I’m happy to have developed today’s recipe for Cheese and Onion Pie as part of my partnership with Horizon Organic. My whole family loves this classic crisp-crusted British-style Cheese and Onion Pie packed with a creamy filling of savoury onions and Cheddar cheese with a hint of British mustard.
With cooler fall weather comes a deep desire for hearty, warm foods that fill your belly. In fact, it often seems like a biological imperative to create comforting foods. Cheese and Onion pie might sound a little weird at first, but it is a classic British comfort food and mainstay of family tables and pubs across the UK.
Just think of it: creamy filling made from gently cooking onions down in butter with a tremendously generous amount of Cheddar cheese and a little egg and Coleman’s British style mustard to bind it, all lovingly tucked into a crisp pastry crust made with another hint of mustard in it.
Onions, cheese, and mustard are such good friends and they play beautifully together in this Cheese and Onion Pie.
There is no need for pastry anxiety on this beautiful pie, either, because it is a take on the dead easy hot water pastry and is almost impossible to overwork unlike most pie crusts. Hot water pastry fell out of favour for a while because of the fact that it is sturdy and crisp rather than lofty and flaky as is the fashion for pies.
The thing is, though, a flaky delicate crust just can’t stand up to being filled with super hearty savoury fillings like pot pies and cheese and onion pies.
This pie is best made in a 9- or 10-inch springform pan. If you don’t have one and don’t want to purchase one, you can make it in a parchment lined casserole dish, but will be harder to remove the pie from the pan after it cools.
Getting the finished Cheese and Onion Pie out of the pan is important to keeping the sides and bottom of the crust crisp. If you plan to eat the whole pie in one go, that is not as big a deal, but we like to have leftovers to serve for lunch or hearty snacks the day after it is made.
I like to guarantee easy removal of my cheese and onion pie from my springform pan by laying a sheet of parchment that is larger than the pan over the base of the springform pan before fitting the sides in place. When the pie has cooled a bit and I remove the sides of the pan, I can then use the parchment sling to lift the pie to a cutting board or serving platter.
Our “hot water pastry” has a little added interest by being made with hot milk instead of hot water. This gives the crust a little added flavour and depth.
Be sure to whisk together your dry mustard, salt, and flour before adding the hot milk and butter mixture. That will ensure that any clumps of dry mustard are broken up and evenly distributed.
Biting into a clump of dried mustard is just not pleasant. If you do not have dry mustard powder, you can omit it from the recipe but do not substitute liquid mustard.
Please don’t worry about overworking the pie pastry. You actually WANT to develop the gluten in the pastry dough so that the crust is crisp and almost cracker-like.
The process for rolling out the pastry is just a wee bit different than you may be accustomed to if you haven’t worked with a hot water pastry dough before. For this one, you roll it out to just slightly larger than the base of the springform pan.
Be patient while cooking your onions. The idea is to soften them and allow the natural sweetness to develop rather than brown them.
While I love Colman’s British Style mustard in these pies for the classic spicy mustard flavour it imparts, you can sub in an equal amount of smooth Dijon mustard if you can’t find the Colman’s.
I advise using at least sharp Cheddar, but preferably extra sharp Cheddar for these pies. I like an assertive cheese to stand up to the onions and mustard.
Because there are so few ingredients in this pie, you really want to focus on using quality ingredients without funky additives and preservatives like Whole Milk, Sour Cream, Eggs, from our sponsor Horizon Organic. Let’s keep the weird in our personalities and out of our ingredients.
Hey cheese lovers! Be sure to check out our Provoleta – Argentinian Grilled Cheese Appetizer!
Use these to make Cheese and Onion Pies
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Cheddar and Onion PieRate Recipe
For the Cheese and Onion Pie Filling
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, or half a stick
- 6 onions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 pounds grated Cheddar cheese
- 2 whole eggs
- 5 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 teaspoons British style prepared mustard
For the Hot Water Pastry
- 12 3/4 ounces (or 3 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 generous tablespoon dried mustard powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, or 2 sticks
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon whole milk
To Make the Filling:
- Melt the butter in a 3 quart saucepan over low heat. Toss in the thinly sliced onion, salt, and pepper to coat evenly. Cook the onions for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the water, stir well, and raise the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft but not golden, about 6 to 8 more minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature or cover and chill in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.In a mixing bowl, stir together the cooled onions, grated cheese, eggs, sour cream, and British mustard until evenly combined. Set aside the filling to make your pastry dough.
To Make and Fill Your Crust:
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a springform pan or casserole dish with parchment paper and set aside.
Be certain your filling is ready to go. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, mustard powder, and kosher salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and set aside.
Place a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Gently bring the milk and butter to a simmer. Pour this hot liquid into the flour well. Use a heat-proof spatula to mix together until a shaggy dough mass forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Divide dough into two pieces. While the dough is still hot, roll each piece between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap to about the size of the base of your pan. Ease one of the rounds of dough into your prepared pan. Starting at the center of the dough press outward, gently working the dough outward and up the sides of the pan. Don’t worry if it tears a bit, you can patch it with excess dough.
Scrape the filling into the crust, level gently, and position the second crust over the filling, trimming the excess away and pinching the seams where the bottom and top crusts meet together. Brush the top crust with the egg wash and use a sharp knife to cut three vent holes. Place your tart pan or pie crust on a rimmed sheet pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until quite a deep glossy brown and the filling is bubbling up through the vent holes.
Allow to cool until just warm or room temperature before slicing. Leftovers hold well in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
did you make this recipe?
Make sure to tag @foodiewithfam on Instagram and #hashtag it #foodiewithfamily so I can check it out!
Want more savoury pies? Check these out!
- Yooper Pasties
- Savory Pot Pie
- Greek Hand Pies
- Irish Potato Pie
- Meat and Potatoes Pie
- Mini Savory Chicken Hand Pies
- Savory Hand Pies for Pi Day
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon. The opinions and text are all mine.
J greene says
To much dialogue just give the damn recipe and forget the ego
It’s nice to meet you, too, J greene. Feel free to buy my cookbooks if you’d prefer recipes without much of a lead-in. Otherwise, please avail yourself of the “jump to recipe” button if you don’t like the information included in the body of the post included with this free-of-charge recipe.
What attracted me to this recipe was the Coleman’s mustard, and it is indeed a delicious basic recipe.
What would make this recipe more usable would be to include weight and cup measurements for the onions, because onion sizes are highly variable. Also, specifying the size of the springform pan and overall preparation time would make this recipe more cook-friendly.
Janice Gougeon says
I love this recipe. It’s one that I never do anything different to. Though, I do use my small springform pans to make multiple pies and give them as gifts at Christmas.
I’m heading out for some Keens to make some up right now.
I’m so glad you love it, Janice!!!
What size springform would be best? 9 inches, 10 inches? larger?
Hi Iris! I use a 9-inch springform pan!
Holy cow- it’s in the oven right now but I know it’ll be 5 stars- I just used a bottom crust and store bought at that. I was shocked by the amt of cheese but had faith. I put double the sour cream and added bacon. I sure hope it’s done way before 70 minutes! Probably skimped on the mustard but may serve it on the side.
I’m so glad you took the time to rate the recipe and let me know how excited you are, Elizabeth! I hope you loved it as much as you expected to!
Janice Gougeon says
I’ve made this a couple times and love it – experienced cook, so I knew you meant 1.5 cups and not 4.5 cups. I also added the Keenes right to filling, where I thought it would get the most flavour.
Hi Janice- 1.5 cups not 4.5 cups of what? And also, I’m not sure what you mean by Keenes. 🙂
How has no one questioned the 1.5 pounds of grated cheese!
They have, Janice, and I’ve gently informed them that I do indeed mean one and a half pounds of cheese. 🙂 I did say it was rich and delicious.
Hoping to make this soon, is it really 1.5 lbs of cheese? That seems like a huge amount, not complaining because I love cheese, just don’t want to mess it up.
Hi Jade- Yes, you read that right! That’s 1.5 pounds of cheese!! For cheese lovers only. 🙂 Enjoy!
Emily T. says
I made this over the weekend, and it was sooooo good. The whole family loved it, and we will definitely be making it again whenbwe are on the mood for a rich, hearty treat. This was my first try with a hot water crust pastry, and it was very doable.
I’m so very glad you loved it! It is rich and hearty for sure. Thank you for taking the time to rate the recipe and let me know you loved it!
Pippa rogers says
Wow this pie is amazing there are only the two of us at home most times but my husband would not stop eating it making it tomorrow’ for when the family arrive I’m sure left overs will be going back with them
That is amazing! I’m so glad it went over a treat with you all!
Chris Jorgensen says
This is an amazing recipe! Follow it to the letter and you’ll be happy with the results. That said, allow me a few suggestions:
1. If you’re unfamiliar with baking pastry (pie shell) go ahead and just get pie dough from the market. Pie dough is very dependent on local variables, and so your chance of being successful on your first try is out of your control.
2. Onions are only one of an entire family of allium produce. Experiment combining a variety including leeks, shallots, garlic, spring onions, etc. You need a total of 2 to 3 cups of raw allium.
3. Sharp cheddar is delicious! 1 1/2 cups is a lot of cheese. Think about combining other amazing cheeses like Jarlsberg, Gruyere, parm, local farmstead. By expanding beyond only cheddar, you get a more complex flavor profile.
4. Don’t be afraid of adding some other veg like red (or yellow or orange) bell pepper for a little sweetness.
5. Herbs really lift this dish. If you’re lucky enough to have a fresh herb garden, add some PSRT (homage to Simon and Garfunkel–parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme). Also, in addition to the mustard, consider a bit of ginger.
Embrace the cook within!
Hi, I am a little confused over adding the mustard as there is no mention of mustard in the pie filling ingredients list. But for the pastry you mention both dry and prepared British mustard. Am I correct in assuming the prepared mustard is added to the pie filling? I love cheese and onion pie but failed to get the wonderful recipe from my mother, which was never written down. Excited to try this. Thank you
Hi Eve- Thank you so much for pointing that out to me that there was an issue with the recipe. I had the British mustard in the ingredients list for the pastry instead of the filling. Whoops! You were totally correct. I hope this is close to your mother’s or at least reminds you of it pleasantly! <3
I showed my husband this recipe almost two months ago, and he enthusiastically wanted me to give it a try and add it to our weekly menu. Because of the time it takes to make the pie, it kept getting shifted to the next Sunday dinner, until I was finally able to make it yesterday. For me, the hands-on time was about an hour, so I’m glad I waited to make this until I had a free afternoon.
Word of suggestion: when adding the dry mustard powder to the flour, either dust it in (with fine-meshed strainer and the back of a spoon) or sift it in. My mustard was very clumpy, and it took a good amount of effort to find and break up the clumps while whisking the flour. Strainer or sifter would have saved some time.
We impatiently let it cool after it was done cooking, and then dug into it. Wow, it was delicious. The crust was so crisp and and was the perfect compliment to the creamy filling. My husband and I both agreed that the next time I make it, I’ll add more mustard to the filling to better suit our taste.
Rebecca, would it be possible for you to give the approximate total weight of sliced onions, or a relative size of each onion? I had 6 LARGE sweet onions sliced for this, but my better judgement won out and I only used ~4 onions–if I’d used all 6, the filling would not have fit into the 9″ springform pan.
How much mustard goes into the filling?? Don’t see it on the ingredient list. I Love Coleman’s mustard. Use it for my deviled eggs.
Jane M. says
Rebecca, I have 2 questions:
1. Is the dough divided into a 2/3 (base) to 1/3 (top crust) ratio?
2. How far up the springform pan (mine is 9-inches) should the base dough be smoothed/pressed into place? Finished pie looks like it is approximately 2 inches high; so should the raw dough be about 2 1/2 inches up the pan sides before placement of the top crust?
This really looks tasty and I look forward to making it!
Beginner's Luck says
I just want to say, I’ve been procrastinating at work because browsing through your blog has become a rabbit hole for me! The recipes look incredible and I can’t wait to try them out. Your “Cook’s Notes” is essentially what I’ve been looking for for forever! They’re super helpful and your tips and tricks really help out a beginner cook like me. Thanks 🙂
Wow! Thank you so much!