Irish Shepard’s Pie

This luscious pie is a classic, quintessential Irish dish! So, I simply had to post this for tradition’s sake. Fun & EASY to prepare. Don’t let the length of this recipe fool you—it consists mostly of simple ingredients already found in your kitchen! This traditional recipe is complete, with no additional side dishes necessary, packed with flavor, very filling and extremely satisfying to the palate.

Serve with Irish Soda Bread and a nice stout to wash it all down.

Serves 4 healthy appetites!


Potato Topping:

  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray


  • 4 slices bacon, cut into thin strips
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pound ground beef, lamb, chicken or turkey
  • 1 lb of frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle light or dark beer (Guinness is preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Additional salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Swiss or Cheddar


  1. Potato topping: In a large saucepan add potatoes & garlic cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer on low, uncovered, until potatoes are fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain. Transfer potatoes & garlic to a large bowl. Add sour cream, 1/4 cup of milk, butter, beaten egg, salt & pepper, mash with potato masher by hand. Adding remaining 1/4 cup milk as needed. Cover & set aside.
  2. *In a hurry? Substitute a good quality instant potato mix! Make 3-4 servings; add milk in place of water & the remaining ingredients listed.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch round baking dish with nonstick spray.
  4. Filling: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, cook, stirring occasionally, until browned & crisp. Transfer to a plate; set aside.
  5. Add onions to bacon drippings with 1/2 teaspoon salt, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft & just beginning to brown. Sprinkle in sugar, cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to caramelize. Stir in ground meat, cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat, until meat begins to brown. Add thawed, frozen vegetables & garlic, cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in ketchup & flour and cook, stirring, until well blended. Add beer & Worcestershire sauce bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Add cooked bacon, salt & pepper to taste. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat & simmer, uncovered, until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
  6. Spoon meat mixture into prepared baking dish. Spread potato topping evenly over meat mixture. Bake until filling is hot, topping is lightly browned & edges are bubbly, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes. Let rest out of oven for 10 minutes before serving.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.



15 Comments Add yours

  1. Osyth says:

    Delicious – though be sure to post this again with an edited title in November (St Andrews) because I think the Scots generally lay claim to the dish. In England it is generally cottage pie though these days people will call it shepherd’s if using lamb. Of course the stout makes it Irish, so you’re forgiven your trespasses on Scots food 😉 🍀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Osyth! I WILL re-post in November as suggested! lol! Thanks for the forgiveness 🙂 I didn’t know this tid-bit of history! Always a wealth of information you are. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Osyth says:

        I am Scots-Irish on my father’s side so it’s woven in the tapestry of my heart 😊


  2. chefkreso says:

    Yummy pie, looks very nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks delicious! I will be making this for St. Patricks Day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! Hope you enjoyed it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes we did! I made it for St Patrick’s day. Thanks for the recipe.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh that’s wonderful! Thanks so much for letting me know! So happy you enjoyed it!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. nancyruth says:

    I’ve never thought of adding beer. Sounds good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi nancyruth! Ever since I developed this recipe, adding beer many to broths & gravies has been a given. It adds richness & depth! Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. nancyruth says:

        I might just try that…if I can do it without Hubby missing his beer!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. haha! Good luck! Thanks again 🙂


  5. I love shepard’s pie, this one looks delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kathryn! Oh me too! The beer makes this pie happen! Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

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