Corned beef pie – a welsh classic
If you are of a certain age, you probably ate lots of corned beef when you were growing up. Tinned or sliced, this mystery meat is salty and fatty, with a non-meat texture. For a food snob like me, I should avoid it like the plague, but I have very fond memories of corned beef and tomato ketchup sandwiches for packed lunch (or corned beef and cucumber which was the healthier option offered up by my mum!) … in fact I could eat one right now!Jump to Recipe
A popular Welsh dish
I hadn’t been aware that corned beef was such a popular dish in Wales, featuring in many recipes but most popularly as corned beef pie, pasty or corned beef rissoles. You are looking at a combination of cheap ingredients combined to bulk out a dinner: corned beef, onions, potatoes and pastry. Don’t be put off though, the end result is truly delicious, and friends at my recent 40th birthday party were converted by the tastiness of the pie.
Make the corned beef pie your own
Lisa from Lovely Appetite recently posted her own version of a corned beef pie, which made me realise how different everyone’s version can be. I didn’t follow a recipe the first time I made mine – I developed it based on Andrew’s preferences and what I imagined would taste nice. That makes it different to the one we eat in Wales (from Cyril’s the butcher!) but in my view better!
A step by step guide to making corned beef pie
I make my own shortcrust pastry for the pie, but I am tempted to give this hot water crust pastry a go sometime as I think it would be delicious. I have also used Jusrol shortcrust if I am feeling lazy – you need a 500g slab to top and bottom a 21cm pie dish, which is what I happen to use (as it’s the only loose-bottomed dish I have).
400g plain flour to 200g butter mixed together with a little salt made more than enough pastry for my dish, so I froze the rest for a rainy day when cheese straws or something similar are needed.
While the pastry is resting in the fridge, you can make the filling by cubing a couple of medium sized potatoes (around 400g). I don’t bother peeling the potatoes as I am lazy, and just boil them in salted water until tender (around 10 minutes should do it, as each chunk is around the size of a sugar cube).
While the potatoes drain, gently fry a chopped onion in a little oil. I use the same pan as I used for the potatoes to save washing up.
Once the onion has softened, add the boiled potatoes back into the pan along with the cubed corned beef (maybe minus one cube that you’ve eaten), and give the mixture a stir. No salt or pepper is needed in my view, but feel free to season with pepper (corned beef is salted enough) if that’s to your taste.
For me (and Andrew) the most important thing is to make sure you don’t end up with a mushy filling – we like to see and eat distinct pieces of meat, potato and onion. Again, everyone is different, and Cyril the butcher mashes everything together … Andrew’s mum likes to add carrots. Go with what you prefer, but try my way first as it’s the best ;).
I lightly oil my pie dish and then lay pastry onto the bottom and sides. You should wait for your filling to go cold before adding it to the pastry dish, but usually I don’t bother – as long as you are quick then the pastry probably won’t melt, so be efficient.
A pie is not a pie without a top and bottom crust!
Add your pie filling, then top your pie with another disc of pastry. I don’t bother sealing the pastry with eggwash, water or milk, I just crimp it and bung the pie in the oven (if you do have some eggwash around then brush the top of the pie as it does look nicer with a lovely golden glaze, but it’s not essential).
I bake my pie at 190 degrees fan for around 45 minutes. You only need the pastry to cook as your filling is already cooked, but the last thing you need is a soggy bottom!
Serving suggestions for corned beef pie
Once baked, I often leave the pie to go cold and then remove it from the dish and slice it, but you could also serve the pie for Sunday lunch with green beans, warm. Either way, it is delicious.
Here’s the pie I made for Andrew to eat while watching the rugby, alongside some homemade sausage rolls.
Traditional welsh corned beef pie recipe
Corned beef pie
- 1 deep pie dish or loose bottomed cake tin (21cm)
For the pastry (or feel free to use 500g slab shop bought shortcrust pastry
- 400 g plain flour
- 200 g butter
- 1 pinch salt
- cold water
For the filling
- 1 tin corned beef the one I buy is 340g
- 1 medium onion
- 1 large potato around 300g
- 1 tsp vegetable oil plus extra for greasing the dish
- 1 beaten egg to eggwash the pie (optional)
- If you are going to make your own pastry, do this first. Dice the butter and mix with the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then add a small amount of ice cold water and mix until the pastry comes together. Form a ball, wrap in clingfilm, and pop in the fridge to rest.
- Dice a large potato (I don't bother peeling it) into sugar cube sized chunks, and boil in salted water for 5 minutes until just tender.
- Drain the potato in a sieve and then use the same saucepan to fry diced onion in a little vegetable oil.
- Mix the potato with the onion and allow to cool.
- Open your tin of corned beef and chop it into bite sized chunks. Mix with the onion and potato mixture.
- Preheat the oven to 180 fan or 190 otherwise / gas mark 6.
- Take your pastry out of the fridge and remove a third of the pastry and set it aside (this will be for the lid).
- Roll out the larger piece of pastry to around 3mm thick circle, and use to line your pie dish (which you have lightly greased with oil).
- Put the corned beef mixture into the pie case and flatten it down. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg if you are using, or milk.
- Roll out the smaller piece of pastry to a circle and place over the top of the pie.
- Press down the top and bottom pastry so they are stuck together, and then crimp the sides shut with your fingers or the edge of a fork.
- Make a hole in the centre of the lid for steam to escape.
- Brush the top of the pie with egg wash (optional).
- Bake the pie at 180 degrees fan / 190 degrees without fan / gas mark 6, for around 45 minutes until the top and sides are golden brown.
- Allow to cool slightly before removing from the pie dish.
- Serve warm or cold. Keeps in the fridge for 3 days.
Find other traditional Welsh recipes here
33 Replies to “Corned beef pie – a Welsh classic (new recipe)”
Omg I love corned beef. I know that’s a REALLY weird thing to say but it’s true!!! It’s the salt and fat content I’m sure haha! This pie looks delicious. Real homely, comforting food!
Yes, there’s no denying that it’s not a healthy option, but it is delicious!
My mum makes a delicious corned beef dinner where a whole joint of corned beef (bought whole sealed in brine mixture) is boiled, then served with a white cheese sauce and veg on the side. Yum!!! I’ll have to try your pie 🙂
That sounds delicious Carmen, I must give your mum’s recipe a try – let me know if you manage to try this pie too.
Yes!!!! Love corned beef pie… Yours looks amazing too will try next time I make it!
Thanks Lisa – let me know how you get on if you do try it.
A friend and I have used your recipe a couple of times now; some in the oven as I speak. Trying a little varient, two teaspoons of baked beans in the top to keep in moist for re-heating. What a simple but Wow! recipe. Thank you.
Such a great idea to add the beans – am definitely going to try that next time thanks!
Looks yummy I am making one today I use carrots parsnip and shallots I add corned beef the last five minutes to extract the fat into th e veg. When cooked I strain the veg and meat over a sauspan and use to make a tasty gravy. I put everything in to a blind baked pastry dish and top with creamy mash put lid on and egg wash make a slit in top of pastry to let the steam out my pie is so tasty done this way.
Thanks for your comment Wendy, I love the sound of your version (especially to make a gravy which I always miss with corned beef pie), so will have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!
Hi, just made your pie now, it’s in the oven xx
Hope it was nice Wendy?
Thank you for this recipe. I have been looking for a recipe for this since someone made it for us after I had my daughter. No one remembers making it and she’s 13 now lol. I’ve found several recipes but none looked like that one. This looks jist like the pie one of my friends made me thanks x
Fingers crossed you liked the pie, and it tastes like the one you remember from over thirteen years ago ;). Let me know!
This is just the basics traditional Welsh style recipie I’ve been looking for… for over a decade! My Grandma made the best Corned Beef Pie (like unwordly, see my footnote*) and this is by far the closest approximation I’ve ever come accross! The simple and best version! None of this celary, carrots, 14 different veg, rich beef stock, lard, marg, and overnight in the fridge malarkey! The true taste of corned beef and onion in a properly buttery shortcrust. (*Don’t let the fact that it’s not quite the same as my grandma’s take away from how good this is!… No-one will ever quite match her recipies, as we’ve concluded there’s some kind of witchcraft involved. She makes a ham roll taste better than anything you’ve ever tasted… And no-one knows how! Even her! She’s a magician ). Thank you for this!
Aw Dai, you have made my day! My (Valleys) boyfriend helped me come up with the most authentic recipe – completely agree with you that it is spoiled with too many ingredients. It’s supposed to be basic and simple. Big thanks from me! Diolch!
Just wondering here in NZ I cook my own corned beef don’t buy tined could I make this with left overs
I have a feeling that homemade corned beef pie is a bit more like brisket, unless you also salt it? If you do give it a go, I’d love to know how you get on? To be honest, most things encased in pastry taste good!
I make a Slimming World version of a corned beef usinng a cooked pease pud and egg mix for the crust. Its delish and everyone eats it and cant guess its not pastry. In fact I have 2 in the oven as I type. I mash my pots with corned beef and onions and worcester sauce. So lush and free to eat on this diet plan.
is it ok to cool a cornec beef and potato pie in the fridge
I would cool it outside of the fridge otherwise you will warm up the inside of the fridge and maybe spoil what’s in there. Once cool, mine lasts 3 days in the fridge. Hope you enjoy it!
I’m definitely going to make this later. I’ve tried lots of recipes and though they’ve been ok, they’re never quite right you know? I will let you know how I get on. I would also like to say, I love the way you’ve written this article. It’s been like sitting down with a mate over a cuppa, chatting about food!
Thank you so much for your comment, how lovely to hear. Do let me know how you get on with the recipe, it is still one of our favourites 🙂
Everything but the recipe ☹️ so not much point !!!! PIN DELETED !!!!!
Sorry you didn’t find the recipe bev, it is on the page in detail, but I am not one of those professional food websites with a jazzy recipe card, it’s just written in the article. Appreciate that’s not for everyone and some people just want to read a recipe: it’s why I call this site a diary of a greedy mum- I like to chat about the recipe rather than write like I am writing a recipe book. I hope you find a recipe more suited to what you would like.
How much corned beef do you use please?
I use one tin which is 340g
I have made this pie at least half a dozen times, it’s my favourite go to recipe, always turns out amazing, what a perfect dinner, my husband would eat it sudsy of the week if he could
Thanks for sharing Jean, you have made my day!
I love Welsh corned beef pie and prefer to eat it cold. Visiting relatives in Oz, I made one for a get together and it went down so well the host saved some and put it in the fridge over night to eat the next day……..someone raided the fridge overnight and there was not much pie left for the next day!!! I made a few corned beef pies during that visit!
That’s so cheeky of them, but lucky you made so many 🙂
I’ve never seen this as a recipe before. My Mum made it for me as a youngster and still does today and she’s in her 80’s. Recipe handed down from her Mother. Our version has a very big squirt of brown sauce mixed in. Delicious comfort food.
Definitely the best comfort food!