Applejack Fried Apple Hand Pies Recipe

| July 7, 2019 | 17 Comments

Fried Apple Hand Pies Recipe

Follow our easy, step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe to learn how to make Applejack Fried Apple Hand Pies. This old timey Southern favorite is good by itself, and even better topped with ice cream. Printable recipe included.


Applejacks, enjoy.
Apple Jacks – Fried Apple Hand Pies, made from scratch.



Many of the recipes here on Taste of Southern are attributed to my mother. She often told me that it was Daddy that taught her how to cook, but I don’t have many memories of him standing over the kitchen stove.

Daddy made some great barbecue when we killed hogs. He also liked to make Potato Candy, and of course he often made these Fried Apple Hand Pies. He called them Apple Jacks, or Applejacks. Not to be confused with the cereal you’ll find in the grocery store however. Smile.

After we moved from the country into more of the city life, Daddy opened up a produce stand in our front yard, out by the roadside. He had three different garden spots that he took care of for the most part, and he left me in charge of the produce stand and it’s customers throughout the day.

When Fall rolled around, we’d often have one or two trucks that would stop by our produce stand with fresh mountain grown apples for sale by the bushel. Daddy would always buy several bushels and resell them in the produce stand. It was always good to see those big fresh apples on the shelves along with our end of summer produce items fresh from the garden.

When the apples came in, Daddy would take to the kitchen to make up a batch of these Applejacks as he called them. They were always so good tasting, and I looked forward to him making them often.

What we didn’t eat right away, would end up in the wooden cabinet with the glass doors that we called the pie safe. They would lay on a plate, uncovered, and disappear pretty quickly from there too. Smile.

Daddy never tried to sell them in the produce stand that I recall. But, I see them ever so often at the Farmers Market, or maybe some old timey type store that I always have to visit when I see one. They are always wrapped in clear plastic and sitting right beside the cash register. I can’t resist their looks or their tastes, I have to have one.

I do hope you’ll enjoy one of my memories of Daddy in the kitchen. I’ll be interested to learn how you like them. So, if you’re ready to give them a try, let’s head on out to the kitchen, and… Let’s Get Cooking!


Applejacks,you'll need these ingredients.
Daddy’s Fried Apple Hand Pies – Apple Jacks, you’ll need these ingredients.

I’m using dehydrated apples that I dried myself. You can make these with fresh apples, but this is the old timey way of doing it.


Applejacks,add the apples.
Place the dehydrated apple slices in a large mixing bowl.

A few years back, I purchased a cheap dehydrator at a local auction I attended each week. Then, it sat in its box on a shelf for well over a year before I finally decided to try it out. What you see above is the first and only thing I ever tried to dry with it.

I think this is about one entire apple, plus about half of another one. I sliced them pretty thin, and even though the dehydrator had five racks in it, it just didn’t hold very much when you spread the slices out on each rack.

The whole drying process took a good 24 hours to get them to this point. So after leaving the little dehydrator machine running all day and all night, this is what I ended up with. Smile.


Applejacks,cover with water.
To re-hydrate the apple slices, you’ll need to cover them with water and let them sit on your counter top overnight.

You can purchase dried apples online or at some local stores and farmers markets. You could also make these with the apple pie filling in the can, or even dice up some fresh apples, whichever you prefer.

Daddy would dry apples out in the sunshine, or most often as not, would use fresh apples to make his Applejacks.


Applejacks,place slices in sauce pot.
Next day, place the apples and enough of the liquid the apples had been sitting in into a medium sized sauce pot. You’ll need enough liquid to cover them good with. Of course, they still float so you’ll just have to adjust accordingly.


Applejacks,add the sugar.
Add the sugar.

This will be a matter of taste. I started out with 1/2 cup, but ended up adding another 1/4 cup after the apples had cooked down for awhile. I like them a bit on the sweet side, but you can adjust the amount according to your own preferences.


Applejacks, add the cinnamon.
Add the cinnamon.


Applejacks,add the nutmeg.
Add the nutmeg.


Applejacks, cook until done.
Place the pot with the apples over Medium heat on your stove top. Bring it to a boil, then REDUCE the heat to a low simmer and let the apples simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until the apples are tender and the liquid has reduced down. You’ll need to stir these about every 15 minutes to be sure they aren’t sticking to the bottom of the pot.

At this point, you should taste the apples to see if you think they need more sugar, cinnamon, or nutmeg. Adjust according to your own personal tastes.

I like to cook them down until there is very little liquid left in the pot. Don’t let it all boil away, but you don’t want a lot of liquid going into your hand pies.


Applejacks, add the butter.
When the apples are cooked to the way you want them, remove them from heat. Add the butter and stir it into the apples until it’s fully melted.



Applejacks, prepare the dough.
Prepare your dough.

I’m making these with the exact same dough I use in our Mama’s Buttermilk Biscuit recipe. Just make the dough for the biscuits, then pinch off a small amount for each hand pie. Flour your board and rolling pin, then roll out each piece of dough into about an 8 inch circle.

You’ll find some pretty good canned biscuit dough in your local grocery store. Get the one’s more like an old fashioned biscuit, you know something GRAND. Smile. Roll them out just like we did above.


Applejacks,add some filling.
Spoon a small amount of the filling onto the dough. Notice I’m not placing it exactly in the center of the dough, but to one side of it. Leave a clear edge around the outside. Also, try to add as little actual liquid. A slotted spoon works great for this.


Applejacks, dab a bit of water around the edge.
Dip your fingers into a bit of cool water and spread the water around the bottom half of the dough. This will help the dough seal together much better in the next steps.


Applejacks,fold the dough over.
Fold the top half of the dough over the filling, keeping the edges together as close as possible.


Applejacks,press edges together.
Work your fingers around the edge of the dough and the filling inside, and gently press the dough layers together.


Applejacks,crimp edges together with back of a fork.
Use the back of a fork to crimp the edges of the pie together. It helps to dip the fork in flour so it doesn’t stick to the dough. Avoid pressing into the area that holds the apple filling.


Applejacks,place in skillet.
Place a skillet over Medium heat on your stove. When the pan is hot, add about 1/2 an inch of oil or shortening to the pan and let that heat up to the frying point. About 350F degrees.

Gently lower one of the apple hand pies into the hot oil. Let it cook until you see the bottom edges starting to turn brown.


Applejacks,flip it over.
When you notice the bottom edge turning brown, use a spatula to gently flip the hand pie over. Be careful, it might splatter a bit. Let the apple hand pie cook on the second side until lightly browned. This will take about 2 to 3 minutes per side. The filling is already cooked, we’re just cooking the dough part now.

As you can see, cast iron pans have a bit of a hot spot in the center. I can’t decide if that’s a smiley face in the middle or if it’s Mickey Mouse ears. Smile.

Depending on the size of your hand pies, you might be able to cook two or three at a time. Daddy always made large one’s so that is how I make them as well.

When they are done, remove them from the skillet and place on a wire rack to drain and cool.




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Applejacks, printbox.

Applejack Fried Apple Hand Pies Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 minutes
  • Total Time: 36 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 hand pies 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American, Southern


Old fashioned Fried Apple Hand Pies, just like my Daddy use to make. He called them Applejacks. We’re making them from scratch and using dried apples.



2 cups Dried Apple Slices, chopped
4 cups water
½ cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
½ teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Tablespoons Salted Butter
Cooking oil for frying


Place dried apple pieces in a medium bowl and cover with water.
Let the apple slices soak overnight to re-hydrate and absorb the water.
Next Day:  Place apples and any liquid in a medium sized sauce pan.
Add enough water to again just cover the apples.
Add the sugar.
Add cinnamon.
Add nutmeg.
Place the pot on Medium heat on the stove top and let come to a low boil.
Reduce heat to Medium-Low and simmer until mixture thickens. About one hour.
Remove from heat, add butter, stir until butter is dissolved.
Let cool completely before making hand pies.
Prepare dough according to our Mama’s Buttermilk Biscuits recipe.
Pinch off a small amount of dough, just bigger than a golf ball.
Place the dough ball on a floured board and roll it out into a thin circle about 8 inches in diameter.
Place about two Tablespoons of the cooled filling on the circle of dough.
Place a little water around the edge of the filling.
Fold the dough over on itself, making a half moon shape.
Press the dough together with your fingers.
Use a fork to crimp the edges of the dough.
Heat about ½ inch layer of oil in a cast iron skillet over Medium heat.
Place one or two pies in the skillet at a time.
Fry the pie about two minutes or until golden brown. Flip the pie and fry the other side as well.
Remove when done and place on a wire rack to cool.
Serve warm or cold as desired.


This is more of the old fashioned way of making hand pies. You can make something similar by using fresh apples that are diced and cooked, or even canned apple pie filling. For the dough, some folks use pie dough, and some use canned biscuit dough instead of making their own.

Keywords: apple jacks, applejacks, fried apple hand pies. southern fried apple hand pies,

Your Comments:

Have you ever had one of these old fashioned fried apple hand pies? What are your memories of them, or what do you think of our recipe.

Share your Applejack thoughts with us. It will only take a minute or two for you to leave your comments in the section below.

Just remember, all comments are moderated.  That just means that I personally read each and everyone before they are approved for viewing on our family friendly website. Thank you in advance for sharing.

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Be Blessed!!!


You might also like this:  Southern Pecan Pie Recipe

Or, maybe this: Buttermilk Pie Recipe

How about this one?  Sweet Potato Pie Recipe




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Category: Desserts

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (17)

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  1. Joyce R says:

    Reading this article I was taken back to my parents’ kitchen, watching my daddy make fried apple pies. This recipe is so close to his. He learned how to make them from my grandmother who would also make fried peach pies in the summer. Thank you for this wonderful memory!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Joyce, I’m glad we could bring back some good memories for you. I enjoyed watching my dad make them, and enjoyed eating them once he finished. Smile. I appreciate your visit today. I appreciate all of your support and do hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  2. Dorothy Berry says:

    I tried these with tinned pie-apples but they have so much goo on them. They were OK but I think would be much better how you did them with dried apples – problem is if I tried to dry fruit in the sun, if the dogs didn’t get them first they would attract rats and mice. But what do you think about this as a variation? I think perhaps you don’t get leeks around your area as I don’t remember you ever mentioning them. But my mother-in-law learnt some super recipes from her neighbours and work colleagues after she moved to Wales (where the leek is actually one of the national emblems). They can go into soup, broth (cawl), be served boiled or steamed with a light cheese sauce, or be used in pies and pasties. Traditionally, of course, pies and pasties are made in the oven, but I adapted your recipe and used them instead of apples in the fried pies. Chop up the leeks (1/2 to 3/4-inch rings is about right), both green and white parts and steam them until tender. (Traditionally they are kept whole, but I really hate getting a long string between my teeth and then nearly choking on the rest of it!). After draining well, lay them on the pastry, season to taste with fine white pepper and then add a small amount of cheese sauce – a little bit of cinnamon or nutmeg is OK but you don’t want to overpower the leeks. Continue as with the Applejacks. For the sauce I used what we call “soetmelk” (that means sweet milk), a local Dutch-style cheese – Cheddar or Jack is a bit too strong and will overpower the taste of the delicately flavoured leeks. Gouda might be OK, or even mozarella. Great on a hike out in the country. I suppose you could also do them with a mild onion instead of leeks. I particularly like this idea of frying hand pies because we are always on the lookout for ideas for good food the Scouts can make in camp (Scouts here do their own cooking, it is part of learning to look after themselves) and of course they then have no genuine ovens. Unfortunately, unless we give them ideas they tend to stick to “Toppers and Smash”, Toppers is a soy mince in a packet and Smash is dehydrated potato powder, also in a packet! Not very inspiring!!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Dorothy, Greetings again to South Africa from North Carolina. I trust you’re doing well. Could you drain some of the “goo” as you called it from those tinned apples? That might would help, if possible. Your savory version sounds interesting. I’ve never tried leeks to my knowledge but I do think there is a variety or two available around my part of the country. The onion and cheese tastes you mention sounds good, but not sure about adding some cinnamon in with it as you mentioned. Were they good? I always enjoy reading your comments and learning new things from you. I’d probably be more like the scouts and want to stick with the Toppers and Smash. I love potatoes as well. Smile. Thank you for your visit and for taking the time to share your comments and story. I will always be grateful for your support. I hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

      • Dorothy Berry says:

        I am about to try again, not only drain the “goo” but also rinse the apple slices well! Yes, the leek hand pies were really nice. I suppose we add a bit of cinnamon or preferably nutmeg to our cheese sauce because that is the Cape Malay way of doing it. Cape Malays are the descendants of slaves and servants brought here from the East Indies in the 1600s and 1700s and a lot of our local traditional recipes are based on what they cooked for their masters. I don’t remember Mama using spices in England to nearly the same extent (perhaps we couldn’t get them?). Oh well, off to slaughter another tin of unsweetened pie apples, hope they’ll turn out nice for Sunday tea! And guess what, some ice cream to go with them!!

  3. Joel Harrison says:

    Howdy Steve….Havent talked to you in quite a while…Hope you are doing good….My sister used to make these pies when I was growing up….Everyone looked so forward to these as they are not your typical “apple pie”…They are BETTER.!! We used to call them Half Moon Pies.!!….You still sneak off to Harris Lake after that big crappie.?….I haven t been in a good while but need to get back there soon…Talk with ya soon my friend….Take Care.!!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Joel, It has indeed been a long time. It’s great to hear from you. Thank you for sharing your memories of the hand pies with us. I bet your sister made some great ones. I’ve been struggling with Vertigo for well over a year now, so haven’t been able to get out and do any fishing. I sure miss it. Maybe you can get up to The Pier and let me know if they are still biting. I haven’t even had any reports from there. Smile. I trust you and your family are doing well. Thank you for stopping by today and be sure to visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  4. Brenda Reaves says:

    Hi Steve. I look forward to your newsletter each week. I was born and raised in South Boston, Virginia so your stories and recipes bring back precious memories for me. My Mama used to make fried pies but with mashed sweet ‘tater filling. I moved away in my late 20’s, but I’m still a country girl at heart! Thank you again for sharing! Wishing you good health. Brenda

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Brenda, I’ve been through the South Boston, VA area several times. It’s a beautiful area. Thank you for sharing your memories of the hand pies with us. I’ve never actually made them with sweet potatoes but bet they are good as well. Perhaps I can try them that way soon. Thank you for being a subscriber to the Newsletter and for your visits and your support of our recipes. Please know the door is always open for you, so stop by any old time. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  5. Theda B. says:

    Hello Steve, My mama made fried pies too. She would lay her apples, peaches and even the peach peelings out in the sun to dry. She used canned biscuits later on but I think she made the dough when I was young. Then she would cook that dried fruit or peelings down and make her pies then fry them in her electric skillet. I sure miss my mama’s fried pies, Thank you for the memories.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Theda, Thank you for sharing your memories of the Fried Pies with us. I’m glad we could help bring back some memories for you. I bet the ones your Mom cooked were delicious. I know you miss her very much. My late brother-in-law had a sister named Theda. I think yours is only the second time I’ve heard such, kinda rare. Smile. I do appreciate your visits and I hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  6. Melinda says:

    My grandmother used to make hand pies like this as well. She cooked her apples down, so they were soft and sweet. I have always preferred my apple pies like that too, not the crunchy “hasn’t been cooked enough” apple pies out there. Sometimes my grandmother also baked her hand pies. I wonder if she used the same recipe as the fried ones? Have you ever baked your hand pies??

    Thanks for the website. Love the recipes, and enjoy memories about my own grandmother and her wonderful food prepared with love!!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Melinda, Thank you for sharing your memories of the Fried Apple Hand Pies with us. I bet the ones your Grandmother made were awesome. I’ve never tried to bake them, but don’t see why that wouldn’t be good too. Perhaps I can try that soon. Thank you for the suggestion. Thank you for your kind words and for all of your support. It’s greatly appreciated. I do hope you’ll visit with us again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  7. Kathy Wolfe says:

    My mom made these with dried apples and canned biscuits in the 1960s. Quite a treat to get to eat one while still warm. I have some pie crusts and cherry pie filling. If I get to feeling froggy I might have cherry pies.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Kathy, Thank you for sharing your memories of the hand pies with us. Yes, they’re great while warm. Hadn’t thought about the cherry pie but those would be good too. I hope you get to make some. I appreciate your visits and your support. Be sure to stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  8. Mary S says:

    Your recipe and pictures are wonderful. My mom didn’t make those, but she did make pans and pans of apple dumplings in late fall. Brings back memories.
    I’m interested in the potato candy? Do you have a recipe?

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Mary, Thank you for your kind comment on our recipes and pictures. I do hope you might get to try the hand pies soon. I do have a recipe for the Potato Candy and hope to share that soon. Keep watching. I appreciate your visits and your support. I hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

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