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This is a comparison of butters, shortening, and lard We determined which butters and shortening make the best pie crust

There are three different types of crusts out there. We will know which one is the best to use so that you can make the perfect pie crust.



It’s difficult to get a group of people to agree on which pie is best, but we think everyone can agree that a good, flaky crust that also adds flavor is essential for any pie.

But there’s still a lot of discussion about the best approach to achieving a golden brown crust. Some say butter is the secret ingredient, while others will only use lard or shortening. As a means of ending this heated debate, we assembled a panel of foodies to conduct a blind taste test of these three crusts.

Pie Crust: A Showdown Between Butter, Shortening, and Lard

We had our Test Kitchen crew whip up three crusts with the same recipe, varying only the fats used (butter, lard, and shortening) to ensure a fair comparison. We learned the benefits and drawbacks after conducting tests.

Reduced by Third, the Length

Rating: 7.5/25

How disheartening!

In comparison to the other two choices, shortening scored the lowest. When compared to the other mini crusts, this one had the darkest color and the least amount of rise after baking. This didn’t raise too many red flags for us on its own.

But as we started to eat and the crust kept falling apart, our nerves started to fray. We tried to break our pie wafers in half, but they crumbled into a million little pieces instead. Because of this, we began to doubt that a shortening crust could support more substantial fillings. We were worried that when we cut into our favorite pies they would crumble in the pan.

Is the flavor strong enough to overcome the crust’s lack of cohesiveness? It didn’t work out, unfortunately. Both the flavor and the texture were very greasy, in our opinion (we were definitely cleaning a film off our hands after this test). We weren’t particularly impressed by the shortening’s taste either. A flat, gritty, flavorless crust was the result.

The Downside to Minimizing Pie Crust:

Since shortening prevents the crust from rising, it won’t have the layers of flakiness that you’d find in a traditional pie crust.

The crust is too weak to hold substantial pie fillings together.

Unfortunately, this crust turned out to be extremely greasy and tasteless.

Rating: #2 Lard a mean 3 out of 10

The whole thing seems like it would eventually fall apart.

Our lard crust ranked just above shortening. This crust was very similar to the one made with shortening. Since both lard and shortening are made up entirely of fat, their properties are identical. By way of comparison, butter consists of about 85% fat and 15% water.

Lard, like shortening, resulted in a crust that was both thin and crumbly, but also quite greasy. For this recipe, the lard added more flavor and richness than the shortening, so it performed marginally better in the test. However, the effectiveness of the antiquated component left us cold.

In favor of lard pie crust is the fact that it has a slightly richer flavor than shortening pie crust.

Negatives of Pie Crust Made With Lard:

Lard pie crust, like shortening pie crust, is oily and flaky.

Butter, Number One: a 9 on a Scale of 10

The food reminds me of home.

We got a near-perfect score because of our butter crust. If you only went by looks, this one would have stood out from the crowd. When cut in half, the mini crusts revealed many beautiful, flaky layers and had a lot of rise.

When we sampled it, we were all pleasantly surprised. We finally found the crust with the flavorful buttery taste we’d been craving. As a group, we all agreed that these tiny discs were perfectly fine when served without any accompaniment (though one clever tester grabbed a jar of jam for a little extra oomph).

We ate our weight in buttery wafers and took note of how substantial this crust was. It was fluffy and tender, unlike the heavy crusts made with shortening or lard, which always ended up in shards. We have located the best pie crust ever. We have no doubt that our favorite fillings would remain securely in place within this delicious and robust rendition.

The advantages of a butter pie crust are:

The flavor of a pie made with butter crust is the most robust of the three fats.

This pie crust gets nice and golden brown in the oven, and it has lots of layers of flaky texture.

If you want a pie crust that will hold up to the weight of your favorite fillings, butter is the way to go.

Difficulties with Butter Pie Crust:

Making this pie crust dough requires a little more effort than usual because cold butter needs to be worked into the flour before it can be used. But we believe the extra effort is worthwhile.

The Filling Lessons

In most of our blind taste tests, several candidates are neck-and-neck for first place. There was only one obvious winner this time. When compared to other crust ingredients, butter produced the best flavor, flakiness, and durability.

That doesn’t mean shortening and lard have no place in cooking. Tender, melt-in-your-mouth desserts can be achieved with the help of shortening. It’s one reason why these pumpkin whoopie pies are so delicious. However, when used to make pie crust, both of these alternatives resulted in a coarse, crumbly product that was no match for the butter’s delicious, flaky perfection.

If you want to use butter in your pie crusts, you should research which brands of butter work best and whether you should use salted or unsalted butter. Or you could really step it up a notch and figure out how to make butter from scratch.

While butter is our go-to fat for pie crusts, you can easily make your own taste test by following our guide on how to make pie crust and using whatever fat you like best. You can also make a pie crust with oil instead of butter, lard, or shortening. Here are the top-rated options for store-bought pie crust if you simply don’t have time to make your own.

Which Is Better for Pie Crust? Butter, Shortening, or Lard? We Ran the Numbers! originally appeared on Taste of Home.