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Cornish Meat Pies: A Hearty, Traditional Delight


Cornish meat pies, also known as Cornish pasties, are a beloved traditional British dish. Originating from Cornwall, these savory pastries are filled with a delicious mixture of meat, potatoes, onions, and rutabagas, all encased in a golden, flaky crust. Perfect for a satisfying meal on the go or a comforting dinner at home, Cornish meat pies are both hearty and flavorful. In this recipe, you’ll learn how to make these classic pies from scratch, with tips to ensure they turn out perfectly every time.


For the Pastry

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

For the Filling

  • 1 lb beef (chuck or skirt steak), finely diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 medium rutabaga (swede), peeled and finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (optional)


Making the Pastry

  1. Prepare the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the cold, cubed butter and rub it into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Add Water: Gradually add the cold water, a little at a time, and mix until the dough comes together. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
  3. Chill the Dough: Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow it to rest and firm up.

Preparing the Filling

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix together the diced beef, potatoes, rutabaga, and onion. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add chopped parsley if using.

Assembling the Pies

  1. Roll Out the Dough: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Divide the chilled dough into 4 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion into a circle about 1/8-inch thick.
  2. Fill the Pies: Place a generous amount of the filling mixture onto one half of each dough circle, leaving a border around the edges. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling to form a semicircle.
  3. Seal the Edges: Press the edges together to seal, then crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork to ensure they are well sealed. Place the pasties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Egg Wash: Brush the tops of the pasties with beaten egg to give them a golden, glossy finish.
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  1. Bake the Pies: Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is cooked through.
  2. Cool and Serve: Let the pies cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before serving. They can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature.

Tips for Perfect Cornish Meat Pies

  • Cold Ingredients: Ensure the butter and water are very cold when making the pastry to achieve a flaky texture.
  • Finely Diced Ingredients: Dice the filling ingredients finely to ensure they cook evenly inside the pastry.
  • Rest the Dough: Allowing the dough to rest in the refrigerator helps relax the gluten, making it easier to roll out and less likely to shrink during baking.
  • Season Generously: Season the filling generously with salt and pepper to enhance the flavors.


Can I Use Ready-Made Pastry?

Yes, you can use store-bought shortcrust or puff pastry if you’re short on time. However, making your own pastry will give you a more authentic and flavorful result.

How Do I Store Leftover Cornish Meat Pies?

Store leftover pies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through.

Can I Freeze Cornish Meat Pies?

Yes, Cornish meat pies freeze well. After baking, let them cool completely, then wrap them individually in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven.

What Can I Serve with Cornish Meat Pies?

Cornish meat pies are often served with a simple green salad, steamed vegetables, or a tangy pickle relish. They also pair well with a hearty soup.

Can I Use Different Meats?

Traditional Cornish pasties use beef, but you can substitute with lamb, pork, or even chicken if you prefer. Just ensure the meat is finely diced for even cooking.

How Do I Prevent the Filling from Being Under-Cooked?

Finely dicing the filling ingredients helps ensure they cook through. Additionally, make sure the pies are sealed well to trap steam inside, which aids in cooking the filling.

By following this recipe and incorporating these tips, you’ll be able to create delicious and authentic Cornish meat pies that are sure to satisfy. Enjoy these hearty pastries as a comforting meal or a portable snack!