Irish Beef Pot Pie

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Freezer friendly Irish beef pot pie is an easy way to prepare our most popular St. Patrick's Day dinner recipe. Assemble the Irish meat pie ahead of time and simply bake it for a quick and festive holiday meal.

A square of Irish meat pie on a plate with carrots and cabbage.

My Irish Beef Hand Pies recipe is one of the most popular holiday dishes on my whole site for such good reason!

The hand pies are perfect for St. Patrick's Day, can be made ahead and frozen, and are absolutely delicious.

Last year, I was too busy to make the individual hand pies for our St. Patrick's dinner but my husband still loves that beef filling.

I decided to try turning it into an Irish beef pot pie with my favorite homemade pie crust recipe. I baked it in a slab pie pan and served it in squares for dinner.

It was a HUGE hit and so much faster to make than the individually wrapped hand pies.

In case you're looking for a fresh way to use that original recipe, too, I wanted to share my best tips here.

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Why This is the Best Recipe

As much as I love the individual Irish beef hand pies recipe, when I'm in a rush during a busy school season it is nice to have a shortcut version of that recipe for serving on St. Patrick's Day.

My entire family loved the pot pie version of that Irish meat pie because:

  1. The Best of Both Worlds: This recipe has all the same Irish flavor, a savory meat filling with a buttery pie crust, but is easy to serve.
  2. Super Flaky Pie Crust: My homemade pie crust recipe is absolutely the best and it really shines in this beef pot pie recipe.
  3. Savory Filling: The beef, potatoes, and cabbage with the seasoned tomato sauce is a comforting dinner for any chilly evening, St. Patrick's Day or not!
  4. Make Ahead Friendly: You can prep the pie crust and the beef filling and store them separately in the fridge for up to 24 hours. In fact, it will actually taste even better if you do!
  5. Freezer Friendly: Know you'll be busy on St. Patty's? You can make this entire Irish meat pie ahead of time and freeze it! Just bake it before dinner and you're ready to party.

Ingredients

The ingredients to make homemade beef hand pies are on the counter.

The ingredients for this Irish beef pot pie are almost exactly the same as the original hand pies recipe:

  • Ground Beef
  • Fresh Cabbage
  • Red Potatoes
  • Tomato Paste
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dried Thyme
  • Vegetable Oil

Then, instead of the refrigerated pie crust, you'll want to take a minute to make the homemade pie crust with just 3 ingredients more:

  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Kosher Salt

NOTE: You could use a refrigerated pie crust instead of homemade, but you'll want to bake the pot pie in a round pie dish and you may have more filling than you need to fill the pie.

The filling does freeze quite well. You could freeze the leftovers for another pie down the road.

Prepare the Pie Crust

I've got all the tips and tricks for making the absolute best homemade pie crust that bakes up to be the flakiest crust you've ever had.

If you want full instructions and step by step photos for how to make the crust, be sure to check out the flaky butter pie crust recipe post here.

However, I've included the instructions you need in the recipe card at the bottom so you have everything in one place when you make your Irish meat pie.

Plan to chill the dough for 4 hours before you assemble your meat pie.

Prepare the Beef and Cabbage Filling

While your pie crust is chilling, you should make the beef and cabbage filling so it has a chance to completely cool before assembling your pot pie.

Cook the shredded cabbage and diced potatoes in vegetable oil until they begin to soften.

Add the ground beef to the pot and brown it, crumbling it as it cooks.

A step by step photo collage shows how to cook the potatoes, cabbage, ground beef, and season it for the filling.

Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, dried thyme, and 1 cup water. Stir it to combine.

Cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.

Cool the filling COMPLETELY before trying to assemble your pot pie. In fact, you could even pop it in the fridge and build your pie with cold filling if you have the time.

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Assemble the Beef Pot Pie

To assemble your Irish beef pot pie, first you'll need to roll out the pie crust.

Divide the dough into two portions and roll out the bottom crust first.

Gently ease the rolled dough into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, also known as a quarter sheet pan.

Place the pan in the fridge while you roll the dough for the top crust.

The pie crust dough on a mat, another photo shows it rolled out, a third photo shows it in the slab pan.

Pour the prepared beef filling into the bottom crust pan. Spread it into an even layer.

Then gently cover the pie with the top crust and crimp the edges together.

Remember to cut venting slits on the top of the crust.

An all-butter pie crust dough has been assembled in a baking pan with a ruffled edge.

Baking Instructions

For the crispiest, flakiest pie crust ever, you need to follow one essential tip:

Place a large baking sheet upside down on the center rack of your oven before you preheat it.

Preheat the oven to 375°F with the baking sheet inside. This super-hot surface will help to bake the bottom crust of your pot pie perfectly evenly.

The pie has been cut into squares, a spatula is ready to serve a piece.

Keep your assembled pot pie in the fridge until just before you transfer it to the oven and place it directly on that hot baking sheet inside.

The heat from the oven will melt that chilled butter inside your pie crust and cause steam to release in the pastry. This is what gives you the flaky crust!

Bake the Irish beef pot pie for 40 - 45 minutes or until the filling is hot and the crust is golden brown.

The baked pie is on the counter next to the rest of the dinner.

Make Ahead Tips

This is the best make ahead recipe for St. Patrick's Day because the pot pie tastes even better the next day.

To make it ahead, you can try one of two methods:

1. Prep the Crust & Filling

You can prepare the pie dough and the beef filling the day before and store them in the fridge separately.

Then just roll the dough, assemble the pie, and bake before serving.

2. Assemble the Pot Pie Ahead of Time

You could prepare the entire pie and assemble it and store it in the fridge for 24 hours. Just be sure to wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out.

Then you can just bake and serve.

Freezing Instructions

If you want to save even more time, the entire Irish meat pie can be assemble ahead of time and frozen for several months.

Be sure to wrap it in aluminum foil so it stays fresh in the freezer.

You can bake it directly from frozen but you will need to add additional baking time. I haven't tested how long, but I'd start with at least 10 - 15 minutes extra and then check it every 5 - 10 minutes.

Alternatively, you could let it thaw in the fridge overnight and then bake it from the fridge. This would let you keep my tested cook time listed in the recipe card below.

The dinner has been served with a glass of wine on the side.

Serving Suggestions

This was such a fun and festive St. Patrick's Day dinner for my family. It is just perfect for a busy weeknight!

Since the recipe only calls for a half of a head of cabbage, I decided to finish our holiday menu by cooking my favorite fried cabbage recipe to use up the remaining cabbage.

I added roasted carrots and a loaf of my favorite Irish soda bread to the meal, too.

Glazed carrots and a bowl of fried cabbage are ready to be served.

📖 Recipe

A square of Irish meat pie on a plate with carrots and cabbage.

Irish Beef Pot Pie

5 from 56 votes
This easy variation of our most popular Irish Beef Hand Pies recipe is baked as a pot pie in a slab pie pan for easy serving for St. Patrick's Day dinner. Filled with savory meat and tender cabbage and potatoes, this delicious dinner can be made ahead and frozen for the holiday meal.
TOTAL TIME 5 hours 20 minutes
PREP TIME 40 minutes
CHILL TIME 4 hours
COOK TIME 40 minutes
YIELD 8 servings

Ingredients
  

For the Pie Crust

  • 1 batch of dough for homemade pie crust for slab pie pans:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter cut into large cubes and chilled
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup ice water fill the measuring cup with 1/2 cup water and then add lots of ice to chill it

For the Beef Filling

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 head green cabbage shredded
  • 1/2 pound red potatoes scrubbed and diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Instructions

Prepare the Pie Dough:

  • Chop the butter into large chunks. Add the flour and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Sprinkle the cubes of butter over the top. Pulse 10 - 15 times or until the butter is in small pieces all throughout the flour.
  • With the lid on the processor, slowly drain the ice and drizzle in the water through the feeding tube of the lid while the dough runs. Process the dough until a ball just begins to form. Less than one minute, usually.
  • Pat the dough ball into a squat rectangle shape on a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap and cover it and place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours before you bake. Don't rush this step if you can avoid it, the resting period is what helps to make the crust extra flaky.

Prepare the Beef Filling:

  • In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the shredded cabbage and diced potatoes. Cook until the vegetables begin to brown, 7 to 9 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef; cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire, dried thyme, and 1 cup water.
  • Cover and cook the mixture until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Lightly mash the mixture with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Let the filling cool completely. This is a crucial step. Warm filling will warm the butter in the pie crust and cause the bottom crust to be soggy.

Assemble the Pot Pie:

  • Divide the prepared pie dough into two sections -- 1 slightly larger than the other. The larger half will serve as the bottom crust.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the bottom crust and lay it into your pie pan. Be sure to flour your rolling pin so it doesn't stick. Place in the fridge to chill.
  • Sprinkle a little more flour on your surface and roll out the top crust. Roll it up in the baking mat and store in the fridge to chill while you fill the bottom crust.
  • Pour the prepared beef filling into the prepared bottom crust. Spread it out into an even layer. Roll the top crust over the filling and crimp the edges together around all 4 sides of the pie pan.
  • Use a paring knife to cut slits in the top of the crust. For the flakiest crust, keep the pie in the fridge until you're ready to put it in the oven.

Baking Instructions:

  • Place a cookie sheet upside down on the oven rack you plan to bake the pie. Let it preheat inside the oven.
  • Heat the oven to 375°F.
  • Place the prepared, chilled beef pot pie pan directly on the preheated cookie sheet in the oven. The hot surface will help to evenly cook your bottom pie crust.
  • Bake the pot pie for 40 - 45 minutes or until the filling is heated through and the crust is golden brown.

Recipe Notes

Make Ahead Tips:

The pie crust can be made the day before you plan to roll it out and bake it. Keep it tightly wrapped in plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out.
You could also make the beef filling up to 24 hours in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. This helps save time and ensures it is cool enough for the pie crust.

Freezer Tips:

The fully assembled but unbaked beef pot pie can be frozen for several months. You can bake it directly from frozen or let it thaw in the fridge overnight and bake it chilled the next day.
If you bake it directly from frozen, be sure to add additional time for the filling to get nice and hot and the crust to get golden brown. 

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A slab pie with beef filling is shown being served for dinner.

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