Jamaican Beef Patties

If you don’t have crumbs on your mouth or on you when you’re eating a patty, then it just simply isn’t 10/10.

Nathaniel says…

For me, patties were my childhood. They’re a real labour of love though, and not something I ever even attempted to make until I was an adult.

My family are Jamaican and patties are the equivalent to grabbing a sandwich and drink for lunch. It always felt like a treat when I would get one when I was younger. So naturally, once I became an adult, I asked my nana how they were made. It took years of perfecting this recipe. As much as I love patties, not every patty is a good one! Some don’t have the flaky pastry, but then some lack on the filling. Whenever I visit Jamaica, the first thing I want to eat is a patty and coco bread. It tastes like a warm hug and the flavours that erupt in your mouth are truly one of a kind. If you don’t have crumbs on your mouth or on you when you’re eating a patty, then it just simply isn’t 10/10. Don’t argue with me, I don’t make the rules!

When I say it’s taken years to get to this recipe I mean it! This version here is my baby. It’s taken me seven years to perfect – my longest ongoing project! It’s a reminder of my childhood and how culturally rich Jamaican cuisine is. I was always raised to make the best out of very little thing and Jamaican people did just that, with these.


Jamaican Beef Patties


Makes 6–8 patties

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
500g beef mince (15–20% fat)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
½–1 Scotch bonnet pepper (with seeds for spice)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
55g tomato sauce
2 teaspoons browning sauce
150ml hot water
5 tablespoons fine white or panko breadcrumbs


480g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
200g beef dripping or suet, cut into small cubes and frozen
150ml ice-cold water
100ml ice-cold buttermilk
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons yellow food colouring powder (optional, but it really gets that authentic colour!)
20g butter, cut into cubes and frozen
1 egg, beaten 


Start by preparing the filling because you’ll want this to cool down before filling your patties. In a small bowl, mix the garlic and onion powders, ginger, all-purpose seasoning, pepper and salt. Season the beef with half of this seasoning and pop to the side.

Over medium heat, add the oil to a non-stick pan and sauté the onion and carrot for 2–3 minutes, or until softened. Then add the garlic, spring onions, Scotch bonnet and thyme. Cook for another 1–2 minutes, or until fragrant. Then add the tomato paste, soy sauce and tomato sauce. Let this cook down, stirring regularly for 2 minutes.

Now add the beef, then use the back of a spoon to really break it down. Once your meat is broken down into a crumb-like consistency, add the browning and half the hot water. Give it a good mix and cook, covered, over low heat for 10–15 minutes.

Then add the breadcrumbs, remaining seasoning mixture and remaining hot water and mix well. Cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the mixture is nice and moist, yet soft. The breadcrumbs are crucial in creating the right consistency, as they soak up the moisture. Once cooked, double check for seasoning and spice, and adjust if needed. Allow to cool while you make the dough.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cornflour, curry powder, turmeric, sugar and salt. Mix with a whisk until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Now add the beef dripping pieces, straight from the freezer, and use a spoon or your hands to quickly toss to coat them in the flour.

In a jug, combine the ice-cold water, buttermilk, vinegar and yellow food colouring powder (if using). Notice how everything is cold, this is the key to making the perfect pastry. It keeps the fats cold, so once they go into the oven they’ll melt between the layers, which creates pockets in the pastry and results in a flaky crust.

Pour the wet mixture into the flour bowl and use a wooden spoon to mix. It will be quite hard to mix, but you don’t want to use your hands at this point. Once the ingredients have come together, tip onto a lightly floured surface.

Knead for a minute or until a dough has formed. You want the ingredients to just come together, lumps of beef dripping are what you want. The dough should be full of it! Wrap in cling film and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Flour the work surface and roll out the dough to 1cm thick, keeping it rectangular. Then fold the bottom to the middle and the top to the middle (like you’re folding a letter).

Turn over (so the seam side is down), then roll out again and repeat once more. What we’re doing is almost like a puff pastry technique, which creates layers. Repeat twice more. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Roll out the dough once more, repeat the folding process twice more and scatter the frozen butter cubes across the dough. Fold like a letter again and roll once more. Now after rolling this time, you want to fold it up again and roll it to 3cm thick, then split into 6–8 equal sections.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.

Working with one section at a time, on a floured surface, roll out the dough to 5mm thick. Now, you can keep the dough as a rectangle, which means you won’t have to cut the edges and roll any dough, or you can place the dough onto a bowl to create a perfect round, which makes the traditional half-moon patty shape. Opt for whatever works best for you.

Scoop 4–5 tablespoons of the cooled filling into the centre of the dough, leaving space round the edges to seal. Then brush the sides with beaten egg and fold the dough over, pressing gently to push the air out and to seal. Press the edges of the patty using a fork dipped in flour. Trim the edges using a pizza cutter or knife. Carefully dust your patties with more flour.

Add the patties to an oven tray lined with baking parchment and dusted with plenty of flour. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until golden, crispy and flaky. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before enjoying!

First published in Ed#715.