How To Make Hand Pies

Imagine small squares of flakey, buttery pie crust stuffed with sweet, decadent fillings – that is a hand pie! Homemade hand pies are one of the most exciting, delicious, versatile, and portable foods you will ever make.

If you have ever eaten a hand pie, then you already know that they are pure magic. You can make hand pies in so many different ways, using tasty fruit fillings or even savory stuffings for an appetizer-style pie.

Hand pies can be baked, fried, or even cooked in the air fryer. The possibilities are endless. Let’s dive right into the world of hand pies so you can start baking and then (the best part) start eating! 

What is a Hand Pie?
Hand pies are essentially small pies that you can pick up and eat- no fork or plate needed! They can be made with just about any type of filling, both savory and sweet. That means that hand pies are the perfect dessert or passed appetizer. You can even eat hand pies for dinner if the mood strikes!

Hand pies go by several different names including turnovers, empanadas, and sometimes patsy. But whatever you call this tasty little treat, the idea behind them is the same.

There are always two main parts to every hand pie: the filling and the crust. The filling is placed in the center of a pie dough circle or square then a second piece of pie dough is placed on top of it. The filling is sealed inside the crust and then baked to golden brown perfection. Sounds almost too easy, right? Hand pies really are that simple to make and after you bake them just one time, you will be a hand pie master. 

How to Make Hand Pies
Let’s talk about how to make hand pies in a little more detail. The first thing you need is pie dough. Any pie dough recipe will work and you can even use frozen, thawed, pre-made pie dough. 
Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is about ¼” thick. Cut the dough into equally sized squares or use a round cookie cutter to make circular or half moon hand pies. 

Once the dough is cut, scoop your filling into the center of half of the pie dough piece, saving the other half for the hand pie tops. Make sure there is about ½” from the filling to the edge of the pie dough. (Placing the filling too close to the edge will cause it to leak out as it bakes.) 
Use your finger or a pastry brush to lightly brush the edges of the pie crust with egg wash, going all the way around the filling to moisten the dough and make it a little sticky. Place the remaining pie dough pieces on top of the filling then use your finger to press the two pieces of pie dough together. 

Go around the edge of the hand pie with a fork, pressing the top and bottom pie dough together again. This will make sure the filling is tightly sealed in the center. (Alternatively, you can use a larger circle of dough and fold the dough in half to make a half moon shape, egg washing the edge like you would on a two-crust pie and sealing in the same manner.)

Brush the top of your unbaked hand pies with egg wash. Cut a small slit in the top of each pie to help the steam vent as they bake.

How to Bake Hand Pies
There are a few ways to bake hand pies so you can choose your preferred method – they all work well! 
Bake hand pies on a parchment-lined sheet tray in a 375-degree F oven for about 15 minutes. The pies are baked when the top is golden brown and the filling is slightly bubbling out of the slit in the top of the pie. 
Bake your hand pies in a 350-degree F air fryer. Spray the air fryer basket with baking spray then cook them for about 12 minutes. The golden brown hand pies will be hot and ready to eat! 
Deep fry hand pies for an extra crispy, flakey crust. Heat a pot of vegetable oil to 365 degrees F then place the hand pies into the hot oil. You may need to cook the hand pies in batches, as you do not want them to be too crowded in the fryer. Fry the hand pies for about 4 minutes then flip each one over and fry for another 3 minutes. 

Best Fillings for Hand Pies
There are so many different fillings you can use to make hand pies. Think about your favorite flavor of pie and just turn that into a hand pie! Cooked fruit fillings are the most common and quite delicious. Apple, blueberry, cherry, strawberry, or peach hand pies are all perfect. To make an extra decadent hand pie, stuff your pie crust with thick and luscious dulce de leche, Nutella, or homemade chocolate ganache. 

Make savory hand pies using cooked ground beef, shredded chicken and gravy, or some cooked, diced potatoes with cheese. The possibilities are endless!

Stay away from custard fillings for hand pies. Pudding and other egg-based fillings do not bake well inside the buttery hand pie crust. The custard will separate in the oven and the texture will not be appealing. 
Also, try not to choose fillings that are too runny. It can be hard to seal drippy caramel, for example, inside of the pie crust without it pouring out of the edges! Thicker fillings work best. 

Can you Freeze Hand Pies?
Yes! You can definitely freeze hand pies. The best way to freeze hand pies is to assemble them completely, sealing the filling inside the dough, then placing them in an airtight container or freezer bag, uncooked. The uncooked pies will keep in the freezer for about three months. Anytime you are craving a homemade buttery hand pie, just take a few out of the freezer and bake them!

Frozen hand pies will take about 2-3 minutes longer in the oven to bake but the end results will be perfect. Hand pies are fantastic desserts to make in advance. In fact, it is a good idea to double the batch anytime you make hand pies so you can freeze some for later. 

Tips and Tricks
Here are a few tips to ensure that your hand pies bake perfectly:
Use chilled, cold pie dough. It is easier to work with cold dough rather than dough that is too warm and soft. 
Do not overstuff the hand pies or the filling will explode out of the edges as the pies bake. For a standard 4” hand pie, you should only use about 2 tablespoons of filling. 
Make sure the edges of the hand pie are sealed well before baking. Not only will they look nicer, but a good seal will prevent all that tasty filling from pouring out the sides. 
Serve your hand pies while they are still warm so the pie crust is flakey and buttery. 
Try serving hand pies with a dip on the side. Apple hand pies with a caramel dipping sauce are a fantastic dessert while taco hand pies with fresh guacamole on the side make an irresistible appetizer. 

Now, go make some pie dough, grab your favorite pie filling, and get ready to make some perfect hand pies!