Filed under: Pies & Tarts
November 8, 2021

Chocolate Pie Crust

Perfectly flaky chocolate pie crust, made with dutch process cocoa. This recipe is filled with exact tips to help you make a cocoa pie crust that keeps its shape and tastes wonderful.

4.75 from 4 votes
Yield: 1 and a half crust
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Is there really anything better than pie crust (besides a chocolate chip cookie that is)? To me, it is the best thing about pie and plain pie crust is just perfect. But if you are like me, I bet you want to shake it up once in a while and give one of your pies a little flair.

My favorite pie crust recipe comes from the Ovenly cookbook, I use it in almost all my pie recipes on this site – adjusting for the type of flour I’m using, whether I’m using a flavor additions, etc. This recipe was created on that base; swapping some flour for cocoa and adding sugar for sweetness.

What’s a chocolate pie crust?

The recipe is comparable to most chocolate pie crusts you’ll find but the thing about those and this that the crust is made the three pillars: butter/flour/cocoa and without other sugar or liquid. It tastes like a pie crust with wonderful cocoa! 

cocoa pie crust

Recipe Ingredients 

Butter: unsalted and should be very cold. Best way to start with the butter is remove it from the fridge, cube it and set it in the freezer while you measure out the rest of the ingredients. The goal is to keep this as cold as possible so that it melts in the oven, releases steam and gives us flaky layers. 

Flour: Any all-purpose flour will do although I’m personally partial to flours that have a lower protein content for pie crusts. The finer mill 

Sugar: We need just a bit and having this helps offset some of the bitterness that comes from the cocoa. Don’t use brown here, it doesn’t distribute as well in the pie crust. 

Salt: If your butter is salted you’ll want to add less salt to the dough, a pinch or two will be enough. Best to use unsalted. Most important is that the butter should be COLD. 

Cocoa: Dutch process cocoa will give you a deep, rich chocolate taste and a dark color. 

Vinegar: I use just a bit of this and it’s something I learned in my brief stint at pastry school; it encourages the crust to stay flaky by inhibiting too much gluten formation. 

Water: If you have access to very cold water use that, if you have cold or room temperature water, drop an ice cube into a bowl of water and measure the water from that. 

How to make a chocolate pie crust

Two ways you can make the crust: by hand or with a stand mixer.

Start by placing all your dry ingredients into a bowl and then whisking them together.

If using your hands you can either use a pastry cutter, or slice in the butter with the slicer part of a cheese grater and then work it in by hand. If you are using a mixer, run it until with the paddle attachment.

Stop cutting in the butter when you have a mix of pea and kidney bean sized bits of butter. Larger bits can be flattened by pressing them between your fingers and thumb.

Make a well in the center and add the water, into the water add the vinegar and vanilla.

If using a mixer, run it until the dough comes together around the paddle attachment and the bowl is almost clean. Don’t overwork the dough or you’ll lose all the butter pats! If using hands, stir the mix together then squeeze the dough and fold it over itself, over and over, until it comes together.

The dough should be shaggy and a bit dry looking. Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap and place the dough in the center. Loosely cover the dough with the wrap then roll it out into a disk with a rolling pin.

Chill the dough for a few hours or up to two days. 

When it’s time to roll it out, do so on a floured surface.

Roll the dough out so it’s several inches wider than your pie pan. 

Once you place the dough in the pan, press it into the bottom. Then trim the dough so it’s an inch wider than the pie pan. Having a thick layer of crust on the edges helps it keep shape so it doesn’t shrink.

Fold the outer edge under itself and press it together. You can crimp (press a fork into the outer edge) or flute the crust (press it between your index finger on your dominant hand and your fingers and thumb on the other hand:

Chill the dough then you can proceed with baking, a full blind bake or a partial blind bake. 

Blind Baking Chocolate Pie Crust

Pie Crust, unless used in a double crust pie like apple pie, should always bee blind baked. Otherwise it will be doughy and raw on the bottom.

How to partially bake the crust

For fillings that need to be baked. If you were making an apple pie for example, you’d partially bake the crust with the foil and pie weights, then add the filling and return the pie to the oven so everything fully bakes together. 

How to fully bake the crust

You’ll want a fully baked crust for fillings that don’t need to be baked (puddings that are cooked, or a no-bake cheesecake for example). To do this you’ll bake the crust twice; once covered and with pie weights then again without the foil & weights (after docking it). 

Does the type of butter matter for pie crust? 

I’ve read and heard a lot about European style butter being better for pie crusts because of its higher butterfat percentage, and I think there is some truth to it adding flavor. But truthfully I hate using it here because it melts very quickly and that is exactly what we want to avoid. I find that using American style butter (the cheap stuff from Trader Joes) gives me the flaky, flavorful crust we all love. 

How to know when a chocolate crust is done baking? 

Because it’s so dark it can be hard to tell when this pie crust is done baking – especially if you are doing a full blind bake with no filling to give you cues. If you take the pie out to check on it, the edges (the thickest part of the pie) should be very firm and so should the bottom of the pie. 



Tools for making pie crust 

  • Pastry cutter: to cut in the butter, no other tool works as well and gives you perfect control over the butter pieces. (I had the oxo for a few years but it broke and recently got this one and love it; I use this for scones too). 
  • A thick rimmed, metal pie pan: this is mine 
  • Pastry tamper; for years I used the bottom of a measuring cup (which still works well!) but recently got this one and am very happy with how the shape works 
  • Kitchen scissors, for trimming excess dough 
  • Dried beans or pie weights: You can reuse the beans multiple times (mine are on their 20th pie this season!)


With proper chilling time between steps, and careful handling during bake time this crust will hold shape.

Chocolate Pie Crust Recipe

Chocolate Pie Crust

All butter pie crust, but make it chocolaty!
cocoa pie crust
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 1 and a half crust
4.75 from 4 votes


  • ¾ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 260g or 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 30g or ¼ cup dutch process cocoa
  • 167g or ¾ cups butter cold
  • 3-4 tablespoons ice water
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider or plain vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Make the dough: In a bowl, whisk together the salt, sugar, flour and cocoa. Use a pastry cutter to work in the butter, stopping when you have a mix of pea and kidney bean sized pats of butter. You can also do this in a stand mixer fitted with the spatula attachment.
  • Make a well in the center and pour in the water. Add the vinegar and 1 tsp vanilla to to the water and use your hands to bring the dough together (it will take quite a few ‘folds’; it’s a bit like kneading the dough but mostly you are trying to get into a dry, loose ball). If using a stand mixer, run the mixer on low until the dough starts to come together and clean the bowl. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set in the fridge to chill for at least two hours but up to 24 hours.
  • Shape the dough: on a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to about ½ cm thickness rounding it by rolling in different directions to create a circle. The dough should be about 3 inches wider than your pie pan (set your pie pan upside down on the pie crust to check it). Roll the crust gently onto the rolling pin and then lay it on the pie pan (no need to grease the pan). Using your fingertips gently press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Fold the outer edge over itself so you have a thick layer to shape. Shape the edges by pressing the dough between your index and thumb fingers on one hand, and your index finger on the other hand. Chill the crust in the fridge for at least an hour, but up to 4-6 hours (I have also done this overnight, it works out alright).
  • First blind bake: Preheat oven to 375 F. Set the pie on a cookie sheet and cover it completely with foil. You’ll need at least two sheets of foil to do this; every piece of the dough should be covered. Wrap the foil around the edges of the crust. Fill with pie weights or dried beans, all the way to the rim of the pie (I like to put a piece of parchment paper between the foil and beans so I can easily lift them out). Bake for 20 minutes. If you are filling the pie with something that needs to be baked, fill it then return it to the oven.
  • Second bake (for a fully baked crust): Remove the foil and dried beans and dock the pie crust with a fork all over. Return it to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.


Makes one 9” pie crust with a thick trim (equivalent to one and a half a regular pie crust). 

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Recipe Reviews

  1. I am sure the problem is something I have done incorrectly. I’m just asking for your thoughts. I followed the recipe as best I could, but the dough would not come together so I added a few more tablespoons of water, got it into a disk, covered and refrigerated. I let it sit a bit before attempting to roll the dough. It would not stay together and broke apart in many places. I had to do a lot of patching. It baked fine, smells wonderful. I’m just hoping it is still flaky. I’m a decent baker though pies are not something I do often. Should I have let it come to a warmer temperature before rolling? Or perhaps something else? Thank you.

    • Hi Amber, sorry it was difficult to deal with! I appreciate you inquiring so kindly. Do you use cup measurements or the scale? I often find that dry doughs come from cups can being overpacked with flour (and in this case it could also be an overpacked cup with cocoa!).

  2. 4 stars
    Every single crust pie I’ve made precious called for 1 cup dry ingredients(floor, cocoa etc). I thought it too much but followed the instructions. I definitely recommend halving the recipe as it was way too much in my opinion. However, it was tasty.

  3. 1st – Your instructions are easy to understand and as earlier mentioned so clear! For an uncertain pie baker who hasn’t given up, your style is much appreciated.
    2nd – When chilling the shaped crust is it wrapped?
    I am very excited to give this recipe a whirl and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe! I made this yesterday and it turned out beautifully. The instructions were clear and very helpful and the crust looks and tastes perfect! Thank you!