Pumpkin pie is a constant in most families’ Thanksgiving dessert spread. We’ve accepted it, yet there are times when we crave some sort of change. To solve this pressing issue, we’ve got the perfect recipe to challenge the status quo: cranberry hand pies.

With just enough of the traditional Thanksgiving flavors (ahem, cranberry sauce) in a crispy pie crust, but still a departure from the slightly repetitive slice of pumpkin pie, these tangy cranberry hand pies will add some much needed zest to your holiday weekend.

Cranberry Hand Pies

  • Prep Time:3 hrs 15 mins
  • Cook Time:17 mins
  • Total Time:3 hrs 32 mins
  • Servings:16
  • Medium


  • 3 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cup sugar divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen unsalted butter cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon optional
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 4 cups cranberries either fresh or frozen
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice preferably fresh
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant tapioca non-starch
  • 1/2 vanilla bean split lengthwise with vanilla scraped out
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • Raw sugar
  • Step 1

    To make the dough, combine 3 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Then add the butter and mix to incorporate everything until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Use a mixer and slowly drizzle 1/2 cup ice water into the bowl. Mix and knead until dough begins to form. If dough is too slimy to the touch, add more flour.

    Rachel Wine
  • Step 2

    Divide the finished dough in half and flatten each half into disks if two batches are desired. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator so it can chill for at least 2 hours.

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    Rachel Wine
  • Step 3

    While the dough is chilling, start on the filling. Combine cranberries, 1 1/2 cups sugar, orange zest, juice, and tapioca in a medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add to sauce mixture.

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    Rachel Wine
  • Step 4

    Let stand for 10 minutes, then cook over medium heat until the cranberry mixture simmers and begins to thicken, 5-6 minutes. Take off heat and let filling cool completely.

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    Rachel Wine
  • Step 5

    Preheat oven to 425°F. Using a rolling pin, roll one dough disk out on a lightly floured surface until about 1/16" thick. Using cookie cutter of desired size, cut out as many circles as the dough allows (about 16).

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    Rachel Wine
  • Step 6

    Brush edges of half of the dough circles with egg wash. Place a spoonful of filling in the center of each egg-washed circle. Place the rest of the dough circles on top to form whole mini-pies.

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    Rachel Wine
  • Step 7

    To seal edges, use a fork to crimp. One finished, chill unbaked pies in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.

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    Rachel Wine
  • Step 8

    Cut a small 'x' into each pie center for ventilation. Brush tops of pies with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with raw sugar and cinnamon.

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    Rachel Wine
  • Step 9

    Bake pies for 17-20 minutes until crust is golden brown and some excess filling escapes from the 'x's. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Carefully remove pies from baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack until they get to a cooler, ready-to-eat temperature.

    Rachel Wine

Now that you've successfully made these tiny treats, you've got the perfect excuse to invite everyone over for a Friendsgiving to sample your baking skills. Or you could, you know, just eat them yourself. Choose wisely. 

Recipe adapted from Cynthia Wong.