over head shot of Jamaican meat pie cut on a plate

When it comes to Caribbean cuisine, Jamaican Beef Patty is well known. It’s quite well known across the globe. This iconic snack boasts a rich history and a burst of flavors that tantalize the taste buds. Whether you’re craving a savory treat or looking to impress guests at your next gathering, mastering the art of making Jamaican beef patties is a must. I will walk you through the process step by step, from preparing the filling to assembling the perfect pastry.

A Bite of History: Origins of the Jamaican Beef Patty

Before we sink our teeth into the flaky crust and flavorful filling of a Jamaican beef patty, let’s take a moment to dive into its history. Believed to have originated from the fusion of African, European, and indigenous influences, the Jamaican beef patty has evolved into a culinary symbol of the island nation.

Historically, patties were a convenient and portable meal for workers in Jamaica’s bustling markets and streets. Over time, they became synonymous with celebrations, gatherings, and everyday indulgence. Today, these golden parcels of deliciousness can be found gracing the shelves of local bakeries and food stalls across the globe.

up close overhead shot of 3 patties

The Flavor of Jamaican Beef Patty

Jamaican beef patty has a harmonious blend of aromatic spices, savory fillings, and flaky pastry. Succulent ground beef infused with the warmth of curry powder, the kick of scotch bonnet pepper, and the earthiness of thyme.

It’s not just the filling that makes Jamaican beef patties a culinary delight – it’s the pastry too. Imagine sinking your teeth into a flakey, golden crust that crumbles delicately with each bite, revealing the savory beef filling. It’s a perfect complement of textures and tastes, a representation of the bold flavors of Caribbean cuisine.

unbaked patty on a baking sheet pan

Understanding the Ingredients

Before diving into the cooking process, let’s take a closer look at the ingredients that make Jamaican beef patties so irresistible:

  • Ground Beef: Use high-quality minced beef to ensure a juicy and flavorful filling. Use lean beef to avoid having a greasy filling.
  • Aromatic Herbs: From onions and garlic to thyme and ginger, these aromatic herbs add depth and complexity to the filling.
  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper: This fiery pepper packs a punch and is a hallmark of Jamaican cuisine.
  • Curry Powder and Pimento: These spices contribute to the patty’s distinct Caribbean flavor profile.
  • Soy Sauce and Beef Broth: Enhance the savory taste with soy sauce and beef broth, creating a luscious filling.
  • Pastry Dough: A simple yet essential combination of flour, shortening, and water forms the flaky, golden crust that encases the flavorful filling.  Curry and Turmeric add a golden yellow hue to the crust.
upclose shot of the filling of beef patty

Tips for Savoring Every Mouthful:

  1. Embrace the Spice: Don’t be afraid to embrace the heat! Scotch bonnet pepper is a key ingredient in Jamaican beef patties, adding a fiery kick that elevates the flavor profile. If you’re sensitive to spice, start with a small amount and adjust to your taste.
  2. Pair it Right: Jamaican beef patties are delicious on their own, but they also pair wonderfully with a variety of accompaniments. Serve them alongside a refreshing fruit punch, coconut water, or even a cold beer for the ultimate Caribbean experience.
  3. Variations: While traditional beef filling is a classic choice, don’t hesitate to get creative with your patties. Experiment with alternative fillings such as chicken, vegetables, or even seafood for a unique twist on this beloved snack.
  4. Make it Ahead: Planning a gathering or craving a quick snack? Whip up a batch of Jamaican beef patties ahead of time and freeze them for later. Simply reheat in the oven for a convenient and satisfying treat whenever hunger strikes.
half of patty stacked on another half on a plate

Pastry Recipes to try:

up close overhead shot of 3 beef turnovers

Get the Recipe Jamaican Beef Patty

Servings: 10 servings


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onions
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp crushed ginger
  • scotch bonnet pepper, finely minced to taste
  • 1 tsp ground pimento
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp water


  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 1/2 cup shortening or lard
  • 1 cup cold water


  • 2 baking sheet pan
  • 1 Rolling Pin
  • 1 stainless steel bowl
  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cups
  • 1 pastry brush
  • 1 pastry crimper


To make the pastry:

  • Add flour, salt, curry powder and turmeric to a large bowl and mix thoroughly.  Rub shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs, ensuring that the shortening is evenly distributed. You can also place all ingredients in the food processor and pulse until it resembles coarse cornmeal.
  • Pour in 1 cup iced water and mix with your hands to bring the dough together. If using a food processor, add water and pulse to form a dough.
  • Divide the dough into 2 large pieces, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow it to firm up.

To make the filling:

  • In a pot, add the minced beef and cook over medium heat, breaking it up into small pieces, until it is no longer pink.
  • Add diced onions, sliced green onions, minced garlic, fresh thyme, ginger, minced scotch bonnet pepper (to taste), ground pimento, curry powder, ground black pepper, soy sauce, salt, and sugar to the pot.
  • Pour in beef broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and sprinkle in plain breadcrumbs. Stir until the bread crumbs absorb the liquid. If the mixture is too stiff, add additional water until it reaches a loose but not runny consistency.

Assembling the Patties:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a small bowl, beat the egg and water together to make an egg wash. Set aside.
  • Divide 1 half of the dough into 5 equal pieces. On a floured surface, roll out one piece of the chilled dough into a 5-inch oblong circle(or slightly larger). Don't worry if the edges are not perfectly shaped.
  • Spoon about 3 heaping tablespoons of the filling onto one half of the dough circle.
  • Brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling to form a semi-circle.
  • Press the edges firmly to seal, then use a fork or pastry crimper to create a decorative edge and ensure a tight seal. Trim off any excess dough to create a neat and uniform appearance.
  • Place the assembled patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining dough and filling until all the patties are assembled.
  • Bake the patties in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and slightly brown on the edges. Once baked, transfer the patties to wire racks to cool slightly before serving.
Cuisine: Caribbean
Course: Appetizer
Author: Jehan Powell