Appalachian Food

Fried Apple Pies

Close up tray of drying apples
Ever eat a fried pie? Typically they’re filled with a sweet apple filling, but I’ve also eaten delicious fried pies that were filled with peaches and chocolate. Kerns, along with other food companies, make fried pies-you can usually find them at your local gas station. But those packaged pies don’t remotely come close to the yum factor of homemade fried pies.

According to The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery some folks call fried pies ‘half-moon’ pies due to their shape. I’ve never heard them called that though. I found the video below on Youtube. It shows Edith Bradley, a sweet lady from Kentucky, making fried pies.

The method Edith uses to make her fried pies is like mine except I don’t use dried apples. I usually cook down some fresh apples or open a jar of  applesauce for the filling.

Most older ladies in my part of Appalachia make their fried pies exactly like Edith except for Granny. Granny bakes hers instead of frying.

If you make fried pies I hope you’ll leave a comment and tell me how you make yours.



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  • Reply
    October 24, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Mom always used applesauce, BUT she always added some cinnamon candy like red hots to the applesauce. In her later years, if she was badgered enough to make fried pies, but didn’t really feel like making the dough, she would used canned biscuits for the dough. However, the filling was always applesauce “doctored up” with cinnamon dots of some sort.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 15, 2010 at 9:11 am

    My only experience making fried apple pies is using “Pop” biscuits….you know, canned biscuits you hit on the edge of the counter to get them to “pop” open.
    I rolled the biscuits out thin then put cooked apples, usually not dried apples, in the middle, fold and fry in butter.
    Mighty fine eaten’!!

  • Reply
    Vera Guthrie
    October 14, 2010 at 10:24 am

    My Mama used to make these fried pies as a treat. They were so good escpecially on a cold winter day. I have had chocolate filled fried pies but only from B&G Pie Company. Apple and Lemon are my favorite from them. They still don’t touch Mama’s.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    October 13, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Tipper–I’m late with this post and missed a bunch of others because of various pressures–attendance at a writers conference and addressing some health issues with my father–but I couldn’t resist. NCmountainwoman pretty well nailed it as far as culinary traditions in the Casada clan go–Mom and Grandma and Miss Ann (my wife) always used dried apples. They have a tang and texture which I find most appealing. Same was true with peaches, and if stack cakes were in the offing featuring either apples or peaches, once again dried fruit was the logical choice. Of course stack cakes were also made using jam.
    The pies were fried, usually using biscuit dough (or biscuit bread, as Grandma Minnie called it). Depending on the number pies to be made a big iron spider might be used or sometimes a griddle. If lots of folks needed to be fed, both came into play. Just a tetch of lard was used, and as they came from the pan golden brown, a dab of butter would be slathered across the pie. Sometimes there was a dusting of cinnamon as well. I liked pies with relatively little sugar best.
    We had ’em hot at breakfast and as cold snacks at other times. They are one of the three most memorable desserts from my youth. The others featured apples as well (stack cakes and an applesauce cake Mom made which was really closer to being a fruit cake).
    Scrumptious stuff, and you and the various comments have set my salivary gland going so fast I’m pert near slobbering.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    October 13, 2010 at 9:09 am

    never had one before, have heard of them and now i am drooling on my keyboard

  • Reply
    October 12, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    I’m sure your apple sauce would make good fried pies, Tipper, but I love it so much I have to eat it right out of the jar.
    I’ve made peach fried pies but I am going to do some apple pies as soon as I can get more fresh apples and some time to do it.
    Your post has made me very hungry for fried pies.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    My Momma used to make fried apple pies. She also made fried peach pies. It might seem like it wouldn’t be good but, the fried pies she made that were best of all were the ones she made from apple butter. That’s right! She didn’t add any spices or sugar just the apple butter. If you haven’t tried fried pies made that way you will be surprised if you try it just how good they taste!
    P.S. we have a cheap computer and it sometimes will misspell words even if WE spell them right. So please excuse my writing.

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    October 12, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I enjoyed this posting very much. Mama still makes fried apple pies and they are so good. She likes to use apples that have a tang to them. Granny always made the best fried apple pies. This posting brings back many happy memories of the good old days.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    The only fried pies I’ve ever tasted are our traditional “pishies”(honey pies). But I am a great apple-pie lover and I think I love yours!

  • Reply
    John Dilbeck
    October 12, 2010 at 11:41 am

    My grandfather made the best fried pies I’ve ever eaten. He was the baker in our family and made some of the best cakes and pies.
    He made peach and apple fried pies, and I liked both of them. I don’t really know how he made them. I was there for the eating part.
    He made chocolate fried pies, too, but they were more like fried fudge pies. Very rich, and delicious with fresh whipped cream.
    He made the best Divinity Icing I’ve ever eaten and tried making fried Divinity pies one time. They didn’t turn out so good, so I don’t remember him ever trying that again.
    The fried pies in the store don’t taste nearly as good as the real thing, fresh out of the skillet. But, if that’s all that’s available, they’re not bad after being microwaved.
    Now that you’ve reminded me about it, I might try making some fried pies this winter. Maybe even surprise the family at Thanksgiving.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2010 at 11:28 am

    My Aunt Fea used to make them for us but she died when I was a child. I need to look in my Aunt Rosie’s cookbook (cherished) and see if she put the recipe in there. There were always big canning and cooking days and they all did it together!
    I picked up a 1/2 bushel and a peck of apples this weekend in Ellijay while at my SILs. 🙂 I am planning to can some apple sauce this weekend. Maybe I can also do some pies to go along with the apple muffins I have planned. My frig runneth over!
    We made it to the Folk Festival this year! SO much fun. Coming next yr without the littles though! lol. Grabby hands they have. Planning a post for this week on it if I ever get my pictures downloaded.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Okie doke, we are so making these for our Pumkin Head celebration! Yeah fried food! We’ll try a bunch of stuff in them knowing our group, and Bet and I will report back to you what went well and what didn’t.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Dried apples, definitely. That’s how Grandma made them, how Mama made them, and how I love them best.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    October 12, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Hey Tipper,
    We always used dried apples for our fried apple pies (also (stack cakes at Christmas), if we had them on hand.. If not we used fresh apples, cooked and seasoned with sugar and cinnamon or canned applesauce…
    I tend to like the lumpyness of dried apples in my pies…we don’t use as much fat to fry ours as in as the video. After frying we had a plate with a mixture of cinnamon and granulated sugar that we rolled them in before placing on a brown bag or paper towels to dry a little…
    When you mentioned Kerns and other fillings at the beginning of your post, I immediately thought of the little drug store fountain where I used to lunch, as a young working girl. One of their specials was a (reheated in butter) fried chocolate pie, by Kerns of course…LOL
    Magical mountain telepathy…..

  • Reply
    October 12, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Tipper, There is nothing better than a fresh fried apple pie right out of the iron skillet, I cheat sometimes and use can biscuits to make mine, but I prefer dried apples to the fresh ones, to me they just taste better, and my clan doesn’t care which apples you use just as long as they get one. haha Can’t wait to see how “Granny” makes hers.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Awesome post Tipper. I don’t remember eating those before but then again my memory is slowly getting worse. I did like the video, Edith reminds me of my grandmother from Vermont.
    Whitetail Woods Blog / Deer Hunting and Blackpowder Shooting at it’s best.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Fried apple pies have been a staple in our families forever..nothing better; but over the years as the next generations came along and we had less and less time to dry apples and make the crusts, we have updated our recipe to be a little quicker. We start with tart apples, usually Granny Smith when they are in season, but any tart apple that has a really firm texture works well.
    We peel them, core them and cut them into slices and place in a stockpot to cook down. I usually put a little butter in with them (just to help flavor them) and a little salt, but no water. After they have cooked down to almost the consistency you want, add sugar and apple pie spice (from the spice counter in your local grocery store) to taste. You want the mixture sweet but the amounts you use depend on how tart your apples were to start with and how sweet you like your pies. Go easy on the apple pie spices to start can always add more. Let that cook together a few minutes, then turn it off. I also put this mixture in freezer bags and have it on hand for fried pies in the winter time – or for “fruit” with breakfast.
    We use canned biscuits for the crusts. We prefer the flaky layer ones (Pillsbury Grand Jr. Golden Layers). Take one biscuit and roll it out on a floured board until it is very thin – about 6″ in diameter. Then put a heaping spoonful (I use a table serving spoon) of the apple mixture in the center (warm filling, not HOT, and not cold) and fold the crust over and crimp with a fork to seal it. Poke a few holes in the dough with your fork to allow the steam to escape.
    Melt about 3-4 Tbsp of butter in a large frying pan, heat it up, and just as it melts, start placing your pies in it. Keep the temperature on medium, cause the butter will burn quickly. Brown one side, then flip them over and do the other one.
    Yep, I know, all that butter..sounds like a heart attack in the making…but there is nothing better than an apple pie fried in butter!! I sometimes mix the butter and some cooking oil so that it doesn’t burn as quickly. After you fry each bunch of pies (my skillet holds about 5), wipe out the remaining butter and start the next round with fresh butter.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2010 at 8:30 am

    My mom use to make fried apple and chocolate pies. Yum!

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    October 11, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    There is a lady in our little town who is absolutely sought out for her fried apple pies. We just had our local Heritage Days Festival and I saw on facebook where out-of-town people had commented that they got to get one of her pies! If you live here more than five minutes, you’ll hear about her delicious fried pies!

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    October 11, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Peach fried pies are my favorite but I’ve got a bunch of apples just now. Will have to try this.

  • Reply
    October 11, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    I love fried apple pies. I’ve never eaten a homemade one though. I would love to try these. But I’m waiting to see how Granny does it.
    And I’ve never eaten a chocolate one either.

  • Reply
    Greta Koehl
    October 11, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    My mother used to make these fried pies with apricots when we had an apricot tree; they were amazing. At other times she would occasionally make them with applesauce.

  • Reply
    Tammy N
    October 11, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    My Mom used to make these and I haven’t had one in years, but now I’m craving one!☺

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    October 11, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Tipper: GREAT! We have a ‘apple butter’ MAKING over here in the fall. For ‘extra’ added attraction the sisters, grandmas and helpers make FRIED APPLE PIES. I don’t know which is better FRIED PIES OR APPLE BUTTER! My grandma was the BEST at making both! I kind of skimp and use crescent rolls for a quick method!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    October 11, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Hi, Tipper. Thank you for your comment at my site about Glenda’s awesome book. It’s so nice to meet you. Your music and the fried apple pies made me cry (in a good way). It reminds me of my grandmother, who was a dear North Carolina mountain woman. I miss her so much. Your site is lovely!

  • Reply
    J.R. Clark
    October 11, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    My Grandmother made fried apple pies from the apples in our back yard. The apples were what we called green apples 2 different trees with different green apples one had a thick skin and was sour the other had thin skins and were sweeter but still sour, loved thein but the trees are dead now. There was trees like this all over town but I don’t know of anymore of them around anywhere.

  • Reply
    October 11, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Pity me! I’ve never had a fried pie, or even seen one before I watched the video. I have read about them, probably in Foxfire! I’m going to have to try these! I’d just love to spend an afternoon in the kitcen with Edith! That generation of ladies could cook up grass clippings, add a dab of bacon grease from the crock by the stove and it would be delicious – I really admire that! I love all the ideas I get here, and look forward to trying these, but I will wait to see what your Granny has to say!

  • Reply
    October 11, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Tipper those fried pies looked so good. I’ve never tried to make them but looks like I better be a learning real fast; since hubby said he’d like some real soon! I bet the chocolate ones would be good too; if you get a recipe for those pass it on to us. I always get fried apple pies everytime I come to Tennessee.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    October 11, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    im like the others… the demonstration made me hungry for an apple pie… mmmmm apple is my very favorite.. never had a fried one.. but when i was first married we used to have mountain pies.. (which is just apple pie filling) and two slices of bread you put into an iron thingie.. (mountain pie maker) lol and put it into the campfire.. you can make any type of filling if you want… these are delicious and easy and the kids really loved them..
    thanks for sharing and making us all hungry
    big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    October 11, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Tipper, Oh, my, what wonderful memories this brought to me. Fried pies were my very favorite when I was growing up. I guess I will have to try my hand making some.

  • Reply
    Rhonda Haslam
    October 11, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Yum! Makes me hungry…have you ever had them made out of rhubarb? Those are good too. I liked the chocolate, but the apple is my favorite.
    Also, on an earlier post — I’m in love with Vicki Lane. I just finished her first book. Started it last night and finished it up today so nothing has gotten done around here. Can’t wait to read the next one.

  • Reply
    October 11, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Mother used to make all kinds of fried pies, apple, peach, cocunut, so good. My parents were from Arkansas.
    We all loved them so.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    October 11, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I remember well eating fried pies! I had both peach and apple. I always prefer apple. Of course, this time of year is wonderful for apple fans…

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    October 11, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Doggone it, Tipper – I was giving a webinar when your blog announcement e-mail came in. During a short break, I clicked on the link and watched Edith. Then for the rest of the webinar, I doubt if the people listening could hear a word I was saying over all the growling noises coming from my stomach!
    Haven’t eaten a chocolate fried pie. Can’t say it sounds too appealing to me, but I bet Miz Susan would love it!
    Really good entry – thanks!

  • Reply
    Wanda in NoAla
    October 11, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I haven’t made these in a while, but I think I have to make some after seeing this. I make them just like she did, but I use Crisco.
    Sometimes, I use the large canned biscuits–roll them out individually to make little pies. My granddaughters love them!

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    October 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Although I have never made fried pies, I’ve eaten plenty and think there is nothing better! My mother-in-law always made hers with dried apples and how I wish I’d paid closer attention.

  • Reply
    October 11, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    What kind of apples are you peeling in the top picture?
    A friend brought me some last
    Friday just like that (before
    we went to see a cloggin’ event. )
    He assured me they were excellent
    for an apple pie. I have never
    made the small apple turnovers,
    but you’re right, they are sooo
    good! And I buy peach and cherry
    and chocolate filled fried pies
    sometimes. Never paid attention
    to the name brand though. Great
    pictures of everybody on the left.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    October 11, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Oh Yum, I have no hand for making pies of any sort. Someone told me Merceirs (sp)had good ones, it makes me want to hop in the truck and head over for one.

  • Reply
    October 11, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Oh my! Wish I had one with a cup of coffee. Been awhile since I’ve made these, but may do so soon. Have used peaches also. Need a recipe for chocolate ones. Would think they’d be better than store bought.

  • Reply
    Judith Alef
    October 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    I have a favorite bowl that was grandmother’s ~ I used it to cut my circles for fried pies. As a kid my favorites were cherry and peach Unless, of course, Moms, my mother’s mother made her FAMOUS chocolate ‘hand pies’. Apples usually were reserved for really big pies because they didn’t grow locally. I also make empanadas, Mexican fried pies, usually filled w/ savory meat and corn based flour; pie dough works well if rolled out thick. My nannau, my dad’s mom called them ‘field pies’. Call ’em whatya want, I love ’em!

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