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Flaky Cream Cheese Dough – Hand Pie Dough

Cream Cheese Dough is super simple to make and a great recipe to have in your repertoire. It’s tender, flaky and rolls beautifully. This is my go-to hand pie dough because it is tasty yet sturdy.

cutting rounds from cream cheese dough
Cream cheese dough rolls beautifully without splitting or crumbling. It’s perfect for making hand pies.

Have I ever told you about my love affair with all things pie? Ha, ha! Of course I have.

I believe that a really great pie is impossible without a really great crust. Of course, once you master the Perfect Pie Crust you could use it for every pie you make.

Me? I like to choose a specific crust for the type of pie I’m baking. That super tender and super flaky Perfect Pie Crust is exactly what I want for Glazed Maple Apple Pie.

But if I’m making a savory galette or pasties I prefer to use an awesomely delicious Rye Pie Crust .

This dough is made with cream cheese and butter and it’s my go-to hand pie dough. I use it to make Glazed Blueberry Hand Pies, Sour Cherry Almond Hand Pies, Roasted Strawberry Hand Pies and Fried Tequila Peach Hand Pies.

Why Cream Cheese Dough is a great hand pie dough:

Why is cream cheese dough the perfect dough for hand pies? Because this recipe makes a crust that is not too tender or too flaky.

Yes, Yes, tender and flaky is generally exactly what we want in a pie dough. But hand pies are, you know, “handled” a bit more.

  • A super tender crust might crumble apart as you pick up and eat a hand pie.
  • A super flaky crust can be a bit brittle and break apart when rolling. This can be a problem when you need to roll, cut and shape individual pies.
  • Instead of a mixture of all purpose and cake flour, this recipe uses only all purpose flour. This makes a dough with a more sturdy structure that can stand up to the rolling, cutting and shaping required for hand pies.
  • A little sugar is added for flavor, browning and tenderizing
  • Instead of all butter, or 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening, this recipe uses 1/2 cream cheese and 1/2 butter.
  • The cream cheese adds flavor from the milk solids.
  • The cream cheese has protein so the crust will brown better. Since hands pies are in the oven for much less time than regular pie, faster browning is needed for a golden crust.
  • Because cream cheese is less brittle than butter, the dough rolls easily without cracking.
  • There is some butter in the dough for flavor and flakiness.

Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make Flaky Cream Cheese Dough:

a bowl of flour with chunks of cream cheese on top
Toss the cream cheese into the flour and work it with your fingers until the pieces are as small as a pea.
a bowl of flour with slices of butter on top
Toss the cold, sliced butter on top of the flour. Work the butter with your fingers, leaving some large flakes of butter intact.
a hand showing flakes of butter in pie dough
Those flakes of cold butter will help form the flakes in the final dough.
a cup of water being added to pie dough
Pour the cold water in all at once
a hand mixing pie dou
Toss the flour and water, then use your fingers to work the flour and water together into a dough.
A hand mixing pie dough
The dough will be a bit “shaggy” when it’s mixed. Don’t over mix. The loose flour will be absorbed as the dough chills.
pie dough ready to be chilled.
Before resting and chilling the dough will be a bit rough.
Chilled pie dough ready for rolling
After chilling for a few hours or overnight the water is absorbed by the flour for a smoother dough. The dough ready to roll.
a hand holding a blueberry hand pie
Flaky, yet sturdy Cream Cheese Dough is perfect for making hand pies.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

cherry almond hand pies

Flaky Cream Cheese Dough

Yield: Enough for 2 crust pie
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

A great flaky pastry made with cream cheese and butter. This dough rolls beautifully


  • 2 3/4 cups (13.75 oz 385g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (.5 oz, 14g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 112g) cream cheese, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 stick (4 oz, 112g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1" chunks
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120ml) cold water


  1. Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Toss in the cream cheese. Using your fingers, mix the cream cheese into the flour until it resembles coarse corn meal.
  3. Toss the butter into the flour and use your fingers to work it in. Allow the flakes to break up into slightly smaller pieces. Work quickly so the butter doesn't get warm. Don't break the butter down completely. There should be some large flakes remaining.
  4. Pour the water onto the flour all at once and toss to combine. Gently work the dough just until it comes together. Form the dough into a rectangle or square, wrap and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, or make it the day before and let it rest overnight.
  5. The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months.

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Did you make this recipe?

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Monday 23rd of May 2022

I don’t understand why you didn’t include oven temp and amount of baking time. I’m supposed to guess? Yet you asked for 5 stars.

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 24th of May 2022

Because the time and temperature will depend on what you're making with the dough. The time will be very different if you make hand pies versus a deep dish apple pie.


Saturday 26th of March 2022

Wonderful! Just like my mom used to make. Thank you! I love all sorts of pies, especially hand pies.


Monday 20th of December 2021

Hello, can this dough be used to make fry pies?

Eileen Gray

Monday 20th of December 2021



Wednesday 15th of December 2021

How many days can the dough be refrigerated before making the cookies?

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 15th of December 2021

2-3 days. For longer storage you can freeze the dough.


Wednesday 17th of February 2021

Is this something I could make using gluten free flour. My poor girl gets crazy eczema when she has gluten!

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 17th of February 2021

I don't have a great deal of experience using gluten free flour. I have tested it for my Pound Cake Recipe and have used it for Vanilla Butter Cake in the past with OK results.

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