Pumpkin Hand Pies are perfect little treats to enjoy during the Fall season and holidays. Not only are they delicious, they’re also easier to make and serve than a full size pumpkin pie!
This post was sponsored by Tillamook. All opinions are my own.
A beautiful pumpkin pie is a must-have dessert during the holidays. But if you prefer a higher ratio of crust to filling, these cute little pumpkin hand pies are the ones you’re looking for.
With these mini pies, you get the best of both worlds: a subtly spiced creamy pumpkin cheesecake filling encased in a delicious all-butter pie crust. These single serving sized pumpkin pies are perfect for sharing at your next Holiday gathering.
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- The individual size makes these pumpkin hand pies a breeze to serve.
- They are easy to put together with 2 major elements: the crust and the filling, each can be prepared ahead of time, on different days if you wish.
- You can use store bought pie crust or puff pastry for the crust to save time and simplify the recipe.
- They are good as is and even better with a scoop of ice cream and a dollop of whipped cream on the side.
Ingredients and substitutions
As always, you’ll find the complete list of ingredients and quantities in the recipe card at the end of this post. Below are some notes and substitution tips for each ingredient:
- Flour – I use all-purpose flour here. However, for the pie crust, you could also use pastry flour.
- Granulated sugar – I use granulated sugar to sweeten the pie crust. Any type of sugar should work here.
- Brown sugar – I use brown sugar to sweeten the pumpkin cream cheese filling. I like brown sugar in the filling because it adds extra depth of flavor but you can use granulated sugar here if you don’t have brown sugar.
- Turbinado sugar – I sprinkle turbinado sugar on top of the mini pies before baking for additional shine. Raw sugar or just granulated sugar would work here too.
- Butter – unsalted butter is used in the pie crust. I like to use unsalted butter so I can control the amount of salt in the recipe but in a pinch you can use salted butter. Be sure to omit the salt called for separately.
- Salt – I used kosher salt in the pie crust and just a pinch in the pie filling to enhance flavor.
- Water – use iced water to hydrate the pie dough and to bring it all together. You want to make sure it is cold so the butter doesn’t melt. You could use some type of alcohol, such as vodka, to replace some or all of the water. Alcohol inhibits gluten formation and will create a flakier crust in the end.
- Pumpkin puree – you can use canned or homemade pumpkin puree. If using canned pumpkin puree, make sure it is pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling since you’ll be adding other ingredients to it to make the filling.
- Cream cheese – this gives the pie filling richness and makes it cheesecake-like. Other types of creamy cheese should work here but I haven’t tried personally.
- Pumpkin pie spice – I use my homemade pumpkin pie spice mix in the filling and on top of the pie mixed with the turbinado sugar. You can use store bought pumpkin pie spice.
- Vanilla – while the main flavor of the pie filling is pumpkin spice, just a little bit of vanilla is added for complexity. Make sure to use pure vanilla extract and stay away from artificial flavoring.
- Egg – egg is used to thicken the pumpkin pie filling and also for egg wash to give the pies shine and a golden brown appearance once baked.
- Milk – milk is mixed with one egg to make egg wash. If you don’t have milk on hand, you can use water.
Tools you’ll need
First, if you’re making homemade pie crust, you may need a food processor or stand mixer if you don’t want to make the pie crust by hand.
Next, you’ll need a rolling pin to roll out your pie dough and a smaller rolling pin to work with the pie dough once you cut them into smaller circles. However, the smaller rolling pin is optional, you should be able to use your regular rolling pin for this step.
To cut out the pie dough, you’ll need a 4 ½” round cookie cutter and pie stamps for the decorations.
Then you’ll need a loaf pan to prebake the pumpkin pie filling in. You could also use a small cake pan about 6” to 7” in diameter.
You’ll also need a pastry brush to add egg wash to the pies.
And finally a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat to bake the pies on.
How to make pumpkin hand pies
The following instructions, step by step photos and tips are here to help you visualize how to make the recipe. You can always skip straight to the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
Make the pumpkin cheesecake filling
The pie filling for these mini pumpkin pies is made with cream cheese for that creamy cheesecake texture, similar to my pumpkin pie bars recipe.
Add pie filling ingredients to a small mixing bowl. Use a hand whisk to mix everything together until smooth. You may see little specks of cream cheese left in the mixture, that is okay.
Tip: Make sure all refrigerated ingredients are at room temperature for easy mixing.
Pour pie filling into a buttered loaf pan and even out the top with a spatula. Bake until just set, the middle should still jiggle slightly when you shake the pan. Allow to cool completely.
Tip: Cooking the pumpkin pie filling first will make it easier to assemble and shape the hand pies because the filing won’t be as runny.
Make the pie crust
Prepare the pie dough while waiting for the pumpkin pie filling to cool down if you’re making the whole thing the same day. Or use store bought pie crust or puff pastry to save time.
I used my go-to homemade all-butter pie crust for this pumpkin hand pie recipe. I’ve written a whole separate post all about how to make pie crust with step by step photos using 3 different methods. You could also use this pecan pie crust for even more flavor.
Once the pie dough is ready, roll it out between ⅛” to ¼” thick and cut with a 4.5” round cookie cutter. This should yield about 8 – 9 circles enough for 8 – 9 hand pies.
Tip: If you want to make decorations for your hand pies, you can either make another batch of pie dough or save a little of this batch to stamp out some maple leaves.
Assemble the hand pies
Work with one pie at a time, keeping the rest of the dough and decorations in the refrigerator.
Use a small rolling pin, if you have it, to roll the top half of the dough circle to enlarge it just a bit. This will help it fold over the pumpkin pie filling. Brush a little bit of egg wash on the edge of the bottom half.
Add a tablespoon-full of pumpkin pie filling on top of the dough and nudge the pie filling toward the bottom half of the dough into a half moon with a spatula. Fold the top half over to cover the filling and seal the edge with a fork.
If using decorations, adhere them using egg wash. Brush egg wash over the top and on decorations, slash some steam vents, sprinkle turbinado sugar with pumpkin pie spice generously all over the pies and bake until golden brown.
More baker’s tips
- It is a good idea to bake the pie filling the day before or well ahead of time since you must let it cool before assembling.
- It is important to let the pie filling cool completely before you assemble the pie. Warm pie filling will melt the butter in the pie crust before baking and make it soggy.
- Double the amount of filling to make 2 batches of these pumpkin hand pies and freeze some for later.
Since this recipe does not use the whole can of pumpkin purée, you’ll have plenty of leftovers. You can use it in another recipe such as pumpkin muffins or pumpkin cupcakes. Or freeze leftovers to use it another day.
Absolutely! You can make the filling and the pie dough ahead of time, separately, and assemble the pies on another day before you bake. You can also assemble the pies ahead of time and store them in the freezer unbaked.
You can bake the frozen unbaked pies directly from the freezer, just add egg wash and turbinado sugar and follow the recipe for those steps.
Sure! You can make your own template to cut out pumpkin shape or use a pumpkin cookie cutter. The number of pies you’ll get will vary depending on the size of these shapes.
- Room temperature: you can store these pumpkin hand pies on the counter overnight the day you bake them.
- Refrigerator: since the pie filling is a custard filling, it is safest to store these hand pies in the refrigerator, where they should last up to a week.
- Freezer: you can freeze these mini pumpkin hand pies for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for a few hours before serving.
Serve these at room temperature or reheat them either in the microwave or in the oven if you want to serve them warm. My preferred way to reheat these is in the oven at 350°F until the crust is crispy again, about 10 minutes.
More hand pies recipes
- Strawberry Hand Pies
- Mini Blueberry Pies.
- Chocolate Strawberry Hand Pies with a chocolate pie crust
- Guava Cream Cheese Mini Hand Pies.
- Apple Hand Pies
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📖 Recipe card
Pumpkin Hand Pies
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour (198 g)
- 2 rounded tablespoon granulated sugar (35 g)
- ¼ rounded teaspoon kosher salt (3 g)
- 5 oz unsalted butter (141 g, cold & cubed)
- 3 tablespoon cold water (44 g)
- Extra flour for rolling
- ½ cup pure pumpkin puree (119 g)
- 2 oz cream cheese (55 g, room temperature)
- ¼ cup brown sugar (50 g)
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- A pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Melted butter for loaf pan
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon of milk
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Make the pie filling
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Add all ingredients for the pumpkin pie filling to a small mixing bowl and beat with a hand whisk until smooth.
- Brush a loaf pan with some melted butter and pour the pie filling into the pan, use a spatula to even out the top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until just set, the filling should be slightly jiggly when you shake the pan.
- Allow to cool completely before filling the hand pies.
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 9 circles. Place the circles on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Optional: if there are any extra dough scraps, use a pie crust stamp to cut out shapes for decoration if desired. You could also save some dough for decoration, or make an extra batch of pie dough.
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 rounded tablespoon of pie filling on top. Use a spatula to nudge the pie filling into a half moon shape. Fold the top half over to cover the filling. Press the edges together and seal with a fork. Repeat for the remaining circles.
- Optional: if using decorations, brush the back of the decoration with egg wash and attach 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 while the oven is preheating.
- 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 pumpkin pie spice and sprinkle generously over the top.
- Bake 18 – 20 minutes uncovered until golden brown
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Precooking the pie filling makes it easier to fill the hand pies because the filling is not as runny.
- The pie filling must be cooled completely before the hand pies can be assembled. Warm filling will soften the pie crust and make it soggy.
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Yes, I definitely love a high crust to filling ratio. These little pies are adorable.