The Queen's pastry chef has revealed her secret mince pie recipe (2024)

These festive treats are made months in advance.

The Queen's pastry chef has revealed her secret mince pie recipe (1)By Katie Frost
The Queen's pastry chef has revealed her secret mince pie recipe (2)

Mince pies are being enjoyed up and down the UK at this time of year, including at Buckingham Palace.

So, if you want a taste of a seasonal sweet treat fit for the Queen, Royal Pastry chef Kathryn Cuthbertson has revealed the secret recipe for the mince pies served in the royal households during the Christmas period.

In an article published on the Royal Family's website, Cuthbertson and Chef de Partie, Victoria Scupham, say they make 'thousands' of mince pies between them for each of the festive receptions held in the Palaces every year.

Unfortunately for anyone who is hoping to make a batch before the big day, the royal mince pies require months of advance preparation.

'Everything from the mincemeat to the pastry is handmade by the small team in the kitchens at Buckingham Palace,' the website states. 'The mincemeat is made months in advance and stored in the pantry.'

For Cuthbertson, her number one tip is to 'give yourself plenty of time'. Scupham adds: 'Pastry is not something that likes to be rushed.' She also recommends 'having cold hands' when working with pastry, to keep it at the right consistency.

The Royal Chefs also experiment with different types of the Christmas classic, from a smaller version with flaked almonds to a puff pastry variety. And mince pies aren't the only option when it comes to festive treats. Chocolate roulade, gingerbread biscuits and Sablés à la Confiture, also known as jammy dodgers, are on the menu.

See the royal mince pie recipe in full below:


For the Mincemeat

  • zest and some juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • zest and some juice of 1 unwaxed orange
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 tablespoon of port
  • 1 tablespoon of rum
  • 1 tablespoon of sherry
  • 120g (1 cup) suet
  • 160g (3/4 cup) golden sultanas
  • 100g (1/2 cup) raisins
  • 100g (1/2 cup) mixed peel
  • 100g (1/2 cup) currants
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1.2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 160 (6oz) russet apples, peeled and grated
  • 500g (1lb 2 oz) sweet pastry
  • Egg washed for sticking lids on the bases
  • Granulated sugar for the top of the mince pies before baking
  • Icing sugar for dusting


12 hole non-stick shallow baking tray /mince pie tin 32 x 24 cm/ 12.5 x 9"

Fluted or plain cutters


  1. Place all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir. Then add all the liquid and grated apple and allow to soak for at least one week in a 1kg kilner jar sat in the fridge or pantry.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190° C (375° F, gas mark 5)
  3. Roll the sweet pastry into a sheet approximately 2 to 3 mm thick, place on a tray, and allow to rest in the fridge. Once rested, cut tops and bottoms for your mince pies using fluted or plain cutters (selecting sizes to fit your tin). Place the pie bases into the tin and prick them with a small knife or fork to prevent the pastry from rising during the baking.
  4. Spoon a teaspoon of the home-made mincemeat into the base and egg wash the edge of the pastry to enable the lids to stick. Place the mince pies in the fridge to rest for another 30 minutes, then add a pastry top to each, egg washing it and pricking a small hole in the top to allow the steam to escape. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  5. Place the baking tray on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake the pies for about 15 minutes, or until the pastry turns golden and the mincemeat starts to boil slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before taking the pies out of their tin.
  6. Sprinkle the mince pies with icing sugar and serve immediately. To add a festive feel, the mince pie tops could be shaped with a star cutter or perhaps a holly-shaped cutter.

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The Queen's pastry chef has revealed her secret mince pie recipe (2024)


What is the significance of the mince pie? ›

They were made from 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his disciples and were all symbolic to the Christmas story. As well as dried fruit such as raisins, prunes and figs, they included lamb or mutton to represent the shepherds and spices (cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg) for the Wise Men.

What was the original mincemeat pie made of? ›

The reason mincemeat is called meat is because that's exactly what it used to be: most often mutton, but also beef, rabbit, pork or game. Mince pies were first served in the early middle ages, and the pies were quite sizeable, filled with a mixture of finely minced meat, chopped up fruit and a preserving liquid.

Why do they call it mincemeat? ›

Mincemeat is a combination of chopped dried fruits, spices, sugar, nuts, distilled spirits, a fat of some type and sometimes meat. The name is a carryover from 15th century England when mincemeat did indeed have meat in the mix; in fact, the whole point of mincemeat was to preserve meat with sugar and alcohol.

When did mince pies stop containing meat? ›

By the 18th century cheaper cuts of meat such as tongue and tripe replaced the traditional mutton, pork, or beef, and around the middle of the century an even more important change occurred, the transformation of mince pies from a savoury to a sweet dish.

What is the story of the mince pie? ›

Many believe the idea for the mince pie originated with Middle Eastern cuisine in the 12th century, when spices and fruit were often used in savory and sweet meat dishes. Before refrigeration, spices and sugars were used for preservation to slow down spoilage.

What is mince pie filling made of? ›

Typically, its ingredients were a mixture of minced meat, suet, a range of fruits, and spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

Is mincemeat pie German? ›

According to The Christmas Encyclopedia, mincemeat pie — also commonly referred to as mince pie or Christmas pie — originated in medieval England.

Who eats mincemeat pie? ›

If you are British, Christmas without mince pies is unimaginable. Why? Mince pies have been eaten as part of a traditional British Christmas since at least the 16th century.

What is the difference between mince pie and mincemeat pie? ›

We all love munching on mince pies but have you ever wondered why their filling is called 'mincemeat' even though there's no meat in it? This is because long ago mince pies actually did have meat in them. They went by different names like 'mutton pie,' 'shrid pie,' or 'Christmas pie. '

What is the slang term for mince pies? ›

Mince pies = eyes

This is a term used widely in London even to this day, usually to describe a girl's features. Her eyes would be described as Minces, an even more slang term from the original mince pies.

Why is mincemeat so expensive? ›

Mincemeat isn't difficult to make, but it has a lot of ingredients, which can make it expensive to produce in small batches, and it requires at least a day's advance planning to let the ingredients sit.

What do Americans call mince pies? ›

Some Americans enjoy 'mincemeat', which is a type of sweet fruit pie, which does not actually include any meat at all. There are 'traditional' recipes, and 'English' recipes, that include beef, but few Americans make 'mincemeat pie' with meat.

Why can't you eat mince pies on Christmas Day? ›

It has been claimed that eating the snack is illegal in England if done so on Christmas Day. The tradition comes from the time of Oliver Cromwell in the 1650s, when mince pies were banned at Christmas, along with other tasty treats.

Do they eat mince pies in America? ›

So why has mince meat pie all but vanished in America? Well, the pie strayed from its roots, and it has a rather strange ingredient called suet. Modern day mince meat pie contains no meat, sometimes no alcohol, and is a wimpy salute to the hearty, beefy pie of mince meat history.

Did mince pies used to be coffin-shaped? ›

These were nothing like our mince pies of today. They were large, seriously large, and oblong as they were designed to serve a number of people. The pastry case, called a coffin, was just a container for the delicious filling and was never meant to be eaten – well not by the rich!

Why do people eat mincemeat pie at Christmas? ›

They became a popular treat around the festive period thanks to a tradition from the middle ages, which saw people eat a mince pie for 12 days from Christmas day to Twelfth Night. Doing this was believed to bring you happiness for the next 12 months.

What is the purpose of mince? ›

Mincing is a technique that allows the maximum amount of flavor to be contributed by the mined food; frequently the minced vegetable is chopped so finely that it “melts” into the dish. Mincing will definitely impact the taste of the food, if called for in a recipe.

What is the significance of shepherd's pie? ›

A Brief History of the Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie is believed to have been invented in the early 1800s. During this time, housewives were struggling to find innovative ways to recycle the leftovers that their husbands and kids had turned up their noses at. Back then, the struggle was real just as it is today.

What is an interesting fact about mince pies? ›

Mince pies were once made from actual minced meat mixed with fruit and spices, and known as “mutton” or “shrid” pies (due to the shredded suet). Boiled beef tongue was an essential ingredient in the 16th century. It's said that by the Victorian era, the pies were mostly sweet variations.


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