No longer will you have to look longingly at the gluten, dairy and egg-filled mince pies that your friends and family are enjoying – here is the most delicious recipe for vegan and gluten-free mince pies that everyone will want to share! Yes you shall have your cake and eat it! This gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free shortcrust pastry is short and crumbly and buttery and the vegan mincemeat filling is rich and flavourful. Once you’ve made these heavenly mince pies, you’ll never want to buy shop-bought versions ever again!
To me, Christmas is all about the mince pies! I’m not much of a baker but I’ve been making my own mince pies every Christmas since I was a teenager! I always used to make the Nigella Lawson star-topped mince pies and she is the genius that taught me to use orange juice in the pastry rather than water! When I went gluten-free 11 years ago, I learnt to adapt that recipe and now I’ve changed the recipe again to make it vegan! I’m so thrilled with the result! I think they are the best mince pies I've ever made!
This dairy-free, egg-free and gluten-free shortcrust pastry is short and crumbly and easy to work with. This is important as I don’t have much patience for tricky pastry! The vegan mincemeat filling is rich, fruity and quick and easy to make.
Once you’ve made your own mince pies, you’ll never go back to shop bought ones again. Honestly, they are world’s apart! And the best bit is that homemade mince pies really aren’t difficult to make nor are they particularly time consuming!
These much-loved sweet little pies date back to the 13th century in the England where crusaders used to return from the Middle East bringing meats preserved with spices and dried fruits. Over time, the meat has been dropped from the recipe but the animal fat, suet, is still used together with the fruits, nuts, and sugar (obviously not in this vegan recipe!).
So, mince pies have been a firm favourite at Christmas time for centuries it seems! (see this BBC webpage for a fascinating article on the history of the mince pie!)
For the gluten-free, dairy-free & egg-free pastry:
This recipe couldn't be simpler! There are just 4 ingredients in this gluten-free shortcrust pastry!
- Plain gluten-free flour – any plain mix will work. I use the Dove’s Farm free from brand. If you prefer to mix your own, I have successfully used a mixture of 40% brown rice flour, 30% oat flour and 30% tapioca flour.
- Vegan butter – I don’t often use vegan butter but I feel it works really well in this recipe. It makes the pastry really easy to work with (more so than cooled coconut oil) and it tastes so lovely and buttery. My favourite brands of butter that I used when recipe testing this pastry were Miyoko’s Creamery and Earth Balance.
- Orange juice – in place of the water in a normal shortcrust pastry recipe, the orange juice adds a touch of sweetness to the pastry and gives it a lovely citrus flavour which pairs so well with the mincemeat filling.
- Salt – a little pinch of salt enhances the flavours in the pastry. Make sure to use a fine salt. I like fine Himalayan Sea Salt.
You may notice that this gluten-free shortcrust pastry recipe is also sugar-free! This is so that you can liberally sprinkle the top with icing sugar without it getting too sweet. I just love the way it looks with the soft powdered sugar dusting the tops as it looks like snow!
For the vegan mincemeat:
Although the list of ingredients is long, there's very little prep. Most of it is just measuring and throwing into the pan!
- Fresh fruit – apple, orange and lemon – you need to grate the apple and zest and juice the orange and lemon.
- Dried fruits – you can choose whichever combination you like best. My favourites are mixed vine fruits, currants and dried apricots.
- Candied peel – again, choose whichever ones you like best. I have used candied lemon peel partly because I have not been able to get hold of candied orange peel for months in Qatar and partly because I feel there are enough orange flavours going on in the recipe.
- Oil – coconut oil is a natural fit here but if you’re worried about the saturated fat content, you could use any other flavourless plant-based oil like canola or grapeseed oil. I like to use grapeseed oil.
- Dark muscovado sugar – I love this dark sugar because it is less refined than others and has more of the naturally present nutrients in it. It also helps to give a really rich molasses flavour and colour to the mincemeat.
- Slivered almonds – these give a lovely bite to the mincemeat. Feel free to swap to whatever other nuts you prefer but make sure you cut them small so that they don’t overpower any one bite of the little mince pies.
- Marmalade – use a good quality marmalade that isn’t too sweet. I have also used grapefruit marmalade which worked well. Any good marmalade will do really!
- Spices – mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg – these give the mincemeat that wonderful smell of Christmas!
- Food Processor - you don't NEED a food processor to make this vegan pastry but it does make it much easier! If you don't have a food processor, make the pastry by hand by following the directions in my post for the Creamy Vegan Pot Pie with Tahini Pastry, where I give detailed instructions for making pastry by hand.
- Shallow Bun Tin - you need a bun tin for these little vegan mince pies, not a deep muffin tin. If you use a deep muffin tin, they will be too big and the pastry will break with the weight of all that filling. Also, I think little mince pies are much nicer than big ones! This is the bun tin that I use.
- Pastry cutters – Use a fluted cutter that is slightly bigger than the holes in your tin. So my tin has 6cm holes so I use an 8cm cutter. For the lids of the mince pies, I like to use a Christmassy shape like a star or a Christmas tree. Ideally the lids would be roughly the same length as the diameter of the holes in the tin so that the lids sit nicely on top.
Please don't be put off by the long recipe card as it's actually so simple to make these! I just wanted to put a lot of detail into the instructions to make sure they work well for you first time round!
There are a lot of ingredients in the mincemeat but you just throw it all in a pan so that's super easy. Having said that, there's no shame in buying mincemeat and using that instead so don't let it stop you using this pastry recipe to make your mince pies!
- Mix all the ingredients in a pan and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the apple is soft and all the flavours have mingled together well!
Gluten-Free and Vegan Shortcrust Pastry
- Put all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse a few times until it comes together. Then transfer to a piece of baking paper on a work surface and bring together all the little bits into a ball.
- Roll out to 3-5mm thick. Refrigerate covered in cling film for 10 minutes.
- Use a cutter to cut circles and place each circle into a bun tray.
- Then bring together the scraps and re-roll. Cut out star or christmas tree shapes to top the mince pies with.
Making the mince pies
- Place 2-3 teaspoon mincemeat into each pastry case in the bun tray, then top with the star or Christmas tree shapes.
- Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until slightly golden.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack then dust with icing sugar.
Tips For Making Perfect Gluten-Free Pastry
In many ways, gluten-free pastry is easier to deal with than regular pastry. With regular pastry, you need to be very careful not to over-handle it for fear of developing the gluten and making the pastry too tough. But here you don't need to worry about developing the gluten because there isn't any to develop! You do still need to be careful not to over-handle it though as the warmth from your hands could melt the butter which is disastrous for soft flaky pastry!
When you’re making pastry, you need to keep it cold at all times. You really don’t want the butter melting at all because it makes the pastry mixture go stodgy. Then the butter gets distributed unevenly and doesn’t have that lovely light and flaky texture once cooked. This means you need to:
- Keep the pastry ingredients cold and mix them straight from the fridge. Do not bring them up to room temperature before mixing!
- Mix the pastry ingredients together as quickly as possible until it just comes together into a ball. This is best in a food processor as it's very quick and doesn't involve warm hands!
- Don’t over-handle the pastry with your warm hands.
- Stop what you’re doing and put it in the fridge wrapped in cling film whenever it starts to get too soft. But... don't chill for too long or it will be hard to shape into the bun tray holes because it will snap rather than bend! If that happens, just press the broken bits back together with your hands and maybe leave the pastry for a few minutes to warm up a little and become more pliable again.
I find the easiest way to roll pastry is between two sheets of baking paper. There's no mess with flour dusted everywhere and the pastry rolls neatly between the paper and then easily slides off the paper to wherever you want to place it!
Mincemeat is quite heavy so your little pastry cases need to be sturdy enough to hold it. So, don’t roll the pastry out too thin or the mince pie will just break with the weight of the mincemeat when you pick it up. That said… don’t roll the pastry too thick either! You want the perfect balance of pastry and filling in every delicious bite. For a happy medium, aim for 3-5mm thickness when rolling your pastry for the perfect mince pie!
Vegan and Gluten-Free Mince Pie FAQs
Well for a start, it’s quite hard to find vegan AND gluten-free mince pies! (It’s easy to find gluten free OR vegan but not both together). But, more importantly, the taste of homemade mince pies is splendiferous in comparison to shop-bought mince pies! They’re also really not very difficult to make and you feel all Christmassy when you’re making them, and these homemade mince pies have far less sugar than shop-bought ones as well as less preservatives and additives. So, you see, there are SO MANY reasons to make your own!
Now normally you can keep mincemeat in sterilized jars for ages (literally years!) without it spoiling. However, this version contains less sugar and doesn’t have any alcohol to preserve it so I wouldn’t risk keeping it in a jar out of the fridge.
It should keep happily in the fridge for a few weeks (much like low sugar jam). You can of course keep it in the freezer too. In fact, the first batches of mince pies that I made this year were with last year’s mincemeat from the freezer!
For the perfect mince pie, you need the right ratio of pastry to filling in each mouthful. The filling needs to come up to just below the top of the pastry case so that when the lid goes on top, it sits nicely without dipping in the middle.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a tipple but I choose to make my mincemeat alcohol-free for a few reasons. First, it allows me to offer them around to everyone without worrying about who I might offend (especially living in the Middle East). Second, I don’t really like the heavy alcohol flavour and prefer the lighter fruity flavour without the alcohol, as do the kids. Feel free to include 1 tablespoon brandy in your mincemeat mixture if you want to (just add it in the pan with everything else).
In the UK, we tend to think of mince pies as a teatime treat with a cup of tea or to serve at Christmas parties. Carol singing just wouldn't be the same without mulled wine and mince pies!
These vegan mince pies can be served hot or cold, either on their own or with vegan cream. You could even serve them as a dessert with ice cream! To warm them up, just put them in the oven for a few minutes at 180°C/350°F.
The vegan mincemeat recipe is very adaptable. Swap to fruits that you prefer or reduce the sugar even further if you like. Just experiment and see what you like best!
Changing the Quantity
This recipe is for quite a small batch (9-12 small mince pies, depending on the thickness of your pastry). I like making things in small batches so that nothing goes to waste and it just seems quicker and easier to make small batches. However, if you want to make lots for a party or something, by all means, double, triple, quadruple the recipe! Whatever you like, it's perfectly adaptable!
These mince pies are best eaten on the day of baking but they will keep for 3 days in an airtight container. If you want to make the pastry in advance, you can wrap it in cling film or a reusable plastic bag and keep it in the freezer
- Any leftover mincemeat can either be stored in the freezer for next year or use it up in a big mincemeat tart for a decadent dessert.
- Leftover pastry can be made into cute little biscuits. Just roll the dregs out again and cut out shapes and sprinkle with a little dark muscovado sugar then bake for 10 minutes until golden.
See here for a full Gluten-Free & Vegan Christmas Dinner Menu.
📖 Recipe 📖
Homemade Vegan and Gluten-Free Mince Pies
- Food processor (or you can make the pastry by hand)
- Shallow bun tray (6cm diameter holes)
- Rolling Pin & Pastry cutters
Gluten-Free Vegan Pastry
- 225 g plain gluten-free flour
- 110 g vegan butter
- 35 ml orange juice (juice of 1 orange)
- a pinch of salt
Vegan Mincemeat (or 200g shop-bought mincemeat)
- 1 apple grated
- 55 g mixed vine fruit
- 55 g dried apricots chopped into small cubes
- 55 g currants
- 55 g candied peel finely chopped
- 55 g dark muscovado sugar
- 55 g flavourless oil (canola, grapeseed or coconut oil)
- 1 orange zest and juice (90ml of orange juice)
- ½ lemon zest and juice (25ml of lemon juice)
- 15 g slivered almonds (flaked)
- 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- a pinch of salt
To make the mincemeat:
- Place all the mincemeat ingredients into a pan, stir together and bring to the boil. Then, once it is boiling, immediately turn down the heat to low and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes until the apple has softened, the sugar has melted and caramelised and the flavours have all mingled together well. Then pour into a dish and leave to cool fully before using to fill the mince pies. (If you use it while it still warm, it will melt the pastry before it cooks!).(Thermomix: 3 mins. / 120°C, scrape down the sides, then 12 mins. / 95°C)1 apple, 55 g mixed vine fruit, 55 g dried apricots, 55 g currants, 55 g candied peel, 55 g dark muscovado sugar, 55 g flavourless oil, 1 orange, ½ lemon, 15 g slivered almonds (flaked), 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice, ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg, a pinch of salt
To make the pastry:
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
- Put the flour, vegan butter, salt and ¾ of the orange juice into a food processor and whizz briefly until it comes together. If it seems a little dry and crumbly, slowly add more of the orange juice while whizzing until the mixture comes together. (It is better for it to be too wet than too dry, as dry pastry dough is very difficult to handle and will be too crumbly to eat as well!)(Thermomix: 20 secs. / sp. 4, scrape down the sides, then 10 secs. / sp. 4)225 g plain gluten-free flour, 110 g vegan butter, 35 ml orange juice (juice of 1 orange), a pinch of salt
- Empty the contents of the food processor onto a sheet of baking paper (the size of your baking sheet) on a work surface. Bring the dough together with your hands, working as quickly as possible so that the butter doesn’t melt. Spread a little flour on the rolling pin and roll out the pastry (still on the baking paper) to 3-5mm thickness. If the pastry sticks to the rolling pin, just put another layer of baking paper on top and roll that instead.
- If your pastry is getting a little warm, cover it with baking paper (if it isn’t already) and pop it in the fridge on a baking sheet for up to 10 minutes (no longer or else it will get too cold and won’t mould to the bun tray as easily).
To make the mince pies:
- Cut out fluted circles that are just larger than the holes in your bun tray. (I use an 8cm cutter for 6cm holes). Carefully lift the circles off the baking paper with a palette knife or spatula and place delicately in the bun tray. - If the pastry is too cold, it will break when you try to bend it but if that happens just press it together again with your fingers. - You may need to re-roll the pastry to cut out more circles (this recipe makes 9-12 of the bun tray sized mince pies with a 6cm diameter on top - the quantity depends on the thickness of the pastry).
- Add 2-3 teaspoon of vegan mincemeat into each pastry case (depending on the size of your bun tray holes, it should come to just below the top of the pastry).
- Then bring together the leftover pastry bits to a ball again and re-roll out to 3mm. This time, cut out little star or Christmas tree shapes that are just a little bit smaller than the width of the top of the bun tray holes. Again, use a palette knife or spatula to carefully lift the shapes off the baking paper and place them on top of the filling. Press each one down lightly with your fingertips.
- Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes at 200°C/400°F until slightly golden.
- Leave to sit in the bun tin for a few minutes then use a teaspoon to carefully lift each mince pie out of their holes and transfer to a wire cooling rack. Either serve warm or leave to cool. (Can be eaten warm or cold!)
- Store cold mince pies in an airtight container for up to 3 days (but they are best eaten fresh!). If you want to serve them warm, just pop them in the oven at 180°C/350°F for a few minutes.
- Rolling the pastry to 5mm thickness will give 9 mince pies that are sturdy and won't fall apart when eating. Rolling to 3mm thickness will give 12 daintier mince pies but they might be a bit more crumbly.
- You can easily make multiples of this recipe. This is for 9-12 mince pies only because I like making little and often and it seems like less of a big job that way!
- Use shop-bought mincemeat if you prefer. The pastry will take it to new dizzying heights of yumminess!
- If you want to make the pastry by hand, I have good instructions in this post for Creamy Vegan Pot Pie with Tahini Pastry.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a ⭐ star rating ⭐ on the recipe card!
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