Here you go readers- another Monday Baking Basics Series post- and since it’s Pi Day tomorrow I thought a tutorial on how to make the perfect graham cracker crust is exactly what this week called for! When I was brainstorming what to discuss this week for the baking basics post I went back and looked at my previous pie tutorials and realized they were all about making a flaky butter crust. Which don’t get me wrong, nothing wrong with a perfectly flaky butter crust. Some pies, need a graham cracker crust! And then I realized there was no recipe or tutorial on this blog about it!
Ugh terrible. Let’s fix that.
Now graham cracker crusts can be store-bought. But please, I beg of you give this a try. A homemade graham cracker crust is 1000x times better and with 3 simple ingredients, it’s so easy to throw together. And you can always freeze it for when you need one in a pinch! Like hello summer months with no bake pies I mean are sort of just around the corner am I right? Ok it’s 20 degrees here right now and a huge storm is looming, but a girl can dream.
What You Will Need:
To make a killer graham cracker crust, all you need is butter, sugar, and of course graham crackers. Now since the butter is a key ingredient here please use quality butter. Quality doesn’t have to mean expensive! I swear by Cabot butter- it’s quality butter and still only a few cents more than the generic butter in the store. It will have more flavor, and I also totally love they are an American (Vermont based) co-op of farm families. (in case you are wondering, now I am not getting paid to say all that, I just truly stand by their product!)
When To Use A Graham Cracker Crust?
I love using a graham cracker crust for any no bake pies, but they are great for a bar recipe like these classic key lime bar. And of course no cheesecake would be complete without one.
What Kind Of Graham Crackers Can You Use?
Any kind! Honestly. Use what’s one on sale. Try cinnamon, chocolate, even GLUTEN FREE if you need to! If you wanted to mix up this recipe and make it an chocolate cookie crust, simply leave out the sugar. But really sky’s the limit here, folks. For this tutorial, I simply used generic graham crackers I had in my cupboard.
Do I Need To Bake This Crust?
Well yes..and then again no. Let me explain. If this is a no bake pie you are making then you do not need to bake it. Just simply pop it in your refrigerator for a couple hours to set up. If it’s pie with a filling that will be baked, then yes you do need to bake it. You simply to par-bake it, which means baking it for about 10 minutes in a pre-heated 350F degree oven. You want the crust to be golden brown, which is about 10 minutes for me. Just make sure nothing else in your oven, like a pizza stone, that could affect the baking time.
How do I prepare my pan?
This crust can sometimes have a tendency to stick to the pie plate, even with all that butter! So just for a little extra added insurance, give your pan a quick spray of a non-stick cooking spray and you should be all set. If you are making a cheesecake, line the bottom of your springform pan with a parchment paper round and you should be all set!
Can I make this crust ahead?
Absolutely! You can make this crust and then freeze it up for up to 3 months. I simply cover the crust with saran wrap making sure the saran wrap lies flat in the pie plate so there is no air. I like to double wrap mine, and then pop in a plastic bag so it’s triple secure! Then when I go to use it, simply take it out to thaw before filling the crust.
What size pan works best for this recipe?
This recipe is meant for a 9-inch pie plate or 9-inch springform pan. If you want to try using this crust for a bar recipe in a 9×13 pan, your crust might end up a bit on the thin side, so I would try making this recipe 1.5 times (or a batch and half) and that should work out perfectly.
I want a crunchy graham cracker crust how do I achieve that?
A couple of ways to achieve that, you could try par-baking it as earlier mentioned (maybe even leaving it a few minutes, longer, but keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn). Try using a metal pan as opposed to a glass. And then when you go to cool it, place it on a cooling rack so air can get all around the sides. And don’t refrigerate it otherwise the crust may get soggy on you. The crust on its own should be fine at room temperature for up to 3 days. Just remember, humidity can change the texture of your crust. So if the crust seems soft, try one of these tricks, and definitely try baking it for a few minutes to help firm it up.
How Do I Make The Graham Cracker Crust?
Ok the part you have been waiting for! Making a graham cracker crust is easy! First you need to start with turning your graham crackers into crumbs. This can be achieved a few different ways. You can use your food processor, place them in a zip-loc bag and smash with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer- just be sure to close the bag!!
I’ve done both ways. Food processor is quick and they get evenly crushed. The zip-loc bag method is of course a great way to get your aggression out!
After your graham crackers are good and crushed, you want to combine them with your melted butter and sugar. You could always try switching this up with, browned butter (hello deliciousness!) and try even some brown sugar instead. Simply mix those together and then it’s time to press into your pan!
To press the crumbs down, use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crumbs down and up the sides. You could use your fingers, but I find the bottom of the measuring cup gets a nice evenly flat surface.
And that’s it! It’s so easy, and so crazy good. It’s going to take your pies to the next level.
Now what did I make with this graham cracker crust? Oh man…for that you are going to have to wait until tomorrow for official Pi Day! But I promise you it’s going to be good!
Be Sure To Check Out These Other Baking Basics Posts:
- 9 full graham crackers (1 package)
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1. In a food processor, add your graham crackers and pulse until they become fine crumbs. You can also do this by placing them in a large plastic bag, seal it shut, and then use a rolling pin (or meat cleaver) to smash them into crumbs!
- 2. Place the crumbs into a mixing bowl, and add the melted butter and sugar. Use a spatula to stir to combine.
- 3. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate (that has been lightly greased with a non-stick cooking spray. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crumbs down and up the sides. If you are making this for a pie that will be baked, then par-bake this crust in a 350F oven for 8 minutes. If you are making a no bake pie then chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Make Ahead: You can make this crust 3 days ahead of time, just simply wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. You can also freeze this crust for up to 3 months, just simply thaw before using.