Guinness Shepherd’s Pie For Two


Guinness Shepherd’s Pie is a comforting meat and potatoes dish made with stout beer. Although this version serves two people, it can easily be doubled. I know because I serve a big batch of it all the time.

Guinness Shepherd's Pie For Two

Do you have that one recipe where no matter how many times you make it, you know everybody will be happy? The one you rely on when you don’t know what else to make? That, for me, is Guinness Shepherd’s Pie. There’s just something comforting about meat, potatoes, and beer. I remember one time when my parents and brother were visiting and I was planning the menu. First I asked Mom what she wanted. Shepherd’s pie. Then I asked Dad. Shepherd’s pie. Looks like I was making shepherd’s pie (again). Even though I’ve been making this recipe for years, I’ve never actually shared it until now (mainly because I had no clue how to photograph it until this year).

Guinness Shepherd's Pie For Two

I remember when Dad and I traveled to Nashville in 2009. There was an Irish pub just up the hill from our hotel. Now I’ve been looking for an Irish beer called Bulmers ever since I returned from Ireland in 2007 and was hoping they’d serve it. For dinner Dad ordered shepherd’s pie while I ordered fish and chips. Unfortunately no Bulmers. Now when I think of shepherd’s pie, I don’t think of anything special. I don’t even think I ate it in Ireland. However, Dad fell in love with his dish and kept talking about it. Do you know how to make this? Can you make this? When are you going to make this? What do you need to make this? So, I went to my best friend The Google and searched for a recipe. The squeaky wheel gets the shepherd’s pie.

Guinness Shepherd's Pie For Two

This isn’t meant to be a copycat version or anything. In fact I couldn’t tell you anything about the pie Dad ate that night. All I know is I found this version with Guinness and have adjusted it to make it my own over the past few years. If my family had a list of top five dishes to eat for dinner, this recipe is definitely up there.

Guinness Shepherd's Pie For Two

As you can see, I scaled this version down for two people. Because I cook alone, I eat one for dinner and the other for lunch the next day. However, when my parents and brother are visiting, I double this and make one big dish. Now if you don’t have dishes exactly like mine, don’t worry! Use any two oven-proof dishes or ramekins. Or combine it all into one casserole dish or even an 8×8 pan. As long as you use an oven-proof dish, you can be flexible in the size and shape.

Yields 2

Guinness Shepherd's Pie For Two

Although this recipe is made for two, it can easily be doubled for a family of four. The cooking time and directions may seem long, but you can make the mashed potatoes while the meat mixture is cooking.

30 minPrep Time

1 hr, 20 Cook Time

1 hr, 50 Total Time

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1/2 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped (roughly 1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup tomato sauce (one 6-ounce can)
2 cups frozen vegetable medley, thawed (carrots, peas, corn, and green beans)*
1/2 cup Guinness beer
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup beef broth
3 small potatoes, peeled and chopped (roughly 2 cups)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the potatoes. Let this heat up while you cook the meat mixture.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion, and garlic until the beef is browned. Drain off the grease.
  3. Add the tomato sauce and vegetables. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add the Guinness, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. Boil until the liquid has reduced by half and thickened, roughly 10 minutes.
  5. Add the broth and bring back to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture is thick and glossy.
  6. Meanwhile while the mixture is cooking in step 5, preheat the oven to 350F. Have two mini casserole dishes ready**
  7. By now the water from step 1 should be boiling. Add the potatoes and cook for 15-20 minutes or until soft but not mushy. Drain and cool. Mash the potatoes either by hand or with a mixer. Add the butter, milk, 1/2 cup cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add more salt if needed.
  8. Once the mixture is done cooking and the potatoes are mashed, divide the meat mixture between the two dishes. Top with mashed potatoes then top with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.


I used a frozen vegetable medley to make prep easier. You can use canned or fresh vegetables. Adjust the amount of each vegetable to your liking.

*If you don't have dishes exactly like mine, don't worry! Use any two oven-proof dishes or ramekins. Or combine it all into one casserole dish or even an 8x8 pan. As long as you use an oven-proof dish, you can be flexible in the size and shape.

Source: Adapted from The Goddess’s Kitchen
If you liked this Guinness Shepherd’s Pie, you may also like these recipes:

Guinness Beef Stew

Guinness Pulled Pork

Mini Layered Guinness Cake with Irish Cream Ganache Frosting

Chocolate Guinness Mousse Cups For Two

Irish Soda Bread Muffins

Irish Soda Bread

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  1. The pictures look great and the description of the recipes sounds tasty but how tasty can it be with frozen or canned vegies. I am tired of the short way to cooking by using frozen, canned ingredients when fresh is available. A bit disappointing with this approach on quick quick meals with no thought of fresh ingredients.

    • Hi Paula, Absolutely you can use fresh vegetables! Corn and green beans aren’t in season here in March, so I opted for frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables are still nutrient-packed and are a great alternative when fresh isn’t an option. I offered the canned option because I know some people cook with them, and I want them to know that they can still make this meal.

    • Oh, this is hilarious. If things are in season, I know Carla would use them instead. I don’t know anyone who focuses more on using fruit and vegetable when they are i n s e a s o n. But it’s March. Nothing is in season atm.

    • Speaking as someone who is an avid (read: obsessed, addicted, nutso) home canner and food preservationist, I’d just like to mention that part of the reason I spend hours upon hours upon hours putting food by in jars and freezers (because yes, I have more than 2) is so I can make things like this in the middle of the looooooooooooooong winter. I’m so pleased that someone invented freezers, and furthermore that someone figured out how to freeze fruits and vegetables in such a way that I can choose them as a delicious source of nutrition and fiber rather than eating rutabagas and parsnips and potatoes with more hair growing off of them than I have all winter long. (Not that I have a problem with any of those three things… I’m just makin’ a point.)

    • Quite often frozen veg contain more nutrition than “fresh” as they are snap frozen in their prime, straight after being picked. A lot of nutrients are light and temp sensitive and the older the produce is, the fewer nutrients it contains compared to when it was fresh. Quite often the ‘fresh’ produce we buy from the supermarket isn’t so ‘fresh’, it’s weeks or even months old having been kept in a cool room. Sometimes frozen is just the better, or only, choice.

  2. What beautiful shepherd’s pies, Carla! I must admit that I often use frozen vegetables in making my version because they are flash frozen at their peak and are actual healthier in many ways than the old, flown-in-from-who-knows-where stuff the grocery store carries out of season.

    • Yes I try to avoid grocery store produce during off season. Tomatoes is the perfect example. Once you taste one fresh from the garden, you’ll never buy from the store again. Oh and fresh sweet corn? Never again from the store. Farms only.

  3. I ♥ Shepherd’s Pie. These look so good!

  4. I just made Shepherd’s Pie this week, myself. I used fresh carrots, but all the other veggies were frozen (I used a high-quality, organic brand of frozen veggies), and it turned out great. If ONLY corn were in season here in Michigan in March! I would love it. Carla, this recipe looks absolutely great. I love these “recipes for 2” because I struggle with that often.

  5. Fantastic version of shepherd’s pie! I’ve been looking into it a lot lately because my husband asks for it all the time. I even have 2 bags of vegetable medley in my freezer right now just waiting for the perfect recipe. (Thank goodness, because nothing’s coming out of the ground right now with all the snow on it still!) Thank you for sharing this special dish with us!

  6. I’ve never made Shepard’s pie beofre. I always resort to corned beef and cabbage every year and as a result have 4 different kinds on my blog haha. I really need to change it up!

    • Ha yes corned beef and cabbage is on the menu for Sunday’s dinner. Never blogged it though. Dad asks for shepherd’s pie all the time, so it’s not just for March. More time to fit it in your schedule ;)

  7. Carla, your Shepherd’s Pie looks terrific, and you did duly note the option for fresh or frozen vegetables. I’m intrigued by the Bulmer’s beer…I’ll be reading up on this! I’ve pinned the recipe for good measure…may you & yours have a splendid St. Patrick’s Day.

    • Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Brooks! Bulmer’s is pretty much a hard cider. The closest I’ve found here in the states is Woodchuck Hard Cider. Not the same but it’s hard cider at least.

  8. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never had an authentic Irish shepherd’s pie. But with St. Patrick’s Day around the corner…I think I might need to fix that problem! Thanks for sharing, Carla!

    • Well I’m not sure how authentic this version really is. Traditional ones don’t have Guinness in them. And I don’t think they have green beans either, but that’s what was in my medley. Regardless, I think the Irish would still be happy to eat this ;)

  9. This looks incredible, Carla. Oh, and I saw your comment about Bulmer’s being like hard cider. Have you tried Strongbow? It’s not as sweet as Woodchuck, so I think a little closer to beer. Of course I’m not much of a beer drinker, so what do I know? :-)

  10. Making this for our St. Paddy’s Day dinner. Hubby requested something different this year. My usual pie is made with “root” vegetables. Even mixed mashed parsnips & sweet potatoes for the topping. BUT, have everything listed in this recipe, and going to try!! Love changing it up!! Thanks for sharing!!! Love your recipes!!

  11. You did it! You took gorgeous photos of shepherd’s pie! Seriously, these photos are so droolworthy. I love shepherd’s pie but I haven’t made it in years. I used to make a ginormous pan of it and Tony ‘n I would spend a week eating it. Thanks for sharing this scaled down version. I can’t wait to try it (and horrify you with my terrible photos of it ;)

  12. This recipe is a Keeper. I made it last night, pretty much as written, and it is just Delicious. (I understand why the family keeps requesting it!) It might sound like a long prep, but it was so easy to put together. I used Negra Modelo beer, what I had in the fridge, and it’s September, nowhere near St. Paddy’s Day.
    I must add, my husband and I ate more than our fill, and there are still leftovers, a good size portion.
    Throwing in the bag of frozen veggie medley (Cascadia brand has a bag with this exact 2 cups) made it so easy-peasy. (One other change, only because I had no tomato sauce, was to sub 6 ox. of a jarred pasta sauce.)
    This will be my go-to shepherd’s pie. Thank you so much.

    • Yea, most beers, especially dark ones, seem to work best if you don’t have Guinness. Interesting on the portion size. FWIW, I don’t really eat anything else with my shepherd’s pie except maybe soda bread. If you had other food with it, then the serving size could vary. Glad the recipe worked out for you :)

  13. Hi! Bulmers is an Irish cider, and is marketed outside of Ireland as Magners cider, aaaaannnnd, its available in. america in some states

    • Yes, I do remember it being Magners when I visited England! Happy to hear it’s in some of the states. Maybe some day I’ll find it again :)

  14. I made this tonight with left over roast beef, potatoes, fresh carrots and frozen beans and peas. It was great! And of course the rest of the opened Guinness was a great beverage to accompany this meal. Thanks for the tasty recipe for two and for giving me a great way to use up the leftovers from Sundays roast beef dinner.

  15. While the recipe seems appealing enough what you have is cottage pie. Shepards mind sheep ergo Shepard’s pie is lamb or mutton, not beef.

  16. I’m in Australia and trying to work out the equivalent of the tomato sauce. Is this like a pre-made plain tomato sauce you would put on pasta or is it just like passata?

    • It’s not spaghetti sauce you’d put on pasta. It’s canned tomato purée usually found by canned tomato paste. Never heard of passata but my search says yes.

  17. Yemek Tarifleri says:

    Shepherds pie is lovely. Thanks for this charming photos and great recipe.

  18. hi! i just found this on pinterest! do you think i could make (as in prep everything in the pan) this the night before, put in the fridge and bake it the following day? (I’ve don’t this with other dishes since we are busy) thanks!!!

    • I haven’t personally tried it, but yes you should be able to make it ahead of time. It may need a little longer to cook if you take it straight from the fridge, but it should be fine.

  19. Fabulous recipe! This has gone onto our ‘regular favourites’ list. Thank you!
    Though, we call it ‘Cottage Pie’ – Shepherd’s Pie being the one made with minced (ground) lamb. (Get it? – As in shepherds. . . and sheep). :-)
    Deb (Swindon, UK)

    • Ahh so that explains the name with the sheep and shepherd’s pie! Now that makes sense. Everyone here in the US uses shepherd’s pie regardless of meat choice. Thanks for sharing that and glad you enjoyed the pie.

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