I am using this recipe Serious eats pie dough

Every thing went well until I added the water. I have put everything correctly (weighed) and the dough came out sticky. I tried adding flour but to no avail. What could have went wrong, and can I salvage the dough?

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  • 2
    What temperature was everything (dough, work surface, air, etc.)? It looks like your fat got too warm and melted-- you should still see chunks of fat in the dough as you roll it.
    – senschen
    Oct 11, 2018 at 18:16
  • @senschen It a hot evening, but everything was 76f when I whisked it. I whisked it until it had a creamy, mash like texture. Will putting it in the refrigerator or freezer salvage it?
    – Bar Akiva
    Oct 11, 2018 at 18:32
  • see my answer below.
    – senschen
    Oct 11, 2018 at 19:03
  • Have you made pie dough with other methods before, or is this your first attempt? The dough doesn't seem excessively sticky, you just seem to be rolling it like cookie dough, which practically guarantees it will stick.
    – rumtscho
    Oct 12, 2018 at 10:22
  • 1
    Rolling it doesn't affect the stickyness, it's the other way round. Since pie crust is inherently sticky, you have to account for this when rolling, for example by rolling between cling wrap, or using sufficient flour, etc. I think the closest info we have on it is cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/63019.
    – rumtscho
    Oct 13, 2018 at 9:47

2 Answers 2


I think the temperature is your issue. 76F is a bit warm-- your recipe specifically states:

Dough temperature should still be somewhere between 65 and 70°F (18 and 21°C); if not, refrigerate briefly before proceeding (see note).

If the fat gets too warm, it will melt and you will loose the chunks of fat which give the baked crust its flake. Unfortunately, it looks like this is exactly what has happened, with a side of overmixing. You also mention whisking "it until it had a creamy, mash like texture" which is way too much mixing. Also from your recipe:

With your fingertips, smash each cube flat—that's it! No rubbing or cutting. Stir in water, then knead dough against the sides of the bowl until it comes together in a shaggy ball.

That means basically "stir together until it forms a dough in a single mass" not "whisk until a consistent creamy consistency." Pie crust should always have some remaining lumps of fat, as those lumps are what give the crust its flakey texture.

Chilling may help you get it rolled out, but this batch is likely to be unsatisfactory for a couple of reasons. First, there is the lack of flake. Then there is the fact that you mentioned adding extra flour, which would have altered the proportions of the recipe and would affect taste and texture. Lastly, by the time you get it rolled out you will likely have overworked the dough and developed too much gluten in it. That will give you a very tough crust. So if you bake this what I predict you'll wind up with is a poorly flavored, not at all flakey, tough and possibly chewy crust. Not good eats.

If you have the ingredients and time, I would suggest starting over for best results, this time keeping everything well chilled. In the future (if necessary), you can chill the flour and other ingredients ahead of time, and also in between each step, which will help keep this from happening again.

  • 1
    I think some of the confusion arises from the fact that recipes, including this one, now often specify whisking dry ingredients together where they used to specify sifting them together. I mean, I think they are right that dry whisking mixes ingredients better than sifting does, but if it isn't an instruction that you are familiar with it can give you the wrong idea about what is going on.
    – Spagirl
    Oct 12, 2018 at 14:28
  • 1
    @Spagirl You may be right about that. Personally I found the OP's linked recipe to be not beginner friendly at all-- its fine if you already know how to make decent pie crust, but for someone who's never done it before and/or isn't very familiar with the method, it's a bit vague. Like it seems to focus on the details (like the rolling and folding) to the exclusion of the basics.
    – senschen
    Oct 12, 2018 at 15:06

I have noticed a similar issue before while making dough for bread. The stickiness could be caused by high gluten content. If that’s the problem, adding in some more flour, and giving the dough some time wrapped around plastic should solve the issue.

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