State Plate Recipe: West Virginia Fried Apple Pies

Listen to Your Mamma!

Especially when you’re in West Virginia. Mother’s Day was first observed in Grafton on May 10, 1908 at Andrews Church. One of the things an attentive mom might advise is the old adage: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Luckily, there’s an abundance of the crisp, juicy fruit in The Mountain State. In fact, The Golden Delicious apple (not just any apple) is the official state fruit.

Make this recipe for traditional Appalachian fried hand pie, packed with sweet deliciousness courtesy of JoLynn Powers, featured in our State Plate West Virginia episode.

JoLynn’s Apple Hand Pies (Fried Apple Pies)

“Appalachian food is about being authentic and natural, full of stories and traditions. Sometimes it is fancy and other times it is simple and filling, but it is often more about who you share a meal with then [sic] the food on the plate that is important.” – JoLynn, from her blog, June 5, 2018.

Visit West Virginia Mountain Mama to read more of JoLynn’s musings and recipes:

Note: Pictured above are JoLynn’s Apple Dumplings featured on State Plate: West Virginia.


  • One bag of frozen dinner rolls, use 2 per pie.
  • 3 small snack size apples (average 3 apples per serving). Gala, Winesap, Red Delicious work well.
  • 3 T salted butter. Reserve 1 for the cinnamon topping.
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • 1/4 C or less water
  • Cooking oil for frying
  • Cinnamon and sugar for dusting tops of pies


  1. Set out the frozen dinner roll bread and let them thaw.
  2. Peel, core and dice the apples.
  3. Place the diced apples into a skillet. Add two teaspoons of butter, and cook over medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes.
  4. Add brown sugar, cinnamon and a little water to the hot apples. Let the water cook down until the sauce is thick and sticky.
  5. NOTE: Some apples will soften easily, as they provide enough juice to cook down without scorching. So watch them carefully, and add water if needed until they’re soft around the edges.
  6. Let the filling cool while rolling out the dough. Each dinner roll makes about a 5-inch circle with a little tugging and rolling.
  7. Put about two tablespoons of filling on half the pie crust dough.
  8. Fold the other half over the warm apple filling.
  9. Squeeze the edges together then roll them upward. When you get to the ends, roll up the edge with a pinch.
  10. Fry the pies in hot oil at about 325 to 350 degrees, just long enough for the pie to float and turn brown on both sides.
  11. The dough is thin, and gets crispy fast. It’s best to make two pies at a time.
  12. As each pie is done, drain on paper towels.
  13. Top each pie with the reserved butter and a pinch of cinnamon and sugar mixed together.
  14. Let cool slightly before eating, or cutting open to serve.



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