Tasty Homemade Hand Pies, the Perfect Summer Picnic Food

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There's nothing sweeter for a summer picnic than an easy-to-pack hand pie.  Who wouldn't love that?  Pie!  That you can hold in your hand!

Cherry and Raspberry hand pies recipe made with pie crust or puff pastry

These cherry and raspberry hand pies are perfect for summer outings.

Cherry hand pies on a blue gingham surface.

(Let's ignore, for the moment, that I've been known to eat regular pie with my hands, too.  Especially for breakfast.  These hand pies are way less messy.)

Homemade cherry hand pies on a blue gingham napkin.

And they're so, SO good.  I suppose you could use canned pie filling, but I hate the plastic, gummy taste of those products.  If you're going to go to the trouble to make these, I'd recommend taking a couple extra minutes to whip up some homemade filling, too.  Here are a couple of brilliantly red, delicious options for your hand pies (or regular pies):

Open can of sour cherries.

Cherry Pie Filling Recipe

  • 1 15oz can of tart cherries, with juice (or a similar amount of fresh or frozen cherries)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 t cornstarch
  • 1 T instant tapioca

Mix, and let sit while you make the pie crust.  Note:  I adore tapioca, but if you don't like the texture, feel free just to use cornstarch as a thickener.  

Cherry pie filling recipe ingredients mixed together in a clear bowl.

Raspberry Pie Filling Recipe

  • 16 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen (thawed, with juice)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 t cornstarch
  • 1 T instant (minute) tapioca

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and smash up the berries a bit.  Let sit and thicken while you make the pie crust.

How to Make Cherry and Raspberry Hand Pies (Recipe and Tutorial):

Hand pies need pie crusts, of course.  Start by either making a pie crust (here's my favorite pie crust recipe) or buying pre-made, refrigerated pie crust.  The benefit to making your own pie crust, besides saving money and making it taste just the way you like it, is that you can roll and cut it out in any shape you want for the hand pies.  You'll be more limited with a pre-made crust.

Homemade cherry hand pies being assembled.

I wanted to be as efficient as possible with my pie crust, so I opted for rectangular shaped pies.  (Pie crust really doesn't like to be re-rolled.  It can get so tough it can be hard to bite!).  Place a dollop of your pie filling in the center, wet the edges lightly with water, and fold in half, sealing the filling inside.

If you want to have fun with the shapes, try these darling heart-shaped cherry hand pies.

Homemade cherry hand pies being assembled.

Press the edges firmly to seal.  I like using a fork to get a good seal and a pretty pattern, all at once.  

Cherry and Raspberry hand pies on a blue gingham napkin.

Brush the tops of the pie lightly with water, and sprinkle with sugar.  Prick the tops of the pie with a fork to let steam escape, and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, until the edges of the hand-pies are a light golden brown.

Cherry and Raspberry hand pies in red and white glassine bags.

We're heading up north to cooler weather for the 4th of July, and I'm definitely packing these in our picnic basket!  

Puff pastry cut into rectangles.

Intimidated even by store-bought pie crust?  An incredibly easy and fast variation on hand pies can be made using sheets of puff pastry.  

Puff pastry easy hand pies being assembled.

A box of puff pastry will make 8 hand pies.  (You'll probably have enough filling for 16 pies using either of the recipes above.)  

Homemade hand pies on a white plate.

I tried using red crystal sugar on these.  Next time, I'd stick with the regular clear.  It wasn't so pretty.  Luckily, I'd found these adorable waxed paper bags and pattered waxed paper at my local Michael's, and that covered up most of my aesthetic misadventure.

Homemade hand pies wrapped in red, white, and blue waxed paper, arranged in a basket.

Whichever method of making hand pies is your favorite, these portable pastries are sure to please.

Cherry hand pies, one broken in half so you can see the filling, on a blue gingham surface.

Navigational image leading reader to lemon tartlet recipe.

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Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido

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