Scotch Pie - Inside View

Make Your Own Scotch Pies

Cooks in 40 minutes Difficulty Easy 9 comments This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn money from the companies mentioned or linked to in this post.

Scotch pie, a savory hand pie made with hot water pastry crust and ground (minced) meat, is a great favorite in Scotland and in my home in Arizona, as well. Originating in England and “perfected by the Scottish,” the Scotch pie is a national icon made in homes and bakeries across the country.

People stand in long and chilly lines at football (soccer) games just to get their hands and teeth on one. In fact, the way some people talk about Scotch pie makes you wonder: Do they go to the football games for the pie or the game itself? I doubt anyone would stand out in the damp grass staring at an empty field just to eat a hand pie, no matter how yummy it is. So, it seems the Scotch pie and the football game are a matched set – like hot dogs and baseball.

Please note: This Scotch Pie recipe is the first in a TIMK series featuring “Hand Pies Around the World.”

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an aerial shot of a castle beside a lake scotland
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Many Ways to Make a Scotch Pie

A few simple ingredients make up a Scotch pie. Ground or minced meat, traditionally mutton, but now more commonly ground beef, mixed with spices, and sometimes onions, all baked in a hot water pastry shell made of water, lard, salt, and flour. Yet, despite the list of ingredients being so basic, there are myriad ways in which the pie is made.

Some people shape their hot water crust over a jar or glass and let it sit overnight, or a couple of days, to dry. Once hard, they fill it with the meat mixture, add the wet lid (top crust), and bake it. This makes for a very crispy shell. Other’s like to cook the meat and add a little gravy to it. Then, they put the cooked meat and dab of gravy in the raw shell and bake it. I like to mold my hot water pastry into mini cheesecake pans. Then, I fill them with the raw meat mixed with sautéed onions and spices, put on the lid, and bake for about 40 minutes.

In my house, we eat the pies hot, not long after they come out of the oven. Smothered in gravy and eaten alongside a baked potato and steamed broccoli they make a super satisfying meal. But, this isn’t the only way to eat Scotch pies. Leftover pies are very portable and can be eaten cold or reheated. It’s the simplicity and versatility of the Scotch pie that makes it so easy to fall in love with. You can take them with you for a bite on the go, a picnic, a tailgate party, or to pack into a lunch box.

Characteristics of a Scotch Pie

Even though, a Scotch pie can be made in many different ways, there are some common characteristics I’ve noticed that make a Scotch pie a Scotch pie.

  1. Each pie is a serving that fits in one hand.
  2. The hot water pastry is usually shaped, by whatever means, into a straight-sided bowl.
  3. The filling is made with ground meat, (usually beef, mutton, or a mixture), spices, and sometimes onions.
  4. The pie has a thin top crust with a hole in it to allow steam to escape while baking. (Some bakeries will put two holes in the top crust to indicate the pie contains onions.)
  5. The top crust sits about 1/4 inch below the top of the side crust making a shallow bowl on top of the pie. This allows for the addition of gravy, baked beans, ketchup, or whatever suits your fancy, and keeps it from running off the sides and making a mess. Important if you’re eating your pie in the wild and not at home at your kitchen table.

About the Spices

Spice blends used in Scotch pie recipes are often closely guarded secrets. They make one’s own pie recipe different from everybody else’s. There are some commonalities, though. Those include salt, pepper, mace, and/or nutmeg. Anything else, or anything less, is on you. Experiment! You never know. You could be the next world champion Scotch pie baker. Although, I believe you need to have a bakery to enter. But, who cares? Give yourself an award!

Equipment Needed to Make this Recipe

  1. Four 4-inch springform cake pans (or equivalent)
  2. Rolling pin
  3. Small skillet
  4. Knife to cut onion
  5. Saucepan/s
  6. Measuring cups, spoons
  7. Kitchen scale (optional)
  8. Mixing Bowls and spoons
  9. Pastry Brush (for egg wash)
  10. Stove and Oven (obviously)

Scotch Pie

3 from 5 votes
Recipe by Kimberly Scott Course: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: ScottishDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time





Ground beef, spices, and a hot water pastry crust make Scotch pie an easy meal, sit down or on the go.


  • Hot Water Pastry Crust
  • 2 cups flour (240 grams)

  • 1/2 cup lard or shortening

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 egg yolk, beaten (for egg wash)

  • Meat Filling
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine

  • 1 – 2 teaspoons lard, butter, or shortening

  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon mace

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon Italian spice (optional)

  • Quick Beef Gravy
  • 1 14 oz. can low sodium chicken broth

  • 2 cubes beef bouillon

  • 1/4 cup cold water

  • 2 tablespoons corn starch


  • Preheat oven to 350° F or 177° C. Grease four 4 inch springform pans and set aside.
  • Put flour in a medium mixing bowl and create a well in the center.
  • Place water, salt, and lard in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Carefully pour hot water and lard into well made in the flour. Mix with a spoon until all the flour is wet.
  • When the flour mixture is cool enough to handle. Knead just enough to mix completely. Set aside one fourth of the dough and divide the remaining dough into four balls.
  • Place all of the dough in the refrigerator while sautéing the onions and preparing the meat mixture.
  • Sauté the chopped onion in 1 to 2 teaspoons of lard, butter, or shortening, until soft.
  • Thoroughly mix ground beef, onion, and spices, including salt and pepper, in a bowl and set aside.
  • Remove dough from the refrigerator and roll each of the four big dough balls into round shapes big enough to cover the bottom and up the sides of the springform pans stopping about 1/4 inch or 6 mm from the top of the pan.
  • Roll out the large piece of dough, (the fourth you cut off from the whole dough mass in the beginning), into one large shape a little thinner than the bottom shells. Using one of the springform pans, cut four circles out of the rolled dough. These will be the lids (top crusts) of your pies. Lay them flat and cut a small hole in the center of each lid.
  • Add one fourth of the meat mixture to each pastry lined pan. Filling to about 1/4 inch or 6 mm from the top of the dough. Be sure to push it down into the corner round the bottom of the pan.
  • Cover the pie with the pastry lids and press the edges of the lid dough into the shell dough to seal. You may crimp with your fingers or press with a fork to make them pretty or just leave them plain. Just make sure the tops and sides are sealed together.
  • Brush each lid with the beaten egg yolk and place the pies in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. You can stick a meat thermometer into the lid hole to ensure the meat is cooked through. It should be 160° F or 71° C.
  • While the pies are in the oven, make the quick gravy. Put the chicken broth in a saucepan along with two beef bouillon cubes and bring to a boil. Mix 2 tablespoons of corn starch into 1/4 cup cold water and stir until smooth. Slowly, add the corn starch mixture to the broth while stirring. Turn down the heat to a simmer and allow the gravy to thicken, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the pies from the oven and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before removing springforms. Serve with gravy, potatoes, and vegetables, top with beans, or, just eat them on the go.


  • If you want to put a tablespoon of gravy inside each pie before baking them, just make the gravy before assembling the pies.
  • Scotch pies will last 3 days in the refrigerator and can be frozen after they have cooled for an hour. They will taste best if eaten within two to three months of freezing. Once you have thawed the pies, don’t refreeze them.

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Like hand pies? Try my Easy Cheesy Calzone Recipe, as well!

Nutrition information is approximated based on online calculators.


  1. Made these for dinner tonight and they were delicious! I used a 3 1/2” muffin tin instead of 4” spring forms, not a common size in the average kitchen. Worked great and ended up with 5 pies. I added thyme and rosemary from the garden to the gravy and garnished with fresh thyme before serving. My Husband was very happy and I am definitely making this recipe again. Thank you!

  2. I had a lot of issues with this recipe. Some of it i’m sure is my own ignorance. I found the pastry was too dry and didn’t stick together well. Also the ground beef juices leaked out all over the top of the pies and that was at the 35 minute mark when I checked them, not close at all to being done. (at 350degrees as instructed). So I’m not sure what went wrong or how I could have problem solved better.

    • Hi AJ,

      I’m sorry you had trouble with the recipe. The only suggestions I can make are one, weigh your flour instead of just scooping it up. Different people will get different amounts of flour in a “cup,” because they all scoop differently. Secondly, if the pastry is still too dry or you don’t have a kitchen scale, just add a little more hot water. Go easy, adding just a tiny bit extra at a time. It should be really moist and pliant. (Not sticky or falling apart.) Some of the meat juices will bubble up through the air hole. It shouldn’t be a whole lot, though. If you’re getting a lot of juice (fat) coming through the hole, maybe try a lower fat ground beef. Lastly, make sure you preheat your oven before putting in the pies. All ovens are different, as well. Some run hotter than the temperature on the dial and some run cooler. You can check this with an oven thermometer inside the oven, but if you don’t want to go that far, just cook your pies a little longer.

      Hope this helps! Let me know, if you have any further questions.

  3. Garry Watson

    A traditional Scotch pie is made with mutton, rather than beef. Both are delicious though! Scotch pies are eaten hot, while pork pies, which originate in England rather than Scotland, are generally eaten cold.

  4. Brian the baker

    Cooking at 160 F?

    • Hi Brian,

      No, not cooking at 160° F. That’s what the final internal temperature should be, at least, to ensure the meat is fully cooked. The pies are baked at 350° F.

      Have a great day and let me know, if you have any further questions. 🙂

  5. Ah, they also call these pork pies! I’ve read that these pies also lend their name and shape to the eponymous pork pie hats.

    (Thank you for following The Monching’s Guide, by the way! Couldn’t comment on your About section, so I’ll just put it here.)

    • Yes, the pastry in pork pie and Scotch pie are the same. They’re both hot water pastry. Just love it! I haven’t tried a pork pie, yet, but will very soon. 🙂 Thanks for your feedback and your blog looks very interesting. Happy to follow!

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