Traditional Cornish Pasty

A traditional Cornish Pasty dates back to the 13th century and is wrapped in all sorts of rumour and mystery. This version is as traditional as it gets and it is unbelievable how much flavour you can get from such simple ingredients.

Square image of a traditional Cornish Pasty against a steamy dark back drop

The Traditional Cornish Pasty.

Cornish Pasties dates back to the 13th century and unsurprisingly is the source of much discussion. When I say discussion I mean argument!

However to call this dish famous in the UK would be an understatement. Any foodstuff name-checked in classics like the Robin Hood Chronicles, the Canterbury Tales and no less than three works of Shakespeare is no shrinking violet.

In short, the humble Cornish pasty is nothing more than a ‘hand pie’ as I see them called on the web. The filling is with four very good things and some salt and pepper.

Those four things are Potato, Onion, Swede (rutabaga elsewhere) and finally beef. It is then seasoned and wrapped in a pastry.

Tall image of a traditional Cornish Pasty broken open showing the filling against a steamy dark back drop

The Pastry For Pasties…

I have a few pies here on Krumpli. I usually advocate store-bought bought puff pastry for both my beef and ale pie and my chicken and mushroom pie.

Without reservation, I recommend making your own pastry for a Cornish pasty.

A shortcrust pastry is a perfect pastry for a traditional Cornish Pasty. Mixing half butter and lard as the fat content really maximises this function. It is simple and all you have to do is work cold and use a food processor.

The most important aspect of the pastry is to lock in both the ingredients but also the steam and juices. That is the key to the flavour!

Afterwards, it is baked in a slow oven to allow the flavours and juices to play. They are delicious straight from the oven but even better at room temperature if you ask me.

Landscape image of a traditional Cornish Pasty against a steamy dark back drop

Myths Legends and Trivia!

Traditionally food of Cornish ‘miners’, if rumour is to be believed. The crimped crust serves as a hand hold and was discarded, because, well mucky hands of course.

By all means feel free to do this but I would advise you to have your head checked. The crust is the best bit!

I’ll leave you with one final bit of pasty trivia. A pasty crimped by a left handed person is called a cock pasty and a pasty crimped by a right handed pasty is a hen pasty, because… Well because nobody knows but do some digging and you will find plenty of Pasty folklore!

It is hard to believe how much flavour you can get from so few ingredients but believe it you should!

Square image of half of a traditional Cornish Pasty showing filling against a steamy dark back drop
Traditional Cornish Pasty

Traditional Cornish Pasty

Yield: 4 Pies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
A traditional Cornish Pasty is what Americans know as a hand pie, filled with very simple ingredients it is hard to believe just how much flavour these beef pies have!


For the pastry:

  • 250 g Flour
  • 60 g Lard, Shortning in the US.
  • 60 g Butter
  • 85 ml Cold Water
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt

For the Filling:

  • 250 g Beef, I use sirloin, cut into strips.
  • 125 g Potato
  • 75 g Swede, 5mm dice.
  • 50 g Onion, Sliced.
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Pepper
  • 1 Egg, For glazing the pie.


  1. Add the flour, salt, lard and butter to a food mixer and bring together.
  2. Pour in the water and mix until a ball is formed.
  3. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 3 hours.
  4. Chop and combine all of the ingredients for the filling with the exception of the egg.
  5. Divide the pastry into four and then roll out so that you can cut out 20cm discs.
  6. Place a quarter of the filling on each disc and then fold over sealing with water.
  7. Crimp the pasties by pinching the fold between your thumb and fore finger.
  8. Then fold over and continue until the entire edge is crimped, you can of course fold over in any method that works for you.
  9. Brush over with the beaten egg.
  10. Bake in a fan assisted oven at 160°C or 320°F for 50-55 minutes or 180°C or 350°F in a standard oven.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 838 Total Fat: 48g Saturated Fat: 21g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 22g Cholesterol: 167mg Sodium: 1108mg Carbohydrates: 68g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 7g Protein: 32g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Readers Comments

14 thoughts on “Traditional Cornish Pasty”

  1. Bravo! I grew up in northern Michigan, where Cornish miners transplanted this tradition, and there, they’re called pasties. I love them. I’m looking forward to trying your recipe.

    • Cheers Jeff… Enjoy, I can’t really claim this one, this recipe has largely remained unchanged for hundreds of years and is largely identical to the ‘protected’ status recipe, just slightly different vegetable ratios 🙂

  2. These pasties are looking to die for! I would have 3 and ask for seconds too! Great photography too x

  3. These look absolutely mouth watering…and that filling sounds delicious!! What a perfect springtime dish! Can’t wait to make some!

    • They make a fab picnic dish, they are robust enough to be rattled around a little and add some chutney and you are laughing 🙂

  4. Wow, these are Cornish Pasty really impressive! Looks very tasty! I definitely want to try this cool recipe! I think this will be one of my favorites. Thank you for sharing this great recipe!

    • lol, even in Cornwall they argue about a ‘real Cornish’ pasty 😉 Enjoy and chuck what ever you want in there and make it your own, just don’t tell anyone form Cornwall 😉

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