Pretzel Pie Crust Recipe

Recipe Pin
20 minutes
1 8-to-9-inch crust

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Alter the structure of melted butter into beurre noisette or brown butter to perfect sweet and salty pretzel bake OR no-bake pies. This Pretzel Crust recipe is achieved in as few as 20 minutes using three simple ingredients. The end result is a single 8 to 9-inch pie crust perfect for pies like key lime and strawberry. 

A pretzel crust for use with a dessert pie filling.

As a massive sweet and salty fan, you might wonder why it took me so long to share this easy pretzel crust recipe. It’s not just about making the crust but about explaining how beurre noisette or brown butter enhances the flavor, making this version of crumb crust superior for pies, particularly those with pretzel crust desserts.

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A crumb crust, like Oreo cookie, shortbread, or graham cracker, offers delightful texture. Opting for pretzels adds a satisfying salty flavor. I use beurre noisette or brown butter for all my pretzel crusts, giving a rich, nutty aroma. Press into a pie plate and chill or bake for 10 minutes. The recipe card instructions for the pie filling will help you to know whether a baked or unbaked pretzel crust is optimal. Beurre noisette elevates the dessert, offering a salty, crunchy base with a toasty aroma, perfect for any filling.

Sweet & Salty Brown Butter Bliss

The magic of a pretzel crust lies in its sweet and salty flavor profile. The salty crunch of the pretzels combined with a hint of sweetness from sugar and a nutty aroma from brown butter creates a perfect balance that complements a variety of dessert fillings like this method for Strawberry Pie.


A person using the flat bottom of a cup to smooth out crumb crust.

Tip for An Expert Pretzel Pie Crust – Use a measuring cup or glass bottom to evenly press the mixture into your pie dish.

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What Makes This Recipe Stand Out?

An Unforgettable Eating Sensation – Eaters enjoy enhanced texture, both crunchy and crumbly, while embracing a rich, toffee-like flavor profile in every spoonful of sweet pie filling.
Three Ingredients with Minimal Preparation Time – Quick and foolproof, this crust comes together in 20 minutes, requiring 3 ingredients and no special skills or tools. 
Irresistible Flavor and Versatility – Whether for ‘bake’ or ‘no-bake’ pies, this method for a dessert base will, without fail, result in a perfectly flavorful crust.


Ingredients In This Pretzel Pie Crust Recipe

With recipes requiring few ingredients, always purchase the freshest and highest quality available. In the case of this recipe, seek out pretzels with a good salt-to-pretzel ratio and a high-quality unsalted butter that contains at least 82% butterfat.

A group of ingredients necessary for making a pretzel dessert pie crust.
  • Pretzel Crumbs: For the best results, crush fresh pretzels in a food processor until finely ground. Substitute gluten-free pretzels if desired.
  • Granulated White Sugar: Use regular white sugar for optimal sweetness.
  • Unsalted Butter: Fresh, unsalted butter works best for a rich, buttery taste.
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See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.

Making This Recipe Uniquely Yours

Pretzels and macadamia nuts being crushed in a food processor.
  • Gluten-free Pretzels: If you are sensitive, choose gluten free pretzels, as this method works great with them!
  • Brown Sugar: Use equal measure, either light or dark, packed. 
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This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!

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Tip: Ensure Stability

Chill the filling thoroughly to ensure a smooth, sturdy slice.

Should I Bake My Pretzel Crust?

Baking the pretzel crust beforehand enhances texture, flavor, and stability. Pre-baking the crust enhances texture, flavor, and stability. It sets the crust for a firmer, crisper texture, intensifies pretzel flavor through caramelization, creates a moisture barrier, and ensures a stable base for the filling. Follow the instructions in the pie filling recipe card to determine if you must bake the crust.

Ways to Use Pretzel Pie Crust

There are any number of easy-to-assemble pie flavors that, in my view,  taste fabulous with a pretzel pie crust. Any bar or pie recipe I run across requiring a graham cracker or cookie crust, I stop to consider how it could taste using crushed pretzels instead. Some popular flavors I’ve used this crust with include:

How Do You Crush Pretzels?

A bowl of mini salted pretzels.
  • Using a Food Processor: The easiest method; add pretzels into pieces and pulse in the food processor until finely crushed. For smaller processors, do it in two batches.
  • Using a Meat Mallet: Place pretzels in a bag, remove excess air, cover with a towel, and use a meat mallet to pound until finely crushed.
  • Using a Rolling Pin: Place pretzels in a bag, remove excess air, cover with a towel, and roll over them until finely crushed.

Secret ‘Ingredients’ for Success

  • Ensure your pretzels are crushed finely to achieve a cohesive crust. A coarse texture may result in the crust not holding together.
  • Use fresh pretzels rather than stale ones for the best flavor, texture, and crunch.
  • For a gluten-free option, substitute regular pretzels with gluten-free pretzels.
  • To prevent the crust from sticking, lightly grease the pie plate before pressing in the mixture.
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After trying this recipe, I would love to hear your thoughts! Consider leaving a star rating in the recipe card located below or sharing your feedback in the comment section. Your reviews and comments are highly valued and appreciated.

A springform pan with a pretzel dessert pie crust pressed into it.

Pretzel Pie Crust Recipe

Jenny DeRemer
Create unforgettable desserts with this simple Pretzel Pie Crust recipe! Sweet, salty, and oh-so-delicious. Perfect for pies of all kinds.
No ratings yet
Servings: 1 8-to-9-inch crust
Prep Time 5 minutes
Chilling Time to Set 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 1 8-to-9-inch crust
Calories 2439 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 1 1/2 cups (150 grams) pretzels crumbs measure after crushing; I am using bite-sized pretzels
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter

Instructions
 

  • In a food processor add 4 to 4 1/2 cups of bite-sized pretzels. If using any other size, add fewer pieces and measure as you grind. Process until finely ground. Measure. Set aside.
    1 1/2 cups (150 grams) pretzels crumbs
  • To make beurre noisette or brown butter, melt butter in a light-colored, wide saucepan over medium heat. Keep a close eye on the color to avoid rapid browning of the milk solids. Cook the butter until it reaches a rich acorn brown color and emits a slightly nutty fragrance. Transfer the brown butter to a bowl to halt the cooking process.
    8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter
  • Add the pretzel crumbs back into the food processor. Add sugar. Pour the beurre noisette or brown butter over the crumbs and sugar and pulse the mixture until incorporated, about 3 to 5 pulses.
    1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • Use a rubber spatula to scrape the crumb mixture into a lightly greased 8-or-9-inch pie dish or an 8-or-9-inch spring form pan. Press into the bottom and up the sides using the flat side of a measuring cup or other to aid you.
  • This dessert pie crust may be enjoyed unbaked OR baked. Refer to the recipe card instructions for your chosen pie filling to decide whether a baked or unbaked pretzel crust is best.
    Chill, place the crust in the freezer for 15 minutes or until needed. Thaw before filling or baking.
    Bake, place the crust into a pre-heated 350°F oven and bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely before proceeding.
  • Fill and garnish with your favorite pie filling.

Notes

No-Bake versus Bake – This dessert pie crust may be enjoyed unbaked OR baked. Refer to the instructions given in the pie filling recipe card regarding whether the crust should be chilled or baked. 
Freezer Friendly – Freezing this crust is easy! I find using disposable pie plates work well. Stack the unbaked, assembled crusts with a sheet of parchment in between each. Load into freezer-safe bags before placing into the freezer. Thaw before baking and/or filling.

The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.

Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.125servingCalories: 2439kcalCarbohydrates: 344gProtein: 37gFat: 107gSaturated Fat: 62gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 4gCholesterol: 254mgSodium: 4414mgPotassium: 821mgFiber: 12gSugar: 67gVitamin A: 2956IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 125mgIron: 16mg
Did you love this recipe?Leave a comment and Let me know how it was!

Step By Step Instructions

An image demonstrating the first four steps to making a salty pretzel dessert pie crust.

Crush the Pretzels

Step 1. Crush the pretzels using one of the above methods. I go food processor. (Image 1) Measure the crumbs. You need 1 1/2 cups crushed. (Image 2)

Step 2. Add the crumbs back to the food processor. (Image 3) Also add the sugar. (Image 4)

Images side by side of melted butter and melted brown butter.

Brown the Butter

Step 3. Add butter to a wide saucepan and melt it over medium heat. Continuously monitor the color to prevent the milk solids from browning too fast. (Image 5) Cook the butter to an acorn brown hue and to where it exudes a slightly nutty aroma. (Image 6) Pour the brown butter into a bowl to end the cooking process.

An image demonstrating the final four steps to making a salty pretzel dessert pie crust.

Assemble the Crust

Step 4. Pour the brown butter into the food processor (Image 7) and pulse 3 to 5 times. (Image 8)

Step 5. Scrape out into a lightly greased pie pan or springform pan. (Image 9) Use the flat side of a measuring cup to smooth out the top, pushing the mixture into place up the sides. (Image 10) Chill to set or bake.

A springform pan with a pretzel dessert pie crust pressed into it.

Recipe FAQs

Why Does My Pretzel Crust Fall Apart?

To prevent a pretzel crust from falling apart, ensure proper binding, press the mixture firmly into the pie plate, chill it thoroughly and at the same time, avoid overbaking, and always use fresh pretzels for the best results.

How do I prevent my pretzel crust from becoming soggy when adding a wet filling?

This answer, to a large degree, depends on the type of pie filling you intend to use and whether the filling instructions say to use a baked or unbaked pretzel crust. If you’re preparing the pie well in advance of serving, consider baking your pretzel crust. Allow it to cool thoroughly, as adding a wet filling to a warm crust will inevitably result in soggy pretzels. Again, depending on the type of filling, consider creating a moisture barrier if the flavors align, such as a thin layer of melted chocolate, a cold cream cheese layer, or a Nutella spread. These spread over the surface completely will also help preserve the crispness.

Can I use salted butter instead of unsalted butter for a pretzel crust?

While you can use salted butter, it’s best to opt for unsalted butter to control the saltiness, considering pretzels already contribute to the saltiness of the crust.

Pies To Try with Pretzel Crust!

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