Beef Pot Pie with Guinness

This beef and Guinness pie is essentially traditional Irish beef stew filled with onions, carrots, celery, garlic, beef broth, and herbs, all topped with some lovely and simple store-bought puff pastry. Simple, delicious, and marvelously hearty.

A copper pot filled with beef pot pie with Guinness, topped with puff pastry on a towel on a cooking rack with a bottle behind it.

The One was all over this beef and Guinness pie. Which is odd, because we’re not big beer drinkers—especially not Guinness. The One is partial to wine, and I like my cocktails clear (think gin or vodka), thank you very much. [Editor’s Note: Not big beer drinkers? Hah. Try not beer drinkers at all. You should have seen the look on David’s face the first—and only—time I invited him out for a beer.]

Nonetheless, when he and I couldn’t think of what to make for dinner on an unassuming and lazy Sunday not long ago, and I tossed out some recipe suggestions from the site, he chose this Guinness pie recipe. After some searing, stirring, and stewing, the filling was ready to go into an old-fashioned 2-quart casserole. We covered it with a gorgeous sheet of Dufour’s Puff Pastry (the best commercial pastry out there) and slid the whole shebang into the oven.

What came out was the kind of traditional pie you’d expect four and 20 blackbirds to come flying out of—proudly puff-chested and gorgeously golden. The true test was left to our friend and guest Danny, a take-no-prisoners type of Brit. She pronounced the beef and Guinness pie a huge success. Originally published March 14, 2013.David Leite

Beef and Guinness Pie

  • Quick Glance
  • (10)
  • 45 M
  • 3 H
  • Serves 4 to 6
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Dump the flour in a shallow bowl and lightly toss the meat in it to completely coat it.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Working in batches, lightly brown the meat on all sides, adding more oil to the pan as needed. Drain on paper towels.

Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the drippings in the pan along with the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrot and celery, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes.

Return the meat to the pan, then add the stock or broth, Guinness, canned tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, and chopped herbs and stir, using a wooden spoon to scrape any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, uncovered, until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally and skimming any fat from the surface, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. [Editor’s Note: lf the braising liquid happens to be runnier than what you’d expect in a pot pie, take a look at the Testers Choice comments from our recipes testers, which you’ll just beneath the recipe, for some clever thickening tactics.]

Spoon the stew into an ovenproof pot or dish about 7 inches in diameter. Let cool. Alternatively, if you’d like a nice dome to your pot pie—and, hey, who doesn’t?!—heap the filling in a slightly smaller baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Brush the outside edge of the pot or dish with water, then gently place the sheet of pastry over the stew, pinching the pastry against the edge of the pot or dish to seal. (lf you like, you can crimp the pastry to form a decorative edge.) Brush the pastry generously with the egg wash and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Serve hot from the oven.

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Recipe Testers' Tips

This beef and Guinness pie is beautiful yet rustic with a flavor that’s full and rich. The vegetables cook up nice and tender but still retain some color and shape. The feel of the stew is silky but so satisfying, and the beef is fork-tender. The puff pastry is a wonderful bonus as it’s buttery but so easy to place on top. I made the pie filling the evening before so we’d a wonderful dinner to come home to on a Monday evening. The Guinness, A.1., and Worcestershire blend so well together and add an amazing depth to the sauce. This recipe is wonderful for a family dinner, company, or a cold evening in great need of comfort food. It was delicious

This beef and Guinness pie recipe was delicious. I’ll definitely be making this one again. I only had one problem with this recipe: even after cooking it for over an hour, the liquid didn’t get as thick as I like for a pot pie. Next time I’ll add a bit of cornstarch if it doesn’t thicken. This was still a big hit at my house. We loved it. The flavors were fantastic. It made a great Sunday supper on a cold winter night.

This beef and Guinness pie recipe was clear and worked well for me. I thought that when the pie filling was cooked it might need sweetening with sugar (as has previously happened when I cooked with Guinness), but I found the filling just needed a little seasoning with salt and pepper. This was presumably because the Guinness in this recipe is cooked for an hour, which is long enough to allow the bitterness to cook off. If the pie filling is a little too watery after cooking it, then some more flour can be added to thicken the sauce a little before putting the filling in the pie dish. I’d recommend using store-bought all-butter puff pastry [EDITOR'S NOTE: Dufour is the brand we prefer], which has a good taste and is easy to use. I thought that the temperature of the oven was a little too high, as the pastry colored up very quickly—after about 25 minutes—but the pie filling wasn’t quite up to temperature so I’d suggest a slightly lower temperature and checking occasionally to ensure that the pastry isn’t burning.

If you happen to be hunkered down during a blizzard anytime soon, reach for this beef and Guinness pie—it won’t disappoint. That’s what we did last night as we settled in for the “Blizzard of 2013″ here in the Northeast, and this dish kept us happy and warm as the storm raged outside. After an hour on the flame, the flavors had concentrated nicely. That said, I did find the stew still too thin for my liking even after the full hour of cooking, and so I added a cornstarch slurry (about 2 tablespoons worth) which thickened the stew nicely to a rich, glossy sheen. I used a mix of fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano, and they blended beautifully with the sweet, malty flavor of the Guinness. I had some A.1. on hand (which was actually a bit of a shock to me), so I used it as called for along with the Worcestershire, and they contributed to a great depth of flavor in the dish. I used a very lean beef stew meat (it was all I could get at my local market), and would like this dish even more with a fattier, more tender cut of meat. The next time I make this, I’ll look for a cut of beef with better marbling. In fact, though it’d be flying in the face of tradition, I bet this pie would be fabulous with cubed pork shoulder. I did encounter a bit of trouble with the puff pastry crust (I bought some premade frozen puff pastry at Trader Joes) because it didn’t rise AT ALL when baking. Not sure if it was due to altitude issues (we’re at our ski house in Vermont) or a problem with the pastry itself. The flavor of the crust was quite good, but it was a fairly dense barrier to the goodness underneath. I served the pie up with a crisp green salad and some simple Cheddar mashed potatoes to raves from around the table.


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  1. Patience pays off with this recipe. I simmered the beef stew for a full 2.5 hours and the sauce reduced into luscious deeply rich beefy flavors. I ladled about ¾ of a cup of it out of the stew and kept it to the side to use later as a gravy with the mashed potatoes I’d planned to serve. Oh, and I’m so glad I did. The remainder of the stew fit into my 7-inch pot with just the right amount of beef to sauce. The pastry puffed up splendidly! What a delicious New Year’s Day dish my family enjoyed thanks to this easy, uncomplicated recipe!!

    1. Anne, that looks scrumptious! So glad you all enjoyed it and thanks so much for taking the time to let us know.

  2. I made this dish last night…followed the recipe apart from substituting out the canned tomatoes for 1/2 lb fresh brown mushrooms (which I precooked in garlic and butter). I too found it was a tad thin, I carried out some further reading and found a similar dish by Rick Stein…upon removing the casserole from the oven he spoons out all the ingredients, leaving just the gravy in the dish…he then reduces it. Ricks tip worked a treat…this is hands down one of the best flavoured dishes I’ve ever cooked. 5 stars!

  3. Was so incredibly tasty I can’t recommend enough. Plus there’s Guinness to drink when you’re cooking. Honestly, very hearty and relatively easy to cook.

    1. We’re so pleased you enjoyed it, Bill. Can’t wait to hear what you try next.

  4. We have these zany international-themed parties at my house every month and this looked perfect for Kiss My Blarney Night. I was initially hesitant when I looked at the recipe as I’m not a fan of A1, but it’s imperative here to lend that almost umami layer of flavor. This was a resounding hit – my sole complaint is that it didn’t make enough for leftovers. Next time I’ll have to double it. Or triple. Because my guests wanted to take it home, too! St. Patrick’s Day can’t get here quickly enough this year!

  5. I made this recipe for my husbands’ 68th birthday dinner and he RAVED about it. Instead
    of Guinness I used a yummy milk stout and also added some peas towards the end for a
    little color (and nutrition I suppose). Will make it again, no doubt. Thanks for sending it along.
    (I also thickened the sauce with cornstarch as I felt it was needed).

    1. You’re so very welcome, Colette! Love that you made this for a birthday celebration and love that your husband was so pleased! That’s exactly why we do what we do. You may have no idea how you made our day. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your compliments! And we’re looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…!

  6. I made this for our Sunday Supper group, the day after St Patty’s day–I would like to say I “tweaked” it, but in the presence of such royalty (David & Renee) I guess I will go with HACKED. I doubled the recipe and omitted the flat leaf parsley. I added 1/2 lb of thick cut bacon and used the rendered fat to cook the veggies, adding a little olive oil at the end. I also included sliced cabbage and sautéed with the onions. After cooking a couple hrs, yep it was a bit saucy, I added some chopped potatoes…. then not being a fan of the cornstarch slurry for anything other than Chinese food… here comes the hack… I added a package of those instant baby red potatoes… (gasp) I said it out loud… it came together beautifully! Being in a rural area in the High Sierras, I also opted for flaky biscuits on top instead of the puff pastry (kinda $$ up here when you can find it). Will make this again, it was a huge success!

      1. Unfortunately not this time… this hungry crowd? they might have stoned me had I asked for a food photo shoot! Next time!

  7. You had me at Guinness! This is some good Blizzard food, and we had a blizzard! My husband has been working from home the past 2 days, and eating very well! The storm was coming on Monday night into Tuesday, and I did my grocery shopping on Monday. Looking through the recipes here I knew this was The One! I should have started earlier in the day. I had all of the ingredients but failed to read the length of the cooking/simmering needed.

    I followed the recipe as is, but I added mushrooms; we love mushrooms in a beef stew. It was also rather soupy so I added a slurry of cornstarch. I felt there was plenty of liquid to accommodate an additional half pound of beef. So I prepared everything yesterday and topped it with the puff pastry for dinner tonight. I filled a casserole and topped it with the puff pastry, there is enough of the stew to fill another casserole, and we still have enough left from this first batch for another meal.

    The next time I make this, it will be easier because I’ll know what I’m in for. I prefer the 2-day process because spending a night in the fridge allowing the flavors to “marry” is always a good thing for soups and stews. Next time, I will add extra beef and again do the cornstarch slurry. This is a nice meal for winter dinner guests. The puff pastry makes for an impressive presentation.

    I served this with mashed potatoes, you definitely gotta have something to soak up the delicious goodness!

    A 5 Star Beef Stew. Talk to the happy bellies here at my snowbound house.

    A beef and Guinness pot pie with a puff pastry crust

  8. This looks amazing and the photo is stunning! I’d die to get my photos to look this good. Nothing beats a great pot of stew and I love how you’ve covered it with my favorite DuFour pastry making this an easy but tasty dish.

  9. I tweaked this recipe a lot, and it still turned out amazing! I am one who hardly ever uses only the ingredients listed on a recipe, and will normally combine 4 or 5 recipes to make one perfect recipe. I used the basics from this recipe (meat, stock, garlic, celery, carrot, etc…) but didn’t add the tomatoes, but added some potatoes, cream of mushroom soup, tomato paste, a sprinkle of dried mustard, and I made my own puff pastry dough as well. Prior to browning the meat, I added salt and pepper to the flour to season the meat (2 tablespoons of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper). I also added a little extra of the coarsely chopped ingredients and nearly doubled the meat (as I wanted a nice thick stew rather than a soupy stew). I honestly can say this is one of the best meals I’ve ever made. The flavor was beyond compare. I am most definitely going to make this again!!

    1. pmstewrat, I think this shows just how resilient this recipe is. I love all of your changes and additions. Thanks for adding a new layer of possibility to this bed and Guinness pie recipe.

  10. I was thinking of cooking the beef in a slow cooker over night, let it cool while I’m at work and finishing up the pie for dinner. Can this be done?

    1. Germaine, I think you can make the filling in the slow cooker, but the issue is the cover needs to be off so that the liquid evaporates and concentrates. Are you allowed to do that with your slow cooker?

      1. I suppose so. I have made pulled pork in the slow cooker and the liquids evaporated quite significantly. I shall try with this recipe. Thanks!

        1. Germaine, I don’t make much except stock in a slow cooker, so I can’t speak from experience for this recipe. Please let me know if enough liquid evaporates for you.

          1. Stock in a pressure cooker at my house!

            I braised/stewed this lovely concoction in my oven. Set very low at 275, for about 3 hours. I unhinged the lid a bit for the last hour and added a slight slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken it more. Perfect!

  11. Ok I’m a goof. I’m stumped on what size pot to this thing in. How much filing are we talking here?

    1. Hi Charlotte, not a goofy question at all. I usually use 2.75 qt Le Creuset oval oven when I make this.

  12. Very much enjoyed the Guinness beef pie. Used about 2lbs. of beef chuck and followed the recipe. The A1A and Worcestershire sauce give it an amazing flavor. I found it a little soupy so I just added approximately 3 tablespoons of corn starch and simmered it maybe 3 1/2 hours. I am a recent subscriber to your site, it is very good. Love those Appalachian Cider beans. I was so happy with the pie that I tried to post a picture, never done that before, so don’t know if you’ll receive it or not. Slainte’

    Beef and Guinness Pie

    1. Thanks Jim for sharing the lovely image of your results. We are so glad to hear that you have joined our group of subscribers and we look forward to hearing more from you and what recipes that you have tried.

  13. I purchased the ingredients I needed today, including Guinness and began prep this evening—it’s intended to be finished tomorrow with its puff pastry lid. Just thought I’d mention that I often bake the pastry lid separately, to ensure it’s cooked properly underneath. Sometimes if the lid is covering something juicy, like a stew, the bottom side of the crust can be a touch undercooked or soggy. This works well for a larger dish or for individual ones—no-one has ever noticed that I’ve popped the pastry on top of the “pie” just before serving.

    1. foodelf, many thanks, what a swell trick. I would imagine your tactic also allows you more control over the consistency of the stew as well, such that you can reduce it just the desired point before plopping the lid on top. Thanks so much for sharing. Looking forward to hearing what you think tomorrow….

      1. My conclusion about this dish is that the quantity of beef and onions should be doubled. Even though I cut the liquids by half, it was still extremely soupy—I prefer not to thicken with flour or cornstarch. I considered decanting the liquids to further reduce them, but didn’t want to loose the nuances of Guinness, Worcestershire, and steak sauce. I made an effort to purchase beef that wasn’t extra lean (which seems to dominate the market) and that ensured a beautifully tender result. My other tweak was to braise in the oven at 300F for about 3 1/2 hrs, preferring slow-oven braising is just a personal quirk. Loved the flavors and plan to make again.

        1. Love how you made this recipe your own, foodelf. We find that a preferred stewy consistency tends to vary quite a lot from one reader to the next, and I love when readers follow their instincts and preferences. Thanks for sharing your tips and tactics.

  14. If a picture isn’t worth a thousand words, that quote will convince non-Guinness believers. (Your photo was stellar, by the way!) I’m passing your recipe along to my (Irish) relatives…me, I’m kind of a wimpy ale girl myself, lol. (But I’d eat this in a heartbeat!)

    1. Many thanks, Kim. We actually can’t take credit for that stunning photograph; instead, kudos go to blogger and cookbook author Katie Quinn Davies. You’ll find more of her creative artistry in em>What Katie Ate, the book from which we excerpted this recipe, with the blessing of her publisher, natch. As for the rest, I’m an ale girl myself, but the heating and the vegetables sorta tame the bitterness of the Guinness quite nicely. Still, I have to confess, if forced to consume stout, I find that perhaps the sweetest way to be this not-exactly-intuitive-but-incredibly-satiating ice cream float—which, by the way, is also QUITE nice when made with an amber ale.

  15. Wow! Stupendous! I have long wanted to make one of these beauties! I did once learn to make a lamb and Guinness stew from a Frenchman who had worked in Galway. He added sea urchins as a final French touch. But there is something about making this into a pie with a crust….

      1. The sea urchins gave it a really odd flavor—but so did the Guinness. Not really that much different from each other once cooked. But oddly addictive. He ended up serving it in his restaurant.

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