Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

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Shepherd’s Pie is a traditional Irish dish made with ground lamb cooked with peas and carrots and topped with a mashed potato crust. Easy and tasty, all year round!

Shepherd's Pie with peas, carrots, mashed potatoes and cheese on a wood ladle

How to Make Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

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Shepherd’s Pie is a delicious combo of ground lamb that has been cooked with carrots, sweet green peas and corn. The lamb mixture is then topped with a crust of creamy mashed potatoes. You will love how easy and convenient this dish is.  It can be made a day in advance, which makes dinner prep easier. This recipe is so easy that you have to try it.  If you are not a fan of lamb, you can substitute it with beef, and it will still taste delicious.

What is Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s pie is a delicious casserole traditionally made with ground lamb.  Many people make this recipe with ground beef however, if you use ground beef it’s actually called Cottage Pie!  Either way, it’s a delicious crustless meat pie topped with mashed potato. The recipe can vary widely, but it is usually made with minced meat, cooked with onions, peas, celery, corn or carrots in a gravy.

Do you put cheese on top of Shepherd’s Pie?

Traditionally, a Shepherd’s Pie is not topped with cheese, but if you are an avid cheese lover, you can add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top of the mashed potatoes, and it will taste even better.

Shepherd's pie garnished with cheese and thyme on a white plate with a fork. Serving dish in the background

Tips on how to cook the Shepherd’s Pie:

  • You can use a mix of vegetables: I used sweet corn and sweet green peas, as well carrots. To make it even easier, you can buy a bag of mixed frozen veggies, thaw them and add them to this recipe.
  • To make this meat pie gluten-free, use gluten free flour, or mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water until fully combined and add this slurry instead of the flour.
  • You can use homemade mashed potatoes or if you are in a hurry, you can use store-bought mashed potatoes. I used this recipe for mashed potatoes.
  • The cheese on top is optional, but totally delicious.
  • The fresh herbs can be expensive, you can replace those with dried herbs.
  • You can prep and assemble the pie one day in advance and store it in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature 30 minutes before baking it.
  • To prevent the mashed potatoes from sinking, after you add the meat mixture, let it cool and then chill it in the fridge for 20 minutes – this will prevent the mashed potato crust sinking into it too much.
  • If your baking dish is very full, I recommend adding a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (or aluminum foil) under it in the oven to avoid any juices spilling in your oven.

Shepherd's Pie in a white serving dish with thyme garnish with a wooden spoon

Why is it called Shepherd’s Pie?

Originally a meat pie made with minced (or ground) meat and mashed potatoes was known as a Cottage Pie (and it was even sometimes made with pastry many years ago). It is very popular in Ireland, Scotland and England as well!   In the late 1800’s the pie was named Shepherd’s Pie if made with lamb (since the shepherd looked after the sheep) and if  made with beef it was called Cottage Pie.

Regardless of the name, this recipe is a classic Shepherd’s Pie recipe loaded with flavor and the perfect make ahead meal to serve all year long!

Shepherd's Pie with peas, carrots, mashed potatoes and cheese on a wood ladle
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes
Servings: 1 shepherd's pie, about 6 servings
Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Author: Catalina Castravet
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: irish
Keyword: Shepherd's Pie
Shepherd’s Pie is a traditional Irish dish made with ground lamb cooked with peas and carrots and topped with a mashed potato crust.
  • I used this recipe.
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth or beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves chopped
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen English peas
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese shredded (optional)
  1. Follow the recipe for directions or use store-bought mashed potatoes.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the meat filling.
  3. Add canola oil to a 12-inch sauté pan or cast iron pan set over medium high heat.
  4. Once the oil is hot add the chopped onion and carrots. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and stir to combine.
  6. Add the lamb and season it with salt and pepper. Break it with a wooden spoon and cook it until browned, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and cook for another minute.
  7. Add the tomato paste, chicken or beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, chopped rosemary and thyme and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
  8. Stir in the corn and peas into the lamb mixture.
  9. Spread the meat mixture evenly into an 11 by 7-inch baking dish. If you have time, let it come to room temperature, and chill for 20 minutes, this will prevent the mash potatoes from sinking into it too much.
  10. Top the meat mixture with the mashed potatoes, creating a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up. Smooth it with a rubber spatula and sprinkle with cheese if you are using it.
  11. Place baking dish on a parchment (or foil) lined sheet pan onto the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown.
  12. Remove to a cooling rack and let the Shepherd’s Pie rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes

*Nutritional Information calculated using 3 cups prepared mashed potatoes.

Nutrition Information

(Nutriton information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

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Shepherd's Pie is a traditional Irish dish made with ground lamb cooked with peas and carrots and topped with a mashed potato crust. Easy and tasty, all year round! #shepherdspie #groundlamb #groundbeef #spendwithpennies #mashedpotatoes #easyrecipe

Catalina Castravet

Catalina thinks that time in the kitchen should be fun, and we should spend less time cooking and more time eating! As a successful business woman with a busy career on Wall Street, she creates fool-proof recipes for busy weeknights. Catalina will inspire you to experiment with flavors, try new ingredients, use your slow cooker and pressure cooker and create easy meals with less effort and more flavor. You can visit her blog Sweet & Savory Meals for delicious dinner and dessert recipes that are husband and toddler approved!

6 comments on “Shepherd’s Pie Recipe”

  1. We eat Shepherd’s Pie quite often.   This recipe sounds better than the one we have been using.   We’ll try it next time.

  2. Very good. I am so happy with everything I have tried from this blog. Totally trust Holly and I really appreciate her explanations why something should be done a certain way (or certain kind of ingredients), as well as the alternative options she offers.
    Cottage pie is one of my favorite dishes, period! Never been a super big fan of lamb, so I have not tried making a real Shepherd’s Pie.

  3. Wow! I have never tried Shepherd’s pie, it looks so good!! Thank you for the recipe, gotta try it.

  4. A splash of red wine makes it extra tasty.

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