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
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4.46 from 197 reviews

Flaky Cream Cheese Dough

A great flaky pastry made with cream cheese and butter. This dough rolls beautifully
Prep Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
16 servings
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  • 13 ¾ oz all purpose flour (2 ¾ cups, see note)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 4 oz cream cheese (cut into 1" chunks)
  • 4 oz unsalted butter (cold and cut into ¼" thin slices)
  • 4 oz cold water (½ cup)


  • Whisk together 13 ¾ oz all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar1 teaspoon table salt in a mixing bowl.
  • Toss in 4 oz cream cheese. Using your fingers, mix the cream cheese into the flour until it resembles coarse corn meal.
  • Toss 4 oz unsalted 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.
  • Pour 4 oz cold 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.
  • The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months.

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If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 167kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 169mg | Potassium: 37mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 272IU | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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Recipe Rating


    1. That would depend on how you’re using the dough, what the filling is, etc. Generally I would bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes. Again, the time will depend on the filling.

      1. I honestly wasn’t trying to be rude. My point was that I could try to help if there was a problem with the recipe. I can’t control someone’s expectation of what the recipe might be, but if they explain the result they got I can try to troubleshoot or explain how the recipe should work to adjust the expectation.

  1. I really enjoy savory hand-pies (empanadas, pasties, etc.). And as with dessert hand-pies, getting the crust right is really important to the success of the recipe. Have you tried this crust recipe with savory fillings? I don’t want a sweet crust. In other recipes, I’ve added ground cumin, coriander, tumeric or other spices to the crust for color & “warmth”. What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Jenny, There is only a tablespoon of sugar in this dough so it’s definitely not sweet. The sugar is mostly there for tenderizing. I think you could add spices to the dough and it would work fine. You could eliminate or reduce the sugar and it would still come out great.

  2. 5 stars
    Made the dough , great recipe. I made pecan , lemon , strawberry rhubarb, and blueberry fry pies. I brushed them with egg wash and sprinkled with sugar crystals and baked at 400 for 15 min. They turned out great . I will be making many. Thanks for the recipe.

  3. Interesting! I use a similar method, cream cheese and butter first and then I add a little flour at a time til it’s not sticky basically, but I’ll try it in this order next time with the added water. I think my usual recepies I’ve used is 2 cups of butter to one and a half cups cream cheese. I’ll try this next time though, be interesting to compare!

  4. So for example, if I’m making a apple pie…I use this recipe for the dough…but get my oven temp & cook time from my apple pie recipe I’m following correct? Or no lol

  5. Hi!…would this pastry be OK for a tart mold…I want to make some strawberry Tarts..and it has to stand up to being blind baked!

    1. Yes, you can use this dough for a molded tart. It can be blind-baked. Since it’s a fairly soft dough I would line the pan with foil or parchment and fill with beans or pie weights or sugar so the dough doesn’t collapse before it sets. For strawberry tarts a better dough might be my Short Dough. It’s the best for fruit tarts.

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. @Andy, This recipe is for pastry only…if you decide to use it…your final recipe will give you temperature and times!

    1. @Eileen Gray,King Arthur is the best gluten-free cup-for-cup I have used. Their test kitchen experimented for a long time to develop it. The process they went thru is documented on their website.

    1. If you want to leave out the sugar, you can. But the small amount of sugar in the dough doesn’t make it particularly sweet. The sugar tenderizes the dough and helps with browning.

  7. Hello this recipe looks really good. The only thing is it does not show what temperature for oven and how long. Going to try this tomorrow. The recipe is called Flaky cream cheese dough. Thank you.

  8. Since the early 1960s I have enjoyed this recipe. The possibilities are endless. Pecan tarts, various fruit pies, anything you can imagine works with this dough.

  9. We did your Flaky Cream Cheese Dough for blueberry& peach hand pies.The pies we’re prefect. Thank you

    I rate it 5 stars

    1. Did you use the dough to make hand pies? It depends on the filling. If the dough is browned it should be ready, but make sure the filling is baked too.