Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

The Pittodrie Pie: The making of the north-east football match delicacy and what AFC fans think of it

When you step into Thain’s Bakery on George Street it’s the smell that hits you first.

If you’re an Aberdeen Football Club (AFC) fan then you’ll know the smell all too well if you visit Pittodrie for home games. The smell of baked goods and that delicious Pittodrie Pie.

Thousands of these pies are made for games – around 2,500 to 3,000 of the mince variety alone, with a total of 8,000 Pittodrie, steak and macaroni pies usually gracing the stadium for any one match day.

Secret recipe

The recipe is a well-guarded secret having been passed down generation to generation. And Paul, who owns Thain’s which is part of his Murdoch Allan and Sons brand, says it’s the quality of the Scottish produce they use to make the pies that makes them so good.

“We don’t add any rusk. It is just pure meat in the filling. We cook it and pour the fat off so that means there’s very little fat. There’s no heartburn or indigestion. It is a really good quality pie.

Thain’s owner Paul Allan holding some Pittodrie Pies inside his George Street bakery in Aberdeen. Image: Blair Dingwall/DC Thomson

“It is pretty much the same recipe we’ve been using for years and years. We buy our meat from Kings Foods butchery and they source the best Scotch beef.”

Making some of the pies up to a week in advance to ensure staff have enough time to prepare them all fresh, the pies are lined-up and ready to go the night before for pick up in the morning on match day.

They head north from the George Street shop to the main bakery premises in Hatton and are then driven back to the city and delivered to Pittodrie later that day. They are delivered within six hours of kick off to each gate where the catering team are on-hand to move the pies on to their final destinations.

Picking the Pittodrie Pie

Thain’s was picked to supply their mince pie as the Pittodrie Pie in summer 2016 after it was selected by a panel of Dons supporters as the top offering. This was following a key judging panel whittling it down to three pies that went head-to-head.

Paul is a lifelong Aberdeen supporter so to get the opportunity to make Pittodrie’s pie is something he had never dreamed of.

Aberdeen Football Club’s famous Pittodrie Pie. Image: Blair Dingwall/DC Thomson

“It is amazing. We have a lot of staff who are Dons fans and it gave them a real boost. We’re all super proud.”

But when it came to securing the deal, Paul wasn’t so sure he’d be able to compete with bigger bakeries who can provide goods at a lower cost, due to their facilities and capacity.

However, the artisan, handmade pie prevailed and fans who flock to the stadium can indulge in the odd one, or two, knowing they are made locally by a family-run business.

“Price was always going to be an issue and we can’t compete with the big bakeries who can sell pies for 30p,” Paul added. “But they are all handmade and we didn’t want to compromise our product as we are proud of the quality of pies we produce and the club understood that.”

Production assistant Lorraine Godfrey-Brown making Pittodrie pies. Image: Blair Dingwall/DC Thomson

Shying away from changing Thain’s name when Murdoch Allan took it over in July 2015 due to its “cult following”, the city baker has fans from across the world, including America, who are proud to see it associated with the club.

“Even if we changed the name to Murdoch Allan, it would still get called Thain’s,” Paul laughed while pointing to the sign outside his shop in Aberdeen city centre.

Employing a total of 25 in Aberdeen and 143 across the five other shops in Fraserburgh, Turriff, Peterhead, Mintlaw and Hatton where the main bakery is, Thain’s also supplies Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco in Scotland.

Paul is the third generation of bakers in his family, following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps. He left college at 16 to start Murdoch Allan and bought over the former Simmers factory in Hatton where his grandfather once worked – bringing it back into the family.

The pies shells being cut and separated. Image: Blair Dingwall/DC Thomson

Pittodrie Pie price

Following some backlash from supporters after the club put some of the kiosk food prices up for the first time in four years, the Pittodrie pie is priced at £3.50 individually, or £6.60 as a meal deal.

AFC became the first Scottish football club to trademark their half-time pie, and although there’s no plans to replace the bakery supplying them with the goods, if the supplier did change, the club own the rights to the name Pittodrie Pie.

The prices of the different pies and food available

Aberdeen FC prices for pies. Supplied by Aberdeen FC

But what do the fans make of it?

I spoke with Aberdeen fans at a game earlier in the year to find out what they thought of the famous Pittodrie Pie.

Many had brought their children with them for the game and many of them were also lifelong Aberdeen fans, so they were very familiar with it.

The general consensus was that the Pittodrie pie was their go-to out of all of the offering, and many fans told me that the updated recipe for it was “much better” than its predecessor.

However, one question that was left unanswered was which sauce, if any, did fans prefer on their pie?

With the room split, we would like our readers to have their say so we can settle the debate once and for all.

Take our poll below to let us know how you eat yours.

Pittodrie pie cakes

Like the team, the Pittodrie pie also has a fanbase of its own. The pie is so popular that local cake maker, Jenny Robertson of Cake Affair in Stoneywood, Aberdeen, also launched her own version of it – made out of fondant and sponge.

Jenny was approached by a bride five years ago to make a Pittodrie Pie cake for the groom-to-be to have alongside their wedding cake. It was such a huge hit with guests that she decided to add the alternative for die-hard fans of the half-time favourite to her offering.

She frequently gets requests to make them and each one takes hours to make, which is a lot longer than their meaty inspiration.

Inside customers will usually order a sponge cake with vanilla buttercream filling, but she has also made it with red velvet and Belgian chocolate, too.

The cake is priced at £140 and feeds around 15 people which is much steeper than the £3.50 you’ll pay at Pittodrie. Although, if you’ve got a sweet tooth then this is one way to get your Pittodrie pie fix…

Do you have fond memories of the Pittodrie Pie? Has it changed much in your time being an Aberdeen Football Club supporter?

We’d love to hear about your experiences so let us know in the comments below.


  • Journalist/words/voiceover: Julia Bryce
  • Videographer and photographer: Blair Dingwall
  • Timelapse footage: Kenny Elrick