Guinness Shepherd’s Pie For Two
This easy Guinness Shepherd’s Pie For Two recipe is a comforting gluten free meat and potatoes dish made with ground lamb or beef, mashed potatoes, and stout beer. Serve it for St. Patrick’s Day dinner.
That, for me, is Guinness Shepherd’s Pie. There’s just something comforting about meat, creamy mashed 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.
If my family had a list of top five dishes to eat for dinner, this easy shepherd’s pie recipe is definitely up there.
Even though I’ve been making this shepherd’s pie for two for years, it took me forever to share it here (mainly because it’s a tough dish to photograph).
Usually if I’m cooking for my family, I make a large shepherd’s pie. However, that’s only when they visit.
When I’m cooking for myself, I make this scaled down Shepherd’s Pie For Two recipe. You can make it in two mini casserole dishes, one 6×2 round cake pan, or a 1 quart casserole dish.
Serve it with Mini Irish Soda Bread and Mini Chocolate Guinness Cake for a hearty St. Patrick’s Day dinner for two.
Ingredients For Guinness Shepherd’s Pie
The ingredients for gluten free shepherd’s pie are:
- Russet potatoes: Russet potatoes are the best variety for making mashed potatoes. However, you can use yellow or red potato if that’s what you have on hand.
- Ground lamb or beef: Traditional shepherd’s pie uses ground lamb while its cousin cottage pie uses ground beef. I almost always use beef since that’s what I usually have in my freezer.
- Onion and garlic: Both are aromatics that make the meat tastier.
- Canned tomato sauce: Helps build flavor for the sauce, which then cooks down into a delicious filling. This also means you don’t need flour to thicken your sauce.
- Beef broth or stock: Also used to make the sauce. Homemade beef stock will always be better, but I usually use boxed/canned broth to help save time.
- Guinness: Although traditional shepherd’s pie isn’t made with beer, Guinness adds an extra layer of flavor.
- Frozen vegetable medley: I used a bag of frozen vegetables to make prep even easier, which usually contains carrots, peas, corn, and green beans. Sometimes if I only have frozen peas and corn, I’ll add fresh chopped carrot (which you then cook with the onion).
- Worcestershire sauce: Hard to pronounce yet brings so much flavor. This is what chefs love to call umami.
- Thyme: Using thyme adds a bit of freshness to the dish. You can also use rosemary or leave it out completely.
- Butter, milk, and cheese: You can’t make the best mashed potatoes on top if you don’t add flavor.
Is Guinness gluten free?
This shepherd’s pie for two is gluten free because it doesn’t use flour to thicken the filling. However, the Guinness brand specifically is not gluten free.
You can easily substitute any stout beer brand that is gluten free. Or leave the alcohol out altogether and use more beef broth.
You’ll also want to double check your Worcestershire sauce. Some brands are gluten free while others are not.
What is the difference between cottage pie and shepherd’s pie?
As you can see by the comments below, my version is technically a cottage pie.
The difference between a shepherd’s pie and a cottage pie is a shepherd’s pie uses ground lamb while a cottage pie uses ground beef.
The best way to remember this is a shepherd looks after sheep, hence lamb in shepherd’s pie.
I stuck with the name shepherd’s pie even though I used beef because nobody in the US knows what a cottage pie is.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen cottage pie on a menu; I’ve always seen shepherd’s pie with beef.
I hate the name isn’t 100 percent accurate, but I’m going with the majority on this one.
If you are a purist, use ground lamb. If you don’t care, use ground beef. Whichever meat you choose, it’s still going to be delicious.
How To Make Shepherd’s Pie For Two
There are two parts to making Guinness shepherd’s pie: the filling and the mashed potatoes.
- Add potatoes to a large pot of salted water then bring to a boil. This will cook while you make the filling.
- In a large skillet, brown the meat until no longer pink then drain off the grease.
- Add the tomato sauce, broth, beer, vegetables, and Worcestershire sauce then bring to a boil.
- Cook until the sauce is reduced by half. This allows the sauce to thicken without flour and the alcohol to cook off while leaving behind its delicious stout flavor.
- Drain your potatoes then make mashed potatoes using a potato masher or mixer.
- Add the filling to your dish then top with mashed potatoes. Bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
Making Shepherd’s Pie For Two In Advance
Guinness Shepherd’s Pie can take awhile to make and bake. Luckily you can cut down on prep time by preparing it in advance.
You can cook and refrigerate the meat filling ahead of time then prepare the mashed potatoes right before baking.
Or you can assemble the dish fully but don’t bake it. Instead, wrap it in plastic wrap then refrigerate up to a few days prior to eating. You may need to add some extra bake time to make up for the dish being cold.
How To Make Shepherd’s Pie Without Guinness
One question I get often is: Can I make shepherd’s pie without beer? The answer is yes!
Guinness adds a special flavor to the beef and most of the alcohol does cook off, but it’s still comforting and delicious without it.
To make shepherd’s pie without beer, substitute an extra 1/2 cup beef broth or stock.
I posted the non-alcoholic version in my Shepherd’s Pie Twice Baked Potatoes recipe if you want to refer to it.
Which pan do I use for Shepherd’s Pie For Two?
As you can see, I scaled my gluten free shepherd’s pie down for two people. Because I cook alone, I eat one for dinner and the other for lunch the next day.
I bought the mini casserole dishes in the photos from a thrift store. However, after moving multiple times since, I no longer own them.
I retested the recipe and confirmed you can also bake it in a 1-quart casserole dish, one 6×2 inch round cake pan, or two 14-ounce ramekins.
What To Serve With Shepherd’s Pie
Now that your main dish is in the oven, what do you serve with it?
If you want to stick with the St. Patrick’s Day theme, serve it with Irish Soda Bread Muffins.
Since shepherd’s pie is a heavy dish, you can also serve it with something lighter like Freekeh Salad or Green Onion Salad.
Recipes Using Leftover Guinness
Because you will have leftover beer after making this recipe, here are some ways to use it all up:
- Guinness Chocolate Mousse For Two (in cute mini pint glasses!)
- Guinness Brownies
- Chocolate Stout Cake
- Beer Soft Pretzels with Guinness Cheese Sauce by The Beeroness
Don’t want shepherd’s pie? You can also cook Corned Beef and Cabbage On Stove Top or Baked Fish And Chips for St. Patrick’s Day.
Guinness Shepherd's Pie For Two
Easy Guinness Shepherd’s Pie For Two recipe is a comforting gluten free meat and potatoes dish made with ground lamb or beef, mashed potatoes, and beer.
- 1 pound Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (roughly 3-4 small or 2 large potatoes)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) ground beef or ground lamb
- 1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion
- Salt, to taste (preferably kosher salt)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- One 8-ounce canned tomato sauce (roughly 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup beef broth or stock
- 1/2 cup stout beer, such as Guinness* (or more broth for non alcoholic)
- 2 cups frozen vegetable medley (carrots, peas, corn, and green beans)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (double check label for gluten free)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Have two 12 or 14-ounce ramekins, one 6x2inch round cake pan, or one 1-quart casserole dish ready.
- Add potatoes to a large pot with a handful of salt. Bring to a boil. Let this heat up while you cook the meat filling.
- Heat the oil in large 12 inch skillet until hot. Once hot, add the meat, onion, and a big pinch of salt. Cook until the beef is browned, about 5-8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Drain off the grease.
- Add the tomato sauce, stock, beer, vegetables, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. Bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half and thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt.
- By now the water for the potatoes should be boiling. Turn the water down to a simmer and cook until fork tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and cool.
- Mash the potatoes either by hand with a potato masher or with a mixer. If using a stand mixer, do not overbeat. Add the butter, milk, 1/2 cup cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Taste and adjust for salt.
- Once the meat mixture is done cooking and the potatoes are mashed, add the meat to the dish/pan you're using. Top with mashed potatoes then top with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Let cool for 15 minutes then serve warm.
- *Guinness isn't gluten free, but you can easily substitute any gluten free stout beer.
- To make shepherd's pie ahead of time, fully assemble the dish right before baking. Cover and refrigerate for up to a few days before serving. Bake as directed, adding extra time if needed.
- Complete your meal with Mini Irish Soda Bread or Irish Soda Bread Muffins.
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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.
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.
I ♥ Shepherd’s Pie. These look so good!
Thanks! Shepherd’s pie love <3
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.
I was actually contemplating on using fresh carrots (I swear they never go out of season!) but when I found the vegetable medley, it saved me extra prep work.
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!
Sounds like I know what you’re making this weekend for dinner ;)
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 ;)
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.
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 ;)
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? :-)
Oh I never heard of Strongbow. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it!
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!!
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 ;)
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 :)
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 :)
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.
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.
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.
Shepherds pie is lovely. Thanks for this charming photos and great recipe.
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.
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.
My boyfriend can’t eat meat, so I plan on making two different fillings for this and making his without the meat, and mine just like in the recipe, anything I could use in his pie instead of the meat to keep the proportions similar? I can always just use more veggies, too. Just wondering if you had any suggestions!
Hmm what about sliced portobello mushrooms? There’s also eggplant you can cut into cubes. Maybe even butternut squash? You’ll have to play with the cooking times, but cook until those veggies are fork tender and brown.
That sounds lovely! Can’t wait to try this!
This was so good that I’ve made it twice! I used Guinness Extra Stout because that’s all I could find in the grocery store and the dish was wonderful. This is definitely a keeper.
Almost any stout will work in this recipe. Glad you enjoyed it!
Thanks for adding more recipes for 2 people. Those sound so good and hope I will be able to try them.
Love Pot-Pie and that looks delicious.
At 92 I don’t get to the store very much, so frozen foods and vegetable’s are good for me to have on hand and use. I’ve read they have more nutrition sometimes than fresh. In the grocery store you never know how long they’ve been out of the field and in transit.
Just a thought.
Would it be possible to make this recipe all the way up to the last step (oven) and then put in the fridge to cook the next day?
Yes you can. You will probably need to bake it a little longer than directed because it’ll be cold, which means it’ll take longer to get hot. If you have the time, I’d let it sit out at room temperature for about 15-30 minutes before putting it in the oven. Regardless, bake until the top is golden brown and the mixture is bubbly (if you can’t see it, you can hear it).
Bulmers is actually a cider not a beer. If you are looking for it, you should be able to find a cider called Magners. It is the same thing, by the same company, but just a different name!
Yes, you’re right and not sure why I put beer! And yes, since first posting this I have seen Magners over the years. Thanks for the tip!
I am wanting to make this recipe for my family. I have a 18 month old will this be alright for him to eat with the beer? or can i skip the beer option? This is the simplest shepherds pie recipe I have found, I want to try it
The beer will cook off, so he won’t get drunk. Whether he can eat it, you’ll have to talk with your child’s doctor about whether it’ll be considered cooked off enough (it should be, but I’m not a doctor). If you want to skip the beer altogether, skip Step 4 where you add the beer. Instead, add the Worcestershire and thyme to the broth in Step 5. If you feel the mixture is too thick, you can add up to an additional 1/2 cup broth.
Really terrific recipe! I have made this twice for my husband and I. This time I doubled it and will freeze two portions for another night.
Thank you for the feedback! Glad you enjoyed it.
Did you realise what you actually made is cottage pie?? Shepherds pie is made with lamb. Cottage pie is made with beef. Other than that they’re pretty much the same… and one of my husband’s favourites!
Yes, I’ve been told several times :) Regardless of the name, it’s still a delicious dish and hope you get to try it!
Hi there! This looks wonderful! Do you think it will fit into 2 20 oz. crocks, or will I need more crocks?
I don’t know how many ounces these shepherd’s pies are, but those crocks sound large enough to me!
This recipe reminded me of a dish that I had when I was in Ireland. I will be making this again soon!
Happy to hear, Jillian!
My 100% Irish mother never made Shepard’s Pie…but she did make a meat stuffing for Thanksgiving. I believe it was a version of French Tortiere, from my 100% French father’s side. I make it every year and have often said it would probably be a very good filling for Shepard’s Pie, but alas have never tried it. It’s not made with beer, of course, but meat, veggies, broth and bread crumbs topped with mashed potatoes can’t be all bad…right?
Sounds like a delicious dinner to me! The beer is not traditional but does add nice flavor.
You acknowledge that Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb, and Cottage Pie with beef, then continue to call this recipe Shepherd’s Pie?
Yup. And I explain why I kept the name in the post. Plus I call for either lamb or beef in the recipe card, so I have both names covered.