British Pork Pie Recipe (2024)

This traditional British Pork Pie recipe is a classic! It’s made with ‘Hot Water Crust Pastry’, filled with chopped, seasoned pork and a strong stock which sets into a savoury jelly.

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Happy British Pie Week!

To celebrate I am sharing this traditional British Pork Pie recipe. I truly hope you recreate it in your kitchen too.

It’s worth noting you’ll need to make these pies the day before you want to eat them, as they need to cool overnight in the fridge.

A Traditional Pork Pie Recipe

Ahh, the humble pork pie. I’ll admit I didn’t eat these things for y-e-a-r-s.

Mostly because my younger self only bought very cheap food. And cheap pork pies are beyond gross.

Along with cheap sellotape, cheap bin bags and cheap aluminium foil. Cheap processed meat products are 100% not worth the saving.

However nowadays, when I happily pay more for meat that I know has lived a life my farmer Dad would’ve been proud of, I have found a whole new world of deliciousness!

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Pork pies are a classic British lunch food.

Nowadays they are often served with salads, Branston pickle and perhaps a pickled onion or two.

But I’m quite sure that historically they would have been served alone as an on-the-go lunch food.

They are a robust little pie and travel exceptionally well.

In warmer weather, it would be advised to use an ice pack or two to keep them cool.

But in the winter months, they will fair very well in a regular lunch box.

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This is the first time I’ve made pork pies, and I wanted to make them the old fashioned way. Pigs trotters n all.

So I devoured my collection of vintage cookbooks for inspiration.

Their recipes varied wildly. So I worked through them all and devised the recipe below.

There are three components to a good pork pie:

  • The pastry
  • The meat
  • The jelly

Let’s dive into each of those yummy elements…

Hot Water Crust Pastry

Hot Water Crust Pastry is not a commonly used recipe in British kitchens these days.

Probably because it does take a little more time, and planning, than regular shortcrust pastry.

However, it’s a fun pastry to work with and tastes so delicious.

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It’s a dense, buttery pastry that’s made by mixing melted lard and hot water into warm flour.

Doesn’t sound terribly appetising I’ll grant you, but the end result is just magnificent.

You need to keep the pastry dough warm whilst working it, so it remains pliable.

To help this on a cold winters morning, I popped my mixing bowl of flour into the oven (preheated to 180°C/350°F) for 5 minutes, until it read 22°C (71°F) on my digital thermometer.

Once the dough had been made, I cut off a section to work with.

The rest was returned to the warm bowl, covered with a clean tea towel and kept away from drafts.

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As pork pie pastry bakes, it caramelises into a deep golden brown.

Juices may bubble out of the hole in the top (more about that in a mo) leaving a gorgeous caramelised top.

And the best bit, the base becomes almost crispy with caramelisation.

That is a LOT of caramelisation my friends!

And it all layers up those flavours into a decadent, savoury treat.

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British Pork Pie Filling

After dredging through my cookbook collection, I decided to use pork shoulder for my pork pie filling.

I trimmed all the tough-looking bits off, leaving the softer fat and of course that delicious meat.

That then got diced up really small.

I seasoned it well with dried sage, salt and pepper.

A good massage to blend in the seasoning and it was good to go.

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Quick note: don’t season the meat until your pastry is made and ready to fill.

If meat is sat around too long in salt, it draws out the moisture and may make it tough.

Traditional Pork Pie Jelly

As a hand raised pie cooks, the meat inside naturally shrinks.

This leaves you with a gap between that delicious, buttery pastry and the meaty bit in the middle.

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In days gone by, when refrigeration was primitive, that gap could have posed serious health risks.

As there would be a stronger possibility of bacteria getting up to no good and spoiling the meat.

To fill that gap, and add extra nutrition to the pie, a thick stock would be made by boiling up the bones or carcass of the animal used.

The pigs trotter was most often used for this stock as it is so gelatinous.

The stock would be poured into the cooked pie with a funnel and left overnight to set firm.

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I know a lot of people freak out about the jelly in a pork pie.

But if it is well seasoned, it is delicious.

And it’s really good for you too. It contains collagen, amino acids, protein, glucosamine and minerals among other things.

Where do I buy Pigs Trotters?

Any good butcher will be delighted to share his pigs trotters with you as they normally get thrown away.

Most butchers give them for free, but the most I’ve ever been charged was £1 for four. So either way, it’s not going to break the bank!

They come clean and in no need of any work.

I generally rinse mine under cold running water and carry on with my recipe.

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Can you Freeze Pork Pies?

In short, yes! Pork pies can safely be frozen with very little change to taste or texture.

To get the best results, wait until the pork pie has chilled fully in the fridge and the jelly has set firm.

Then simply wrap each pie tightly in cling film or foil. Be sure to add a freezer label or mark with a Sharpie the contents and date and pop them in the freezer.

When you’re ready to eat, simply defrost in the fridge overnight.

The official advice is to defrost and eat within three months of freezing.

Now on to the recipe…

OK, let’s bring those three elements together in this fabulous, homemade British Pork Pie recipe.

As it’s quite an in depth recipe, I recommend have a good read through first.

And finally, please feel free to tag me in any photos you share online! You can find me pretty much everywhere as @hedgecomber :)

4.94 from 30 votes

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British Pork Pie recipe

Prep Time

1 hr

Cook Time

5 hrs

cooling time

1 d

Total Time

6 hrs

Course: Lunch

Cuisine: British

Keyword: British pork pie, hand raised pie, Pork Pie

Servings: 3 pork pies

Calories: 943 kcal

Author: Jane Sarchet


Hot Water Crust Pastry

  • 350 g plain flour – sieved
  • 140 ml water
  • 110 g lard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg – beaten

Pork Pie Filling

  • 500 g pork shoulder – diced
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Pork Pie Jelly

  • 1 pig trotter
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 onion – halved
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper

UK MeasurementsUSA Measurements


Making the Hot Water Crust Pastry

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) Gas mark 4

  2. Sieve the flour into a large, ovenproof mixing bowl and pop in the oven to warm.

    You're not trying to cook the flour, just warm it and the bowl through, so reduce the heat as necessary if you don't get to work on the pastry straight away.

  3. Place the water and lard into a saucepan.

    Gently bring to a boil and when the lard has melted, pour into the flour and salt mixture.

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  4. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.

    Working quickly, knead the dough when it is cool enough to handle.

    It will feel just lovely!

    British Pork Pie Recipe (13)

  5. Place on a floured board and cut off 1/3 of the dough.

    Replace this into the mixing bowl with a tea towel over the top to keep the heat in. This off-cut will be the 'lid' to your pies.

    British Pork Pie Recipe (14)

  6. With the remaining 2/3 you are going to make the 'body' of your pie.

    If you are making one large pie, keep it as is. However if you are making smaller pies like I have in the pictures, divide the pastry into as many pies as you are making.

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  7. Work on one portion of dough at a time, keeping the rest in the warm bowl.

Making the Pork Pie Jelly

  1. I use pigs trotters for my savoury pork pie jelly, but you can also use gelatin sheets if you prefer.

  2. Place the cleaned trotter into the slow cooker along with the water, onion, salt and white pepper.

    Cook on high for 4 hours, or on low overnight.

  3. I like to split the trotter halfway through the cooking time to allow more of the gelatin to be released into the cooking water.

  4. Once cooked, drain well, keeping all of that wonderful stock.

    The debris can be disposed of and any extra stock can be frozen in ice cube trays and used in soups, stews and casseroles to enrich and boost nutrition.

Making the Pie

  1. Dust a Pork Pie Dolly or an upturned glass with flour, then mould the warm pastry into an even layer with your hands.

    There should be a small overhang to seal the lid on, and you don’t want any gaps or splits.

    British Pork Pie Recipe (16)

  2. Repeat with the remaining dough.

    Carefully remove the pastry from the glass, and tie a strip of folded baking paper around the 'belly' of the pie to help hold it up.

    British Pork Pie Recipe (17)

  3. Mix together the pork, sage, salt & pepper. Carefully fill each pie with 1/3 of the mixture, pressing down as necessary and leaving the meat in a dome shape in the middle.

    British Pork Pie Recipe (18)

  4. Divide the ‘lid’ pastry into as many pies as you are making, and roll each piece out into a circle.

  5. Brush the overhang area with the beaten egg, and place the lids on.

  6. Now seal the edges of the lids and body pastry together. You can simply press the pastry together firmly, or crimp it as in the pictures.

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  7. Using the tip of a sharp knife, pierce a hole in the pastry and twist the knife to make the hole round & a little larger.

    This is where you will pour in your stock once baked, so the hole needs to be big enough to fit your funnel tip.

    British Pork Pie Recipe (20)

Baking the Pies

  1. Brush the pies generously all over with egg wash. The more egg used, the shinier the pies will be.

    British Pork Pie Recipe (21)

  2. Bake the pies in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

    Then reduce the oven to 160, and continue cooking for a further 50 minutes.

  3. Halfway through the cooking time, take out of the oven, remove the baking paper sleeves if using, and brush again all over with egg wash.

    Return to the oven to finish cooking.

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  4. It is essential that pork reaches a minimum of 65C (150F) to be safe to consume. Feel free to test the centre temperature with a digital thermometer if you have one.

  5. Set the cooked pies to cool on the kitchen counter.

    When at room temperature, move to the fridge to let cool fully.

    British Pork Pie Recipe (23)

Filling the Pies with Jellied Stock

  1. Take your cold pies and gently insert the tip of the funnel into the hole in the lid.

    British Pork Pie Recipe (24)

  2. Pour your hot stock into the hole slowly.

    You don't want it to overflow so allow it time to soak down into all the gaps and crevices.

  3. When the pies are full of stock, return them to the fridge to fully cool again.

    Do not cut into them until the stock has had plenty of time to solidify, preferably overnight.

  4. When ready to eat, cut the pie into wedges to see your work of art, and enjoy!

    British Pork Pie Recipe (25)

Nutrition Facts

British Pork Pie recipe

Amount Per Serving

Calories 943 Calories from Fat 414

% Daily Value*

Fat 46g71%

Saturated Fat 17g106%

Cholesterol 158mg53%

Sodium 2485mg108%

Potassium 545mg16%

Carbohydrates 93g31%

Fiber 4g17%

Sugar 2g2%

Protein 34g68%

Vitamin A 79IU2%

Vitamin C 4mg5%

Calcium 48mg5%

Iron 7mg39%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A quick note: Due to the temperature variants involved in making a pork pie (ie cooling a hot pie, to add a warm stock, then cooling to room temp, before refrigerating until cold) it is essential that the pork is fully cooked all the way through.

The easiest way to test this is to poke a digital thermometer probe into the hole you have created for the stock to be poured in. Aim the tip for the centre of the pie (which takes the longest time to cook), and when cooking pork remember that you need to ensure you read a minimum of 65ºC.

At the end of the cooking time when the pastry is golden and the juices are bubbling, expect to see a reading around the high 90’s. Don’t worry though, the meat will still be moist and tender inside that pastry mini oven!

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I use a Thermapen Professional which is a piece of kit that every foodie should have on hand.

Happily, they are made in Britain, and they’re a very user-friendly tool. The LCD screen remains off until you open the probe by pulling it away from the body, thereby saving battery life.

The LCD screen also rotates which is particularly handy when precariously testing the temperature of something boiling something like this Sloe and Blackberry Hedgerow Jam! This also makes it perfect for left or right-handers too.

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Huge thanks to Thermapen for inspiring this delicious bake to celebrate British Pie Week. As always all thoughts, and leftovers, are my own.

Jane x

British Pork Pie Recipe (2024)


What is the difference between a pork pie and a Melton Mowbray pork pie? ›

The sides of a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie are bow-shaped as they are baked free standing, whereas most other pork pies are straight-sided being baked in hoops. The meat used is fresh pork which is naturally grey when cooked, liked roast pork, not pink like other pork pies which used cured pork.

Who makes the best pork pies in the UK? ›

British Pie Awards

Leeson Family Butchers' Melton Mowbray pork pies are amongst the best in the world. Show Champion 2018, Gold award winner 2019, Show Champion (pork pie category) 2021, 2022 and 2023.

What is a pork pie in British slang? ›

Apart from the literal meaning of actual pies filled with pork, 'pork pies' is co*ckney rhyming slang for 'lies'. With rhyming slang the actual portion that rhymes is often dropped in order to further confuse the outsider, so it becomes 'porkies'. So, someone 'telling porkies' is a liar.

What is the jelly in a pork pie? ›

Traditionally, the jelly is made using a pig's trotter, and there is a recipe for this on page 98 of the book, but if you are short of time you can make the simple version below. In most traditional recipes the pastry is also hand-raised, which means that it is shaped without the help of a mould.

What English town is famous for pork pies? ›

The Leicestershire town of Melton Mowbray has been known for its pork pies since the 1700s — a by-product of the local cheesemaking industry (stilton is produced nearby), whose surplus whey proved ideal for fattening pigs.

What town is famous for pork pies? ›

But the pork pie does have that regional identity, with its origins from Melton Mowbray. Pork pies are now produced all over the UK but it is the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie that is most famous.

Do you eat English pork pies hot or cold? ›

A pork pie is best eaten cold – or even better at room temperature. Everyone has their own favourite condiment to go with a pork pie– some love hot English mustard or Branston pickle. We love ours with beetroot relish or a crisp pickled onion.

How do you eat British pork pie? ›

Cold meat pies - This type of pie will usually be served with salad. It may be served with pickles (relishes) or other types of savoury sauce. Hot meat pies - These are normally served with potatoes and cooked vegetables. While they may be served with a sauce they usually come with sauce or gravy inside the pie.

What pork pie company has gone bust? ›

The Vale of Mowbray pork pie factory in Leeming Bar was the subject of the Gregg Wallace show on Tuesday taking viewers behind the scenes where the famous snacks were made since 1928. But viewers notied that the factory closed in September 2022 bringing the loss of 200 jobs.

Why is there no jelly in pork pies? ›

The jelly in British pork pies is added deliberately, after the rest of the pie is cooked, to help keep the meat moist. In good pies it is usually either ham or chicken stock which jellifies as it cools.

What is a finger pie in British slang? ›

“Finger pie" is sexual slang of the late Sixties referring to “fingering” a woman to climax. The line "Four of fish and finger pies" is British slang. "A four of fish" refers to fourpennyworth of fish and chips, while "finger pie" is sexual slang of the time, referring to intimate fondlings.

Why is a pork pie called a growler? ›

In Yorkshire, pork pies are often served hot, accompanied with gravy or with mushy peas and mint sauce. It is also a common combination served at Bonfire Night celebrations. In Yorkshire slang a pork pie is sometimes called a "growler", a term probably derived from the "NAAFI growler" of earlier naval and army slang.

What is the white stuff in pork pies? ›

While you can make a pork pie without the jelly, traditional pork pies have gelatin (some boiled pig trotters) added to preserve and keep the meat moist. You will often see a small hole in the lid of the pie where the jelly has been poured in.

What is a pork pie dolly? ›

Description. Large Wooden Pork Pie Dolly - to make a 2lb Pie case. This Dolly is turned in Melton Mowbray from soft wood. It is an essential tool for making the hand raised pastry case. Base measures 10cm approx diameter.

Can you buy the jelly for pork pies? ›

You mean unflavored gelatin. Yes, you can buy it most any well stocked grocery store. It is hardly the most flavorful way to do it, but that is the purified form. To do it right takes cooking pork bones (I prefer smoked ham hocks) and letting that congeal.

Are pork pies still made in Melton Mowbray? ›

First hand-raised by baker, Mary Dickinson in 1851 and still made today with over 170 years of expertise, skill and craft. Our pies are made with outdoor-bred, British pork and have peppery seasoning complimenting the rich, hot water crust pastry.

What three things are required for a pork pie to be called a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie? ›

For a pie to be considered a Melton Mowbray pie it must meet 3 main criteria.
  • It must be baked within the Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) boundary of Melton Mowbray. ...
  • Made with British uncured pork (grey in appearance, not pink like ham). ...
  • Must be baked free-standing, not supported in a tin or hoop.

What's special about a Melton Mowbray? ›

Melton Mowbray pies have to be baked free-standing, which leads to the characteristic bulge, whereas most commercial pies are baked in hoops to produce a regimented, uniformly shaped product. And finally, they'll use a jelly made from commercial gelatine, with flavourings added to mimic the pork flavour.

Who makes Aldi Melton Mowbray Pork Pies? ›

You can't hurry a Tottle Pork Pie

As well as supplying Aldi's Melton Mowbray Pork Pies since 2011, they are also creators of our amazing new Specially Selected Exquisite Jewelled Pork Pie, on sale this Christmas.

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