Guinness Shepherd’s Pie

4.97 from 29 votes

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Guinness Shepherd's Pie uses the Irish beer to flavor a classic Irish ground beef casserole recipe. Perfect for St Patrick's Day!

Guinness Shepherd’s Pie is a fun twist on the classic Irish recipe! Great to make for St Patrick’s Day or as a beef casserole.

A portion of the Guinness Shepherd's Pie from the side on a white plate

Why You Will Love This Recipe

Guinness beer and ground beef are classic flavor pairings! And this ground beef dinner idea is great any time of the year.

This shepherd’s pie recipe uses this pairing for a delicious and fun variation.

The Guinness beer cooks off, so it is not alcoholic, but leaves the beer flavor in the meat.

Strong enough to taste it, but not overpowering.

Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with ground lamb.

But as the dish became popular outside of the UK, ground beef became a common substitute. Especially in the United States where beef is much more prevalent than lamb.

Technically, because it uses beef, it should be called a Guinness cottage pie. But many are not aware of the differences in these dishes.

Learn more about Shepherds Pie vs Cottage Pie.

A spoon in the Guinness Shepherd's Pie casserole dish


These are the ingredients you need for this beef shepherds pie. Full quantities and recipe details can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Ground Beef – this technically makes it a cottage pie. You could also use ground turkey or sausage if desired.
  • Yellow Onion
  • Carrots
  • Peas – I like to use frozen!
  • Tomato Paste
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Garlic
  • Cornstarch – to help thicken the sauce. You can also use flour.
  • Dried Thyme
  • Guinness Beer (or other Stout Beer)
  • Russet Potatoes – Yukon Gold potatoes are also a great choice.
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
A pile of the cottage pie on a white plate

Modifications and Substitutions

I also like to make this beef casserole veggie heaving by adding a LOT of peas and carrots to the meat mixture.

You can even add other non-traditional vegetables that you love. Pearl onions and corn would be fun additions!

Adjust the portions, or even the vegetables as you want.

Topping off the pie with our Colcannon with Bacon is a fun twist with extra flavor! Colcannon is an Irish mashed potato mixed with cabbage and in this case bacon as well!


I love to find ways too make a homemade meal faster and easier for those busy nights.

This Guinness Shepherds Pie freezes very well! So you can make a large batch and freeze some in a foil pan for a later date.

And it is also a great recipe to make in advance, without freezing, such as if you are doing a meal prep session.

Another great shortcut is using store bought mashed potatoes. And sometimes I like to lighten it up a little with a cauliflower mashed potato instead!

A spoon scooping the cottage pie out of a blue dish

Leakage from the Sauce

I get people asking me how to prevent the sauce from leaking out from under the potatoes and getting on top of the potato crust.

I have not found a fool proof way to do this.

But! If you follow the instructions below in the recipe, this has been the best method I have found to date.

I did have some leakage where the sauce started to pool up on top of the potatoes, but it disappeared when ready to serve.

I think this was a combination of it going back down the sides as well as soaking through the potatoes.

Try to make the potatoes just ever so slightly mound up in the center of the dish and slope down toward the edges and corners, which should also hopefully prevent some pooling if the sauce does get up on top.


What is a substitute for stout beer in shepherd’s pie?

You can replace the stout beer with beef broth or stock. If you want to still use beer, a brown ale would work great.

What is Irish shepherd’s pie made of?

Shepherd’s Pie is made with a ground meet, vegetables such as peas and carrots, and herbs in a light sauce. It is baked in a dish, topped with a layer of mashed potatoes.

What country invented shepherds pie?

Shepherd’s Pie comes from the British islands and is named after the people that tended to sheep and animals.

A portion of Guinness Shepherds Pie on a small round white plate
Pin image for Guinness Shepherd's Pie with a portion on a white plate and title at bottom

More St Patrick’s Day Recipes

Guinness Shepherd’s Pie

Guinness Shepherd's Pie uses the Irish beer to flavor a classic Irish ground beef casserole recipe. Perfect for St Patrick's Day!
4.97 from 29 votes
Print Pin Rate Save Recipe
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: Beef, Holiday
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 543kcal


Mashed Potatoes

  • 1 pound russet potatoes peeled and cut into 1.5 inch pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt
  • black pepper


  • Prepare your potatoes. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Cook in boiling water until tender, approximately 20-25 minutes.
    1 pound russet potatoes
  • Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Mash with the butter and milk, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside when done.
    3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/2 cup milk, salt, black pepper
  • While the potatoes are cooking, start your filling. Brown the ground beef in a medium to large pot over medium heat until cooked through.
    1 pound ground beef
  • Add the carrots and onion, and cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes.
    1 cup yellow onion, 1 carrot
  • Add the tomato paste, garlic, thyme, cornstarch (or flour), and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook for one minute.
    1/2 Tablespoon tomato paste, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch, salt, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Add the Guinness and Worcestershire to the meat, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
    1 1/4 cups Guinness beer, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10-15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Stir the peas into the beef mixture. Pour the beef mixture into a small baking dish (approximately 8×8 inches).
    3/4 cup frozen peas
  • Spread the potatoes across the top of the meat in the dish, edge to edge, completely sealing the meat in to trap the moisture and juices.
  • Bake until the top is starting to brown, approximately 20 minutes. Serve warm.


If you are trying to prevent sauce from pooling on top, make an ever so subtle mound in the center of the dish with the potatoes and have the potatoes very slightly slope downward toward the edges and corners. This should help encourage the sauce to go back in the bottom instead of sitting on top.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 543kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 1003mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 3029IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 4mg
By on February 3rd, 2021

About Kim

Kim has grown up with a passion for cooking good food! You can find her in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes, making dog treats, and eating Italian food!

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12 thoughts on “Guinness Shepherd’s Pie”

  1. This not a shepherd’s pie. Shepherd’s pie is made with mutton or lamb. There is a clue in the name.

    What you made wih beef is a cottage pie.

  2. 5 stars
    Wow! This Guinness shepherd’s pie looks incredibly delicious and yummy! This pie is so stuffed and enriched with amazing taste and flavor! An instant favorite! Loved it!

  3. 4 stars
    Made it tonight but left out the thyme as it isn’t in the instructions, only the ingredients list, so I missed it . Looking forward to seeing how this tastes!

  4. 5 stars
    This Guinness Shepherd’s Pie recipe has quickly become a family favorite in our household! The rich, savory flavors from the Guinness-infused meat filling combined with the creamy mashed potato topping make for a truly comforting and satisfying meal.


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