Jamaican Beef Patties

As a Guyanese I felt the need to share with my readers a new cookbook written by a fellow Guyanese Cynthia Nelson.   She’s written for many publications such as  Caribbean Belle magazine and About.com as well as a column for Stabroek Newspaper called  Tastes Like Home .   I started my own Blog after visiting Tastes Like Home,  it was the first time I’ve seen our food showcased so beautifully and recipes that actually work!

I’ve tried many of her recipes and have had great success, so I was excited when I learned that she had a book in the works.   Well, it’s finally here..kudos to you Cynthia.  Her book, Tastes Like Home: My Caribbean Cookbook can be purchased online at Amazon.

I recently tried her Jamaican Beef Patty recipe and loved it!  The crust was flaky and tender while the filling was juicy and very flavorful, I enjoyed it and so did my Jamaican husband.

How does this recipe differ from Guyanese style Patties?  The curry powder that’s been added to the crust gives it an extra kick and the allspice used to season the meat gives it that unique, authentic Jamaican beef patty flavor.   The recipe was surprisingly simple and very detailed, so even the beginner chef can execute this and have great results.

Jamaican Beef Patties

Yield: 10 – 12 large patties

For pastry dough:

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground turmeric (substitute with curry powder)

1 + 1/3 cups vegetable shortening (250 grams or 8.81 oz)

1 cup ice cold water (plus more on standby)

For filling:

2 pounds minced beef

1 teaspoon ground all-spice

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup diced onions

Minced hot pepper to taste

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

Salt to taste

2 cups water

1/2 cup finely sliced green onions (white and green parts)

For assembling:

1 large egg and 1 tablespoon water

1/4 cup water


For pastry dough:

Add flour, salt and turmeric to a large bowl and mix thoroughly.  Rub shortening into flour until they become small pieces completely coated with the flour.  Pour in 1/2 cup iced water and mix with your hands to bring the dough together. Keep adding iced water 2 – 3 tablespoons at a time until the mixture forms a dough. At this stage you can cut the dough into 2 large pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour before using it. Or, cut the dough into 10 – 12 equal pieces, place on a platter or baking sheet, cover securely with plastic wrap and let chill for half an hour before using or while you make the filling.

For filling:

Add minced beef to a large bowl. Sprinkle in all spice and black pepper. Mix together and set aside.  Heat oil in pan until hot. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add hot pepper, garlic and thyme and continue to sauté for another minute. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Add minced beef, toss to mix breaking up any clumps and let cook until the meat is no longer pink.  Add ketchup  and salt to taste.  Pour in 2 cups of water and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and whatever is remaining has reduced to a thick sauce. Sprinkle and fold in the green onions. Remove from heat and let cool completely.


Beat the egg and water together to make an egg wash. Set aside.  Now you can prepare the dough in 2 ways:

No. 1

Flour the work surface and rolling pin. If you had cut it into 2 large pieces, then take one of the large pieces and roll in out into a very large circle. Take a bowl with a wide rim (about 5 inches) and cut out three circles.

Place about 3 heaped tablespoons of the filling onto one half of each circle; dip a finger into the water and moisten the edges of the pastry, fold over the other half and press to seal. Take a fork and crimp the edges. Cut off any extra to make it look neat and uniform. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and continue to work until you have rolled all the dough and filled the patties.


If you had pre-cut the dough into individual pieces, then working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it out on a floured surface into a 5-inch circle or it little larger; don’t worry if the edges are not perfect. Place 3 heaped tablespoons of the filling on one side of the circle; dip a finger into the water and moisten the edges of the pastry, fold over the other half and press to seal. Take a fork and crimp the edges. Cut off any extra to make it look neat and uniform. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and continue work until you have rolled all the dough and filled the patties.

Add the pans to the refrigerator to chill while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Just before adding the pans to the oven, brush the patties with the egg wash.  Bake patties for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire racks.  Serve warm.

*Here are extra notes that was given with the recipe

●  Have more iced water than the recipe calls for on stand-by. The reason is, depending on your location and the moisture or humidity in the atmosphere and the altitude, you may need more or less iced water.

●  As with all pastry dough, do not overwork the dough. The more you work pastry dough, the stiffer the final product will be once baked. While doing some research, I’ve noticed that some recipes for this particular patty call for the dough to be kneaded for 2 minutes. I didn’t. I wanted my pastry to be as flaky as possible and not like a dough that can be torn.

●  If you can, try to weigh the pieces of pastry dough you cut so that they are equal. This is not necessary, just me being a perfectionist.

●  If you like, pre-cut the dough into pieces before letting it rest in the refrigerator.

●  Let the dough that you are not working with rest in the refrigerator while you work on one batch at a time.

●  I like to put the pan with filled pastry back into the fridge to chill for about 15 minutes before putting it into a preheated oven. This helps to firm up the pastry and regain any coolness lost while I was working with it. Again, this step is completely optional. If your oven is already preheated and you are ready to put the patties into the oven, then go ahead.

●  I am sure that the filling can be substituted with ground pork, lamb, chicken, turkey or vegetables just in case you do not eat red meat or you are vegetarian.



  1. January 6, 2011 / 12:37 pm

    What a delicious, flavorful meal, snack…I could find many opportunities to eat this!

  2. January 6, 2011 / 2:21 pm

    I don’t eat beef, but I LOVE vegetable patties (with coco bread and cheese)!

  3. January 6, 2011 / 7:08 pm

    Um. If this is the kind of stuff you make frequently, you must invite us over. Let’s take a culinary trip out of the country for beef patties!

  4. January 7, 2011 / 2:23 am

    I didn’t know you are Guyanese, nice to learn something new about you, and the recipe sounds fabulous, thanks so much for sharing it, and your story.

  5. January 7, 2011 / 9:13 am

    Isn’t her book amazing? My boyfriend just got it for me for Christmas and I just don’t know which recipes to try! Everything is just so mouth watering! The patties look awesome! Since I don’t eat beef, I may try it with Chicken. By the way, Happy New Year!


  6. JehanP
    January 7, 2011 / 10:54 am

    Tiffany, I love callaloo patties, I switch it up every now and then. Guess I should do more veggie recipes.

  7. JehanP
    January 7, 2011 / 10:55 am

    You got it!!! Let me know when you’re in Atlanta. I would love to go to Jamaica to taste the authentic patty because I know it has to taste amazing!

  8. JehanP
    January 7, 2011 / 10:56 am

    Happy New Year to you too!

  9. January 8, 2011 / 8:41 pm

    Jehan, it was a pleasure meeting you today.

    Your Jamaican Beef Patties look delicious. I’d love to try these using ground turkey instead.

  10. JehanP
    January 9, 2011 / 1:26 pm

    It was great meeting you too! These would be great with turkey, I would add more onions to help give the turkey some added moisture.

  11. Kathrine
    January 18, 2012 / 9:08 am

    I tried this recipe it was awesome. I will try it with chicken and maybe fish the next time. It is great.

  12. March 4, 2012 / 3:30 pm

    i am going to do has patty for my sba in the week thanks to u

  13. Christie
    February 28, 2013 / 5:47 pm

    This is by far the best beef patty recipe I have tried. The crust was perfectly flaky, the meat was tender and flavorful…. simply delicious! Thank you

  14. tricia
    January 24, 2014 / 11:50 pm

    can we make this ahead and bake the next day? Do all the prep work the day before? Thanks!

  15. JehanP
    February 2, 2014 / 7:30 am

    Absolutely Tricia