The Best Classic Shepherd’s Pie

Rate Now
Jump to RecipeJump to VideoPrint Recipe

The Best Classic Shepherd’s Pie – AKA Shepards Pie or Cottage Pie. Ground Beef (or lamb) with vegetables in a rich gravy, topped with cheesy mashed potatoes, and baked.

Classic Shepards Pie on a plate

Shepherd’s Pie

So, this is how you spell it:  Shepherd’s Pie.  But, from doing a quick google search, it came to my attention that TONS of people think it’s Shepards Pie.

Irish Shepherd’s Pie

Traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie would actually call for ground lamb.  The difference between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie is the meat.  Cottage Pie uses ground beef, while Shepherd’s Pie uses ground lamb.

I called this recipe Shepherd’s Pie.  But, I wrote the recipe so that you could use ground beef or ground lamb.

I typically use ground beef because it is widely available.  But, for a special occasion, like St. Patricks day, I would use ground lamb.

How To Make Shepherd’s Pie

(Note – The full printable recipe is at the bottom of this post)

  • Sauté some chopped onions in olive oil.
  • Add ground beef or ground lamb.

Skillet full of sautéed onions and ground beef for The Best Classic Shepards Pie Recipe

  • Add dried parsley, dried thyme, dried rosemary, salt, and pepper.
  • Stir and cook the meat mixture until the meat is browned.
  • Add minced garlic and Worcestershire sauce.

Adding minced garlic and worcestershire sauce to a skillet of ground lamb and chopped onions for The Best Classic Shepherd's Pie Recipe

  • Cook the garlic for a minute.
  • Add flour and tomato paste.

Adding flour and tomato paste to a skillet full of ground beef and onions for Easy Shepherd's Pie

  • Add beef broth, frozen mixed peas and carrots, and frozen corn kernels.
  • Simmer the meat gravy until it is thick.

Skillet full of the seasoned meat and vegetable gravy for Irish Shepherd's Pie

  • Boil some peeled and chopped potatoes until they are soft.
  • Drain the potatoes

Pot of boiling potatoes for homemade Shepards Pie

  • Add butter, half & half, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Mash the potatoes until smooth.

Mashing cooked potatoes in a pot with butter, half & half, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper for Classic Shepherd's Pie

  • Pour the meat mixture into a casserole dish.
  • Top it with the cheesy mashed potatoes.

A casserole dish with Cottage Pie beef on the bottom and parmesan mashed potatoes being spread on top

  • Bake until the meat is bubbling and the potatoes are golden.

A baked casserole dish of homemade Shepherd's pie

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Making the best Shepherd’s Pie is not difficult.  But, there are a few steps to it.  You have to make the meat mixture, the mashed potatoes, assemble the casserole, and bake it.

I find that the easiest way to make this dish is to work ahead.  You could make the beef or lamb mixture ahead of time.  Or, you could make the mashed potatoes ahead of time.

Piece of Shepards pie on a plate with layers of mashed potatoes and meat gravy with peas, carrots, onions, and corn

You could also make the whole recipe ahead of time.  Just assemble the casserole, cover the dish, and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake it.  I find it is best to bake it within 3 days of preparing it.

When you are ready to bake it, take it out of the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before you need to bake it to let it start coming to room temperature.  Uncover it, and bake.

What to serve with The Best Shepherd’s Pie

Watch the Video for the Best Classic Shepherd’s Pie Below.

Find more of my recipes on TikTok

A piece of the best shepherd's pie on a plate with layers of cottage pie beef and vegetable gravy topped with parmesan cheese mashed potatoes

Best Classic Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

4.98 from 1090 votes
The Best Classic Shepherd's Pie - AKA Shepards Pie or Cottage Pie. Ground Beef (or lamb) with vegetables in a rich gravy, topped with cheesy mashed potatoes and baked.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Video

Servings 6 servings
Calories 400 kcal

Ingredients
 

Meat Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 lb. 90% lean ground beef -or ground lamb
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves -minced
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup frozen mixed peas & carrots*
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels

Potato Topping:

  • 1 ½ - 2 lb. russet potatoes -about 2 large potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter -1 stick
  • 1/3 cup half & half
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Instructions

Make the Meat Filling.

  • Add the oil to a large skillet and place it over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the onions. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the ground beef (or ground lamb) to the skillet and break it apart with a wooden spoon. Add the parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, and and pepper. Stir well. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until the meat is browned, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the flour and tomato paste. Stir until well incorporated and no clumps of tomato paste remain.
  • Add the broth, frozen peas and carrots, and frozen corn. Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Set the meat mixture aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Make the potato topping.

  • Place the potatoes in a large pot. Cover the potatoes with water. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are fork tender, 10-15 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes in a colander. Return the potatoes to the hot pot. Let the potatoes rest in the hot pot for 1 minute to evaporate any remaining liquid.
  • Add butter, half & half, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mash the potatoes and stir until all the ingredients are mixed together.
  • Add the parmesan cheese to the potatoes. Stir until well combined.

Assemble the casserole.

  • Pour the meat mixture into a 9x9 (or 7x11) inch baking dish. Spread it out into an even layer. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top of the meat. Carefully spread into an even layer.
  • If the baking dish looks very full, place it on a rimmed baking sheet so that the filling doesn’t bubble over into your oven. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.** Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

*If you can’t find frozen mixed peas and carrots, you could use ½ cup frozen peas and ½ cup frozen sliced carrots.
**Bake at 400° F.  Start preheating the oven after you make the meat mixture (listed in step 6).

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6th of the recipe | Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 751mg | Potassium: 483mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2860IU | Vitamin C: 7.9mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 2.7mg
Course Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Keyword Classic shepherd's pie, How to make shepherd's pie, Shepherd's Pie Recipe
Cuisine American, Irish
Author Amanda Finks

Check out all of my great ground beef recipes.

Want more recipes?
Sign up here to have new recipes sent directly to your inbox.
newsletter signup

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Outstanding flavor. A bit of prep time (think like lasagna) but well worth the effort. Used ground lamb and it was so flavorful. Will make again.

  2. 5 stars
    First time ever leaving a comment/rating on a recipe. This was SO SO GOOD! I didn’t grow up with Shepherd’s Pie, but liked it the few times when I had it elsewhere (always with beef). That is, until I was grown – now they all seemed rather lackluster. But I wanted to try again for St. Patrick’s Day, and this one looked promising. It did not disappoint – it was the perfect balance of flavors, even for someone who doesn’t always like lamb!

    3 modifications: I drained the fat from my lamb/onions after cooking, used canned carrots because I don’t like frozen ones, and used vegetable broth, because I didn’t have beef. Otherwise, I followed the recipe to a tee!

  3. 5 stars
    I followed the recipe except for a few mods and it came out PERFECT! This was my first time making Shepard’s Pie and I was a little intimidated, but it was beyond a success!

    I only made a few small modifications bc it was all I had on hand:

    substituted ketchup for tomato paste

    canned corn for frozen

    for potatoes I used instant (1 packet of Idahoan) but used 2 cups milk instead of water to make potato mix
    added 3 tbsp butter
    doubled the parmesan (all to enhance flavor of instant potatoes)
    still used 1/3 half and half and spices

    Thank you Amanda for an AMAZING recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve never had Shepherds Pie before but wanted to make something Irish for St. Paddy’s Day. I had asked several friends about it and they raved about the dish. So I decided I’d find a recipe… and here I am with a review.

    So, I prepped everything as written but after doing a taste of the meat mixture I added 1 tsp of red pepper flakes (we like spicy stuff) & doubled the garlic. I also added a bit of white cheddar to the top of the mashed potatoes and broiled the last 5 minutes to crisp them a bit.

    Definitely going into our winter rotation! Thanks for the recipe.

    ** Side Note**
    My husband saw the meat mix (while it was resting on the counter waiting for the potatoes) and made a disgusted face and asked why I was even trying a new recipe. I have to admit it didn’t smell or look pretty. However, when dinner was served, hubs took an unusually small portion… Then went back for seconds… Then stated, “I could eat the whole pan.”

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe was amazing. I used ground lamb for the first time ever (on sale today for St. Patty’s Day.). Made a few changes to reduce fat: only used half a stick of butter in the potatoes and also used fat free half n half. Completely delicious and my husband and I both loved it! Highly recommended.

    1. I forgot to mention that i also subbed 1;1 gluten free flout and used GF Worcestershire sauce, so that the whole meal was gluten free! Awesome.

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe was awesome! I put a bay leaf in when I browned the meat and used demi glace with my beef broth. My husband was licking his plate 😛

  7. 4 stars
    I really enjoyed this but I would decrease the rosemary and thyme to 1/4 tsp. Definitely a keeper.

  8. This dish was fabulous! My family definitely wants me to make this again. (I used ground beef) It’s a winner!

  9. I made this today for St. Patrick’s Day. Replaced the potatoes with cauliflower and everybody LOVED it!!
    Thank you ❤

  10. 5 stars
    Delicious! I only used 1/2 the butter for the potato mixture just to cut a few calories and it was still delicious!

About Amanda Finks

I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Zionsville, IN. I’m an avid cook, travel nerd, & lover of good food! I’m trained in Food Science & recipe development. It’s my mission to bring you the BEST recipes your whole family will love!

Read more