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.

Did mince pies used to be coffin-shaped? ›


Our mince pies undoubtedly have medieval origins, although we would not immediately recognise them. Pie crusts were known as coffins, and used as a vessel to cook delicate foods or house pre-boiled meat fillings. Pastry was little more than flour mixed with water to form a mouldable dough.

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.

Why were mince pies coffin shape? ›

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!

Are mince pies religious? ›

There are many religious connotations behind the traditional mince pie: They were first made in an oval shape to represent the manger that Jesus slept in as a baby, with the top representing his swaddling clothes.

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

A mince pie (also mincemeat pie in North America, and fruit mince pie in Australia and New Zealand) is a sweet pie of English origin filled with mincemeat, being a mixture of fruit, spices and suet. The pies are traditionally served during the Christmas season in much of the English-speaking world.

Why are pies called coffins? ›

A coffin or coffyn referred to a container made of pastry, a precursor of the modern pie crust, and food was served in the coffin it had been cooked in. The first printed use of the word coffin as a box for a corpse appeared later, in the 16th century. Historians trace pies back to ancient times.

What does mincemeat taste like to eat? ›

But the mincemeat I'm talking about is thick, sweet, spicy and brown; a sludge of raisins, booze, orange peels, allspice and other aromatics. Some recipes also involve apples, and almost all varieties include shredded beef and suet.

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.

Who invented mincemeat pie? ›

The history of how mince pie originated is varied and no one can pinpoint its exact source. Some historians date it back to the birth of Christ, 12th-century crusades or King Henry V.

When did they stop putting meat in mince pies? ›

Not anymore, a couple of hundred years ago it would have had some sort of minced meat in with the rest. modern mincemeat accepts that it's better without it, so it's just chopped fruit and spices in a sweet pastry.

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 is the significance of mince pies at Christmas? ›

To show off their money, the rich would offer pies in various shapes, such as crescents and hearts, to show off their wealth. 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.

Why do we eat mince pies on Christmas? ›

Mince pies were originally made to celebrate Jesus. They were oblong in shape to represent the manger that Jesus slept in as a baby and have a 'pastry baby Jesus' carved into the pastry. Traditionally one mince pie is eaten for the Twelve days of Christmas.

Why are mince pies only eaten at Christmas? ›

According to reports, medieval people believed that if you ate a mince pie every day between Christmas and Twelfth Night, you'd be brimming with luck and happiness for the next 12 months. While there may not be any truth in the old myth, the tradition of eating mince pies every Christmas has certainly stuck.

When did mince pies become a Christmas tradition? ›

By the mid-17th Century, there appears to have been some connection made to Christmas, although people certainly ate mince pies at other times as well – Samuel Pepys had mince pies at a friend's anniversary party in January of 1661, where there were 18 laid out, one for each year of the marriage.


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