These mini Apple Hand Pies can be made with a fresh apple pie filling or apple butter for an easy hand held Fall treat. Pack them with your lunch for a special touch or enjoy them after dinner with a scoop of ice cream.
Apple pie is an iconic Autumn dessert, and I love this version for hand held apple pies. Why, you ask? Mmm let’s see…
✔ One, they’re made with an easy and buttery pie crust.
✔ Two, they have a delicious filling flavored with homemade apple pie spice.
✔ Three, aren’t they almost too cute to eat?
Keep reading for step by step instructions of how to make these apple hand pies, plus loads of tips and substitution suggestions.
Easy apple pie filling
- Mix together chopped apples, sugar, salt, spices and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.
- Melt a tablespoon of unsalted butter in a saucepan and cook the apple mixture for about 5 minutes until it starts to soften. Add a cornstarch slurry to thicken the pie filling and take it off the heat.
➤ If you like the apple pie filling juicier, you can skip the cornstarch and cook the apple mixture a bit longer to reduce the juice down more.
How to assemble apple hand pies
Prepare a batch of homemade pie dough or use store bought pie dough, you should be able to cut out 8 circles using a 4.5” round cookie cutter. Save excess pie dough for decorations if you wish.
- Working with one piece of pie dough at a time, use a small rolling pin to enlarge the top half of the dough circle a little bit.
- Brush egg wash around the edge of the bottom half.
- Add a heaping tablespoon of pie filling in the middle.
- Fold the top half over to cover the filling and seal the edge with a fork.
Alternate pie filling
If you have extra apple butter, use that as the filling for these mini apple hand pies. Either homemade or store bought apple butter will work.
- Use apple butter the same way you would fresh apple pie filling. Spoon it in the middle of the pie dough circle.
- Fold the dough over and seal with a fork.
Decorate and bake
Once all the hand pies have been formed, you can decorate them with cute maple leaves and acorns using excess pie dough cut with Fall shape pie crust cookie cutters. Refrigerate or freeze the decorated hand pies before baking.
➤ I like freezing the pies before baking, especially when you have decorations that you want to keep their shapes. But if you don’t have space in your freezer, refrigerating the pies will be acceptable.
Before you pop these into the oven, make sure to:
- Cut out some steam vents so they don’t explode.
- Brush them with egg wash to get a golden brown crust.
- And sprinkle them with turbinado sugar for some sparkles. Add spices to the turbinado sugar for an extra layer of flavor.
Variations, swaps and substitutions
- The easiest swap is to use pears instead of apples.
- You could also use a mixture of both pears and apples like this apple pear pie.
- You could even mix some cranberry sauce in with the apple pie filling to make cranberry apple hand pies, similar to the way I made this cranberry pear pie.
- Serve these with a drizzle of caramel sauce or dulce de leche, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Additional Baker’s Tips
- Use your favorite eating apple for this apple hand pie recipe. If you don’t have a favorite, a mix of sweet and tart apples will work well.
- I use my favorite homemade pie dough recipe, but if you want to save time, you can use store bought pie dough.
Leftover apple hand pies can be stored in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic at room temperature for 1 – 2 days. You can also refrigerate them for up to a week or freeze them for up to 3 months.
You can prepare and form these apple hand pies ahead of time and freeze the unbaked pies for up to 6 months. When ready to bake, just bake them straight from frozen, do not thaw unbaked pies.
How to thaw frozen baked pies
If you freeze baked leftovers, you can thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for just a couple of hours.
But I think they taste fresher if you warm them up in the oven directly from frozen to thaw them and to crisp up the crust at the same time. It will take 7 – 10 minutes at 350°F.
More apple recipes
Apple Hand Pies
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour (200 g)
- 2 rounded tablespoon granulated sugar (31 g)
- ¼ rounded teaspoon kosher salt (2 g)
- 5 ounce unsalted butter (cold & cubed, 141 g)
- 3 tablespoon cold water
- Extra flour for rolling
Apple Pie Filling
- 2 apples (263 g peeled & diced)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (15 g)
- ¼ cup brown sugar (46 g, lightly packed)
- ½ teaspoon apple pie spice
- A pinch of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (½ oz, 14 g)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (7 g)
- 1 tablespoon water
Make the Apple Pie Filling
- Toss the diced apple, lemon juice, brown sugar, apple pie spice and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, and add the apple mixture to the saucepan. Cook until the sugar dissolves completely and the apple pieces are just starting to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Mix the cornstarch with cold water, and add this slurry into the saucepan, stir until the pie filling thickens, about 1 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside to cool completely.
Make the pie dough
- Add flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse several times to mix. Add cubed cold butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and butter is about pea size. Add cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough starts to pull together.
- Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured board, gather together and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic and rest in the fridge for an hour.
- Take the pie dough out of the refrigerator and roll out to between ⅛” to ¼” thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut into circles using a 4.5” cookie cutter. Re-roll the scraps and continue cutting into circles. One batch of pie dough should yield 8 circles and some scraps for decorations. Place the circles on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Reroll the scraps and use a pie crust stamp to cut out cute shapes if desired. Place the shapes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
Assemble the hand pies
- Beat an egg with one tablespoon of milk to make the egg wash.
- Take out one of the dough circles from the refrigerator, work with one piece of dough at a time while the remaining rest in the refrigerator. Use a small rolling pin to roll the top half of the dough circle to enlarge it just a bit. This will help it fold over the pie filling.
- Brush egg wash around the bottom edge of the circle, add a heaping tablespoon of cool apple pie filling on top. Fold the top half over to cover the filling. Press the edges together and seal with a fork. Repeat for the remaining circles.
- To attach decorations to the pies, brush the back of the decorations with egg wash and adhere it to the top of the pie.
- Place the hand pies on a parchment lined baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 15 - 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Just before baking, brush egg wash generously over the entire surface of the pies, including the decorations. Create steam vents on top of the hand pies by poking holes with the tip of a paring knife.
- Mix turbinado sugar with apple pie spice (optional) and sprinkle generously over the top.
- Bake 18 - 19 minutes uncovered until golden brown
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Use your favorite eating apples for this recipe, or a mixture of sweet and tart apples.
- You can also use a combination of apples and pears. Or swap out the apples for pears completely.
- Store bought pie dough will also work in this recipe.
- If you like the apple pie filling juicier, you can skip the cornstarch and cook the apple mixture a bit longer to reduce the juice down more.
- Add more apple pie spice to the apple pie filling if you want a stronger flavor.
- You can also use apple butter as the pie filling.
- Freezing the pies before baking, especially when you have decorations will help keep their shapes. But if you don’t have space in your freezer, refrigerating the pies will be acceptable.
This post was originally published on 9/22/2014. The post has been updated and republished on 10/13/2020 with the latest improvements, extra tips, and process photos to help you in the kitchen.