Flaky Pie Crust or Mealy Pie Crust? Avoid Soggy Bottom Pies With The Right Choice.

Choosing a flaky pie crust or a mealy pie crust for you pie can mean the difference between pie pride and pie purgatory. It’s not that you need different recipes for the two types of pie crust, you just need to employ two different methods.

Flaky pie crust will absorb more moisture than a mealy pie crust. Thus, they’re best used for a top crust or lattice design. The flaky variety is also great for cold pies when pre-baked and filled with mousse or cream fillings.

Mealy pie crusts are more resistant to absorbing moisture and are best used for cooked fruit or fresh fruit pies to avoid a soggy bottom. Where the home baker can experience disappointment is in using a flaky pie crust for a cooked fruit pie. The longer baking time allows the dough to absorb the liquid, resulting in a weepy pie.

What’s the difference between these two types of pie dough? Very simply, it’s the size of the fat. The first step in making a crust is cutting fat directly into flour. Your Grandmother did this with two forks or the potato masher, but I use an electric mixer.

The larger the pieces of fat, the larger the ‘holes’ left when fat melts during baking. The larger the ‘holes’ in your dough, the more air-space, and the flakier the resulting product. A flaky pie crust is made with pea-sized fat mixed into the flour.

Mealy pie crusts are made from a fat and flour mixture that more resembles coarse corn meal. The pieces of fat are very small, making a more dense dough, and resisting the urge to absorb moisture.

The easiest pie dough recipe in the world is this: “1, 2, 3”. One part water, two parts fat, three parts flour makes any crust you’d like and in any quantity.

If you’re trying to make a flaky pie crust or a mealy one, the recipe really doesn’t matter. What is of the greatest importance is the METHOD you use to create the dough. Pea sized pieces of fat in flour will give you a more flaky texture. Coarse sand texture in the mixture will give you a mealy crust for use in wetter fillings.

When you learn to cook, you have power over all recipes because you understand the basic methods behind them.

Do you have a soggy bottom pie story? Leave your comment below and give everyone a good laugh.

Discover the "Baking How-To" in the FREE Class


Leave A Reply (13 comments so far)

  1. Jack

    Many years ago one of our sons dropped a piece of freshly cut apple pie onto the floor where it landed bottom side up. He quickly avoided chastisement from his mother by saying "Look Mom, it's flaky even on the bottom!", repeating a commercial that was popular at the time for Crisco shortening, which is all my wife ever used. She was renowned for her pastry.

    • cheftodd

      That's funny Jack.
      You should have told your son that there's no such thing as "the three second rule". ha ha

  2. Demi

    So flaky crusts aren't intended for apple pies? No wonder the bottom is always soggy. I love the apple turnover texture and always tried to recreate that in a pie. This is good to know, but it's really disappointing, too! Good bye flaky crusted apple pie dreams! (Better to know the truth than chase a fantasy.) 😎

    • cheftodd

      Hi Demi!
      Most people aren't even aware that they can change the texture of their pie crusts by changing the size of the fat in the dough. Very flaky crusts use larger pieces of fat that melts and leaves nice spaces for flakiness. However, those spaces can also absorb liquid in a very juicy pie, making it soggy.
      Experiment with different fats and mixing times to get the crust exactly where you desire. You can still have a flaky crusted apple pie, but you might have to bake the apples first to remove some of the moisture that comes out.

      Apple turnovers are different than apple pie because the apples are cooked first for turnovers, letting some of the moisture evaporate.

Members Login:

Comments from Students

"Chef Todd's style of teaching is great. It's funny and entertaining, while sharing a wealth of knowledge - knowledge that I haven't found anywhere else."
Ken Roberts,


French Onion Soup