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:
- 2013: Salted Caramel Apple Pie
- 2014: Apple Pie Bars (with Salted Caramel on top)
- 2015: Apple Crumble Pie
- 2016: Apple Slab Pie with Maple Icing
- 2017: Deep Dish Apple Pie
- 2018: Apple Hand Pies
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!
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.)
- 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!
- 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 assistance over that way. The recipe yields 2 crusts, and you’ll use both in this recipe to produce 10 hand pies.
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.
*Salted caramel. One could also want salted 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.
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. 🙂
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.
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.
Best served with salted caramel on top, but bowl + spoon + vanilla ice cream is perfectly acceptable! Maybe a dollop of whipped cream too? Eat your heart out!
See Your Apple Hand Pies!
Many readers tried this recipe as part of a baking challenge! Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂Print
Apple Hand Pies
- 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
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.
- Homemade Pie Crust (makes 2 crusts, use both)
- 3 medium apples, peeled and diced into small bite-size pieces (about 2 and 1/2 cups, or 300g, 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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 1/8–1/4-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.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F (191°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- 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.
- Special Tools: Pastry Cutter | Rolling Pin | 3.5-inch Round Cutter | Baking Sheet | Pastry Brush | Cooling Rack
- Half Recipe: If desired, you can halve the the filling recipe and only use 1 pie crust to yield about 5 hand pies.
- 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.
Keywords: apple hand pies
Reader Comments & Reviews
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.
Just made these with cherry pie filling. Excellent!
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.
I loved the recipe..a quick question though..can we make the pie crust with almond flour or any other healthier option..
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Thanks Sally – I’m all ready to start assembling and freezing. L
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.
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!
Hi Claire, That sounds delicious! You can replace some of the apples with some sliced rhubarb without making any other changes.
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)?
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.
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?
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).
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?
Hi Jennifer, We haven’t tested it but I don’t see why not. That sounds so delicious!
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!
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.
What a great recipe! I used my family’s All-Butter crust recipe and it great. So cute! And yummy!
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.
Absolutely! And thank you so much.
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! 🙂
These were fun! Not too fussy considering they are mini pies. I made cherry ones and later made the apple ones.
I’m wondering if I could make these hand pies with other fillings like the cherry pie filling? What do you think?
Definitely! See “Alternate Fillings” in the post.
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!
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.
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.
Hi Beth, You can use my All Butter Pie Crust instead.
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!
Hi Natalie, You can add a bit more cinnamon if you wish. Enjoy!
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.
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.
Hope you are well. I made these apple hand pies yesterday and everyone in the family loved them. Thank you so much for teaching me how to make them. This will be a recipe I’ll use over and over. Stay healthy and safe!
Hi Sally! Would this recipe be good for savory hand pies? I am thinking of using this crust to make a spinach/feta handpie (combining spinach, feta, sauteed mushrooms and pesto). Let me know!
Hi Lisa! Yes- this recipe would work wonderfully for savory hand pies. What a delicious idea 🙂 If yours are about the same size as the pictured hand pies, use about 2 Tablespoons of total filling. Let me know how it goes!
Recipe is ok. I think 100% butter is the way to go. Pies were too too flaky and falling apart. Sorry.
If I bake today, how do I store them if we plan to eat them tomorrow?
Hi Cassandra! Cover them tightly and refrigerate overnight- serve cold or at room temperature tomorrow 🙂
Any reason I couldn’t fold each disc over itself and crimp to make twice as many half moon shaped hand pies? Would that affect baking time or temp?
You can, yes, but the filling may spill out when folding. If you cut the circles a bit larger, you should be fine! Same baking temperature and the baking time will be pretty similar, too.
Love, love this recipe. I used blueberries and the hand pies were so good. I ended up with 9 pies (cut with a 3 1/2 round cutter), so my husband happily ate the extra fruit filling with a spoon!
I’ve tried and failed at pie crusts over the years, all of which seemed to shrink down the sides of the pans. So this pie crust made me so happy. Now, I just have to try it on a whole pie instead of the hand pies!
Hi Sally, I absolutely love everything you make. Your site is one I honestly can trust to be fool proof! I can confidently say this because I have made so many of them with ease and great results! I would love to make a variety of these for thanksgiving including the obligatory pumpkin and pecan. can you help with a modification? Thanks so much!