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I love a hearty British savory pie for dinner, especially when it’s this steak and ale pie. Your mouth will be watering for a taste of this rich, ale-flavored stew and buttery puff pastry. Fortunately, it’s a simple recipe to prepare, and with the wealth of tips and tricks below, you’ll soon be confidently making it for your family.
What is steak and ale pie?
Steak and ale pie is a British savory pie made from a hearty beef and vegetable stew flavored with ale. The stew is put in a pie dish and baked with either shortcrust or puff pastry on top. Although people like a bottom crust on their steak and ale pie as well, I left it out because it just increases the calories and gets soggy from the stew liquid.
What does steak and ale pie taste like?
Steak and ale pie tastes much like a traditional beef stew, but with unique richness and umami flavor from the ale. The beef and vegetables absorb the flavor from the ale-infused cooking liquid, flavoring the stew beautifully. Additional flavor is added from a bit of HP sauce, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt, pepper, fresh thyme, and a bay leaf.
What goes with steak and ale pie?
- Mashed potatoes or roasted potatoes
- Green salad
- Mushy peas
- Crusty homemade bread
Is steak and ale pie alcoholic?
No, steak and ale pie is not alcoholic. Although a large quantity of ale is added to the stew, the long cooking time burns off almost all of the alcohol. Only a negligible amount should remain. Read more details about this here.
Can you eat steak and ale pie when pregnant?
Since only a negligible amount of alcohol is left from the cooking process, steak and ale pie should be safe for pregnant ladies to consume. If you’re in doubt about steak and ale pie’s safety for your unborn child, ask your physician about it.
Which pastry to use for steak and ale pie?
Shortcrust or puff are the two most popular choices of pastry for steak and ale pie. It’s really up to you which one you’d like. Personally, I prefer rich, buttery homemade rough puff pastry on top instead of store-bought puff to make this savory pie even more delicious.
What kind of pot should I use to cook the steak and ale pie filling?
Use a 5 or 6-quart Dutch oven with a thick, heavy base. I prefer stainless steel pots with an insulated copper base, like this Emeril Lagasse Dutch oven. If you’re using a pot with a thinner base, keep the heat lower and stir it more frequently to keep the stew from burning.
How to Thicken Steak and Ale Pie
Is your steak and ale pie filling still runny, even after cooking it? Here’s some ways you can thicken the stew.
- Reduce the liquid. This is the best way to thicken the stew without diluting the flavor. Just take off the lid and let the stew simmer until thickened.
- Add potatoes. The starch from diced raw potatoes or mashed potatoes will thicken the stew.
- Add a slurry of cornstarch and water. Whisk together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water until smooth, then whisk into the stew.
- Add a buerre manié. Mash some all-purpose flour into softened butter to make a paste, then whisk into the stew. Bring to a boil and allow to thicken. Read more about this here.
- Scoop out excess liquid. You can serve this liquid on top of mashed potatoes or label and freeze it for another use.
Which ale do you use for steak and ale pie?
A good quality, dark brown English ale is the best choice for steak and ale pie. If you can’t find an English ale, Yuengling Black and Tan is a good substitute. Basically, you want to use an ale that has a roasted, slightly sweet taste. A bitter stout such as Guinness is too strong for this recipe.
Why is my steak and ale pie bitter?
You probably used the wrong kind of ale. Next time, choose an ale with a sweeter flavor. If you’re using dried herbs, be careful not to add too much, as they are more potent than fresh herbs and can make the stew taste bitter.
How to Make Steak and Ale Pie Less Bitter
- Bring the stew to a boil to evaporate the alcohol. Too much residual alcohol content can make the stew taste bitter.
- Add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, or brown sugar to counteract the bitterness. Try a little at first and add more if needed.
- Add some beef broth or water. If the only liquid in the stew is ale, it will probably taste bitter.
What kind of beef do you use for steak and ale pie?
Braising steak or stewing beef (chuck steak) is the best kind of meat for steak and ale pie. You want an inexpensive, tougher cut of meat that will become tender with a long, slow cooking process. When you’re at the grocery store, make sure to pick a piece of meat that has marbling of fat throughout it and some connective tissues.
Why is my beef stew tough?
Not cooking the beef long enough is the most common reason for tough beef in a stew. Most beef stews are made with tougher cuts of meat and need a longer cooking time. Simmer the steak and ale pie filling on medium-low heat for at least 2 hours to make the meat tender. Make sure to stir the stew every 15-20 minutes to prevent it from burning. If you don’t want to stir it frequently, transfer the stew to a crock-pot.
How to Make Steak and Ale Pie in a Crock Pot
- Place the beef in a zip-top bag and toss with the flour, salt, and pepper. Heat some oil in a pan and sear the beef until browned on all sides, then remove from heat.
- Sauté the vegetables in the leftover grease from the beef.
- Deglaze the pan by pouring in ale or beef stock (in a pinch you can use water). Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden turner to remove the brown residue, called the fond.
- Add all ingredients to the crock-pot and stir well to combine.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Stir occasionally to check how it’s doing.
Can you freeze steak and ale pie?
- Yes, you can freeze steak and ale pie after it’s cooked. (See the next question for freezing instructions before it’s baked.)
- Let the pie cool completely.
- Seal in an airtight container or zip-top bag.
- Freeze for up to 1 month.
- Defrost in the microwave or in the fridge overnight.
Can you cook steak and ale pie from frozen?
Here are some make ahead freezing instructions for steak and ale pie.
- Yes, you can cook steak and ale pie from frozen. Make sure to cook the stew completely before freezing.
- Place the stew in a freezer-safe pie dish, such as an aluminum pie plate. Top the stew with the puff pastry.
- Flash freeze the pie for a few hours, then seal tightly inside of a zip-top freezer bag or wrap in a double layer of foil.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Unwrap the frozen pie and brush the pastry with beaten egg.
- Bake the frozen pie at 400 F for about an hour or more. Cover the pastry with foil if it’s browning too much.
How to Reheat Steak and Ale Pie
- Cover the pie with a sheet of aluminum foil to prevent the pastry from burning.
- Bake at 375 F for 40-60 minutes, until steaming hot.
How to Make Steak and Ale Pie
Gather the ingredients for the steak and ale pie.
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then add one-third of the beef chunks and turn to brown on all sides. You’ll need to lower the heat to medium so the beef doesn’t brown as quickly. Brown the remaining beef in two batches to prevent overcrowding of the pan.
Add the onions to the pan and cook until golden, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Deglaze the pan again with beef stock to remove the brown residue on the bottom of the pan (called the fond). Add the celery and carrots and cook until the celery begins to soften.
Add the flour to the veggies and cook for a minute.
Add the liquids, HP sauce, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and spices to the pot and stir until well blended. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid has thickened some.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until bubbling. Add the quartered mushrooms and cook until soft and brown, stirring frequently. Add the cooked mushrooms to the simmering stew.
Add the mushrooms and browned beef chunks to the stew, making sure that there’s enough liquid to cover the beef and prevent it from drying out. Bring to a boil again, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours with the lid on. Remove the lid and simmer for another hour, until the meat is tender and the juices have thickened.
Once the stew has simmered and thickened, remove the bay leaf and allow to cool to room temperature before putting the pastry on top. In a hurry? You can refrigerate the stew overnight and assemble the pie the next day.
Top the cooled beef stew with puff pastry and brush with beaten egg. If the stew is too hot, the heat will melt the butter in the puff pastry and ruin the lamination. Don’t forget to cut a few vent holes to allow the steam to escape as the pie bakes.
Bake the pie at 425 F for 35-40 minutes, until the pastry is a rich golden brown. Allow the pie to cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Pro Tips for Making Steak and Ale Pie
- Use pre-cut stewing beef with marbling of fat throughout the meat. This means the meat will be more flavorful and tender.
- Be careful not to overcook the beef. Sear it just until the outside is browned, and make sure the meat is covered with liquid as the stew simmers.
- Keep the vegetables chunky, as smaller pieces of veggies will break down into mush during the long cooking process.
- Don’t rinse the mushrooms; simply brush off dirt with a paper towel. Mushrooms absorb too much water from rinsing.
- Use a dark brown ale with a roasty, sweet flavor. I used Yuengling Black and Tan.
- Cook the stew low and slow. Stewing beef is typically a tough cut and requires a long cooking time to become tender.
- Let the stew cool before putting the pastry on. Hot stew will melt the butter in the pastry, ruining the delicate layers in the pastry.
- Cover the pastry with foil if it’s getting dark. This prevents the pastry from burning on the edges.
Our Go-To Kitchen Tools for Steak and Ale Pie
- Emeril Lagasse 5-Quart Dutch Oven: we love the Emeril pots for their heavy bottoms and glass lids.
- OXO Wooden Turner: this durable wooden turner can handle stirring food for years to come.
- Original HP Sauce: this tangy brown sauce is well loved throughout the world and adds flavor to this pie.
- Set of 2 Enamel Pie Dishes: these sturdy dishes are perfect for baking sweet or savory pies.
- Set of 2 Pastry Brushes: unlike many brushes, the natural bristles on these brushes don’t fall out easily.
British comfort food is too good to miss out on. Dig in for a taste!
- Chicken and Leek Pie: the stunning flavor of this simple pie will be popular with your family.
- Shepherd’s Pie: who can resist a big helping of meat, veggies, and cheesy mashed potatoes?
- Minced Beef Pie: a hearty blend of ground beef and veg baked under a puff pastry top.
The pleasure of a 5-star review for this steak and ale pie would be greatly appreciated.Print
Steak and ale pie is a traditional British comfort food. This pie is full of chunky vegetables, mushrooms, and buttery puff pastry. Your whole family will love eating this amazing meal for dinner!
For the Steak and Ale Filling
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (45 ml)
- 2 pounds 5 ounces stewing beef, cut into chunks (1.05 kg)
- 2 1/2 cups yellow onion, chopped (2 medium onions; 325g)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 cups carrot, sliced (3 large carrots; 306g)
- 2 cups celery, sliced (5 medium stalks; 290g)
- 3 tablespoons salted butter (43g)
- 1 pound white mushrooms, quartered (453g)
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour (40g)
- 2 cups dark brown English ale or black and tan beer (475 ml)
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted beef stock (300 ml)
- 1 tablespoon HP sauce (15 ml)
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed (13g)
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (2g)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
For the Pastry
- 1 pound 5 ounces puff pastry, chilled (600g)
- 1 large egg, beaten
Making the Steak and Ale Filling (1 hr 15 min + 2 hrs 30 min cooking)
- Sear the beef. Heat the olive oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add one-third of the stewing beef and turn down the heat to medium. Flip the cubes of meat with tongs, allowing them to get golden brown and crispy on all sides, then remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate. Brown the remaining beef in two batches.
- Cook the veggies. Put the pot on medium-high heat and add the chopped onions. Cook the onions until golden, then lower the heat to medium, add the minced garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Pour some beef stock or ale into the pan and scrape off the brown fond from the bottom. Add the sliced carrots and celery and cook until the celery just begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Cook the mushrooms. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the quartered mushrooms and cook until soft and brown, about 5 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently to keep the mushrooms from burning. Once cooked, remove from the heat and set aside.
- Add liquid and thicken. Dump the all-purpose flour onto the onion mixture and cook over medium heat for a minute to toast the flour slightly. Pour in the reserved beef drippings, ale, and beef stock and bring to a boil. Cook until slightly thickened.
- Add meat and veggies. Dump in the seared beef chunks and any drippings from the plate. Add the HP sauce, brown sugar, cocoa powder, spices, and cooked mushrooms and stir until well mixed. If the beef is not covered with liquid, add 1/2 cup or more of beef stock, ale, or water to prevent the meat from drying out.
- Simmer. Cover and bring the stew up to a full boil over medium heat, then turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer covered for 1 1/2 hours, then remove the lid and simmer for another hour. The meat should be tender and the liquid should be thickened. Be sure to stir the stew every 15 minutes or so to prevent it from burning on the bottom.
- Cool. Let the stew cool to room temperature (or refrigerate overnight) before putting the pastry on top. This step prevents the pastry from melting, which would spoil the taste and appearance of the pie.
Assembling the Steak and Ale Pie (15 min + 35 min baking + cooling)
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Put the filling into a dish. Spoon the cooled filling into a 6-cup (1.4 liter) capacity pie dish. Brush the rim of the dish with beaten egg.
- Cover with pastry. Place the chilled puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/8 inch thick, making sure it is large enough to cover the pie dish. Lay the pastry on top of the pie and press down the edges to seal. Trim off the excess pastry, then brush with beaten egg and decorate as desired. Don’t forget to cut a few vent holes to allow steam to escape.
- Bake. Cook the pie at 425 F for 35-40 minutes. The filling should be gently bubbling and the pastry should be a rich golden brown. Be sure to cover the edges with aluminum foil if the pie is browning too quickly in the oven.
- Cool. Allow the pie to cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- The pleasure of a 5-star review for this steak and ale pie recipe would be greatly appreciated.
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- Category: Dinner
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: British
Keywords: pub style, mushroom, british meat pie recipes