Traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie Recipe Just in Time for St. Patrick's Day

shepherd's pie

Can you believe St. Patrick's Day is coming up so fast? The months are truly flying by, and who knew it'd be time to whip out the green outfits and beer so soon? You're already set with some typical St. Patrick's Day recipes, like Irish soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, and Shamrock Shakes. But since the temps still have yet to warm up in most parts of the U.S., let's indulge in the ultimate comfort food -- traditional Irish shepherd's pie. We have an easy recipe that's perfect for any dinner or celebration. 

This Irish shepherd's pie recipe from is super straightforward and versatile. You pretty much cook all the ingredients in a pot, top it off with some mashed potatoes, and brush the potatoes with egg and Parmesan cheese -- and you're done! Hearty, delicious, versatile, filled with beef or lamb, this will surely get you into the Irish spirit in no time. The popular dish, also called cottage pie, originated in the UK and Ireland, so feel free to honor its origin and indulge a little this holiday!

More from CafeMom: 10 Favorite Irish Sayings & Toasts for St. Patrick's Day Celebrations

Traditional Shepherd's Pie by


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lb ground beef or 1 lb lamb
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 to 4 large carrots, finely diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup stock
  • 1 large quantity mashed potatoes (estimating 1L or 6 cups, fresh or leftover)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • grated parmesan cheese (optional)


Pre-heat oven to 200C/400°F.

Saute carrots in the olive oil until starting to get tender. Add in the onions and saute for a minute or two then add the meat. Season with black pepper and thyme.

Cook until browned then drain fat. Add the butter and peas. Sprinkle with flour and stir through. Add tomato paste, wine, and Worcestershire sauce.

Let this reduce slightly then add the chicken stock. Allow to reduce down until you have a thick meaty gravy. Season to your taste.

Remove from heat. Grease an oven-proof dish** (9x13 works for me, as does an oval baker) with butter and add the sauce.

Spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes over top. Brush with egg and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if using.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the potato is nice and browned on top.

Serve as is or with some crusty bread to mop up that yummy sauce!

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