17 Best Alternatives For Pie Crust

Pies are one of the most under-appreciated desserts you can make at home. You can get creative with fresh fruit fillings, unctuous custards and cream pies, and savory breakfast quiches. The one uniting thing that brings these various recipes together is the crust. 

The standard pie crust is made by combining flour together with fat and ice water until it's workable and can be pressed into a pie tin. Of course, a store-bought version can suffice — and allows us to focus our attention on the all-important fillings. However, there are some cases where traditional flour crust just doesn't cut it. For example, pie dough tends to like cool kitchen temperatures; a warm, humid day can upset the hydration in your dough and cause it to stick to absolutely everything. This leaves you defeated and, more importantly, hungry. 

Besides the moments where traditional pie crust fails, trying a new crust can introduce new textures and complementary flavors to your dessert. Here are some of the easiest and most flavorful crust substitutions to elevate your pie recipe. 

Cookie dough

If you've never had a cookie crust, you're missing out. Try cookie dough, and you'll discover your new favorite no-bake pie crust. When you're working with raw cookie dough, it's essential that you use ingredients that are safe to be eaten raw — like heat-treated flour and an egg replacement. Our favorite cookie dough is bound together with brown butter for a nuttier flavor. 

Add the browned butter, heat-treated flour (made by baking flour in the oven to kill off any lingering pathogens), milk, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla extract to a bowl. Then, press it into your pie tin and pop it in the freezer to let it harden. 

This pie crust would be best using a custard filling — or you can take the easy way out and use a store-bought instant pudding mix instead. The tanginess of a no-bake cheesecake would also contrast the sweetness of the cookie dough and make for a delicious dessert. 

Butter crackers

You might not think about using the box of butter crackers in your pantry for a pie, but you should. Butter crackers, especially the perfect consistency of the Ritz cracker, make for an ideal ingredient to use in a pie crust. 

This ingredient works well for both savory (like quiches) and sweet pies. Mix crumbled crackers, which have either been pulsed in a food processor or mashed in a bag with a rolling pin, with a bit of sugar and melted butter. Then, press the mixture into a pie plate. You'll want to be sure you press the crust into the plate so that it holds its shape and doesn't crumble when baking. Bake it in the oven to harden the bottom and sides of the crust. 

The possibilities for fillings with this crust are endless. We could see you using it for a classic apple pie since the buttery crackers really boost up the flavor of the filling or substituting it for the traditional crust in an autumnal pumpkin pie recipe


Don't use your granola for your yogurt — make a pie crust out of it instead. Start with your favorite granola. We recommend using a variety without the dried fruit or nuts in it because the texture gets disrupted easily, and these granola components tend not to cook the same as the rest of the ingredients. Once you have your granola, pulse it down until crumbly, then add butter and sugar. Then, transfer it into a pie tin, pushing it into the pan's sides and bottom. From there, you can bake the entire crust until it's brown, firm, and ready to be filled with whatever your pie-loving heart desires. 

We recommend using this crust for a cheesecake. Add a cinnamon and brown sugar granola or oats and honey variety to complement the tanginess of the cream cheese. These flavors also work well with an apple filling. Alternatively, use chocolate granola for a chocolate cream or peanut butter pie. 

Puff pastry

Puff pastry is the ingredient that will get you as close as possible to the taste and texture of traditional pie crust. Unlike pie crust (also known as "shortcrust"), puff pastry dough is made by laminating sheets of butter to develop more distinguished flakey layers. Shortcrust is made by adding chunks of fat to the flour and pulsing the two together, which creates smaller pockets of steam when the butter melts. You'll see puff pastry dough used for croissants and beef Wellington, while shortcrust is often reserved for pies. 

While you can certainly make your own puff pastry at home, the process is arduous (and almost always ends in disaster). Instead, we recommend buying puff pastry from the frozen section of your grocery store. When you're ready to bake, layer the sheet of dough in your pie crust and add your fillings. It's essential always to keep the dough cold to avoid letting the butter leach out — which would totally deflate your crust. 

Phyllo dough

Although you usually see phyllo dough in Mediterranean recipes like spanakopita or baklava, it can also be used to make a visually impressive pie crust. For this one, you'll need store-bought phyllo dough sheets; don't even try making it at home yourself. Phyllo dough must be thawed out before it's used or else the sheets will split when you try to shape them into your crust. You'll also need to be much, much more delicate with this type of dough than a puff pastry or a shortcrust because it's prone to shattering. 

Once you're ready to assemble your crust, cover your thawed phyllo sheets in a damp towel to keep them pliable. Brush the first sheet in melted butter and sprinkle with sugar before adding the next sheet on top and repeating the process several more times. Avoid stacking the sheets directly on top of one another, as this will cause them to stick together. Instead, skew them slightly so the outside of the crust looks like a sun. After the dough is transferred to the pie plate, you can ruffle the edges for a fun yet sophisticated look.

Rice cereal

Snap, crackle, and pop your way to a delicious pie crust with rice cereal. This pie crust is best for ice cream pie or custard because it gives the creamy filling a delicious textural contrast. Start by mixing your crispy rice cereal, or substitute it with a chocolate variety with melted peanut butter and corn syrup. Then, push the cereal into the sides of the pie plate until completely molded, add your filling, and place the dish in the refrigerator or the freezer to harden. 

If you want a peanut-free crust, you can also use melted margarine or butter to help your crust adhere together. This opens up the opportunity to use fruity cereal or stick with the traditional variety for your pie crust. An important caveat is that you can only use this crust for no-bake desserts, but the filling is totally up to you to decide. 

Brownie batter

Your chocolate cream pie needs this brownie batter pie crust. You can use your favorite brownie recipe for this delightful dessert or stick to using a store-bought brownie mix (which we think is much, much easier). Add an egg and some butter or margarine to the mix and prepare it as you usually would. Add the brownie mixture to a greased pie plate or springform pan. Bake slightly until the mix is not wet but still not fully set. Then, you can cool the brownies and press the crust into the sides and bottom of the tin to resemble a crust. Return the tin to the oven and cook until the crust is set and baked through. 

You can use this crust for many chocolatey confections and branch out into peanut butter or strawberry fillings. We recommend trying to add a no-bake cheesecake filling for the ultimate dessert mash-up. 

Shredded coconut

Shredded coconut is an easy way to add some tropical flair to your pie crust. You can add this ingredient to your crust in two ways: crushing up coconut macaroon cookies or working with unsweetened, shredded coconut. The cookies are made with egg whites and sugar, so they just need a bit of butter to get the crumbles to adhere to one another. If you're looking for a less sweet crust, mix together shredded unsweetened coconut with butter, and press into a pie plate. Bake it until golden brown and you'll have a crust ready for your fillings. 

Our favorite way to use this flavorful crust rendition is to add a bit of chocolate and caramel filling for a take on the Girl Scout cookie Caramel deLite (otherwise known as a Samoa). You can also play with other tropical fillings, like pineapple or banana, to take your pie to the next level. 

Hash browns

You may have never considered substituting the crust on your quiche for potato hash, but now is the time. The best part about this is that you can use a pre-shredded, frozen hash. There's no need to labor over peeling, shredding, and squeezing potatoes when the solution is right in the grocery store's freezer section. 

Start with original or pre-seasoned hash, tossed with olive oil and some salt and pepper. Add the mixture directly to the pie tin and bake for at least 20 minutes. This interval will allow the potatoes to cook through. Once the initial bake is completed, remove the container and press the edges of the hash into the bottom and sides. Then, add your quiche filling (extra veggies and cheese for us, please) and return to the oven to bake until the hash gets crispy. This portable breakfast is perfect for busy weekdays or brunch celebrations. 

Crescent dough

If the grocery store is sold out of frozen crusts, you'll want to take a trip to the refrigerator aisle and pick up some cans of crescent roll dough. It's a clever way to use canned crescent rolls because the crust will get deliciously buttery — and you won't have to do any of the work besides popping and unrolling the can!

The ideal type of crescent dough to use comes in a sheet rather than perforated triangles. If you purchase the latter, you'll need to be sure to pinch and seal all of the edges of the crescents to ensure that the filling doesn't seep through. Place the crust in the tin and bake until golden brown. 

We could see several different types of cream pie fillings used for this recipe, including a strawberry or a chocolate cream pie. You could also use it for a traditional fruit or meat pie recipe, such as a take on a chicken pot pie. 

Crumbled cookies

Crumb crusts seem like a natural replacement for a shortcrust pastry pie crust — especially when no-bake fillings are involved. You won't have to settle for bland crumb crusts, either. Instead of adding the traditional graham cracker base to the bottom of your cheesecake, try opting for a different dry, crumbly cookie instead. Soft, chewy cookies are not suitable for crumb crusts because they won't crisp up. 

One of our favorites to use for crumb crusts is Biscoff cookies. This cookie's cinnamon, sweet notes are perfect for a spiced cheesecake or a pumpkin pie. Crumble the cookies with melted butter, place them in a pan, and bake until your kitchen smells absolutely delightful. You can also use Nutter Butter cookies for a peanut butter cheesecake; there's no need to take out the filling, either. If you feel like taking a more unconventional turn, use fortune cookies for your pie crust. It's the cookie swap you need for a crispier pie crust.

Tempered chocolate

Why not make your pie crust more decadent with tempered chocolate? This method changes the chocolate's crystal structure, preventing it from getting chalky. Tempering also makes the chocolate more resistant to temperature change, which is ideal for icebox cakes (or in this case, pies). Once your chocolate is tempered correctly, you can pour it directly into the pie tin; just make sure it's wiped clean of any water residue that would cause the chocolate to seize. Then, place the crust in a cool spot, like your refrigerator or freezer, to allow it to set. 

The ideal chocolate type for tempering is couverture because it has a high cocoa butter content. This means that it melts silky smooth — and it can be purchased in white, dark, or milk chocolate varieties. The main limitation of this pie crust alternative is that you have to use a no-bake pie and chill everything entirely before adding the filling. 


Oatmeal cookies are so underrated, which makes adding them to a pie crust all the more special. The oatmeal has a chewy texture that is perfect for spooning in a creamy custard filling or making a take on an oatmeal cream pie. 

To make your oatmeal pie crust, you'll need to combine quick-cook oats (which have a smaller size than old-fashioned oats), brown sugar, cold butter, and salt together. Cold butter is critical because the flour will envelop each chunk, producing a buttery, layered effect in the finished bake. If you're using this recipe for a no-bake pie, you must bake it until browned and firm. If you notice the crust shrinking, manipulate it while it's still warm and push it up the sides of the tin. If you're using this recipe for a baked pie, such as an apple, blueberry, or peach, you won't have to par-bake it beforehand. 

Ice cream cones

Ice cream cones are really for one thing and one thing only ... right? Although we can't argue with a scoop of cookie dough or coffee in the summertime, you can save your waffle and sugar cones for even better use: pie crusts. This recipe is a great way to use up any cones that have chips or crumbled in the box. 

To make your cone crust, combine crushed cones with melted butter and some sugar. We've found the waffle cones work the best because of their distinct flavor, but cheap sugar cones will also work in a pinch. Once your crust is pressed into the pan, bake for about ten minutes or until the crust is solid and golden. This crust is perfect for ice cream pie, but we could also see you getting creative with cream pies and cheesecakes, too. The flavor of the cone is nuanced enough to work with any filling.


Your peanut butter pie needs this pretzel crust. It's salty, crunchy, and the perfect way to round out an overtly sweet dessert. Start making your pie crust by mixing your ground pretzels with a bit of melted butter. The key is to add your butter incrementally to this recipe, or else you risk drowning out your pretzel pieces and having a greasy crust. This crust also doesn't work well for any wet pies (sorry, blueberry) or pies that need to be at room temperature because the pretzels get soggy and stale very easily. 

Although it's unnecessary to bake a pretzel crust, it will make it sturdier and have a better consistency than if you didn't. You can also bake this pie crust ahead of time and freeze it for up to three months before using it for a recipe. Our favorite fillings for this crust include chocolate, caramel, peanut butter, or coconut. 

Cooked rice

Although it might seem a bit unbelievable, your leftover rice could be repurposed into a pie crust. This recipe is really only suitable for savory pies and quiches, where it's bound to add a unique texture. 

Start with a couple of cups of cooked short-grain brown rice. Brown rice is better for this recipe because it has a more mealy texture and doesn't get soggy as easily. Add the cooked rice to a bowl with shredded cheese, like cheddar or mozzarella, and an egg white. Press the mixture into the pan and the sides. Bake it for about 5 minutes until it's crisp to the touch. 

We love how versatile this crust is. You could add herbs and spices to complement the fillings of your quiche or opt for a more flavorful shredded cheese to change its flavor trajectory altogether. Plus, the recipe is entirely gluten-free. 

Sugar cookie dough

While cookie dough alone isn't for anyone, we can't argue with combining a cookie and an apple pie into one. Our Dutch apple pie recipe uses a sugar cookie base instead of a traditional pie crust — and it's all we dream about and more. 

Unlike American apple pie, Dutch apple pie has a softer, more cookie-like crust and is made in a springform pan rather than a shallow plate. To make the dough, cream butter, brown sugar, eggs, flour, and salt. Flatten the dough on a baking sheet with your hands; it should be malleable enough that you won't need a rolling pin. Then, chill the dough to boost the flavors and solidify the butter. When you're ready to bake, press the dough into the springform pan, add your apple filling, and bake until golden and fragrant. Just don't forget the scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.