning of her video, “but this recipe makes it so easy.” We’ll drink to that.

Don’t have any vodka on hand to make this recipe its best? You can always substitute it out for bourbon, rum, or any other spirit you have readily available. So, if you’re looking for a way to amp up your pie skills this Thanksgiving, you should give the Vodka Pie Crust recipe a try.