How To Make Classic Crumb Crusts for Cheesecakes and Pies

No more crummy crumb crusts!

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Cheesecakes, key lime pies, cream pies, and frozen pies all call for tender crumb crusts made of crushed graham crackers or cookies instead of pastry dough crusts to hold the fillings. Read on to learn how to make classic crumb pie crusts with helpful step-by-step instructions.

We used this recipe for Graham Cracker Crust I


  • 1½ cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (about 15 graham crackers)*
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

*Graham cracker is the standard, but you can use shortbread, chocolate cookies, vanilla wafers, gingersnaps, pretzels, cereal, or nuts, too — the basic method will stay the same.


  1. Break the graham crackers into smaller pieces. To turn those pieces into crumbs, you can use a food processor or blender. Pulse in short bursts until you've got coarse crumbs. OR to make crumbs the old-fashioned way, put the graham cracker pieces in a large, heavy-duty resealable bag. (Leave a small opening in the top of the bag to allow air to escape.) Using a little pressure, roll a rolling pin over the plastic bag. Continue rolling the pin over the bag until the cookies are broken into coarse crumbs.
  2. Pour the crumbs into a large mixing bowl, followed by the melted butter. If your recipe calls for added sugar, it should be mixed into the graham cracker crumbs before adding the butter. You can also add a pinch of salt to set off the sweet flavor.
  3. Work the butter into the crumbs with a wooden spoon or your hands until the butter is evenly distributed.
  4. Dump the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan or pie tin; there's no need to grease the pan.
  5. Use your hands or a flat-bottomed glass to press the mixture evenly into the bottom and sides (if desired) of the pan. To avoid crumbs getting into the filling, press firmly to ensure the crust is well compacted.
  6. Bake the crust according to the recipe instructions, usually 8-10 minutes. Let it cool completely before adding the filling.
graham cracker crumb crust pressed into a glass pie dish before baking
Bonnie Northup

Pictured: Graham Cracker Crust I

Get more recipes for Crumb Pie Crusts

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