Apple Hand Pies are made with apple pie filling, homemade pie crust or refrigerated biscuit dough. We’ve used our favorite pie crust recipe that makes a consistent flaky pie dough for these hand pies. It’s the perfect compliment to these apple hand pies!
This apple pie recipe is bursting with juicy apple pie filling that uses seasonal apples, can be prepped ahead of time and frozen. Hand pies are the perfect for picnics, backyard BBQ or family gathering.
Apple hand pies can be fried, baked or even cooked in an air fryer.
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! Hand pies are the perfect way to use freshly-picked apples.
I’ve recreated Grandma’s Apple Jack recipe with these delicious hand pies. This is the perfect hand pie recipe for any backyard BBQ, potluck or family gathering!
This apple hand pie recipe can be made ahead of time and refrigerated 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 – make the apple pie filling ahead of time. Refrigerate it for a few days or freeze for a month or two.
- Freezer friendly – this 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 – individual apple hand pies are perfect for summer picnics, BBQs or even a Thanksgiving dessert. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle with caramel sauce.
What you’ll need
- Apples – Granny Smith, McIntosh and Honeycrisp are great options for apple pie. 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 apple pie.
- Cornstarch – Helps thicken this apple pie filling. Make a slurry with cornstarch and cold water mixed together.
- Butter – Adds a nice touch of flavor to this hand pie recipe.
- Pie crust – Use homemade or store-bought pie crust. Refrigerated biscuit dough rolled out will also work for this apple pie recipe.
How to make apple hand pies
- Make apple pie filling – Let it cool completely. You can even make this a few days ahead of time to save time!
- Cool completely – It’s very important to let pie filling cool completely before assembling hand pies. If you put hot pie filling inside the pie dough it will melt it.
- Make homemade pie dough – Prep and put in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours or overnight.
- Roll out pie crust – Roll out biscuit dough or pie crust on a lightly floured surface, into 4-6 inch ovals.
- Fill with cooled 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 with a floured fork.
- Place on sheet pan – Place hand pies on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- Chill – Refrigerate or freeze for later. (Our preferred method is to freeze pies right away! This prevents pie filling from leaking and chills the pie dough well.)
- Fry or bake – These hand pies can be either fried or baked in the oven.
Best apples for pie
- Granny Smith – Granny Smith apples have a tart and tangy flavor, along with firmness. They are also readily available in most grocery stores.
- Macoun – A variety native to New England and perfect for pie. It’s a cross between the ‘McIntosh’ and ‘Jersey Black’ cultivars. Sweet, slightly tart and perfect for pie.
- McIntosh – This apple is sweet and tart. It also tends to break down when it cooks.
- Honeycrisp – This apple is sweet, firm, and great apple flavor. This combination of flavor and texture makes it a great choice for pie.
Apple pie filling
Made with just apples, sugar, brown sugar, butter, lemon juice and spices.
Make a big batch of pie filling and let it cool completely. Save time and make it a few days ahead of 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)
This apple hand pie recipe is just like grandma’s! Pie crust from scratch and homemade apple pie filling make this hand pie recipe on of my favorite pie recipes! Grandma would be proud!
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 or freezer 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!
If you wait to put them into the fridge or freezer or you take a chance of pie crust getting soggy and the pie filling leaking.
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.
This apple hand pie recipe can also be made with refrigerated biscuit dough instead of pie crust.
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 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 apple hand pie recipe! We love them in our house for a delicious apple dessert! Hand pies are one of our favorite types of individual desserts!
How to freeze hand pies
As you make each hand pie, place onto a half sheet pan lined with a piece of parchment paper. I will typically 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.
Wrap the entire sheet pan of hand pies and place in the freezer flat. Be sure the entire sheet pan stays flat. Once they are completely frozen you can stack another sheet pan of hand pies on top, if needed. But, not until they are completely frozen– otherwise you will squish the hand pies!
Thawing 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 and Cobbler Recipes
- Apple Pie
- Blueberry Pie
- Blueberry Hand Pies
- Blueberry Crumble Pie
- Blackberry Cobbler
- Blackberry Hand Pies
- Cherry Hand Pies
- Cherry Crumb Pie
- Cherry Cobbler
- Peach Hand Pies
- Peach Cobbler
- Pecan Pie
- Peach Crumb Pie
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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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