Graham Cracker Crust
May 10, 2022
Baking Basics is a series on Slumber & Scones all about some of my favorite repeat ingredients that can easily be made at home. See all Baking Basics posts under Guides.
A graham cracker crust is the foundation on which you can build a multitude of delicious and decadent desserts. Master this easy element, which can be baked or chilled depending on the use, and you’ll be halfway to something super tasty in no time.
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What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for a simple homemade graham cracker crust at your grocery store:
- Pantry: Graham crackers, Brown sugar
- Fridge: Butter
- Equipment: 8×8 baking dish or 9-inch round casserole, springform pan or pie pan, Parchment paper (optional), Disposable square pans or round pans (optional)
How to Make a Graham Cracker Crust
There are many methods you can use to crush graham crackers for a crust. A mallet can be fun, or a rolling pin. Manually crushing the graham crackers this way can give you a more rustic look, with a few larger pieces throughout. After crushing, transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl.
Or if you want your graham cracker crust to be as easy as possible, let your appliances do the hard work for you. Snap the graham crackers in half and place them into the bowl of your food processor. Use high power to crush the crackers until you have fine crumbles and no large chunks remain.
Next, add the brown sugar into the bowl. If you are using the food processor, just a couple quick pulses will help distribute the sugar throughout. Otherwise, a whisk will do the job just as well.
Add the butter next. It should be melted, but let it cool slightly so it’s not too hot to handle. You can put it right into the food processor, and mix everything together on low speed until you have a uniform crust.
If you’re mixing by hand, add the melted butter into your bowl. If it’s too warm, you can start with a spoon, but I think using your hands is more effective here. To check if the mixture is ready, pinch some between your fingers, and see if it holds together.
Grab whatever pan you’d like to use, and if you want, you can line it with parchment paper to make serving easier later. This recipe makes enough to cover the bottom of an 8×8 square pan or a 9-inch round pan. If you’d also like some crust on the sides, I suggest making a double batch.
Dump and scrape out the food processor or bowl into your pan. Press the crust into the bottom (and sides) of the pan using the bottom of a measuring cup. Then decide if you want to bake or chill your crust. Baking will give it a nice golden color, and works well when the filling will be baked. Chill the crust for a no-bake dessert or if holding ice cream.
Either way, it takes only ten minutes. Then you can follow the instructions on your filling or simply experiment to continue on with your pie, tart, or cheesecake.
If you’re an advance planner, you can make these crusts ahead of time. Once cooled after baking or frozen, cover the top of the pan with foil and freeze for up to a few months. Use from frozen or let it thaw in the fridge.
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Let’s get back to the basics when it comes to baking and desserts: learn to make a graham cracker crust!
How to Use Graham Cracker Crust
There are so many uses for a graham cracker crust. If you keep the ingredients on hand or a few pre-made in the freezer, you’ll be able to make so many delicious dishes:
- Mix up your favorite flavor of instant pudding, fill and chill for a super easy treat.
- Add some cocoa powder and salt to make strawberry balsamic tartlets or the crust for a peanut butter pie.
- Combine cream cheese and sugar for a filling and top with fresh fruit and berries.
- Replace graham crackers with vanilla wafer cookies to make a caramel apple no-bake cheesecake or Oreos for a peanut butter cup cheesecake.
- Mix a quarter cup of finely chopped nuts into the crust for extra texture and flavor.
- Fill with homemade lemon curd and top with a simple whipped cream.
- Coat with a layer of chocolate ganache and fill with your favorite custard.
- Press into mini tart pans and add scoops of strawberry or coffee ice cream.
Or use your graham cracker crust in one of these decadent dessert recipes:
Baking Basics: Graham Cracker Crust
- 7 Whole Graham Crackers crushed into crumbs, about 1 ¼ cups
- 3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 4 Tbsp Melted Butter
- In a medium bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers and brown sugar together. Mix in the melted butter until fully combined, and pieces stay pressed together when you pinch them between your fingers.
- Line an 8x8 or 9-inch round casserole dish or pie pan with parchment paper hanging over the edges, if desired. Press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the pan, creating an even layer, and up the sides as desired.
- To Bake the Crust: Preheat the oven to 400°F and bake for 10 minutes until the edges are golden.To Freeze the Crust: Place the pan in the freezer for at least ten minutes.
- Make ahead tips:
- If storing crust long term, I suggest making it in a disposable foil pan.
- To store a baked crust, let it cool fully to room temperature. Then, cover the top of the pan with foil and store in the fridge for 2-3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the fridge for one day or bake from frozen. Then fill and bake according to filling instructions.
- To store a frozen or unbaked crust, cover the top of the pan with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Use frozen, let thaw in the fridge for one day, or bake the crust for a baked filling.
- Use less brown sugar or a mix of brown and white sugar to change the balance of sweetness.
- Add up to 1/3 cup finely chopped nuts or cocoa powder.
- Try using different flavors of graham crackers, such as cinnamon or honey, or other crushed cookies and crackers.