Not sure what to do with leftover pie dough? We've got a few ideas, from cinnamon rolls to cheese crackers.
When you make pie, there are almost always pieces of leftover dough that don't make it into the crust. But before you toss them, wait – we have some fun recommendations from 2021 F&W Best New Chef Paola Velez and the Food & Wine Test Kitchen to help you breathe new life into your scraps and help them become tasty little treats in their own right. In this video, Velez demonstrates five of those options, including making mini cinnamon rolls, flaky breakfast pastries, and even crackers that you can customize with your own toppings. She says these pie dough tricks are fun snacks that fight food waste all in one, adding, "I want to make sure that I'm using up every single ounce of that beautiful pie dough."
To learn how to make everything, keep reading for the methods and follow along with Velez in the video above. You'll also find five extra pie dough ideas at the bottom of this piece, if you want more inspiration.
Before You Start
Before you start any of these projects, you'll need to lightly flour your work surface. Velez demonstrates how to bunch the pie dough scraps together, gently pressing down and kneading them with the side of her fist so they come together into a cohesive mass.
Mini Cinnamon Rolls
For these teeny tiny rolls, roll out the dough, starting from the center, to an 1/8-inch-thick. Brush the dough with egg wash, and then sprinkle it with an even layer of cinnamon sugar (not too much, since the dough is thin). Then, carefully use your fingertips to roll the dough into a log. Slice it using a sawing motion to form little rolls, re-shaping the rolls as necessary. Then, transfer the rolls to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, brush them with egg wash, and bake. The resulting mini rolls are "like little cookies that taste like cinnamon rolls," Velez says. She recommends serving them with a cold glass of milk. They'd also make a great gift, packaged in a neat little plastic baggie.
Next up are some cheesy crackers. To start, brush your rolled-out pie dough with egg wash. Before the egg wash dries, sprinkle on your toppings. Velez uses Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and freshly ground black pepper in the video, but feel free to play around with other herbs and spices; za'atar, herbes de Provence, and pimentón would also work nicely. Wait for the egg to dry, and then cut the dough into little squares – Velez uses a pizza cutter, which she rolled in flour before using won't stick to the dough. Use a bench scraper to transfer the squares to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake them. They come out of the oven irresistibly thin and crunchy. "These are so good!" Velez says.
Pigs in a Blanket
For this appetizer, use a pizza wheel – floured, just like with the crackers – to cut the dough into long strips. Velez chooses Ecuadorian sausage as the filling; Spanish chorizo (or even hot dogs) will also work here. Cut each sausage in half, and stick a toothpick in each piece on both ends. Next, brush the dough with egg wash, and place a sausage piece on the end of each dough strip. Roll it up to form a pig in a blanket, and place each one on a parchment-lined baking sheet. It's important to lay them on the sheet seam-side down so they don't come apart while they bake. With a final brush of egg wash, they're ready for the oven. The pigs come out puffed and golden brown with a crispy crust. "So delightful, and delicious, and you're going to love it," Velez says.
If you're looking for a morning pick-me-up, you'll love this pie dough hack for breakfast pastries. Cut your rolled-out pie dough into four squares and brush the outer corners with egg wash. Then, spoon sour cherry preserves in the center of each square – Velez suggests trying your favorite jam, or even hazelnut spread. To form the pastries, take one corner of dough, and gently fold it over the preserves to form a triangle. Seal the edges with your fingers, and then use a fork (dipped in flour) to crimp the edges and further seal. Make sure to cut an "x" vent in the top of each pastry so steam can escape. Transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet with an offset spatula, and brush them with egg wash so they get a nice shine in the oven. Then, bake and enjoy. "These guys came out so cute!" she says.
Photo by Filip Baotić
For this treat (which you can think of as a delicate breadstick), brush the rolled-out dough with egg wash and sprinkle it evenly with sesame seeds. Then, use a knife to cut long, thin strips, smoothing the dough back together as needed if cracks form. Velez shows how to form the twists next, holding down and flipping the dough strips until they form a ribbon. (They don't have to be perfect.) Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush them with egg wash. Then, bake them and you're ready to go. "The sesame seeds are so fragrant and the pie dough is interacting so beautifully with them," Velez says. "They're just the perfect snack." She suggests making them for a dinner party.
Press the dough into mini muffin tins and fill it with savory egg custard and little bits of bacon or leftover vegetables before baking.
Gather the dough, roll it to 1/8-inch-thickness, and cut out circles. Fill the centers with leftover (cooked!) chopped chicken and cheese (or another filling of your choice), fold them in half, crimp the edges together, and bake for mini empanadas.
Press chopped nuts into the scraps and bake for easy (albeit irregular) cookies.
Tiny Pains au Chocolat
Gather the dough, roll it to 1/8-inch-thickness, and cut it into triangles. Sprinkle the triangles with chopped dark chocolate and, starting from one corner, roll them into mini croissants.
Dust the dough scraps with ground green cardamom and bake them. Crumble the crispy crust pieces for a fun topping for yogurt or ice cream, and enjoy.
This article was written by Kay Chun and Bridget Hallinan from Food & Wine and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.