Apple Hand Pies are made with homemade apple pie filling inside golden flaky pie crust or refrigerated biscuit dough. I’ve recreated Grandma’s Apple Jack recipe with these delicious hand pies.
Do you remember homemade dinners and desserts your grandma used to make? And the smell of a freshly baked apple pie that filled the house?! I love that smell!
Mom always said work smarter, not harder – make your life easier! So prep work in the kitchen is so important with any meal you create!
Make these fried apple hand pies ahead of time and refrigerate overnight or freeze for later. Homemade hand pies are easy to make using either homemade or store bought pie crust or biscuit dough. Although, personally we prefer homemade pie crust.
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. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle with caramel sauce.
What you’ll need
- Apples – Use Granny Smith and another variety such as McIntosh. Granny Smith is tart and holds up well. Use another variety, such as McIntosh that will break down and create an apple sauce texture.
- Cinnamon & Nutmeg – Warm spice of cinnamon adds plenty of fall spice to your fritters.
- Pie Crust – Use homemade or store-bought pie crust. You can even use refrigerated biscuit dough rolled out if you prefer.
How to make apple hand pies
Step 1: Make apple pie filling. Let it cool completely. You can even make this a few days ahead of time to save time!
I like to make it the night before I assemble apple hand pies, so it’s completely cooled and ready to go! (Make the pie filling ahead of time and refrigerate for a few days, or freeze until needed.)
Step 2: Roll out pie crust on a lightly floured surface, into 4-6 inch ovals. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of pie filling onto the center of each round.
Step 3: Fold over, lightly press down on the filling and the edges. Trim edges with a pastry cutter. Crimp the edges of the dough with a floured fork to seal.
Step 4: Place uncooked pies on a half-sheet pan which is lined with parchment paper.
As you create each apple hand pie, place them on a half sheet pan lined with a piece of parchment paper. I overlap them just a tad and be able to fit about 5-6 hand pies in each row, with a total of 3 rows per sheet pan.
Cover them loosely with plastic wrap and get that tray in the fridge right away! You’ll fry them right out of the fridge, which keeps the hand pies super cold and will help you to achieve a very flaky crust!
What is a Apple Hand Pie?
When we moved to North Carolina, a local gentleman asked me to make something called “Apple Jacks.” These yummy fried apple hand pies are small pieces of dough with a dollop of apple pie filling, then crimped and fried.
They are an old-fashioned tradition here in the South. Fresh out of the fryer, these apple hand pies are beyond delicious. Sprinkle with sugar or drizzle with a simple glaze.
History of Apple Jacks
Years ago, when ladies made these, they certainly were not using store-bought crusts. They likely did not have the disposable income that many of us have today, nor did they have access to convenience products such as these. Traditionally, they used dried apple pieces, mixing those with water, sugar and cinnamon to make sort of an apple filling.
I personally love a combination of Granny Smith and either Macoun or Macintosh. This brings the perfect amount of texture and flavor.
Absolutely! I make apple hand pies the night before and slightly overlap them on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Loosely cover the entire sheet pan with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.
I hope you’re loving my hand pie recipe! We love them in our house for a delicious apple dessert!
Thawing Apple Hand Pies
- Thaw in the fridge, uncovered. This also makes the pie dough super cold when you fry them, helping them become perfectly flaky.
- NOTE: If you leave them covered with plastic wrap after being frozen, they end up with too much condensation! Just remove the plastic wrap and they’ll thaw perfectly overnight.
- Fry these apple hand pies right out of the fridge. You want them to be cold so the pie crust stays flaky!
To properly test the temperature of the oil or grilling meat, I use a ThermoWorks thermometer with a probe.
More Pie Recipes
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Apple Hand Pies
Apple Pie Filling
- 5 medium/large apples Granny Smith & Macoun
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼-1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Homemade pie crust or biscuit dough
Apple Pie Filling
- Peel, core and chop the apples into small pieces. Melt the butter in a 10-12 inch fry pan. Cook the apples over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes or until soft. Sprinkle with brown sugar, sugar, and lemon juice while they cook. Stir with a wooden spoon occasionally, making sure they do not burn.
- Dissolve the cornstarch in about ¼ cup of cold water. Stir to combine.
- Pour in the cornstarch mixture once they are almost done and let cook to thicken the apples and juice.
- Remove from the heat and add the cinnamon, nutmeg and stir to combine. Let the pie filling cool completely.
Apple 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) Crimp the edges of the dough with a floured fork.
- Or cover the sheet pan loosely with plastic wrap and place into the freezer for later use.
- 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.
- 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. Delicious served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzled with warm caramel sauce.
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