What's the Difference Between Puff Pastry and Pie Crust?

Question: What’s the difference between puff pastry and pie crust?

Answer: The difference between pie crust and puff pastry is in the process used for making the dough, let us explain…

puff pastry / pie crust

Puff Pastry vs Pie Crust

The Difference Between Puff Pastry and Pie Crust

The question of the difference between puff pastry and pie crust seems like a really good one when you compare the raw pie dough against the raw puff pastry dough. Maybe you have no idea which square is pie dough and which one is puff pastry in the picture below, most people wouldn’t. After all, both puff pastry and most pie crust recipes start with the same ingredients: flour, butter and water.

puff pastry vs pie crust

It’s the way that these ingredients are combined that makes for the difference between puff pastry and pie crust.

The resulting texture after baking these two unique recipes is undeniably different. We baked side by side a square of pie crust dough and a piece of puff pastry from the packages pictured at the top of this post. Can you guess which one is which? I’m guessing that most everyone can guess the answer to the question of the difference between puff pastry and pie crust after looking at this next picture.

puff pastry vs pie crust

(Hint: Puff pastry actually puffs when baked!)

Let’s look into each process in detail in order to fully understand the difference between puff pastry and pie crust:

Puff pastry (shown on the right) is made by wrapping a piece of dough around a chunk of butter and then alternately rolling and folding forever until you’ve created extremely thin layers of butter alternating with extremely thin layers of dough. When puff pastry is baked, the layers begin to separate and “puff”. You can even see the butter sizzle between the layers as it rises and bakes. Puff pastry is great for things like turnovers and many fancy recipes like beef wellington and baked brie. Biting into a puff pastry you can appreciate all the flaky layers as your teeth sink to the bottom. Making puff pastry is a tedious process and, unless you’re a pastry chef, we recommend buying this product from your grocers freezer case instead of trying to make it.

Pie dough or pie crust (shown on the left) is made by actually cutting the butter or shortening into the flour until the butter is present in teeny little pieces. Most pie dough recipes call for the use of 2 knives to actually cut the butter into the flour. The remaining tiny pieces of butter help to make a pie crust flaky when cooked, but the resulting pie crust is much thicker and sturdier than a puff pastry. Pie crusts provide a more solid bite and thus foundation to hold pie fillings.

Additional Information

No time for either of these time consuming processes to make pie crust or make puff pastry? We’ve already suggested buying the puff pastry – but pie crust made at home can be quick, easy, tasty and inexpensive if you use our super simple pie crust recipe.

To find out how long pie crust lasts, check our pie page.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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