Shepherd’s Pie

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Shepherd’s Pie features ground beef and veggies topped with creamy mashed potatoes, then baked until golden brown. It’s a cozy, comforting dish that’s surprisingly easy to make – and great for making in advance.

A serving of shepherd's pie on a plate

Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

This shepherd’s pie (aka cottage pie) recipe is made with ground beef in a simple gravy with mixed vegetables, all topped with fluffy mashed potatoes. I add sour cream, heavy cream, and butter for extra creamy, fluffy mashed potatoes.

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It’s the perfect recipe when you’re craving some hearty comfort food and with meat, veggies, and potatoes in one dish, it makes a complete meal on its own.

Shepherd's pie in a baking dish

Why You’ll Love This Cozy Casserole

Here are a few reasons this cottage pie has become a family favorite.

  • Easy to make. There’s nothing difficult about this recipe, which makes it an easy dinner idea for any cook.
  • Cozy and comforting. Shepherd’s pie is definitely a meat-on-the-bones casserole. It’s the perfect dish for a cool evening or when you’re craving some comfort food.
  • Great for making in advance. Shepherd’s pie can easily be assembled in advance and the leftovers are super tasty too.

What Is Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s pie is a casserole dish that originated in Ireland and the UK, made with a mixture of ground beef and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes. It’s a hearty meat-on-your-bones dish.

What is the Difference Between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie?

Traditionally, shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb while cottage pie is made with ground beef. However, at this point – and especially in the US – the two are used interchangeably.

Shepherd's pie ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

All of the ingredients in this shepherd’s pie recipe are easy to find. See the recipe card below for measurements.

For the mashed potatoes:

  • Potatoes – I used yellow potatoes but russet potatoes will work too.
  • Salt
  • Butter – Adds a rich, savory flavor to the mashed potatoes.
  • Heavy cream – Adds a richness to the potatoes.
  • Sour cream – Adds a slightly tangy undertone to the potatoes.
  • Parmesan cheese – Freshly shredded parmesan is best.

For the beef and vegetable mixture:

  • Olive oil – For sautéing the ground beef.
  • Ground beef – You can also use ground lamb, ground turkey or a combination.
  • Onions & garlic – Aromatics for added flavor.
  • Red wine – Helps deglaze the pan.
  • Worcestershire sauce – Adds a savory flavor to the ground meat.
  • Salt & pepper
  • Tomato paste – Adds a rich tomato flavor to the mixture.
  • Fresh thyme – 1 Teaspoon of dried thyme can be used in place of the fresh thyme.
  • All-purpose flour – Helps to thicken the sauce.
  • Beef broth
  • Frozen mixed vegetables – peas, carrots, corn, green beans, etc…

How to Make Shepherd’s Pie

Making shepherd’s pie is easier than you may think. Here’s how to make this cozy comfort food.

  • Make the mashed potatoes. Bring the potatoes to a boil in a large stock pot. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes. Drain and mash. Stir in the salt, butter, heavy cream, sour cream, and parmesan. Cover and set aside.
  • Cook the ground beef. Heat a skillet over high. Cook the ground beef in the olive oil, breaking apart while cooking. Cook until browned, then add the onion and garlic. Stir to combine, cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onion has softened. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits from the pan.
  • Add the remaining ingredients. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, salt and pepper, fresh thyme, and flour. Stir to combine, add the beef stock, and simmer. Simmer until the sauce reduces by about half. Remove from heat and stir in the mixed vegetables.
  • Assemble the casserole. Spread the beef and vegetable mixture in the baking dish in an even layer. Top with an even layer of mashed potatoes. Use a spoon to “rough up” the potatoes to create a texture. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of parmesan.
  • Bake. Bake for 25 minutes, then place under high broiler for 1-2 minutes until the top is golden and crispy.
  • Cool and enjoy. Cool on a cooking rack for 25 minutes then enjoy.
Shepherd's Pie on a plate

Tips & Variations

Here are a few tip and variations for this easy shepherd’s pie recipe.

  • Try it with lamb. To make this a traditional Irish shepherd’s pie, you can swap the ground beef for ground lamb. You can also do a 50/50 blend of beef and lamb.
  • Replace the mashed potatoes. Feel free to try this with mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes.
  • Use leftover mashed potatoes. Leftover mashed potatoes make a great base for the potato topping, though you’ll still want to add the other ingredients if they weren’t in the original potatoes.
  • Cool before slicing. Give the shepherd’s pie 25 minutes to cool before slicing, so the ingredients have time to settle and the pie is easier to cut.
Shepherd's pie with a serving missing

Can Shepherd’s Pie Be Prepared In Advance?

Yes, you can assemble shepherd’s pie in advance. Prepare and assemble as directed, then cover and refrigerate for up to a day. Allow to sit on the counter for 30 minutes to come to room temperature then bake as directed.

A wooden spoon in a dish of cottage pie

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

  • Fridge. Store leftovers in the refrigerator by covering them tightly with plastic wrap or foil and storing the baking dish in the refrigerator.
  • Reheat. Reheat in the oven, covered with foil in a preheated oven at 350℉ for 25-30 minutes.

More Casserole Recipes

Shepherd's Pie Feature
5 from 5 votes

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie features ground beef and veggies topped with creamy mashed potatoes, then baked until golden brown. It's a cozy, comforting dish that's surprisingly easy to make – and great for making in advance.
Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 5 minutes
Rest Time: 25 minutes
Total: 1 hour 45 minutes


For the mashed potatoes:

  • 2 Pounds Yellow Potatoes Peeled
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Stick Butter Melted
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Sour Cream
  • 3/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

For the beef and vegetable mixture:

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2.25 Pounds Ground Beef 80/20
  • 1 Medium Onion Diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 Cup Red Wine
  • 3 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped Thyme
  • 4 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups Beef Stock
  • 1 1/2 Cups Frozen Mixed Vegetables


For the mashed potatoes:

  • Add potatoes to a large stock pot and cover with water, bring to a boil. Once the potatoes are boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until a knife doesn’t meet resistance when inserted.
  • Drain the potatoes and pass through a potato ricer or mash with a potato masher.
  • Stir in the salt, melted butter, heavy cream, sour cream and grated parmesan. Cover and set a side.

For the beef and vegetable mixture:

  • Preheat the oven to 425℉ (220℃) and prepare a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Heat a large non-stick skillet over high. When hot, add the olive oil and ground beef, break apart while cooking. Cook until browned and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.
  • To the pan, add the onion and garlic. Stir to combine, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the onion has begun to soften. Add in the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
  • Stir in worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, salt, black pepper, fresh thyme and flour. Cook and stir until well combined. Pour in the beef stock, stir and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium low, and simmer until the sauce reduces by about half, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from heat and stir in the mixed vegetables. Add the beef and vegetable mixture to the prepared baking dish. Smooth into an even layer. Spoon the mashed potatoes over top and spread into an even layer. Use a spoon or small rubber spatula to “rough up” the top of the potatoes. This creates a texture that will crisp up in the oven as it bakes. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese over top of the mashed potatoes.
  • Place the baking dish on a sheet tray and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, move the dish under a high broiler for 1-2 minutes or until the top is golden and crispy.
  • Allow the shepards pie to cool on a cooking rack for at least 25 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!.

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Calories: 840kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 1484mg | Potassium: 1604mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2908IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 225mg | Iron: 6mg


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6 comments on “Shepherd’s Pie”

  1. Michael Schneider

    5 stars
    Great recipe, however this is cottage pie, not shepherds pie. Shepherds pie is made with lamb. Cottage or poor mans pie is made with ground beef.

  2. 5 stars
    It was just as you said, “Cozy comfort food”. A wonderful blend of ingredients. I was wishing there was more of the topping left on the spoon. I will definitely be making this again. I have told many of my friends about your recipe page. Thank you for sharing with those of us who like cooking but don’t do so well on our own unless we have a great recipe!

  3. Ella Grieve-Bell

    I am anxious to try it. I also copied your Peanut Butter Balls recipe. It sounds so good! Thank you for sharing your recipes.