Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox
It's not every day that you get to enjoy a hand pie in all of its glory. The perfect balance of crisp golden crunch on the outside and gooey sweet filling on the inside gets packed into a personal-sized treat. Hand pies are a festive addition to any party and can make the most of seasonal ingredients like peaches and apples, but they also tend to get a bad reputation for being slightly more high-maintenance to make than their counterparts like cookies and whole pies. Well, it doesn't have to be that way, thanks to your air fryer.
Why Use an Air Fryer?
You can tweak any of your favorite hand pie recipes—or create your own!—to cook in an air fryer. Overall, an air fryer turns out hand pies in a fraction of the time of regular baking or frying, and the quick-cooking appliance is able to produce crispy, evenly browned foods without an actual deep-fryer, which means you're cutting down mess and using much less oil. For baked hand pies, you no longer have to worry about soggy bottoms or uneven cooking. It's especially great for those who don't wish to make their own crust and prefer to use store-bought. After all, sometimes quick and easy is exactly what's needed!
To start, all you need is the filling of your choice, which can be canned, and store-bought refrigerated pie crust. If you're looking for homemade filling, our personal favorites include the fillings of our Fried Peach Pies and Blueberry-Lavender Hand Pies for sweet summertime snacking, as well as our Salted Caramel-Apple Hand Pie filling for cozy autumn hosting.
The air fryer shortcut method is ideal for when you're using store-bought refrigerated pie crust—or even biscuit dough—because the more delicate handmade crusts turn out best when cooked properly. Below, everything you need to know about making hand pies in an air fryer.
How To Make Hand Pies in the Air Fryer
1. Just as you would build any hand pie, cut the crust dough into big circles (around 5 inches in circumference) and add a hearty spoonful of filling to the center. Brush water around the edge of the crust before folding it over gently in half, covering the filling and closing the hand pie. Make sure to try not to let the filling overflow.
2. Use a fork to cinch the edges of the hand pie, which should now be shaped like a half moon. Use a knife to score the top of the hand pies with three slits to provide venting. If desired, brush egg wash—one egg and one tablespoon of water whisked together—over the top.
3. Heat the air fryer to 375 degrees and make sure to spray the basket or rack with nonstick spray, as well as lightly on the top of the hand pies. Depending on the size of your air fryer, it typically works best to cook in batches of 2 to 4 hand pies at a time. Allow to cook for 10 to 15 minutes until golden-brown. (Usually around 11 or 12 minutes will suffice, depending on the size of your hand pies.) Remove and let cool. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
You get all the warm, gooey deliciousness of a homemade hand pie with half the effort and an even more satisfying crunch.