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Irish Shepherd’s Pie Recipe – A Classic St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Recipe

It is the perfect time of the year to make this Irish Shepherd’s Pie Recipe! Not only is St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, but it is also a great recipe to make on any chilly or blustery day!

There is nothing like eating a hearty comfort food meal in the middle of winter that not only warms your belly, but also your soul! And that is exactly what this meal does.

Ground meat, carrots, onions and peas cooked in a thick brown sauce that is flavored with both red wine and beer. Then the meat mixture is poured in a baking dish and topped with mashed potatoes and Parmesan cheese and cooked until golden brown.

irish shepherd's pie recipe

Irish Shepherd’s Pie Recipe


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Onion
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Dried thyme
  • Ground lamb* (see alternative substitutions)
  • Butter
  • Frozen peas
  • Flour
  • Dry red wine* (see alternative substitutions)
  • Tomato paste
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Guinness stout beer* (see alternative substitutions)
  • Mashed potatoes* (see below)
  • Egg
  • Parmesan cheese

Meat Alternatives

Although this traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie recipe calls for ground lamb, there are some options for those that don’t prefer or can’t find ground lamb at your local grocery store.

The most often substitute for the lamb is ground beef. However, you can also use ground chicken, turkey, venison or even plant based ‘meat’ crumbles. However be aware that if you continue to call it Shepherd’s Pie, you are likely to be corrected by family and friends.

When you use ground beef in this recipe, the name changes to Cottage Pie. Although I am not aware of any other assigned names for the other possible meat substitutions.

irish shepherd's pie recipe

Beer and Wine Alternatives

No true Irish Shepherd’s Pie Recipe would be complete without a little Guinness. This famous Irish stout and a little dry red wine provides the perfect flavor to the meat and vegetables mixture.

Although the alcohol burns off during the cooking process, I do understand that some people prefer not to cook with any alcohol at all.

So instead of using Guinness and wine in this recipe, simply substitute beef stock in a 1:1 ratio instead.

Fresh or Leftover Mashed Potatoes

You can use either fresh or leftover mashed potatoes as the topping in this Irish Shepherd’s Pie recipe.

However, I don’t know about you, but I rarely have a large portion of mashed potatoes left over unless it is after a huge holiday meal. Instead, I make Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes as the meat mixture is cooking.

potatoes for mashed potatoes
Making mashed potatoes in an electric pressure cooker is quick and easy!

Making mashed potatoes in an electric pressure cooker requires very little effort and takes only a few minutes to cook. The most time consuming part is the peeling of the potatoes, and that is purely a personal choice whether you want to peel them or not.

However, you can also make the potatoes a couple days ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use. Or if you have enough, it is a great use for leftovers.

Now that you have all the possible substitutions, let’s get cooking!


First pre-heat your oven and spray a 9 inch deep dish pie plate or an 11×8 casserole dish with non-stick spray and set aside. If you want to make this Irish Shepherd’s Pie in minutes, check out our Instant Pot Shepherd’s Pie Recipe.

Next, gather your ingredients and dice the onion and carrots into small pieces. Then heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil.

cooked meat mixture
Add the meat and vegetable mixture to the prepared baking dish.

Once the oil is nice and hot add carrots to the pan and sauté until slightly tender. Then add the diced onions and sauté for one additional minute.

Next add the ground meat, pepper and thyme. Cook until the meat is browned. Then drain the mixture in a fine mesh colander and return to the skillet.

Now stir in the butter, peas and flour. Then add the tomato paste, wine, Worcestershire sauce and beer and stir until the tomato paste has been incorporated into the mixture.

Simmer The Meat & Vegetables Until Thickened

Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture reduces until you have a thick meaty mixture without any liquid in the bottom of the pan.

Take a little bite, being careful not to burn your lips or tongue. Add additional seasonings as desired.

If everything tastes good, turn off the burner and add meat and vegetable mixture to the prepared baking pan. Spread the cooked mashed potatoes evenly over the top to finish off this Irish Shepherd’s Pie!

mashed potatoes
To help the mashed potatoes to turn a light golden brown, add an egg wash on top and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

*If using leftover mashed potatoes, reheat slightly to increase the ease of spreading. Once the potatoes have been added brush to tops with the beaten egg.

Baking Time

Finally sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes have turned a light golden brown on top. Then remove the pan from the oven and let the mixture sit for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Enjoy this delicious Irish Shepherd’s Pie with a side salad, and of course a Guinness beer!

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Yield: 12

Irish Shepherd's Pie Recipe

Irish Shepherd's Pie Recipe

Ground lamb (or beef) and vegetables cooked in a thick brown sauce and topped with cooked mashed potatoes and baked as a traditional Irish casserole.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 large carrots finely diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 11/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 lb. ground lamb or beef
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup beef stock low sodium, or Guinness beer
  • 5-6 cups mashed potatoes leftovers or fresh
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese for topping


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Heat large skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil. Add carrots to pan and sauté until slightly tender.
  3. Add onions and sauté for one minute and add the ground meat, pepper and thyme. Cook until the meat is browned, drain and return to pan.
  4. Stir in the butter, peas and flour. Then add tomato paste, wine, Worcestershire sauce and stock/beer. Simmer to reduce the mixture down until you have a thick meaty mixture. Add additional seasonings as desired. Remove from heat.
  5. Grease/spray with non-stick spray a 9 inch deep dish pie pan. Add meat and vegetable mixture to the pan. Spread mashed potatoes over the top. *If using leftovers, reheat slightly to increase the ease of spreading.
  6. Brush with beaten egg and dust the top with Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the potato is nice and light brown on top.


Recipe provided by Make Your Meals

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 802Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 1920mgCarbohydrates: 97gFiber: 9gSugar: 10gProtein: 24g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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