Why Vodka In Pie Crust

Why Vodka In Pie Crust

Vodka may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of pie crust, but adding vodka to your pie crust recipe can be a game changer. The secret ingredient that no one talks about, vodka brings out the best flavors, gives your crust a fantastic texture, and makes it flakier than ever before. In this article, we will dive into the science behind why vodka in pie crust works wonders and provide a delicious recipe for you to try. Get ready to amp up your pie game!

Best Budget Vodkas Ranked

smirnoff vodka doctors


A global vodka giant with Russian origins, Smirnoff delivers consistent quality and versatility for any mixer.

Alcohol Percentage: 40%

Taste Profile: Crisp, mild sweetness with a clean finish

Best Cocktail Pairing: Classic Cosmopolitan

Best Food Paring: Grilled chicken skewers

Brand Breakdown: Find out more here

absolut vodka doctors


Swedish purity in a bottle, Absolut is distilled from winter wheat, giving a smooth and rich experience.

Alcohol Percentage: 40%

Taste Profile: Smooth with light grain and citrus hints

Best Cocktail Pairing: Absolut Elyx Martini

Best Food Paring: Smoked salmon canapés

Brand Breakdown: Find out more here

ketel one vodka doctors

Ketel One

A Dutch treat, Ketel One is the result of over 300 years of distilling expertise; a refined choice.

Alcohol Percentage: 40%

Taste Profile: Fresh with subtle citrus and honey notes

Best Cocktail Pairing: Dutch Mule

Best Food Paring: Aged cheeses or Dutch herring

Brand Breakdown: Find out more here

Why Vodka Makes Pie Crust Better

There are several reasons why vodka in pie crust makes it extraordinary, with science backing up these reasons:

Decreases Gluten Formation

Gluten development is essential in some baked goods, such as bread, but can be detrimental to the texture of pie crust. When water and flour mix together in your dough, gluten forms through a combination of two proteins, glutenin and gliadin. While some gluten is necessary in pie crust to provide structure, too much can make it tough and chewy instead of tender and flaky. Vodka, being only 60% water (with the remaining being pure alcohol), disturbs gluten formation by replacing a portion of the water content in the dough.

Evaporates at a Lower Temperature

One key benefit of using vodka in pie crust is that alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water. This means that as the vodka evaporates in the oven, steam is created at a lower temperature point, resulting in improved flakiness and delicate layers in your pie crust.

Enhances Flavor

Although the vodka's alcohol content mostly evaporates during baking, it still has an impact on the flavor of your pie crust. When combined with fat, vodka will help to dissolve and distribute fat-soluble flavor components, such as vanilla extract, throughout the dough, making for an ultimately better-tasting crust.

How to Make Vodka Pie Crust

Now that you know the benefits of using vodka in pie crust, let's walk through the steps to create one.


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


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar.
  2. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or a fork, until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-sized butter pieces.
  3. Gradually add the cold vodka and water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to the flour mixture, gently stirring after each addition. Stop adding liquid when the dough just starts to come together.
  4. Divide the dough into two equal portions and shape each portion into a flat disc. Wrap each disc tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight for best results.
  5. When you're ready to roll out the dough, lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Gently roll out one disc of dough to fit your pie dish, starting in the center of the disc and working outward in all directions.
  6. Transfer the rolled-out dough to your pie dish, press it gently into the corners, and trim any excess dough. Fill the pie as desired and repeat the process with the second disc of dough for the top crust or for another single-crust pie.
  7. Bake according to your pie recipe's instructions and enjoy the improved texture and flavor of your vodka-laced pie crust!

Why Vodka In Pie Crust Example:

The practical application of vodka in pie crust is easier than you might think! Let's say you want to make a classic apple pie with a vodka pie crust. In addition to your pie filling ingredients, gather your vodka pie crust ingredients and follow the recipe above.

Once you have mixed your filling and rolled out your bottom pie crust, transfer the crust to your pie dish and add the apple filling. Then, roll out the top vodka pie crust and place it over the pie filling, sealing the edges and making a few slits on the top for venting. Follow your apple pie recipe's baking instructions, and voila – a flakier, more tender, and absolutely delicious pie.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of adding vodka to pie crust?

The primary reason for adding vodka to pie crust is to create a dough that's easier to work with and results in a flakier and more tender crust. Vodka adds moisture without developing gluten, which can make the crust tough.

Can the vodka in pie crust be tasted after baking?

No, the alcohol in the vodka evaporates during the baking process, so there should be no residual taste remaining in the pie crust.

Is there a specific type of vodka that should be used in pie crust?

Any type of plain vodka will do—flavor is not important since it bakes off. The key is to use a 80-proof vodka for the right amount of alcohol content.

How does vodka make the pie crust flakier?

Vodka moisturizes the dough without promoting gluten formation as water does. When vodka evaporates in the oven, it leaves behind pockets that contribute to a flakier texture.

Is vodka necessary for making pie crust?

While not necessary, vodka is a helpful addition for those struggling to achieve a tender, easy-to-roll dough. Traditional pie crust recipes just use water and can still be successful.

What is the recommended ratio of vodka to water in pie crust?

A common ratio is to replace half of the water in a pie crust recipe with vodka, but the exact amount can vary depending on personal preference and recipe specifics.

Can the alcohol be substituted with something else?

If you prefer not to use alcohol, you can try using vinegar or lemon juice mixed with water as an alternative. These acids inhibit gluten formation similarly to alcohol.

Is it safe to serve pie to children if the crust contains vodka?

Yes, it is safe. The alcohol content of the vodka evaporates during baking, making the pie crust safe for consumption by all ages.

Will vodka affect the baking time of my pie crust?

No, the addition of vodka does not generally affect the baking time of the pie crust. You'll bake your pie according to the recipe's instructions.

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

Absolutely, vodka can be used in both sweet and savory pie crust recipes. It does not add any sweetness, so it won't affect the flavor profile of your pie.

Is there a difference in the texture of the crust when vodka is used?

Yes, using vodka often results in a more tender and flakier pie crust when compared to crusts made with water alone, due to less gluten formation.

How should dough with vodka be handled compared to traditional dough?

Dough with vodka can be handled similarly to traditional dough. However, it may seem a bit more wet and tacky, so it may require chilling before rolling out.

Can gluten-free flours benefit from the addition of vodka?

Yes, even gluten-free flours can benefit from vodka, as it can help hydrate the dough without making it tough, creating a better texture in the absence of gluten.

Does the brand of vodka matter when making pie crust?

The brand of vodka is not particularly important since its purpose is functional, not flavor. A basic, mid-range vodka will suffice.

If I run out of vodka, what's the best emergency substitute?

If you run out of vodka, you can use cold water as an emergency substitute. Remember that the crust might not be as flaky, but it will still work.

Is vodka crust suitable for freezing before baking?

Yes, a vodka pie crust can be frozen just like any other pie crust. Wrap it tightly to prevent freezer burn and thaw it in the refrigerator before use.

Can the dough be made in advance and stored when using vodka in the recipe?

Definitely, you can make the dough in advance and refrigerate it. The alcohol will not affect its ability to be stored, though it should be used within a couple of days for best results.

What if my dough with vodka is too sticky?

If your dough is too sticky, it may need more flour or to be chilled longer. Because vodka is more potent than water, it can initially make the dough feel stickier.

Will adding vodka to my pie crust alter the method of blind baking?

No, the addition of vodka doesn't change the method of blind baking. The crust should still be pricked with a fork, weighted down with pie weights, and baked according to your recipe's instructions.

Do I need to modify my filling recipe if I use a vodka pie crust?

There is no need to modify your filling recipe when using a vodka pie crust. The crust behaves similarly to traditional crusts concerning the filling.

Is there an optimal temperature for the vodka when adding it to the pie dough?

Just like with water, it's best to use cold vodka when making pie dough. This helps keep the fat from melting, which can further ensure a flaky texture in the finished crust.

Is it better to use unsalted or salted butter when making vodka pie crust?

It is generally recommended to use unsalted butter in pie crust recipes, including those with vodka. This allows you to control the amount of salt in your recipe precisely.

Now that you know the secret to making a perfect pie crust, it's time to put your skills to the test and share your newfound knowledge with fellow pie lovers! Discover more irresistible vodka-based recipes and tips on the Vodka Doctors' blog. Did this article change your pie-making game? We'd love to hear about it, and don't forget to share it with your friends!

vodka doctors zawadzki
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.

Related Posts