Hand Pies

Our new column helps your kids master cooking skills. Up this month: Rolling out dough for easy hand pies. 

Get your kids cooking with helpful guidance from Basics™ Market, a locally owned grocery market with a purpose: nurturing strong, healthy communities through food with simplified selection, fresh ingredients and healthful recipes. Rolling pie dough is a straightforward skill, but one that has a bit of a learning curve. So, making hand pies is a great first project because smaller circles are easier to roll than larger circles. Plus, kids can customize their fillings. Bonus: Rolling dough calls on kids to practice patience and exercise hand-eye coordination. 

Pie Dough for Hand Pies 

Yield: 8 hand pies or 2 9-inch pie crusts  
Note: Need to accommodate dietary preferences? We tested this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Flour as well as Spectrum Vegetable Shortening (vegan). 



2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour  
1 teaspoon salt 
½ pound cold, unsalted butter, diced into ½-inch cubes 
¼ to ½ cup ice water 
Filling of your choice

Note: Need to accommodate dietary preferences? We tested this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Flour as well as Spectrum Vegetable Shortening (vegan). 


1. Whisk together salt and flour. Work butter cubes into the flour with a pastry cutter until mixture looks like little pebbles. 


2. Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork or your fingers. Stop adding water when the dough starts to come together into a ball, being careful not to add too much. 

3. Divide the dough into four pieces, flatten each into a 1-inch-thick round. Cover and chill for an hour. 

4. Remove dough from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature for 10 minutes.  

5. Heat oven to 375˚ F. 

6. On a lightly floured surface, first roll your round into an oval, rotate 90 degrees and roll again. Continue rotating and rolling until the dough is ⅛-inch thick, approximately 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Place the rolled circles on parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and cover. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes. 

7. Remove dough circles from the fridge and spoon about 1/2 cup filling onto the center of each. Fold one side of dough up and over to meet the opposite side. Use the tines of a fork or your fingers to crimp and seal the edges. Lightly brush tops and edges with beaten egg, then make a few small incisions into dough for steam to vent. 

8. Bake for 35-60 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly before serving. 

Tips for rolling pie dough: 

• To prevent sticking, dust your rolling pin and rolling surface with flour. 

• For easier dough transferring, consider rolling between two sheets of parchment paper.

• Pie crust can get tough (less tender and flaky) if the dough is overworked, so try to avoid balling up and rerolling dough.  

• Pie dough freezes well! Make a double batch and freeze half. When ready to use, defrost overnight in the refrigerator.  

Why learn how to roll dough? 

  • Dough rolled too thinly may burn or be fragile. 
  • Dough left too thick may end up undercooked.  
  • Math connection to  shape, thickness and  diameter. 
  • Hand eye coordination – rolling is great for little hands and muscles. 

Filling ideas 

  • Any favorite fruit filling is perfect for hand pies or pies. If you don’t have time to make your own, use a jarred or canned one (locally made Red Hills Fruit is a good choice) or find the recipe for Country Apple filling below.
  • For a savory filling, toss bite-sized pieces of cooked ham and broccoli with shredded cheese. Another savory option, spoon leftover stew or chili onto the dough and crimp closed. Find a recipe for Chicken Fricassee on the Basics website, basicsmarket.com.

Other ways to use pie dough

Rollups: Cut dough into strips, spread with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, rollup and bake at 350˚ F until golden brown. 

Mini Quiche: Press dough circles into a mini muffin tin, fill with your favorite savory fillings and a beaten egg, then bake.  

Country Apple Pie Filling (fills 8 hand pies) 


6 favorite apples, peeled if you prefer, cored and chopped, about 6 cups 

6 tablespoons sugar 

Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon, about 1/4 teaspoon zest, 2 tablespoons of juice 

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

Pinch of ground cloves

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 

 2 tablespoons butter, cut into 8 pieces 

1 egg, lightly beaten with a teaspoon of water 

1 teaspoon sugar (sparkling or granulated)  


  1. Follow the instructions for Pie Dough for Hand Pies. 
  2. While dough is chilling, place the apples, sugar, lemon zest and juice, spices and flour into a bowl and fold the ingredients together to fully incorporate the flavors and flour.  
  3. Remove the chilled dough circles from the refrigerator and work with half of the dough at a time to keep the dough at optimal working temperature. Spoon an eighth of the apple filling on the center of the circles. Dot the filling with a piece of the butter. Brush the edges with the beaten egg. Fold and crimp the edges to seal the hand-pies. Place on a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet and complete the remaining pies. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes before baking. 
  4. Lightly brush the tops and edges of the hand pies with the beaten egg. Sprinkle each with a bit of the sugar and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour or until the crust is golden brown. Cool slightly before serving.  
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