Apple Hand Pies

Apple Pie: rustic, flaky, tart, and spicy. The most iconic of American traditions.

These marvelous little pies package up the best parts of apple pie, eliminate a lot of the work, and deliver scrumptious, addictive fruit-wrapped-in-crust that can be stowed away in your pocket for safe keeping. Hand pies have been making their way around the blog universe since the beginning of summer, it seems, and I’ve been meaning to make them but never quite got around to it. So when Annie asked if I was interested in making the Bourbon Peach Hand Pies that were featured on smitten kitchen,  I was intrigued. While I’m not much of a peach fan, I figured I could use Deb’s dough recipe and sub in my own apple filling, which is what I did.

These hand pies are a fantastic option for changing up the traditional slice of pie and ice cream and would be especially welcome as a dessert at an outdoor gathering or one that included small children. And really, for the kid in all of us – what’s much better than a slice of apple pie that you can pick up and carry around with you?

The dough for this recipe is really just incredible. I admit that I was somewhat skeptical at first, as it contained sour cream. I had never heard or seen sour cream used in a pie or pastry dough before, so it certainly caused me to raise an eyebrow. But like the good trooper that I am, I forged ahead. The dough takes some time to prepare, so make sure you have 2-3 hours of available time (most of it is inactive chill time) prior to baking the pies. While it may be a slight inconvenience, it really is what makes this dough so spectacular. The repeated chills give this dough such an incredibly buttery, flaky texture, much like that of a laminated dough you would create for croissants. It is absolutely worth the time to prepare these – you won’t be sorry!

If you just happen to be asking yourself if these little hand pies would make a perfect breakfast pastry, well then, the answer is a resounding YES! Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything… I’m just saying…

Apple Hand Pies

Yield: 20 hand pies

Prep Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 to 40 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours


For the pastry:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ cup sour cream
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup ice water

For the Filling:
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced small
1/3 cup sugar

One egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons water (for egg wash)
Coarse sanding sugar, for decoration


1. To make the pastry, in a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. If preparing ahead of time, the dough can be stored at this point for up to one month in the freezer.

2. Divide the refrigerated dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 4 1/2-inch-round biscuit cutter, cut seven circles out of the rolled dough. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling, cutting, and chilling process with the remaining half of dough. (I used a 4-inch cutter-if you can call a "cutter" the tin edge of the container that holds my smaller round cutters-and managed to get 12 from each dough half, after rerolling the scraps.)

3. Mix the diced apple with the sugar, and cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes, until the apples are tender. Set aside. Prior to preparing the pies, drain any accumulated liquid from the apples.

4. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature until just pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon about 1 to 2 tablespoons filling (use the smaller amount for a 4-inch circle) onto one half of each circle of dough. Quickly brush a little cold water around the circumference of the dough, and fold it in half so the other side comes down over the filling, creating a semicircle. Seal the hand pie, and make a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the back of a fork. Repeat process with remaining dough. Place the hand pies back on the parchment-lined baking sheet, and return to the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes.

5. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove the chilled hand pies from the refrigerator, cut a small slit in each and lightly brush with the egg yolk wash. Sprinkle sanding sugar generously over the pies, and place pies in the oven to bake. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown and just slightly cracked, anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on how thick you rolled the dough. Remove the pies from the oven, and let stand to cool slightly before serving.

(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)


84 Responses to “Apple Hand Pies”

  1. Lisa on October 15, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    That’s some gorgeous pastry – LOVE the sugar sprinkle! I bet they’d make a really awesome just got home from work snack too – I’m on my way over.


  2. Annie on October 15, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    They look great! I wish I had been able to take a pic of the inside to better show the pretty, flaky crust but I didn’t want to interrupt things with our guests 🙂 Great process pics too!


  3. Rebecca on October 15, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Oh, these look delicious. I could eat way, way too many.


  4. Erin on October 15, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    These look so good and flaky! I’ve been wanting to make these ever since Deb posted them. I’m thinking about making them next weekend for an event I’m baking for, so hopefully I’ll get to try them soon 🙂


  5. Amanda Boyce on October 15, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Hand pies just make everyone happy 🙂 I;m glad to see the pastry is without shortening as a lot of pie doughs require them. I remember eating the mini ones from my cafeteria as a kid, but I bet these are ten times better.


  6. Kate on October 15, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    I love the idea of handpies – little mini pies!


  7. Maria on October 16, 2008 at 8:34 am

    I love mini desserts and these pies are so adorable. I love the flaky crust and the apples look fantastic!


  8. Jenn's Baking Chamber on October 17, 2008 at 1:04 am

    All I have to say is…YUM!!!! I love baked apples


  9. Amber on October 17, 2008 at 7:53 am

    How adorable, they look fantastic!


  10. RecipeGirl on October 17, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    These look like a perfect way to use up the rest of my apples!


  11. cakewardrobe on October 21, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    what a gorgeous pastry! I love the pic!


  12. Jennie on October 26, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Wow! This is amazing! I can’t wait to try this. I’m Hispanic and am wondering if you have ever done any Mexican pastries like empanadas, pumpkin being my favorite, since it’s very similar to these apple hand pies.


  13. Jessie on November 1, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Wow. I’m drooling! These look amazing.

    a.k.a. The Hungry Mouse


  14. kay on November 5, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    I tried making these and while the recipe was fantastic and easy, I found that 2 apples were not enough (maybe mine were smaller than the ones you used). I do plan on trying this again with more filling (and more variations on the filling)!


    • mandy on January 10th, 2011 at 8:14 pm

      Kay- I was worried about the quantity as well. I found that dicing the apples REALLY small helped spread it out more- also I used the 4″ cutter so that may have helped.


  15. Ashley on November 18, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Agh you’ve been baking so many delicious tempting things! I totally have to try this too. Your hand pies look just perfect. I love the flakey dough mmm.


  16. Jaime on November 29, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    mmmm i love hand pies!


  17. Amy on September 23, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    It looks like you made holes in the top of the pies before baking. I didn’t see that in the instructions. Did you make a steam hole?


  18. Michelle on September 28, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Amy,

    I did make a steam hole in the top of the hand pies – just a slit using a paring knife. I will go back and edit the directions. I hope you enjoy these!


  19. Alisha on September 29, 2009 at 10:45 am

    I was wondering if you could use a regular blender instead of a pastry blender?


  20. Michelle on September 30, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Hi Alisha,

    Actually a pastry blender is just a handheld gadget that cuts butter into a flour mixture. You can see one here:

    If you don’t have one you could simply use two knives or even your fingers to combine the flour mixture and butter.

    Let me know if you have any additional questions!


  21. Hana on October 6, 2009 at 2:21 am

    I just made these today, I was telling myself I would never do them again (because they DO take a lot of time) until I tasted one of them right out of the oven… Oh my god, flakiest crust I’ve ever tasted in my life. Thank you so much for the recipe! I did add a little bit of cinnamon because I love it. And used a couple more of apples.


  22. MarieM on January 24, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I made a batch of these last night for dinner guests. They were everything you said they would be. The recipe is simple, produces the flakiest pie crust and has maximum flavor.

    FYI, I did not chill the dough as directed; no time & in a hurry (guests arriving). The dough was just stickier to work with but for the effort, I still got great results. I would suggest using an empanada press to make the mini pies. They come in various sizes up to 7.5″. I’ve never had much luck with pies but feel encouraged to make them after my foray with these mini pies. The crust is the secret ingredient to this recipe. Adding cinnamon to the apples as they cook was also a winner. I’m new to your site but am very grateful for the time you take to share with us. Thank you.


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  25. Felicity on August 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    WOW! These are definitely a lot of work with the preparation of the dough, but they’re so delicious that they’re worth the effort. Thanks for sharing a great recipe!


    • Michelle on September 14th, 2010 at 10:48 am

      You’re welcome Felicity! Glad you found them to be worth the effort 🙂


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  27. Avril on September 14, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Absolutely adorable! These liitle pies a fabulous! AND the pastry cutter that you use in this post is amazing!!!! Where did you find such a great pastry cutter with a long handle on it? My pastry cutter is one of my most favorite tools in the kitchen so I am immediately attracted to yours….:-)


    • Michelle on September 14th, 2010 at 10:47 am

      Hi Avril, That pastry cutter is from Pampered Chef. It’s great!


  28. Roberta Wright on November 11, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    These look great, and I really want to try them, but I have a question, when you say “remove the large lumps” after adding 1/2 of the liquid, do you literally mean remove them to a separate bowl?? I was slightly confused on that part and found your directions not very clear.

    Also, could the dough be made in a food processor?


    • Michelle on November 14th, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      Hi Roberta, Yes, remove them to a separate bowl, then proceed with the next half. Then combine everything (including original lumps) into a ball.

      Although I haven’t, I don’t see why you couldn’t use a food processor for the crust. Just pulse in short bursts so you don’t overwork the dough.


  29. jana on February 27, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    These look scrumptoius! I have an event in 2 days & want to make these. I also want to make the peach filling. Any suggestions where to find a really good peach filling recipe? (peaches aren’t in season yet, so.. no fresh ones.)


    • Michelle on February 27th, 2011 at 9:35 pm

      Hi Jana, Hmm I’m not sure, could you use frozen peaches? Sometimes they have them in the freezer section with the frozen fruit. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be sure about a peach filling unless you bought it canned or jarred?


  30. Slate Rockbone on April 24, 2011 at 11:51 am I’m a guy..and a single Faza..and I like to keep the food I serve fresh and relevant for my boys, who are also athletes. These delicious treats are the perfect before a game snack because they are light and contain all of the requisite nutrition. I made them and they were everything promised in the recipe and more. This is the ideal method to make puff pastry as is it much less work and far less time consuming. I follow sk and have never been disappointed with any recipe.
    My mind is replete with the many, many filling possibilities for these pocket rockets.
    This recipe is outstanding.

    Thank you .


    P.S. – I used Progressives Dough press set to make these. And I ran some home made caramel over the top after they cooled. Just met-in-your mouth delicious.


  31. terri on July 4, 2011 at 9:44 am

    i love em! Just finished a batch for the 4th of July, the crust is so worth the time!!!! Thank you for sharing!!!!


  32. Katherine on July 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    The dough you made looks beautiful! Would you have any idea if it could be used for a full-sized pie (providing I made enough dough)?


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  34. Johanna on September 10, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Do you think these would these freeze well after baking?


    • Michelle on September 12th, 2011 at 1:41 pm

      Yes, definitely!


  35. Maria on September 16, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    These were fantastic! My only complaint was that it was hard to fit a lot of apples in there: although before baking the pies were bursting with filling, after they were baked there was a lot of empty space. Delicious crust, though!


  36. Chelsey on October 27, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    My mouth is watering already. I’d like to make these today, but don’t have sour cream on hand. Do you think plain Greek yogurt would work in place?


    • Michelle on October 31st, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      Hi Chelsey, Usually that’s a good substitution, but I haven’t used it here, so I can’t guarantee the results.


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  38. Chelsey on November 8, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    I followed your instructions closely (minus using a pastry blender because I don’t have one.) It took a lot of effort and time to cut the butter into the flour, it was very frozen. When it came time for me to roll the dough out, it was waaaay too wet to work with, and I just about gave up. I had to add a ton of flour more than what your recipe called for, and I’m stumped at what went wrong.


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  42. Rebecca on September 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Holy Smokes! I just made these today to take to a clambake. They came out picture perfect…BEAUTIFUL! So light and fluffy. I will definitely be making this again. I added some lemon juice, cinnamon & about 1.5 teaspoons of Minute tapioca when I cooked the apples. Perfect! Thanks!!


  43. April on September 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    These look fantastic! I’m thinking about making them for an upcoming bake sale. Any tips on how to store these babies??


    • Michelle on September 26th, 2012 at 10:45 am

      Hi April, I would store the in an airtight container to transport, but otherwise would just cover them in foil. Too much time in an airtight container or under plastic wrap can cause the “crust” to get soft.


  44. Debra on September 25, 2012 at 8:53 am

    I am going to make these. They made my mouth water. YUM!


  45. Rajean on October 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    These little pies taste great and are fun to bake! I tend to share my baking with the neighbors and were all addicted! I made them three days in a row to satisfy everyone’s cravings! Soooo good!


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  47. Hina on October 7, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    I made these this past Friday and we finished them all in less than 2 days! The pastry was AMAZING! Totally worth the time and effort! I just made a blogpost about it too because it’s going into my keeper file 🙂


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  51. IsraeliBaker on November 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Hey, Can you use pre-made puff pastry for this? I run a bakery out of my house, and sometimes I just make puff pastry in bulk and use that over a week.. Thanks! -IsraeliBaker


    • Michelle on November 27th, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      Yes, you could use puff pastry as the dough here. Enjoy!


  52. Kristin on January 22, 2013 at 1:07 am

    I made these for a Super Bowl party last year for some friends who don’t like apple pie (blasphemy!). Instead, I made a mixed berry filling and they were amazing.
    I’m making some now for National Pie Day with an apple filling. I cooked it with some butter, lemon juice, cinnamon, brown sugar and granulated sugar, plus a bit of corn starch. It’s delicious and tastes a little like caramel apple.


  53. Regina on July 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Great recipe! one quick question…what kind of apples did you use?


    • Michelle on July 22nd, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      Hi Regina, I used Gala apples.


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  56. Heidi Cruz on October 5, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Hey Michelle, i’m making these right now and after i mixed the sour cream mixture with the butter/flour mixture, it turned out sort of, wet? Not tough?
    I’m refrigerating it right now and wondering if it will turn out right.


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  60. Mabel on October 20, 2013 at 4:14 am

    Wish i can try this recipe… The toaster oven that i have at home, the highest temperature it has is like only 200degrees >: any ways of still trying out this recipe??


    • Michelle on October 22nd, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      Hi Mabel, Unfortunately, this will not work at 200 degrees.


  61. Sara on November 19, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Just made these. They were delicious! I ended up using 4 and a half apples and it was enough for 12 pies.


  62. Harlyn on May 18, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Making these now, but I was lazy and tossed everything in the food processor, was easier, hoping these turn out good


    • Harlyn on May 18th, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      Just popping these in the oven now, made them super tiny, perogie sized…


  63. Christine on September 20, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    So I added the sour cream mix to the flour and butter and it was so wet and sticky and I had to throw away half of the dough. What did I do!


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  65. Heidelind on October 26, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    This is my first success at making my own pie dough. The only reason I even tried is because all of your recipes work perfectly and are awesome! I can’t believe I made pie dough! THANK YOU!


  66. nicole on October 4, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    These things are amazing!!! Ive made them twice already and they were SOOO good! I completely changed the apple filling though because I wanted it more thicker and added cinnamon and nutmeg. Also I used about 5 apples at least. And I used nice rich grass fed butter. These are SOOOOOOOO good warm with ice cream!! I’m wondering if I can use this dough for apple pies??


    • Michelle on October 5th, 2015 at 10:13 pm

      Hi Nicole, I’ve never tried this dough for pie; not sure if the sour cream would make it too soft?


  67. Anna on October 8, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Should the amount of apples be 2lbs, rather than 2 apples? In the original bourbon peach hand pie recipe, it calls for 2lbs of peaches; and 2 apples doesn’t seem like a lot for a whole pastry recipe.


    • Michelle on October 9th, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      Hi Anna, Yes, they are large apples and more than enough for the filling.


  68. Maria on November 19, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Hi! I made these beauties in 2013 and they were GORGEOUS, both in taste and appearance. I want to make them again, but this time I was wondering if I can freeze them? If yes, can I freeze them before cooking, and then just cook them up as I want them?



    • Michelle on November 21st, 2015 at 10:56 am

      Hi Maria, Yes, you could make them ahead of time and freeze them after assembling, then bake as you’d like.


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