Jamaican Beef Patties

Jamaican beef patties served with hot sauce and ice-cold drinks

The Spruce

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Chill: 30 mins
Total: 110 mins
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Yields: 10 to 12 patties
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
595 Calories
38g Fat
36g Carbs
26g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 595
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 38g 48%
Saturated Fat 14g 70%
Cholesterol 95mg 32%
Sodium 346mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 43mg 3%
Iron 4mg 25%
Potassium 401mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Jamaican beef patties ​are a classic comfort food found everywhere on the island in many varieties in food shacks, snackettes, and canteens—very similar in shape and color, but with different fillings. Our recipe for these flavorful bites, comparable to an empanada, is the classic formula of a flaky pastry filled with fragrant seasoned beef.

These pastries arrived in the U.K and in the U.S with Jamaican immigrants and were quickly adapted to the ingredients at hand to the delight of locals. The traditional preparation survives passed on from one generation to the next. While beef is the utmost classic, there are patties stuffed with chicken, cheese, pork, lamb, seafood, or ackee.

Make this delicious Jamaican treat and serve it as a snack or light dinner. Although a little spicy, you can adjust the flavors to suit your palate, adding more or less spice depending on your preference. To serve, try the Jamaican way, carb-loading your meal sandwiching a patty in coco bread—a yeasted bun that contains no cocoa or coconut despite its name. Serve with hot sauce on the side and wash it down with an ice-cold beer or a cold fruit drink.

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Click Play to See This Jamaican Beef Patties (in Flaky Pastry) Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

For the Pastry Dough:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, or curry powder

  • 1 1/4 cups cold vegetable shortening

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup ice-cold water, more if needed

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 2 pounds ground beef

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 cup diced onions

  • Minced chili pepper, to taste

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup

  • 2 cups water

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and green parts

For the Assembly:

  • All-purpose flour for the work surface

  • 1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon water

  • 1 large egg

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this Jamaican beef patty recipe is broken down into workable segments to help you better plan for cooking.

Make the Pastry Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large bowl, place the flour. Add the salt, turmeric, and vegetable shortening. Rub the shortening into the flour using your fingers until there are tiny pieces of shortening completely covered with flour and it has a sandy texture.

  3. Pour in 1/2 cup of the ice water and mix with your hands to bring the dough together. Keep adding ice water 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time until the mixture forms a smooth dough.

  4. Cut the dough into 2 large pieces. Wrap each in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Alternatively, divide the dough into 10 to 12 individual pieces—use a food scale if you want them to be the same size

Make the Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the beef in a mixing bowl and season with the black pepper and allspice. Mix together and set aside.

  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the onions and sauté until translucent.

  4. If using, add the hot pepper, garlic, and thyme. Continue to sauté for another minute, and season with salt to taste.

  5. Add the seasoned ground beef into the pan and stir to mix, breaking up any clumps. Allow it to cook until the meat is no longer pink.

  6. Add the ketchup and taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Pour in the water and stir.

  7. 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.

  8. Fold in the green onions. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

Assemble the Patties

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Flour the work surface. Unwrap one of the pieces of dough and roll it out into a very large circle.

  2. Cut out 3 circles with a bowl or dish of approximately 5 inches in diameter. If you divided the dough into 10 to 12 small balls, roll them all out into a circle of approximately 5 inches in diameter.

  3. Place about 3 heaping tablespoons of the filling onto one half of each circle. Dip a finger into the 1/4 cup of water and moisten the edges of the pastry.

  4. Fold over the other half and press to seal. With a fork, crimp the edges to close. Cut off any extra to give the patties a uniform look.

  5. Place the finished patties on a parchment-lined baking sheet and continue to work until you have rolled out all of the dough and used all of the beef. Place in the fridge until ready to bake.

  6. Beat the egg and the 1 tablespoon of water together to make an egg wash. Just before adding the pans with the patties to the oven, brush the assembled patties with egg wash.

  7. Bake patties for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Enjoy warm!

How to Seal Pastry

Here are two ways of sealing the patties to make them look beautiful:

  • To create an edge using a fork, simply press down on the edge, using the tines of a fork. This seals the dough together and adds a homey decorative pattern around the edges. This is a great method if you are looking to get kids involved.
  • To create a ropelike crimp when closing up the patties, pinch the pie crust gently between your thumb and index finger, doing so at an angle and gently pulling up the outer edge of the dough with each pinch. The effect should look like the edges of a rope running all the way around the crust.