Why Use Vodka In Pie Crust

Why Use Vodka In Pie Crust

Have you ever heard of using vodka in a pie crust recipe? It may sound unusual, but there's an excellent reason for this unconventional baking secret. Adding vodka to your pie crust recipe can create a tender, flaky crust that's perfect for both sweet and savory pies. In this article, we'll explore the science behind using vodka in pie crust, how to perfect this technique, and even provide a tasty example for you to try out.

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The Science Behind Using Vodka in Pie Crust

Vodka is an ideal ingredient to create a tender and flaky pie crust. But why is this so? It all comes down to gluten, the protein found in wheat flour that provides structure and elasticity to dough.

When you mix flour with water, gluten is formed, which creates a chewy texture in the baked product. While this is desirable in bread, it's not something you want in a pie crust. By using vodka instead of water, you introduce a liquid that doesn't form gluten when mixed with flour, thus reducing gluten development in the dough.

Vodka dough is also easier to roll out, because the alcohol works as a solvent for the proteins in the dough, preventing them from binding together as tightly.

Vodka Evaporates During Baking

Don't worry, your pie crust won't be alcoholic! Vodka is approximately 40% alcohol and 60% water. Most of the alcohol content will evaporate during the baking process, leaving almost no trace of vodka in your finished pie crust. This also helps create flakiness, as the alcohol evaporates, leaving little pockets of air in the crust which add to its flaky texture.

Finding the Right Vodka

When choosing vodka for your pie crust recipe, a flavorless and odorless vodka is best. Cheap and inexpensive vodka brands work just as well in this case. It's best to avoid flavored or infused vodkas, as the flavors may interfere with your final pie result.

How to Make a Vodka Pie Crust

Here is a simple recipe to create your perfect vodka pie crust:


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/4 cup vodka, cold
  • 1/4 cup ice-cold water


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  2. Add the cold, cubed butter and using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Gradually add the vodka and ice-cold water, stirring gently until the dough begins to come together. It may seem a little sticky, but that's what you want.
  4. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. When ready to use, remove the dough from the refrigerator, and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to your desired thickness. Use the dough as needed for your pie recipe.

Variations and Tips

  • You can easily make this pie crust recipe vegan by using a plant-based butter substitute instead of regular butter.
  • If you're not fond of vodka, you can substitute it with another high-proof, flavorless alcohol, like gin or white rum.
  • Resting the dough in the refrigerator is crucial, as it allows the flour to fully absorb the liquid and the butter to solidify again for that flaky texture.

Why Use Vodka In Pie Crust Example:

Now that you know how to create the perfect vodka pie crust, try this delicious Apple Pie recipe:


  • 1 batch of Vodka Pie Crust
  • 6 cups thinly sliced and peeled apples (about 5-6 medium apples)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, for sprinkling on top of the pie


Includes from step 1 to 10.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of adding vodka to a pie crust?

Adding vodka to pie crust has the benefit of making the dough easier to work with, as it adds moisture without developing gluten, which can make the crust tough. The vodka assists in creating a flaky and tender pie crust.

How does vodka improve the texture of the pie crust?

Vodka helps to moisten the dough, making it more pliable and easier to roll without sticking. Since alcohol doesn’t promote gluten formation like water does, the resulting crust is more tender and flaky after baking.

Can you taste the vodka in the baked pie crust?

No, you cannot taste the vodka in the baked pie crust. Vodka evaporates during the baking process, leaving no discernible alcohol flavor behind.

Is there a specific type of vodka that works best for pie crusts?

Any plain, unflavored vodka is suitable for pie crusts. The quality of the vodka doesn't necessarily affect the crust, so an inexpensive brand is typically sufficient for this purpose.

What proportion of vodka is recommended for pie crust recipes?

Proportions can vary, but a common ratio is about 1/4 cup of vodka for a standard single pie crust, with an equivalent amount of ice water.

Can I use a different type of alcohol in my pie crust?

Yes, other types of alcohol like white rum or brandy can be used, but vodka is preferred due to its high alcohol content and neutral flavor, which both help to reduce gluten development.

Is it safe for children to eat pie crust made with vodka?

Yes, it is safe for children to eat pie crust made with vodka as the alcohol bakes off during the cooking process, leaving no residual alcohol in the final product.

What if I don't have vodka, can I still make pie crust?

Absolutely. Vodka is not essential for pie crust. You can use cold water, but you may need to be more careful not to overwork the dough to avoid toughness.

Does using vodka in pie crust affect baking times?

No, using vodka in pie crust does not generally affect baking times. You should follow the baking time specified in the recipe you are using for the best results.

Can vodka in pie crust be replaced with non-alcoholic substitutes?

Yes, non-alcoholic substitutes such as vinegar or lemon juice mixed with water can be used. These still inhibit gluten formation to some extent, though not as effectively as vodka.

How should the vodka and water mixture be incorporated into the dough?

The vodka and water should be very cold and added sparingly to the flour and fat mixture while tossing and mixing until the dough just comes together. Overworking the dough can lead to toughness.

Will using vodka in my pie crust recipe affect the nutritional content?

The addition of vodka will not significantly change the nutritional content of the pie crust, as most of the alcohol evaporates during baking. The caloric content should remain largely unchanged.

Can I use vodka in both sweet and savory pie crusts?

Yes, vodka works well in both sweet and savory pie crusts due to its neutral flavor, which does not interfere with the taste of the filling.

What is the scientific reason that vodka makes pie crust flakier?

The scientific reason is that gluten, which can make crusts tough, forms when proteins in the flour interact with water. Vodka is only partially water; the rest is alcohol, which does not promote gluten formation. So, there's enough liquid to bind the dough without enhancing gluten development, leading to a flakier crust.

Is it possible to freeze vodka-infused pie dough?

Yes, like any pie dough, vodka-infused pie dough can be frozen. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe bag. It can be frozen for up to three months.

How does high altitude affect making vodka pie crust?

High altitude can cause liquids to evaporate faster and dough to dry out more quickly. You might need to adjust the amount of vodka and water slightly, adding a bit more to compensate for the quicker evaporation.

Why doesn't the dough become soggy if vodka is added?

Even though vodka is a liquid, it doesn’t promote gluten formation like water does. Plus, it has a high evaporation rate, so it disperses throughout the dough without making it soggy, then largely evaporates in the oven.

Can gluten-free flour be used with vodka for a pie crust?

Yes, gluten-free flour can be used with vodka for pie crusts. Since gluten development isn't a concern with these flours, the vodka mainly helps to provide moisture needed to bind the dough together.

What's the best way to store the vodka pie dough before baking?

The best way to store vodka pie dough before baking is to wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least an hour, or overnight. This allows the dough to hydrate evenly and the fats to firm up, which helps create a flaky texture.

If I'm making a vegan pie crust, can I still use vodka?

Yes, vodka can still be used in vegan pie crusts. Just ensure that the other ingredients, like fats, are vegan-appropriate, such as coconut oil or a plant-based butter substitute.

Does the brand of vodka matter when making pie crust?

The brand of vodka is not crucial when making pie crust since it serves a functional purpose rather than adding flavor. A less expensive brand is typically fine to use in this case.

How can I ensure my pie crust is perfectly flaky using vodka?

Ensure you add the correct proportion of vodka, handle the dough minimally and gently, and keep everything as cold as possible during the preparation. This will inhibit gluten development and promote flakiness.

Now you understand the benefits of using vodka in pie crust, and with our easy-to-follow instructions, your pies will become the talk of the town! We hope you enjoy trying out this technique and creating the ultimate tender and flaky pie crust. Be sure to check out our other guides on Vodka Doctors for more tasty vodka-based recipes and tips, and don't forget to share this article with your friends!

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Ferdynand Scheuerman

Ferdynand is Vodka importer, exporter and specialist with over 30 years of experience in the Vodka industry. He knows the subtle in's & out's of Vodka. Spending most of his time discovering new brands, new blends and new cocktails.

About Ferdynand Scheuerman

Ferdynand is Vodka importer, exporter and specialist with over 30 years of experience in the Vodka industry. He knows the subtle in's & out's of Vodka. Spending most of his time discovering new brands, new blends and new cocktails.

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