Homemade Graham Cracker Crust

  • This thick and buttery Homemade Graham Cracker Crust is easy to make and tastes better than store bought! You only need 4 ingredients to make a perfect crust for cheesecakes, pies, and other desserts. 

    Graham cracker crust being pressed into pie pan with measuring cup.

    A Homemade Graham Cracker Crust is a basic recipe anyone can make and a must-have for your baking repertoire. It’s the perfect recipe for pies, cheesecakes, lemon bars… you name it! You won’t regret having this one in your back pocket. 

    Now, there is no shame in buying a premade crust (I use them from time to time too!). But trust me when I say that you will be pleasantly surprised at how much tastier a homemade crust is! It has more flavor and never tastes stale.

    Why you’ll love this recipe:

    • This crust is thick, buttery, and SO delicious! It isn’t overly sweet, but perfectly complements lots of different desserts.
    • Making a homemade crust is super easy. If you’ve never done it before, don’t be intimidated. This is a fool-proof recipe.
    • Graham cracker crusts are pretty versatile. You can use it for no-bake recipes, bake it before adding a filling, or make it ahead and pop it in the fridge or freezer until you need it.
    Overhead of food processor with broken graham crackers before pulsing.

    Ingredients you need:

    You only need 4 ingredients for this homemade crust. Start with fresh graham crackers, then add butter, white sugar, and a bit of cinnamon. You can substitute any flavor graham cracker you’d like, and you can also use brown sugar instead of granulated for a little extra flavor.

    How to make a graham cracker crust from scratch:

    GRIND YOUR GRAHAM CRACKERS: In a food processor or blender, blend the graham crackers until ultra-fine crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, just place your graham crackers in a Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Make sure the crumbs are super fine so the crust holds together.

    This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups of crumbs, which is a bit more than most standard crusts. I like my crusts a bit thicker than average because it ensures that they are super sturdy and don’t fall apart. And of course it tastes great too!

    Food processor with ground graham cracker crumbs and full crackers in background.

    COMBINE REMAINING INGREDIENTS: In a medium sized bowl combine the crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. You can use brown sugar instead of white for a little extra flavor. The cinnamon also adds a little extra something – it’s not overpowering, but gives the crust a really special flavor.

    Bowl of crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon with a second bowl of melted butter.

    STIR IN THE BUTTER: Next, stir in the melted butter until well combined. The mixture should be thick, coarse and sandy.

    The butter is what really holds the crust together, so don’t reduce it. If your crusts have always crumbled in the past, it’s because they don’t have enough butter.

    PRESS CRUST INTO PAN: Last, press the crust firmly and evenly into a 9″ pie pan. For the crust to hold its shape it needs to be compact – this is very important. The best way to get it compact is to use the bottom of a flat measuring cup or glass cup to push the crumbs down tightly.

    When it comes to the sides, I start using my fingers to press it into position. Then I use the measuring cup again to get it really smooth and compact.

    Options for using:

    • No bake version: Place the crust in the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours. This helps the butter become solid again and holds the crust together. You can also fill it (as long as the filling is cold) and then refrigerate it, but it will need a longer chilling time. If you choose to fill then refrigerate, make sure the crust is super compact first.
    • Baked version: Bake the crust according to the directions for the dessert you are making. Usually I bake mine at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. But some recipes say 325 or 300 degrees for 10 minutes. It entirely depends on the recipe you are making.
    • Make ahead version: 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 the crust can soak up flavors quickly. Remove it from the freezer and let it thaw before filling.
    Hand pressing crust into pie pan with measuring cup.

    Tips for making this recipe:

    • Don’t skimp on the butter. It really holds the crust together, so using too little will result in a crumbly crust that doesn’t hold together when filled.
    • Make sure to press the crust in very firmly. You can start with your hands, but using a flat measuring cup (as pictured) or a glass cup really helps compact the crust.
    • Don’t worry about it looking perfect. The beauty of a graham cracker crust is the slightly rustic, homemade look.

    FAQs:

    What desserts can I make with a graham cracker crust?

    You can use this crust for limitless options! Chocolate pie, key lime pie, lemon pie bars, classic cheesecake, no bake cheesecake…. the list is endless. This No Bake Vanilla Cheesecake is a great option to try, or these S’mores Cookie Bars would be great.

    Why is my graham cracker crust crumbly?

    If your crust is super crumbly, it probably didn’t have enough butter. The butter holds it together as it solidifies. The sugar also plays a role in holding the crumbs together, so make sure to use the amount of butter and sugar called for.

    What are the best graham crackers to use?

    I used regular graham crackers, but you can use cinnamon sugar crackers, honey crackers, or even chocolate ones. You can also buy graham crackers already ground into crumbs.

    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!

    More dessert recipes:

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    5 from 1 vote
    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!
    Homemade Graham Cracker Crust
    Prep Time
    15 mins
    Total Time
    15 mins
     

    This thick and buttery Homemade Graham Cracker Crust is easy to make and tastes better than store bought! You only need 4 ingredients to make a perfect crust for cheesecakes, pies, and other desserts.

    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: cheesecake crust, graham cracker crust, homemade graham cracker crust, make ahead crust, no bake crust, pie crust
    Servings: 1 9″ crust
    Calories: 166 kcal
    Author: Malinda Linnebur
    Ingredients
    • cups graham cracker crumbs about 10 full sheets
    • ¼ cup sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
    • 6 tablespoons butter melted
    Instructions
    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. No bake: Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before filling.
    5. Baked: Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees F or according to the recipes directions.
    6. Make ahead: Store the crust wrapped in cling wrap in the refrigerator 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.

    Recipe Notes

    Substitutions:

    • This recipe also works great with any flavor of graham crackers.
    • You can use brown sugar in place of regular sugar for some extra flavor.

    Tips: 

    • Don’t skimp on the butter. It really holds the crust together, so using too little will result in a crumbly crust that doesn’t hold together when filled.
    • Make sure to press the crust in very firmly. You can start with your hands, but using a flat measuring cup (as pictured) or a glass cup really helps compact the crust.
    • Don’t worry about it looking perfect. The beauty of a graham cracker crust is the slightly rustic, homemade look.
    Nutrition Facts
    Homemade Graham Cracker Crust
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 166 Calories from Fat 90
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 10g15%
    Saturated Fat 6g38%
    Cholesterol 23mg8%
    Sodium 179mg8%
    Potassium 28mg1%
    Carbohydrates 18g6%
    Fiber 1g4%
    Sugar 10g11%
    Protein 1g2%
    Vitamin A 262IU5%
    Calcium 15mg2%
    Iron 1mg6%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.
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