Making Pastry With Oil

Jun 14, 2013 | 39 comments


What Do I Need To Make Pastry With Oil?

  • self raising (all purpose) flour – it needs to be self raising to give the pastry lift. Use plain and baking powder if you don’t have any self raising
  • a neutral vegetable oil – you can use olive oil in savoury tarts and pies if you like, it gives a delicious flavour
  • cool water – not hot, the flour will clump and become unusable

How To Make Pastry Using Oil

If you are familiar with making pastry, you will know that usually you have to add the minimum of  liquid to keep a pastry short, otherwise it can go rubbery and unpleasant. With oil pastry, my first thought was that it wouldn’t need any liquid as the oil would provide all the moisture needed. My goodness!  It was like trying to roll out a crumble topping!

rolled out pastry draped over a hand

After a lot of experimentation, I found that if I added almost as much water in ml as the oil, the flour sort of slurped it all up and became very compliant, rolling out beautifully.

So when you make this kind of pastry, put the flour and oil in a bowl, and add almost as much water as oil, and just gently stir it with a spoon.

flour oil and water in a bowl to make oil pastry

Add the water bit by bit, it might look a little like a batter at first. If you add too much water, the pastry is easily rescued by adding a little more flour, but if you are following the weekly plans, you may not have enough flour to spare from the weekly bag to do this and still have enough to make the other flour requiring dishes for the week,  so go slowly.

pastry made with oil, in a bowl, with a spoon

You can rest it for a bit if you like, it helps the dough to relax and the gluten to develop. Or you can go straight into rolling it out. If there is enough water in it, it should roll out and stick together like this, like pastry made with solid fat

shortcrust pastry made with oil

Measuring the oil

NB oil needs to be measured by volume in ml. OR by weight, in grams. The weight in grams for vegetable oil is roughly 94.4% of the volume in ml

You need the same amount by volume of oil when making oil pastry as you would in grams. So if you are using 200g of flour, you would need 100ml of oil and around 100ml of water. Maybe a little less.

100mls of vegetable oil weighs 94.4 grams

Making pastry with oil

I have been making pastry since I was a child as it was one of the ways Mum made things stretch, meat pies with not much meat in them and lots of vegetables, apple pies to fill us up and rhubarb pies with rhubarb from the garden together with custard so thick you could slice it. So I don’t find pastry making in the least daunting.

I know a lot of people do however, and this recipe may well help you. There is no rubbing in of the fat, just a bit of a stir. Too dry? Add a little more water. Too wet? Add a spoonful more flour.

Which fat to use?

Usually when making pastry, some kind of solid fat is used as shortening. Butter, lard, hard margarine or blocks of shortening sold especially for making pastry. But on the Meal Plans on this site, we don’t usually have enough solid fat to spare to make pastry with, so I will be using a technique I learned, to make pastry using the vegetable oil that we will have available

When I was involved with the £100 a month plan over on , and we needed to make pastry, but only had oil, no solid fat, I was up for the challenge and came up with this recipe method.

If you want to reduce your saturated fat intake, then using oil for pastry fits the bill too.

I’ve used cheapest vegetable oil, sunflower oil, mild olive oil and extra virgin olive oil, all of which worked really well. Each contributes its own flavour, with the olive oils contributing most. You may want that, in a savoury pie for example, or not. I wouldn’t particularly want a strong olive oil flavour when making a fruit tart for instance.

What can oil pastry be used for?

You can use this kind of pastry for almost all recipes using pastry. I use it for tarts, large and small, 2 crust pies, pasties and more.

I’ve used it for making little dumplings dropped into a soup or stew. Or steamed it as a pudding, although, admittedly, it still tasted just like pastry baked in the oven.

What variations are there for oil pastry?

  • You can add a tblsp or so of icing sugar if you are making a sweet case if you like. Personally, I don’t add sugar to the pastry when making a sweet tart or pie. I don’t think it needs it
    • a little sieved cocoa
    • nuts ground into a fine rubble are good in sweet or savoury pastries
  • Or for a savoury pastry,
    • grainy mustard
    • and/or a little grated cheese
    • a sprinkle of fresh or dried herbs

You don’t need to, they are just optional flavourings, I usually use it just as it is.


pastry made with oil

Making Pastry With Oil

5 from 13 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
dairy free by Olguioo from the Noun Project
Dairy Free
No Nuts by Llisole from the Noun Project
Nut Free
vegan by Guilherme Furtado from the Noun Project
Vegetarian by Philipp Petzka from the Noun Project
Servings: 4 servings
Cost per portion 17p
Calories: 403kcal
Click on the check box to cross off Equipment, Ingredients or Recipe Steps completed.
If you click and buy anything, I may get a small commission on the purchase. It won't cost you anything extra. Some are just things that I like and/or use myself rather than necessarily best value 🙂
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  • 70 ml water up to 100ml, you may not need it all
  • 100 ml oil 100ml or 94g. NB ml of oil DO NOT weigh the same as grams
  • 200 g flour self raising, 6p


  • Put the flour and oil in a bowl, and add almost as much water as oil, and just gently stir it with a spoon.
    200 g flour, 100 ml oil
  • Add the water bit by bit, it will look a little like a batter at first. If you add too much water, the pastry is easily rescued by adding a little more flour.
    70 ml water
  • The flour will bind everything together and you will have a soft ball of pastry dough, ready to roll out.


NB oil needs to be measured by volume in ml. OR by weight, in grams. The weight in grams for vegetable oil is roughly 94.4% of the volume in ml
You need the same amount by volume of oil when making oil pastry as you would in grams. So if you are using 200g of flour, you would need 100ml of oil and around 100ml of water. Maybe a little less. 
100mls of vegetable oil weighs 94.4 grams


Nutrition Facts
Making Pastry With Oil
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @ThriftyLesley or tag #ThriftyLesley !



  1. Thrifty Lesley

    Jane – I’m so glad it worked for you! Pastry is quite challenging for many people, so well done for giving it a go 🙂

  2. Jane Bouflale

    I’ve never been able to make pastry until now – and I’m absolutely amazed at how easy it was or how nice it is! Thank you for this recipe – my go to from now on and no more shop bought pastry! ❤️

  3. Thrifty Lesley

    Sarah – Great! I rarely use anything else now, not only is it easier, it helps me cut down on saturated fat by not using butter 🙂

  4. Sarah

    5 stars
    Lesley this is amazing!
    I’ve wasted a lot of time and money on rock hard butter pastries. Never again!
    This recipe was so easy my 2.5 year old did the pouring and stirring himself. I love this in a quiche/pot pie especially. Thanks a million!

  5. Jimmy

    Australia has used the metric system for over 40 years. All liquids were ml or litres, tinned (caned ) grams. Recently noticed in American recipes used grams for liquids, much easier to use ml and Ltd less confusing. I recently underwent heart surgery, so needed to change my diet (much less butter) so this was just what I was looking for Lesley, thank you.

  6. Thrifty Lesley

    Carla – this oil pastry always works very well of me, I hope it does for you too. Let us know how you get on!

  7. Carla H.

    Even though my dad was kind of a John Wayne type guy, he’d always helped my mother in the kitchen on Thanksgiving and Christmas and Saturday night fish fries. So it shouldn’t have been such a surprise to me that he started making apple pies when he retired. I have no idea where he came up with the idea of oil-based pastry, but that’s what he made and his pies were delicious. My efforts have been less than stellar, but I’m going to try your recipe and hope for the best. I used to use butter, but my husband prefers a shortening crust, so I’ve tried switching to that, but butter is so expensive.

    I have always used oil in making dumplings and biscuits (American scones?) and it works very well. Also, in nearly all of my cookie recipes (except the sugar cookie one; I still use butter for it).

  8. Bruno

    5 stars
    Much better than store bought and healthier than suet pastry. Thanks for the recipe

  9. Thrifty Lesley

    That’s a great way to remember it

  10. Francesca Goss

    I was taught by a Greek lady how to make oil pastry. Nothing was weighed out though. It was done using a glass egg cup.
    1 full cup of oil
    1 full cup water
    whisk these together lightly
    A pinch of salt
    Then add self raising flour via the sieve, fold it in until you have the consistency you want, then knead it a little whilst sill in the bowl.
    Pop in the fridge for 20 mins then use it.
    You can add sugar if you want sweetened pastry.

  11. Thrifty Lesley

    Hi Wajed, the quantities are in the recipe card. I’ve changed the post around a bit so it’s easier to find. The oil needs to be measured by volume in ml. OR by weight, in grams. The weight in grams for vegetable oil is roughly 94.4% of the volume in ml
    You need the same amount by volume of oil when making oil pastry as you would in grams. So if you are using 200g of flour, you would need 100ml of oil and around 100ml of water. Maybe a little less.
    100mls of vegetable oil weighs 94.4 grams

  12. Wajed Ahmed

    Thank you Lesley
    You have given us wonderful ideas and done a great service.
    Always using butter and double or single cream is NOT Good for health or pockets. Replacing butter with oil is a superb idea. Marvellous
    If you had added some examples of measurement would have helped us even more. For example how much oil and water needs to be for a 200 gram flour.
    Look forward to your reply.
    I have not tried anything yet but will help me when it comes to making qiche.
    Yes. I am a great fan of Quiches- both sweet and savoury

    Many many many Thanks

  13. Thrifty Lesley

    Sarah – so glad it worked for you – I rarely make any other kind now

  14. Sarah

    Wow Amazing- I used 160 degrees C for 15mins to cook the base- Wow its fantastic! Delicious! amazing- Thank you so much.

  15. sarah Higgins

    Hi Lesley,
    Ive just made this pastry- its looking good so far but What temperature do I put it in the oven at and for how long approx.? Many thanks

  16. Thrifty Lesley

    Well thankyou Kudzai, I’m so glad you like it ,I rarely use anything else now

  17. Kudzai Makombe

    5 stars
    Lesley I have to thank you. I rarely comment but this pastry recipe deserves a response. I got frustrated buying the stuff in the supermarket and also hated the cost of butter to make my own not to mention the fuss and what not of making it (and it was never easy to make or roll). Yours is a game changer and I use it all the time now. No fuss, no muss and a perfect, easy to use outcome every single time. I quadruple the recipe and keep half in the freezer for later. Its a game changer.

  18. Thrifty Lesley

    Hi Neil, thank you so much for your lovely comments!
    I’m very curious why you Googled pastry with oil if you had previously used hard fats to rub in?
    The recipe was born out of a need as a cash restricted meal plan had no solid fat. After a lot of trial and error, I found a way to make it work 🙂

  19. Neil Adams

    5 stars
    Hi there
    Now retired after being a chef most of my life. I couldn’t stand making pastry, rubbing in the fat was always a total waste of time and therefore annoyed me, I was making a family steak pie last night and realised I never bought in the pastry, “Annoyed”, I Googled “Pastry with oil” and found your site and recipe, it goes against my experience ! I threw it together and “knew” it wouldn’t work, WELL ! it was fantastic, even my wife commented. THANK YOU. I am never going back to the boring old time wasting Rubbing it to breadcrumbs, that’s all gone , thanks to you.
    You have a new fan.

  20. Thrifty Lesley

    Hi New England Flybaby – I did reply saying that I would post your comment on the FaceBook Group as I hadn’t heard of this technique before, but the reply got chewed up and disappeared. Only realised when I came back to update
    There are some replies that you may find helpful

  21. New England Flybaby

    Hello, Lesley!

    Thank you for posting all these recipes, and especially the “Christmas on a Budget” recipes. I have a pie crust question for you and your readers:
    Does anyone remember their mother or grandmother covering the edges of their pies with the torn piece of an old sheet or pillowcase (possibly dampened?)
    I seem to remember my mom doing this, but I’m not sure if she really did this, or whether I’m remembering wrong. Thank you to you and your readers.

  22. Thrifty Lesley

    now that’s a good idea. I don’t tend to add sugar to sweet items, but it sounds good!

  23. Helen S

    5 stars
    I can’t believe how easy this pastry is. I added 50g of icing sugar to make a sweet pastry and made some early mince pies. Yum.

  24. Thrifty Lesley

    Fantastic, so glad you liked it. And welcome

  25. Jude Gibbons

    5 stars
    I was making a pie tonight and realised I didn’t have enough butter so quickly googled ‘oil pastry’ and found this page. Delighted to say that your recipe worked a treat! I used sunflower oil and plain white flour. I hesitated adding so much water, so only added about 40ml at first but you’re right – it is like rolling out crumble! So I added about the same again and it came together fine even though it seemed a bit gloopy at first. I chilled it before rolling out and also before putting the pie in the oven. The raw pastry feels much softer than that made with solid fat but cooks just the same. Thanks!

  26. Thrifty Lesley

    I’m so glad you were successful. Those pasties sound delicious !

  27. Ali Dixon

    Made the oil pastry Couldnt believe it .Made cheese,onion and potato pastys. Usually my pastry is vile but this is super Well done Lesley!

  28. Thrifty Lesley

    I just use water straight from the cold tap

  29. Yas

    Most pastry are made with cold water. What temperature should the water be?

  30. Lisa

    Amazing thank u x

  31. Lesley

    Hooray! I’m so pleased it worked for you

  32. Jackie

    My pastry never ever worked, – until I discovered and tried your recipe with oil. You’ve made me a star! It works! So far, one double crust pie using leftovers which just slid beautifully out of the tin, and a quiche. Fabulous, easy and foolproof. Many thanks.

  33. Lesley

    Ooh, lovely. Look forward to reading what you write

  34. Tinyallotment

    Hi Lesly
    Thank you for this recipe for pastry. It have revolutionised my cooking. I have put a link to your site on my blog. I will be shortly doing a blog post on oil pastry and will of course link across to you.

  35. Lesley

    Ceri – I haven’t yet. I’ll try it and let you know what it’s like

  36. Ceri

    Hi has anyone made this with gluten free flour? Thanks Ceri

  37. Mark


  38. Lesley

    Hi Mark, it’s the same ratio as a shortcrust pastry. So for a double crust 20 cm pie, it would be 200g self raising flour, 100ml oil (not grams) and start with 100ml of water, adding 75ml to start with and see how it goes

  39. mark

    There are no measurements…. Flour, oil, water..what ratios….?


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