A traditional Shepherd’s Pie recipe is easy to make and the ultimate in comfort food!

Tender ground lamb (although you can use beef), carrots, celery, and peas are cooked in a savory gravy and baked under a fluffy mashed potato topping. It’s a complete meal and we love that it reheats and freezes well.

top view of Lamb Sheperds Pie in the pot and plated

What is Shepherd’s Pie?

It’s the ultimate Irish recipe that’s heartwarming, hearty, and healthy! Although many versions use ground beef, a traditional Shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb. (A shepherd’s pie with ground beef is actually called cottage pie).

  • This shepherd’s pie is the classic dish that celebrates all things Spring and is favorite friends and family dish!
  • Switch out the lamb for ground beef or add leftover veggies to add color and texture to the pie.
  • There are so many easy shortcuts for this dish. Use instant potatoes or instant gravy, or use a frozen veggie medley in place of fresh veggies!

ingredients to make Lamb Sheperds Pie

Ingredients & Variations

GROUND MEAT: This is a traditional shepherd’s pie so we use ground lamb in the filling. If lamb isn’t available (or if you’d prefer) you can substitute another ground meat like beef. If using ground chicken or ground turkey you might like to add a bouillon cube for some extra flavor. Skip the meat entirely for a vegetarian shepherd’s pie.

VEGGIES: Savory onions, carrots, celery, and peas give just enough flavor and texture without taking away from the meat and potatoes. If time is short, feel free to mix in a bag of vegetable medley or use up those leftover mushrooms, or green beans

SAUCE: Make gravy using the beef broth, tomato paste, and herbs listed in the recipe below. For a shortcut version, use leftover gravy, packaged gravy mix, or even a can of cream of mushroom soup or tomato soup. Change it up with a few splashes of Guinness beer to add a deep and rich flavor. You can use chicken broth but we find beef to have a richer flavor.

POTATOES: Creamy mashed potatoes made with butter, milk, and cheese are what give lamb shepherd’s pie its distinctive topping. Add your favorite spice blend or make Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes. In a pinch for time? Instant mashed potatoes will still produce excellent results!

process of adding ingredients to pot to make Lamb Sheperds Pie

How to Make Shepherd’s Pie

Making a classic shepherd’s pie recipe is easy:

  1. Cook Potatoes: Cook potatoes per recipe directions below. Drain & mash with a potato masher.
  2. Make Filling: Cook ground lamb with onion & garlic. Add veggies.
  3. Make Sauce: Stir flour into the beef. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened. Stir in frozen peas.
  4. Top & Bake:  Top the meat mixture (in the skillet or a baking dish) with mashed potatoes. Bake until golden and bubbly.

Lamb Sheperds Pie before cooking

Tips

  • Swap out the fresh veggies for frozen mixed veggies to keep the prep fast!
  • Prepared or packaged mashed potatoes work well in this recipe.
  • Stir in an egg yolk to make the mashed potatoes extra rich in flavor.
  • If using an oven-proof pan, skip the casserole dish and layer the potatoes over the meat in the skillet!
  • Make it pretty by piping the mashed potatoes with a piping bag.
  • Let shepherd’s pie rest about 5 minutes before serving.

plated Lamb Sheperds Pie

What to Serve with Shepherd’s Pie

Delish Main Dishes

Did your family love this Shepherd’s Pie? Be sure to leave a rating and comment below! 

top view of Lamb Sheperds Pie in the pot and plated
4.87 from 15 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Shepherd's Pie

Classic Shepherd's Pie is always a hit. We love this traditional Irish dish loaded with lamb, veggies, and mashed potatoes!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6
Author Holly Nilsson

Ingredients  

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 carrots ½ inch diced
  • 2 ribs celery ½ inch diced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ⅔ cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • cup peas
  • ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper each

Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ cup warm milk

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large pot of cold salted water.
  • Bring the potatoes to a gentle boil and cook 13-16 minutes or until fork tender.
  • While potatoes are cooking, combine ground lamb, onion, garlic in a large skillet, brown until no pink remains.
  • Add the carrots and celery. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until slightly tender.
  • Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, parsley, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes or until the gravy has thickened. Remove bay leaf, taste and season with salt and pepper, and add peas.
  • Drain the potatoes well and mash until smooth. Stir in the butter. Add warmed milk a little bit at a time until the potatoes are smooth and fluffy, you may not need all of the milk. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  • Top the meat mixture with the potatoes and place in the oven. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden

Video

Notes

  • You can replace the ground lamb with ground beef.
  • Swap out the fresh veggies for frozen mixed veggies to keep the prep fast!
  • Prepared or packaged mashed potatoes work well in this recipe.
  • Stir in an egg yolk to make the mashed potatoes extra rich in flavor.
  • If using an oven-proof pan, skip the casserole dish and layer the potatoes over the meat in the skillet! This can be baked in any 2 to 2 1/2 qt baking dish or casserole dish or a large skillet.
  • Make it pretty by piping the mashed potatoes with a piping bag.
  • Let shepherd’s pie rest about 5 minutes before serving.
4.87 from 15 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 448 | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 336mg | Potassium: 1206mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 3840IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 3mg

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

Course Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American, Irish

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About the author

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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Comments

  1. wow this is a delicious Cottage Pie, using vegies from cottage garden, —but if recipe said “ground pieces of Roast Lamb” (instead of mince meat to be fried,) then you have traditional Shepherds Pie,, as in the 1940’s War Years when I turned the handle of my Grandmothers mincer that was screwed to her kitchen table, as she fed into it, left over pieces of roast lamb,, she then mixed that with Tomato Sauce, a dash of Worcestershire Sauce, mash potatoes piled on top, little hills made with her spoon, popped in her big wood fired stove to just brown it, , boiled vegies were served beside,,
    — so there you are, simple recipe,, to put vegies in it would spoil the delicious texture and flavour of that roast lamb,,, please do try it, it is very different to Cottage Pie,, in later years we did add some boiled, left over, pieces if pickled mutton,, or sneak in some silverside pieces,,,
    I hope you do enjoy this ,,,
    —- the secret is “roast lamb pieces, minced”… NOT mince meat from the butcher ,,,4 stars

    1. For traditional Shepherds Pie, which has boiled vegies on the side, not in it,,, you can use pieces of Roast Beef put through your mincer, but flavour would be stronger, the Roast Lamb is sweeter and more juicy,,
      made with mince meat from butcher, and vegies in it from the cottage garden, is a Cottage Pie,4 stars

  2. When I received this email, I though, how clever, she’s covered the mixture with a noodle of some kind? After I went back to the email 3 or 4 times, I saw that a piping bag of mashed spuds was used. How clever? I must try this recipe, even though I have made cottage pie at least a 100 times, I’ve never got flashy with the potato delivery. I can’t wait to see the wife’s face when I put my creation on the table. I cook most dinners, as she still works, poor girl. Report to follow.

  3. Hi, your recipes are wonderful. What size baking dish should be used for Shepherd’s Pie Recipe?

    1. Thank you Joyce! I use a 2 to 2 1/2 qt baking dish or casserole dish or a large 12-inch skillet. Enjoy!