Cherry hand pies are made with a juicy homemade cherry pie filling inside a flaky, golden browned pie crust. This is the perfect summer dessert!
These handheld cherry pies are easy to make, freezer friendly and can be fried or baked. Homemade cherry pie filling is made with simple ingredients in about 20 minutes.
This is truly the best cherry pie recipe for individual desserts for backyard barbecues, picnics, potlucks and summer parties. Cherry pie is one of my favorite pie recipes, so why not make it into a hand pie?!
Hand pies are individual pies that you can eat with your hands. These single-serving pastries, fried or baked with sweet or savory fillings can be traced back to 19th century England. Usually made into a meat pie, was a convenient way of having a warm lunch.
While you can use fresh cherries and use a cherry pitter to pit them. (Super simple to do!) I have found I love frozen cherries for this pie recipe. They’re already pitted and ready to make pie filling directly from the freezer.
Why this recipe works
- Make ahead of time! You can make the apple pie filling ahead of time. Refrigerate it for a few days or freeze for a month or two.
- Freezer friendly! Make these hand pies ahead of time, place on half sheet pans lined with parchment paper and freeze. Cover the entire pan with plastic wrap to prevent frost bite.
- Makes a great individual dessert! These are the perfect size dessert.
What you’ll need
- Cherries – Use fresh or frozen pitted cherries. I love the frozen pitted cherries from BJ’s Wholesale. They’re already pitted, frozen at peak of ripeness and available year round. (Saving me time and money!)
- Sugar – Adjust as you like depending on how sweet or tart your cherries are. Sugar will naturally draw out the juices of the fruit and create a juicy pie filling.
- Lemon juice – Adds a bit of tartness to the filling and helps preserve it.
- Cornstarch – Helps thicken this cherry pie filling. Make a slurry with cornstarch and cold water mixed together.
How to make Cherry Hand Pies
- Make cherry pie filling. Use fresh or frozen cherries to make homemade pie filling. Let cool completely before putting into pie crust.
- Roll out pie crust. Roll out biscuit dough or pie crust on a lightly floured surface, into 4-6 inch ovals.
- Fill with pie filling. Scoop about 1 tablespoon or so of the cooled pie filing in the center of each round.
- Seal pie crust. Fold over, lightly press down on the filling, trim and crimp edges.
- Place on sheet pan. Place hand pies on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate or freeze for later.
A handheld pastry filled with sweet or savory filling, formed by placing a dollop of filling into a piece of biscuit dough or pie crust, folded over then crimped together to seal edges. They are either baked or fried.
Refrigerate or freeze to keep pie crust chilled. You’ll want pies to be very chilled (not frozen) going into hot oil or before baking to keep pie crust flaky.
I drizzled these cherry hand pies with a simple glaze.
Simply whisk together 2 cups powdered sugar, splash of vanilla extract and about 2 tablespoons of whole milk. Adjust the milk as needed, depending on the thickness of glaze you desire. Whisk together well to work out any lumps.
More Pie Recipes
- Apple Pie
- Caramel Apple Pie
- Blueberry Pie
- Blackberry Pie
- Blackberry Cobbler
- Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
- Mixed Berry Pie
- Blueberry Slab Pie
- Peach Cobbler
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Cherry Hand Pies
Cherry Pie Filling
- 4 pounds Bing cherries pitted
- ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
- 1 to 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ cup cold water
- Homemade pie crust or biscuit dough
Cherry Pie Filling
- If using fresh cherries; Pit the cherries over a glass liquid measuring cup. Place pitted cherries into a deep frying pan. Place your hand over the pits and pour any excess juices into the pan.
- If using frozen cherries; they will already be pitted and halved. Just add to the skillet and follow directions below.
- Add the cherries into a large cast iron skillet or pot and cook over medium heat. Add the butter, sugar and lemon juice. Cook until soft, stirring with a wooden spoon occasionally.
- Dissolve the cornstarch into cold water, stir with a tablespoon.
- Stir the cornstarch mixture into the cherry mixture. Cook over medium to high heat to thicken. Let the mixture simmer and stir constantly with a wooden spoon as it thickens.
- Let pie filling cool completely before putting into the pie shell.
Cherry Hand Pies
- Roll out your biscuit dough or pie crust on a lightly floured surface, into 4-6 inch ovals, about ⅛-1/4-inch thick.
- Scoop about 1 tablespoon or so of the cooled pie filing in the center of each round. Fold over, lightly press down on the filling and the edges. (Lightly wet edges with water, using your fingertip if needed)
- Trim the edges of pie crust with pastry cutter or small pizza cutter. Crimp the edges of the dough with a floured fork.
- Place uncooked pies on a half-sheet pan which is lined with parchment paper. Place the entire tray into the refrigerator while the oil heats.
- Or cover the sheet pan loosely with plastic wrap and place into the freezer for later use.
- Fill a fry pan with about 2-3 inches of canola oil. Heat the oil until very hot (about 370 to 375 degrees F).
- Place only a few hand pies in the hot oil at a time, as to not overcrowd the pan or let the oil cool. Fry until they are brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from the hot oil and let drain on paper towels on a half-sheet pan. Sprinkle with granulated sugar or dust with powdered sugar while they are still warm.
- Or drizzle each hand pie with a simple glaze. Let dry slightly before handling.
- These are best served warm.
Cherry Pie FillingCherry pie filling can be made ahead of time and frozen for later use. Sometimes I add a pinch of ground nutmeg.
Cherry Hand PiesYou can make hand pies AHEAD of time. Overlap them slightly on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer. Cover the tray loosely with plastic wrap. Thaw cherry hand pies Remove the plastic wrap that was covering the tray and discard it. It will have extra moisture you DO NOT want! Let them thaw, uncovered in the refrigerator overnight OR on the counter for 1-2 hours. You still want them very cold when frying. Cooking Cherry Hand Pies Use canola oil heated to 375 degrees. This is so the pies do not absorb any odd flavors. OR bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven. Place hand pies on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with a little bit of sugar. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the pie crust is golden browned. Monitoring the oil temperature If you do not have a thermometer. You can test if the oil is hot enough by sprinkling a tiny bit of flour off of your fingers into the center of the oil. If the flour bubbles out to the edges of the pan quickly, the temperature is ready.
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