Fried apple pies, with a golden, crispy crust and warm, sweet apple filling, are a treasured family recipe that has delighted dessert lovers for generations. In this post, we share the secrets behind perfecting this classic dessert, providing a tried-and-true guide to help you create these irresistible treats at home.
Follow our step-by-step instructions to master the art of making delicious fried apple pies. Sometimes, old recipes are the best, and you’ll find that this one brings back warm memories of homemade cooking.
This fried apple pie recipe is different from the fried pies you buy at the truck stop, in a restaurant, or even those found at apple orchards in the fall. Unlike the McDonald’s fried apple pie, this is an old-fashioned recipe, with a filling from dried apples and a crust crisp around the edges and slightly softer in the middle. If your grandmother made fried apple pies when you were growing up, this is the recipe you’ve been searching for!
And let’s be honest—this recipe is labor-intensive and will take some time. But it’s so worth it! You can make these delicious fried apple pies for special occasions or surprise your family on a Saturday afternoon. My sweet Granny used to make them randomly, and we would come in the house from playing and find a plate of apple hand pies waiting on the table.
Looking for an easier recipe for baked apple hand pies? Try these French apple turnovers!
Fried apple pie recipe
Granny would make these pies for no particular reason other than to have something sweet in the house. They never lasted more than a day or so, and although best when hot from the skillet, they are also delicious at room temperature.
A few years ago, I decided to make Granny’s fried apple pies, and when I called her to find out how, she said, “Just mix up your dough and stew your apples with a little sugar, then roll out each ball of dough and put a spoonful of apples inside and then fry it.”
Uh, ok. Could you be a little more specific, please?
I thought lessons were in order, so when Granny came to visit, we had Fried Apple Pies Day. Those turned out perfectly because she did most of the work. After she left, I tried them on my own and realized I hadn’t written anything down. So I had to have another Fried Apple Pies Day with Granny, in which I did the work and remembered to write things down.
Since then, my grandmother has passed away, and I’ve made these fried pies many times. I’ve never changed a thing because they are perfect, just the way she made them. And I get emails from readers all the time, saying this recipe is exactly the way their own grandmother made fried apple pies.
Ingredients and tools needed
Scroll down for printable recipe with full ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.
You’ll need a good skillet to fry the pies in, plus a rolling pin and if you choose, a pastry cutter, although I never use one of those.
- Dried apples – I use these from Amazon if I can’t get to an apple farm.
- Sugar – just use regular granulated sugar.
- Self-rising flour – always White Lily.
- Shortening or Lard – I like Crisco best.
- Butter – always unsalted Land O’ Lakes brand.
- Cold water – use ice and then strain it.
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Substitutions and variations
- Substitute dried peaches for the dried apples.
- You can use refrigerated pie biscuit dough if you’re in a hurry.
- You can use store-bought pie crust in a pinch, but we highly recommend giving the homemade pie crust a chance! You can do it!
How to make fried apple pies
We’ve broken down the steps for this recipe, giving you a good tutorial. While it looks like a lot, once you get going it’s pretty easy! Please read through all the steps before starting.
Step 1. For this fried apple pie recipe, start with 3 or 4 bags of dried apples and put them in a pot with enough water to just cover the apples.
Recipe Tip: If you can’t find dried apples in your grocery store—and don’t buy the commercial ones in the aisle with all the dried fruit because they take forever to cook down and are expensive—try these I found online. The best place to get dried apples is at an apple farm if there’s one nearby. And don’t be shy about purchasing because the bags will keep for a while. Or you can make your own dehydrated apples.
Step 2. Add about 2 cups of sugar. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer and cook down until the apples are tender and juicy. This will require quite a bit of tasting since that’s the only way to know when they’re perfect.
You’ll need to take your spoon and sort of chop at the apples to help break them up. Or you can use a tool like a ground beef masher. And you’ll probably need to add additional water. Stir frequently so the apples don’t stick to the bottom of the pot, where they will scorch, and then you’ll have fried apple pies that taste very bad.
Scorched apples = bad fried apple pies.
After about an hour, your apples should be the consistency of a chunky applesauce. Taste them again and make sure they’re sweet enough and softened enough.
Step 3. Remove the apples from the heat and let them cool while you prepare the fried pie dough.
Recipe Tip: Place some of the apples in another dish or spread out on a baking sheet to help them cool faster.
Fried pie dough
Step 1. For the fried pie dough, start with four heaping cups of self-rising flour and add shortening and butter. Mix the shortening and butter into the flour with a fork or pastry blender, or do what I do and dig your fingers in there.
Recipe Tip: I recommend White Lily flour because it’s lower in protein and gives you a more tender, flaky crust.
Mix well until the flour crumbles and has chunks a little smaller than peas. Make sure to incorporate all the shortening and butter into the flour. This is what’s going to make your fried pie dough tender.
The dough should get crumbly like this.
Step 2. Stir ice water into the flour mixture with a fork, scraping underneath the dough to mix in all the dry flour. Mix until the dough is sticky and there is no way to pick it up.
Step 3. Dip both hands in flour, then sprinkle a little flour on top of the fried pie dough, lift it, and sprinkle a bit more flour along the sides. Again, you want to get the dough where you can easily lift and turn and begin to knead the dough.
Once you can pick up the dough, turn it onto whatever lightly floured surface you will use to roll it out. Sprinkle on additional flour so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands, and knead it well until you have a smooth, non-sticky dough for your fried apple pies.
Putting together the fried pies
You have the dough and the apple filling, so let’s talk about how to make fried apple pies—time to put it all together!
Step 1. First, pinch off small pieces of fried pie dough and roll into balls. The balls should be slightly smaller than a ping pong ball. I usually get about 30.
Step 2. Take each dough ball and roll out until it’s thin, then put a heaping spoonful or two of apple filling on one side, leaving an edge for sealing. It usually takes one or two pies to be able to judge precisely how much filling to spoon on. If you put too much, the apples will break through the dough in places and ooze out once you start frying.
You want just enough to make a nice pocket when you fold over the dough. For me, that’s usually about a tablespoon and 1/2.
Step 3. Dip your finger in water, rub the edge around the apples, then carefully fold the dough and press down. The water acts as a sealant and will keep the dough from separating. Then take a fork and crimp the edges together even more.
Recipe Tip: Sealing the pies with a dab of water is essential. If you miss this step, the pies can seep open during frying, leaking out filling and making a real mess in your skillet.
Step 4. Lay each pie on a large cookie sheet and continue until they are all ready.
Recipe Tip: You want to have this part fully completed before you start frying because they will only take a minute or two per side to fry.
Frying apple pies
Once you have all the fried pie dough rolled out and all the pies made, add about 3/4 cup of shortening and a couple of tablespoons butter (depending on the pan size) to a large skillet and turn to medium-high heat to melt.
Keep the shortening nearby because you will be adding more. The melted shortening should come up to not quite an inch in the pan, so it doesn’t cover the pies but comes about halfway up the sides.
Keep the temperature of the hot oil at medium-high, and when it sizzles, if you drop in water, it’s ready to go. Carefully lay two or three pies in the skillet, only two if your skillet is small, as you don’t want to overcrowd them.
To make this process foolproof, use a thermometer and keep the oil at 375°F. Cook the pies for 01:15 on each side. They will turn out perfectly every time!
After about a minute, peek underneath one of the fried apple pies, and if it’s golden brown, then go ahead and turn them. The dough is thin, and the apples are already cooked, so it only takes about three minutes to cook the pies.
You must watch them the entire time so they don’t burn because it can happen quickly. After a few batches, you’ll probably need to add more shortening and butter to the skillet, so let it heat before you add more pies.
Recipe Tip: You may need to clean out the skillet and start over with fresh oil if the oil starts burning.
Lay the fried apple pies on a large platter lined with paper towels or parchment paper lined wire rack. Cover the platter with tin foil if not serving immediately until you’re ready to serve.
Or sit the platter out on the counter, and the fried apple pies will mysteriously disappear. Of course, these homemade fried apple pies are best eaten within two days, which is usually not a problem.
No. This recipe works best with dried apples. Fresh apples will have too much liquid and will have a different consistency.
You can use puff pastry or refrigerated biscuit dough, although, if you’re trying to capture the nostalgia, homemade fried pie dough is the only way to go.
You can use peanut oil or another neutral-flavored oil; just be sure it has a high smoke point.
You probably could, although we have never tried it. Not sure you would get the same crispy texture.
I do not recommend a deep fryer. One side at a time in a skillet works best for this recipe.
Since you’re not baking these pies, you do not need an egg wash.
Yes! You can cook the apples several days before making the pies and make the dough a day in advance. Then, wrap the finished dough in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. When ready, allow the dough and the apple filling to come to room temperature, and then make the fried pies.
The fried pies don’t have to be refrigerated. Place in an airtight container on the counter.
I would not freeze the cooked pies. You can freeze the dough balls and freeze the apple filling separately, then thaw and follow the steps.
To freeze the dough balls, place on a baking sheet overnight. Once frozen, place the dough balls in a large freezer bag.
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Fried Apple Pies
- 4 (6 oz.) bags dried apples
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 cups self-rising flour, heaping
- ¾ cup Crisco shortening
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 ½ -2 cups ice water
- Additional flour for mixing dough
- 2 cups Crisco shortening
- 4 tablespoons butter
- Put apples in a large pot or Dutch oven and add enough water to almost cover. Stir in two cups sugar.
- Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
- Turn heat down just a little so apples continue to simmer, breaking up apples with spoon as they cook. Cook until apples are tender and juicy, stirring frequently. You may need to add more water as they cook. Do not allow the apples to get dry. Remove apples from heat and allow to cool.
- Start with 4 heaping cups of self-rising flour and cut in 3/4 cup Crisco shortening and 1/4 cup butter with a fork or your fingers. Mix well until shortening/butter is incorporated into the flour.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of ice water to flour, and add additional ice water as needed to get all the dry flour mixed in. Mix with a fork until dough is sticky.
- Dip hands in flour and sprinkle additional flour onto dough so that you can knead it. Use additional flour as needed to be able to knead the dough until smooth and non-sticky.
- Pinch off pieces of dough to make balls slightly smaller than ping pong balls. You should get about 30 balls.
- Roll each ball out until thin.
- Add a spoonful or two of apples to one side of rolled dough. After the first couple, you will learn exactly how much apples to place on the dough. If you put too much, the dough will not cover without tearing.
- Dip your finger in water and rub around the edges of the dough where the apples are. This will help seal the pies.
- Carefully fold the dough over and press the edges together lightly to seal. Using a fork, crimp the edges to fully seal.
- Once all the pies are ready, add about 1/2 cup Crisco shortening and 2 tablespoons butter to a large skillet and heat on medium-high or 375°F.
- Once the grease is hot enough to sizzle from a drop of water, carefully lay two or three pies in the skillet.
- Cook about a minute to a minute and half on each side until they are golden brown. (Set a timer for 01:15.)
- Lay pies on a large platter lined with paper towels and serve immediately.
Tips for the Filling for Fried Pies
- If you can’t find dried apples in your grocery store—and don’t buy the commercial ones in the aisle with all the dried fruit because they take forever to cook down and they are expensive—try these that I found online.
- As the apples are cooking, you’ll need to take a wooden spoon and break them up a bit.
- Watch the apples carefully and add additional water if the water starts cooking down too much.
- Stir frequently so the apples don’t stick to the bottom of the pot and scorch.
- Once the apples have cooked completely, you can place some of the apples in another dish to help them cool faster.
Tips for the Dough
- Sprinkle on additional flour to the ball of dough so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands and knead it well until you have a smooth, non-sticky dough for your fried apple pies.
- You want to make sure all the shortening and butter is incorporated into the flour.
Tips for Frying the Pies
- The oil needs to stay hot. Pies will cook quickly and also burn quickly.
- While frying the pies, you may need to clean out the skillet and start over with fresh oil if the oil starts burning.
- Remove cooked pies to a paper-towel lined platter.
Tips for Storing Fried Pies
- These fried pies do not need to be refrigerated. They will keep for a few days in an airtight container but are best eaten within two days.
Update Notes: This post was originally published April 14, 2011, and on April 21, 2023, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.
I’m sorry if this is a dumb question, but does 30 servings equal 30 pies?
Sound so yummy! Cannot wait to try. One question… the link for dried apples is for a 3 lb bag on Amazon. I know how others can hijack listings. Is this the same brand? Thanks!
I’m not sure if you tried to add a link but the system won’t allow that. Any brand of dried apples should work but they are best if they don’t have a lot of preservatives, so from an apple farm or local purveyor. The ones that come from large manufacturers will work but they take MUCH longer to cook down.
These are amazing! I have made these multiple times, and they have always tasted great. I would recommend adding a pinch of cinnamon to the apples for some flavor. The dough goes SO well with the sweet apple filling. I have/will be using this recipe whenever I need to make apple pies.
Thanks, Bebe! I think cinnamon would be great for flavor. My Granny never added it so I don’t either because I want them to taste just like hers — but I know it would be delicious!
Thank you so much for posting this!! I have great childhood memories at my grandparent’s farm of setting out apple slices in the early fall sunshine to dry, knowing they would be saved for a special occasion, then months later, sitting in my grandma’s kitchen, watching her and my mother make huge batches of these for the whole family. My grandma passed several years ago, and my mother was recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, so this is one of those cherished recipes that I never had a chance to learn from them. As an adult, I’m beginning to understand the importance of recording everything – family recipes, history, stories – and am so grateful for posts like this that share and record these traditions!
I’ve already made one trip to the apple orchard, and the dehydrator is on its 3rd round of drying apple slices, so I can’t wait to give these a try! Thank you so much!
I love stories like this. Hope you loved the apple pies!
Thank you so much for this recipe. I watched my Mom make this so many times. I’m 77 years of age and have made these pies a lot too. My Son asked me today to make them and I thought I would see how other people do them. Yours is almost exactly the way my Mom taught me. I would give you a hug if I could, but, since I can’t I will ask God to Bless you and your family.
Well, this made me cry. This is probably my favorite recipe on the blog, because of making it with my Granny. Thank you so much for this lovely comment.
I am so grateful you posted this recipe. I knew about the dried apples but could not find the correct recipe for the pie dough. I was to young to learn to make these when grandmother was still alive and sorry to say in my teen years to busy and of course she didn’t write it down. When she passed in 1993 a close friend of the family asked what she could bring for the family ham or fried pies and you can guess what I chose. She brought them to the house and didn’t make it to the family dinner at my sister’s. I have been trying to recreate this recipe ever since. I was grateful to have mother there to make the Thanksgiving feast everybody loved I did everything and answered my questions and wrote everything down. As a matter of fact I made everyone in the family a little cookbook of her recipes at the holidays and her menu of what she served with their favorites like tea cakes and banana nut bread. Everyone loved it especially my niece who uses it at the holidays. You are right about keeping these recipes alive it keeps them alive too.
Thank you! I love your cookbook idea!
Every time I have made these they are delicious! But I have 1 question… everytime I fried the pies, the crisco/butter would immediately burn so I could only make 1 batch at a time. Do you know how I could fix it?
You may need to turn it down some. If I’m making a big batch then I usually will change out the grease about halfway through so you may have to do that. It’s kind of a pain but it keeps your pies tasting good.
Love this crust. My Granny and Mama made these when I was a child – I am 74 now and make them as well. I did not have a good crust recipe till yours. Thank you! This dough will keep several days in the fridge and is just as good. I wonder if you have ever frozen the dough – in balls or in the whole blob. I would like to make ahead and sometimes I can’t get around to the pies when I had planned. I made mine with lard — tried baking some as my Granny did – not as good but a tip from a reader said put some lard on the cookie sheet – will try that next time when weather is cold and don’t mind running the oven as much.
Thank you! I’m sad to say that I have frozen the dough…but then forgot to ever use it!
Can you use milk instead of water in the dough or does that make a difference cause I’ve tried to make them and always used milk and they fall apart
I suggest trying water. Milk makes a softer dough. Thanks!
What if I can’t get dried apples? Are there any other options?
I had a reader say she used fresh apples so that would work. The dried apples are what people have always used because they hold their shape and texture a little better.
@Lucy Brewer, I faced this issue too, finding the dried apples my mom used, dehydrated them myself, in the oven, 150 degrees, about 6 hours. I have a dehydrate cycle but if you do not, open the door a bit. Before dehydrating I purchased a old-fashioned apple peeler, corer, slicer, about $20 (good investment). The apple peeler slices just the right thickness of the one’s my mom boughttoo. It took me a few tries to get it right but eventually I did by watching videos online. I was snacking on the apples way before I tried to make turnovers. My attempt was with premade pie crusts in those aluminum foil pans, a disaster, too flaky to fry. I kneaded them myself and rolled, remembered how to fill and seal. That is why I am so happy for this recipe, from the other commentors, I know this is the right type of crust to hold up to frying
I’ve actually made them with a can of apple pie filling (commonly found in every grocery store, in the baking aisle, along with cherry pie filling ..etc) So, at first, I was upset that I didn’t have the dried apples and that the pie filling was going to ruin it..my expectations were low. But to my shock, they were delicious..perhaps even tastier bc it turned out that the can stuff is exactly the flavor you’re trying to achieve with the dry apples. This method has ended up becoming the tastiest, in the 5 times that I’ve made fried apples n it still surprises me. The only thing I did was enhance the flavor by adding in cinnamon, a touch of brown sugar and more butter. It may not sound appealing, especially if you dislike
the way a pie tastes using store bought canned fruit (me..yuck😤) But somehow, perhaps the frying n the butter ..it concocts some kind of a magic when used in fried pies.
Butter helps everything, right?! I wouldn’t make the fried pies with canned filling because I think it would be too watery and also it’s a little sweet to me and has an artificial taste. I like the texture of the dried apples when cooked, which is different from canned filling. But if it works in a pinch then by all means go for it!
What is the purpose of adding butter to the frying oil. Not a problem, just need to understand if important for the flavor or what?
Yes, I think the butter adds a little flavor.
Closest to my “mawmaw”s I have seen. Fond memories of seeing the drying racks Pawpaw built for her, full of apples from their trees, drying outside, back in the 60’s in NC. You never used anything but dried apples for these. Tried this recipe as I know she used more of a biscuit dough (maybe even just her same biscuit dough with nothing changed I now wonder) as they were not flaky at all. Looked just like in your pics, but mine came out rather flaky and crispy. Were delicious (neighbor said were “crack!”” ) but still not just like Mawmaw made. She taught me how to make just about everything she cooked, but never these sadly. Only change I made was I cooked my dried apples (found mine at an Amish shop in Stuart’s Draft, VA) with some water and unsweetened apple juice so that I didn’t add any sugar and added just a touch of cinnamon so spices didn’t overpower the apple flavor.
Your description is exactly the way my grandmother used to make them, with one difference: instead of using a fork to crimp the edges, she used her thumb. The finished pies always had indentations of her thumb all around—a mark of love. This was my mother’s favorite food, and my grandmother used to hide a box full in the back bedroom at family get-togethers so she could give them to Mom as we were leaving… Miss them both so much, and I can’t wait to make these for my own family. A taste I haven’t had since the early 1990s.
Thank you for the perfect instructions!
Thank you! I hope you enjoy!
This is the best illustrated recipe I have ever used! Sometimes you just need a picture to make sure the dough is the consistency It should be. This is the first time I have tried to make these because I just knew they would never measure up to the memory of my grandmothers pies. You gave me back my confidence, and I nailed it!
Thank you so much !
Thank YOU so much for your sweet comment! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe and the instructions were good for you. This is one of my favorites because I’ll always remember making these pies with my sweet Granny.