These sweet and crunchy Apple Hand Pies are the perfect little grab and eat on-the-go dessert and great for little hands to hold. Little circle pastry pockets filled with delicious chunks of sweetened cinnamon-y apples. A great way to use up lots of apples too.
Whilst we love slicing into a big apple pie, these cute little apple hand pies are much easier to manage and are great for taking to a picnic. They are toddler friendly too as kids can easily hold them themselves with less mess.
What we love about this mini version of a classic dessert is that it's great for portion control. Rather than cutting yourself a huge slice of a pie (we have all been there), they are already portioned out for you and ready to share.
Why you will love them
- Kids love these little pies - Hand pies are always a hit with kids as they are easy to hold and there is less mess.
- They smell AMAZING when baking - You just can't beat the smell of cooked apple and cinnamon.
- Lower in sugar - We just used a little brown sugar to sweeten them and let the natural sweetness of the apple shine.
- Easy to adapt with different fruit fillings - Use this apple hand pie recipe as a base and then adapt it with the options below.
- Apples - The star of the dish. We like to use Granny Smith or Honeycrisp, but you really could use any apple.
- Pastry - We used a good quality store bought shortcrust pastry. You can make your own though if you prefer.
- Butter - This helps the apples to get golden and caramelised. We used unsalted butter.
- Sugar - We used brown sugar and whilst you might not expect to see sugar in a "healthy" recipe, it really does add so much flavour and we have only used 4 table spoons, the rest of the sweetness comes from the apples.
- Cinnamon - Apple and cinnamon is such a classic combination. You could swap the cinnamon for nutmeg or ginger, or even a mixture of all three.
- Vanilla - Make sure to use extract instead of essence, as you will have a chemically flavour.
- Egg and milk - This creates an egg wash and is used to glaze the apple hand pies before they go in the oven to help them brown nicely.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make Apple Hand Pies - Step by step
Prep: Preheat your oven to 190°C/170°C(fan)/375°F/Gas 5.
One: Chop the apples into small chunks. The smaller the chunks, the easier for them to stay in the little pies.
Two: Melt the butter in a large pan and then add the apples, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and mix well.
Three: Gently cook for 3-4 minutes, until the apples have softened. Allow to cool completely.
Four: Roll out the ready make short crust pastry and then using a cup or cookie cutter that is about 4 inches in diameter, cut out 10 circle (this will make 5 pies).
Five: Place 5 of the circles on a lined baking sheet (use 2 sheets if there is not enough room) and then divide the apples between them. You will need about 2-3 tablespoon of filling per pie, making sure there is an edge around the pie.
Six: Put the other pastry circles on top and then carefully crimp around the edge using a small fork. Make a slit in the middle and then after mixing the egg and milk together, use it as an egg wash to brush over the pies.
Seven: Put into the oven for 18-20 minutes, until the pastry has cooked.
We used ready made pastry, because in all honesty we can't taste the difference between store bought and homemade. I am sure there is some subtle difference.
But do I think it's worth the effort of making it when you have a hungry kid hanging off your leg demanding apple pie? Nope! If you want to make your own healthy crust, follow the recipe in our Chocolate Pie recipe.
Even top chefs used ready made and say they can't taste the difference - so if it is good enough for them! We have also made these with a puff pastry, rather than a short crust that is in this recipe and it makes a nice change.
Whilst apple is a classic filling for a pie, you don't have to use apples. We have made this before with cherries, strawberries, blueberries, pears, peaches and even a combination of a few different fruits.
You might have to play around with the cooking time if using a different, more juicy, fruit and add some cornstarch to thicken. You could also add some raisins into this hand pie recipe.
How to shape a hand pie
We went with a classic circle, but you don't have to. You could do moon (Cornish pasty) type shapes, rectangle, squares or even make mini pies in a shallow muffin tin with cut out pastry shapes as a lid.
Kids will love making their own pastry shapes and filling them with this delicious apple filling. Just remember to keep the pies small.
These will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. however they can be frozen too. You can keep these (individually wrapped) in the freezer for 2-3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and then bring to room temperature before serving.
When it comes to the best apple for your an apple hand pie, we like to use a crisp, tart variety that keeps fairly solid when baking. Something like a Granny Smith or Honeycrisp work well. You could use a mixture of the two, or Golden Delicious is another good choice.
Yes, with this recipe you do have to soften them in a pan first. This means that they are cooked at the same time as the pastry.
You can top this with some custard, ice cream or Greek yogurt, or just leave it as it is. I personally think that this could be considered a breakfast item, as it's fruit and pastry. That is what we are telling ourselves anyway.
We topped ours with some vanilla frozen yogurt as a bit more of an indulgent dessert.
More dessert recipes
Apple Hand Pies
- 375 g (13 oz) Ready rolled shortcrust pastry - (ready rolled)
- 2 tablespoon Butter
- 2 Apples
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoon Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Ground cinnamon
- 1 Egg - whisked
- 1 tablespoon Whole milk
- Preheat your oven to 190°C/170°C(fan)/375°F/Gas 5.
- Chop 2 Apples into small chunks. The smaller the chunks, the easier for them to stay in the little pies.
- Melt 2 tablespoon Butter in a large pan and then add the apples, 4 tablespoon Sugar, 1 tablespoon Ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract and mix well.
- Gently cook for 3-4 minutes, until the apples have softened. Allow to cool completely.
- Roll out 375 g Ready rolled shortcrust pastry and then using a cup or cookie cutter that is about 4 inches in diameter, cut out 10 circle (this will make 5 hand pies).
- Place 5 of the circles on a lined baking sheet (use 2 sheets if there is not enough room) and then divide the apples between them. You will need about 2-3 tablespoon of filling per pie, making sure there is an edge around the pie.
- Put the other pastry circles on top and then carefully crimp around the edge using a small fork. Make a slit in the middle.
- Mix together 1 Egg and 1 tablespoon Whole milk together, use it as an wash to brush over the pies.
- Put into the oven for 18-20 minutes, until the pastry has cooked.
- You can use any kind of apple for this recipe, or even use a mixture if you have some that need using up.
- Cut the apples into small pieces. This way you can get more mixture into each pie.
- We went with cinnamon as the spice for these apple pies, but you could swap it for ginger or nutmeg, or use a mixture of all three.
- Not a fan of apples? You can make a berry version of these or even swap the apple for pears.
- Feel free to get creative with the shape pies you make, and use cookie cutters.
- Make sure to look for a ready made pastry that is as low in sugar (or sugar free) as possible.
- Take these apple hand pies to the next level by finishing them off with a drizzle of salted caramel before serving.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.