French Onion Hand Pies

Golden butter pastry filled with fresh thyme and sherry caramelized onions, and provolone cheese.

This recipe has all of the cheese and flavor of French onion soup, baked in tasty little hand pie.

French onion soup is a classic dish made of caramelized onions, beef stock, fortified wine, croutons, and cheese. This recipe takes those traditional elements and transforms them into individual pies. To start, I made a simple butter crust with egg and buttermilk. The like to add eggs to pie dough because I think it adds flavor and richness. In a lot of my crusts, I add vinegar and cold water for hydration and tenderization. For this crust, I went with buttermilk. Buttermilk gives the dough acidity and fluidity that I want, but it also adds fat for an even richer dough.

The main part of this dish is the caramelized onions. Cooking them until golden brown is essential for developing their flavor. If the onions don’t brown, they will not be sweet. If they get burnt, they will be bitter. Once the onions are golden and delicious, the other flavor components are added.

For the fortified wine, I used sherry. Sherry has a sweet malty flavor that is perfect with onions and thyme. I stayed with tradition and made the filling with beef stock. The stock gives the onions a rich, hearty taste. If you would like to make this dish vegetarian, substitute roasted vegetable stock. The best part of these pies, much like onion soup, is the cheese. I chose provolone. It is an easy-melting cheese with a bright, pungent kick to balance the sweetness in the dish.

French Onion Hand Pies

Course Dinner, Main Course, Snack
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8


Pie Dough

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 8 slices provolone more if desired
  • 1 egg for wash

Onion Filling

  • 6-7 cup sweet onions julienne 2-3 each
  • 3/4 cup beef or roasted vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 4-5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


Pie Crust

  • Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter into the flour. Whisk together the egg and buttermilk and stir into the flour mixture. Knead the dough 2-4 times and shape into a disc. Cover and refrigerate for 1-24 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut 16, 4 1/2 inch circles, rerolling the dough as necessary. Place 1/2 a slice of cheese on 8 rounds, top with 1/4 cup of the onion filling, and place another 1/2 slice of cheese on top. Brush egg wash around the edge of the dough. Cover with another dough round and press the dough edges together to seal. Using a fork, crimp the edges. Brush the tops with egg wash, place on a lined baking sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving.

Onion Filling

  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and butter to the pan, when it shimmers add the onions. Coat with the oil and allow to caramelize stirring occasionally. When the onions are evenly browned, add the garlic and thyme. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the sherry. Allow the alcohol to cook off then add the beef stock. Simmer until all of the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before assembling the pies.

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