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I'm trying to find a general and reliable Cookie-to-Butter ratio (or weights) that I can use when I make crumb crusts for no-bake pies.

My old baking textbook, On Baking: A Textbook of Baking & Pastry Fundamentals (Third Edition) by Labensky, Martel & van Damme gives the ratios for a basic crumb crust as follows: 4 parts cookie crumbs to 2 parts sugar to 1 part melted butter. So, for a single 9" deep dish graham cracker pie crust, they recommend going with 8 oz. graham cracker crumbs + 4 ounces sugar + 2 oz. butter (blah, blah...food processor...pressed into the pie plate and baked at 350° F for 10-12 minutes).

OK, I have a few problems with those amounts: (1) 8 oz. of crumbs is WAY too much for a single pie crust (5-6 oz. is plenty), (2) using half as much sugar as crumbs is WAY too much sugar for my taste (I go with more like a quarter), & (3) I can never seem to get a crust to hold together with that amount of butter. Lately I've been going with 6 oz. cookie crumbs + 2 oz. sugar + 2.5 oz. melted butter - I'm pretty sure I can do better than that.

Ignoring my first two complaints - I can get the cookie and sugar amounts right w/o a problem - does anyone have a reliable Cookie-to-Butter ratio that works well for cookie crumb crusts in general? I don't want links to recipes (there are recipes out there with butter ranging from around 15% to nearly 60% of the cookie crumb weight), I want to hear from people who have had repeated success with specific crumb crust formularies (in weights, not volumes).

In a perfect world, I would love to hear of a trustworthy Cookie-to-Butter ratio that applies equally well to most cookie types (I almost never use graham crackers - I'm more of a Nilla Wafer and Animal Cracker kinda guy who dreams of one day branching out into ginger snap territory).

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    I'm with you: I've never understood why anyone would use a graham cracker crust when there are Nilla wafers available. I mean, as a make-do, I suppose graham cracker crusts are edible, but why would anyone ever make that their first choice?
    – Marti
    Oct 17, 2014 at 22:51

2 Answers 2

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I don't know that this is a perfect ratio, but I will say it's my favorite crumb crust. It's from America's Test Kitchen's Lemon Cheesecake.

  • 5 ounces Nabisco Barnum's Animal Crackers or Social Tea Biscuits
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and kept warm

So, 5 oz crumbs, 1.5 oz sugar, 2 oz butter.

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  • That's one of their recipes I hadn't consulted. That would give a ratio of butter to crumb of 40% - the amounts I have been using weigh-in at just over 41% so maybe I'm not doing so badly. ATK really has a terrible variability when it comes to graham cracker crusts - their NY Style Cheesecake recipe goes 4 oz. graham to 2.5 oz. butter (62.5%) - their Lemon Chiffon recipe goes 4.5 oz. graham to 2.5 oz. butter (55+%) - those are almost drippy ratios. Thank you for weighing-in on this (pun intended). Oct 17, 2014 at 22:20
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    It's really tasty. All in all, it's a very good, foolproof recipe. I've made it many times.
    – Jolenealaska
    Oct 17, 2014 at 22:28
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I just made a crust the other day that was one of my better crusts. 1 1/2 cups crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar and 5 tbsp. Butter, melted for no- bake crust and 6 tbsp. for a baked crust. If I use Nilla wafers, I don't add sugar, in which case I reduce the butter to 4 tbsp and see how well it holds together if I squeeze a little together. If it's too crumbly, I melt half a tbsp more and mix that in. I can still add the other half if it isn't enough.

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