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.
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.
- 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.
- Cook the garlic for a minute.
- Add flour and tomato paste.
- Add beef broth, frozen mixed peas and carrots, and frozen corn kernels.
- Simmer the meat gravy until it is thick.
- Boil some peeled and chopped potatoes until they are soft.
- Drain the potatoes
- Add butter, half & half, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Mash the potatoes until smooth.
- Pour the meat mixture into a casserole dish.
- Top it with the cheesy mashed potatoes.
- Bake until the meat is bubbling and the potatoes are golden.
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.
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
- Deviled Eggs
- Roasted Broccoli from Skinnytaste
- The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Watch the Video for the Best Classic Shepherd’s Pie Below.
Find more of my recipes on TikTok
Best Classic Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
- 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
- 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.
Check out all of my great ground beef recipes.
Made this tonight definite keeper!! Really good.
Delicious! I will say, as others have pointed out, make sure you start the potato filling before the meat! But overall, it was a perfect St. Patrick’s Day dinner and my family asked me to make it again next week!
Can I freeze what’s left over?
This was amazing!! So glad I have we leftovers!!
We both over ate and did not regret it at all. Wonderful recipe!
I actually made this more of a vegan type dish for Lent using Beyond Beef. It was wonderful! We couldn’t get over how flavorful it was and if I didn’t say anything, no one would have known that I didn’t use ground beef.
This one’s a keeper.
Made some freestyle changes to suit personal taste, however; hands down this si the best shepherds pie recipe I have ever found.
FYI – personal taste changes were fresh herbs, and 4 garlic cloves boiled and mashed with the potatoes and individual serving dishes prepared and baked.
5 stars! This is in our regular meal rotation. I usually serve it with warm bread. Dried thyme isn’t my favorite so I usually cut that in half but that’s just a personal preference. Id also suggest peeling and putting the potatoes on the boil before starting the meat.
Wow!!!!!!! Made this today.. it came out great. My family loved it. It’s a keeper. Thank you
Just made this for the first time and it will DEFINITELY be my go-to recipe for Shepherds Pie from here on out! I don’t eat ground beef or lamb, so I used ground Turkey, I used Yukon gold potatoes instead of russets, and I used a concentrated beef broth to amp up the flavor. It was phenomenal! Huz and teenager loved it, too.
10/10 would recommend!
Excellent! Don’t like frozen veg. Used canned-
VegAll and Summer Crisp Corn. Used Bob Evans original mashed potatoes. ( No energy to make homemade. ) We loved it!! Sauce is so flavorful and delicious! Thank you! Husband already asking to have again.
Fantastic! I made a double batch and used Wagyu ground beef. I procrastinated and didn’t have time to go to the store to get the frozen veggies. I found a way to use my canned veggies without turning them to mush. I let the meat mixture cool and added the cold canned veggies right before assembling casserole. Worked out great. Didn’t have time to make the potatoes from scratch so I used 3 packets of the Idahoan Roasted Garlic variety of instant mashed potatoes according to direction. My parm cheese wasn’t any good so I substituted Pecorino Romano, just not as much due to its stronger and saltier flavor. It turned out great and the substitutions worked. As it happened, someone else used this recipe, minus the corn, and they both had a very similar taste. Delicious!
i am assuming 350 degrees for the oven? It doesn’t say anywhere.
It’s does say 400 preheated oven
Step 6: Set the meat mixture aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Great recipe! Easy to follow. Came out amazing!
First time we ever had Shepherds pie. This recipe is spectacular. My husband said it is one of the best meals he has ever had. Amazing!!! Thank you for sharing your recipe.
Absolutely the best! Served this to my bunco group and they loved it!!
This is one of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted. Perfectly balanced flavors, texture, etc. I do double the peas and carrots because that’s what’s in the package.
Delicious! I substituted the beef broth and flour for a jar of beef gravy.
This recipe is a keeper! Our family of 4 all loved it! The mix of spices made this so delicious and I love the simple ingredients. I now make double it and freeze half… it gives us two family dinner plus a couple of extra servings 🙂
I really enjoyed it. Not exactly the flavoring i was expecting, i think it was the rosemary. I also opted out of the corn, just because i was going for more of the basic recipe. Im definitely open to adding corn next time! Thanks
Excellent recipe. Only real adjustment I’ve made is to up the herbs by like 25%, and to add more salt and pepper to the beef.
When the pie is almost done baking, turn up the heat by 20-30 degrees and run a pad of butter over the top. Let it crisp up. Gives a beautiful brown fringe to the pie.
I always double this. My family and I think this is the best recipe for shepherds pie!!