Meat Pie Portos: Traditional Cuban-style Meat Pie

Meat Pie Portos from Porto’s Bakery is a traditional Cuban-style meat pie. It has a savory, spicy filling with an al pastor style of spices and toppings.

The crust is crispy on the outside, and soft inside – just like any great pastry should be.

Do you want to know more about Porto’s meat pies? And do you want to know how to make meat pies or bake at home, the Porto’s style? Let’s find out!

About Meat Pies

meat pie portos
Meat pie. Credit: canva

What is a Meat Pie?

A meat pie is a fried or baked dish that can be made with either beef, lamb, pork, or chicken (or even fish) and mixed vegetables. It looks like an American-style hand pie and is cut into small pieces for serving.

The filling contains cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and salt; it may also include onion, potatoes, and carrots. The meat in a pie may be raw or boiled beforehand; it is usually browned before being added to the filling mixture for cooking.

Meat pies can either be fried (the crust sealed with egg) or baked (without sealing). They are typically served as appetizers with chutneys such as mango or tamarind or as main courses with salads.

Cuban Meat Pie

Pastel de Carne Seca (dried meat). Credit: canva

A Cuban meat pie, or pastelito de carne, is a type of turnover filled with picadillo, a mixture of ground beef, pork, onions, garlic, tomato sauce, green olives, and raisins. The filling is usually spiced with cumin, oregano, and pepper.

The turnover is then fried or baked and served hot. It is often eaten as a snack or appetizer but can also be served as a main course.

Portos Meat Pie

About Porto’s Bakery

Porto’s Bakery is founded by Rosa Porto, an immigrant from Cuba. Soon after Rosa and her husband arrived in California, Rosa began baking and selling cakes to friends and family that had heard of her fabulous cakes back in Cuba.

Within a couple of years, it was not uncommon to see a line of customers picking up cakes from Rosa’s small home. In 1976, Rosa opened her first official storefront, Porto’s Bakery, on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, California.

Porto’s offers a variety of pastries and cakes, from meat pies, strudel, and cookies, to sandwiches, coffee, and cakes.

Porto’s has gradually grown into five existing locations in Glendale, Burbank, Downey, Buena Park, and West Covina, with a sixth location in Northridge.

Portos Meat Pies (Pastel de Carne)

Pastel de Carne y Queso (meat and cheese). Credit: canva

Porto’s Bakery meat pie, also known as Pastel de Carne, is a traditional Cuban-style meat pie. It is A sweet and savory guest favorite! Puff pastry filled with Rosa’s original picadillo (Cuban-style ground beef with onion, bell pepper, olive, and Spanish seasonings).

The crust is crispy on the outside, and soft inside – just like any great pastry should be.

The Porto’s style of meat pie has a savory, spicy filling with al pastor-style spices and toppings. It comes in two flavors: beef or chicken.

Meat Pies Portos Menus

Two other menus at Porto’s are similar to the Cuban meat pies.

  • Chicken Empanada

The Chicken Empanada is Rosa’s original recipe! It is a savory hand pie filled with Cuban-style chicken fricassee (slow-cooked chicken breast, carrot, raisins, peas, onion, tomato sauce, and Spanish seasonings).

  • Potato Ball (Papa Rellena)

This potato ball is Porto’s Bakery Classic! It is Porto’s signature potato puree, filled with Rosa’s original picadillo (Cuban-style ground beef with onion, bell pepper, olive, and Spanish seasonings) with a crispy panko crust.

How to order it?

To get your hands on one of these pies, we recommend calling in advance and placing an order for pickup or delivery (depending on availability).

Or order online via their website:

Porto’s Meat Pie Cooking Instructions

Porto’s now ships nationwide their best pastries, unbaked and frozen. You can then bake them fresh in your oven.

Porto Meat Pie

  • 1 pack of Porto’s Unbaked/Frozen Meat Pie (Pastel de Carne)

Porto’s Meat Pie Baking Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. While the oven is preheating, stack two baking sheets, one on top of the other. Place parchment paper on the top baking sheet, then place pastries on parchment paper and make sure pastries have at least ½” of space between each piece to bake evenly.
  2. Place the two baking sheets in the middle of the oven. Bake pastries for 35-40 mins. In a conventional oven, 30- 35 mins. For convection, or until golden brown*. While they bake, prepare a simple syrup by placing ¼ cup of water and ¼ cup of sugar in a saucepan and stir to combine over medium to high heat. Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has come to a boil, remove from heat. 
  3. When pastries are done, remove them from the oven and brush them with simple syrup while they are still hot. Let the pastries cool down thoroughly before you enjoy them, which takes about 15 minutes since the filling takes longer to cool.  

How to Make Your Own Pies At Home?

The Porto’s Bakery style is typically made from beef, or chicken filling mixed with vegetables and spices rolled up in a pie crust and then fried until it is crisp.

Preparing a Portos style of meat pie is not difficult. All you need are the pastry dough and meat pie filling ingredients.

Porto’s Meat Pie Recipe (Cuban Meat Pie Recipe)


  • Pastry dough ingredients – flour, salt, butter, and water; OR whole milk if using the latter
  • Meat pie filling ingredients – ground beef, onions, potatoes, and carrots
  • Topping for the pie – shredded cabbage or lettuce; salsa verde (green sauce); fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Start by rolling out your dough in a rectangle shape, dusting the top with flour to make it easier to roll up later.
  2. Mix ground beef, onions, potatoes, and carrots – this is what will form your filling for the pies; be sure not to add any liquids!
  3. Spread an even layer of the filling on top of your dough rectangle, then roll up tightly.
  4. Bake on a greased baking pan or in an ovenproof frying pan at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through (depending on how thick you have rolled them).
  5. Serve hot with salsa verde and fresh cilantro leaves to garnish.

Gluten-Free Cuban Meat Pies

The best way to make the pies gluten-free is to replace the wheat flour with rice flour and an egg for glazing. This will give you a crispier crust, but it does not have that same texture as when fried.

Rice bread crumbs are another option, or use cornflour if you’re gluten intolerant.

More About Meat Pies in the USA

Why are Meat Pies So Popular in the United States?

Meat pies have been famous in the United States since at least 1837 when chef Howard mentioned them as his recipe. They are typically served with chutneys such as mango or tamarind sauce.

Meat pies are often served as appetizers or cocktails, such as the Bloody Mary in a glass jar. They can also be packaged up to take home for later use as an after-school snack.

How to Make Meat Pie?

A dough is made from flour and water (or whole milk), mixed, and rolled out to an even thickness. The dough is cut into approximately five-inch squares or rectangles; a filling of meat, mixed vegetables, and spices are spread over the surface and then rolled up in a jelly roll shape.

The “pie” will be fried (with a sealed crust) with deep fat at about 180 degrees Celsius for four minutes or about five minutes if the crust is not sealed.

How to Make Meat Pie Without Deep Fry?

We don’t recommend baking a meat pie – they are often served as appetizers and would be relatively dry after being baked. The best method is using an ovenproof frying pan, which can be placed in a moderate oven at about 180 degrees Celsius. Check the filling for burning before removing it from the oven, then remove and allow to cool slightly.

How to Bake Meat Pie?

The best method is using an ovenproof frying pan, which can be placed in a moderate oven at about 180 degrees Celsius. Check the filling for burning before removing it from the oven; this should take about 20 minutes.


What is the difference between Cuban and Mexican-style meat pie?

A traditional Cuban-style meat pie has a savory, spicy filling with an al pastor style of spices (typically pork). In contrast, Mexican-styled pies are usually covered in red or green salsa. Alternatively, they may be topped with cheese and/or sour cream.

What is the difference between a meat pie and an empanada?

There are many differences: for example, both have fillings that include pork or beef, shredded potatoes, and onions in their dough crusts. Empanadas also use salt water to seal the edges of the dough.

How do I bake Porto’s bake?

Bake baked goods in a conventional oven at 350° for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Check them every 5 minutes after the first 15 minutes.

How much is a box of Porto’s?

Each box of meat pies costs $16.99 plus shipping; a minimum of two packages is desired per order ($33.98).

How long does Porto’s bake at home last?

Bake at Home packages is shipped with instructions on how to bake the order. Each container comes with dry ice and typically takes 2 days to arrive.

Can you pick up Portos bake at home?

The Porto’s now ships with Porto’s Bake at Home. Just place your order, and the Bake at Home packages will be delivered!

Can you buy frozen Portos at the store?

You can now order our pastries frozen and shipped directly to your home so you can bake them ‘as fresh as they’re baked.

What are meat pies called in Australia?

An Australian or New Zealand meat pie is called precisely that; Australian meat pie. It is a hand-sized, meat and gravy-filled pastry often consumed at home as takeaway food.

See also: Aussie Hand Pies: A Refreshing and Unique Treat.

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