All-butter hand pies filled with dulce de leche and fresh cranberry sauce . The perfect dessert for Thanksgiving! Because you get a whole pie. To yourself. Stuff of dreams here guys.

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

The other day Eric decided to take Charlotte on a Daddy-daughter date to Target. Because we’re a super classy family. (And because the entire store is like one giant hook for 3 year olds. “Christmas trees! Sparkles! ELSA!!!!”)

While he was in line checking out, Charlotte wandered over to a display advertising the new How to Train your Dragon movie, and he watched her reach a finger up to the cardboard…scratch…and sniff.

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Sometimes I wish I could be a kid again. I would really love to go back to the time where I’m checking scratch n sniff capabilities on random objects. You never know, you might get lucky! That’s pretty hardcore optimism right there.

I wish you could scratch n sniff these hand pies. Or better yet, scratch n lick. When are they going to invent that already? Come on tech nerds, I’m looking at you. Get on it. Food blogging would be a whoooole different world. And so would computer screen hygiene.

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Hand pies! I made these 3 times. (A new trend??) The first time the filling was too dry. The second time I tried it with refrigerated pie dough and canned whole cranberry sauce. It totally worked and was pretty good. But you just can’t beat this homemade crust. It is so flaky and buttery and perfect, like a puff pastry/pie crust mash up. I prefer the taste of fresh cranberries, but if you want the quick version of these pies, use the canned cranberry sauce! (Instructions in recipe notes.)

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

I know that dulce de leche and cranberry might seem like an odd combination, but for real you guys, it’s delicious. I’m not going to tell you how many hand pies I have consumed in the last few weeks. (Whatever number you’re imagining, add 5.)

The main problem with these hand pies is that they take foreverrrr to cool off. They are like adorable transportable POCKETS OF LAVA. I tried eating one after waiting several minutes (at least 5) and I thought my mouth was going to combust. Then some dulce de leche dripped onto my finger and burned that too, and my brilliant solution was to lick it off.

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Maybe I should slap a warning on these babies: THESE PIES MAKE YOU STUPID.

Worth it.

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

UPDATE: I learned recently How to Make Dulce de Leche at home from a can of sweetened condensed milk! It’s so easy and soooo good. And cheaper. Check it out here!

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan^^oops. Crimp your pies BEFORE you do the egg wash. Much easier that way.

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Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 13 minutes
Cooling Time: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour 8 minutes
Servings: 12 Servings
All-butter hand pies filled with dulce de leche and fresh cranberry sauce . The perfect dessert for Thanksgiving! Because you get a whole pie. To yourself. Stuff of dreams here guys.


For the cranberry filling:

  • 2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water, cold

For the dough

  • 2 cup flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 13 ounces Dulce de Leche, *
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • coarse sugar, for sprinkling


  • Add the cranberries, sugar, and 3 tablespoons water to a medium saucepan. Set to medium-high heat until it comes to a simmer. Simmer for another 2-4 minutes, or until most of the cranberries have split.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water. When there are no lumps, add to the cranberries and stir. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for another minute or two, until the sauce thickens. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and let come to room temperature (stick it in the fridge if you want).
  • Make the dough. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour with salt and baking powder. Use your hands or a pastry cutter (or pulse in a food processor) to cut the butter into the flour. You want it to be crumbled but still have pea-size pieces of butter.
  • Add the sour cream and stir. It won't come together. Use your hands to knead the dough together a few times until it forms a ball. (I do this right in the bowl.)
  • Flatten out the dough and place onto a well-floured work surface. Sprinkle the top with flour. Roll the dough into an 8x10 inch rectangle.
  • Grab both of the short ends and fold it over like a business letter (see photos).
  • Rotate the dough 90 degrees. Roll the dough into another 8x10 inch rectangle. Fold it again like a business letter. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes at least.
  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Roll out the dough into a 14x14 inch square. (let sit out of the fridge for a few minutes if it's too hard to roll out.)
  • Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter or similar sized glass to cut as many circles as you can out of the dough. Re-roll and cut as necessary until the dough is gone.
  • Line 2 large baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper. Line up 6 or 8 circles on each sheet (however many you can fit).
  • Use 2 spoons to add about 1 1/2-2 teaspoons Dulce de Leche to the center of each circle.
  • Use 2 spoons to add 1-2 tablespoons of the cranberry filling on top of the Dulce de Leche. Keep the edges of the circle clean.
  • Top each pie with another circle of dough. Pinch together with your fingers (pick it up if that makes it easier.) Crimp the edges with a fork.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the top of each pie with the egg wash.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut slits in the top of each pie. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar or raw sugar.
  • Bake at 425 for about 13 minutes, or until they are brown on top.
  • Let cool for 10-20 minutes before stuffing your face.


*You won't use the whole can of Dulce de Leche. I won't tell anyone what you do with the rest of it. Ditto for the cranberry filling.
You can make a version of this recipe using refrigerated pie dough and canned whole cranberry sauce. Cut as many circles out of the flattened dough as you can, fill with dulce de leche and a can of whole cranberry sauce. Follow the other instructions as written. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.
Source: Crust recipe from Just a Taste, who got it from King Arthur Flour


Serving: 1hand pie | Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 131mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 565IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 278
Keyword: Cranberry, Dulce de Leche, Hand Pies
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

Other Thanksgiving dessert ideas!

Brown-Butter Cranberry Tart <<– Looove this:

Brown Butter Cranberry Tart from

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake:

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake | TheFoodCharlatan.comMaple Cheesecake with Roasted Pears:

Maple Cheesecake with Roasted Pears

Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce:

Cranberry Cake with Warm Vanilla Butter Sauce

Cinnamon Cardamom Cake with Maple Pecan Frosting:

Cinnamon Cardamom Cake with Maple Pecan Frosting from The Food Charlatan

Other Thanksgiving dessert ideas from around blog-land:

Mile-High Apple Pie from Sugar Hero
Salted Caramel Bittersweet Chocolate Tart from Life Made Simple
Snicker Caramel Apple Pie from I Heart Naptime

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  1. I so wish I could scratch and sniff these! What a great idea to layer the pie crust like that into puff pastry!

  2. These sound amazing! I actually have a cranberry hand pie recipe coming up next week, but now I’m bummed that I used white chocolate instead of dulce de leche–I’ll have to try that combination next time!

    PS Thanks for the link love!!

  3. My word Karen. Cranberry and dulce de leche?! That’s totally genius and unexpected! My 2.5 year old’s favorite store is probably Target too, but only because she’s obsessed with the large red concrete balls in the front of the store — we have to stop to touch each one as we walk in! Lol.

  4. Now I’m just super wary of scratch and sniff. WHAT WILL IT REALLY SMELL LIKE?

    I bet these smell like heaven. :)

  5. haha scratch and lick – I like that!

    And these hand pies – they look absolutely amazing. There’s something about hand pies that are just so darn cute!

  6. In preschool we totally made scratch and lick hearts. Maybe there was no scratching involved, but we definitely put something TASTY and delicious on a construction paper heart and I remember licking the heck out of that paper. Imagine gluing glitter, but instead, it’s pink SUGAR and it tastes insane. Preschool was awesome.

    So are these hand pies! I never fail to burn myself on caramel…every single time.

  7. My FAVE part of hand pies (which I’ve never actually HAD, but in theory) is ALL THE CRUST. Crust is my fave. Bring on the crust! Scratch and crust-ingest!

  8. When I was little, I was obsessed with “Wonka Vision” from Willy Wonka where you can grab the food straight out of the TV. I was certain that by the time I grew up, that would have been invented. Sadly, I’m still waiting. I wish I could reach through the screen and grab one of these! After they’ve cooled off of course : )

    And is that Charlotte’s cute little hand I see cutting the pie dough? What a good little helper!

    1. Wonka Vision!! Totally forgot about that!!! For real though, how come that’s not a thing yet. Just like it’s still not a thing to have miniature real-life musician elves playing behind the radio, which I thought was where the music was coming from when I was little.

  9. Love it! Please tell me that’s your hand in the picture cutting the dough!! Haha. Baby hands :) if not, Charlotte is stealing the show!

    1. Haha no it’s Charlotte’s hand! My little helper. I should make a note so people don’t think these are whole-hand pies. :)

  10. So wishing I could scratch-and-sniff your photos. Oh well, guess I will have to make some hand pies myself. Love cranberries! They will definitely count as breakfast (if there are any left) too!

  11. These are so insane. Like I’m speechless. And I love them. And if I made them 3 times I would have overdosed on hand pies by now.

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