Nigerian Meat Pie (Savory Beef Hand Pies)

March 30, 2017 (Last Updated: April 7, 2020)

Nigerian meat pie, one of my favorite hand pie recipes somewhat similar to empanadas can be made with different types of meat. Perfect for sharing.

flaky Nigerian meat pies in the oven

Today, I will be sharing one of my favorite savory pie recipes : Nigerian meat pie. These meat pies are savory and delicious beef hand pies that are similar to empanadas . These are a delicious snack that also make for a quick yet hearty lunch. They are better made in bulk because they vanish quickly! This recipe may take a little bit of time, but it is  quite delicious and totally worth it. Whenever I bring this snack to an office party it’s always a hit. I may substitute the beef with different types of meat, depending on what I have available,  and it always turns out just as great. Nigerian meat pies are best eaten warm as a snack, and make a perfect potluck dish.

Nigerian Meat Pies vs Empanadas

While Nigerian meat pies are similar to empanadas in appearance and in spite of the fact that they are both meat stuffed hand pastries, there are major differences between these two snacks especially on the empanada side, which features a host of variations and flavors depending on the culture that is preparing it. Empanadas are usually fried and stuffed with a variety of fillings that can change the flavor depending on the primary ingredient. Empanadas can be cheese based, vegetable based, bean based, seafood based etc, so the variety of empanadas and their flavors can be quite broad. In contrast, Nigerian meat pies have a classic taste which does not allow as much variation in flavors or the recipe. A limited amount of variation might be seen in the spiciness of the filling and perhaps the textures of the meat and potatoes, but the desired taste is usually set in stone.

How to Make Nigerian Meat Pies

Cook the Meat Filling

Heat up the oil in a skillet and saute the onions, carrots, and potatoes for 5 minutes on medium heat.

 onions, carrots, and potatoes sauteing in skillet

Add in the crushed red pepper flakes, thyme, curry and bullion and continue sauteing the onions, potatoes and carrots for another 3 minutes.

Add the ground beef into the sauteing vegetables, and keep stirring the mixture to ensure the ground beef does not stick together.

ground beef added to the sauteing vegetables in skillet

Once the meat is cooked and turns from pink to brown, add in the bell peppers and keep stirring for another 3 minutes. At this point, taste the mixture and adjust the salt to your taste.

green bell peppers added to the skillet
Meat pie filling done cooked in the skillet

Set aside and allow to cool completely before filling into the pastry.

Prep the Dough

Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder (a leavening agent that adds lightness to the crust). I made the pastry from scratch, but feel free to buy store bought pastry. I prefer homemade dough personally and discovered a way to make the perfect, flakiest pie crust ever. Feel free to check that out if you need to elevate your meat pie game even further.

Rub the butter into the flour, with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs with no large lumps of butter remaining.

Add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix with a spatula until pastry is combined and rest in the refrigerator (I’d leave it in for about 20 minutes).

2-step photo showing preparation of dough

Preheat your oven to 375°F just before assembling the pies.

Assemble the Meat Pies

Once filling is completely cooled, roll out pastry on a clean floured surface to about a forth of an inch thickness.
Cut out 6 inch circles with a pastry cutter, and place about 2 heaping tablespoons of filling close to one edge of the pastry circle.

To fill the pastry simply place about 2 tablespoons of the prepared filling on half of pastry circle. Brush the edges with water and fold the other half over filling. Seal the pies by pressing gently with a fork or by pinching the edges with your fingers. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining pastry and filling (there was a little left over filling in my case).

2-step photo showing the sealing of filling into the dough

You may glaze the meat pies with a beaten egg (I used a mixture of milk and hot sauce since I do not eat eggs). Use a knife to create shallow vent holes on the top of the pies so they do not burst open.

beef hand pies glazed with egg or milk and hot sauce

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.

top view of Nigerian meat pies on pan

Once your meat pies are out of the oven allow them to cool for 15 minutes then serve!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to store meat pies?

Meat pies can be stored in a container in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to a week. To reheat them, just take them out and warm them in a microwave or in a preheated 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 5-10 minutes.

Can these be made using self raising flour?

I wouldn’t use self raising flour because the inherent leavening might be too much for the pies even if you were to exclude the baking powder. For this recipe in particular, it is better to control the amount of leavening.

Can I make these with puff pastry?

You sure can, as long as you like light and flaky meat pies! I have a particular fondness for puff pastries myself and have used them in making these meat pies on occasion. Just make sure the filling is cool before stuffing the pastry so the heat doesn’t melt the fat in the dough otherwise you’ll probably be left with an overly oily pastry.

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Nigerian Meat Pie Recipe

Nigerian meat pie, one of my favorite hand pie recipes somewhat similar to empanadas can be made with different types of meat. Perfect for sharing.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Brunch, Main Course, Small Chops, Snack
Cuisine: East African, Nigerian
Servings: 12
Calories: 327.6kcal
Author: Ms. Yum

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 1 pound ground beef (16 ounces or about 454g)
  • 4 peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 3 medium sized carrot diced
  • 1 poblano/green pepper diced
  • 1 habanero pepper diced (optional) depends on if you want more spice
  • 1 tsp salt to taste
  • 1 tsp chicken or beef bullion
  • 1/2 tsp curry
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp unflavored oil

For the dough

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 stick 1/2 cup cubed cold butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup icy cold water
  • 1/4 cup milk to glaze the pies.

Instructions

  • In a hot skillet on medium heat, pour in oil, and saute onions until translucent.
  • Add chopped vegetables: potatoes, carrots, and peppers, and saute for about 5 minutes.
  • Toss in seasoning: red pepper flakes, thyme, curry and bullion
  • Turn up the heat up to high, and add ground meat, stir continuously until the meat is fully cooked (approximately 10 minutes)
  • Once the meat is cooked, set the filling aside and allow to cool completely before assembling the pies.
  • Whisk together flour salt and baking powder.
  • Rub the butter into the flour, with your finger tips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs with no large lumps of butter remaining.
  • Add cold water 1 table spoon at a time and mix with a spatula until pastry is combined and rest in the fridge.
  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Once filling is completely cooled roll out pastry on a clean floured surface to about 1/4th of an inch thickness.
  • Cut out 6 inch circles with a pastry cutter, and place about 2 heaping tablespoons of filling close to one edge of the pastry circle.
  • Cover and seal pie. edges with a fork.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush hand pies with milk and bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • Allow pies to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

While the lack of eggs definitely reduces the amount of calories in this Nigerian meat pie, I have found that this meat pie recipe can be made even lighter without any compromises in taste by replacing the beef with ground turkey (ground not shredded). Also I recommend using half of the meat and adding more vegetables to the filling if you want to reduce your meat intake, or if you’d like a vegan alternative, try out my Chick-Un Vegan Hand Pies.

Nigerian Meat Pie Calories and Nutrition

The calorie and nutrition breakdown is shown below. Based on the ingredients used in the recipe above with beef filling and with servings up to twelve pieces. Depending on the size of your pie cut outs, you can increase or decrease your serving sizes and of course reduce your salt to reduce the sodium.

8 Comments

  • Reply
    Weybey
    May 28, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Looks good! Any other dishes coming?

  • Reply
    esosa
    January 3, 2015 at 2:58 am

    im so going to make this

    • Reply
      Joyce
      December 22, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      It’s okay to just seal with nothing or use the milk to seal?

      • Reply
        Ms. Yum
        January 28, 2016 at 8:26 pm

        you can use water or milk

  • Reply
    Mira
    August 21, 2018 at 4:52 am

    Tried out your recipe… made sense,was really good!

    • Reply
      Lois
      August 21, 2018 at 1:45 pm

      Happy to hear that Mira!

  • Reply
    Jaime
    September 19, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Was thinking of trying the recipe but wanted to pair it with something…could you suggest anything? Thanks!!

    • Reply
      Lois
      September 20, 2018 at 11:42 am

      It depends on what you are going for. If you like Jamaican beef patty and coco bread, you can try it instead of the beef patty with coco bread. I like it by itself with a cup of tea or coffee for breakfast. I know people that would eat meat pies with a little bit of ketchup on the side too. What type of pairing where you thinking of?

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