A simpler type of pie where the traditional homemade crust is substituted for an easy graham crust. No need for rolling and crimping. These pies redefine simplicity in the world of desserts, giving you a satisfying crunch that's impossible to resist. They can hold all the traditional fillings (bake and no-bake) and are great for beginner bakers overwhelmed by the idea of making pie dough from scratch.
If you're a fan of pies but don't want to deal with complicated flaky crusts, then graham cracker crust pies might just be your new sweet obsession.
Graham crackers are sweet, slightly crumbly cookies, and when mixed with melted butter, they create a delicious, slightly sweet, crunchy base for the pie.
They're a popular choice for dessert because of their delicious combination of flavors and easy preparation.
Why make this crust at home
- Easy recipe: it involves little work and uses few ingredients, which might be the perfect combination.
- No-bake: you can only chill it in the refrigerator (and omit the 10 minutes in the oven) and have a hundred percent no-bake crust. It's ideal for summer pies whose fillings don't require baking.
- Make ahead: you can make it, cover it and keep it in the fridge for a week or frozen for a month.
- Fillings: it's a perfect base for different kinds of pies, from this easy, baked cheesecake pie to the popular no-bake Banoffee Pie that's a staple for Father's Day. Other fillings and cream pies usually made with traditional dough can be made with this one, like my family's fresh strawberry cream tart. Also great for an ice cream pie or no-bake pineapple pie in the Summer when we want no-bake desserts.
- Versatile: you can add spices, ground nuts, citrus zest, or a handful of oats and vary this basic recipe. The possibilities are so, so many.
How to make a graham cracker crust
Key points for success
- Fine crumbs: you mustn't have large pieces or very coarse crumbs. I always use the food processor and suggest you do the same, as it's the easiest and fastest way to achieve the consistency needed. But they can also be crushed with a rolling pin. This will take a little while, and the best way is to put them inside a large Ziploc-style plastic bag, leave it opened a little, and roll the pin until you have very fine crumbs. Don't be tempted to stop when you still have coarse pieces because the crust might not be compacted as it should.
- Wet sand: make sure the mixture of melted butter and crumbs is wet, like when you make a sandcastle wet. Not dripping or with butter pooling anywhere. But all of the crumbs must be fully coated. If you doubt whether it's too dry, err on the side of more butter rather than less.
- Pressing the mixture: the key is not to overpress it.
Scatter the wet crumbs first in the pan you're using with a spoon. Eyeball the amount to distribute on the sides and the bottom of the pie plate (image 2) so you don't press half of it and realize there's not enough for the rest.
Start with the sides (image 3) and make sure the whole thing is compacted, especially the angles where the sides meet the base. That angle must be thicker than not to ensure the whole crust has structure. Leave the bottom of the pan for last.
Use a spoon or a measuring cup to aid you and your hands (image 4).
What types of pies work well with this crust?
Graham cracker crust pairs exceptionally well with creamy fillings like cheesecake, pudding, or mousse, especially no-bake. They also complement fruity fillings such as key lime, lemon, or even a classic fruit pie like strawberry or blueberry. Almost any filling can be made with a graham crust.
Can you use a store-bought crumb crust?
Absolutely! Pre-made crusts from the store are readily available and can be a time-saving option. Choose a good brand and make pie preparation more convenient.
Do you have to bake a graham cracker crust?
Some recipes call for baking the crust and others might require no baking at all, opting for a simple chilling process. For no-bake fillings on hot days, simply chill it. For the rest, I recommend a short bake to set it. I almost always do so; it makes the crust sturdier.
How do you prevent it from getting soggy?
Slightly baking the crust creates a drier top layer that can prevent sogginess. You can brush it with a lightly beaten egg white first. For chocolate fillings, you can brush it with a very thin layer of melted chocolate and let it dry before adding the filling.
As you can see below, these pies can be made year-round, with baked or no-bake fillings, and are great for the holidays when you want simpler options.
Easy Cheesecake Pie
This is an easy cheesecake recipe, great for starting home bakers because it's very easy to make. You'll get more crust and less filling than with a regular cheesecake, and trust me, it's fantastic!
A crumb crust, gooey dulce de leche, a mound of whipped cream and chocolate shavings. So it's easy to put together, and the combination of flavors is simple perfection.
Pineapple Cream Cheese Pie (no bake)
Meet the mouthwatering pineapple cheesecake pie – a dessert that's as easy to make as it is to devour. It's an incredibly delicious dessert with a graham crust and 5-ingredient, no-bake filling.
Frozen Strawberry Pie
This is a wonderfully easy, no-bake strawberry dessert, similar to an icebox pie. It has a graham cracker crumb crust, a layer of strawberry sauce, and condensed milk in the filling.
Pumpkin Mousse Pie
This no-bake pumpkin pie is creamier and less dense than the traditional baked version. It has a lovely, airy texture and is super easy to prepare with a buttery graham cracker crust that doesn't need an oven.
Margarita Key Lime Pie
It's the best mix of a traditional key lime pie with our favorite drink. Easy-to-make, incredibly creamy and smooth, sweet but tangy, it has a great unique aftertaste from the tequila.
Fresh Fig Walnut Pie
Juicy figs top a layer of walnut cream, all encased by a graham cracker homemade crust. A delicious dessert pie to showcase the best of this summer fruit.
Graham Cracker Pie Crust (with video)
This is the simplest homemade pie crust you can make. It's a basic recipe you can choose to bake for just 10 minutes, or go the no-bake road and simply refrigerate it until firm.