In an ideal world, we’d be able to make every treat and dessert from scratch with all the best ingredients available. But friends, let’s be real— we do not live in an ideal world, and pretty much nobody has time to make an apple pie from scratch with apples they grew themselves. I mean. Come on.

But does that mean we don’t deserve to have treats at all? Of course not! We just have to get a little creative and borrow some ideas from other areas we’ve hacked and tricked our way through— like, say, making mini versions of our favorite desserts for built-in portion control?

That’s what brings us to these “Cheater’s” Mini Apple Pies, a treat that’s so simple and easy we’ll all be tempted to throw out the original recipe. (We won’t, of course; we’ll just feel less guilty for not using it more often!) And who could be more perfect to show us how it’s done than the One Pot Chef?

After all, as the One Pot Chef himself says at the top of his video tutorial below, “Sometimes, it’s perfectly acceptable to cut a few corners and cheat a bit in the kitchen.” We agree, sir!

So what exactly makes these adorably mini treats a cheat? All of the One Pot Chef’s shortcuts for making what he calls a “no-fuss, simplified version of the classic dessert!” Let’s look at the easy highlights, shall we?

  • Instead of picking out perfect apples, then tediously peeling them, and then slaving over a perfectly-mixed pie filling, the One Pot Chef turns to every busy cook’s standby: a can! Specifically, he grabs a can of “pie apples” – more likely to be labelled “pie filling” here in the U.S. – and empties it into a bowl.

  • What’s a “cheating” chef’s other best friend? Frozen ready-made ingredients, of course! And in the case of these miniature pies, that means frozen, ready-made puff pastry. The One Pot Chef just slices them into squares to get all the mini crusts he needs.

  • There’s one more little “lazy” trick this miniature pie maven has up his sleeve! You might have guessed that he’s making them the right size by baking them in a muffin tin, but can you guess how he’s making the top crust? The answer’s simple— he’s not! Rather than worry about the pastry squares being too big or trimming them down to size, he simply folds the excess pastry over the top so that the bottom crust is the top crust, too. Smart!

  • The best thing about a quick cheater’s dessert is when it keeps the ease going beyond one meal. These little pies can be frozen after you bake them, and they’ll last in your freezer for up to six months, letting you enjoy a tiny treat any time the craving strikes.

To learn the exact measurements of all of the ingredients involved, see how the One Pot Chef doctors up those “pie apples” for perfect apple pie taste, and to just see them all come together, be sure to click on and watch the video below!

What do you think of these mini “cheater’s” pies? Have you ever made anything similar? Do you have any of your own cheats and shortcuts to share for future dessert-making?