Beef & beer pie

Prep: 1 hr Cook: 4 hrs

More effort

Serves 4
A steak and ale pie is a comforting classic - this version has suet pastry and a dark rich gravy

Nutrition and extra info

  • Before baking

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal1356
  • fat75g
  • saturates36g
  • carbs111g
  • sugars8g
  • fibre5g
  • protein56g
  • salt3.2g
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  • 1 onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 small celery stick, chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 2 tbsp butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 700g beef shin, featherblade or stewing steak, cut into large chunks



    The classic cut of meat for a British Sunday roast, beef is full of flavour, as well as being a…

  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 beef stock cube
  • 2 sprigs thyme


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 540ml can dark ale or beer

For the pastry

  • 500g plain flour, plus a little extra

For the pastry

  • 250g vegetarian suet

For the pastry

  • 1 egg, beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

For the pastry

  • a few pinches poppy seeds


  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Using a flameproof casserole dish with a lid, soften onion and celery in the butter. Stir in the flour until it has disappeared, then stir in the beef and Worcestershire sauce. Crumble in stock cubes and add thyme. Pour over ale, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook in the oven for 2½ hrs. Remove lid and cook for another 30 mins – this should thicken the sauce nicely.

  2. Increase oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. For the pastry, whizz the flour, suet and 1 tsp salt in a food processor until there are no suet lumps. Keeping the motor running, dribble in 1 tbsp water at a time until the pastry starts to come together, then tip onto a lightly floured surface and bring together with your hands.

  3. Roll out half the pastry and use to line a 20-22cm pie dish. Using a slotted spoon, spoon in all of the meat, then pour over some of the sauce until the meat is just coated. Put the rest of the sauce into a saucepan. Roll out the remaining pastry to cover the pie. Trim the edge with a small, sharp knife, then crimp or fork the edges to seal. Make a small heart from cuttings. Brush top of the pie and heart with beaten egg, then dip heart into poppy seeds and stick to top. Bake for 30-40 mins until golden brown and crisp. Reheat sauce and serve with the pie along with some mash and greens.

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Comments (40)

toughtoplease's picture

I found this a bit too overpowering with the ale- I used Hobgoblin. I added about 100ml extra of hot water and some chicken stock to lighten it which worked. I didn't bother with the pastry but just whacked on some puff pastry instead. Was a roaring success all round.

tartar's picture

This recipe is quite bitter with the dark ale. The recipe for the beef and veg casserole is a much better recipe for a pie. It's a very similar recipe only with no ale and the gravy is gorgeous.

sue40beck's picture

Used the filling for pasties added a few chopped carrots and drained the sauce to use as a gravy. Very tasty.

hocuspocus1949's picture

Yummy, scrummy and delicious. Used light ale and puff pastry but everyone loved this pie. Try the blueberry cheesecake for pud - also delicious!

bella0307's picture

This was my first time making a steak pie and I chose this recipe over the others listed on my search, because of its relative simplicity. I made it yesterday and it was absolutely delicious - rich and flavourful, and amazingly straightforward even though of course you do have to allow several hours of overall cooking/prep time. I used a middling-brown ale, not bitter but with a robust aroma, and I toyed with the idea of using a sheet of frozen puff pastry that I had on hand, but in the end decided to have a go at suet pastry, using some shredded suet that I'd got in to make a clootie dumpling ( but hadn't done:)
The pastry was tender and golden, the filling glossy and melt-in-the-mouth, and my husband really enjoyed the extra sauce which he could help himself to...truly this pie was a hit with us all. I loved the heart detail, too, it made it a bit special and I was so proud when I presented it to the family! This recipe will now be among my favourites.

fallenrayven's picture

This was so easy to follow and it was fantastic! The slow simmer brought out they best in the meat and it was so tender it just melted in your mouth. My husband who is a Brit thought it was "Lovely" which is a compliment in itself! Thank you!! :)

hannahyusufgeorge's picture

Roy, we cooked this for a dinner party, and made a smaller gluten free version for a wheat intolerant friend. We managed to find gluten free beer (made by Green's, I think) in Sainsbury's. Instead of the Worcestershire sauce, we used red wine vinegar and celery salt, and it still tasted delicious!

cuporth's picture

As a recently diagnosed Coeliac I cant use beer, would red wine or cider be a suitable substitute?

jennyalice's picture

Really enjoyed cooking and eating this pie its proper nice for a Sunday. Tip: buy an extra bottle of beer as boyfriend was sad there wasn't any left for him to drink. I will definitely try with honey next time as suggested.

clare66uk's picture

YUM!!! This really is good! As suggested in other reviews I used Newcastle Brown Ale and squeezed in a tiny but of honey too just to make sure it wasn't bitter. I made the filling two days in advance and kept in fridge, plus I don't have food processor so I cheated and had a puff pastry lid instead. However, so easy to make!
I served this with baked rosemary new potatoes and sea salt - delicious.

charlenep82's picture

A great recipe, would recommend to all. We always use Newcastle Brown Ale and it never tastes bitter. We also cheat and use ready made shortcrust pastry. A firm family favourite. Thank you for sharing Sarah Cook!

swells1408's picture

Very easy to make and tasted lovely . I did make a few changes- adding baby mushrooms and a couple of tablespoons of honey, and I left the meat in all day before assembling the pie. The stout I used was very dark and the honey took away the bitterness, leaving a rich glossy sauce. It was a hit with the whole family- I will definitely be making it again .

jwood130's picture

Just finished this - my stomach is so happy and I have that lovely sleepy feeling only a good meal can produce. Somehow managed with a lid for my casserole dish (I used foil, topped with a baking tray), a pie dish (I used a deep cake tin) or a food processor (I just mixed the suet into the flour and added water). I also cut down the time by one hour because I started it too late - I turned the heat up to 150 fan for the first hour and then 155 fan for an extra half hour covered and the half hour uncovered - and the meat was still really tender and the sauce incredibly flavoursome without tasting like beer (which I personally don't like that much). I will definitely make this again at some point, completely following the instructions, as I'm sure it will be even nicer

jul34es's picture

this pie was easy to make and tasted great,the whole family loved it-it had plenty of flavour.

lucymellor's picture

Absolutely delicious! Took a while to make the first time but turned out really tasty and I will be making this again, if I can resist the smell coming from my kitchen long enough to get the filling into the pie that is!!

k8barber's picture

Absolutely beautiful - time consuming with the cooking but simple and so delicious. Made a great valentines dinner - thank you!

brendaiam's picture

I agree the meat was lovely and tender, but the gravy with the dark beer in was so bitter - I personally couldn't use it and for me spoiled it. Any suggestions please?

cazzydance's picture

I know this is delayed but I suggest adding some sugar to balance out the bitterness. Even a bit of cranberry sauce would probably add a balance of sweetness :)

jaybob71's picture

Very easy to make and delicious. The gravy was very tangy and even if you dont like beer (liker my wife) you will still enjoy this pie as it does not taste of alcohol at all but gives the pie that special taste.

I didnt have any thyme so used rosemary instead, also added a pinch of pepper and 2 carrots, 1 large potato and a few peas, No celery.

dragonma5306's picture

This was easy and delicious. The meat was very tender and the gravy thick and flavoursome. I didn't have a pie dish as such, but instead used a fairly deep glass pyrex dish (about 20cm diameter). The suet pastry was crisp and delicious - I normally only put the pastry on the top of pies as I don't want it to be soggy underneath but this was perfect!
Served 4 very generously.


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