Classic Meat Pies

Classic Meat Pies with a chunky beef and Guinness filling. A delicious meat pie recipe with step-by-step photos.

aussie meat pies on wooden board

Meat Pies

For many Australians, a meat pie at lunch with a good squirt of tomato sauce (ketchup) is almost a daily ritual.

You can find meat pies at nearly all Australian cafés and bakeries, corner shops and supermarkets, but making your own at home from scratch can be very satisfying.

And if, like me, you are an expat living in a country where meat pies do not exist, homemade meat pies can be a real joy.

classic meat pies with tomato sauce

Meat Pie Recipe

An Australian meat pie is essentially a meat filling in a thick gravy, fully encased in pastry; they typically have a base made from shortcrust pastry to give structure to the pie, and a soft and flaky puff pastry lid.

There are many variations on how beef stews can be made, some using tomatoes as a base, perhaps red wine for something fancy, or an ale for a rich, dark flavour.

A typical Aussie Meat Pie contains a minced beef filling, which are fairly quick and economical to make.

classic meat pies with beef and guinness filling

Beef and Guinness Pie

For something a bit more upmarket, I like to make my pies with chunky pieces of beef which have been slowly simmered in a rich gravy, and this Beef and Guinness Pie is a real treat.

The meat pie recipe below uses stout (Guinness) to produce a rich, dark, full-bodied gravy.

The stout gives a classic flavour which reminds me of the meat pies of my childhood (you know, the ones from the corner shop which you ate with a small carton of chocolate milk to go with …).

I also love to add mushrooms in my pies for their flavour and contrast in texture, as well as a generous amount of black pepper for some heat.

How to Make Meat Pies

Step 1

Make the pie filling. I recommend making it the day before so that it has had a chance to cool down properly and set. This sort of beef stew also tends to improve in flavour after a day.

beef and guinness stew in white cast iron pan

Step 2

Cut out the shortcrust pastry to fit each pie tin.

Cut out small sheets of baking paper to fit each pie tin. Scrunch up the baking paper and then flatten it out again – this step will help to make the baking paper more manageable.

Place the baking paper on top of the shortcrust pastry, and fill each pie tin with a small handful of ceramic baking beans (you could also use uncooked rice or dried beans).

Bake the pastries for 10 minutes at 200°C (390°F), or until they are lightly golden.

Remove the baking paper and ceramic baking beans from each pie tin, and return the pastries to the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes, or until they are nicely golden all over.

how to blind bake pastry with ceramic baking beans

Step 3

Fill each pastry with some of the beef filling, taking care to not overfill the pastry cases.

filling pastry shells with pie filling

Step 4

Cut out rounds from the puff pastry to to fit as lids on the pies.

Brush the rims of each pastry case with some egg wash, and place the lids on the pies.

Use a fork to seal the edges of the pies together.

Brush with egg wash, and use a knife or scissor to cut a vent in each pie.

uncooked meat pies about to go into the oven

Step 5

Bake the pies for 20-30 minutes, or until they are golden brown all over.

golden brown meat pies on baking tray

What Type of Pie Tins to Use

During my last trip to Australia, I picked up a few sets of non-stick pie dishes with fluted edges (which I have used in the photos above). You can also find pie dishes with flat edges, oval-shaped pie moulds … you can find quite a variety in most specialty kitchen stores.

At a pinch, you could also use a standard muffin pan to make mini meat pies.

I highly recommend using non-stick pans, though, for the obvious reasons.

Tips For Making Meat Pies

  • Make the filling the day before so that it can cool down completely and also improve in flavour overnight.
  • The pastry should be as cold as possible before baking, otherwise it will shrink in the oven. Hence, when handling the pastry, try to work as quickly as possible. If you think the pastry has become too soft and warm, simply place the pastry (or uncooked but assembled pies) in the fridge to chill for 15-30 minutes.
  • When it comes to meat pies, it’s all about the pastry. Choose the best quality pastry you can afford, preferably organic and with all butter.
  • When cutting the puff pastry, use a sharp knife and cut the pastry cleanly and without dragging the pastry. This will help the pastry to puff nicely in the oven and show off all of the layers in the pastry.
  • Use non-stick pie dishes for easy removal.
meat pies with beef and guinness filling on wooden board

More Australian Recipes

For more Australian recipes, you might also like:

Chocolate Caramel Slice

Pavlova with Cream and Passionfruit

Pikelets

Print

Classic Meat Pies

5 from 1 reviews

Classic Meat Pies with a chunky beef and Guinness filling. A delicious meat pie recipe with step-by-step photos.

  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: Makes at least 12 small pies
  • Category: Savoury Pies
  • Method: Stove Top, Oven
  • Cuisine: Australian

Ingredients

To make the filling

  • 1 kg (2 lb) chuck steak or blade steak, cut into 5 cm (2 inch) pieces
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, sliced thickly
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 250 ml (1 cup) Guinness, stout, pale ale, or beef stock
  • 500 ml (2 cups) beef stock
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 500 g (1/2 lb) mushrooms, sliced thickly
  • 23 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch), mixed with some water
  • 23 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

To assemble the meat pies

  • shortcrust pastry sheets
  • puff pastry sheets
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Instructions

To make the beef filling

  1. Heat some oil in a large pan. I like to use a cast-iron pan with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Season the beef generously with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Brown the beef in small batches, and use a slotted spoon to remove the browned meat to a large bowl. Try not to over-crowd the pan, otherwise the meat will steam instead of brown; it is the caramelisation on the meat which gives a lot of flavour to the stew.
  4. Add the onions and garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the Guinness and let everything bubble away. 
  6. Use a wooden spoon to scrape off any caramelised bits on the pan.
  7. Add the beef stock, thyme and bay leaves.
  8. Return the beef to the pan, together with any meat juices which have collected in the bowl.
  9. Turn the heat down to low, and cook gently on a low simmer for about 2 hours, or until the beef is tender. See Kitchen Notes below for instructions using a pressure cooker.
  10. Once the beef is tender, add the mushrooms.
  11. Simmer gently for a few minutes until the mushrooms have softened slightly.
  12. During this time, try to remove the thyme and bay leaves.
  13. Turn up the heat to medium-high, and slowly add the cornflour slurry. You may not need all of it – just add enough until you have a fairly thick consistency.
  14. Taste the sauce for seasoning.
  15. Add the parsley.
  16. Set the mixture aside to cool completely.

To blind-bake the pastry

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F).
  2. Cut out rounds from the shortcrust pastry to fit the pie tins.
  3. Place the shortcrust pastry rounds into each pie tin.
  4. Place the pie tins on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  5. Cut some sheets of baking paper which are large enough to sit inside the pie tins.
  6. Scrunch up the baking paper and then flatten it out again – this will make it easier to handle to the baking paper.
  7. Place the pieces of baking paper on top of the shortcrust pastry bottoms.
  8. Place a small handful of ceramic baking beans (or uncooked rice or dried beans) on top of the baking paper.
  9. Place the tray of pie tins into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the pastry looks lightly golden.
  10. Carefully remove the baking paper and baking beans from each pie tin.
  11. Place the tray of pie tins back into the oven, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the pastry looks a nice, lightly golden colour all over.

To assemble the pies

  1. Fill each pie tin with some of the beef filling, taking care to not over-fill the pies.
  2. Cut out rounds from the puff pastry to fit as lids on the pies.
  3. Lightly brush the rim of the pastry bottoms with some egg wash.
  4. Place the lids on top of each pie.
  5. Use a fork to seal the edges of the pie together.
  6. Brush the tops of the pies with some egg wash.
  7. Use a knife or scissors to cut a vent in each pie.
  8. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.

Kitchen Notes

IDEAS FOR LEFTOVERS
* This recipe produces more filling than you will need to make the pies.
* I haven’t specified the amounts of pastry needed as much depends on the size of your pie dishes, and how many pies you intend to make.
* The filling is essentially a beef stew which is delicious eaten as it is with some mashed potatoes or roast potatoes
* I also like to use the leftover filling to make a large pie in an oven-proof dish with just a pastry lid.

VARIATIONS
* Feel free to omit the mushrooms.
* Add carrots instead of the mushrooms. In which case, add them in Step 8 with the beef.
* Substitute the Guinness with a good red wine. In which case, I would also add 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste in Step 7.

FREEZER TIPS
* To freeze the pies, ready for a quick snack or lunch at a later time, make the pies as per the recipe. Once you have covered each pie with some pastry, place the uncooked pies (in the pie tins) into the freezer. When the pies are frozen, remove them from the tins and place them in a zip-lock freezer bag.
* You can bake the pies when they are frozen (no need to defrost), brushing them with some egg-wash before popping them into the oven. They will need an extra 5 to 10 minutes of baking time.

USING THE PRESSURE COOKER
If you are short on time, I recommend using a pressure cooker to make the filling. Follow Steps 1 to 8 as per the instructions above, but add only 1 cup of beef stock. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, and then quickly release the pressure. Remove the lid, add the mushrooms, and proceed with the rest of the recipe. If the stew needs more liquid, add some more beef stock or boiling water.

OVEN TEMPERATURES
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below and share your photos by tagging @eatlittlebird on Instagram and using #eatlittlebird

Update

This recipe was first published on 11 September 2012. It has been updated with new photos and more comprehensive recipe notes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

38 comments

  1. narf7 11 September 2012

    And NOW we are talking! Steve (long suffering carnivore husband to vegan wife narf7) finally gets something in my rss feed reader to feed his meat loving U.K. soul! Aussies unite! We too can feed our U.K. imported husbands with good Aussie recipes that meld the finest stout with our good Aussie beef…cheers for this recipe from the bottom of my expat husbands heart 🙂

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 12 September 2012

      LOL!! You are more than welcome 🙂 Had I known, I would have shared this recipe much sooner! I frequently make beef and Guinness pies in winter, using a recipe which is quite similar to this one, though without the caramelised onions. I hope your husband will enjoy this recipe!

      Reply
  2. Eileen 12 September 2012

    Tiny pies! I could definitely see making up a batch of these, freezing them, and popping them in the oven for random lunches.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 12 September 2012

      Freezing them is definitely a great idea! I make the pies and then put the whole muffin tin into the freezer, and when the pies themselves are frozen, I transfer them to a zip-lock freezer bag. I later bake them from frozen, brushing them with egg-wash before popping them into the oven, giving them perhaps an extra 5 minutes of baking time. They make for great snacks this way!

      Reply
      • Great Idea, that’s exactly what I am thinking of doing with them… Getting ready to go back to work after holidays and it’s always good to have something in the freezer to fall back on.

        Reply
        • eat, little bird 7 January 2014

          Absolutely! I don’t tend to freeze a lot of food, but I find that pies happen to be great for freezing as they still taste great once reheated, plus you can bake them from frozen. These pies are particularly worth freezing 🙂

          Reply
  3. Maggie Jaye 12 September 2012

    Ohhh I long for home sweet home Aussi Pies! Canada just doesn’t cut it, but now I can make my own!! 😀

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 12 September 2012

      Can you find meat pies in Canada? You would at least be one up on Switzerland! Whenever a craving ensues, I have to make a whole batch but it’s worthwhile because you know what’s going into your pies. Although I like my homemade version, sometimes I get a craving for those Four ‘n Twenty Pies …

      Reply
  4. Caroline 12 September 2012

    oh yum, these pies look really delicious! I have never made pies somehow but this post makes me want to try!
    Question for you..I bought a kaffir lime tree from the same nursery you went to and it is doing really great on my balcony right now. But now the temperatures are getting much cooler..do you think it’s better to bring it inside already? I am really worried about not taking good care of it because I love this little plant so much..it is pretty AND delicious! 🙂

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 12 September 2012

      Making meat pies might be a bit fiddly and can take a bit of time (the stew takes a few hours to cook), but the whole process is quite simple so I hope you will give them a try soon.

      As for the kaffir lime tree, I think you should be ok to leave it outside for this week. The temperatures look to be warming up during the day later in the week (about 20°C) and then dropping to about 8°C overnight. I think most books recommend that you bring citrus trees indoors when the temperatures drop below 8°C or 10°C. But if you notice that the leaves are starting to drop or curl, you should start to bring them inside right away. I think once the day temperatures start to drop significantly and the night temperatures fall below 8°C, I will bring my kaffir lime indoors.

      As to where to keep them indoors, most apartments would generally be too warm for them if the central heating or heaters are on. My neighbours keep their citrus plants in the stairwell next to the window during the winter months – the temperature in the stairwell is usually much cooler than in the apartments, and the plants should receive sufficient light from the windows. I plan to do the same – hopefully there will be room for my plants!

      I was thinking of doing a new gardening post soon about overwintering (caring for plants over winter). I will try to do that soon 🙂

      Reply
      • Caroline 12 September 2012

        Thanks a lot for the advice! I will leave it outdoors for now and bring it in when the night temperature starts dropping. Unfortunately I can’t keep mine in the stairwell but hopefully it will survive indoors since our apartment never gets that warm in the winter (about 20°C)..I hope so at least!
        An overwintering post would be great and super useful..I am impatient to read it!

        Reply
  5. manu 12 September 2012

    They’re so cute!!
    Have a nice day

    Reply
  6. Mathilda 12 September 2012

    Interesting, I never made or taste pies like those. I will remember them for a chilly evening this winter !

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 12 September 2012

      These meat pies are very Australian 🙂 I think the British also like a good pie but theirs are usually not fully encased in pastry; British pies are generally comprised of a meat stew in a pie or casserole dish, topped with a layer of pastry and baked until the pastry is golden. Either way, pies are the perfect winter food!

      Reply
  7. Sam-I-am 12 September 2012

    Tahn, you even manage to make meet pies look chic!

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 12 September 2012

      LOL!! Thanks, Sam 🙂 I didn’t look very chic eating them, though 😉

      Reply
  8. Paula 12 September 2012

    I love meat pie, but I only have prepared it once, and it was with Guinness, as these. I followed a Jamie Oliver recipe 😉 I also made it small, with mini-cocotte, but you can be sure, mine weren’t soooo nice as yours! 😛

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 15 September 2012

      I love Jamie Oliver! So I’m sure he must have had a really good recipe. And I’m also sure that your mini pies also looked really lovely 🙂

      Reply
  9. anita menon 13 September 2012

    gorgeous and petite looking pies. I can easily imagine a vegetarian rendition for the same.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 15 September 2012

      Oh absolutely! When my parents ran a bakery when I was younger, they sold a vegetarian pie which was essentially a mix of vegetables in a thickened, flavoursome broth. There are lots of variations of pies out there, including vegetarian pies.

      Reply
  10. At Anna's kitchen table 15 September 2012

    I love pies, all kinds. Oh and pastry….what can I say, mmmmmm, sour cream pastry sounds extra mmmmmm. I’m not going to say that I’ll try them (though I wish I could) I wouldn’t be trusted round them!

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 16 September 2012

      I think a jog around the block a few times is necessary after eating a few of these pies in one sitting 😉 But the sour cream pastry is really quick and easy to make, and a dream to roll out. I might need to play with the recipe and see if I could reduce the butter content though …

      Reply
  11. Julia 16 September 2012

    What a great idea to use a muffin pan for the meat pies!

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 16 September 2012

      These meat pies are almost the size of party pies which they sell in Australia. Otherwise, you could use standard pie tins, but muffin pans are much easier.

      Reply
  12. my honest answer 17 September 2012

    These look great! My husband has a meat pie at work most days, I would love to be able to send him with one I’d made for the money saving and the health benefits of knowing exactly what was in it. Could you cook these, then freeze them, then eat them cold? I’m wondering if I could bake up a batch, and send one with him each morning. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 17 September 2012

      I agree that one of the main advantages of making your own meat pies is knowing exactly what goes into them, and I guess the same can be said for everything else homemade, too. You could certainly make and bake these meat pies in advance and freeze them, but I’m not sure about eating them cold. I think meat pies definitely taste better warm or hot. If your husband has access to a microwave at work, he could heat these up really quickly.

      Reply
  13. Rushi 24 September 2012

    I must make these soon, my hubby would start worshipping me if I do 🙂

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 28 September 2012

      If your husband is a meat pie kind of guy, definitely make these soon! 🙂

      Reply
  14. Hi there,

    I am thinking of making these as a healthier alternative to bought nibble pies. Given there’s already a litre of beef stock in them, what do you think I could substitute for the Guinness? More stock or just water.

    Thanks in advance. Kate

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 7 January 2014

      I would simply substitute the Guinness for more stock. You won’t get that lovely flavour from the Guinness but making this stew with just beef stock would still taste really lovely.

      Reply
  15. Julia 12 April 2018

    Ohhh I can’t WAIT to try this! This looks sooooo good! Thank you for this great recipe!

    Reply