Jamaican Beef Patty Pot Pie Recipe

Jamaican beef patties are an icon of Caribbean street food. They are typically handheld pies with vibrant, yellow, and flaky crust encasing a filling of ground beef redolent of island spices and packing some serious heat from the local Scotch bonnet peppers. They are an excellent dish with an interesting history.

The beef patty first appeared on the island after the arrival of British colonists. As has happened countless times throughout history, colonists arrived with particular tastes — in this case, for Cornish pasties — and the locals found a way to make them their own. The Cornish pasty is a traditional British hand pie that is typically filled with meat and vegetables. Jamaican cooks took that idea and ran with it, incorporating turmeric and curry powder into the pastry crust for its trademark yellow hue and filling the pies with beef spiced with thyme, allspice, more curry powder, and Scotch bonnet peppers, a close relative of the habanero with a similar kick. Thus, the beef patty was born, a dish truly Jamaican in character and emblematic of the flavors of the Caribbean.

In this recipe, those same flavors are transformed into an easy-to-prepare double-crust pot pie. Instead of painstakingly crimping individual hand pies, this allows you to enjoy all the delicious savor of Jamaican beef patties with half the work. This is just one big beef patty for the whole family to share.

Gather the Jamaican beef patty pot pie ingredients

For this recipe, you will make your own bright yellow, curry-infused crust using flour, salt, sugar, curry powder, turmeric, butter, and ice water. The filling of the pie is made from ground beef, green plantain, onion, garlic, ginger, scallion, Scotch bonnet or habanero, thyme, allspice, curry powder, flour, and chicken broth.

Step 1: Start the crust

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients for the crust by stirring together flour, sugar, salt, curry powder, and turmeric until uniform.

Step 2: Cut in the butter

Cut the butter into small pieces and stir into the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or two knives.

Step 3: Slowly add ice water

Add the ice water a few tablespoons at a time, stirring between each addition.

Step 4: Form the dough

Turn out the dough onto the counter and form it into a ball. Wrap the dough ball and place it in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Step 5: Cook the beef

To make the filling, bring a large skillet to medium-high heat. When hot, add the ground beef and cook, breaking apart, for 3–5 minutes, until a good amount of fat has rendered.

Step 6: Add the vegetables and spices

Add the onion, plantain, scallions, ginger, garlic, Scotch bonnet, curry powder, thyme, and allspice. Cook this, stirring regularly, for 8–10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Step 7: Add flour to thicken

Stir in the flour and cook for around 2 minutes to remove any raw flour taste.

Step 8: Make the gravy

Add the chicken broth and stir until it thickens into a nice gravy.

Step 9: Adjust seasoning

Once the filling is thick, remove the pan from heat. Stir in the sugar and add salt to taste.

Step 10: Start the oven

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Step 11: Roll out the dough

Remove the dough ball from the fridge and slice it in half. Roll one half into a circle around ¼-inch thick, and use this to line the bottom of an 8-inch pie pan, pressing the dough into the corners.

Step 12: Fill the pie

Fill the bottom crust with the gravy from the skillet.

Step 13: Add the top crust

Roll out the other half of the dough and place it on top of the pie. Trim the excess crust to fit the tin.

Step 14: Close the pie

Crimp the edges of the two crusts together and cut a few small steam vents in the center of the pie.

Step 15: Bake the pie

Bake at 425 F for 30–40 minutes, until the crust is crisp and the edges begin to brown.

Step 16: Allow to cool

Allow to cool and settle for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Why does the Jamaican beef patty pot pie have crust on the bottom?

Many pot pies eschew the bottom crust you expect on a sweet pie, favoring simply a top crust encasing a filling of meat, vegetables, and gravy. In this recipe, we have opted to include a bottom crust to better replicate the experience of eating a Jamaican beef patty. One of the trademark features of beef patties is the vibrantly yellow, curry-infused pastry. It is flaky and delicious, and it provides a wonderful, slightly sweet counterpoint to the salty, spicy filling. By encasing the pot pie with a double crust, we preserve the experience of a beef patty by ensuring that every single bite has that crisp crunch of pastry. However, by turning this dish from a hand pie to a pot pie, we also remove a significant portion of the overall labor required. It is the best of both worlds — less time in the kitchen and just as delicious. Plus, once you've mastered making the pastry for this pot pie, you're more than ready to take on any pie recipe you might come across.

How do I store pot pie leftovers?

If, after dinner, you have any leftovers, they should be covered and stored in the refrigerator. A simple piece of tin foil or plastic wrap over the pie tin will do the trick. Stored properly, pot pie leftovers will keep for around five days. If you plan to store leftovers for more than five days, they should be frozen. Fortunately, pot pies freeze very well. Simply wrap the pie tightly and toss it in the freezer. To reheat a frozen pie, bake it uncovered at 350 F for around 20 minutes, or until it is warmed all the way through. The instructions for reheating unfrozen leftovers out of the fridge are similar: Pot pie is best reheated in the oven, as a dry heat environment will preserve the flakiness of the crust. If you are in a rush, you can certainly reheat leftovers in the microwave, but the crust is likely to come out a bit soggy.

What can you use instead of Scotch bonnet peppers?

While not all Jamaican food is spicy, beef patties are one of the dishes that make use of the local favorite Scotch bonnet pepper, which packs quite a punch. On the Scoville scale (the standard scale for measuring spice levels in peppers), Scotch bonnets fall in the 150,000–325,000 range, a berth shared with the closely related habanero pepper. For reference, jalapeño peppers are in the 2,500–8,000 range of Scoville heat units, and serrano peppers are around 10,000–25,000. These little peppers aren't messing around when it comes to heat.

If you are sensitive to spicy food, it is probably best to skip the peppers entirely in this recipe. While the heat is traditional and delicious to some, the flavor of the peppers is not particularly pronounced in the dish; you won't miss much aside from the tingle. If, on the other hand, you are one of those folks who crave spicy food but simply can't find Scotch bonnets at your local market, habaneros are the closest alternative. The two species are closely related and very similar in terms of spiciness, making habaneros an excellent substitute.

Jamaican Beef Patty Pot Pie Recipe
5 from 30 ratings
This recipe takes the typical ingredients and spices found in a Jamaican beef patty hand pie and transforms them into one, family-sized pot pie.
Prep Time
45
minutes
Cook Time
55
minutes
Servings
8
Slices
jamaican beef patty pot pie
Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the Crust
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) cold butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons ice water (divided)
  • For the Filling
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green plantain, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt, to taste
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients for the crust by stirring together flour, sugar, salt, curry powder, and turmeric until uniform.
  2. Cut the butter into small pieces and stir into the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or two knives.
  3. Add the ice water a few tablespoons at a time, stirring between each addition.
  4. Turn out the dough onto the counter and form it into a ball. Wrap the dough ball and place it in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
  5. To make the filling, bring a large skillet to medium-high heat. When hot, add the ground beef and cook, breaking apart, for 3–5 minutes, until a good amount of fat has rendered.
  6. Add the onion, plantain, scallions, ginger, garlic, Scotch bonnet, curry powder, thyme, and allspice. Cook this, stirring regularly, for 8–10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.
  7. Stir in the flour and cook for around 2 minutes to remove any raw flour taste.
  8. Add the chicken broth and stir until it thickens into a nice gravy.
  9. Once the filling is thick, remove the pan from heat. Stir in the sugar and add salt to taste.
  10. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  11. Remove the dough ball from the fridge and slice it in half. Roll one half into a circle around ¼-inch thick, and use this to line the bottom of an 8-inch pie pan, pressing the dough into the corners.
  12. Fill the bottom crust with the gravy from the skillet.
  13. Roll out the other half of the dough and place it on top of the pie. Trim the excess crust to fit the tin.
  14. Crimp the edges of the two crusts together and cut a few small steam vents in the center of the pie.
  15. Bake at 425 F for 30–40 minutes, until the crust is crisp and the edges begin to brown.
  16. Allow to cool and settle for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
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