These sweet and tart Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies are adorable and delicious, making them the most amazing sweet snacks or indulgent dessert! A homemade strawberry rhubarb pie filling is cooked on the stovetop and then spooned into pie crusts that are sealed, deep fried, and glazed with a simple sugar glaze.
While I’ve been cooking with rhubarb for ages, it’s interesting to learn that this fruit-like vegetable only started to grow in popularity around the 18th and 19th century once affordable sugar was more available to the general public. This makes sense since the natural tartness of the rhubarb requires sugar to balance out our favorite sweet dishes.
While I love rhubarb as a hero ingredient, another favorite that compliments rhubarb beautifully is strawberry. Strawberry rhubarb pie is one of my favorite favorites, which is why using fresh strawberries and tart rhubarb was the obvious choice for these homemade hand pies.
- 4-6 cups shortening or vegetable oil (for frying) – you need enough oil to create depth in the pot and also to maintain a consistent temperature once it’s heated
- unbaked pie crust – refrigerated pie crust is super convenient and is already rolled to the perfect thickness, but for the ultimate buttery crust, take a few extra minutes to make this butter pie crust.
- 2 cups chopped strawberries – use sweet, ripe strawberries; measure after cutting into pieces
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb – you can use any variety of rhubarb, see notes about preparing rhubarb
- 1 cup sugar – you can adjust the amount of sugar to your liking and depending on the ripeness/sweetness of your fruit
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch – this will help thicken the pie filling without pectin or other thickening agents; mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water to make a cornstarch slurry
- 2 cups powdered sugar – the easily dissolvable base of many glazes and icings
- ¼ cup whole milk – you can also use heavy cream, the lighter the milk, the more translucent the glaze will be
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup – this gives a gorgeous sheen to the glaze and also helps it set dry to the touch, you can leave it out if preferred
For a full list of ingredients and their measurements, 📋 please view my printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Rather than brushing the cooked pies with a sugar glaze, you can dust with powdered sugar.
When we bake pies, sometimes we sprinkle coarse sugar (turbinado sugar) over the tops, but you would need to first glaze these deep fried pies in order for the sugar to stick.
We use a Dutch oven to hold the oil for frying, it holds the heat better than a standard metal pot; a deep fryer is ideal, if you have one.
Substitutions and Variations
- Hand pies can be cooked in a number of ways – bake them using the instructions in this recipe for Apple Hand Pies, or air fry them using the instructions in these Cherry Cheesecake Hand Pies, but….we deep fried these babies. Is deep frying delicious? You bet it is. The MOST delicious.
- For baked or air fried mini hand pies, use a sharp knife to cut small slits in the tops of the pies for venting. We do not cut slits in the pies when deep frying as the filling will seep out during cooking.
- We use refrigerated pie crust for ease, but make homemade butter pie crust if you’d like!
- Substitute canned pie filling or even a thick jam if you don’t want to make homemade strawberry rhubarb pie filling.
- We use 6″ round pie crusts to fill and fold dough in half for half-moon shaped hand pies. You can alternately use a smaller (e.g., 4″) round cutter to make circles and use two for each pie. Place the pie filling in the center of one round. Place a top crust over the filling and pinch all the way around for a small circular hand pie.
- Had enough strawberry rhubarb pie? (Is that even possible?) Use the same basic steps here to make any flavor hand pie – you can even turn these into savory Chicken Pot Pie Hand Pies!
- Consider adding a squeeze of lemon juice to the pie filling for added tartness.
PREP: Begin heating shortening or vegetable oil for frying. Use a heavy saucepan (Dutch oven is preferred) and fill at least 4” deep with oil. Heat the oil until the temperature reaches and maintains 375°F. Heating the oil can take 15-20 minutes, so you may want to begin this step while the pie filling is cooking.
Step 1: Rinse and hull the strawberries. Dice into small pieces and measure out 2 cups. Rinse the rhubarb stalks. Remove leaves and cut the ends off the stalks – place in garbage (rhubarb leaves are toxic.) Dice the rhubarb stalk into small pieces and measure out 2 cups.
Step 2: Place chopped strawberries, rhubarb, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture breaks down and begins to simmer.
Step 3: Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for approximately 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until mixture is a jam-like consistency with small pieces of fruit.
Step 4: Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Add the cornstarch slurry to the strawberry rhubarb pie filling and stir in well. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until pie filling has thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 5: Prepare pie crust. If using refrigerated pie crust, set it out prior to preparing pies so that it can come to room temperature, making it easier to work with.
Step 6: Roll out pie crust to ⅛″ thick on a sheet of parchment paper or a lightly floured surface. Use a large cookie cutter or an inverted bowl to cut out circles from the pie crust. We used a bowl about 6″ in diameter here. You can make these any size, but the amount of filling you will be able to fit inside will vary.
Step 7: Cut rounds from all of the pie crust. Gather the leftover scraps of crust and re-roll to continue cutting out circles. Work the dough as little as possible to keep crust tender. Crust should be at least ⅛″ thick.
Step 8: Spoon some of the pie filling into the center of each round. We used ⅛ cup in these 6″ rounds. Adjust for the size of your rounds. You want as much filling as you can fit into the pie while being able to cleanly seal the edges all the way around. If there is too much pie filling and it gets on the edges, the pies won’t seal well and may pop open during frying.
Step 9: Moisten the edge of the crust with water. Fold the hand pie in half and press the crust together along the edges to make half-moons. I like to start at the two ends and work toward the center. If your pie crust is not too thin, you should be able to lift the pies up while sealing, which helps keep the filling down in the middle and away from the edges.
Step 10: Check the temperature of your fry oil to make sure it is at a steady 375°F. Carefully drop the hand pie into the hot oil and cook for a couple minutes on each side, until the pie is deep golden brown.
Step 9: Lift the cooked hand pie from the oil and set on several layers of paper towel or some brown paper bags to soak up the excess oil. Continue cooking remaining pies.
Step 10: Whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and corn syrup in a small bowl until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Step 11: Use a pastry brush to coat the hand pies with the glaze. The glaze will go on easiest while the pies are still warm. I like to coat them as they come out of the fryer rather than waiting until all are done cooking. As they cool, the flaky pie crust tends to crumble when brushing on the glaze.
GARNISH/SLICE/SERVE: Hand pies are ready to eat as soon as the glaze sets, about 10-15 minutes. Consider serving with a side of vanilla ice cream.
Tips For Making Perfect Hand Pies
- You’ll only need ⅛ cup of pie filling otherwise you run the risk of the pie not sealing properly and the filling escaping the hand pies while cooking.
- If the pie crusts are too thin, the pie will split apart during frying. The crust should be thick enough that the folded pie can be lifted and handled before adding to the hot oil.
- If you are using pre-made refrigerated pie crust, it may be too cold straight from the refrigerator. Set it out a bit in advance to warm to room temperature. This makes it more pliable and easier to work with. You do not want the pie crusts too warm either so simply take them from the refrigerator as you are beginning to set up and they should be ready to unroll after 15-30 minutes.
- I’ve used corn syrup for the glaze which gives it a lovely sheen and dries well.
- You can seal the edges of your hand pie dough by pinching the edges with your fingers or crimping with a fork. If you use a fork, make sure that you get a good press to properly seal the crust edges without puncturing the pie dough.
- If you prefer eating with seasonal produce then it’s good to keep in mind that rhubarb is in season from late winter to early summer. Don’t forget to make a rhubarb crisp while you’re at it!
These hand pies are small pie dough rounds that contain a sweet fruit filling, crimped together to hold the filling. Hand pies are then cooked and glazed for a perfect, self-contained treat. Remember the hand pies in the grocery store that were popular when we were kids? These are so reminiscent of those indulgent goodies. We love this combo of strawberry rhubarb pie filling right in a single serving package, but hand pies can be made with so many different fillings – both sweet and savory!
Yes, you can! These hand pies can be cooked in the air fryer for 10 minutes when set at 350℉. It’s as simple as assembling your pies as you would to fry in the Dutch oven, lightly spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil and place your hand pies in the air fryer.
Make sure that the hand pies are not layered on top of each other. Depending on how many you intend to make, and the size of your air fryer basket, you may need to make your hand pies in batches.
Deep fried hand pies are best eaten fresh from the frier, although leftover hand pies can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or on the countertop in an area that is cool and dry.
To reheat, place your stored hand pies in the oven or a toaster oven for about 10-15 minutes. You may want to add extra glaze in case the stored hand pies have lost some of their glaze through the reheating process.
Freezing Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies or Excess Rhubarb
Rhubarb stalks freeze extremely well, which is great if you have an abundance from your garden, or you have leftover stalks from other recipes that you don’t intend to use up immediately.
Simply wash the rhubarb stalks, slice them and store them in an airtight freezer bag for up to 3 months. When ready to use your excess rhubarb for these hand pies, I suggest that you first allow your frozen rhubarb to thaw and then add them with the other hand pie ingredients to your pan to make the pie filling.
The assembled hand pies can also be prepared and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, heat up your cooking oil and drop the frozen pies straight in. They will take a bit longer to cook, but you really don’t need to thaw them first.
How To Prepare Rhubarb
If cooking with rhubarb is new to you, then you may be wondering how to go about preparing it for recipes such as these strawberry rhubarb hand pies. Here are a few easy steps to follow:
- If you’re using homegrown rhubarb then you’ll need to cut the plant close to the roots as well as remove and discard the leaves (which are poisonous to both humans and animals). Pulling the stalks from the ground rather than cutting them is even better if you want to encourage new growth.
- Wash your rhubarb well. You can then opt to peel thicker stalks with tougher exteriors, otherwise peeling is optional and not necessary for using rhubarb in recipes.
- Slice or chop your rhubarb stalks as directed by the recipe used or you can freeze prepared rhubarb for future recipes.
If you tried these Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below.
Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies
- 4-6 cups shortening or vegetable oil for frying
- 2 cups chopped strawberries
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 prepared pie crusts unbaked
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- Place chopped strawberries, rhubarb, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture breaks down and begins to simmer. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for approximately 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until mixture is a jam-like consistency with small pieces of fruit. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Combine cornstarch and a tablespoon of water to make a slurry. Add the cornstarch slurry to the pie filling. Cook 2-3 minutes longer until fruit mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Begin heating shortening or vegetable oil for frying. Use a heavy saucepan (Dutch oven is preferred) and fill at least 4” deep with oil. Heat the oil until the temperature reaches and maintains 375°F.
- Prepare pie crusts. If using pre-made crust, remove from packaging. Unroll crust just before you are ready to cut so that it doesn’t dry out. The crust should be thick enough that it doesn’t fall apart during cooking. For pre-made crusts, do not roll any thinner than they came in the package. If you are using homemade pie crust – roll crust to about ⅛” thickness.
- Use a bowl or biscuit cutter (6-inch diameter used here) to cut circles from the dough. Gently gather together any scraps and re-roll to cut out additional circles.
- Lay out crust circles on a lightly floured surface.
- Spoon about ⅛ cup of strawberry rhubarb filling into the center of the circle.
- Brush a bit of water around the edge of the circle to help the sides seal. Fold the pie crust in half to form a crescent shape. Press down (work from the outer edge in) the edges and crimp with your fingers (or a fork).
- Gently drop one or two pies at a time into the hot oil. Do not move the pie around very much while it is frying. After 2-3 minutes, gently turn the pie over in the oil. The hand pies are heavier than most things we deep fry and they will spend most of the cook time floating toward the bottom of the pot. When the crust is golden brown on both sides, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon.
- Place cooked hand pies on several paper towels or brown paper bags to soak up the excess oil.
- Continue cooking the remaining hand pies.
- While hand pies are still warm, whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and corn syrup until completely combined.
- Brush glaze over both sides of the warm pies and place on a cooling rack to dry.
- Serve warm (a little messy!) or once the glaze has dried.