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Making your own thick and buttery graham cracker crust at home is super simple and tastes way better than anything you can buy. And you only need 3 ingredients!
So many of my favorite pies, bar desserts, and cheesecakes start with a graham cracker crust. That sweet and buttery flavor is such a great complement to fillings like the caramel-y bananas of banoffee pie, tangy bite of Key lime pie bars, and smooth and creamy cheesecake filling.
They’re so underrated!
Because I love using an easy graham cracker crust for so many things, I wanted to share my favorite recipe for graham cracker crust that can be used for baked and no bake pies, sliced bars, and so many other desserts.
Side note: this is not the same graham cracker crust recipe I use for my cheesecakes. Though the ingredients are the same, the ratios are not. Please see my funfetti cheesecake if you’re looking for a traditional graham cracker crust for cheesecake.
WHY SHOULD I MAKE MY OWN GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST?
In my experience, pre-made/store-bought graham cracker crusts are seriously lacking in the flavor department, and I think they tend to taste a little like the plastic and aluminum they’re packaged in.
Making your own graham cracker crust is really simple, and since it uses ingredients you likely have in your pantry if you’re a regular baker, there is almost no need to buy one.
You first need about 10 or 11 graham crackers, as in 10 or 11 full sheet rectangle crackers.
As in a full sheet graham cracker is one with 4 tiny rectangles or 2 squares with perforated edges.
Are we on the same page? Graham crackers can be confusing, apparently.
Those 10 or 11 full sheets = approximately 1 and ½ cups (150-155g) graham cracker crumbs.
WHAT FLAVOR GRAHAM CRACKERS SHOULD I USE?
As far as the flavor goes, you can use cinnamon, honey, chocolate, gluten free, low fat, or whatever you can find.
I usually just buy whatever brand is on sale and typically pick a flavor I think would pair best with what I’m making.
Sometimes I even add some cinnamon and/or ground ginger to my graham cracker crumbs depending on the filling going on top (ground ginger is a great pairing with my Key lime pie bars!).
I CAN’T GET GRAHAM CRACKERS WHERE I LIVE
Fear not! You, too, can still make a fabulous pie crust– simply use 1 and ½ cups crushed digestive biscuits instead.
SWEETEN WITH SUGAR
You’ll need ¼ cup of sugar, and you can use granulated (white) sugar or (light or dark) brown sugar.
Though I typically have all of these sugars on hand, you are welcome to use whatever you have, whatever you prefer, or whatever you think might pair best with your pie or bar filling.
BUTTER AS THE BINDER
The last thing you’ll need is 5 Tablespoons of melted unsalted butter to hold it all together. This is the sweet spot for just the right amount of “glue” to keep it together.
If you find yourself with a crumbly graham cracker crust that’s falling apart more than just at the edges, too little butter is likely the culprit.
If you want to make a dairy free graham cracker crust, you can use vegan butter or shortening (highly recommend the buttery flavored one so your crust isn’t bland).
Just be sure your graham crackers are dairy free (most brands are, but check to be sure).
HOW TO MAKE A GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
This is exactly how I make my favorite pie crust with graham crackers.
I prefer to use a food processor or blender to grind up the graham crackers, although you can always use a zip-top bag and smash the graham crackers with a spoon or rolling pin.
You can also start with pre-crushed graham cracker crumbs. In this case, just put them right into a bowl.
Once your graham crackers are crushed, you can add the sugar and melted butter right to the food processor or blender and pulse a few times to mix it all up.
Again, if you’re using pre-crushed graham cracker crumbs, just add the sugar and butter right to the bowl and stir it all together with a large spatula.
The end result will be a coarse, sandy mixture.
LINE YOUR PIE PLATE OR BAKING DISH WITH THE CRUST
This is the trick to getting a perfect graham cracker crust: make it nice and compact in your pie plate or baking dish.
When you initially put the graham cracker mixture into the pie plate (this is enough for a 9″ or 10″ pie plate), it will look like too much. It’s not.
First, press the mixture around with your hands.
The reason for using your hands first is not only so you can spread things around evenly, but you can also feel for thickness to make sure you have a uniform thickness the whole way around and up the sides of your pie plate.
Once the graham cracker crumbs are sufficiently and evenly spread around, use a small, flat-bottomed measuring cup to press the crumbs together tightly and secure the crust in the plate (I prefer to use my metal ¼ cup measure).
It is imperative the crust is tight so the sugar + butter can bind the crumbs together.
The crumbs will bind together a little more in the oven, so if you’re using this pie crust from graham crackers for a no-bake pie or dessert, it’s even more important those sugar + butter molecules are nice and snug.
HOW TO USE YOUR GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
Once your crust is done, it’s time to fill it with the good stuff!
(Below: strawberry margarita squares)
For a baked dessert: pre-bake this crust per your recipe’s instructions. I typically pre-bake for 8-10 minutes at 350°F (177°C) or 10-12 minutes at 300°F (149°C). Allow to cool, then fill and continue with your recipe’s directions.
For a no-bake dessert: chill your pie crust for at least 2 hours before filling it. Chilling the crust before adding your no-bake filling will solidify the sugar/melted butter mixture.
To make ahead: this crust can be covered and kept in the refrigerator up to 3 days before using in a recipe. To store for longer, freeze the prepared crust in the pan for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature before using in your recipe.
I hope you’ll use my favorite graham cracker crust recipe in your own kitchen, regardless of whether or not you’re using one of my recipes to fill it.
You’ll never have to buy one from the store again, so your pies and desserts are nearly guaranteed to be nothing but delicious!
Homemade Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 and ½ cups (150g) graham cracker crumbs1 10 or 11 full sheet graham crackers
- 5 Tablespoons (72g) unsalted butter melted
- ¼ cup (50g) sugar granulated or firmly packed brown
- Use a food processor or blender to process full graham crackers2 into a fine crumb.
- Turn the processor or blender off, add the butter and sugar, then pulse a few times until everything is blended well. Alternatively, you can add the graham cracker crumbs to a bowl and mix the butter and sugar in with a large spatula. Mixture will be coarse and sandy.
- Use your hands to press the mixture evenly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a pie dish (this crust is enough for a 9" or 10" pan). Once it is evenly spread into the dish, use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to make the crust tight and compact in the dish. Crust will be thick.
- For a baked dessert: pre-bake this crust per your recipe’s instructions. I typically pre-bake for 8-10 minutes at 350°F (177°C) or 10-12 minutes at 300°F (149°C). Allow to cool, then fill and continue with your recipe’s directions.
- For a no-bake dessert: chill your pie crust for at least 2 hours before filling it. Chilling the crust before adding your no-bake filling will solidify the sugar/melted butter mixture.
- To make ahead: this crust can be covered and kept in the refrigerator up to 3 days before using in a recipe. To store for longer, freeze the prepared crust in the pan for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature before using in your recipe.
- Graham crackers: use any flavor you prefer– I usually buy whatever is on sale or available. I also sometimes have pre-made graham cracker crumbs on hand and will use them. If you don’t have graham crackers where you live, use 1 and ½ cups (150g) crushed digestive biscuits instead.
- Crush the graham crackers: you can also crush graham crackers in a zip-top bag with a rolling pin or large spoon.
- Other sizes: this recipe will fit nicely into an 8″ or 9″ square baking pan. Line the baking dish with foil before pressing the crust together. Use foil overhangs to lift the dessert out of the pan to serve.