Hand Pies

8 Min Read

Mini, Three-Bite Pies

Today’s recipe is the perfect way to use up fresh summer berries, hand-picked fall apples, or whatever frozen fruit you happen to have languishing in your freezer. With my buttery, flaky, completely from-scratch pie crust, I strongly feel that hand pies are even better than regular pie recipes thanks to their higher ratio of crust to filling.

This recipe is quite similar to my apple turnovers and strawberry pop tarts, only differently shaped. We’re using my foolproof homemade pie crust and I have instructions for using berries, peaches, or apples, so I think I covered all the bases with all of the best pie-filling-fruits.

I’m walking you through all of the steps with plenty of details, tips, photos, and a how-to video, so let’s get to it!


There are two main components to today’s hand pie recipe: the crust and the filling. Let’s cover the crust first:

  • Flour. Use all-purpose flour for best results.
  • Butter. Use unsalted butter and make sure it’s very cold, the colder the better and the more flaky your resulting pie crust will be. I like to place mine in the freezer 15-20 minutes before I begin to prepare my crust.
  • A pinch of sugar and salt add flavor to the crust, since the crust such a significant part of the hand pies you want to make sure it tastes good!
  • Sour cream. This is my secret ingredient for a super easy, flaky, flavorful, and almost foolproof crust. No messing around with vodka or various amounts of ice water, my recipe lists exact amounts and perfect, flaky crust every time.

Next is the fruit filling. I’ve included instructions in the printable recipe to make either a berry or peach filling or an apple filling. Since apples have a different, more crisp texture and are less juicy they necessitated a slightly different cooking method for best results. With both recipes you need:

  • Fruit! For the apple filling, peel, core, and chop your apples. Keep the pieces tiny so they become tender while cooking and so they fit neatly into the hand pies. For the berry filling, use your favorite berries! If you’re using large berries (are your strawberries exceptionally monstrous?) you can chop them before cooking so they’ll neatly fit in the hand pies.
  • Butter. A small bit of butter adds richness and a smooth mouthfeel to the hand pie filling. For the apple filling, the apples are cooked in the butter (you’re going to love how this smells!), while with the berry filling it is a finishing touch stirred in at the end.
  • Cornstarch. This thickens the filling, you need a bit more with the juicy berry filling and less with the less-juicy apples.
  • Sugar. Brown sugar beautifully complements the apple filling but would bully the berries, so we stick with granulated for that recipe.

You’ll also need an egg to make an egg wash to brush the dough (if you’re egg-free you can skip this, but it makes a slightly crisper and more golden crust) and a bit of powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk if you’d like to make my simple vanilla glaze for drizzling on top.

How to Make Hand Pie Dough

The first step to making perfect homemade hand pies is making the perfect homemade pie dough! Mine is easy (and if you’ve been hanging around here a while or ever made my blueberry pie or lattice pie crust, you’ve already made it once or twice!).

  1. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and then cut your butter into pieces and scatter it overtop. Pulse with the food processor until the butter is cut into the mixture and it resembles coarse crumbs (it’s fine/desirable if you still have some chocolate-chip-sized, discernible pieces of butter remaining in the dough!).
  2. Add sour cream and pulse dough just until it begins to cling together and no discernible dry flour remains.
  3. Divide dough into two parts and form each into a disk. Chill for at least 30-60 minutes and up to 3 days (while it’s chilling, can prepare your filling)
  4. Once dough is chilled, work with one disk at a time and roll it out to be ¼″ thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut into 3″ circles. If your filling isn’t ready at this point, store these in the fridge until ready to assemble.

How to Make Hand Pie Filling

While I walk through both the berry filling and the apple filling in the printable recipe below, I just covered the apple hand pie filling in the video. To make this filling:

  1. Combine apples, sugar, and butter and cook over medium heat until butter is melted.
  2. Add cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt and continue to cook (stirring regularly!) until the mixture has thickened.

Once the mixture thickens, remove it from the heat, add a splash of vanilla (for apple hand pies only — vanilla complements the apples but overwhelms the flavor of the berries) and allow to cool completely before proceeding. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the filling in the fridge.

How to Assemble Hand Pies

  1. Brush one cut-out circle of dough lightly with egg wash (this helps prevent it from becoming soggy in the oven).
  2. Scoop a rounded tablespoon of filling right into the center of the egg-wash-brushed circle.
  3. Cut two small slits in another circle of dough (these will be your vents to help keep the filling from spilling out) and place this over the filling.
  4. Using the tines of a fork, go around the perimeter of the hand pies, crimping them to hold the filling inside. Brush the surface with egg wash and, if you’d like, sprinkle with granulated sugar.

If your dough becomes soft or difficult to manage at any point, you’ll want to pop it back in the fridge or even the freezer before baking. If making these on a hot day, it’s not a bad idea to freeze or refrigerate the assembled hand pies for 15-20 minutes before baking, just to ensure everything is as cold as possible!

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