Homemade Graham Cracker Crust

This buttery crust is a blank canvas for many of your favorite pies.

Graham Cracker Crust
Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
1 (9-inch) crust

Pie is always a good idea. But hand-blending pie dough, rolling it out, and having to delicately transfer it to a pie plate may not be high on your list.

Enter the graham cracker crust. The simple technique of combining three ingredients and pressing them into a pie plate is accessible for anyone. It only needs 10 minutes to bake, and you can even skip the baking if you're doing a no-bake pie.

This toasty crust works especially great in those sweltering summer months when nobody wants to run an oven for an hour. Plus, it tastes so much better than store-bought.

Ingredients for a Graham Cracker Crust

Graham Crackers: This recipe is versatile when it comes to the cookie you use. For the traditional crust, go with honey graham crackers—they offer a toasted flavor and crispy texture that lends itself to a successful crust. I've tried the store brands, and they are blonder in color and less firm. In tests, I found they yielded a crust with less flavor that had a soft, almost moist texture.

The cookie aisle features many other options for this crust. You need 12 full graham sheets or 1 ½ cups of ground crumbs. Easily sub in the chocolate graham crackers for your chocolate icebox pie, or cinnamon graham crackers for a little added spice in your next s'mores pie.

Then comes the fun options. Vanilla wafers are the perfect crust for banana cream pie. Ginger snaps make a spicy foil for pumpkin cheesecake, and Ritz crackers offer a savory alternative for peanut butter pie. You could also sub in Oreos (just the wafer part), Biscoff, shortbread cookies, or even saltines if you want to try our Atlantic Beach Pie.

No matter which cracker or cookie you choose, you can use this same recipe. Just be sure you process 1 ½ cups worth of cookies.

Graham Cracker Crust ingredients
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Butter: Opt for unsalted butter. It's always a good choice because it allows you to control the salt in a dish. Melted butter in this recipe acts as a binder for the graham cracker crumbs. It also adds a rich flavor to the finished crust.

Sugar: I like granulated sugar in here, but you could split the measurement with brown sugar if you wanted some of that molasses flavor. Don't skip the sugar though—it gives the butter an assist in holding the crumb together.

What if I Don't Have a Food Processor?

Don't worry! People have been making graham cracker crust for years the old-fashioned way. Put your graham sheets into a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag, get out your rolling pin, and make some space on the counter. Roll back and forth over the cookies until they crush to a fine sandy texture.

graham cracker crust finely ground
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Do I Need to Bake the Crust?

The beauty of this crust is its versatility. If you want a simple, no-bake dessert, like icebox pie or cheesecake when the temperatures rise outside, just press all the ingredients into your pie plate, and move it to the refrigerator to chill. Of course, baking does impart a nice toasty flavor.

Crust Add-Ins

It's easy to spice up your graham cracker crust with ingredients like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ground ginger. But don't forget about citrus zest. And toasted coconut always makes a welcome addition to a key lime pie crust.

You could also adjust the recipe to accommodate for some nuts. Toasted hazelnuts or almonds pulsed in with the grahams give the crust even more depth. And if you're feeling fancy, brown your butter. Browned butter gives the crust a nuttiness without adding nuts.

Can I Make It Ahead and Freeze It?

In a short answer, yes. You'll want to bake it first so it retains its shape. A pre-made graham cracker crust can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days before use. Be sure to let it cool completely before transferring it to the refrigerator or freezer. It will keep in the freezer for up to three months, as long as you wrap it well.

pressing a graham cracker crust
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox


  • 12 sheets honey graham crackers (about 1 1/2 cups once finely ground)

  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

  • ¼ cup sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. In a food processor, blend graham crackers until the consistency of fine sand. Add sugar, and pulse to combine. Empty into a mixing bowl, and pour in melted butter. Mix with a fork to blend well, or until the texture of wet sand.

  3. Empty the crumb mixture into an ungreased 9-inch pie plate, and spread evenly. Using your hands, press the mixture across the bottom of the pie plate and up the sides. Once evenly distributed, use a measuring cup to pack the crust tighter. Using your fingers, gently press sides into the pie plate until the crumb holds together uniformly. Smooth the top of the crust edge with your fingertips.

  4. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Remove, and allow to cool before adding any filling.

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