A graham cracker crust recipe that is simple, not too sweet, comes out crisp and holds its shape. Grahams, butter, & water. Vegan w/GF option.
This recipe isn’t ground breaking, innovative, or avant garde by any means. But it IS good, and it IS easy. It’s a staple in my home, so I’m going to share it with you!
Making a Graham Cracker Crust that doesn’t fall apart
One of the most terrible feelings is putting your heart and soul into a pie or cheesecake and having the crust fall apart on you when you go to serve it.
I found that the best way to avoid the crust crumbling is to bake it. Not long, but long enough to convince the graham cracker crumbs that they belong together, again.
I also add a bit of water to the “dough” so that the crumbs sort of melt together a little before baking. It’s like making a pie-crust shaped brand new graham cracker!
What can I substitute for butter in this graham cracker crust?
I love using Country Crock plant butter in my crust because it plays just like dairy butter, and tastes like it too.
However, if you’re opposed to using it or you just don’t have access to it, you can use any butter that is safe for you and you can get your hands on. I’ve tried Earth Balance, Miyoko’s, Smart Balance, and Melt. They all work great, so I’m convinced any brand out there would be great.
Veggie shortening will work fantastically, but you might need to add a bit of extra water because of its very high fat percentage.
If you can’t use any of those and want to stay as simple as possible though, any fat will do. Coconut oil and Palm oil are popular choices. Just make sure they’re not rock hard when you add them! Soften them up a bit first.
Liquid oils will also work fine – olive oil, grapeseed oil, or avocado oils would be my first choices. You will likely have to omit the water in the recipe though, so just keep an eye on the texture when you mix it!
Which graham crackers should I use for this crust?
I use Nabisco grahams because they don’t have honey. If you’re going gluten-free, my favorite are actually the vanilla and cocoa bunny grahams from Annie’s! They’re one of the only gluten-free grahams I’ve found without honey added.
You can most definitely also use graham cracker crumbs for this recipe, which would save you a step.
Truth be told though, you can use ANY cookie, cracker, or cereal for this recipe! So go nuts and use your favorite!
How do I make the graham cracker crust recipe?
Get your pie, springform, or tart pan out. This recipe will cover a 9-10″ pan nicely.
If it doesn’t have a decent nonstick coating on it, you may want to give it a once-over with some oil, butter, or nonstick spray (just for insurance).
- Assemble your ingredients. There are only three. It won’t be that difficult. Lol. Get your graham crackers and your chosen fat out – make sure it’s room temperature and softened. You should also get a little cold water on standby in case your dough needs it.
- Put the graham crackers into your food processor bowl. Break them up to fit if you have to.
- Pulse the food processor a few times to break up most of the graham crackers. You still want there to be some big chunks in there. I’d say about 50/50 chunks vs sand.
- At this point, I turn on my oven to preheat.
5. Add your softened butter/fat of choice into the graham cracker crumbs and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse sand and hugs the outer walls of the food processor. If it balls up into a dough, go ahead and skip the next step.
6. Add water, a teaspoon at a time, to the crumbs while the processor is running until it comes together into a doughball.
7. Stop the food processor and transfer the dough into your prepared pan.
8. Using your hands, the bottom of a flat bottomed measuring cup, or a silicone spatula, flatten the dough down into your pan and up the sides, if you desire.
9. Bake the crust. It might puff up a little bit, but you can flatten it back down while it’s still hot with the silicone spatula or the bottom of a measuring cup.
10. Allow the crust to cool completely (about an hour) before filling it.
How to store your graham cracker crust
You’ll want to store this crust the same way you would store graham crackers – because it’s a giant graham cracker now!
You can keep it at room temperature, but make sure it’s in an airtight container to keep it from going stale.
If it does happen to stale before you use it, just pop it into a preheated 300F (150C) oven for around ten minutes and it should crisp back up.
Why did my graham cracker crust stick to the pan?!
If your crust stuck to the pan after baking, then you probably need to grease the pan before adding the dough. Even some nonstick pans lie about their capabilities! If you DID grease it first, you may need to be more generous.
Why did my crust get soggy after filling it? How do I prevent it from getting soggy?
The crust is dry, and if you add a very wet and liquidy filling it will soak it up like a sponge. And it will get soggier as the days go by.
The best way to avoid this is to eat your pie or cheesecake as soon as you can. You can also try brushing the crust with a little Just Egg or aquafaba before baking. Or brush with melted chocolate or cocoa butter after baking for a truly waterproof crust!
What if I don’t have a food processor?
You can still make this graham cracker crust without a food processor, it’ll just be a little more work.
If you can buy graham cracker crumbs, that fixes most of the problem. If not though, just put all the crackers into a large zip-close bag, cover with a towel, and beat it with a rolling pin. Break the crackers up just like the processor would, follow all the steps, but use your rolling pin as your chosen weapon instead of blades.
You might need to pick up the bag and massage it around a bit once you add the butter, then the water, alternating between beating it with the rolling pin and giving it a massage, until the dough comes together.
What recipes can I fill my awesome graham cracker crust with?
My no-bake vegan cheesecake uses tofu and no cream cheese or nuts or oil for a healthier, less complicated twist on classic cheesecake!
If you’re patient, I have a pumpkin pie recipe that will be published in just a couple of days, as well as a cookie butter pumpkin cheesecake – both of which are vegan. 🙂
My strawberry cheesecake (for which I made this particular graham cracker crust) is also slated to go out this week.
- 200g (1.5 packs of Nabisco) graham crackers
- 1/4c, or 1/2 stick (55g) vegan butter, room temperature (or fat of your choice)
- Water, as needed.
- Prepare a pie, tart, or springform tin by greasing it if needed.
- Put the grahams into a food processor, and pulse until half of it is sandy.
- Preheat the oven to 350F (175C) (you can do this earlier, but doing it now is perfect timing for me).
- Add butter, and pulse until the crumbs resemble coarse sand and climb the outer walls of the food processor bowl.
- Add water while the processor is going, a teaspoon at a time, until the crumbs form a doughball.
- Press into your prepared tin with your hands, a silicone spatula, or the bottom of a measuring cup.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Press down flat with a silicone spatula or measuring cup while it is still hot.
- Allow to cool for at least one hour before filling.
Please see the blog posts for notes on substitutions, variations, and options to fill!