Bacon and onion roly poly (serves 4)

My mum and dad were talking about school dinners they used to eat when they were little. Not a promising start to finding inspiration for new recipes, you might think. But this is one they both said they used to love but don’t see or hear about any more. So I thought I’d give it a go.

I looked up recipes for various suet puddings in my mum’s old cookbooks. There were plenty of fruit-based ones but not many savoury and they all tended to be steamed puddings that needed hours and hours of cooking time.

Good old Google provided me with a recipe. I used this for the quantities but changed the method to avoid it being soggy. Nobody wants flobby soggy bacon, do they?!


220g self-raising flour
120g suet
Pinch of salt
210ml cold water
1 onion, finely chopped
6 rashers of bacon, snipped up into little bits
2-3tbs sweet onion chutney (optional)



Fry off the bacon and onion together. Sometimes bacon can give off a lot of water so you want to get rid of most of that liquid before putting it into the pastry.


Meanwhile sift the flour and salt into a bowl, mix in the suet with a fork. Gradually add the water until it only just comes together into a soft dough that isn’t sticky.


Roll out the dough onto a well-dusted surface. Make sure you flour the top of the dough and the rolling pin to avoid it sticking. You need a rough rectangle shape. Easier said than done but it’s not the end of the world if it’s a bit wonky.


Now I spread the pastry with some caramelised onion chutney. As you know, I use this A LOT. It’s totally optional but make sure you leave a gap all around the edge. Some tomato puree or passata might be a good alternative. Or just leave it out altogether. Next spread the bacon mixture out on top, again leaving a gap around the edge of the pastry.


I used a pastry brush to dampen the edge of the pastry with a little water. This will help it to stick together and keep its shape.

Now the tricky bit. Carefully lift the edge of the pastry up and start rolling. The filling will squidge out a bit when you get towards the outer edge. Just stuff it back in and the moistened edge will seal it closed. Gently pick the whole thing up and place it on an oiled baking tray. Make sure the seam is on the bottom to stop it pinging open when it cooks.


At this point I clingfilmed it until later so you could prepare this ahead of time if you want it ready to chuck in the oven when you get home. Bake it at 200 degrees for 25 minutes or until it’s all golden on top.


My dad tells me it was traditionally served with a white onion gravy. I served mine with mash and regular gravy but it’s entirely up to you.


I think some sliced mushrooms would be good added to the bacon mixture. There are a lot of possibilities for different fillings. What would you put in yours?


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56 thoughts on “Bacon and onion roly poly (serves 4)

  1. tiasmum12 February 28, 2014 at 17:10 Reply

    I’ve never heard of this, but man do I now want it so bad! I do have suet in too…. I’ll let you know if I make it. Stupid slimming world! X

    • The Pie Patch February 28, 2014 at 20:53 Reply

      As you know, I detest all forms of diet club. So I am duty bound to say MAKE THE ROLY POLY, WOMAN!

      • tiasmum12 February 28, 2014 at 20:53

        Haha! I plan too x

    • Jane Abbott October 10, 2017 at 19:57 Reply

      I’ve just made this tonight – I’ve been wanting to do it for years as it was a childhood favourite. I used corned beef and onions though!! It was absolutely scrummy!!! A word of warning – it doesn’t ‘keep’ well so best to eat it all up and don’t save any for left-overs!

  2. tiasmum12 March 12, 2014 at 21:04 Reply

    I made this dish tonight, I followed the recipe fully apart from the atora. I used the vegetarian version instead as that what’s I had. It was amazing!! My husband was really joubious, even went as far to say as “I’m off to the chip shop if it’s horrible” He’s only had it boiled, and couldn’t picture a baked dumpling (his words again!) being tasty. I’m so glad to have proved him wrong, he cleared his plate and asked for more. A fab twist on an old classic.

    • The Pie Patch March 12, 2014 at 21:14 Reply

      Ha! I do love to prove a husband wrong, although it’s usually my own! Thanks for taking the time to comment. So glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Custard (@VanillaAndSpice) October 2, 2014 at 14:11 Reply

    Sorry i’ve just made it and the outside of the pastry is chewy and looks just like your photo and i timed it…the inside was nice because it was soft..but it all needs steaming for me 😦 It would be gorgeous as a steamed roly poly..

    • The Pie Patch October 2, 2014 at 14:22 Reply

      Ah, sorry it didn’t turn out how you expected. It’s meant to be crunchy on the outside but not chewy or hard. But I must admit I quite like the contrasting textures. Maybe stick with steaming if that’s more your thing. 🙂

      • Chris December 29, 2016 at 15:36

        Hi, I normally cover the suet pastry with raw bacon rashers and sprinkle sage and onion stuffing mix and roll up , and then slow cook for one and half hours , wrapped in foil , uncover for last ten minutes

  4. […] bacon and onion roly poly, roasted new potatoes and stuffed […]

  5. cricketwidow November 4, 2014 at 17:15 Reply

    Have lost my old well known recipe book with this recipe in it. So many thanks for this website as I will make this for our meal tonight…Itts fab either hot or cold!

  6. pambracewell November 7, 2014 at 12:00 Reply

    Another to add to my book, already drooling, and anything with suet is firmly up in hubbys favourites list.

  7. ladywg December 12, 2014 at 00:32 Reply

    This was a favourite of mine when I was little (with creamy mash and Brussels). It’s making me feel hungry just thinking about it! For year’s I’ve tried to persuade Mum to make it again
    but without luck … maybe I’ll surprise her instead

    • The Pie Patch December 12, 2014 at 08:12 Reply

      Oh, yes. Do it! It’ll be a lovely surprise for her.

  8. Tenorissimo January 15, 2015 at 17:21 Reply

    This is not quite right but great to have a fellow fan of this delectable treat. For the best results you need to mince the SMOKED bacon with the onion in an old fashioned kitchen mincer, – no need to pre cook this mixture at at all. On its annual outing in our house it comes with a cheese sauce to moisten it and something cabbagy but you also must have carrots with it – its the law. This is as fantastic as char siu buns or crispy duck pancakes- just a perfect taste combo – but dig out that old mincer first. the other thing to say is that you only need a small amount of bacon – which HAS to be smoked – a couple of rashers and medium sized onion and you have a supper fit for a king for next to no cost. Sadly I have laready enjoyed this yera’s one so roll on 2016……

    • The Pie Patch January 15, 2015 at 17:34 Reply

      I’m afraid I have to disagree. The original version of this recipe came from my mum’s 1960s cookbook & is perfectly correct for me & my family. The brilliant thing about cooking is that we all have our own creative flair to adapt & tweak recipes however we see fit. There are very few rules in my style of cooking. It would be very dull if we all cooked everything in the same way. This is my personal take on a traditional meal & I like it just the way it is. But thank you for taking the time to read & comment.

  9. Julie Durrant February 16, 2015 at 20:51 Reply

    I cooked this yesterday and got to say was a winner.. we all really enjoyed this will def. be cooking this again and will be def. trying out more of your recipes as they all look fab.. thanks again for the inspiration….

    • The Pie Patch February 16, 2015 at 21:25 Reply

      Aw, that’s great feedback. Glaf to hear you all enjoyed it. Thank you!

  10. Tricis March 4, 2015 at 14:26 Reply

    Made this ‘oldie’ loads of times but never thought of adding cutney/pickle or the like, great tip, giving it a go tonight 😋

    • The Pie Patch March 4, 2015 at 14:29 Reply

      Good luck! Let me know how it turns out. 😊

      • Tricia March 5, 2015 at 11:07

        Tricia here (not Tricis, dodgy typing yesterday!)
        Yum, that’s the simple verdict 😋. Made three individual ones and had made enough pastry to add spoonful of sugar to spare and use up last of christmas mincemeat (doesn’t brandy make a great preservative 😉) to make couple of mincemeat roly polys! You’ve got me thinking about other varieties using things like cooked chicken, sweetcorn & pesto maybe…. By the way, I use the Veg suet as have two veggie step daughters, & it works just as well.
        I love making pies of all kinds, egg & bacon and corned beef and potato being particular favs 😊. Keep up the good work! 🍴

      • The Pie Patch March 5, 2015 at 11:24

        Thanks so much for letting me know! Little individual ones sounds great. I might try that next time. I like the idea of different fillings too. Glad you enjoyed anyway!

  11. Kay Lin May 21, 2015 at 09:29 Reply

    I make this with bread flour & lard pastry( no yeast) & roast in oven for about 45-50 mins,pastry is so pliable & easy to handle,absolutely delicious !

    • The Pie Patch May 21, 2015 at 09:38 Reply

      Yum! Lard makes a lovely crispy pastry. My mum uses it a lot in her cooking. Thanks for commenting!

  12. smooocher September 3, 2015 at 10:58 Reply

    I make it all the time, love it steamed or baked, better than chicken nuggetts any day

  13. Mark September 11, 2015 at 15:45 Reply

    One of my all time childhood favourites…suddenly I am 10 Years old again…. thanks for the memories.

  14. Keith_L October 11, 2015 at 12:32 Reply

    Also a childhood favourite. We always used to have it with parsley sauce. No need for spuds as there’s enough carbs in the pastry but plenty of veg – I remember broad beans being a good match.

  15. Lulu October 20, 2015 at 18:15 Reply

    After a nostalgic moment the other day and searching for a recipe I stumbled across your blog… I’ve just tried this and it was as good as I remember!

    So thank you, and I’m off to check out the other recipes you have, I am also a fan on no faff cooking! :o)

    • The Pie Patch October 20, 2015 at 18:17 Reply

      I love recipes that trigger happy memories, especially if they are non-faff! Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for your kind words. 🙂

  16. jackie martin November 21, 2015 at 14:01 Reply

    I haven’t made it in years,,,couldn’t remember quite how to make it,,,but this easy simple method of baking it in the oven sounds good to me,,,i,’me making it tonight,,,will check back to let you know how it goes,,,,

  17. Donna Leaver December 5, 2015 at 22:38 Reply

    If you want to cook it in 700w microwave how many minutes will it take to cook a bacon and mushroom roly poly pudding. Grateful if you could help thank you.

  18. Jean Margetts December 7, 2015 at 14:55 Reply

    Good afternoon, making this for my neighbor, who’s mum used to make it for him, never done it before, but the smell of the cooking, gorgeous, keeping fingers crossed

  19. Wayne December 16, 2015 at 12:25 Reply

    Enjoyed the prep very easy and tasted great,
    I added leek and chestnuts and black pudding
    Must try Guys!
    Merry Xmas All

    • The Pie Patch January 13, 2016 at 17:40 Reply

      Oooh, I have some vac-packed chestnuts in the cupboard! Might try that myself. Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  20. peter January 11, 2016 at 22:58 Reply

    I have made several savory rolly pollys. Up until now I have always used the steaming method. Wrapping the finished item in oiled baking paper and then foil. Leaving room for expansion. The most popular was a tin of good quality mushy peas ( the cheap ones have too much liquid).Another good one is Minced beef and onion fried and then a stock pot added and enough thickener to hold the mix firmly (you do not want it too wet, or it will soften the pastry and ooze). The last one was chicken cut up small and sealed in a frying pan with leeks and a stockpot. Then thickened, cooled and put into the pastry. Steaming takes about 2 hours with the parcel on a shelf over a baking tray full of water. So far all good.

    • Sarah-Lee February 6, 2016 at 17:49 Reply

      Would this steaming method work using a ‘mermaid pudding sleeve pan’, I have just bought one but it didn’t come with instructions. Roasting pan 3/4 full of boiling water directly under the shelf the pan sits on – is that correct? At what temperature? All advice welcome, will try various ways but have no clue about any of them. Steaming is my preference – my father has sent me the task of recreating something he fondly recalls loving. Practise is required before his invite! 🙂

  21. Andy January 22, 2016 at 17:16 Reply

    i’ve made these for the last 20 yrs but i’ve never tried baking it but something that i love more than it being steamed is the following day frying slices in a little butter and oil which tastes and looks georgeous

  22. Marge April 8, 2016 at 19:04 Reply

    Fill the pastry with a good plum jam brush beaten egg over the top and sprinkle a little sugar on then make a nice custard to go with it yumyum

    • The Pie Patch April 8, 2016 at 19:14 Reply

      Jam roly poly is amazing! I could eat it all day long.

  23. Nigel jones April 30, 2016 at 21:29 Reply

    O my God. Followed the whole recipe. But added lamb liver. O my God. Delishous.

    Thank u.

  24. Leapylee May 25, 2016 at 11:04 Reply

    My mum made this but not 4 a while now. I never saw how she done this as i luv it. She died in jan this year and un caring for my dad so i plan to make this 4 us soon. So wish me luck and any tips pls. I think i will add mushrooms as u said any herbs?

  25. Keith Black July 28, 2016 at 21:41 Reply

    I made this tonight clear plates all round, lovely meal. Thanks for info

  26. Fiona Sands September 13, 2016 at 12:37 Reply

    I last ate this well over 50 years ago… but can still remember the taste.. yum yum.. and guess what we’re having for dinner tonight 🙂 thank you so much for the recipe and most importantly for the pics.. excellent

  27. Veronica Hulbert September 28, 2016 at 18:21 Reply

    Absolutely brilliant!
    I used this recipe & made a vegetarian bacon poly poly using vegetarian bacon, apple & onion! Husband loved it!

  28. lepres October 11, 2016 at 18:22 Reply

    I already had mine made when I found your blog. Mine is slightly different, I make the suet mixture the same, but don’t cut or fry off the bacon. I roll out to just over the width of a rasher, then lay the bacon rashers the whole length, then roll it up. Now for another way of cooking…mine when rolled up is then wrapped in parchment paper, then wrapped/rolled in a cloth and pinned closed with an old fashioned (unused) nappy pin. It is then paced in a very large 2 handled saucepan with half cold and half boiling water and cooked for about 1 hour 10 minutes – 12 oz Self raising flour & 6 oz Atora beef suet. Mine comes out soft all over, (a bit like a suet meat pudding).

    It’s great to see all the different varieties – Probably from our mums from All different parts of the country.

    Mines on now cooking….can’t wait.

  29. […] 9. Winter warmers. Ok, that bikini body wont be seen for a few more months yet. Just as well, with those suet puddings we call winter warmers in our house. Here’s a recipe for my favourite. Umm mm. […]

  30. Val March 30, 2017 at 10:37 Reply

    Wow, absolutely perfect, only ever steamed it before which is a nuisance if you forget to do it in time but this was fantastic thank you

  31. Rosie Butt May 2, 2017 at 19:11 Reply

    I’m one of seven children and bacon and onion R P was always steamed , served with sprouts cauliflower lashings of mashed potatoes and thick onion white sauce……I cooked this for years as my own children grew up with a bit of tweaking, I add to the flour mix a whole packet of sage and onion stuffing I knead it into the pastry ingredients taking out the flour weight before adding the stuffing mix……I cook the R P in a huge saucepan add mashed pots, sprouts, cauliflower and thick onion white sauce…’s amazing the following day with fried veg left overs along with the R P fried off both sides till golden brown however there is never any onion sauce left over so I make a lovely old fashioned gravy with beef fat and roasting dish left overs from the freezer……I’m now chomping at the bit for a Bacon and onion R P x Rosie Butt.x

  32. Barb Wrighting May 14, 2017 at 09:36 Reply

    smoked bacon & lots of parsley, serviced with new potatoes, veg & a thin parsley sauce..delicious
    My mum used to make it then steam it for about 5 hours along with a jam roll, i couldn’t bear it steamed by baked in the oven it’s delicious

  33. John Everett November 12, 2017 at 20:41 Reply

    My dear mum used to make this but used corned beef. It was a staple on Mondays after the Sunday roast so there was always some delicious gravy left over to make the pudding even better tasting. She used to steam hers but I prefer the baking method as it delivers a good crunchy surface.

  34. Lin December 11, 2017 at 10:38 Reply

    This took me back to my childhood … my mum used to make this with smoked bacon, onion and LIVER all thinly sliced rolled up in baking paper then sealed in foil and BOILED ..seved with cabbage, mash and a rich oxo gravy this was a real family favourite

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