Chinese Beef Meat Pie (牛肉馅饼)

5 from 7 votes
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Beef Meat Pie (牛肉馅饼) - A classic northern Chinese pastry. It has a moist savory filling and a crispy crust. It’s a large version of the potsticker and tastes even better! |

The Chinese meat pie is a classic northern pastry. It has a moist savory filling and a crispy crust. It’s a large version of the potsticker and tastes even better!

The Chinese meat pie (馅饼, Xian Bing) is a very popular and tasty comfort food in the northern part of China. The idea is similar to that of the potsticker, but with a much bigger size. It has a crispy crust and a juicy filling. The cooking method is similar to that used for potstickers, too – using a soft piece of dough to wrap raw filling and grilling it in a frying pan.

While Xian Bing is a cheap street food, you can easily find it in restaurants, too. It’s typically listed with the staple foods, which include dumplings and rice. You can also find them at most supermarkets and vegetable markets, packed in plastic bags of half-a-dozen at a really cheap price.

The crucial part of making a tasty meat pie is the dough. Unlike potstickers and dumplings, it uses a layered oily dough to create a super crispy surface.

Beef Meat Pie (牛肉馅饼) - A classic northern Chinese pastry. It has a moist savory filling and a crispy crust. It’s a large version of the potsticker and tastes even better! |

Beef Meat Pie (牛肉馅饼) - A classic northern Chinese pastry. It has a moist savory filling and a crispy crust. It’s a large version of the potsticker and tastes even better! |

I was quite surprised that although lots of foreign friends in Beijing love dumplings and potstickers, they rarely eat Xian Bing. To a Chinese northerner, Xian Bing is as popular as dumplings, and much more popular than potstickers. I like Xian Bing most of all, because it has a layered crispy surface, like pastry dough, with a meaty filling that is more substantial than in potstickers.

The recipe might look a bit daunting, but trust me, it is actually very easy and straightforward once you try it out. I personally like to serve meat pies instead of potsticker. They are larger in size, which means you will roll less dough and wrap fewer times than you would making potstickers.

There are several ways to fold a meat pie. The recipe below uses the simplest, no-fail way, which will result in a pie with a thin, crispy crust and lots of filling. The wrapping process is like making a quesadilla, but you take it one step further and press the edges of the dough together to seal the pie.

There are many choices of filling too, from all-meat to all-vegetarian. Today I will introduce my favorite, one with ground beef and mixed vegetables. If you like Chinese dumplings or potstickers, I recommend you try making Xian Bing once. You will definitely love it!

Beef Meat Pie (牛肉馅饼) - A classic northern Chinese pastry. It has a moist savory filling and a crispy crust. It’s a large version of the potsticker and tastes even better! |

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Chinese Beef Meat Pie

5 from 7 votes
The Chinese meat pie is a classic northern pastry. It has a moist savory filling and a crispy crust. It’s a large version of the potsticker and tastes even better!
Author: Omnivore's Cookbook
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 10 pies



  • 500 grams (17 ounces) all-purpose flour plus extra to coat hands see how to convert to cups
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil plus extra for cooking


  • 350 grams (12 ounces) ground raw beef (lean fat ratio 8:2)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger , minced
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or Japanese sake)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan peppercorn (or black pepper)
  • 1 (400 grams / 14 oz.) onion , finely chopped
  • 1 (120 grams / 4 oz.) carrot , minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil


To make the dough

  • (Option 1) Using a mixer: Add flour and turn on at low speed. Gradually add water. Let mix until the surface of the dough becomes smooth, about 8 minutes.
  • (Option 2) Kneading the dough by hand: Add flour to a large bowl. Gradually add water and whisk flour with a spatula until water is fully blended. Dust both hands with dry flour and knead the dough. If there is dry flour in the bowl that is difficult to blend into the dough, add a bit more water to the dry flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead until there is no dry flour left. The dough should feel springy and you should be able to easily pick it up without it sticking to the bottom of the bowl. Dust a working surface with dry flour and transfer the dough onto it. Knead until the surface of the dough turns smooth.
  • Wrap and seal the dough with plastic wrap. Let for 30 minutes up to 3 hours.

To make the filling

  • Prepare the filling while resting the dough. Combine ground beef, minced ginger, Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and ground Sichuan peppercorn (or black pepper) in a big bowl. Mix well until the liquid ingredients are fully absorbed.
  • Prepare and cut vegetables, but do not add them to the ground beef yet.
  • Right before assembling the pies, add the onion, carrot, salt and sugar to the beef filling. Mix well. Add sesame oil and mix again. (*footnote 1)

To assemble the pies

  • Add oil to a small bowl and prepare a small brush. Dust both hands and a large cutting board with dry flour. Transfer the dough to the cutting board and knead for a few times. The dough should be a bit softer, springy, and smooth.
  • Divide the dough into two equal pieces and put one piece back in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Roll the other half into a ball. Press it into a flat circle. Use a rolling pin to roll it into a thin round disc, about 4 millimeters (1/8 inch) thick.
  • Brush a thin layer of oil on top. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over it and brush it again until evenly spread. Roll the round sheet into a long stick. Cut the stick into 6 equal pieces.
  • Work on the meat pies one at a time. Cover the rest of the dough with plastic wrap.
  • Pinch the two ends of each piece to seal the oil inside. Press the dough (the sealed ends are on the left and right) and gently roll it into a thin round disc. This step is help to create a layered crust.
  • Scoop 2 to 3 tablespoons of beef filling and place it on one side of the dough pancake, in a half-moon shape, as if making a quesadilla.
  • Fold the empty half over and press the edges together by hand. Turn the edge upward and press it again to further seal the pie.
  • Set pie aside and work on the rest of the dough in the same manner.
  • Cover the meat pies with plastic wrap while working on the rest of the pies, to prevent the dough from drying out.

To cook the pies

  • Heat a large nonstick skillet with 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until warm. Transfer meat pies to the skillet without overlapping. Brush the top side with oil. Cover skillet and cook over low heat until the bottom side turns golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook the other side. Cover and cook until the bottom side turns golden brown, 3 minute. Transfer the meat pies to a plate. Cook the remainder of the meat pies the same way.
  • Serve warm with Chinese black vinegar. If the meat pie is not salty enough, blend 1 teaspoon light soy sauce with 1 tablespoon black vinegar as a dipping sauce.

To store the meat pie

  • Place meat pie in an airtight container. Store in the fridge up to 3 days or in the freezer for 1 month.
  • To reheat the meat pie. Heat oil in a skillet until warm. Add meat pies. When the skillet is hot, add 2 to 3 tablespoons water and cover immediately. Flip once during the cooking. Cook until both sides are crispy and the inside is hot.


  1. Do not mix the filling too soon before the dough is ready. It will make the filling watery later.


Serving: 138g, Calories: 253kcal, Carbohydrates: 35.4g, Protein: 10.3g, Fat: 7.7g, Saturated Fat: 2.3g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 441mg, Potassium: 211mg, Fiber: 2.1g, Sugar: 2.4g, Vitamin A: 1700IU, Vitamin C: 4.1mg, Calcium: 20mg, Iron: 2.7mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don't forget the last step! Tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!

The recipe was originally published by October 1, 2013

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Ariana says:

    Great recipe, my dinner tomorrow for sure. I have just one question, maybe I missed sth in the recipe. Do you use raw gound beef in the filling or is it precooked?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Ariana, I’m glad you like the recipe! 🙂
      I used raw grounded beef in the recipe. Be sure you have the lid on and use low heat when cooking the meat pie in stove top skillet. This way, the raw fillings will be done just when the crust turns crispy. If you have some fillings leftover, just saute them directly and use as a snack. 🙂

      • Julie says:

        How much oil do you use?

      • Maggie says:

        Hi Julie, I used about 2 tablespoons oil for every 2 pies to cook at one time. It’s similar to grill fish, you just need to slightly cover the bottom of skillet to keep the dough crispy. I suggest you to use a non-sticky skillet, otherwise, you might need to pour more oil (1 to 2 tablespoons, depends on how much oil is left) after one side of the meat pie is done, to keep the other side from sticky to the skillet.

  2. nicole ( says:

    5 stars
    These look so delicious, my mouth is watering! Love the photography, beautiful light!

  3. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom says:

    oh my gawd Maggie! I love how big these Chinese beef meat pies are!!! delicious!!!!

  4. Nancy | Plus Ate Six says:

    5 stars
    These are like Chinese Cornish pasties 🙂 I love this recipe so much – my husband will be very happy – he’s Cornish 🙂

  5. Meggan | Culinary Hill says:

    Oh my gosh, I totally want to eat a dozen of these. Before I even read your text saying “it’s like a big potsticker” or whatever, I was thinking, it looks like a giant potsticker! Only better! Thank you for sharing this incredibly wonderful recipe.

  6. Robyn says:

    5 stars
    Maggie you are my hero. I had a lovely Vietnamese family as friends when I was a child. Dohnu (sp!) used to make these for me all the time. They were amazing. I have looked for a recipe, or what they were for 20 years, I found you. Thank you for giving that memory back to me so I can share it. Wonderful!!

    • Maggie says:

      You just made my day Robyn 🙂 I’m so glad to hear you like the recipe. I don’t know why these are not as popular as dumplings outside Asia. They’re super delicious, aren’t they?
      Happy cooking and let me know how the dish turns out! Have a wonderful weekend.

  7. leandra says:

    5 stars
    I just made these tonight and they turned out fabulous – even on my first try! I look forward to trying more of your recipes. 🙂

    • Maggie says:

      I’m so glad to hear the dish turns out well Leandra! Hope you have a wonderful weekends. And looking forward to hearing how the cooking goes if you tried out other recipes 🙂

  8. cis says:

    Black Vinegar?????

    • Maggie says:

      I was meant to say Chinkiang vinegar. I picked up the wording black vinegar somewhere and kept using it. Sorry about the confusion.

  9. Cathleen says:

    5 stars
    Made this last week. Rolling the dough is a bit of work but it’s all worth it. Will definitely make this again great for snacks to go or even breakfast!!! (made some, ate some, shared some and freeze some!!!

    • Maggie says:

      Sounds lovely! Yeah, it’s quite a bit work, so we only make this on the weekend. We always make a big batch, because they freeze very well. Serving the meat pies for breakfast? That is real Chinese style! 🙂

  10. Bernadine says:

    Hi Maggie,

    Please could you advise. My mum is allergic to nuts, what can I use to substitute peanut oil, besides plain vegetable oil?

    Thank you

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Bernadine, I would use sesame oil if you’re making the filling, and any plain oil for cooking these pies. I usually use grapeseed oil, but plain vegetable oil will work just as well.
      Happy cooking!

  11. Sabrina says:

    this looks absolutely delicious with a unique dough (at least to me) that is wonderfully different than anything I’ve ever cooked with before, love how this is similar to empanadas, calzones, even Englush meat pie and even a burrito in concept, but then of course much different in ingredients, etc. unique to northern China, thank you for this!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Sabrina, I believe the meat pie is quite similar to empanadas, but you’re right, the layered dough is quite different than those dishes you listed. Also, when you pan fry the meat pie, it creates a very crispy surface, which is a bit different than oven roasted crispy or fried crispy. This dish is quite a staple in northern China, so I’m surprised why it’s not very famous outside of China!

  12. Helen @ Scrummy Lane says:

    Wow – I had no idea there was such a thing as a Chinese meat pie! These very much remind me of British Cornish pasties! I’m sure these have a very different flavor, but they really do sound delicious!

    • Maggie says:

      Actually it’s quite a famous thing in China, as popular as empanadas in Mexico. It’s like a giant pot sticker, but with a different dough texture. I’m still wondering why this is not as famous as dumplings!

  13. Pamela says:

    How big do you roll out the dough for one beef pie? Centimeters or inches is fine.

    I have never heard of these here in a japan. They look wonderful.

    I love the way the flaky crust is made.

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Pamela, I remember I roll out the dough about 5 inch-ish in diameter. You want to roll them out as thin as possible, so the pie has a crispy texture. But you won’t want to roll them out too thin to crush the layers. The thickness of the dough is between 1/16 inch and 1/8 inch.
      It is a traditional northern Chinese staple that I’ve been eating growing up 🙂 My grandma could make a super thin crust that is crispy and flaky. Mine is not as perfect as hers.
      Happy cooking and I hope you enjoy these meat pies!

      • Pamela says:

        I would love to try these with mushrooms in the beef too. The idea that you use salt with the oil between the layers must make the crispy dough so flavorful. That is a fabulous idea actually!!

  14. Estella McCall says:

    I have not tried your recipe YET, but I can’t leave Shandong province without having a pork pie every year. They are excellent and I finally mastered eating them with chopsticks. Thanks for the recipe!

  15. Jenna says:

    A friend and I had something similar in a little restaurant in one of the hutongs in Beijing, but it was called a door nail. We split them apart and drizzled spiced soy sauce in the middle. They were delicious – is this the same type of dough? I would love to try to recreate those flavors. Thanks so much!

    • Maggie says:

      Yep, they use the same type of dough. The door nail meat pie is smaller in diameter and has a much thicker filling, but the idea is the same.
      Happy cooking and can’t wait to see the meat pies you cook 🙂

  16. Helen says:

    5 stars
    I made these and they are delicious. But when I reheat with your instructions of the skillet with oil and water, they turn out soggy. Is there another way to reheat?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Helen, if the meat pie turns out soggy after reheating, I suspect you added too much water. If you will try it again, cook the pies a bit longer if there is still some water in the pan after you remove the lid. Alternatively you can also heat them up in a 350F oven until it’s heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.
      I’m glad to hear you enjoy the dish 🙂

      • Helen says:

        Do you have any suggestions as to how to reheat with a stainless steel skillet? I’m trying to stay away from non-stick for health purposes.

  17. Liz Lyngaas says:

    5 stars
    I made this tonight. Had my son and my husband assisting as well! So delicious and just as you said, substantial. I am happy to have recently discovered these. Thanks!

  18. Jane Gillette says:

    Do you think I could use store bought dough as a substitute?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Jane, I’m not sure what type of dough you’re looking at purchasing. This is a layered unleavened dough that is less complicated than a pastry dough. I think a pastry dough would definitely work. If using a unleavened dough that’s not layered, you will get a result this recipe but it should still taste delicious (

  19. Rupali says:

    Hey!! These look great and I want to make them except I don’t eat beef. Can I swap it for lamb mince? Also can we freeze them uncooked? Thanks!

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      Yes, the lamb filling will work really well here! You can freeze the uncooked. You can cook them the same method (no thawing needed), but need the heat a bit lower and cooking time a bit longer to cook them through while frozen.

  20. Wyn says:

    I want to make Asian style pies or quiche to take to an informal function. I love this pie recipe. I’m wondering if you have a recipe for mini-quiches with Chinese red Sausage in them. What I’m thinking of doing is useing a muffin tin, cutting rounds of pastry & putting in the muffin holes, then adding a filling. And a pastry top. I’m wondering if you can suggest a recipe for the filling that includes chopped sausage. Most people at the BBQ will be Vietnamese. So I thought those flavours would be liked. What do you think? Could I just add some Chinese sausage to your filling? I’m in Sydney, Australia.

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