Apple Hand Pies

Apple hand pies with homemade buttery flaky pie crust and juicy apple pie filling! Topped with salted caramel, these mini apple pies are both delicious and adorable. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

If you’ve been reading my blog for a few years, you may be familiar with my annual July 4th tradition. 🙂 Every year on or around July 4th, I share a new apple pie recipe. This year marks year 6! Apple pie, an American classic, is my all-time favorite dessert. I shared my first recipe back in 2013 and every year since then:

Apple hand pies with homemade buttery flaky pie crust and juicy apple pie filling! Topped with salted caramel, these mini apple pies are both delicious and adorable. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

My recipe for homemade individual apple hand pies is really fun for summertime; hand pies are an easy grab and go dessert, so they’re great for summer picnics. Awesome portion control. No serving utensils or plates required. Can be served warm, room temperature, or cold and honestly taste great each way. Kids can help shape them and hand pies can be prepared days ahead or frozen.

And, best part of all, you literally have an apple pie just for yourself.

Today I’m sharing my apple hand pie recipe, step-by-step photos, and a video tutorial. I also include alternate filling suggestions just in case apple isn’t your thing. Lots to go over so let’s get started!

Apple hand pies with homemade buttery flaky pie crust and juicy apple pie filling! Topped with salted caramel, these mini apple pies are both delicious and adorable. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Homemade Pie Dough

First step is to make your pie dough. There’s a higher crust-to-filling ratio in hand pies, so we want a crust that tastes GOOD. I recommend using my homemade pie crust. This crust, prepared with a mix of butter and shortening, is sturdy enough to bake in different shapes and designs. Pie crust may intimidate you, so let’s go over my pie crust tips and tricks:

  1. Why a mix of butter and shortening? Not all fats are created equal. With its high melting point, shortening helps pie crust hold its shape and since it melts slowly, creates flaky layers and a tender texture. Butter imparts unparalleled, impeccable flavor. So I use both fats to create a strong, flaky, and buttery crust.
  2. Use cold fats and ice cold water. Keeping the pie dough as cold as possible is imperative, especially in the summertime. If room temperature or warm, the fats will melt as you mix and roll out the pie dough, rendering it impossible to work with. The baked crust will be tough and dense. In the summer months, I even suggest beginning with cold flour. Stick the bowl of flour + salt in the freezer for 30 minutes before adding the fats. This acts as extra insurance to help guarantee your pie dough will be (1) easy to work with and (2) taste good!
  3. Handle the dough with care. When rolling out pie dough, go slow. Always start from the center and work your way out in all directions, turning the dough with your hands as you go. If the edges are cracking, smooth them out with your fingers and hands. (You can see me do this in the video below.)
  4. Marbles and specks of butter in the pie dough are a good thing. All the more buttery pockets and flakes in the baked pie dough!
  5. All is not lost. If you notice the dough is cracking or too dry, dip your fingers in cold water and smooth out any cracks. If it’s cracking, it needs some moisture. If the dough seems really flimsy and sticky, lightly flour it. If it’s sticky, it’s too wet.

Here’s the full recipe for pie crust. More tips and troubleshooting over that way. The recipe yields two crusts and you’ll use both in this recipe to produce 10 hand pies.

Homemade apple pie filling on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Homemade apple pie filling on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Apple Pie Filling

Just apples, sugar, spices, and butter. What more could one want?* The hand pie bake time isn’t long enough to really soften the apples, so let’s get them started on the stove. The filling is buttery, pleasantly sweet, and filled with cinnamon spice. You can prepare it a couple days ahead of time (along with the pie dough!) so all you have to do is assemble and bake the hand pies for dessert.

*Caramel. One would also want caramel. That’s going on top!!

My only tip for the apple pie filling: cut the apples into small bite-size pieces. That way you can fit more into each hand pie.

How to make mini apple pies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Alternate Fillings

So many delicious options!

  • Blueberry: Combine 2 cups of fresh blueberries (I don’t recommend frozen– too wet), 1.5 Tablespoons cornstarch, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and a splash of lemon juice together in a saucepan. Cook the filling just like you would with the apple pie filling in the directions below.
  • Strawberry: Follow blueberry instructions, but use 2 cups chopped fresh strawberries.
  • Cherry: Simply follow the filling recipe + instructions for my cherry pastry pies (step 1 in that recipe).
  • Jam: fill with a spoonful or 2 of your favorite jam or preserves.
  • Brown sugar cinnamon: Just make my homemade brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts. They’re hand pies. 🙂

Alternate Shapes

You can shape the hand pies whatever shape you want. I use a 3.5 inch round cookie cutter. I don’t suggest anything smaller than 3 inches in diameter because you can’t fit enough filling in a pie that small. You can also shape into rectangles. See my homemade brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts as an example. I use a ruler and cut into 3×4-inch rectangles. Bake time will be more or less depending on size– just bake until crust is golden brown. Use the same oven temperature.

How to make mini apple pies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Watch me assemble the hand pies in this video:

Easy, right? After I cut the dough into circles, I pile it on a plate and refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Remember what I said above? The colder the pie dough is, the easier it is to work with. After the hand pies are assembled, brush with a little egg wash to help the crusts brown, sprinkle with coarse sugar for added crunch and sparkle, then bake until golden brown.

Apple hand pies with homemade buttery flaky pie crust and juicy apple pie filling! Topped with salted caramel, these mini apple pies are both delicious and adorable. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Apple hand pies with homemade buttery flaky pie crust and juicy apple pie filling! Topped with salted caramel, these mini apple pies are both delicious and adorable. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Best served with salted caramel on top, but bowl + spoon + vanilla ice cream is perfectly acceptable!

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Apple hand pies in a white baking dish with salted caramel sauce

Apple Hand Pies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 3.5-inch hand pies
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Homemade apple hand pies with buttery flaky pie crust and a juicy cinnamon apple pie filling! Topped with salted caramel, these mini apple pies are both delicious and adorable.


Ingredients

  • Homemade Pie Crust (makes two crusts, use both)
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and diced into small bite-size pieces (about 2 and 1/2 cups diced)
  • 1/3 cup (70g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk
  • optional: homemade salted caramel for topping

Instructions

Preliminary note: you can shape the hand pies whatever shape you want. I use a 3.5 inch round cookie cutter. I don’t suggest anything smaller than 3 inches in diameter because you can’t fit much filling in a pie that small. You can also shape into rectangles. See my homemade brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts as an example. For those I use a ruler and cut into 3×4-inch rectangles. Bake time will be more or less depending on hand pie size– just bake until crust is golden brown. Use the same oven temperature.

  1. The crust: Prepare my pie crust recipe through step 5. The dough must chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator. You can make pie dough ahead, see instructions below.
  2. The filling: Combine the diced apples, granulated sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice together in a medium saucepan or skillet over low-medium heat. While occasionally stirring, bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool uncovered at room temperature for 30 minutes. You can make filling ahead, see instructions below.
  3. Roll out the pie dough: See my video above as a visual guide for the next few steps. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls. At any sign of sticking, sprinkle some flour underneath then keep rolling. Roll out until it’s about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8th – 1/4th inch thick. Using your cookie cutter, cut into circles. Re-roll any scraps and cut into circles. Place cut circles in the refrigerator to keep cold. The colder the shaped dough, the easier it is to work with. Repeat with 2nd pie dough and refrigerate cut circles for at least 15 minutes before filling the hand pies.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F (191°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  5. Fill the hand pies: Arrange half of the circles about 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. These are the bottom crusts. Using a sharp knife, cut slits into the remaining circles. These are the top crusts. The slits act as vents so that steam can escape as the hand pies bake. Place about 2 Tablespoons of filling in the center of each bottom crust. (Or however much fits while leaving the edges bare.) Place top crust on top. Press your fingers all around the edges to seal, then crimp with a fork. If the hand pies lost some shape, use your hands to form a round circle again. It’s OK if some filling juice is leaking out. Lightly brush the top of the pie crust with egg wash mixture. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.
  6. At this point the hand pies can be baked, but if they don’t feel cool to touch anymore, freeze for 10 minutes before baking. The colder they are going into the oven, the better they’ll hold their shape.
  7. Bake for about 28-32 minutes or until they’re golden brown on top and around the edges. Rotate pans halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and allow the hand pies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool until ready to handle. You can serve warm or at room temperature. If desired, serve with a drizzle of warm salted caramel.
  8. Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead / Freezing Instructions: A couple ways to make ahead of time! The pie crust dough can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using. Filling can also be prepared ahead of time. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Prepared filling can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using. Assembled and unbaked hand pies can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. If frozen, no need to thaw before baking; simply add an extra couple minutes of bake time. Baked hand pies can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before serving.
  2. Special Tools: Pastry Cutter | Rolling Pin | 3.5-inch Round Cutter | Baking Sheet |  Pastry Brush | Cooling Rack
  3. Half Recipe: If desired, you can halve the the filling recipe and only use 1 pie crust to yield about 5 hand pies.
  4. Apples: Use any apples you like best. I always use Granny Smith + a red variety for a tart/sweet combination. I love Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Jazz, or Fuji.

166 Comments

  1. Hi Sally! Made these yesterday and they were divine! The filling was sooo good and the pie crust was superb! Family loved it! I do have a question though. I do own a McCormick Apple Pie Spice and I am wondering if I can use it to replace the spices? I read the ingredients of the Apple Pie Spice are same as the spices in this recipe. If so, how much do I need to replace it with? Thank you! PS: Hope all is well with your family.

    1. Absolutely! When using apple pie spice, I usually still add cinnamon (maybe a reduced amount) but that’s completely up to you. You can try 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of apple pie spice or even 1 teaspoon apple pie spice and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

  2. Natalie Petruzzi says:

    Hi Sally!
    I don’t have all-spice, would it turn out okay if I Ieft that out? Or should I add more Cinnamon/Nutmeg in the recipe? I read that a substitute for all-spice could be cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, but I don’t have cloves either. Let me know what you think, thanks so much!

    1. Hi Natalie, You can add a bit more cinnamon if you wish. Enjoy!

  3. I love so many of your recipes. However I cannot bring myself to use shortening. Would this recipe work with just butter or shall I substitute with something else.

    1. Hi Beth, You can use my All Butter Pie Crust instead.

    2. Crisco is made of varying types of soybean oil. Has no trans-fat in it.

      1. I made the crust with cold coconut oil instead of shortening and it was awesome!

  4. Love, love, love this recipe! Sounds so good, and am super excited to try it out tomorrow- 2 questions:
    1. I don’t have allspice or cloves at the moment, can I make it without that or is their a substitute spice you recommend?
    2. when baking, top or middle rack? Not sure if it matters- but just wanted to check. Thanks so much, and by the way: I adore your recipes, videos and vlog!

    1. Hi Samantha, thank you so much! You can use a little extra cinnamon in place of those spices. Baking on the middle rack is ideal.

  5. Hi Sally!!
    I’m wondering if I could make these hand pies with other fillings like the cherry pie filling? What do you think?

    1. Definitely! See “Alternate Fillings” in the post.

  6. These were fun! Not too fussy considering they are mini pies. I made cherry ones and later made the apple ones.

  7. UH-AMAZING! These came out amazing given that I am not much of a pie maker/baker and never really was brave enough to attempt a pie. First time following instructions on making pie dough that came out amazingly well is just a testament to your diligence Sally, in creating these master recipes and articulating them in such detail! The pie crush was decadent and buttery and the warm apple filling was delicious! I am sooo trying the full blown apple pie next! 🙂

    1. Hi Sally, I was wondering if I could bake these in a cupcake tin so that they look more like pies? Thanks!

      1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Kristine, I don’t see why not!

  8. Michelle B says:

    Hi Sally, All of your recipes are Aaamazing; please keep them coming :-). Just wondering about this one, if the recipe can be doubled. I’m thinking when hosting or to bring to a gathering I would love to make a double batch.

    1. Absolutely! And thank you so much.

  9. Hi Sally,
    What a great recipe! I used my family’s All-Butter crust recipe and it great. So cute! And yummy!

  10. Jennifer Woodside says:

    When I was growing up, my grandmother always made fried pies. They were semi circle shape. Could I use this same recipe and fry them instead of baking?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jennifer, We haven’t tested it but I don’t see why not. That sounds so delicious!

      1. Hi Sally, I just bake them with butter pie crust recipe and it taste really great! Just to check if we need to reheat the pie after refrigerate them? Thanks!

      2. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Angela, so happy you enjoyed these! It’s totally personal preference- they’re great cold or at room temperature, but if you like warm pie feel free to reheat to your liking.

  11. Sally,

    Thanks for another great recipe. The pie crust is perfect although it took much longer than 32 min to brown. Other than that I have no complaints.

    Any way I can fix this in the future or is potentially just my oven?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Brianna, All ovens are different so don’t be surprised if yours takes longer. Your eyes are a better tool than the oven timer! One of the best tools to have is an oven thermometer (see #7 in these Top 10 Baking Tips).

  12. Can I use any of your pie or galette fillings interchangeably with the hand pie? Or will some of them be too soggy (like the cranberry pear pie, ginger peach pie, or the peach blueberry galette)?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, they should all work! When you spoon the fillings onto the pie crust, simply leave out and discard (or pour over ice cream!) the juices that accumulated in the bottom of the bowl.

  13. Hi Sally!
    Do you have any tips on how to make this with a rhubarb filling?
    Just harvested a bunch of rhubarb and thought it would taste good in these hand pies!
    Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Claire, That sounds delicious! You can replace some of the apples with some sliced rhubarb without making any other changes.

  14. Hey Sally,
    I’ve made dozens of your recipes, and once again….we have winner. My little boys had just picked fresh blackberries in the yard and asked me to make blackberry pie. I said how about mini pies??!! They came out great. BTW I followed the instructions for the blueberry filling but just replaced with blackberries instead. Thanks again for another great recipe.

  15. Just made these. The pastry is amazing! Your instructions are v useful. I notice unbaked pies can only be frozen for 3 days. Is that right? Thanks for this!

    1. Hi Liz! That should say months. 🙂 Sorry about that!

  16. Thanks Sally – I’m all ready to start assembling and freezing. L

  17. I love all things Sally Baking Addiction and have turned many family members onto your blog!! Question: Can I make this apple hand pie a head of time, freeze, and then bake frozen?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mary, Yes! Assembled and unbaked hand pies can be covered and frozen for up to 3 months. See the recipe notes for detailed instructions.

  18. maria caballero olins says:

    Hellow Sally tu receta esta increible y por lo que lei está super fácil. Lo prepararé este domingo y te contaré después.
    Tengo confianza que quedaré espectacular. Sigue así ilustrandome con tus conocimientos.
    Besitos

  19. Great recipe! I used you all butter crust recipe and these turned out so well! Flaky crust, tasty filling and came together pretty easily thanks to prepping everything in advance. I don’t have allspice or nutmeg so I just added extra cinnamon to the apples and I think it worked perfectly.

  20. Oh my gosh – Sally. These are SO GOOD. A million stars. I baked mine for 28 minutes and they came out perfect. I used my normal pie crust recipe, but replaced the flour with the King Arthur brand you suggested in your pie crust recipe and WOW. It’s literally perfect. It’s the flakiest crust I’ve ever made. I’m really upset I was making these for a friend because I want to eat them all myself.

  21. Hi Sally,

    I loved the recipe..a quick question though..can we make the pie crust with almond flour or any other healthier option..

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kaz, We strongly recommend all-purpose flour in this pie crust. You can try to search for a whole wheat or other flour pie crust recipe alternative. It won’t be a 1:1 switch in this recipe. Let us know if you find a good one!

  22. I am planning (although I am not totally set on the idea) to make this for a thanksgiving, has anyone here ran into any problems? I want to know what I need to watch out for.

  23. Just made these with cherry pie filling. Excellent!

  24. Hi, can you use cooked apple jam?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lorie, We haven’t tested it that way but it should work. Let us know if you try it!

  25. Very very good, the crust was so flakey (although I’ll use a little less flour when I’m rolling it out next time), and made 1/2 apple and 1/2 blueberry. Both are good, though I prefer apple.

  26. Can I use already made apple pie filing?

    1. Hi Coleen, you can but I find pre-made filling is a little thinner and more liquidy. Your hand pies may leak quite a bit.

  27. Hi Sally, just commenting to say this recipe worked fantastic for me- the crust recipe you linked to was more delicious and flaky that any all-butter or all-shortening dough I’ve made before. This year I discovered your site and I’ve now learned to totally trust your recipes. I now always check your site first when trying to bake something new because I know you’ll walk me through it and the bake will be a success! Thanks so much for your site- it makes my baking less stressful, more delicious, and it feels like I’m baking alongside a friend.

  28. Hi, what can I use to replace nutmeg? Can I skip this ingredient all together? I just can’t find one in my area.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sab, You can either leave it out or replace with ground cloves, ground ginger, or more cinnamon.

  29. Made these cute hand pies this evening and served them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Absolutely delicious. Thank you Sally!

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