Crumble pie crusts take out all the worry of rolling and shaping a flour based one and they’re so tasty too. No matter what recipe you’re making these crusts are versatile. Make them with any crispy cookie, sweet cracker or even pretzels. Get all the details for each version here.
Crumb pie crusts are made by combining crumbs from cookies, crackers or even pretzels with melted butter and sugar, which are then pressed into the bottom and sides of a pie pan.
Some are baked, and others can be used once they are pressed into the pan.
There are many types of crumbs that can be used to make a crumb pie crust, including:
- graham crackers
- chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreo)
- vanilla wafers
- any other crispy cookie
Graham cracker crusts are the most common, but cookie crusts, such as Oreo cookie, and vanilla wafer crusts are also popular choices. It depends on what filling you plan to use. Not sure? Don’t worry–I’ll give you lots of ideas.
Ways to make the crumbs f0r the pie crust
To make a crumb pie crust, start by crushing up your items of choice.
This can be done in a food processor or by placing the crackers/cookies/pretzels in a plastic bag and crushing them with a rolling pin or other heavy object. You’ll want to get them as fine as you can so take time to really do a thorough job.
How to mix a crumble pie crust
Once the crumbs are crushed, mix them with melted butter and sugar.
The amount of butter and sugar needed will vary depending on the type of crumbs used, but a general rule of thumb is to use 1 1/2 cups of crumbs, 1/4 to 1/3 cup of melted butter, and 1/4 cup of sugar.
Pro Tip: If you choose to use pretzels, try to get them unsalted so there’s not too much salt in your crust.
After the crumb mixture is combined, it should be pressed firmly into the bottom and sides of the pie pan.
A flat-bottomed measuring cup or the bottom of a glass can be used to help press the mixture evenly. Using your hands could result in an uneven crust so try to find something flat to use.
Next, bake your crust just to set the mixture. It won’t get very brown in the oven. This is normal. Let it cool before filling as desired.
How thick should a crumble crust be?
Ideally you want it no thinner than 1/4″ and no thicker than 1/2″. The size of your pie plate will determine how thick yours turns out.
Aluminum disposable pie tins are incredibly small compared to glass or metal ones.
If you have a deep dish pie plate you’ll need to double the recipe of your choice to have enough crumbs.
Does a crumb crust need to be baked?
Yes, you need to bake it for a couple of reasons: First it helps set the texture. It also helps toast the crumbs and adds a depth of flavor to your final pie.
The crust should bake in a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until it is lightly browned. If you are baking a dark crust like one made from Oreos or graham crackers, keep an eye on it because you won’t be able to see it brown in the oven and the sugar in them could make them burn quickly.
Just check it early and when you smell the gentle aroma of it, take it out.
Once the crust is baked, it can be filled with any type of pie filling. Crumb pie crusts are a versatile option that can be used for both sweet and savory pies.
When it comes to making a crumb pie crust, the right ingredients can make all the difference. Here are the essential ingredients you will need:
Sugar of some type: Granulated, coconut, organic cane sugar or another granular form. Honey could work here but it adds moisture that would require adjustments to the butter amount to prevent crumbs that are too wet.
Butter: Real butter is always preferred over tub stuff or spreads because their water content is high. Coconut oil might work here but it hasn’t been tested. Dairy free butters may also work okay.
Salt: Sea salt or table salt. Kosher salt has large granules that may not dissolve when baked. If you don’t mind the salty burst in your recipe, that could work. Table salt is much saltier than sea salt so keep in mind you will need to adjust the amount based on what you are using and how it’s ground.
Crumbs: See more below on choosing what items to make your crumbs from.
Choosing Your Crumbs
The first step in making a crumb pie crust is choosing your crumbs. You can use a variety of different crumbs, including graham crackers, Oreos, gingersnaps, shortbread, chocolate wafers, Nilla wafers, wafer cookies, and more. Choose a crumb that complements the flavor of your pie filling.
Sweeteners are an important ingredient in a crumb pie crust. You will need organic cane sugar, brown sugar, or granulated sugar to sweeten the crumbs.
You can also use honey or maple syrup as a natural sweetener though it will make your crumbs more damp and you may need to bake it a couple of minutes longer.
Maple syrup and honey can be substituted 1:1 for regular sugar.
Additional Ingredients for a Crumble Pie Crust
Additional ingredients can be added to the crumbs to enhance the flavor of the crust. Try:
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, apple pie or pumpkin pie spice for warmth
- 1/4 teaspoon or so of espresso granules in an Oreo crust would enhance the chocolate flavor
- A few drops of almond, orange, or vanilla extract for an extra punch of flavor
Pie and Filling Flavor Variations
A crumb pie crust can be used for a variety of pie and filling variations. You can use a graham cracker crust for a classic cheesecake or a chocolate wafer crust for a decadent chocolate pie. The possibilities are endless, so experiment with different crumbs and fillings to find your favorite combination.
Recipes using crumble crusts to try
Are you ready to bake? Get some crumble crust inspiration with these fun recipes:
- 1 3/4 cup crushed graham crackers crushed then measured; see note 1 below for variations
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar see note 2
- pinch sea salt
- 4 tablespoons butter unsalted, melted
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Crush cookies, graham crackers or pretzels then measure. Add to a medium bowl.
- Add sugar and salt and stir to combine.
- Add melted butter and mix until texture of wet sand is achieved.
- Add the mixture to a pie plate then use the bottom of a flat glass or measuring cup to press the crumbs evenly along the bottom and sides of the pie plate. They should be about 1/4" thick, but it's fine if they are a bit thicker.
- Bake 8-10 minutes then cool before filling.
Oreo cookie crust variation:
- 1 3/4 cups crushed Oreo cookies with the filling left in
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- pinch of sea salt
- 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
Pretzel crust variation:
- 1 3/4 cups unsalted pretzels
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- pinch of sea salt
- 4-5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- optional: brown sugar instead of white or granulated and a pinch of cinnamon