Hand Pies Recipe

The best hand pies with endless flavor options. Bake, deep-fry or air fry! Sweet or savory. This one recipe is all you need. Apple, blueberry, lemon, peach, or cherry. The filling options are endless. Follow my tips for troubleshooting common problems and avoiding leaks and cracks.
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Print Recipe
Serves: 8 servings
hand pies on a cooling rack on white background with blueberries and fresh fruit in the background

Homemade hand pies with a sweet or savory filling, wrapped in a buttery, flaky crust 

Hand pies take everything that is wonderful about pie and puts it in the palm of your hand. Bake them, deep fry them or even use the air fryer! No leaking, tender buttery crust and lots of ideas for filling like apple filling, peach filling, lemon curd, and blueberry filling. 

hand pies on a cooling rack on white background with blueberries and fresh fruit in the background

I asked my daughter, Avalon, if she would like to go to the grocery store with me the other day. As usual, she told me no. 

No? Why no?

The grocery store was always a magical place for me when I was a child. The bakery would always give me a “free sample” and if I was really good, my dad would buy me one of those $1 hand pies that come in a paper wrapper. 

You know the ones right?

franz hand pies

I used to LOVE these! We very rarely got any kind of treats or sweets growing up so this was a major big deal if you ever got one of these.

I decided I’d show Avalon what she was missing and I picked her up one while I was out (and one for myself of course). 

Sadly the hand pie was not as I remembered. The crust was stale and bland and the filling was very goopy and not very flavorful. 

Why are childhood treats never as good as we remember them? 

So of course, I had to try and remake them for myself but this time, extra delicious and with multiple fillings! 

What is a hand pie?

A hand pie is basically a miniature pie that fits in your hand. It can be sweet or savory and is made by placing a small amount of filling onto a circle (or rectangular) piece of pie dough, folding the dough over and sealing it shut before baking. 

Everything is more fun when it’s miniature in size don’t you think?

hand pies on a cooling rack shot overhead with a white backdrop and fresh fruit surrounding the edges

Hand pies make great desserts for parties and weddings because there’s no need to cut a pie and serve it. Simply set them out and the guests can serve themselves! 

Are hand pies hard to make?

I think you might be shocked at how easy hand pies are to make. They are actually MUCH easier to make than an actual pie. The crust is super simple to make, the filling all comes together in minutes and baking is a breeze.

I made two sizes of hand pies. The larger ones are more true to the original hand pies I remember from the grocery store and I also made some that where 5″ which I felt where a better size for an individual dessert. 

glazing hand pies with simple glaze

Steps for making hand pies

  1. Make your hand pie dough (pate brisee) and let it chill for one hour. You can use storebought crust too if you want to take the easy route.
  2. Make your filling and let it cool (you can make one or you can make a bunch! Fruit filling made from frozen fruit comes together in 10 minutes flat. Soooo worth the effort. Or you can use canned fruit pie filling if you want.
  3. Roll out your dough, cut into 6″ circles. I also made some with a 5″ cutter so the pies where a little smaller and better if you don’t want such huge servings.
  4. Add 3 Tablespoon of filling (don’t overfill or they will burst while baking) 5″ circles only need 1 Tablespoon of filling
  5. Brush the edges with egg wash, fold and crimp shut with a fork
  6. Bake, deep-fry or air fry (more on this below)
  7. Glaze and enjoy!

What kind of crust is best for hand pies?

A hand pie is a tiny version of a full-sized pie so we want to use a similar pie crust. I’m using Pâte Brisée which is a very simple, not-too-sweet but delicious crust.

It’s very similar to pie dough but the texture is finer and stronger than traditional pie dough. Perfect for making hand pies. 

Pâte Brisée is also perfect for savory hand pies since it doesn’t contain any sugar. 

Pate Brisee hand pie dough cut into circles

Most importantly it’s incredibly easy to make. For the sake of looking like a professional, I have included instructions but you could practically throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together and you’d have a perfect hand pie dough. 

What kind of filling is good for hand pies?

Apple and blueberry are the most popular fillings for hand pies but you can use pretty much any type of filling you like including cherry filling, lemon curd, chocolate pastry cream, strawberry filling or peach filling.

hand pie filling on circles of hand pie crust

If you don’t want to make a bunch of homemade fillings, you can buy pre-made pie filling at the grocery store and I won’t judge you one bit. 

For savory hand pies, you can try chicken pot pie filling, creamy mushrooms, and beef, or even ham and cheese for a breakfast hand pie. 

I’m not convinced there’s any meal that could not be transformed into a hand pie. 

How do I stop my hand pie from leaking?

There are three reasons why your hand-pie might be leaking. Follow these steps to make sure your hand-pies don’t burst. 

  1. Don’t Overfill – You might think you want to fill that hand pie to the max but filling expands while baking so if your hand pie is too full, the filling will expand and then leak out of your crust. 
  2. Seal The Edges – Make sure you really seal those edges. Dampen the crust with a little egg wash and then press together with a fork. Make sure there isn’t any filling on the edge of the dough or it will break the seal and cause the hand pie to leak. 
  3. Venting – Don’t forget to give your pies some vents for steam to escape during baking, otherwise, the pressure can build up and cause your hand pie to leak everywhere. 

venting hand pies to prevent leaking

Cracks can also cause leaking. This one had a crack on the back that I did not see and it burst while it was baking. 

hand pie with a leak

Also, try to avoid getting any filling in between the crusts where you seal the hand pie, it can also break open during baking. You can avoid this problem by not over-filling your hand pies. 

How do you make a fried hand pie?

Most hand pies are baked but you can (and should) try making fried hand pies! The crust bubbles up beautifully and is EXTRA crispy when you fry your hand pies. 

To make fried hand pies follow these steps.

  1. Prepare your hand pies as usual and then place them in the fridge to chill for at least one hour. 
  2. Heat up 4 inches of neutral oil (like vegetable shortening or canola oil) in a deep pot (like a dutch oven) to 375ºF. Use a thermometer to keep an eye on the temp. Make sure you place the pot at the back of the stove, especially if you have kids. Hot oil is very dangerous and so are splashes. 
  3. Place 2-3 hand pies in the hot oil and fry 3-4 minutes until golden brown. 
  4. Drain on a paper towel and then dust in powdered sugar or cover in sugar glaze before serving. They are best when eaten the same day. 

Deep-fried hand pies taste the MOST like the store-bought versions but I wasn’t a huge fan of the deep-fried version compared to the air fried. 

deep fried hand pie coming out of the oil

deep fried hand pies

Air fryer hand pies

Ok so maybe you’re not keen on frying your pies in oil or hot oil freaks you out. I get it, it kinda freaks me out too. 

If you happen to have an air fryer, you can fry your hand pies that way. This is actually my favorite way to make hand pies. The air fryer makes the dough SUPER light and crisp without the added oil from deep frying. Not everyone has an air fryer though so I have instructions on how to bake int he oven in the recipe card below. 

  1. Prepare your hand pies as usual and chill for one hour. 
  2. Brush the surface with egg wash and sprinkle on some sanding sugar for color and flavor (optional). 
  3. Set your temperature to 350ºF on your air fryer
  4. Place your hand pies inside the air fryer basket and fry for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown

air fryer hand pies

Customize with your favorite fillings

Peach Filling
Blueberry Filling
Cherry Filling
Lemon Curd

Strawberry Reduction
Berry Filling

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
hand pies on a cooling rack on white background with blueberries and fresh fruit in the background

Hand Pies Recipe

The best hand pies with endless flavor options. Bake, deep-fry or air fry! Sweet or savory. This one recipe is all you need. Apple, blueberry, lemon, peach, or cherry. The filling options are endless. Follow my tips for troubleshooting common problems and avoiding leaks and cracks.
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
chilling: 1 hr
Serves: 8 servings
Calories: 274kcal

Ingredients

For the hand pie dough

  • 12 ounces (340 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1/4 teaspoon) salt
  • 6 ounces (170 g) cold unsalted butter cut into cubes or grated
  • 1 large (1 large) egg
  • 1 ounce (28 g) ice cold water

Fruit filling

  • 16 ounces (453 g) fresh or frozen fruit (apples, peaches, blueberries, strawberries etc)
  • 2 Tablespoons (2 Tablespoons) lemon juice you can use more or less to your taste
  • 6 ounces (170 g) water or juice that complements the flavor of the fruit
  • 1 ounce (28 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces (57 g) sugar white or brown
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1/4 teaspoon) salt
  • 1 ounce (28 g) ClearGel or 1/2 ounce cornstarch
  • 1 ounce (28 g) water

Glaze

  • 4 ounces (113 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Equipment

  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment

Instructions

For the hand pie dough

  • Place flour, salt, and cold butter pieces into the bowl of your stand mixer and blend on low until mixture resembles coarse sand.
  • Add in your egg and just enough water to bring the mixture together
  • Press into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for one hour.

For the fruit filling

  • Prepare your fresh fruit by chopping into small cubes (if needed) or use frozen fruit. No need to defrost.
  • Place your fruit and butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and bubbling.
  • Add in your water (or juice), sugar, lemon juice, and salt and mix until combined. Bring to a simmer.
  • Combine your ClearGel with your water and whisk to make a slurry. Pour into your simmering mixture and mix for 1-2 minutes to cook the gel. If you're using cornstarch, you only need to cook until it's clear.
  • Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool.

How to make hand pies

  • Preheat your oven to 400ºF and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper
  • Let your dough stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to let it soften a bit
  • Dust your surface with flour. Begin by pressing your dough with your rolling pin to start flattening it.
  • Roll your dough out to 1/8 thick or about the thickness of a cake board. Thinner than you think. Thinner dough results in a crisper, crunchier crust for your hand pies.
  • Cut your dough into 6" circles. I used a 6" cake board as a template or you can use a 5" circle cutter if you want smaller hand pies.
  • Fill your 6" hand pie with 3 tablespoons of fruit filling (5" circles take 1 heaping Tablespoon). Do not overfill.
  • Brush the outside edge with egg wash (one egg whisked with 1 tablespoon of cold water)
  • Fold the hand pie over and crimp with a fork to seal well
  • Use a knife or fork to make some vents on top
  • Brush the hand pies with more egg wash and place them onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Chill for 20 minutes.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. They should be golden brown and the filling will just be starting to bubble.
  • Let your hand pies cool for 10 minutes.
  • While your hand pies are cooling, make your glaze. Just whisk the powdered sugar and lemon juice together until smooth.
  • Use a pastry brush to brush the thin glaze over the hand pies and enjoy!
  • These hand pies taste best the day they are baked but will last for three days in an airtight container in the fridge or frozen for up to 2 months.

Notes

For fruit filling, feel free to adjust spices and flavorings to suit your tastes. For apple I like to add a little cinnamon. 
Air Fryer Instructions
  1. Prepare your hand pies as usual and chill 20 minutes
  2. Brush the surface with egg wash and sprinkle on some sanding sugar for color and flavor (optional). 
  3. Set your temperature to 350ºF on your air fryer
  4. Place your hand pies inside the air fryer basket and fry for 13-15 minutes until golden brown and filling just begins to bubble
Deep fried hand pies instructions
  1. Prepare your hand pies as usual but do not cut large slits for vents, use a fork for small vents so the filling doen't leak out. Then place them in the fridge to chill for at least one hour. 
  2. Heat up 4 inches of neutral oil (like vegetable shortening or canola oil) in a deep pot (like a dutch oven) to 375ºF. Use a thermometer to keep an eye on the temp. Make sure you place the pot at the back of the stove, especially if you have kids. Hot oil is very dangerous and so are splashes. 
  3. Place 2-3 hand pies in the hot oil and fry 3-4 minutes until golden brown. 
  4. Drain on a paper towel and then dust in powdered sugar or cover in sugar glaze before serving. They are best when eaten the same day. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 274kcal (14%) | Carbohydrates: 54g (18%) | Protein: 5g (10%) | Fat: 4g (6%) | Saturated Fat: 2g (10%) | Cholesterol: 34mg (11%) | Sodium: 158mg (7%) | Potassium: 55mg (2%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 21g (23%) | Vitamin A: 127IU (3%) | Vitamin C: 2mg (2%) | Calcium: 10mg (1%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)

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