Throw your very own Mardi Gras party in your mouth with these delicious and easy crawfish hand pie recipe. No plane tickets or beads required!
Crawfish pie is a classic pillar of Southern Louisiana cuisine. While traditional crawfish boils and even the occasional Vietnamese cajun crawfish boil (if you venture westward to Houston) take center stage during spring and summer, when live crawfish are in season, as late summer and fall roll around, frozen Louisiana crawfish tail meat stocked in the freezer begins begging for a place at the party table.
And that’s when crawfish pies step out of the wings and onto the parade float.
Many New Orleans natives make their family’s crawfish pie recipe in a regular deep-dish pie pan. For me, this savory pie full of veggies and Louisiana crawfish tails are the perfect filling for mini pies or turnovers. The filling is super-savory, a little spicy, and exactly the kind of thing one wants to carry around in their pocket. Or your picnic basket. Yes, that seems more normal. Let’s do a picnic basket.
What you’ll need to make this homemade crawfish hand pie recipe:
- prepared empanada shells
- egg white
- yellow onion
- green and red bell pepper
- fresh garlic cloves
- crawfish tails
- Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- green onions
- flat leaf parsley
- Old Bay Seasoning (or cajun seasoning)
- fresh orange zest
- black, white and cayenne pepper
- Sea salt
Step by step instructions for crawfish hand pies:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, prepare the filling. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced yellow onions, red and green pepper, celery and garlic, along with a pinch of sea salt. Saute until tender and fragrant, about 6-7 minutes.
Add the milk and crawfish tails and mix gently, giving the seafood a minute to heat through.
Add the seasoned breadcrumbs, green onions, parsley, Old Bay Seasoning, orange zest and the ground black, cayenne and white peppers. Let the seasoned crawfish mixture heat through, then taste and add additional salt, pepper or Old Bay, as needed.
Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of crawfish pie filling into each prepared empanada shell. Fold over and use a fork to crimp the edges closed.
Brush the top of the crust with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with a little flaky salt.
Transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan in the oven as needed to achieve a golden brown crust. After removing from the oven, let the pies sit for 5 minutes before serving.
These pies are delicious when served with spicy aioli sauce or a bottle of hot sauce.
FAQ’s and Serving Suggestions:
I like to serve these pies as part of a larger buffet spread when entertaining, alongside other small bites like eggplant bruschetta, shrimp stuffed Hungarian wax peppers and spicy garlic hummus. For a lovely dinner entree, I pair the crawfish pies with a green salad like Mediterranean Tossed salad and homemade crawfish bisque with crawfish cake croutons.
I’ve seen crawfish pies with just a bottom crust, topped with the filling and baked until golden brown. I’ve also sampled crawfish pie with both a bottom and top crust, like your favorite giant pot pie. Both are options here, but depending on the size of your pie dish, you may need to increase the filling recipe by 50 percent to have enough to top off a deep dish pan.
You can! Just follow the package instructions for baking the tart shells through completely.
Store bought pie crust dough or store bought pizza dough cut into circles (similar to this tuna empanada recipe) would both work. And if you’re feeling fancy, homemade pie crust will do the trick, as well.
Green bell pepper, celery and yellow onions are considered the holy trinity of Louisiana cuisine, so I’m hesitant to give any alternate options here. These three really do create the very best flavor. If you’re cooking for children or grown-ups who think they don’t like these vegetables, it might be worth throwing them into the food processor and creating a vegetable paste to fold into the entire mixture. The flavors will be present, but the pesky textural challenges will be cured.
Great question. The cayenne is really the only source of heat in the recipe. The white and black pepper add a little spice, but not a notable heat. And the combination of peppers add a lovely round spice to the dish. So if you’re looking for a very mild dish, reduce the cayenne to just a pinch, but I would implore you to keep all three peppers in to be sure you get the very best final product.
You sure can. I love the balancing flavor that this touch of orange brings to this super savory hand pie – similar to my traditional cajun butter sauce for seafood recipe. But if you’re out of oranges and need another citrus option, either lemon or lime zest will be an adequate substitute.
To store, transfer hand pies to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for us to 2 days.
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Easy Homemade Crawfish Hand Pie Recipe
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
12 empanada shells
1 egg white (for brushing)
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup green and red bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup milk
2 cups crawfish tails
1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning (or cajun seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, prepare the filling. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion, green and red bell pepper, celery and garlic, along with a pinch of sea salt. Saute onion and other veggies until tender and fragrant, about 6-7 minutes.
Add the milk and crawfish tails to the pan of veggies and mix gently, giving the seafood a minute to heat through. Add the seasoned breadcrumbs, green onions, parsley, Old Bay Seasoning, orange zest and the ground black, cayenne and white peppers. Let the seasoned crawfish mixture heat through, then taste and add additional salt, pepper or Old Bay, as needed.
Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of crawfish filling into each empanada shell. Fold over and use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges closed. Brush the top of the crust with the beaten egg wash. Sprinkle with a little flaky salt. Transfer the assembled pies to a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan in the oven as needed to achieve a golden brown crust.
After removing from the oven, let the pies sit for 5 minutes before serving. Delicious with spicy aioli sauce or a bottle of hot sauce.
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 25
- Category: Easy Recipes
- Method: Oven and Stove Top
- Cuisine: American, Cajun
Keywords: Crawfish Pie, Crawfish Handpie
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