Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

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

Shepherd's Pie Recipe on plates with pot of Shepherd's Pie Recipe on the side

What is Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s Pie is a delicious combo of ground lamb (although many people use beef) that has been cooked with carrots, sweet green peas and corn in a gravy or sauce. The lamb mixture is then topped with a crust of creamy mashed potatoes.

This 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! (You can also replace the meat for a vegetarian lentil version).Either way, this crustless meat pie is topped creamy mashed potatoes and baked until bubbly.

Do you put cheese on top of Shepherd’s Pie? Traditionally, a Shepherd’s Pie is not topped with cheese, but as you all know, cheese is my love language. You can add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top of the mashed potatoes or just brush them with a little bit of butter before baking.

Ingredients for Shepherd's Pie Recipe


Shepherd’s Pie can be prepared fresh but it’s also a great way to use up any leftover meat, veggies, gravy or mashed potatoes.

    • MEAT Lamb is traditional but you can use any ground meat in this recipe (I most often use ground beef). Leftover roast works too!
    • VEGGIES Frozen mixed vegetables make prep quick and easy but leftover roasted veggies work perfectly too. If using fresh, steam them until tender before adding.
    • SAUCE Shepherd’s Pie is so versatile, I’ve given a couple of shortcut sauces in the recipe below but you can use leftover gravy (or gravy mix), tomato sauce… the sky is the limit here.
    • POTATOES Traditional mashed are what I most often use but garlic mashed potatoes add great flavor to this dish! If you are in a hurry, you can use store-bought mashed potatoes

Shepherd's Pie Recipe ingredients in a pot

Prep Ahead and Tips for Shepherd’s Pie

You will love how easy and convenient this dish is.  It can be made a day in advance, which makes dinner prep easier.

  • Layering After prepping the meat mixture, let it cool and then chill it in the fridge for 20 minutes.  This will help keep the mashed potato layer separated.
  • Prep Ahead Prep and assemble up to one day in advance and refrigerate. Let it come to room temperature 30 minutes before baking it.
  • Quick Clean Up If your baking dish is very full, place it on a parchment lined baking sheet to avoid any juices spilling in your oven.
  • To Freeze Before Baking
    • Cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil. Freeze.
    • Thaw overnight in the fridge. Bake for 45 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered

Shepherd's Pie Recipe in a pot


Serve this With…

And finish the meal with a belly warming Irish Coffee!

Shepherd's Pie Recipe on a white plate with parsley

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Shepherd's Pie Recipe on a white plate with parsley
4.98 from 70 votes
Review Recipe

Shepherd's Pie Recipe

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Shepherd’s Pie is a traditional Irish dish made with ground lamb, peas, and carrots, topped with a mashed potato crust.


  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups mixed frozen vegetables defrosted
  • 10 ounces tomato soup or mushroom soup
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon basil
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups prepared mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded

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  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Cook lamb or beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
  • Stir in mixed vegetables, soup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, basil, and pepper. Spread into the bottom of a 2 qt casserole dish.
  • Spoon mashed potatoes over top and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Baked 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.

Recipe Notes

Note:  This recipe has been updated 10/8/2018.  Original recipe inspiration from Alton Brown, Food Network.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 648, Carbohydrates: 85g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 730mg, Potassium: 916mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 47g, Vitamin A: 2775IU, Vitamin C: 37mg, Calcium: 180mg, Iron: 2.5mg

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

Course Beef, Casserole, Dinner
Cuisine American, Irish

Shepherd's Pie Recipe in a pot

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 Recipe with a title
Shepherd's Pie Recipe in a pot with writing
Ingredients for Shepherd's Pie Recipe with writing
Shepherd's Pie Recipe on a white plate with a title
About the author


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Recipe Rating


  1. I made this shepherds pie last night with ground beef. Easy to prepare and absolutely delicious! I made the recipe exactly as you have it written. It was a perfect meal since we are having an April cold snap. I will definitely make this again. Thank you!5 stars

  2. I have made this recipe with many different variations like different soups, vegetable combinations, and Idahoan instant potatoes of different flavors. No matter what is available, it’s always turned out great.5 stars

  3. Holly–I loved it. My wife complained that there were too many vegetables. Your recipe says “4 cups” of frozen veggies. I added close to 3, but my wife thought the meat/veggie ratio was a bit off.

    Then, in the comments below, you say that you used a single, 10-ounce bag of frozen veggies. I would revise the recipe to say that.

    A single bag of frozen veggies is probably about right. But I would also use 2 pounds of beef instead of 1, just to make it a little beefier.4 stars

    1. Hi Aaron, we do use 4 cups of frozen veggies for the recipe but you can reduce the veggies for a higher beef to veggie ratio! Enjoy.

  4. This recipe was great for my summer family gathering! My kids loved it, a good way to sneak a little veggies into their diet.

    1. So glad your kids love it, Baldwin. It’s always nice when we can sneak veggies into their diet without them knowing! :)

  5. I have been trying variations of Cottage Pie recipes for years with varying results (husband is picky) and this one is a winner for both of us. Not fans of cooked peas so I use what is sold here as Country Trio, carrots/corn/beans thawed. Using recipe as written I put everything but the mashed potatoes in a slow cooker on LO before leaving to run errands. I add the mashed potatoes later so it’s ready anytime after 5:00. No cheese for us even though we are Dairy State natives! Could be sprinkled on later if desired.
    Note: as a personal option I add 1 tsp. sugar (or a packet of Stevia) as I feel it brings out the flavor.
    Thanks for this yummy and easy recipe!5 stars