Potato Peel Pie – Recipe No. 194

Traditional Guernsey Potato Peel Pie

Last month I watched a wonderful film called “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” and absolutely loved it. I loved it even more when 20 minutes into the movie a strange wartime dish called ‘Potato Peel Pie’ made an appearance, a insipid looking creation facilitating the gag reflex of all uninitiated humans who tasted it. That was enough for me to want to re-create it. Surely it couldn’t have been THAT bad?

Traditional Guernsey Potato Peel Pie was made of 3 ingredients, potatoes, beetroot and milk. With little flour or butter available to the islanders during German occupation, the potato peelings were used to create an open pie crust of sorts instead, into which mashed potato and chopped beetroot was added and then baked in the oven. I absolutely love potatoes but even I could see that without a few extras here and there and even with copious amounts of salt and pepper, this dish was going to be bland without some artistic licence!

I simply added some chopped spring onion (although leeks would have been good to use too) and some margarine to facilitate a pleasing taste. The ‘Potato Peel Pie’ was very tasty, I didn’t skimp on the salt and pepper because without these it would have indeed been very bland.

Here is the recipe for the authentic WW2 “Guernsey Potato Peel Pie” with my additions noted.

WW2 Guernsey Potato Peel Pie


  • 2 large potatoes
  • Dash of milk
  • Beetroot
  • Salt & pepper
  • (I also added spring onion and margarine)


  1. Wash your two large potatoes and peel the potatoes
  2. Par-boil the potato skins for 3-5 minutes
  3. Drain and set aside
  4. Grease a two person size pie dish
  5. Place the potato peels on the bottom and around the sides
  6. Dot in some margarine
  7. Press the peels down a little to the bottom and sides and sprinkle with salt
  8. Dice up some slices of beetroot (I used some pickled beetroot) and dot around the base
  9. Place pie dish in a pre-heated oven at 220C until the potato peels are properly cooked and the edges are browning
  10. Cut your remaining peeled potatoes into chunks and boil until cooked.
  11. Drain and set aside.
  12. Cut up onions or leeks and fry until cooked in a pan
  13. Add in the cooked potato chunks and mash adding in milk where needed and lots of salt and pepper
  14. Place the mash into the potato peel pie crust
  15. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and continue baking in the oven until the top is lightly crisped.
  16. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving

Serves 2.

PS: Check out my Art Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/CarolynHylandAnimalNatureArt


32 thoughts on “Potato Peel Pie – Recipe No. 194

    • You are welcome! It has been ages since I posted a recipe and JUST HAD to find time to re-create this. It’s so easy and simple and very economical xxxx Thanks for leaving a comment.

  1. Thank you for the new recipe! This morning my breakfast happened to be the wartime pancake recipe from your collection! (Yummy!) I’m wondering if golden or white beets might work in this Potato Peel Pie and not bleed pink into it? I usually just see purple beets in the shops but I am able to get seeds for golden and other beets.

    Sometimes with potato peels I make a “bacon.” I toss them with a little saved bacon grease and a little salt and bake them in the oven until crispy. You must eat them soon or they are no longer crispy, but there never seems to be enough, anyway.

    I can’t wait to try your new recipe!

  2. Nice to see a posting from Carolyn. Did you read the book too? it was a good one.
    I would like to try this with turnip rather than beets, a bit more flavor there. (Scottish Neeps n Taddies)!! ann lee s

    • I haven’t read the book as I didn’t know one existed until I had watched the movie and did some Googling afterwards.. 🙂 Yummm I bet turnips would be tasty ! 🙂

    • For the record a neep is old Scots for a root vegetable not just a turnip could also be swede and at a push carrots.

  3. That looks fabulous. I’d love to try it, but right now I am on a strict diet and cannot eat potatoes. But I will file this one away for a few months time!

    • It is very nice and comforting if you like potatoes. I shouldn’t have added all that margarine of course. Good luck with your strict diet right now, I should follow your example really xxxx

  4. Hi Carolyn,
    Having read the book many years ago and seeing the movie not that long ago, I love your trying your hand at “the pie”! I think its looks delicious! Thank you for the recipe.

  5. A great book, I hope the film does it justice – it looks like it does from the trailer. There is an America novel that is similar that I read recently called “I’ll Be seeing You” that has about 20 recipes throughout the novel. Also written in the same style (as letters) between 2 women, throughout WW2, sharing their worries, thoughts & recipes.

    Here is the first recipe given, for Beer Bread, which I would have called Soda Bread. Nice with any beer to ring the changes but use any carbonated drink – ginger beer is great with added dates & walnuts.

    As written in the book :
    I bottle of beer (about 300mls), 3 cups self raising flour & 1/2 cup corn syrup (golden syrup) then bake at 375F for 45 minutes.

    • I am the other way around. I hadn’t heard of it or knew it was a book until after I had seen the film. I thought it was a lovely little film, I have no idea how it compares to the book though but will read it sometime soon xxxxx

  6. Thank you for trying this recipe! I read the book and saw the film, and wanted to try a recipe. Now I shall. Best to you and yours.

    On Sun, Oct 17, 2021 at 12:43 PM The 1940’s Experiment wrote:

    > Carolyn posted: ” Traditional Guernsey Potato Peel Pie Last month I > watched a wonderful film called “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie > Society” and absolutely loved it. I loved it even more when 20 minutes into > the movie a strange wartime dish called ‘Potato P” >

  7. I loved both the book and the movie of this, which is unusual for me — usually, it’s one or the other. Both were great in this case, though! I think you’ll like the book — it’s told in an epistolary form, so it’s a little different, and there were also some excellent details that the movie didn’t catch that I think you’d like. They get into much more detail, for example, of what the islanders had to do without and how they worked around them, as well as one particular thing that Dawsey manages to do to address one of those needs. (I don’t want to give it away, but I think you’d definitely appreciate both the fact that he perceives that need and how he goes about addressing it. I really love his character.)

    I must say, if anyone could come up with a way to make the potato peel pie taste good, it’s you! I’m actually willing to give it a go, even though it’s got beets in it and beets are one of the few foods that I would have real trouble eating even given wartime shortages — if anyone wanted me to diet, all they’d have to do is lock me up somewhere with nothing but liver or beets to eat. The pounds would come off fast! LOL

    Thank you for doing this, and it truly looks lovely! I especially applaud the addition of the spring onions — definitely in line with the foraging so many did to try to add a little to their diet.

    Most of all, so lovely to see you posting! I keep recommending your site to all the history buffs I know, and they’ve loved all your recipes. Thank you (as always!) for all you do.

    • Dear Elizabeth, this is such an interesting and lovely comment. I will be adding the book to my family Christmas wish list for sure as it sounds like the book would be a wonderful read! I had a conversation about the potato peel pie with a work colleague who was born and raised in Guernsey. I think we came to the conclusion that is times were really hard under German occupation so people may not have had the luxury of large dollops of butter/margarine and spices to add to the pies so without these they would have been quite grey and boring. I only added a few slices of chopped pickled beets to try and be fairly authentic to the original pie. Look forward to reading the book xxxx

  8. Interesting recipe, personally I rarely add salt to any dish, but plenty of pepper where needed. It is surprising how soon you cease to miss salt, also you become aware of how much salt commercial products contain. The same can be said of sugar.
    I like beetroot but many don’t, roughly chopped pickled gherkins (cornichons) might be an alternative worth considering.

    • Hi David, I too have omitted salt & sugar from my diet as my partner is a diabetic who was advised by our GP to cut out the salt along with the obvious sugar. We are fond of beetroot & carrots & neither require salt or sugar added whether baked or pot boiled. Sweet potatoes (kumera in NZ) are not to my taste but could be used too, we don’t like the texture of this tuber but we do like pumpkin, especially butternut.

      I was a bit of a home baker but now seldom bake at all, but I like to pass on old recipes & still read cookery books. I have tried some of the butter substitutes in pastry, biscuits, cookies, scone & soda breads such as peanut butter, cooked mashed sieved pumpkin or carrots or raw mashed avocado or blitzed beetroot. The beetroot is good in chocolate cake recipes.

  9. Hi Outlander, I too rarely bake but I do like a chocolate cake using raw cacao powder which as you probably know contains no added sugar and has an intense flavour. .Sweet root vegetables as a substitute for butter and/or sugar, I may try that. Fruit cake does not need much if any sugar because the fruit provides most or all the the sweetness depending on how much is used.

    • Try this on sugar added chocolate cake :
      Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.
      Grease and line the base of a 20cm/8in spring form cake tin with baking parchment.
      Whisk together:
      100ml canola/rape seed oil
      3 eggs
      3 tbl milk
      Sift together:
      150g self raising flour
      2 tbl cocoa powder
      2 tsp each ground spices of choice
      1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
      100g fine semolina or polenta (maize/corn meal)
      Stir in:
      150g (total) roughly grated dark chocolate (or chips) and/or broken nuts of choice
      250g finely grated beetroot, mashed potato or mashed avocado
      Fold altogether then pour into the prepared tin and spread to the sides and level. Bake in the centre of the oven for 35 minutes, or until the cake is well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin, then when cold take the cake out of the tin and peel off the lining paper.

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