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 951 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


Servings 6 servings
Calories 400 kcal


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


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.


*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).


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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  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely LOVE this recipe! Listen, I do not enjoy cooking. It’s just not something that’s ever interested me, but I cook because I have to eat. This receipt was so straightforward and simple, there was no room in wording that make me question if I was doing it right. It was easy, pretty fast, and super tasty! Such comfort food, and you can even make a cute pattern on the top of your potatoes with a fork! Thank you for this recipe!!

  2. 4 stars
    This recipe was super easy to follow and prepare and eat! Personally just for next time I might only use 3/4 of a stick of the unsalted butter. Otherwise the flavors were delicious.

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe, I use lamb. Turns out perfect every time. Funny tho, each time the portion changes online (1x, 2x, 3x) you changed the poundage of the amout but each time it still says 2 large potatoes. That’s ok, I just eyeballed it anyway.

  4. 5 stars
    Love this recipe so much.

    For people with less time on their hands, 8oz idohoan buttery instant mashed potatoes are still super yummy! Added half the butter and half and half, same amount of spices and they turned out great.

  5. 5 stars
    Honestly, I’ve been making Sheperd’s pie for decades now, and always liked it, but never loved it — this is my new go to! This was absolutely incredible. I may not have measured precisely, and I subbed frozen veggies for fresh, but the addition of tomato paste and Worcestershire made this a win. Only thing missing – a link to pin this on Pinterest for easy saving!

  6. 4 stars
    I made this and everyone enjoyed it but I really think it needs a few modifications. The grease definitely needs to be drained off after browning because mine ended up too greasy. I had to mop grease off the top with a paper towel after baking. The dish was overly salty on the whole and the recipe for the mashed potatoe topping seemed a bit off. I couldn’t bring myself to add the whole amount of butter recommended and it also just seemed to be a thinner layer of potatoe than I usually see I’m a shepherd’s pie. But, on the whole, a pretty good recipe.

  7. 5 stars
    The whole family loved this dish! I didn’t have enough mashed potatoes so I added a layer of tater tots on top which were definitely a hit with the kids. Overall, great flavor and an easy dish to prepare.

  8. 5 stars
    This is by far the best tasting shepherd’s pie recipe I’ve ever had. It’s easy to prepare and even my picky eaters gobble it up!

  9. Is th measurement for the Worchestershire sauce 1 Tablespoon ? I look forward to making this and am concerned for 1 Tablespoon. Thanks and make it a good day.

  10. 5 stars
    Wow so delicious! I’ve always loved this meal but have never made it because my daughter and husband have had versions they hated…. Well they sure enjoyed this ! Thanks for an awesome recipe 👍🏻😀

    1. 5 stars
      This is the best Sheppard’s pie recipe I have tried in a very long time! Lots of flavor and creamy garlic & cheese potatoe topping. Yum!

    2. 5 stars
      This recipe is awesome! I followed the recipe except I didn’t have Worcestershire sauce (replaced with 2 tsp soy sauce and 1 tsp apple cider and red chili powder). I made it as Shepard’s pie and a deconstructed Shepard’s pie. The second time I added way more fresh carrots and frozen peas to get more veggies in my kids and the kids devoured it that I barely had enough food for me. This mashed recipe was phenomenal. Definitely, will include as part of the rotation!

  11. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner (drained the juices from the meat prior to adding Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste) and it was a hit. I had family over so I tripled the receipt so we can have leftovers. Didn’t have much leftovers 😂, everyone enjoyed. Definitely keeping this receipt. Thank you for sharing.

    1. 5 stars
      Hands down best shephards pie recipe I’ve tried yet. Little greesy but I’ll just cut back on the butter next time.

    2. 5 stars
      Great recipe! It was a hit! Make sure to have all of your ingredients ready to go for a dish like this so you’re not scrambling around the kitchen. I’d also recommend putting the potatoes on while you are cooking the meat to save time.

      I think I may use the potato recipe as a side dish in another meal because they are just so buttery and savory.

    3. 5 stars
      I did. I subbed things simply to use what I had on hand. Fresh carrots, frozen peas, canned corn and cheddar cheese. I switched tomato sauce for the paste, and simmered it down a little more. It was perfect consistency and delish. Everyone loved it! I’ll definitely make this again.

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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