Do you like meat pies? Many cultures worldwide have their unique spin on this delicious classic food. From Jamaican beef patties to pastel de choclo from Chile, these pies are truly a global phenomenon!
Whether you love to try new and exciting flavors or can’t get enough of the classics, chances are there’s a meat pie that will satisfy your cravings.
Keep reading to learn about some of the most popular meat pie recipes worldwide!
There are many different kinds of meat pies. They are popular snacks around the world. But what is the difference between all these pies?
We will explore 20 different types of meat pies from around the world, so you know exactly why they are loved by people everywhere.
What Is a Meat Pie?
A meat pie is a wonderfully savory treat that can be found with different fillings worldwide. In Australia, they are often filled with ground beef and onion. You might find them made of pork, apples, or cabbage in Canada. And Europeans enjoy filling theirs up like shepherd’s pies using meats such as lamb, rabbit, game birds, mutton chops, or root vegetables, depending on what type of meat it contains (for example, cowpeas).
Much like most pies, the pastry is typically baked or fried at a high enough temperature to produce the Maillard reaction. Depending on how it’s prepared, the pastry can also acquire a tender and flaky texture when cooked.
The History of Meat Pie
Pies have an ancient history and are found in many different cultures, including savory and sweet pies that can be served in many situations.
One popular version of the history of pie is a theory by food historian Dr. Janet Clarkson. According to her, the ‘pastry‘ cover was not meant to be eaten and was thrown away.
The pastry was created and used with fats like lard and butter as a cooking vessel for preservation. These medieval pastry dishes were called “coffins/coffyns,” a basket or boxes.
The origin of the meat pie is hotly contested, but one theory suggests that bread crusts were often served to servants while royalty and the wealthy ate the filling.
Fast forward a few thousand years, and meat pies remain popular, but they have certainly lost their status as a luxury item.
20 Different Types of Meat Pies from Around the World
Australian Meat Pie
There are many different types of meat pies from around the world, but the popular one is the Australian meat pie. It is an iconic Australian dish and can be found in bakeries all across the country.
This traditional dish had beef inside and was cooked until golden brown on top with a flaky puff pastry bottom crust that is soft to touch.
Australian meat pie (also known as Aussie hand pie) is a small pie typically filled with chunks of meat and vegetables. The difference is that they have a pastry crust instead of a pie crust, making them easier to eat on the go.
Australians love their meat pies, and they’re fond of serving them at local sporting events like cricket matches and picnics with friends.
British Shepherd’s Pie
The British Shepherd’s Pie is a variation of the more commonly known Meat Pie. It has been incorporated into many different cultures, such as American and French cooking.
This pie is called Shepherd’s pie in England because it was originally filled with lamb or mutton chops instead of beef when sheep were domesticated there. The term “shepherd’s pie” is often used interchangeably with “meat pie.”
Shepherd’s Pie is a very simple dish. Ground beef or lamb, peas, corn, carrots, onion, and celery chopped fine, with a gravy of Worcestershire sauce, herbs, beef stock, and thickener, make the base.
Add a topping of creamy mashed potato (laid on nice and thick), cheese and breadcrumbs to make it melt golden while it bakes in the oven.
It was first popularized in Scotland and Ireland as a working-class dish. It eventually became the most common dinner for Irish families on Sunday, making it traditional.
American Chicken Pot Pie
These chicken pot pies are typically made with chicken and vegetables cooked in butter or margarine to make them tender enough for a crust-less filling. They’re topped with biscuits before baking them in an oven until there’s a nice golden brown crust.
The one that is popular in American cooking as comfort food is chicken pot pie.
The filling for these pies consists of cooked chicken and vegetables with a thick roux sauce made of flour, butter, or margarine, and milk over the top before baking it all in a preheated oven until there is a nice golden crust.
The origin of the American chicken pot pie can be traced back to England in the 17th century, but French settlers later changed it into a dish called pâté chaud (literally “hot pastry”).
Chicken pies became popular again during World War II as people sought ways to use less expensive ingredients.
British Steak and Kidney Pie
Steak and kidney pies are very popular in England and can be found at almost every pub or bar.
The pie is traditionally made with a pastry crust that is deep-fried on the bottom before filling it up with beef (or lamb) kidneys, gravy sauce, and onions. It’s then baked until the pastry is golden brown on top.
Street vendors sold the first steak and kidney pies in England as a hearty snack that could be eaten anytime. They became popular among workers, including coal miners who dug for fuel all day long before returning home to have their dinner cooked up in a pie.
The history of the steak and kidney pies is unclear, but many theories surround its origins. One idea is that they date back to 17th-century France as pâté chauds with beef or lamb kidneys mixed into it.
Different cultures have their take on a pie (also known as an empanada). For example, an empanada from Southern Europe and Latin America is either baked or fried and consists of pastry and filling. The word comes from the Galician verb empanar meaning “enbreaded”, wrapped in bread.
The empanada dough is folded over a filling, e.g., meat or cheese, and the turnover is baked in medium heat or fried.
Several regional variations of empanadas include:
Colombian empanadas: vibrant yellow half-moons of cornmeal dough filled with ground beef and cubes of tender potatoes flavored with onion, garlic, and cilantro.
Chilean empanadas: finely chopped (but never ground) beef, the interior of the crimped empanada is then studded with black olives, roughly chopped egg, and sweet raisins.
Spanish empanada gallega: typically round or square, with a top decorated by pieces of dough. The bottom and top crusts of the Galician pie are always prepared with leavened dough, which gives them a dark, more unique-looking pastry.
Canadian Tourtière (Québécois Meat Pie)
This iconic Canadian meat pie is traditionally made with a slice of pork or beef filling that includes onions, carrots, celery, and thyme. The meat mixture is then covered in browned crusts of ground pork belly mixed in wheat flour to give it its crunchy texture on the outside, while inside savory stewing juices are abundant.
Tourtière is believed to have been introduced in the late 18th century by French-speaking settlers from France and was originally called “pâté chaud“. The dish became popular among Quebecois, which led to its renamed tourtière.
A pie crust can be made with many different things like butter, lard (pork fat), shortening, or vegetable oil.
Moroccan Pigeon Pie (B’stilla)
B’stilla is a dish that originated in Morocco and Algeria during the 15th century. The word “b’stilla” comes from “bi’stiila“, which means “wrapped, or enveloped”.
The pie can be made with up to three layers of thin phyllo dough filled with ground or chopped meat, sautéed vegetables such as carrots and celery.
The pigeon pie is then topped with more layers of filo pastry dough before being baked or deep-fried in olive oil for a few minutes on each side to give it its crunchy texture. The dish also has cinnamon sprigs that are studded throughout the filling.
The Lebanese pie is made with the traditional ingredients of ground lamb, rice or dried cracked wheat, and pine nuts. A sfija consists of a meat-based filling wrapped in dough and cooked on an open flame, while a Sfeeha has no crust at all because it was originally prepared for those observing Lent.
A popular dish in the Middle East, it’s often eaten with a side of plain yogurt or a tahini garlic creamy sauce, a garnish of fresh cucumber, and fresh herbs such as mint or coriander.
Sfija is also known as “sfeeha” or “shish beldi“. It can be served with rice for those who observe Lent and without any crust to represent abstinence and fasting from meat during that time.
Irish Beef and Guinness Pie
The pie is a traditional Irish meat dish, and it’s usually made from beef or leftovers that are simmered in Guinness beer before being mixed with mashed potatoes. The filling will then get topped off by browned buttery pastry dough to help keep the flavor of the gravy inside when it bakes.
Scottish Haggis Pies
Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish made from sheep offal (a mixture of lungs, heart, and liver) minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, and spices like salt and pepper. Haggis is often served as part of the Burns Night celebratory supper on January 25th, where it’s traditionally prepared by boiling it in a sheep’s stomach.
Besides being served with neeps and tatties on Burns Night, the haggis pie is sometimes prepared for other special occasions like Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) or Valentine’s Day.
Italian Easter Pie (Pizza Gain, a.k.a. Pizza Rustica)
Pizza Gain is a meat-filled, savory pie inspired by the Italian dish “pizzacrusta“.
The pizza crust of Pizza Rustica can be made with butter or lard and then topped off with tomato sauce before it’s baked. It will typically have feta cheese sprinkled on top for extra flavor.
Making Kreatopita may seem like a simple task, but it has remained unchanged for thousands of years. Today, however, many people use frozen pastry sheets to save time and improve their taste.
Kreatopita is a triangular, flaky pastry with a meat filling. You can eat it either sweet or savory.
The fried buns pierogi or pirozhki (Russian: пирожки) are probably the most famous dish of Russian cuisine. They are made of yeast dough filled with meat, vegetables, or fruit filling. Usually, they’re baked but sometimes frying is possible too.
In Russia, pirozhki are served with sour cream or melted butter.
Iranian Khoresht Mast
Khoresht Mast (yogurt stew) is a dessert. It is usually served as a side dish or an appetizer. It is yellow and sweet. This dish contains sugar, yogurt, saffron, crushed lamb neck meat, and turmeric. It is a traditional dish from Isfahan.
To make Khoresht Mast, first, braise and shred the lamb neck. Then simmer yogurt and sugar in a pot. Slowly add the shredded meat to form a paste-like texture. Add brewed saffron and rosewater to turn it yellow and give it an exotic taste. Chill for 24 hours to get the perfect.
Moroccan Tajine Pie
Moroccan tajine dishes are made with meat and vegetables. They are slow-cooked, and the spices you use will depend on what dish you make. Tajine dishes can be made with many different spices, but ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and saffron are the most common.
The sweet and sour taste combination is common in ultimate comfort food dishes like a lamb with prunes and spices. Tajines are usually served with bread.
A knish is traditional Jewish snack food. The dough has a filling, and it can be deep-fried or baked.
Some savory pie recipes use the filling of mashed potatoes, kasha (buckwheat groats), or cheese. Other fillings include sweet potatoes, black beans, or spinach.
Knishes can be round, rectangular, or square. They are usually covered in dough, but some fillings may show through on top. Some are small and can be eaten in one bite; others are larger and like a sandwich size.
Indian Meat Samosa
A samosa is a South Asian pastry that is fried or baked. It can be triangular, cone, or half-moon, depending on the region. The filling is usually spiced potatoes, onions, and peas with chicken and other meats.
Samosas are often eaten with chutney and have been around for a long time. Samosas are popular in the local cuisines of South Asia, Western Asia, Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, and Africa.
Chinese Meat Pie (Xian Bing)
These Beef Xian Bing are northern Chinese food. They are made with wheat flour and filled with beef, leeks, and garlic.
Bing xian is a Northern Chinese specialty. The word ‘bing‘ refers to flat, usually unleavened wheat cakes, and the word ‘xian‘ specifically means that this cake is ‘stuffed’ or ‘filled.’ Mostly, the filling is some meat or others. That is why it is called Chinese Meat Pie.
British Pork Pie
Pork pies date back to the 13th century. They’re typically made with minced pork mixed with breadcrumbs, onion, and other spices before it’s wrapped in pastry dough. It’ll then be baked for at least an hour so that the meat is cooked through and set into a crumble-like consistency. The pie is then eaten cold.
Irish Lamb Pie
Lamb pies date back to the 13th century. They’re traditionally made with minced lamb mixed with breadcrumbs, onion, and other spices before it’s wrapped in shortcrust pastry dough or put into a pie shell. It’ll then be baked for at least an hour so that the meat is cooked through and set into a crumble-like consistency. The pie is then eaten cold.
What are the four types of pies?
There are four types of savory pie: cream, fruit, custard, and bloody.
What are meat pies called in America?
Despite the name, “meat pies” are typically not a type of pie; instead, they can mostly be found in two main forms – the pot pie or Jamaican patty.
What is a traditional pie in the UK?
One of the more traditional pies in England is a Pork Pie. It’s traditionally eaten cold and consists of thick, crumbly pastry surrounding pork filling.
What were meat pies originally called?
The first pies, called “coffins” or “coffyns” were savory meat pies with tall, straight-sided crusts. Open-crust pastries (without tops or lids) are known as “traps”.