Skip to Content

Shepherd’s Pie

Sharing is caring!

When it comes to comfort food casseroles, this Shepherd’s Pie is my all time favorite meal.  Kid friendly, packed with protein and vegetables and tons of flavor!  Whip up two and freeze one for later!


Growing up Shepherd’s Pie was my all time favorite meal.  Whenever my mom would make it, I would have seconds.

Feeding a family of 7 was never an easy task and every meal had one or two ingredients that someone didn’t like.  

Cue my mom’s genius hack!  She’d make a deconstructed Shepherds pie bar.  Mashed Potatoes in one bowl, Ground beef in a yummy sauce in a second bowl, veggies in a third – always separated, and cheese in a 4th bowl.  

Because everything was already cooked, we could design our own Shepherd’s pie how we liked it and enjoy!  Like corn but not peas, done!  Not a fan of carrots, don’t add them!  Seriously such a great way to enjoy my favorite meal as a kid.  Now days, I’ve created my own version of this recipe and absolutely love it all together, bubbly and fresh from the oven.  Luckily so do my kids!

Because of this, Shepherd’s Pie, or Cottage Pie as some call it, is a regular item on our dinner rotation.  Easy, freezer friendly and reheats well as leftovers! 



What is Shepherd’s Pie? 

Shepherd’s Pie is a casserole that is traditionally made with ground lamb. It is a warm and cozy combo of meat, carrots, peas, and potatoes all cooked in a yummy sauce. The real trick to a good Shepherd’s Pie is all in the balance of seasonings and sauce.  

In the United States, ground lamb isn’t a common item.  So here, we use ground beef.  



Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie, what’s the difference? 

Cottage Pie vs. Shepherd’s Pie comes down to the meat inside. Cottage Pie is the same basic steps and process as Shepherd’s Pie. However, instead of using ground lamb, you are using ground beef! Technically, the Shepherd’s Pie recipe I’m sharing is in fact Cottage Pie because it calls for ground beef.  



How do you make a Shepherd’s Pie recipe? 

This meal is super quick to make and comes together to create an impressive dish. Here’s what to do in just a few steps: 

  • Whip up those potatoes!  One of the key ingredients is mashed potatoes. Whether that means premade or homemade is up to you.
  • Meat and Veggies – This is definitely an all in one meal.  Cook them up and get them ready to bake!
  • Assemble your casserole – layer your meat and veggies, cheese and then potatoes.  Feel free to add more cheese on top if you wish.  
  • Bake it – Now it’s time to bake your casserole to allow all your flavors to come together perfectly!  NUM!



How to make crust for Shepherd’s Pie: 

This cottage pie, or Shepherd’s pie, does not call for a crust! The delightful casserole recipe means it is not actually a pie.  instead, we’ll call it a crustless pie with the meat and veggies layered beneath a decadent layer of mashed potatoes (with some cheese on top)! There’s no need to prepare a crust here. 



What to serve with the best Shepherd’s Pie: 

Because Cottage Pie is a hearty dish, you don’t necessarily need to serve it up alongside anything too heavy. Some of my favorites to pair it with are: 



Can I make Shepherd’s Pie ahead of time? 

Absolutely! This is the best Shepherd’s pie recipe to make ahead of time. You can prepare it up to a day in advance. Just follow each step, and cover the pie in an airtight container. Take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking. 



Can you freeze Shepherd’s Pie? 

Absolutely! You can even prepare this Shepherd’s Pie recipe with the idea that it is going to be a freezer meal. If making this as a freezer meal, prepare as normal. Once assembled, cover with saran wrap or press n’ seal and then with heavy foil, sealing tight. Freeze up to 3 months. When ready to eat, bake in 350* oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the middle is cooked through.



How to store Shepherd’s Pie: 

After fully preparing your simple Shepherd’s pie or cottage pie, make sure it is in a sealed container and it’s good to go in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. 



How to reheat Shepherd’s Pie: 

I really love to keep the potatoes golden brown — so I recommend reheating large quantities of your Shepherd’s Pie in the oven again at 350* loosely covered with foil. If you’re just reheating some for yourself, the microwave works just fine!



More comforting casserole recipes: 

Pies are great comfort foods — and easy one dish meals. Here are a few more of my favorites: 



This is hands down our FAVORITE Shepherd’s Pie Recipe because it is loaded with veggies and ground beef. Everything is cooked together in a mouthwatering sauce, and topped with fluffy mashed potatoes.Pair it with a warm roll and some greens and you’re on your way to one of the most scrumptious meals ever. 


Yield: 6 servings

Shepherd’s Pie

zoomed in image of shepherds pie with spoon in dish.

When it comes to comfort food casseroles, this Shepherd's Pie is my all time favorite meal.  Kid friendly, packed with protein and vegetables and tons of flavor!  Whip up two and freeze one for later!

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, pealed and quartered (or use premade or leftover mashed potatoes)
  • 1 pound ground beef (or ground lamb)
  • 1/4 cup water + 2 cups water, divided
  • 1 small to medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 can Corn or Peas (or both!)
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 Tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat oven to 425*F.
  2. In a large pot, add potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
  3. While potatoes are cooking, In a deep skillet or dutch oven, over medium to medium high heat, cook ground beef, onion, and carrots. Drain off any excess fat.
  4. Add 1/4 cup water and tomato paste. Stir well.
  5. Add flour and stir well.
  6. Add Worcestershire sauce, stir well. Mixture will be thick and pasty.
  7. Slowly add 2 cups of water 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition, until all is incorporated.
  8. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Stir well.
  9. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, approximately 5 minutes.
  10. Add corn or peas and cook for 1 more minute.
  11. If skillet is deep enough, top beef mixture with cheese. If skillet is not deep enough, pour contents into a 9x13 casserole dish and top with cheese. Set aside.
  12. In a mixer or with a hand mixer, combine potatoes and butter and whip well. Add 1/2 cup of milk and continue mixing until smooth and creamy.
  13. Carefully spoon potatoes over cheesy ground beef mixture.
  14. Bake for 20 minutes or until top begins to golden slightly.
  15. Serve Immediately.


If making this as a freezer meal, prepare as normal. Once assembled, cover with saran wrap or press n' seal and then with heavy foil, sealing tight. Freeze up to 3 months. When ready to eat, bake in 350* oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until middle is cooked through.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 535Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 644mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 30g
Originally Posted: March 9, 2015

Photos & Text Updated: May 13, 2020 

Sharing is caring!

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


Friday 5th of March 2021

As i read all your lovely recipes I feel sad that the delicious true Traditional Shepherds Pie, as handed down through my German family,, is never written correctly,,, it always says “ground” Lamb or Beef, when correctly it is made with ground, “already cooked” left overs of the families Roast Lamb and Pickled boiled Lamb, (similar to Silverside), this meat is then minced and mixed with Tomato Sauce and Worcestershire Sauce, a pinch of seasoning and Black Pepper, - no vegies are added but it is topped with mashed potato, the pie then just heated in oven and placed under grill to brown potatoes nicely, it is delicious, served with boiled beans, carrots and cabbage,, —- but Cottage Pie is ground meat, “ to be cooked” , with lots vegies added from the Cottage Garden ,, as kids, we loved helping our German Grandma turn the mincer handle, with Grandma warning “dont put your fingers in it” — I hope this helps all the confusion of the difference between these beaut pies,, we need the term — “ground Roast Lamb” for Shepherds Pie,,, please ,,


Saturday 20th of March 2021

Hi Marion! Shepherd's Pie actually originated from Northern England and Scotland, though it has been adapted by many countries over the years. My version is the American version (hence the ground beef instead of ground lamb), which would be closer related to Cottage Pie in England. Yours sounds delicious, but as you say it's a German version of Shepherds Pie. This may be the reason you haven't seen your recipe on websites, because most are using the English version of Shepherd's Pie/Cottage Pie (with ground lamb or beef) or American versions (with ground beef) of the recipe like me. Thank you for your comment I'm sure many will find it interesting and helpful!


Thursday 20th of August 2020

One of my all time favorite comfort foods! So easy to make!


Thursday 20th of August 2020

This is one of my favorite comfort food dishes! It is easy to make and oh so satisfying!

Jessica Formicola

Tuesday 9th of June 2020

We made this for dinner last night and it was incredible! A total comfort food win that we will be making on a regular basis!

Claudia Lamascolo

Sunday 31st of May 2020

My son loves this shepherds pie he said its the best recipe I ever made so thank you will make it time and time again!


Sunday 30th of August 2020

Claudia when you find a recipe your child will happily eat, it's definitely a must keep recipe. So glad this recipe could be that for your son! Thanks for your comment!

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

Skip to Recipe