Cherry Hand Pies

Cherry hand pie broke open on a cutting board.

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5 from 2 reviews

Featuring perfectly sweetened sour cherries baked inside of the flakiest pastry, these Cherry Hand Pies could be the poster child for the best summertime dessert. Not only are they hand-held, which makes them perfect for a potluck or outdoor gathering, they are also easier to make than you might think! Want to make these ahead of time? These hand pies are perfect for assembling and freezing, and then baking right from frozen.


For Pie Dough:

For Cherry Filling:

  • 1 pound (16 ounces or 450 grams) pitted sour cherries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) tart cherry juice (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) cold unsalted butter, diced (optional)

For Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Raw sugar (for the tops of the hand pies, optional)


  1. Make pie crust and rest preferably overnight, or at a minimum of 4 hours.
  2. Add cherries, sugar, and cornstarch to a large bowl and toss to coat. Mix in lemon juice and cherry juice. Let sit until the sugars have started to dissolve, about 5 minutes (or longer if you are using frozen cherries).
  3. Transfer all ingredients to a large pot.
  4. Turn the heat on to medium and cook, stirring frequently until the filling is bubbling throughout. Turn off of the heat, stir in almond extract and butter.
  5. Pour into a shallow container and let cool completely (this will take several hours or overnight). 
  6. Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and the water together in a bowl.
  7. Line a 12x18” sheet pan with a piece of parchment.
  8. Roll out 1 disk of pie dough to about ⅛” thickness. Stamp out at least six 4” circles from the dough. Pile the dough scraps on top of one another and roll out one more time, enough to get at least 1-2 more circles. Repeat this process with the other dough disk to yield roughly 16-18 dough circles.
  9. Brush the egg wash around the edges of 1 circle of pie dough. Place about ¼ cup of cooled cherry filling in the middle. Place a circle of pie dough over the top and press down on the edges to seal the two pieces together. Crimp the edges of the bottom to the top to further seal the pie and to add a decorative touch.
  10. Place the pies on the sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining dough circles. When finished, place the sheet pan inside a freezer to chill, while the oven preheats.
  11. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and set a rack to the second-lowest position in the oven. Remove the pies from the freezer, brush the tops with an egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar.
  12. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the pie dough is lightly golden all over.


If you don’t have and don't want to purchase cherry juice, you can substitute it with water, though it will have a little less cherry flavor and will be lighter in color.

The cherry filling can be made up to 7 days ahead of time.

Can't find sour cherries or want to use sweet cherries? Use just 1/3 cup of sugar in your filling.

If at any point your pie dough is getting too warm, simply place it in the refrigerator or freezer to chill until it is easy to work with

Filling the hand pies is a delicate balance of not overfilling them, and not under-filling them. If you find that you are having trouble closing the hand pies, then use less filling.

It's best to chill the hand pies briefly before baking as the instructions direct, or you can chill them overnight and bake the next day!

These can be frozen, unbaked, for up to 3 months. Freeze them flat on a sheet tray for 24 hours. Then, transfer to a bag with as much air removed as possible. The pies can be baked from frozen. Follow the instructions, but the total baking time will increase by about 10 minutes.