The Best Classic Shepherd’s Pie

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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.

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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 884 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.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe! I was looking for authentic Shepherds Pie, and this is it! I substituted a fresh carrot (diced very small) as I had none frozen, and used ground lamb as well as lamb bone broth (we make all our own broths). Excellent flavor, just like my Irish neighbor in Oxfordshire, England used to make for me when she was helping out my mom. Thanks for this!

  2. 5 stars
    Really delicious meal! One thing I had to change about my pie was the amount of mashed potato topping. I used four potatoes instead of two, and I actually ended up needing two more. Will be making this again!

    1. 5 stars
      Soo delicious! My husband and I give this a 5 star rating, even though I used packaged potato mix, and a healthy vegan margarine instead of butter and cheese. But the filling was so flavorful! (I also chopped a fresh carrot to replace the frozen, and it worked out fine.

    1. 5 stars
      Done it four times for home and did in christmas vegetarian for my son its just a brilliant recipe all the family enjoyed it.

  3. 5 stars
    absolutely delicious, well done to whoever made this recipe. I used strong cheddar instead of Parmesan

    1. 5 stars
      I’m making it for the second time now, I’ve followed the recipe exactly, it’s delicious and smells amazing.

  4. 5 stars
    Another great dish! This is my second time making it and it was just as good as the first. This will be added to my regular rotation 😊

  5. 5 stars
    My mother in law is almost 80years old and a great chef. She says this was the best she ever had. I won. Saving the recipe.

    1. 3 stars
      I absolutely loved everything about it except for the Thyme. I used 1/2 of what it called for and only one person in my family would eat it.

      Next time, no thyme. Otherwise it is great.

  6. 5 stars
    My first time making this
    Only thing I didn’t have was fresh herbs
    I just cooked meat added everything and used instant mashed potatoes. Everyone liked it Mext time I want to add fresh mushroom yum

  7. 5 stars
    Family loved it. Easy to make. I’ve made it using a pkg of instant potatoes and just as good

    1. 5 stars
      I made this recipe and had to triple the ingredients cuz I had alot more mince meat to use! It turned out awesome!
      Only thing that I did a little differently was I added a little sage and a little smoked Paprika but not alot! Everyone absolutely loved it!

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve made this several times now…don’t change a thing! Everyone loves it!! Very easy to put together and makes A LOT!! Thanks so much for the recipe!!

  9. 5 stars
    Simply delishious and quite easy to make! We have a household that doesn’t care for thyme, so used oregano instead, which worked very well!

  10. 5 stars
    My husband and I make Shepherd’s Pie together. He gets on browning the ground and I get on chopping onions and measuring everything else. This is our Go-To base Shepherd’s Pie recipe. We’ve made it at least ten times and it’s delicious, savory, comfort food every time. We use this seasoning blend and do little tweaks and variations to suit us. Tonight’s variation will be skin-on sweet potato mash instead of white potatoes, but we’ve also made it with ground turkey, Beyond Ground, bell peppers, spinach, mushrooms etc.. We love this recipe because It’s inexpensive, nutritious and one helluva way to elevate frozen peas & carrots. We can even fit this recipe into our Whole30 Nutrition Plan by simply eliminating the wheat flour. What’s not to love?

    1. 5 stars
      I agree with Crystal. Sweet potato mash topping is a delicious counterpoint to the gaminess of the lamb!

    1. 5 stars
      It’s absolutely amazing!!! I’ve made this recipe over and over again m. It always gets compliments when I get to share ❤️ Yummy!! Very easy to make 🤤

      1. 5 stars
        Can’t recommend this recipe more! From 92 year old mother in law to young grandchildren, it is a hit. This recipe keeps my med school grandson coming back for visits. And it’s sooo easy. Everyone says best shepherds pie ever.

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!

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