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Recipe for Traditional Cheese and Onion Pie

Cheese and Onion Pie
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A spectacularly tasty pie using only three key ingredients, pastry, cheese and onions. You have to try this, it's a treat your taste buds have rarely experienced.


500g / 1lb 2oz of ready made and rolled shortcrust pastry (see "Advice for Cheese and Onion Pie" section  below if you want to make your own)

1 tablespoon of flour (any type) for dusting the work surface when rolling out pastry

250g / 9oz of Lancashire or Cheshire cheese (see "Advice for Cheese and Onion Pie" section below)

3 medium onions

30g / 1oz of butter

2 large eggs

Freshly ground (if possible) black pepper

2 tablespoons of milk (any type)

Nutrition information per portion

COOKING TIME: 45 minutes
SERVINGS: Five servings
EQUIPMENT: One large frying pan, one 20cm / 8in oven proof pie dish (see Advice for Cheese and Onion Pie below), a rolling pin.


If the shortcrust pastry is frozen, take it out of the freezer and let it defrost. This takes around one and a half hours.

Top and tail, peel, slice and roughly chop the onions.

Roughly grate or crumble the cheese.

Split the ready made pastry into two thirds and one third.

Start pre-heating the oven to 200°C / fan 180°C / 390°F / Gas mark 6.

Grease the base and sides of the pie dish with butter or margarine.

Break the eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk


If you want to make your own short crust pastry, the video below will show you exactly how to do it. It takes about 20 minutes to make and an additional 40 minutes to cool in the fridge.

This recipe is most definitely British and it is generally accepted that it originates from the North West of England. So we opted to use Cheshire cheese for our cheese and onion pie. Lancashire cheese will do fine as well and even Wensleydale (from Yorkshire) makes a perfectly acceptable alternative.

All three of those cheeses are crumbly and have the ideal taste for a top-notch cheese and onion pie. Cheddar will do if that's all you have but it lacks something on the taste buds for a pie of this type.

In recipes like this, the size of the baking tray / pie dish is reasonably important. It must be oven proof, the diameter should be around 20cm / 8in and the depth approximately 5cm / 2in.

To get the pie out of the dish when it is cooked without breaking the edges, it's almost essential to have a pie dish with either a loose base (see our picture below) or a springform pie dish with removable sides.

Baking tin with a loose base
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This homemade cheese and onion pie will keep in your fridge for at least three days. Allow the unused portion to cool then cover and place in the fridge. To reheat, heat the oven to 200°C / fan 180°C / 390°F / Gas mark 6 and cook for 12 minutes or until heated through.

The pie also freezes well and keeps for around a month. It's best to cut unused pie into slices, wrap in cling film and place in the freezer. When you need it, defrost in the fridge overnight and then rehat as described in the previous paragraph.



Heat a large frying pan on a medium low heat, add the butter then the chopped onions. Fry for ten minutes turning frequently.

Add 120ml / 4 fl oz of water to the onions, sprinkle on a good portion of freshly ground pepper. Turn the heat down to its lowest and leave the onions to simmer very gently (turn them every few minutes or so) until the water has evaporated. 25 minutes is about the correct time.

Onions frying
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Onions frying


 If making your own pastry, sprinkle flour on the work surface and the rolling pin. Roll out two thirds (just over half) of the pastry so that it will cover the base and the sides (with a bit more to spare) of the pie dish.

If using ready rolled pastry cut off sufficient (about two thirds) to line the base and sides of the pie dish.

Grease the inside of the baking tin. Wrap the pastry around the the rolling pin which will make it easier to move without tearing.

Move pastry using a rolling pin
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Moving pastry


Move the pastry over to the pie dish and unwrap it so that it covers the middle and sides of the pie dish.

Pastry into pie dish
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Use you finger tips to gently ease the pastry down into the bottom of the pie dish and around the sides. Occasionally the pastry rips slightly. If this happens simply get a small piece of the leftover pastry and patch up on the inside - you will hardly notice it when it's cooked.

Use a fork to make small holes in the base of the pastry (click to enlarge the picture and see more clearly).

Pastry lining bottom and sides of pie dish
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Remove the fried onions from the heat, place them in a bowl and let them cool slightly for a couple of minutes.

Roll out the remaining third of the pastry (if making your own pastry) to about the thickness of two 2p pieces (½cm) and wide enough to cover the top of the pie. If using ready rolled pastry cut out enough pastry to cover the top of the pie.


Mix the onions, crumbled cheese and lots of pepper together in a bowl. Spread the mixture evenly into the pie dish over the base pastry. Evenly as possible, pour over the whisked eggs.

Brush milk over one surface of the pie pastry top and place it on the pie, brushed side downwards. Pinch the edges of the pastry top and sides together then cut off the excess pastry around the edges with the blunt side of a knife. Use a fork to firm the edges slightly and give an attractive marking to the top edge.

Cheese and onion pie ready for cooking in the oven
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Cut three slits in the top of the pastry to let out any steam. Then decorate lightly by pulling the back of a knife over the top of the pastry in a criss-cross pattern. Finally, brush with some milk.

Place your cheese and onion pie in the pre-heated oven (see Preparation section above) and cook for 45 minutes until golden brown.

You may want to turn the pie in the oven after 20 minutes if your oven cooks slightly unevenly.

Let the pie cool slightly (preferably on a wire rack) for 10 minutes before serving. It keeps well for an hour in a warm oven which is good news if you are not exactly sure when you want to serve it.

Cheese and onion pie served on a plate
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1 RATINGS GIVEN - AVERAGE 4 star rating
4 star rating
12 January 2013
From: Not Given
An awesome pie, truly awesome.

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