Pale Ale Pie Dough & And How to Make and Freeze it For Later

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It’s pie time.

And I hope you won’t hold this against me but I’m about to give you a pie dough lecture. About that store bought crust you use. And how you have to stop.

For the love of Good Beer, stop it.

Here’s why, hold tight, I’m about to change your pre-made-pie-dough buying ways:

It takes 8 minutes to make this. It’s tastes a thousands times better. It freezes really well. And you get to brag to everyone about how “hard” you worked making that dough from scratch.

I’ve made several pie dough recipes in the past and always go back to a version of Cooks Illustrated Foolproof Pie Dough. Mostly because it’s so simple. With an added bonus that it has an amazing tenderness and flakiness that doesn’t always happen with other pie dough recipes.

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The original recipe uses vodka, the high alcohol content contributes to the flakeyness. I’ve subbed in some beer (shocking), but make sure to use a high ABV beer to get the right effect (step away from the inBev).

It makes a really soft dough that freezes great, some even say it’s better after being frozen for a while.  You can make these far ahead of your other Holiday Meal Prep and just freeze it for later. Make sure and give it a full 24 hours in the fridge to come back to life.

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And feel free to keep all of this to yourself, let them all think you worked your ass of for that perfect pie crust.

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Pale Ale Pie Dough {Freezer Friendly}

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Yield: 2 pie crusts


  • 2 1/2 cups (12 ½ wt oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 8 tbs vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 cup ice cold high ABV pale ale


  • Add 1 ½ cups of flour, salt and sugar to a food processor, pulse to combine. Add the butter and shortening, process until well combined and dough gathers around the blade.
  • Add the remaining flour and pulse 6-8 times or until all the flour has been coated.
  • Transfer to a bowl. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the beer until completely incorporated into the dough (don’t add the beer in the food processor or your dough will turn into a cracker). Dough will be very soft.
  • Lay two long sheets of plastic wrap on a flat surface.
  • Divide the dough evenly between the two sheets, Form into flat disks.
  • Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap. Place the disks into a freezer bag.
  • Freeze for up to 3 weeks. (If you want to use the dough the day of, place the wrapped disks in the refrigerator for 2 hours and up to 3 days)
  • 24 hours before use, put the dough in the refrigerator to thaw.


If the dough breaks easily when you try to roll it out, gently knead it with your hands until it comes together. Roll it out, line a pie pan and refrigerator to chill, about 30 minutes. *This recipe also works with all butter, or all shortening, if you prefer.

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated Foolproof Pie Dough


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20 thoughts on “Pale Ale Pie Dough & And How to Make and Freeze it For Later

  1. I found your site through Addie at Culicurious and I am so happy I did! I love the use of pale ale in the dough – I will be trying this! Thank you!

  2. This looks amazing!
    Question: what if you only have a crappy tiny food processor? Will this work just as well with a hand held pastry blender? That’s how I’ve made pie crust in the past but I wasn’t sure if it’d still be ok here?


      1. Thank you!
        I’ve been begging for a new food processor for like 2 years now, maybe I’ll just go get myself one. No one will complain when it leads to more pie 🙂

  3. I’ve never made dough with a food processor before. Is that what you use the plastic blade for or do you use the normal, metal one?

    1. Just the normal metal one. There is an entire food science lesson behind the method on Cooks Illustrated but I assumed I was the only one geeky enough to think it’s fascinating.

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