How to make mince pies from scratch

I have had mince pies only once in my whole life.
Reason to that is that it was not in my family Christmas traditions to bake those little dried fruits pies best known to the world as mince pies.


mince pies

I still remember that when I tried it for the first time, after hearing bad reviews about it, described as the food from hell, I obviously had to try it myself to give full judgment.
Final verdict was: I liked it!

I said to myself that I definitely have to make these lovely British mince pies for this coming Christmas.
Then I came across a little problem… I had no idea what was inside mince pies.
Looking around the web I have only found recipes and articles that suggested to use a ready made mincemeat pie filling.

Not good enough, I want to make it from scratch and give it my personal twist to it!
Then I stumbled upon this mince pies filling ingredients list…
Oh boy I couldn’t believe I’d found it after several hours and few coffees, I was ready to give up.

I soon took off that smile from my face when I read the word: suet
The good feeling of that first ever mince pie I had completely disappeared to be replaced by total disgust.

I am not vegan nor vegetarian but for crying out loud…!


I am not going to use that in my mince pies! it will go against traditions but recipes are made to be modified right? So I went ahead with the decision to make mince pies without suet!

I have made my mince pies definitely “healthier” than the ones you buy at the store or that have been made with a jar filling.

Let me tell you that all I could smell when these were in the oven was Christmas!
That amazing fantastic smell that only freshly baked goods can give.
Try this recipe once and you will be hooked up for life.

And definitely…if you don’t like mince pies, after trying this you will love it!

If you are looking for more Christmas food and recipe definitely don’t miss these amazing thumbprint cranberry cookies!

If you make this mince pies recipe, I would love to see your photos!
Tag me @foodtoheartblog on Instagram when you are sharing your fantastic plates!
Are you following me on Pinterest and Instagram already? If not, don’t be shy and let’s be friends!

These are the only ingredients you need for about 12 super tasty mince pies.

mince pies

Ingredients to make mince pies without suet

Ingredients to make the pastry

300gr self raising flour
200gr butter
100gr caster sugar
little pinch of salt

Ingredients to make the mince pies filling

3 Bramley apples
150gr dark brown sugar
80gr melted butter
50gr almonds shaves
5 tbsp. of brandy (or cognac)
100gr raisins
100gr sultanas
100gr candied peel
100gr cooking cranberries
half tsp ground cinnamon
half tsp grated nutmeg
1 lemon
1 orange


Mince pies – Cooking method

mince pies

Firstly I strongly suggest that you plan when to make these ahead of time.
This because if you are going to make the filling from scratch following this recipe, it will take a while to have it ready.
So please keep this in mind before starting.
This being said let’s start right from the mince pies filling.

Gathering together all the ingredient you need for it, it’s a great idea so you them at hand ready.
The raisin, sultana wont need to be chopped, and neither the candied peel if you buy ready cut.
If you buy it whole, then chop it in small dices.

Same thing for the almonds. The store usually sells it already shaved but if you can’t find it it’s fine. Just slice it yourself.

Grate the zest of one lemon and one orange (make sure you buy organic! ) then squeeze the juice out of each and set aside.

Wash the bramley apples and chop it in very small dices.
You can keep the peel on.

Get a large bowl and put the apples and all the raisins, sultanas and the candied peel.
Add the almond slices, dark brown sugar, and finally all the spices in the list.
Give it a quick stir.

Add now the zest and the juice of both the lemon and the orange.
Get a spoon and add 8 tbsp. of brandy.
This can indeed be substitute with cognac. Grand Marnier would work nicely too.

Add for last the melted butter.

Now that you have all of the ingredients together in the bowl, give a good final stir to blend flavours together.

Cling film the bowl tightly and place it in the fridge to set overnight.
This is a crucial step for a tasty mince pies filling with a distinctive flavour, therefore it must not be skipped.
So say night night to the bowl and go to sleep.

The day after, when both you and the filling have had a good rest, it’s finally time to cook it off.

Get a tray big enough to contain the mince pies filling.
Scoop it out from the bowl into the tray.

Cover the tray with foil and place it in the middle of the oven.
Cook the mince pies filling for 3 hours @150C

In the meantime, since you can’t leave the oven unattended and go shopping, I suggest you to entertain yourself by checking out my other Christmas recipes and ideas for example or my new year’s eve nibbles ideas.


How to make the pastry for mince pies

mince pies

Onto your working top place 300gr of all purposes flour and 100gr caster sugar.
Add the diced butter (straight out from the fridge) and a little pinch of salt.

Mix everything together by hand until the butter if fully incorporated and you get a nice buttery flaky dough.
Do not overwork it.

Place it into a small bowl, cling film it tightly and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

I suggest you prepare the pastry when the filling is ready and out of the oven so that meanwhile the dough is in the fridge, the filling will cool down and be ready for use.

When the pastry is set, take it out of the fridge and bring it back on your working table.
Roll it out to about 3mm or whatever thickness you think it’s good for you.

With a round cookie cutter, cut out the mince pies pastry and lay each pastry disk into your pies tin.
Fill each mince pie with the filling you have prepared, that should be a bit cooler by now.

Cut another pastry disk to seal the top of the pies.
You can use your imagination here and use all sorts of cookie shapes, if you have them,
to put just a star or a heart shaped pastry on top.

You can brush the top of the pies with a bit of butter and sprinkle with some caster sugar for added sweetness.

I tried them with both caster sugar and icing sugar.

Place the mince pies in the oven set to 200C and bake it for about 20 minutes until they have that nice golden colour.

Mince pies recipe – Conclusion

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Your mince pies without suet are ready to be enjoyed!

mince pies

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