How to Make Shortcrust Pastry

These pastry making guides compliment our recipes section.

Lemon Meringue Pie, Shortcrust Pastry

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie with Shortcrust Pastry

Shortcrust pastry is the most common type of pastry and very easy to make though it does need to be kept cool and handled as little as possible.

Use for sweet and savoury flans, pies, tarts and tartlets, pasties, quiches and turnovers etc.

Shortcrust pastry can be made in advance. Wrapped in film to stop it drying out, shortcrust will keep in the fridge for a few days.

Double wrapped blocks of shortcrust pastry can be frozen to keep for months.

This is the basic recipe but there are many variations such as using all butter, adding sugar, using milk instead of water and adding beaten eggs or egg yolk.


  • 8 oz (225 g) plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 oz (56 g) butter or margarine
  • 2 oz (56 g) lard or hard vegetable fat
  • Water

Method for Making Shortcrust Pastry:

NB – avoid adding too much water as it will make the pastry hard.

  1. Sieve the flour and salt together into a bowl. Add the fat and, with a knife, cut into small pieces.
  2. Rub the fat into the flour with the fingertips until the mixture resembles find breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the water and mix to a stiff dough.
  4. Turn on to a lightly floured board. Kneed lightly with your fingertips until free from cracks.
  5. Roll out and use for sweet or savoury pastry dishes.

Alternative Food Processor Method for Making Shortcrust Pastry

The beauty of this method is that it takes less than a minute to make your pastry (apart from chilling time)

  1. Place all the dry ingredients into the food processor bowl and whizz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. With the motor running, drip water into the feed tube to make the dough form a ball round the blade.
  3. Place in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling out.

Variations on Shortcrust Pastry

Lemon Shortcrust Pastry

Add a teaspoon of finely chopped lemon zest (if available) to the mix and use a tablespoon of lemon juice instead of water. – Ideal for lemon meringue pie.

Nut Shortcrust Pastry

Add 1 to 1½ oz of very finely chopped nuts to the mix. Walnuts are great, almonds go well with apricot fillings but you can use any nut you like the taste of. Pecans, peanuts, hazel or cashew nuts.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

Add 1 to 2 oz of caster sugar to the mix to make a sweet pastry.

Pastry Making Guides

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