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Shepherds Pie Recipe

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close up shot of a slice of Shepherd's Pie on a plate
Simple and delicious, your family will love this shepherd’s pie. It’s a baked dish, complete with layers of flavorful ground beef, vegetables, and home-style mashed potatoes.
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Table of Contents
  1. WHAT IS SHEPHERD’S PIE?
  2. SHEPHERD PIE RECIPE INGREDIENTS
  3. SHEPHERD’S PIE SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS
  4. HOW TO MAKE SHEPHERD’S PIE
  5. WHAT CAN I SERVE WITH SHEPHERD’S PIE?
  6. HOW TO STORE THIS RECIPE FOR SHEPHERD’S PIE
  7. SHEPHERD’S PIE RECIPE FAQs
  8. MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
  9. JUMP TO RECIPE

This classic shepherd’s pie recipe is the ultimate in savory comfort food! Perfectly seasoned ground beef and veggies are topped with creamy, homemade mashed potatoes before being baked in a casserole dish.

After you master this dish, be sure to try out a couple of our other dinner favorites. This mashed potato casserole and this hamburger soup recipe are both hearty and filling.

close up shot of a slice of Shepherd's Pie on a plate

WHAT IS SHEPHERD’S PIE?

Shepherd’s Pie is a dish that features ground meat such as lamb or ground beef cooked in a gravy with vegetables and spices that is then topped with mashed potatoes and baked.

Why is it called Shepherd’s Pie?

Since traditional Shepherd’s Pie was made with lamb and originated in sheep country in the United Kingdom, it was named for the people that look after the sheep or shepherds.

Is Shepherd’s Pie English or Irish?

Shepherd’s Pie originated in Ireland but it can be found as a popular dish across the United Kingdom, especially in Northern England and Scotland as well.

SHEPHERD PIE RECIPE INGREDIENTS

Shepherd's Pie raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need: 

For the Mashed Potato Topping

  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into big chunks
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ to ½ cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Filling

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of frozen peas, carrot, and corn medley
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

SHEPHERD’S PIE SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

POTATOES: I usually use Russet potatoes to make my mashed potatoes for this recipe. You could also use red potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes. If you are in a hurry you can also use instant mashed potatoes or pick up pre-made mashed potatoes from the store. If you enjoy sweet potatoes you could even try making this with mashed sweet potatoes.

MEAT: You can also use ground lamb as your ground meat in this hearty dish. Another option is for when you have leftover pot roast. This is a great recipe to use it up!

VEGGIES: You can add mushrooms to the list of veggies if you’d like. You can also switch up the frozen veggie mix that you use or use fresh veggies if you prefer.

CHEESE: If you are a cheese lover, try adding shredded sharp cheddar cheese to the top of the mashed potatoes. You could even just try adding this to half of the dish.

TOPPINGS: Crispy bacon bits sprinkled on top of the mashed potatoes is one of my favorite additions to this easy shepherd’s pie recipe. You can make your own bacon and cut it up, or use a store-bought package.

RED WINE: Some recipes call for red wine. It is entirely optional but if you would like, you could replace up to one cup of red wine in place of beef broth.

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HOW TO MAKE SHEPHERD’S PIE

STEP ONE: In a large pot, boil the potatoes in water to cover until fork tender and then drain the water.

STEP TWO: Add the butter, sour cream, milk, salt, and pepper to taste.

STEP THREE: Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or mixer until you reach your favorite mashed potato consistency. Set aside.

STEP FOUR: In a large skillet, brown the ground beef along with the onions and garlic. Drain any excess grease.

STEP FIVE: To the same skillet add 2 cups of frozen vegetables then cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

STEP SIX: Sprinkle the flour over the meat and veggies and stir to mix.

Shepherd's Pie process shot of ingredients in a pan

STEP SEVEN: Add the tomato paste and stir to mix it in.

STEP EIGHT: Then add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low.

STEP NINE: Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, adding additional broth if necessary to prevent the meat from drying out.

STEP TEN: Remove from heat. Spread the meat mixture in an even layer in a 9×13-inch baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Make sure to remove the bay leaf before adding the beef mixture to the dish.

STEP ELEVEN: Top the meat with the mashed potatoes, making an even layer of potatoes.

PRO TIP:

To help keep the mashed potatoes from sinking, allow the meat filling to cool in the casserole dish for about 20 minutes before layering the potatoes on.

Shepherd's Pie process shot of mashed potatoes spread over beef mixture in a baking dish

STEP TWELVE: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set your casserole dish on the baking sheet in case anything bubbles over as the shepherd’s pie is cooking. 

STEP THIRTEEN: Place the dish in the oven and bake at 350°F. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. After baking, you can place the dish under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the potatoes more if necessary.

PRO TIP:

You can get all fancy and pipe the potatoes onto the meat or you can use a spoon and spread the potatoes evenly and then use a fork to make designs and ridges in the potatoes.

Shepherd's Pie process shot after pie is baked in a baking dish

WHAT CAN I SERVE WITH SHEPHERD’S PIE?

This hearty dinner is a tasty family favorite. Add a Caesar salad for extra greens or fluffy dinner rolls to mop up all the delicious gravy on your plate.

HOW TO STORE THIS RECIPE FOR SHEPHERD’S PIE

IN THE FRIDGE: You can pre-make this classic recipe one day before and leave it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook. Likewise, if you have leftovers after cooking they can be stored covered in plastic wrap or in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

IN THE FREEZER: To freeze, let your dish cool to room temperature after baking, then cover it tightly with aluminum foil and place it in the freezer for up to two months. To reheat, place in the oven, still covered, for one hour at 350°F.

overhead shot of a slice of Shepherd's Pie on a plate and Shepherd's Pie in a baking dish

You are going to love this simple recipe. It’s so easy and makes for a delicious and hearty meal that everyone in the family will love. The ease of making this dish, combined with classic ingredients makes this a comforting dish that’s perfect for a busy winter night.

SHEPHERD’S PIE RECIPE FAQs

What’s the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie?

Traditionally, cottage pie is made with ground beef while shepherd’s pie uses ground lamb. You will often find the term used interchangeably now.

Can I make shepherd’s pie ahead of time and freeze it before serving?

This is a great make-ahead dish. Prepare it, let cool, and then freeze it for up to two months. Reheat at 350°F for one hour.

Can I use instant mashed potatoes in this recipe?

If you are looking to save time on this recipe, instant mashed potatoes will work just as well.

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close up shot of a slice of Shepherd's Pie on a plate

Shepherd’s Pie

4.98 from 42 votes
Simple and delicious, your family will love this shepherd’s pie. It’s a baked dish, complete with layers of flavorful ground beef, vegetables, and home-style mashed potatoes.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

Mashed Potato Topping

  • 2 pounds potatoes peeled and cut into big chunks
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ to ½ cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Filling

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups frozen peas, carrots, and corn medley
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Boil the potatoes in water to cover until fork tender and then drain the water.
  • Add the butter, sour cream, milk, salt, and pepper to taste and mash the potatoes with a hand masher or mixer until you reach your favorite mashed potato consistency. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet brown the ground beef along with the onions and garlic. Drain any excess grease.
  • To the same skillet add 2 cups of the frozen vegetables. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the meat and veggies and stir to mix.
  • Add the tomato paste and stir to mix it in.
  • Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf.
  • Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, adding additional broth if necessary to prevent the meat from drying out.
  • Remove from heat. Spread the meat mixture in an even layer in a 9×13 dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Make sure to remove the bay leaf before adding the mixture to the 9×13 dish.
  • Top the meat with the mashed potatoes making an even layer of potatoes. You can get all fancy and pipe the potatoes onto the meat or you can use a spoon and spread the potatoes evenly and then use a fork to make designs and ridges in the potatoes. These little ridges will brown nicely!
  • Place the dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until brown and bubbly. You can place it under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the potatoes more if necessary.

Video

Notes

TIP: To help keep the mashed potatoes from sinking, allow the meat filling to cool in the casserole dish for about 20 minutes before layering the potatoes on.
TIP: You can get all fancy and pipe the potatoes onto the meat or you can use a spoon and spread the potatoes evenly and then use a fork to make designs and ridges in the potatoes.

Nutrition

Sodium: 163mg | Calcium: 63mg | Vitamin C: 24mg | Vitamin A: 432IU | Sugar: 3g | Fiber: 4g | Potassium: 636mg | Cholesterol: 48mg | Calories: 261kcal | Saturated Fat: 7g | Fat: 15g | Protein: 13g | Carbohydrates: 19g | Iron: 4mg
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  1. Patricia says

    5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was great. My husband has talked about Shepherd’s Pie for years so when I came across you recipe, I had to try it. Instead of frozen, I used a bunch of fresh vegetables that I needed to use up. I added carrots, broccoli, yellow squash and mushrooms. I really appreciated the tips you provided. I added bacon as the topping and broiled it for a minute to brown the topping a bit. I’ve never eaten Shepard’s Pie before and it was delicious! Thank you for giving me a great meal!

  2. Lisa says

    I followed the recipe item for item except had to google substitute for tomato paste which was ketchup lol still turned out fabulous. This is a keeper and also
    Reminds me of family cooks now passed on too thank you

  3. Connee Sheckler says

    5 stars
    Surprised my hubby with this recipe tonight. Absolutely fabulous. I microwaved the bacon and poured its grease into the pan to heat the frozen vegetables as you suggested. Also, added the cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon on top. We each had two helpings. BRAVO!!!!

  4. Mike says

    Great recipe!.. I always omit the mixed vegetable mix on top of the meat and add a can of cream style corn and thin layer of frozen corn and thin layer of peas. Then a sprinkle of shredded cheddar or Montery Jack Cheese. Then the mashed potatoes. On top of the mashed potatoes small portions of butter (about 6 total). This leaves a moist creamy enter to the dish…. Great either way…

  5. Pam says

    I made this for our Christmas Eve dinner. It was DELISH, festive, and oh soo good! Thanks for the recipe!
    (I made a beef broth gravy to put on top) but otherwise followed recipe exactly. Family Favorite!

  6. Anna says

    Made this tonight, and everyone cleaned their plates! Thanks for sharing your recipe! I added fresh carrots, celery, and mushrroms. Also used fresh herbs instead of dry. Sprinked a little but of sharp white cheddar cheese on top during last 10 mins of baking, then broiled til golden brown. Topped with fresh parsley. Also, took your advise and made a gravy from the beef and vegetable fond. They were both
    de-lious!

  7. Mary Linn says

    Delicious Shepherd’s Pie! Hubby & son said this was the best recipe for Shepherd’s pie that I’ve made yet, definitely a keeper. Quick & easy too. Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Jen says

    5 stars
    This recipe was out of this world amazingly delicious. I made it with the recipe for Garlic Mashed from Kleinworthworthco. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  9. noriegal65 says

    I followed recipe except when I added meat mixture to baking dish I topped with grated cheddar cheese and then delicately applied the mashed potatoes on top.

  10. Rhonda says

    Can this be made ahead of time and frozen then baked at a later date? If so, do I thaw before placing in the oven to bake? Thank you.

    • Layne Kangas says

      Hey, Rhonda – shepherd’s pie is a great freezer meal! After baking, let your dish cool to room temperature, then cover tightly with foil and place in the freezer for up to two months.TO REHEAT: Place inside an oven, still covered in foil for one hour at 350 degrees.

  11. GrammaSue says

    5 stars
    Hi, Layne ! First of all I love your sweet name. I made this Sherherd’s Pie on Monday and it was outstanding. I only made a cpl of small changes: No sour cream in the mashed potates only bc my hubby doesn’t like it; no rosemary… just fresh Thyme leaf chopped; no tomato paste only bc we prefer it without tomato paste and I used fresh carrots, celery, corn off the cob, and frozen peas. I did have some roast beef gravy I saved in the freezer from a chuck roast I made the week before so I used that with some “better than beef bouillion paste” and water. It worked just fine. My husband said it was the best SP I ever made. thank you so much.

  12. Heidi says

    5 stars
    My husband has been asking me to make Shepherd’s Pie and this is the recipe I made – he is a fan so we will be adding this to our recipe list – thank you! I’ll probably double the recipe next time and freeze the extras. Question: Can you expand on your reheating instructions please? i.e. When reheating a frozen SP do I put it frozen in the oven and let the oven slowly reach 350 or do I put it in a preheated oven at 350 degrees? Please and thank you.

  13. Dana says

    5 stars
    This was one of the best recipes I’ve ever made! Great directions! Pictures were so helpful! I will absolutely make this again!! Thank you for such a well thought out and explained recipe!! Delicious!

  14. Momma Bush says

    5 stars
    Great recipe…Spiced perfectly! The flavor of the dish was awesome.
    Not a fan of frozen vegetable medley. We used Gold & White corn, diced celery, carrots, white onion… we also used a mixture of ground beef & pork… and before we topped it off with Simply Potatoes Original Mashed we layered baby peas across the meat mixture. Let it sit in pan ten minutes before serving.

  15. Connee Sheckler says

    5 stars
    The tastiest recipe I have ever found on the internet. I think the secret is the sautee of the frozen vegetables in the skillet after the ground beef, onion and garlic have been removed. Absolutely perfection.

  16. Rebecca P says

    5 stars
    Made last night as is except didnt have any potatoes at home so just used 2 packs of instant mashed potatoes. Turned out delicious! Thank you

  17. Winny Bloch says

    5 stars
    Thank you for sharing. My husband loves it and at family gatherings I make this recipe for 20 people, exactly according to the recipe. Everyone loves it! The best recipe 😋

    • Layne Kangas says

      Hi, Michelle – here are our suggestions – enjoy!

      IN THE FRIDGE: You can pre-make this recipe one day before and leave it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook. Likewise, if you have leftovers after cooking they can be stored covered in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

      IN THE FREEZER: To freeze, let your dish cool to room temperature after baking, then cover it tightly with foil and place in the freezer for up to two months. To reheat, place in the oven, still covered, for one hour at 350 degrees.

  18. Mary says

    5 stars
    Real Shepherds Pie in Ireland is made with ground lamb. Use Guinness Dark Stout beer instead of beef broth. I only use peas snd carrots, no corn. All the other ingredients are spot on. This is how I make it and it is yummy!!

  19. Maggie says

    5 stars
    I had a left over pork roast from yesterday’s dinner and decided to use it for this recipe. It turned out absolutely delicious. I had leftover grated cheddar which I added to my mashed potatoes as well. With the meat already cooked it was easy peasy.

  20. Robert Souva says

    Gonna try this, but thinking if doing the mashed potatoes with Velveeta. That or possibly sprinkling shredded cheddar cheese over the meat before layering the potatoes.

  21. SJP says

    5 stars
    So delicious! I make a double recipe every time so I can freeze some of it. Tastes just as good after being frozen. This recipe is now a regular at my house! (I do thaw the frozen pie in the microwave before heating in the oven.)

  22. Monica says

    5 stars
    I didn’t have any tomato paste so I used about 1/2 can of tomato sauce. Also, I didn’t have any Worcestershire sauce so I just left it out. Definitely wouldn’t put more than the recommended tsp or rosemary. That amount or a little less was perfect. This recipe is soooo good!!

  23. Cassid says

    5 stars
    Yum! This is a great recipe! I used instant potatoes for the topping since I had some I needed to use up, and it tasted really great even with instant potatoes. I’ll definitely be making this one again!

  24. Annetta says

    4 stars
    I’ve been making a different version of Shepard’s pie for many years. We really liked this one better. It has a good hearty texture and the flavors from the seasoning are subtle yet very good.
    Great hearty comfort meal.

  25. Jeanne says

    5 stars
    This is our go-to recipe. To make it even faster on a busy night I use store bought mashed with a bag of frozen veggies and whip up some beer bread or biscuits. Perfect dinner every time!

  26. Cheryl B says

    5 stars
    This is SO delicious and flavorful while still being economical and simple to make! It’s a new favorite and is going to be my go-to shepherd’s pie recipe. The only thing I changed was adding only a half teaspoon of rosemary.

    • Angela says

      5 stars
      I also only added 1/2 teaspoon rosemary. Our family doesn’t like a lot of herbs & spices in our food.

  27. Janet Highfill says

    5 stars
    I’ve made shepherds pie for decades. This is one of the best.
    Since I have a little Julia in me, I always add about an eighth to a forth cup of sherry.
    Pops the flavor right out

  28. Lindsay says

    5 stars
    Excellent! I looked for a recipe that called for the ingredients I had on hand. This was a great find! Loved the seasonings. I’ll for sure make it again!!

  29. Heather says

    5 stars
    Delicious! Omitted peas and rosemary for my family’s taste. Used broth instead of milk and sprinkled on shredded cheddar cheese at last 5 minutes of baking time. Thanks for a great recipe!

  30. Ethel Foster says

    My Mom made it with left overs from the fridge, I still make it this way. It’s a good way to use up the left overs. Any left over meat will work same with left over veggies and mashed potatoes

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