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Apple Hand Pies

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Apple hand pies are everything you love about fall in one tiny, edible package. Flaky, tender pie crust with spiced apple pie filling will just make your day!

Two apple hand pies drizzled in caramel sauce, set in front of a glass of milk.

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Is there anything that screams fall more than apple pie?

There’s just something special about the combo of flaky pastry, tart apples, and warm spices that makes me feel happy from the inside out.

Last year I was all about making apple crumb pie, and this year I am all about making these little apple hand pies.

They are so much fun to make, and who doesn’t love a mini dessert?

In fact, I think they’d be right at home on your Thanksgiving menu alongside mini pecan pies. How cute would it be to have a whole lineup of mini pies for dessert? 

Two apple hand pies on a plate. One of them is cut in half and drizzled with caramel sauce.


If you’ve ever had apple turnovers, you might be wondering how this recipe for apple hand pies is different.

Even though hand pies and turnovers are similar, they’re not exactly the same!

One of the biggest differences is in the type of pastry used. 

Turnovers are usually made with puff pastry. Hand pies can use a variety of different types of pastry. In the case of this recipe, we’re using a simple pie crust.

Turnovers are also usually shaped like triangles. Hand pies could be half circles, rectangles, full circles, etc.

Pastry blender cutting butter into pie dough in a white mixing bowl.


I think that making hand pies is a little bit easier than making a full-sized pie, especially if you’re newer to making pie crust. You are working with a smaller amount of crust for each little pie, so it’s easier to manage! 

What apples should you use?

This recipe uses a couple of baking apples in the filling. 

Baking apples are nice and tart and pretty crisp. They’re used in desserts because they don’t get overpowered by the sugar and spices and they don’t turn to mush after baking.

Kneaded pie dough wrapped in plastic, ready to chill in the fridge.

The most well-known baking apple is Granny Smith apples, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones you can use! Other good apples to try include:

  • Honeycrisp
  • Jonathan
  • Jonagold
  • Golden Delicious
  • Pink Lady
  • McIntosh
  • Cortland

If you’re shopping at a regular supermarket, you’re probably most likely to find granny smith, honeycrisp, golden delicious, or pink lady apples.

If you stop by your local apple orchard, you will likely find all of the above and more! Try asking the farmer which apple is their favorite for baking.

Apple hand pie filling in a glass mixing bowl.

Pie crust pastry

For years, I’ve considered myself no good at pie crust. But that didn’t really mesh with memories I have of baking pies with my Nana, of which there are plenty.

I remembered her crusts always being so soft and supple. But in the years since, my homemade experimentations have typically been neither of those things. 

Crumbly and fall-apart-y is what I’m saying. You too?

I finally dug up Nana’s well-worn recipe card that included her pie crust. Her secret ingredient? Crisco shortening.

Pie dough rolled onto a wooden board and cut into four circles.

I know there are a lot of all-butter pie crust enthusiasts out there, but after giving my nana’s beloved Crisco a try, I am officially a shortening fan. 

Turns out that pie crust made with shortening is a lot easier to work with, so it’s perfect for pie crust beginners like me. And the final crust tastes great!

You can always use your favorite homemade pie crust recipe or even swap in a store-bought crust if you’re short on time.

Tools you’ll need

The main piece of equipment you’ll need to make apple hand pies is a rolling pin to roll out the crust.

You can cut the crust into rectangles or cut it into circles. I like to use the 5-inch cutter from my biscuit cutter set to make the circles, but you can also trace around a bowl or plate with a sharp paring knife to do this.

Unbaked apple hand pies on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Making this recipe

Start by making the pie crust for your hand pies.

Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar, then cut in the shortening using a pastry blender.

Use a fork to stir in just enough ice-cold water for the dough to hold together when press into the palm of your hand. 

Shape the dough into a round disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes, though you can let it chill for up to 2 days!

Next, making the filling by tossing the peeled and diced apples with the sugar, apple pie spice, and flour.

To assemble the pies, roll out the dough to ⅛-inch thick and cut it into 5-inch circles. You should be able to get about 8-10 circles after re-rolling the dough.

Add a heaping tablespoon of the filling to the center of each dough circle. Be careful not to overfill the pies, and try to leave behind as much liquid from the filling as you can.

Fold the dough circles over the filling and crimp the edges with a fork.

Before baking, cut a couple of small slits in the top of each pie and brush the tops of the pies with egg wash. I like to sprinkle mine with some sparkling sugar for a pretty finish.

These sweet little pies will bake for about 20-25 minutes. Let them cool a bit before digging in.

Overhead view of apple hand pies scattered on a piece of parchment paper.


Like cherry hand pies, these apple hand pies can be frozen before baking, making them a wonderful make-ahead dessert!

To freeze them, assemble the pies as written, up through cutting the slits in the top of the pies. Don’t brush them with the egg wash, though.

Place the assembled pies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, then place the entire baking sheet in the freezer until the pies are solid. This will take about 1-2 hours.

Once the hand pies are frozen, you can take them off the baking sheet and put them in a zip-top freezer bag or an airtight container for up to 3 months. 

Hand holding up a halved apple hand pie to show the filling.

Baking hand pies from frozen

Baking frozen apple hand pies is super simple.

When you’re ready to bake, place as many hand pies as you like on a lined baking sheet. Now is when you can brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with the coarse sugar or sparkling sugar if you’d like.

Bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes. They’ll be golden, bubbly, and perfectly delicious once they’re done! In fact, no one will guess that you froze them before baking!

Try serving your warm apple hand pies with some homemade salted caramel sauce or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for the absolute perfect finish.

Several apple hand pies scattered in a piece of parchment paper.
Baked apple hand pies scattered on parchment paper.

Apple Hand Pies

Yield: 8-10 hand pies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes

Apple hand pies are everything you love about fall in one tiny, edible package. Flaky, tender pie crust with spiced apple pie filling will just make your day!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 stick (3/4 cup) vegetable shortening, cubed (Crisco is preferred)
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water

For the Filling

  • 2 large baking apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

For Topping

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • sparkling sugar, optional


For the Crust

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar.
  2. Cut shortening into flour mixture using pastry blender or two knives.
  3. Stir in just enough water with a fork until dough holds together. 
  4. TIP: Test dough for proper moistness by squeezing a marble-sized ball of dough in your hand. If it holds together firmly, do not add any additional water. If the dough crumbles, add more water by the tablespoonful, until dough is moist enough to form a smooth ball when pressed together.
  5. Shape dough into a ball and flatten into a round disk. For ease in rolling, wrap dough in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
  6. Once dough is chilled and you’re ready to assemble the pies, preheat oven to 400°F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and prepare the filling.

For the Filling

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the sugars, apple pie spice and flour. 

Assemble the Pies

  1. Remove dough from refrigerator and remove from the plastic wrap.
  2. On a generously-floured work surface, roll the dough until it is about 1/8-inch thick.
  3. Use a 5 inch round cookie cutter to cut the dough into circles. Reroll dough as needed in order to create 8-10 circles.
  4. Add one heaping tablespoon of filling to the center of each dough circle, leaving as much liquid behind as possible.
  5. Fold the dough circle in half and use your fingers or a fork to seal and crimp the edges.
  6. Place hand pies on prepared baking sheet.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water.
  8. Use the tip of a sharp knife to cut 2 small slits into the tops of each pie.
  9. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the tops of the hand pies with the egg wash. If desired, top with sparkling sugar.
  10. Bake in preheated for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Allow hand pies to cool. If desired, serve with homemade salted caramel sauce.


Depending on the size of your apples, you may have some apple filling leftover. Grab a sheet of puff pastry and use the filling to make a small batch of apple turnovers

Make sure you know how to measure flour correctly before you start making your pie crust.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 10 Serving Size 1 hand pie
Amount Per Serving Calories 153Total Fat 2gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 19mgSodium 223mgCarbohydrates 31gFiber 1gSugar 11gProtein 3g

Did you make this recipe?

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Sunday 20th of August 2023

Hi. I am attempting to make these today. Can i use canned apples?


Tuesday 22nd of August 2023

Hi Barbara – I have not tested this recipe with that substitution, so I can't attest to the result. If you give it a try, I'd love to hear how it goes. Happy baking! Jamie


Thursday 17th of August 2023

Hi Jamie,

I just discovered I am out of AP flour. I am an avid baker and can’t believe I let this happen. I have every kind of flour except AP. Can I use self rising or bread flour? I go through so much flour lol. Your recipe looks way better than all the other ones I saw. Can’t wait to make these.

Thank you Patti


Thursday 17th of August 2023

Hi Patti – Unfortunately, in a pie crust you won't want to use self-rising or bread flour. You don't want a leavening in the dough (from self-rising) and bread flour will make for a tough/chewy pie crust. If you have pastry or cake flour or even whole wheat flour, those MIGHT work, but I can't attest to the outcome. Hope this helps – Jamie


Friday 7th of October 2022

I bought a set of 3 pierogi or pie crimper. When you open then the bottom cuts the cruse. Then lay the dough on the top and fill your pies. Brush the edges with a bit of water or egg wash. Close one side and it crimps them perfectly. Bed, bath and Beyond and Amazon sells them. The set is inexpensive. Saves a lot of time for me.


Tuesday 25th of October 2022

Great trick, Pat! Thanks for stopping by and sharing the tip. Happy baking! Jamie


Sunday 7th of November 2021

Hi, and Happy Apple Dayz. Jamie ~

What would be the ingredients in Apple Pie spice? If I can purchase it at the grocers, just tell me I'm a lazy old broad!!

The pies are adorable -- on my list of To Bake This Holiday Season.

Many thanks,



Wednesday 10th of November 2021

Hi Nancy- Here is a link to the recipe: -Jamie

deborah long

Wednesday 4th of December 2019

Can I use strawberries and strawberry filling?


Sunday 8th of December 2019

Hello! If you have a strawberry filling recipe you like, you should be able to use that in place of the apple filling. Hope this helps! Jamie

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