This simple Homemade Graham Cracker Crust is a great alternative to those store bought crusts. It is easy to make and tastes a whole lot better!
Today’s lesson in the Back to the Basics series is this simple homemade graham cracker crust. This recipe is good for both no bake and baked pies, cheesecakes, desserts…. you name it! It’s a great recipe to have in your back pocket.
It’s thick, it’s buttery, it’s delicious and like I said it’s the perfect crust for so many desserts!
Now, I know you can buy the premade ones and I am not here to judge if you do. (I’ll let you in on a little secret- I use the store bought ones from time to time too!) But trust me when I say this homemade version tastes so much better because it does! In my opinion, it has more flavor and not so stale like the store bought ones can be.
Store bought crusts are great to use in a pinch (like I said I have used them too). But if you can take the time to make one from scratch you will be greatly rewarded. And this crust isn’t that hard at all!!
So let’s get started:
To get started you will need to grind your graham crackers. But don’t worry if you don’t have one of these grinders just place your graham crackers in a ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Just be sure to get them really fine so your crust holds together better. You are going to need 10 full sheets of graham crackers which will yield about 1 1/2 cups of crumbs.
A lot of recipes call for only 1 1/4 cups of crumbs but I like my crusts a little thicker. For one I like the crust on any dessert (it’s my favorite part), especially a graham cracker crust. I love the sweet buttery combo! I also like it to be a little thicker because it’s sturdier. You see, I am TERRIBLE at getting that perfect piece of pie and my crust usually falls apart. So, making it a tad thicker helps.
What holds all this together is the butter so don’t reduce it. If your crust is always crumbling you need to use more butter. On the other hand, if it is super greasy there is too much butter.
I used regular white sugar in this recipe but brown sugar works great too. It adds a nice depth of flavor. I also added a small amount of cinnamon. Just enough to add a little something. Trust me it doesn’t overpower, it’s subtle and takes the crust from plain and boring to extra special.
Now, for this crust to hold its shape it needs to be compact and the best way to do that is with a flat measuring cup or the bottom of a glass cup. Whichever works best for you. We just need something to help press the crumbs in tightly and evenly and this works great for the bottom of the crust. When it comes to the sides I start out using my fingers then I use the measuring cup to really get it smooth and compact.
Now there are three options for this crust:
For the no bake version: place in the refrigerator to chill for 1-2 hours. This helps the butter to become solid again and holds the crust together. You can also fill it (as long as the filling is cold) then refrigerate but it will need a longer chilling time. If you choose to fill then refrigerate the crust must be super compact.
For the baked version: bake it according to the recipe’s directions. Usually, it would be baked at about 350 degrees F for 8 minutes. But I have seen others say 325 or even 300 degrees F for 10 minutes.
For the third version: this is a make ahead tip. You can store the crust in the refrigerator, covered with cling wrap for up to 3 days before filling it or you can freeze it for up to 3 months. Be sure to freeze it in the pan and wrap it very well first in cling wrap then foil to protect it from getting freezer burn. Even if you are only going to be freezing it for a short time I recommend doing this because this crust can soak up flavors quickly. Remove it from the freezer and let it thaw before filling.
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs about 10 full sheets
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons butter melted
Using a food processor or blender grind the crackers until you have fine crumbs. Otherwise place crackers in a ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs. It is important to have fine crumbs so the crust holds together well.
In a medium sized bowl combine the crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Stir in the butter until well combined. The mixture should be thick, coarse and sandy.
Press the mixture into any 9 inch pan. Use a flat measuring cup or the bottom of a glass to help compact the crust. This is very important or the crust may fall apart.
No bake: Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before filling.
Baked: Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees F or according to the recipes directions.
Make ahead: Store the crust wrapped in cling wrap in the refigerator for up to three days before filling. Or freeze for up to three months. Freeze in pan wrapped in both cling wrap and foil. Thaw completely before using.