25 Best Cookies For Flavorful Crumb Crusts

A cheesecake wouldn't be complete without a cookie crust. Unlike the traditional pie crusts made from flour, fat, and water, these crusts are made by crumbling up cookie pieces and mixing them with a bit of melted butter or oil before pressing them into a pie plate. The result is a crust that imparts a lot more flavor and texture to the pie than a standard pie crust ever will.

You should use cookie crumbs for your next pie crust if you want to get creative and mix and match flavors. While there are a few rules about what kinds of cookies you can use in your pie crust, one significant one will determine its texture and structure: Always use crunchy cookies. Soft cookies are the ingredient you should avoid when making cookie crusts because the crust won't hold up — and it will just get soggy once you add your pie filling. With that rule in mind, here are some of the best types of cookies you can craft into your cookie crust.

Graham crackers

The most popularized cookie (well, cracker, technically) for pie crusts is undoubtedly the graham cracker. These square sheets of cookies are easy to grind up or pulse into very fine flour. Plus, graham crackers hold up well to any cheesecake or cream pie filling.

The only drawback to using graham crackers for pie crust is that the flavors are bland. The secret ingredient you need to elevate your graham cracker crust and give it a bright pop of flavor is a little bit of lemon zest. The hint of citrus will help round out the flavors of your banana cream pie or cheesecake — without distracting too much from the classic flavor of a simple graham cracker crust.

Chocolate sandwich cookies

If your top crust cookie isn't the graham cracker, it's probably the chocolate sandwich cookie. Chocolate sandwich cookies have long been used as a base for cheesecakes, chocolate cream pies, and our favorite: peanut butter pie. These cookies also be made into a crumbly crust that makes ice cream pie easier to slice because they don't freeze up completely solid. Plus, who doesn't love the taste of Oreo cookies and ice cream?

We recommend using the regular stuffed Oreos for this recipe rather than the double stuffed since the extra cream filling can make the crust too greasy and not hold together well.

Shortbread cookies

Shortbread cookies are a bit of an enigma in the cookie world. They're probably not the first type of cookie you're going to reach for when you're in the mood for something sweet, but they do make a great crunchy addition to pie crusts. Also, since shortbread cookies tend to be bland (at least the ones you should be using for cookie crusts; no chocolate chips or dried fruit allowed here), they will enable the flavor of the pie to stand out. If you want to use a pre-packaged shortbread cookie for your crust, we recommend Lorna Doones.

Vanilla wafers

Vanilla wafer cookies (often known under the "Nilla wafers" moniker) are a staple ingredient for a banana pudding, but these versatile cookies can also be used to make a dreamy vanilla cookie crust. The cookies turn into fine powder in the food processor after a very short time and have a relatively neutral but predominately vanilla flavor. Therefore, we recommend sticking to its roots and using this cookie as the base for your banana cream pie.

You'll need about 60 to 70 standard-sized Nilla wafers to make a standard pie crust. If you plan on baking your pie crust, refrigerate it first, so it has enough time to set.

Thin Mints

While the Thin Mint may not have taken the top seed of our 2023 Girl Scout Cookie ranking, we can't help but admit that these minty cookies have a very special place in our hearts. We recommend using Thin Mint cookies for a minty or chocolate cookie crust — just be sure to be attentive to the flavors you're mixing and matching to ensure that your pie melds together nicely. If you love everything mint, try making a Thin Mint cookie pie with layers of mint-infused cream cheese, whipped topping, and a layer of crushed cookies on top of it.

Golden sandwich cookies

As much as we love chocolate sandwich cookies, chocolate doesn't always pair well with every type of pie filling. Enter vanilla sandwich cookies — for all the things that chocolate couldn't do. Golden Oreos, for example, have the same crunchy qualities as their chocolate Oreo brethren, making them a texturally sufficient addition to any cookie crust.

We recommend using vanilla Oreos for fruity, citrusy, or bright fillings. Similarly to using chocolate sandwich cookies, you won't have to remove the inner cream layer from the cookie. This filling adds a subtle element of sweetness and creaminess to the crust — meaning that you won't have to add any extra sugar.

Biscoff cookies

Biscoff cookies are easily the most underrated type of cookie you can add to a cookie crust. Otherwise known as speculoos cookies, these crunchy, cinnamony, and utterly perfectly engineered food products are the staple ingredient for cookie butter. Of course, if you want to make a Biscoff cookie crust, you'll need to source the whole cookie rather than the dreamy spread.

The warming spices in the Biscoff cookies make this an ideal option for cheesecakes or pumpkin pie. You'll need about 32 Biscoff cookies for a 9-inch pie plate. Since the cookies are sweet enough, you won't need to add additional sugar — just the melted butter to hold the crust together.

Nutter butters

Calling all peanut butter lovers: This one is for you. Nutter butter cookies are peanut-shaped sandwich cookies made with both a peanut-flavored cream and a peanut butter cookie. The peanut butter flavor is not overwhelming and comes off with more sweet notes than savory ones — thus making this cookie perfect for a peanut butter pie, chocolate cheesecake, or peanut butter cheesecake.

You'll need to use about 26 crushed cookies for a 9-inch pie plate. Crush the cookies with either a rolling pin and resealable bag, or pulse them into a fine powder using your food processor. Like the other types of sandwich cookies we've mentioned, adding additional sugar to this recipe is unnecessary.

Chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are America's favorite type of cookie for a reason, but that doesn't always make them a good fit for pie crusts. This is because chocolate chip cookies can come in several different forms, including soft, cakey, and pliable varieties. If you are opting to use a chocolate chip cookie for your crumb crust, you need to use the crunchiest possible cookie that you can find. The store-bought brands, like crunchy Chips Ahoy, tend to work best.

You won't have to worry about picking the individual chips out of your cookies. Instead, simply blitz it all together in a food processor to get your perfect crumb size.

Oatmeal cookies

Oatmeal cookies are in the same boat as chocolate chip cookies; the crust will only hold up well if you use the driest oatmeal cookie you can find. Store-bought brands tend to lend well to cookie crusts because they are packaged to avoid any moisture that would otherwise make them stale. On the other hand, the cookies you make at home are filled with tons of moisture that make the cookies too soft for the crust.

Like the other cookie crusts, you're going to want to pulse your oatmeal cookies in a food processor to make tiny crumbs. We also recommend avoiding cookies with raisins or nuts in them because it tends to upset the textural balance of the pie crust.

Digestive biscuits

If you've never had a digestive biscuit, you're likely not the only one. These tea biscuits are initially from the United Kingdom and are often sold under the brand McVitie's. You likely won't be able to find the biscuit in the cookie aisle of your American grocery store, but you will have better luck looking in the international section with the chips and snacks.

Digestive biscuits don't have much of a strong flavor; they're often dunked into tea or eaten with a cheese spread. But the dry quality of the biscuit makes it an excellent base for various cakes and pies.

Lemon cookies

Citrus can elevate the flavor of your baked goods, so why not use it to elevate the taste of your cookie crust, too? If you find the perfect lemon cookie, you may find an easy way to amplify the sweet notes of any cheesecake flavor you make. Alternatively, you can ditch the traditional pie crust in a lemon meringue pie for this one.

The type of lemon cookie you choose is essential to crafting a good pie crust. Gooey lemon butter cookies are not an ideal fit, but lemon sandwich cookies are. Look for dry lemon cookies that crumble when you touch them.


Gingersnaps have a perfectly complex molasses undertone with tons of ginger, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg notes. Plus, the correct gingersnap cookie — you guessed it — snaps. No soggy gingersnaps are allowed here.

Gingersnap cookies work best for flavors like pumpkin and apple because the warming spices highlight those respective flavors. Depending on how sweet you want your pie crust, you can add a dash of white or brown sugar to your cookies when you're pulsing the ingredients together. You can also customize it with your own additional spices; it will give you an excuse to taste a cookie or two first before making the crust. You'll need around 2 cups of gingersnap cookies for a 9-inch pie plate.

Sugar cookies

You can use sugar cookies for your pie crust — just proceed with caution. You'll need to find very dry, hard sugar cookies at your grocery store, which is why we recommend trying those cutout cookies that are covered in colorful icing sugar.

This means leaving out the Lofthouse sugar cookies (the plasticky puffy sugar cookies covered in the sickeningly sweet colored icing and sprinkles) or those decorated with icing. Alternatively, you can make sugar cookie dough at home and bake it into a pie plate, giving you the feeling of a traditional pie crust with a cookie texture.

Animal crackers

Animal crackers are yet another food of your childhood that you thought you had forgotten. These tiny lions, questionable zebras, and oddly-shaped elephants are much more useful when they're pulsed down into a fine powder for a pie crust.

Animal crackers are best when paired with citrus, such as for a lemon meringue or a key lime pie. And if you are looking for a more confectionary option for your crust, try pulsing down the colorful frosted animal crackers. If you use frosted cookies, you will need to add very little butter since the icing helps mold everything together.

Butter cookies

You may have only ever tried a butter cookie from a Royal Dansk tin. We like to describe the texture of these cookies as a cross between a shortbread cookie and a sugar cookie. Since these cookies use a ton of butter and sugar, they tend to have a shorter bite with a bit more crumble to them. This makes butter cookies the perfect addition to a cookie crust.

Since these cookies are already so high in butter, you likely won't need a ton of butter to help the pie crust keep its shape. The nuanced flavor of the butter cookie is perfect for any application where you'd use a vanilla wafer or a shortbread cookie.

Teddy Grahams

Teddy Grahams are the highly portable, easy-to-use version of a graham cracker. So if you don't have a box of graham crackers but have a few snack bags of Teddy Grahams lying around, you can make an easy swap in your cookie crust recipe.

The key to using Teddy Grahams or graham cracker crumbs in your crust recipe is always to use fresh, non-stale crackers or cookies. If too much moisture gets into the packaging, your cookies won't firm up when pressed into the mold, resulting in a soggy pie. Instead, start with a new bag before you make your crust, or store leftovers in an air-tight container.


Biscotti are a classic Italian cookie with a bread-like texture. The cookie can be made with almost any mix-ins, including nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate.

One of our favorite ways to use biscotti is to make an Italian cheesecake. The crust is made by grinding store-bought biscotti into fine crumbs in a food processor before adding in the melted butter and sugar (since biscotti aren't super-sweet). You can also mix in ingredients to complement the flavor of the biscotti, such as hazelnuts or pistachios. The cheesecake itself is hearty and made with ricotta cheese rather than the standard cream cheese, which produces a more flavorful bite to it.

Pecan sandies

Pecan sandies likely aren't a Gen-Z favorite, but these nutty shortbread cookies work remarkably well in a cookie crust. Since the cookies have a high ratio of butter and sugar to flour, they tend to be crunchier and drier than other types of cookies.

While pecans are these cookies' most popular nutty component (which, we would argue, truly makes a "pecan" sandy), you can also use chopped walnuts instead. The nutty component pairs well with chocolate and plain cheesecake and truly shines when paired with a more dominant flavor like pumpkin or ginger. Use pecan sandies in the same way you'd use shortbread cookies.

Fortune cookies

Fortune cookies might be the most unconventional type of cookie to use for a cookie crust — but it's totally worth it. It's the cookie you need to use for a crispier pie crust.

These cookies are thin and crunchy, meaning that they can help the pie crust keep its shape and texture. Plus, you'll get some light hints of sesame and vanilla in every bite of your chocolate cream pie or upgraded cheesecake. You'll need to use about 25 fortune cookies for your cookie crust — which gives you an excuse to eat a ton of Chinese takeout in the weeks prior.

Gingerbread cookies

Gingerbread: fun to play with and to eat. This cookie is the perfect addition to a pie crust because it's thin, snappy, and has a very strong flavor profile. You'll want to look for the most structurally-sound gingerbread you can find in the grocery store (or make at home); the sheets should snap easily when you attempt to bend them.

Gingerbread tends to have a darker flavor than gingersnaps because of the copious amounts of molasses in it, as well as a spicy ginger undertone. If you're making gingerbread into a pie crust, you'll want to avoid over-baking it; its dark color makes it difficult to tell when the crust is done baking.

Belvita Breakfast Biscuits

If you go to make your pie crust and realize you don't have any of the ingredients you need, you can always repurpose some of your on-the-go breakfast biscuits. Belvita, one of the brand pioneers in such products, offers several types of breakfast biscuits that would work well in a pie crust. Cinnamon brown sugar and golden oat are two of the most ubiquitous flavors, but you also may be able to play around with the crunchy blueberry, toasted coconut, or orange cranberry breakfast biscuits to find what suits your bake the best. Our favorite is the chocolate biscuit, which is perfect for silk pie.

Waffle cones

Yes, waffle cones aren't technically cookies (however, pizzelles — Italian waffle thins — are). But the crisp texture and soft vanilla flavor make these cookies the perfect component for the base of an ice cream pie. You'll want to be sure you're using a robust waffle or a sugar cone for this kitchen hack because other types (like wafer-thin cake cones) will merely fall apart when pulsed into powder and mixed with butter.

You'll need about 1¼ cups of crushed cones for this recipe and a bit of melted butter and sugar. Once mixed and pressed firmly into your pie pan, bake the pan in the oven until firm, cool, and scoop your ice cream in.


Snickerdoodles are an unexpectedly tangy cookie thanks to the addition of a little cream of tartar. This unique flavor makes the snickerdoodle an interesting addition to include in cheesecakes and seasonal pies. If you're shopping for snickerdoodle cookies to include in your pie, make sure you find ones that are not soft-baked — look for thin snickerdoodles with a crunchy consistency.

Since snickerdoodles are coated in a thin layer of cinnamon and sugar, you likely will only need to add a little extra sugar to your cookie crust. One of our favorite ways to use a snickerdoodle crust is for an upgraded apple pie; you'll just need to prepare and pre-bake the crust before adding your delicious apple filling.


Move over, Thin Mints. There's a new star in town.

Besides being the absolute best Girl Scout cookie ever to exist in our opinion, the Samoas (or Caramel deLites) make an excellent pie cookie crust. The shortbread base inside of the cookie is fundamental to the structure of an excellent pie crust — while the layers of caramel, coconut, and chocolate just provide a little extra oomph. Since this cookie has a lot going on, pairing it with complementary pie ingredients or allowing it to be the focal point of your dessert is essential. We recommend using it for caramel cheesecake or a relatively simple chocolate cream pie.