Adorably delicious apple hand pies have buttery flaky crust, tons of gooey apple pie filling, and a sprinkle of coarse sugar on top! These mini apple pies are fun to make and bake up in 15 minutes.
Apple Hand Pies
Here in the Hudson Valley, Fall is in full swing! And it has me feeling inspired to bake all things apple! So I picked up the a few pounds of apples at the Rhinebeck Farmers Market on Sunday and baked the cutest little apple hand pies ever! They’re everything we love about old-fashioned apple pie, but so much easier.
To make the apple hand pies extra adorable, I used an apple shaped cookie cutter to cut out the pie crust, and a mini heart shaped cookie cutter to make the vent on top of the pies. But if you don’t have said cookie cutters on hand, feel free to cut the dough into squares! They won’t be as cute, but they’ll still be a super delicious apple hand pie recipe! If you cut them into squares, they’ll look a lot like these cinnamon apple bourbon hand pies.
Apple Hand Pie Filling
- Fresh Apples: You can use almost any apple to make apple pie, but my favorites are Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples! Jonagold, Golden delicious, and Northern Spy are also great choices! No matter what the variety, you’ll need to peel, core, and dice the apples. You should dice the apples pretty fine.
- Butter: I prefer using unsalted butter, but salted butter will definitely work in a pinch! It will just add a touch of saltiness to the filling. But it’s such a small amount it won’t be very noticeable.
- Spices: Apple pie spice is the easiest way to add apple pie flavor. But if you don’t have any apple pie spice on hand, you can easily make your own. Just combine a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, a 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon of allspice. Both options add warmth and depth of flavor!
- Lemon Juice: Cuts the sweetness with a pop of acidity, but don’t worry, you won’t taste the lemon flavor at all! For best results, be sure to use fresh lemon juice.
- Sugars: Dark brown sugar and granulated sugar add sweetness and depth of flavor. 1/4 cup of each sugar is the perfect combination!
- Flour: This is our thickening agent! Just be sure not to add this ingredient too soon, or the apple pie filling will be lumpy.
You’ll cook the apple pie filling over medium heat and it will take about 10 to 12 minutes in total. The filling should be thick and the apples should be soft and tender.
Homemade Pie Crust Recipe
This homemade pie crust is made with basic ingredients like flour, butter, sugar, and salt. And a few unexpected ingredients like baking powder and sour cream. If you cannot find sour cream full-fat Greek yogurt is your best substitute option.
The pie dough is very easy to work with, but if you’re completely new to pastry, check out the recipe video for my cherry hand pies which has a step by step tutorial on making the crust (it will load at the top of the page).
P.S. The pie dough does need to be wrapped in plastic wrap and chilled for at least an hour before being rolled out! So be sure plan according time wise. I do not suggest subbing puff pastry for pie crust in this recipe.
Assembling your Apple Hand Pies
- Pie Prep: Preheat your oven and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside until needed.
- Roll out the Pie Crust: Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a large square, about 18×18 inches. Be gentle with the dough and if you see any butter melting, pop it back in the fridge for a few minutes.
- Cut the Dough: Using a pastry cutter or cookie cutters, slice the rolled dough into 16 squares or shapes. You may be able to get 18 if you roll the dough thin enough! You want an even amount because each hand pie has a top and bottom.
- All the Apple Pie Filling: Divide the filling among 1/2 of dough pieces. About 1 Tablespoon is a good amount of filling. Resist the temptation to add too much; it’ll seep out and burn in the oven.
- Make a Vent: On the other half of the pie cut-outs, slice a small vent in the center. You can use a tiny heart shaped cookie cutter like I did! Or use a paring knife to create a tiny X like I did with these blueberry hand pies.
- Crimp the Edges with a Fork: Brush the edges of apple filled pies lightly with egg wash, then top each filled pie dough with a vented piece of pie dough. Use the tines of a fork, crimp the edges shut.
- Bake the Hand Pies: You’ll want to bake until the pies are deeply golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t be afraid of the pies getting a little color on top, browning is totally normal!
- Serve: You can serve right away or wait about 30 minutes until they’ve cooled down a bit. These are delicious warm or at the room temperature! But my favorite way to serve is fresh from the oven with a giant scoop of ice cream! Vanilla, salted caramel, or butter pecan ice cream are all great options.
Can I Double the Recipe?
If you’re baking these apple hand pies for a larger gathering or celebration, you may absolutely double or even triple this recipe. However I do suggest making the pie crust in two (or 3) individual batches. This is because doubling or tripling the dough would make a huge amount and it would be almost impossible to knead it without over working the dough.
The apple pie filling can simply be doubled or tripled and cooked together at the same time. The only thing you may need to adjust is the cooking time, as cooking a larger volume of apples may take an additional few minutes. Use my visual cues and your best judgement to know when it’s done.
How to Make Apple Hand Pies in Advance?
Pie is a labor of love, and although apple hand pies are easier, it’s always a good thing to do as much in advance as possible! Thankfully the homemade pie crust can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge. Or the pie dough can be frozen for up to 2 months!
Just be sure to remove the night before you want to use it and thaw in the fridge overnight. And always let pie dough sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before rolling it out. Pie dough that’s too cold will most likely crack when rolled out.
The apple pie filling can be made up to 48 hours in advance and stored in the fridge. I suggest bringing it to room temperature and stirring it well before using it. I do not suggest freezing the apple pie filling.
Tools Needed For this Recipe:
- Rolling Pin: A strong a sturdy rolling pin is a pie bakers best friend! We prefer marble rolling pins because they keep the pie crust cool, but a wooden one will work just fine.
- Apple Cookie Cutter: This is optional, but if you want apple shaped pies, this is the cookie cutter I used. You can also use a large knife to cut them into squares. Or a round cookie cutter to cut them into circles.
- Heart Shaped Cookie Cutter: Another optional item, but will make the cute heart shaped cut-outs you see in my photos.
- Sparkling Sugar: This coarse sugar looks gorgeous on top of pies and other baked goods like scones and muffins! Turbinado sugar will also work fine, but won’t look as pretty.
- Pastry Brush: This will help you easily brush the egg wash around the edges and on top of the hand pies. For this recipe, a smaller brush works best as it will give you more control.
- Baking Sheet: A large sturdy baking sheet is a must-have for every baker! A lighter baking sheet works best as it’ll help avoid over browning.
- Parchment Paper: Reduces clean up time and ensures your baked goods don’t get too brown on the bottom. Do not sub wax paper or aluminum foil!
More Apple Pie Recipes:
- Apple Pie Doughnuts
- Overnight Apple Pie French Toast
- Salted Caramel Apple Pie
- Cinnamon Apple Bourbon Hand Pies
- Apple Pie Calzones
Cute Little Apple Hand Pies
For the Crust:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter very cold, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup Full-fat sour cream cold
For the Apple Pie Filling:
- 4 large apples peeled and cored
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons apple pie spice
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the Egg Wash:
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 Tablespoons sparkling sugar optional
For the Crust:
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.
- Add the butter, working it in with your hands or a pastry cutter, until it’s a coarse meal. The butter should still be in large, pea-sized pieces.
- Using a rubber spatula, stir in the sour cream. The dough will be very shaggy at this point. Turn it out onto a well floured work surface, and bring it together with a few quick kneads.
- Pat the dough into a 10 inch log, then roll it out into a 12″ x 14″ rectangle. Dust both sides of the dough lightly with flour, and starting with the shorter end, fold it in three – like a letter. Flip the dough over, and roll it again into a 12″ x 14″ rectangle. Fold it in three again. Wrap the dough in saran wrap, and chill for 1 hour.
For the Apple Pie Filling:
- Peel and core apples. Dice them into tiny pieces and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Allow the butter to brown into a light golden color; about 1 minute.
- Add apples into hot butter; sprinkle with salt and both sugars. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are completely softened, about 8 minutes. Mix in apple pie spice and lemon juice and continue cooking until apples are soft and sticky, 1 to 2 more minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top and mix well, allow mixture to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for at least 15 minutes.
- When you’re ready to make your pies, preheat the oven to 425 degrees (F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Roll the dough out into a 18" x 18" square. Using apple cookie cutters, cut out sixteen apples. Or use a pastry well to slice the dough into 16 squares.
- Divide the apple filling among 8 of the squares, using about 1 heaping tablespoon for each. Brush some of the beaten egg along the edges of each filled square.
- Cut a vent into each of the remaining eight squares, using a small knife or heart shaped cookie cutter.
- Top each filled square with a vented square, and press along the edges with the tines of a fork to seal.
- Brush the top of each pie with the remaining beaten egg, and sprinkle with sparkling sugar, if using.
- Transfer the pies to the prepared baking sheet. Bake the pies for 15 to 18 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.
- Remove them from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Excellent! These turned out absolutely delicious. The pastry was so flaky.
I made these tonite. I couldn’t find an Apple cookie cutter, but I did find a pumpkin! This crust is soooo delicious! I found it took about 10 minutes longer for these to bake than the recipe time stated- I watched closely! They are so good! Thanks for a great recipe!
2 questions…when the dough is chilled for an hour do you use it right from the fridge?
Also I plan to use store bought pie dough so can I use it straight from the fridge as well or do I need to thaw out?
Ashley Manila says
I let it rest for 5 minutes, but yes, then I use it right away. It really depends on the crust brand. I’ve never used store-bought pie crust for this recipe so I would suggest following the package directions.
It looks like there’s a coarse sugar on top but I don’t see anything about this in the recipe.. is this added before baking or after? Thanks!
I seen where someone else had asked this question, but did not get an answer. Can a person use a store bought crust or 2 to make these? TIA
I see this question already asked but not sure if you answered it. I am NOT a baker so can I use a store-bought pie crust? Please, please, please tell me yes. 🙂
Ashley Manila says
I haven’t tried it with store-bought, but it should work!
I made these for a Halloween get together and people were raving about them. One friend texted his grandma (who is a baker) and told her she needs to step her game up! I unfortunately didn’t plan ahead, so I didn’t have the apple cutter, but I cut them into rectangles and they were delicious. It definitely is a bit of work making, rolling, cutting/shaping the dough, but very worth it.
Ashley Manila says
Ha! This comment made my day! So happy you enjoyed them, Nicole!
I love all of your recipes. I am also very interested in your vegan recipes as well
Kay Kearly says
I want to make these but plan to use puff pastry instead of the pastry in the recipe. Has anyone tried doing the same?
Do you ever post nutritional info? I have to watch sodium.