Holy cow, am I excited to share this low carb pie crust recipe with you!
Because pie crusts are the foundation of all the best comfort foods— from pies, to pot pies to quiches— And who wants to say good-bye to those delicious classics?! Not you. No me. Why would we?
With low carb recipes like this, you can still eat all your favorite foods—without the carbs.
I know what you’re thinking. So let me assure you—at The Little Pine, low carb doesn’t mean cardboard-like, eggy, dry, or bland. It means family tested and approved, make your Mama proud, buttery, crumble-free, deliciousness sure to spark a little joy at your next family gathering.
Below we’ll share all the tips and tricks you need for low carb pie crust perfection. So come on friends, let’s get baking!
First things first, if you’ve ever made a truly tasty pie crust from scratch, wheat flour or not, you know, and every baker will agree: Pie crusts are seriously hard to get right.
Crumbly. Dry. Doughy. Burnt.
Oh ya, I went through all of that, until I got here. I’ve tried SO many low carb pie crust recipes—most of which crumbled with one wrong move (lesson learned: if the recipe doesn’t show a photo of a sliced crust, the recipe is not to be trusted).
I then turned to the food science master Alton Brown— who explains how the ingredients interact and what is needed for what. And thanks to him, finally, I came up with this recipe.
But it isn’t just the recipe that’s important, it’s the ingredients and the process…
Traditional Pie Crust
Pie crust is typically made with flour, butter, water, salt, and sometimes sugar.
Obviously, with a classic pie crust, you shouldn’t expect to avoid carbs— to give you an idea, ¼ cup of white flour has 109 calories and 22.8 grams of carbs!
But, one thing (from a food science perspective) wheat flour has going for it that low carb flours don’t is gluten.
I know, I know, I said the evil word. Don’t hate me.
Gluten acts as a natural binding agent— which is why gluten free flours (used in low carb recipes) are dry and lack the “fluffiness” we all love and crave. Ergo, when using low carb flours, something needs to be added to bind all that deliciousness together.
Luckily there’s a DELICIOUS and healthy solution to this problem…
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Low Carb Flour
It’s a fact: low carb flours don’t have the same elasticity as white or wheat flour.
But don’t worry, I’ve got just the trick to make a perfect, stay together, low carb pie crust alternative: psyllium husk.
It’s higher in carbs than other items on your low carb shopping list, however a little of this stuff goes a long way, fibrous way: 2 tbsp 35 calories, 0 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fiber.
As you can see, it’s a great source of soluble fiber, which is not only awesome for those of you watching your net carbs, but also for how it reacts when it comes in contact with liquid. The fiber absorbs moisture and becomes gelatinous.
Combine a little of this with low carb flour, and you’re set!
My go to low carb flours are: Coconut Flour, Almond Flour, Almond Meal, Flaxseed Meal, Sunflower Seed Meal, Hazelnut Meal, and Pecan Meal.
Each of these flours have their own characteristics that make them special and/or difficult—one thing they do have in common is none of them can simply replace regular flour without adjustments.
For example, coconut flour pie crust no eggs would be a difficult combo to create as coconut flour is extremely dry and needs more moisture to keep it all together—so low carb pie crust coconut flour recipes are typically loaded with eggs.
This recipe in particular is made with my favorite low carb flour: almond flour.
This pie crust has the beautiful look and color thanks to the almond flour.
Almond meal will work from a taste and structural standpoint as they’re basically the same ingredient, except one minor difference: almond meal contains the skin of the almonds—which will result in a brown speckled crust.
Basically, people will know it’s healthy. I like to trick ‘em.
Almond flour is essential in low carb baking. It’s lower in carbs than coconut flour (and obviously wheat flours). It’s gluten free and works well in baked goods, both sweet and savory.
Unfortunately, it can get expensive. Trader Joe’s and of course my beloved Amazon Prime are the best prices I’ve found—although making it from home is crazy easy…
How to Make Almond Flour
Making almond flour is one of the easiest things you can do—all you need are some raw almonds, sans skin, and a blender or food processor. Ta-dah! You’ll be teaching your friends how to make almond flour in no time.
Almond Flour Nutrition
Check out the macros of this rock star flour alternative: 170 cals, 15g fat, 6g protein, 6g carbs.
Why Use Cold Butter?
If you’ve made pie crust from scratch before, you know this is the crucial step to making a buttery, flakey, delicious crust: keep your butter cold!
And not just in the beginning, throughout every step of the way.
This is because you want to keep you butter completely solid until you’re actually baking the crust—which is difficult because butter melts at a very low temperature (below body temperature)— meaning there isn’t a ton of workable range!
So, we start with cold butter, make an effort not to process the dough any more than we have to, and place the dough back in the fridge between steps.
As far as using other fats to make an almond flour pie crust vegan, it gets tricky (of course you’ll have to sub the eggs as well). Coconut oil isn’t considered one of the better fats to use for pie crusts as it has an even lower melting point. If you thought butter was hard to work with…
Many bakers consider lard to be the best fat for pie crusts.
I still stand behind butter. I prefer the taste when compared to other fats, plus it’s at every grocery store— whereas lard can be hard to find.
Why Use a Food Processor?
Using a food processor allows you to work the dough only as much as you need to cut the butter into the flour. This helps to prevent the butter from getting too warm, keeping it closer to its solid state.
You can also use a stand up mixer or pastry cutter to work the dough together.
Alright my friends, let’s get to baking some low carb pie crust!
Hope you enjoy as much as I do J Check out below the recipe for some ideas on how to use this crust—from sweet to savory!
Low Carb Pie Crust
- Cut butter into small pieces (I cut it into about 36) and toss in the freezer while you prep your ingredients.
- Place all dry ingredients in a food processor, and process a few times to combine.
- Add butter, egg and egg white. Pulse only until the dough becomes crumbly.
- Form the dough into a ball and flatten it into a disc.
- Wrap the dough in cling wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days.
- Press dough into a 9" buttered pie pan.
- Place the pie pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Optional Egg Wash: whisk the remaining egg, and use a small brush to put a thin layer of the egg on the edges of the crust.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges are a nice golden brown.
What do you do with this Low Carb Pie Crust…
This pie crust is so versatile, I use it in all sorts of recipes—from low carb breakfasts to low carb dinners and everything in between…
Low Carb Desserts
Low carb desserts are where you can really get creative—from low carb pumpkin pie to low carb tarts, to low carb pecan pie— anything that pretty little mind of yours can think of.
Add a little sweeteners and some cinnamon and this crust tastes just like a low carb graham cracker pie crust— perfect for your next low carb crust for cheesecake.
Low Carb Quiche
This is the ultimate low carb pie crust for quiche—trust me—in my house we can’t start the day without it! Low carb quiche is the ultimate low carb casserole for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Low Carb Chicken Pot Pie
For the ultimate comfort food dish, check out our low carb chicken pot pie recipe. You’ll need a double batch of pie crust, and you’ll only want to cook one crust before adding the filling. But danggggg—this one’s a keeper!