Scottish Meat Pie

This recipe has been a McCoy family tradition for a couple of generations now. I’m not sure whether these are really eaten in Scotland, but they used to sell them from a roadside stand back in the 1940s, in the part of Harmarville, PA which now hosts a fast-food strip. This is infinitely better and more comforting than fast food, and if you use store-bought pie crusts (because, let’s face it, it’s December and you are busy) it’s really easy, too. This is good hot, but it’s far better if you eat it cold after letting it sit for a day. It also works beautifully with gluten-free pie crusts. And kids love it– or at least I did when I was a kid, and I was really picky. Click below for the recipe according to my mom.

Scottish Meat Pie

2 pie crusts (your own recipe, or store-bought)

1 lb ground beef

2 medium waxy potatoes (you’ll really use about 1 and 1/2)

1 carrot

1 small onion

1 egg

salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grate the potatoes with a cheese grater. Chop the onion and carrot into small pieces, and pulse them in the food processor until they are finely chopped (but not puréed). Mix in a bowl. You should have twice as much potato as you have onion-carrot mixture. Add the meat and mix together with your hands. Don’t squish it too hard– you want a loose mixture. Add salt and pepper liberally.

Roll out a pie crust and put it into a pie pan. Add the meat mixture. Make sure not to pack it tightly– it’s better to leave some out than to pack it too tightly. Pour in 1/4 cup cold water. Then add the top crust. Pinch the edges so that you have a sealed crust. Score the top of the pie several times so that steam can escape. The meat is being steamed during the baking process, so you want to give it a few vents!

Now take some strips of aluminum foil and fold it over the rim of the pan so that it covers the outer pie crust– it’s going to be in the oven for a while and you don’t want it to burn.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, checking periodically. After 45 minutes are over, take off the foil. Beat the egg in a bowl and brush it over the pie (not the crusts, just the middle) to get a nice shiny brown crust. Then put it back in the oven for a few minutes to brown, watching like a hawk to make sure the crusts don’t burn.

Remove pie and allow to cool. Serve immediately or, for best results, allow to cool overnight, then refrigerate and eat the next day.

I wish I still had a camera, because this pie came out looking beautiful. I haven’t tasted it yet– it’s for our office Christmas party tomorrow. By the way, there’s a lot of room for experimentation with this pie’s filling– if you come across something particularly good, please let me know!


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28 Responses to “Scottish Meat Pie”

  1. onestopcook Says:

    This sounds good! I think I’m going to try it. I think I’ll add some grated cheddar cheese to it. I can see lots of variations for it too, you’re right. It sounds like great comfort food. I have some cooking to do. Thanks.

    One Stop Cook

  2. jicket Says:

    What caught my eye about this recipe was the word “picky”. My boyfriend is dang picky himself and so this had us written all over it. We made it tonight and he basically inhaled half the pie. Success! Salting and peppering liberally still left some salting and peppering to be done at the table – potatoes and piecrust can absorb plenty of spice – but it was delicious. Next time, we might try putting some frozen peas in there for more of a shepherd’s pie effect. The bf also floated the idea of cumin, which I think would make it more chili-like. Interesting. Anyway, I just recently found your blog, which I have been enjoying immensely. This is the first recipe I’ve tried and I’m going to be watching like a hawk for more! Thank you for this one!

  3. therealpotato Says:

    So glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, this is definitely a winner for picky eaters. I think serving it with gravy would work as well.

    And welcome to the blog, I hope you’ll keep commenting! 🙂

  4. mom Says:

    Putting gravy on the pie when it’s on your plate is the way Grammy eats it!
    Aunt Linda used to put green beans in it, too.
    The benefit of a homemade crust is 1) it tastes better and 2) you can use the leftover dough to roll out, butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Roll up into a log and cut into bites. Then bake when you throw the pie in. Be careful, they’ll bake a lot faster than the pie!

  5. Agnes Says:

    I make a hot water pastry it is easy to mold I also use ground lamb which is expensive but it is the way they are made in Scotland. The problem I have is to make individual ones as the pastry seems to flatten out so that is one of the things I am trying to fix. I also use potato and onion they taste wonderful but I would like to find molds to keep them authentic

  6. Agnes Says:

    Did anyone ever find the molds for these pies there is no way these pies will keep there shape without molds I have even tried freezing the shell but it still flattens out

  7. Agnes Says:

    I guess there is no interest in Scottish meat pies now as I cannot get any replies to my questions

  8. therealpotato Says:

    Agnes, personally I’ve never used a mold, I just do it in a pie pan. I’ve seen empanada molds in kitchen stores, though, I wonder if those would do the trick?

  9. Sharon J Says:

    In response to the question about moulds, my mum always used a soup dish (the shallow type with a ledge around the edge) and that’s exactly what I use too. Just grease it well before you put the pastry in and you’ll have a perfect pie.

    Also, I use beef or vegetable stock instead of water as that gives the pastry a better taste.

  10. Rockhound Says:

    Agnes you could be looking for a small spring form baking pan. Look in kitchen stores, or Bed bath and beyound stores, thay have a huge selection of cooking supplys. If thay don’t have instock just ask to order them.

  11. lynne Says:

    sorry they are not made with ground beef but lamb

  12. therealpotato Says:

    Lynne, as I explain in the post, this recipe is close to a century removed from Scotland. There’s more than one kind of authenticity.

  13. Barb Borland Says:

    My mother and grandmother were both from Scotland originally and meat pie is one of their dishes that we grew up eating regularly. My mother recently passed away so I tried making a meat pie from memory as she had no recipes. It turned out horrible. After reading your recipe, I will try making it again only this time, I will not pack the meat filling so full and will try adding the carrot and onion for flavoring. Wish me luck.

  14. laura Says:

    I found the mini spring form pans at Linen & things but at $15 for two it was a bit pricy for me. Instead i am using the large muffin pan, that way i will get 6 at a time and the cost was $11.99.

  15. Rebecca Says:

    Hi to all, im reading ur pie recipe and im affraid to say its good but not as good as the real ones. im in EDINBURGH scotland so heres my version. its a bit footery but worth it.
    check out my traditional scotch pie!!!

  16. therealpotato Says:

    Hi Rebecca, sounds great– feel free to post it!

  17. Rebecca Says:

    Answer to your unstable pies is to use pork pie moulds.
    if you go onto ebay UK there is plenty there that are cheap and will last forever.

    this is the link

  18. fiddleagedman Says:

    My grandfather was a baker in Scotland and I have very fond memories of visiting him as a child. I wish I had his recipe for meat pies, but unfortunately I don’t. If memory serves my right though, he had a gas fired press that shaped and precooked the shells for his meat pies. This must have been how they held their shape in his brick oven.

    I plan to build my own brick oven soon and try to recapture the goodness of old world baking. I still have memories of people lined up in the alley by his bakery before dawn waiting to buy his morning rolls fresh out of the oven. They were something to behold. As were all of his fresh baked goods.

  19. Calpurnia Says:

    I used to get lovely meat pies at a bakery in Bailey’s Cross Roads. The lady who made them told me she had used beef, mutton/lamb, pork, venison, moose, elk and caribou to make them at various times. I used to get the lamb/mutton ones and they were devine.

  20. Agnes Says:

    This is Agnes I have made dozens of these pies but they don’t taste the same I also got a pie shaper to make the shells still having a problem with the texture followed the recipe as close as possible but to no avail. The lamb does not even taste as good as the old country pies I cook the ground lamb first to try and take some of the fat of, then add onion some garlic and grated potato and the usual salt pepper, the recipe tells me not to cook the lamb but the fat really bothers me so I have to but then maybe that is why they taste so good in Scotland wish some baker would post a good recipe for the filling and pastry.

  21. Elizabeth Says:

    I am SO going to make this next! I’m moving this week; this will be a nice post-move reward for me and my new roommate…

  22. Ronda Says:

    I grew up doing Scottish dancing from the time I was 5 years old until about 18 years old. At dancing functions and competitions, I looked forward to having the delicious meat pies. I’m 51 years old now and still crave them from time to time. I hope this recipe satisfies that craving. One of the things I remember is they were always served with the option of HP Steak Sauce which made them even more delicious! I don’t remember them having carrots but that could just be my memory! Thank you so much for this recipe – I look forward to trying it soon.

  23. scott Says:

    I havent had meat pie in a long time.

  24. Agnes Says:

    Well I have succeeded making the shells now have to get the ground beef I think it is just meat and salt and pepper plus some Worcester sauce I am so glad I finally found the machine to make the shells

  25. Marian Says:

    What qualifies as a “waxy potato” for those of us not in the know. 🙂

  26. Agnes Says:

    I really dont know why people are stuck on using Mutton for scotch pies I cannot remember going into the bakery and asking for a mutton pie they were made with all kinds of meat and I know a lot of people cannot stand lamb never mind the cheap fatty mutton, I did try the lean ground lamb supposed to be lean and it was amazing all the fat that came out of it if that was lean I dont know, wonder what like the old mutton would be like.

  27. Menu Plan Monday | Camp Kennedy Says:

    […] Saturday: Scottish meatpies […]

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