Unbelievably easy mince pies

Unbelievably easy mince pies

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(332 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins - 40 mins Cook: 20 mins


Makes 18 pies

No rolling required! Press the raw, crumbly pastry directly into your tin for a short, biscuity finish. Our easiest mince pie recipe and great fun to make with kids

Nutrition and extra info

  • Can be frozen uncooked

Nutrition: per pie

  • kcal222
  • fat11g
  • saturates7g
  • carbs30g
  • sugars12g
  • fibre1g
  • protein2g
  • salt0.26g
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  • 225g cold butter, diced



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

  • 350g plain flour



    Flour is a powdery ingredient usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As…

  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 280g mincemeat
  • 1 small egg



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

  • icing sugar, to dust


  1. To make the pastry, rub 225g cold, diced butter into 350g plain flour, then mix in 100g golden caster sugar and a pinch of salt. Combine the pastry into a ball – don’t add liquid – and knead it briefly. The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough. You can use the dough immediately, or chill for later.

  2. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C. Line 18 holes of two 12-hole patty tins, by pressing small walnut-sized balls of pastry into each hole. Spoon 280g mincemeat into the pies.

  3. Take slightly smaller balls of pastry than before and pat them out between your hands to make round lids, big enough to cover the pies. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal – you don’t need to seal them with milk or egg as they will stick on their own. (The pies may now be frozen for up to 1 month).

  4. Beat 1 small egg and brush the tops of the pies. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar. They will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.

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Comments (585)

van1968's picture

This has been my go to recipe for the last two years. Follow the recipe do not add any liquid to the pastry. Just take your time gently pressing the pastry into your tin NO NEED TO ROLL, I usually make mine whilst watching tv as it is a bit time consuming but well worth the effort.

Jeffna8's picture

Oh. My. Goodness. Just made these after hearing Chris Evans rave about them. He wasn't wrong. Followed the recipe exactly but made 12 instead of 18, meaning pastry was a little thick... but that was my own fault! Easy, not quick, but well worth it.

Malrose39's picture

Listened to this article on Radio2 on way to work this morning and thought I'm goin got give that a go. If it's good enough for Mr and Mrs Evans, then it's good enough for me.
Followed recipe to the letter and got exactly 18 beautiful, crumbly, melt in the mouth mince pies out of the pastry... Hubster says they are scrummy and has already sampled... The tops could be a bit neater (I'm a firm believer in practice makes perfect though), so will make again without doubt and perfect the tops...

Juliecswain's picture

Absolutely awful! cannot work with this pastry, will never use this recipe again

Orlando Murrin's picture

Hi everyone - I'm just about to go on the Chris Evans Show to talk about this recipe, so I thought I'd check the comments. Thanks everyone for your helpful comments.

The recipe is unbelievably easy, but not unbelievably quick! You have to be quite patient in shaping the pastry. Rolling pastry has its hazards, but would in the long run be quicker. However - you can't roll this pastry out, it is too 'short' (or rich).

I notice there are a few cooks out here making adjustments, which is fine. The balance of flour/fat/sugar is, however, worth sticking to. And I'll say it again - don't add liquid!

This is not like normal pastry in that you can handle it as much as you wish - honestly! The person who gave me the recipe many years ago told me you can stand on it, throw it against the wall - it is impossible to overwork this pastry. And for once, having warm hands actually helps.

If you are using bought mincemeat, I would taste it and see if you need to make any adjustments. Note this pastry is quite sweet in itself, so if your mincemeat is cloyingly sweet, the result might set your teeth on edge. Cheaper brands often contain loads of sugar (because sugar is cheap) so you may wish to adjust the flavour by adding lemon zest and juice, a bit of extra spice and/or a slug of brandy.

Linjay's picture

Just made some. Used food processor to mix all together but halved sugar. So I had a batch of crumble mixture which I gathered up in my hands bit by bit and moulded into individual ball shapes. Needs warm hands. I found this easy as there is plenty of butter in this recipe which, when kneaded, binds the crumbs together. If it doesnt come together in your hands at first, keep kneading until it does then pat with palms into flat rounds. The rounds will not be perfect but once in patty tin they can be pressed into shape. Once filled with mincemeat repeat procedure to put the tops on. I did find it fiddly at first but then 'got it' and they turned out wonderful. I did grease patty tins with a little lard and I didn't bother with egg wash but might try it next time. I did wait 5 to 10 minutes and they came out of tins very easily. Will now make more and will use this method for other types of fruit pies.

Cloggy's picture

My favourite mince pies ever!

mquddus's picture

I'm a good cook, but a hopeless baker, yet I found this amazing! Completely idiot-proof and delicious

Gabi_AMJ's picture

SOOO good!. This recipe was a lifesaver- I really can't be bothered these days with rolling out pastry, so this is perfect. The pastry is so tasty as well, much better than the sugary ones you get in the shop!

levar's picture

I made these today in a cold kitchen with butter straight from the fridge. It took a long time for the pastry to warm up enough to come together, but once it did everything was really easy. The pies are very delicate when they come out of tin, and will break easily so they need to be left to firm up as they cool.
These are seriously buttery though - a little too much for my taste.

allielovetocook's picture

This recipe name is a bit of a misnomer - I wouldn't call them "unbelievably easy" at all. The mix is basically shortbread and doesn't form a traditional pastry without a great deal of patience - and you have to handle it as little as possible to ensure it stays light as it is shortbread-based. That said, time, patience and perseverance ensured that the cooked end result (with homemade mincemeat) is the best home-made mince pies we've ever eaten. Really easy to remove from the mini-muffin tin I used and the pastry is sweet, buttery and melt-in-the-mouth delicious. Wouldn't hesitate to use this recipe again as DEFINITELY worth the effort.

rebreddy's picture

I'm not sure I would call these unbelievably easy! It was quite hard to get the pastry to come together and took perseverance! Was easy and quite fun to push them into the tins and they looked good when they came out of the oven. However, they would not come out of the tin and I only had 50% intact. There are definitely easy recipes that are just as tasty.

silviak's picture

Very good pastry indeed. Thanks to jokelly, I rolled out the pastry between two sheets of cling film, so it was much easier than other people mention. After mixing the ingredients, put the dough in the fridge, it got too hard to handle. After some minutes at room temperature it was just right. Made it with Jewelled mincemeat, also from this website, the best mincemeat ever, btw. Will make it again, definitely.

Rolicards's picture

Unbelievably delicious!!!

Alison Grace's picture

Oh wow! I have never tasted better.
I have made five batches of mince pies over the past few days using this recipe, and the outcome has definitely improved with practice each time. I used a 24-hole tray which I believe is the perfect size for mince pies. By the 5th time round, I worked hard to press the pastry around the sides and on the base as thinly as I could without exposing any tin. Also, I felt they looked better without the egg glaze.

Omnomy's picture

Pastry is to die for!

JuliaCulcheth's picture

Ten out of ten for the person who created this recipe. After years using different recipes I first used this one about six years ago and would never make mince pies any other way. As others have commented, don't try to roll it out. Once the pastry is combined just roll it into the balls and then mould the shapes with your hands. Even my husband loves getting involved. The only thing I do differently is to use more mincemeat and I always grease the patty tins. All my family and friends love these pies. They are the best!

smorgan55's picture

I am still wondering if the butter available in the UK is a higher moisture content than what we have here in Japan, but relieved to know that other people have had problems with getting the dough to hold together. Guess that is a quirky variation of culinary Schadenfreude: when you are "glad" that other people are having the same difficulty as you. Having found a jar of Robertson's mincemeat (very rare here, needless to say) I was determined to make mince tarts for Christmas dinner. All told the end product was quite yummy in spite of the crumbly dough problem, and they baked to a lovely golden brown in my tabletop convection oven. I think helps to think "shortbread" rather than "pie dough" in this case, so I am going to check out proportions of other shortbread recipes and make some adjustments before next time. P.S. Skipped the egg glaze with no dire consequences and successfully made some topless for the sake of experimentation. Suggest the title be altered from "unbelievably easy" to something else, though.

s.smith's picture

Don't attempt, definitely not 'easy'. Pies fall apart and cannot glaze with egg without removing half of the crumbly lid by mistake. Stick to tin and impossible to remove.


Questions (12)

rhjones83's picture

Salted or unsalted butter?

rhjones83's picture

Is it salted or unsalted butter?

hangleav's picture

I don't understand this bit:

Line 18 holes of two 12-hole patty tins, by pressing small walnut-sized balls of pastry into each hole. Spoon 280g mincemeat into the pies.

If I put a small walnut-sized ball of pastry in to the tin and then spoon the mincemeat over it, I won't get a pie. Does it mean just line the bottom and side of each hole with pastry?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi hangleav thanks for your question, you're absolutely right, pop a small ball of pastry into each of the holes in the tins and then gently press the pastry with your fingers to line the base and sides. Then add the mincemeat followed by a pastry lid. Hope this helps. 

rosettabanana's picture

Just made these ...added a bit of water. Popped pies in fridge while waiting for oven temp. to come up....after cooking ,left in tin to cool a bit and they came out beautifully. Look very homemade ...taste delicious.yum...making another batch to freeze.
Q. Do I defrost to cook ? Or can they go straight into the oven ?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi rosettabanana best thing to do is to freeze them in the tin before baking. Once they are fully frozen you can carefully release them from the tin and transfer them to a freezer bag or box. When you want to cook them just put the frozen mince pies back in the tin to cook from frozen, add an extra 5 mins to the cooking time. If you have already baked the mince pies and then frozen them you'll need to fully defrost them first before warming them through. 

karli's picture

Hi, I'm confused about the timing of freezing the pies. So they are frozen before they are baked? Does that mean you have to freeze the whole pie tin as well?

goodfoodteam's picture
Hi there, thanks for your question. Yes you can freeze them in the tin. If you need to use it in the meantime, once they are fully frozen you can carefully release them from the tin and transfer them to a bag or box. Put back in the tin to cook.
elle01527's picture

If I chose to freeze these, would I bake them from frozen or defrost first?? Thank you in advance :)

Jackconway0108's picture

I'm making this but the pastry is too dry and doesn't seem to be mixing anymore. Anything I can do?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi Jack, 

If you find the pastry is a little dry while making it you can add a little extra cold water, although don’t add too much or it will make the resulting pastry less crumbly.

Best wishes. 

Clovecooks's picture

Why has it taken me so long to get around to trying this recipe? This pastry is absolutely amazing. I used the Prune and Armagnac mincemeat recipe from GF November 2006, but replaced the suet with butter. Fabulous combination. Would give it 5 stars if the site would allow me to.

Tips (9)

Waylaid's picture

Reduced the sugar by 50% and added the zest of a large orange to the flour. My wife found the pastry too sweet previously. Liked the subtle addition the zest made.

Beginner14's picture

I have never made mince pies but this was so easy and I was apprehensive about just pushing the dough into as it was crumbly. But it does fix together and they are delicious.. I will never buy mince pies again.. This recipe is saved for life and I use a cake release spray on all my baking which made them release so easy

casshie's picture

I add grated orange zest and mixed spice to the flour when mixing it in with the butter then squeeze some orange juice into it to bring it together. It doesn't make it rollable but a bit more pliable. And tastes fantastic!

Jo.in.sing's picture

PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THIS RECIPE!!! This is not (repeat NOT) a pastry that you roll out. If you try to do that, you will fail. It is a crumble pastry, not unlike the stuff you put onto apple crumble, and you just have to squash it into the cases. It will look horrible until cooked but just trust it, follow the recipe, and leave the pies in the tins for 10 mins to cool and harden before trying to remove from the tins. Oh and grease the tins first. For the lids, I work it a bit between my palms to create the flat lids but if they go on in several pieces, it doesn't matter. This is the most delicious mince pie recipe you will ever use and it IS easy, but only if you don't try to go all posh with it.....

kazmataz0's picture

I've been using this recipe for the last three years, they are lovely but I've always found the pastry a bit difficult to work with...
Until this year! Here are my tips:
1. I substitute 50g of the flour for 50g ground almonds. Tastes divine!
2. I do step one - combine butter, flour (and ground almonds in my case) in a food processor. It gives me bread crumb texture in seconds and I don't end up with pastry in my fingernails! As it starts to stick together I tip into a bowl and knead in the sugar. It seems to combine better/a bit less crumbly. And much quicker!
3. I found pressing pastry into shape took ages. Now I roll it between 2 sheets of cling film and cut out tops and bottoms with cutters. Quicker and much easier!
4. Some people have said they are difficult to get out of the tin. I've never had this problem. I've never pre-greased the tin. I can only imagine it's because I have some newish nonstick tins. Do leave them to firm up for about 10 minutes though otherwise they break do break up.

I agree with some comments that the pastry is a bit sweet. I am yet to try less sugar. Pretty much perfect as they are and now I'm using the techniques above I'll be able to make even more!

bLaZeR666_uk's picture

These will keep for far longer than 4 days. 2 weeks in a tin and these are still fine.

west1871's picture

Won a bake off competition with this recipe. I always use mince pie foils as my baking tin has seen better days and always roll out pastry between two sheets of clingfilm.
works every time.

countrybumpkin121's picture

i prefer rolling the dough so also add some egg yolk.If rolling the dough and it cracks when you put in cake tin what i like to do is use muffin cases.No more greasing tins or mince pies sticking to tin.Also they look pretty good from the indentation of the cases.I also make them the night before i need them chill over night and cook them when needed the next day will need a few more minutes in oven .This is a great recipe which you can tweak to suit your needs.I also sprinkle mine with caster sugar rather than icing sugar.Off to make some now happy baking and a Happy Christmas

sareen71's picture

I made these as a Christmas treat for my colleagues and they went down a storm. I've not really made pastry before and this was very simple. I added 100g of ground almonds at the same time as the sugar. I was unsure how appetising they would look given that the pastry wasn't rolled, but they looked and tasted superb. I didn't have a problem taking them out of the bun tray, but given others have had problems I wondered whether it depends on the type of tray you use? I would definitely recommend, especially for those cooking with children. Happy baking!