These Jamaican Beef Patties are similar to baked empanadas, but are classically Jamaican in flavor. The hearty beef filling isn’t overly spicy, making this a family-friendly treat. Curry powder-laced dough yields a lovely color and flavor, as well as a beautifully flaky texture.
In my previous post I shared the menu and photos from my Olympics party celebrating the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Now I’m sharing another recipe from our shindig, the Jamaican Beef Patties, representing the island nation of Jamaica. I’d like to preface this by once again letting you all know how much I absolutely LOVE Cool Runnings. I’ve loved this movie for ages! I love that it’s based on a true story, although I know the movie isn’t completely true to the original story.
It would make more sense to make Jamaican dishes for the Summer Olympic Games. Jamaica has a much larger presence in summer sports. Usain Bolt is an absolute track and field legend! I prefer to celebrate Jamaica and its bobsled team in the winter. Enter the Jamaican beef patty onto the menu!
How to make Jamaican beef patties
The filling for these patties is very tasty, but not too spicy. I use a single Habanero chile, which I seed. If you want a spicier filling, you can leave the seeds in, or use more chiles. Start by sauteing chopped onion, garlic, the Scotch Bonnet or Habanero chile, garlic powder, salt, thyme, and allspice until softened.
Add the ground beef, breaking it up into pieces, and cook until cooked through. Next, add breadcrumbs to help bind the filling. Then add broth or water to absorb into the crumbs. Cool the filling until ready to use.
Making the dough is similar to making pie crust, but includes curry powder. This gives the flaky dough a golden hue. Mix flour with curry powder and salt, and then cut in cold pieces of butter until you have pea-sized crumbs. Then add cold water until the mixture forms a mass. A lot of Jamaican Beef Patty recipes have you roll out the dough and cut out circles. I feel like this is wasting so much of the dough. Instead, I divide up my dough into balls, and roll each ball out into circles.
No, the circles aren’t as perfectly round as they would be if you cut them out with a round cutter. Many cultures make empanadas using this same method, rolling out balls of dough instead of cutting out circles. The results are delicious and only slightly more rustic than the alternative.
These Jamaican beef patties are awesome! My friend Camille’s almost-two-year-old daughter loved them. And of course the adults loved them. I made them a week ahead of time and froze them so I could save some time the day of the party. I simply thawed them in the fridge and reheated them in the oven before the guests arrived.
Other recipes you may like
- Jerk Chicken Wings
- Jerk Chicken Pasta
- Ham and Cheese Empanadas
- Hand-Cut Beef, Egg, and Green Onion Empanadas (Empanadas Tucumanas)
- Mojo Pork with Black Beans, Cilantro Rice and Pickled Red Onions
Jamaican Beef Patties
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Scotch Bonnet or Habanero chile stemmed, seeded, and minced (wear gloves!)
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 3/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup beef broth or water
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water or as needed
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- To make the filling, heat the oil in a large, preferably nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, chile, curry powder, salt, thyme, and allspice, and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the ground beef and use the edge of a wooden spoon to break it into pieces. Continue to cook until all the beef is cooked through, stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn or stick. Add the breadcrumbs, stir to combine, then add the broth or water and mix until absorbed. Remove the filling from the heat and let it cool.
- To make the dough, stir together the flour, curry powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture. Using your fingers, or a pastry blender if you have one, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay; be careful not to overblend). If using your fingers, just rub the mixture together, but don’t overwork the mixture or the butter will get too warm and soften too much.
- Sprinkle in about 1/2 cup of the cold water and gently mix it into the flour with your fingers or a plastic bowl scraper or spatula. Do not overwork the dough. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of water, or more as needed until the dough just comes together into a ball.
- Divide the dough into 16 pieces, each weighing approximately 1.5 ounces. Roll each ball between your palms to smooth it out. At this point you can chill the balls of dough for a few minutes if they feel too soft.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
- One at a time, place a ball of dough on a lightly floured surface, press your palm into a ball of dough to begin to flatten it, then use a rolling pin to roll it out evenly into circle about 5-inches in diameter. They may not be perfect circles, but that’s ok.
- Evenly distribute the beef filling between the dough circles. Don’t be too stingy, it will seem like a lot of filling, but you can press and compact the filling a bit to make sure you fill them generously. One-by-one fold over the dough and pinch the edges to enclose the filling. Use the tines of a fork to press along the edges to seal.
- Place the sealed beef patties onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, then chill the sheets in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to help set the dough (it will bake up flakier if you don’t skip this step).
- Evenly brush the tops of the patties with egg wash, and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans from front to back and top to bottom, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.
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