The Pasty: Official Food of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Pasty Lore & Recipes

2016 is the 20th anniversary of one of our favorite websites, Pasty Central. They’re an employee-owned company in Calumet that got its start as a funding aid for the Still Waters Assisted Living Community. They are one of 10 pasty makers vying for Best Pasty in Michigan from USA Today. Click over to cast a vote for them or your favorite pasty shop!

The Cultural Context of the Pasty (yes, the pasty is that important) tells of the history of the pasty:

The pasty came to the Upper Peninsula through Cornwall England. When tin mining started going bad in England during the 1800’s the Cornish miners immigrated to America hoping to earn there fortunes in newly developing mines … When the Cornish came to the copper mines of the Upper Peninsula, they brought with them a lot of mining knowledge which the other ethnic groups did not have. The other ethnic groups looked up to the Cornish and wanted to emulate their mining successes. Many Cornish practices were then copied by the other ethnic groups, including the pasty as the standard lunch for miners. The pasty became popular with these other ethnic groups because it was small, portable, was very filling, and could stay warm for 8-10 hours.

The recipe to the right is from Michigan Tech – they have many more  of pasty recipes – click to see them. While traditional pasties usually contain potatoes, carrots and meat, you can fill them with pretty much whatever you want. My personal favorite filling is black beans, potatoes, onions, salsa and asiago cheese.

If all this sounds like too much trouble, you can always hop over to’s Pasty Central to buy pasties online. Pasty Central is an employee-owned company in Calumet, Michigan that has shipped over 300,000 pasties. They also have great photos and links for the UP.

Welsh Pasty Recipe

Milwaukee Journal March 28, 1943


3 c. flour
1 1/2 sticks butter (cold and cut into bits)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. water

In a large bowl, combine flour, butter and salt. Blend ingredients until well combined and add water, one tablespoon at a time to form a dough. Toss mixture until it forms a ball. Kneed dough lightly against a smooth surface with heel of the hand to distribute fat evenly. Form into a ball, dust with flour, wrap in wax paper and chill for 30 minutes.


1 lb. round steak, coarsely ground
1 lb. boneless pork loin, coarsely ground
5 carrots, chopped
2 lg. onions, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 c. rutabaga, chopped (can substitute turnip)
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Divide the dough into 6 pieces, and roll one of the pieces into a 10-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Put 1 1/2 cups of filling on half of the round. Moisten the edges and fold the unfilled half over the filling to enclose it. Pinch the edges together to seal them and crimp them decoratively with a fork. Transfer pasty to lightly buttered baking sheet and cut several slits in the top. Roll out and fill the remaining dough in the same manner. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Put 1 tsp. butter through a slit in each pasty and continue baking for 30 minutes more. Remove from oven, cover with a damp tea towel, cool for 15 minutes.