Regardless of what you call it, a classic Shepherd’s Pie, Shepards Pie or Cottage Pie, it is basically a casserole with a layer of cooked meat and vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes, and baked in the oven until the mashed potatoes are well browned. Cheese Optional (but you definitely should say yes to the cheese!).
Hope for the Picky Eaters
Betcha won’t be surprised to hear that I had a love/hate relationship with Shepherd’s pie growing up. Mashed potatoes were my thing for sure and that extra melty cheese on top totally made me a happy girl. But then there was that ground beef underneath. Oh how I hated the texture!
With time I learned that ground beef is affordable, delicious and makes for much quicker and easier meals. I totally get why Shepherd’s Pie is a quick and easy dinner idea for families and the perfect dinner to take to a new mom or sick friend.
Famous Shepherd’s Pie Recipes
There are a lot of easy shepherd’s pie recipes out there that call for less of a sauce and instant mashed potatoes, but I prefer more flavor so I’ve taken some nods from Alton Brown’s Shepherd’s pie and Gordon Ramsay’s Shepherd’s pie recipes for this one.
What Is Shepherd’s Pie?
Shepherd’s Pie is a type of savory pie that is sort of an old fashioned food that’s hearty and filling.
The base layer is a simple a mix of ground beef (or lamb) and vegetables that is all simmered in a saucy gravy. Then, it’s topped with mashed potatoes that form a golden crust on top. Some people add cheese on top too, and my answer to cheese is always a yes!
What Ingredients Do I Need to Make Shepherd’s Pie?
Ok, don’t get worried about this list. It may look a little long at first glance, but it’s mostly vegetables that need dicing and seasonings/herbs:
- Ground Beef
- Onions (yellow)
- Black Pepper
- Tomato Paste
- Beef Broth
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Peas (frozen)
- Parsley (fresh)
- Thyme (fresh)
- Rosemary (fresh)
- Mashed Potatoes
- Cheddar Cheese
How to Make Shepherd’s Pie
Before I tell you how to make shepherd’s pie from scratch let me tell you about the meat:
You can use lamb or ground beef. I almost always use ground beef just because it’s cheaper and my kids prefer it. Ground beef is an easy meat to cook and it’s family friendly.
Ok, here are the steps:
- Cook the mashed potatoes and set aside.
- Cook the ground beef using a beef chopper to break up the meat. It’s a MUST HAVE kitchen product.
- Add the onions, carrots, garlic and celery, cooking until tender.
- Add seasonings and flour and then the liquids, cooking until thickened.
- Put in the remaining ingredients and then place in a casserole dish.
- Top with potatoes and bake.
- Top with cheese and stick it back in the oven for a few minutes for the cheese to melt. Enjoy!
I’m always a little hung up when I get done making a casserole. I mean, technically I just covered the food groups in one pan but it totally doesn’t seem right to just plop out one dish and not have a side. In case you ever end up in the same dilemma…
What Goes With Shepherd’s Pie?
- Veggies such as green beans, buttered cabbage, Roasted broccoli, Cauliflower Rice, butternut squash.
- Something starchy like, soda bread, dinner rolls, baked beans, broad beans.
- Salads such as, Broccoli Salad, Pesto Veggie Salad, 7 Layer Salad, English Pea Salad.
How Long Will Shepherd’s Pie Keep?
Freshly baked Shepherd’s Pie will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator if tightly covered with foil.
Shepherd’s pie is such an amazing dish to bring to a new momma or sick friend. But I especially love it so prepare for an upcoming need. Like, if your friend is pregnant and already chasing two kids, try dropping off a frozen casserole that she can use on the day she feels overwhelmed. Here’s a few tips.
Can Shepherd’s Pie Be Frozen?
Shepherd’s pie can be frozen after baking or prior to baking.
- After baking: Bake as stated in the instructions, then cool and cover tightly with plastic wrap and then foil.
- Before baking: Assemble everything directed except for the cheese. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and then foil.
Shepherd’s pie can be frozen for up to 2 months as long as you have tightly wrapped the dish in saran wrap and foil.
How Do You Reheat Frozen Shepherd’s Pie?
Bake covered at 350 degrees for 1 hour, tenting with foil and adding any cheese at the end so it doesn’t over cook.
Can Shepherd’s Pie Be Made With Chicken?
Shepherd’s pie can be made with chicken, but I’d recommend sticking to ground chicken or shredded chicken breasts.
It can be made with a variety of meats other than ground beef, like a ground turkey or ground elk.
Can You Make Shepherd’s Pie Ahead of Time?
You can make shepherd’s pie ahead of time.
Prepare it up to the point of baking, cover tightly and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 1 day before baking.
Vegetarian Shepherds Pie
As I’m finishing this shepherds pie I’m curious if anyone out there would be interested in a vegetarian version?
I’d love to hear your thoughts as it takes a lot of time and effort to create a recipe but I really think a vegetarian version could be so, so good!
This dish is so hearty and filling but full of comfort. I mean, what’s more comforting than creamy mashed potatoes and saucy ground beef and vegetables? Classic shepherd’s pie is on the menu this week!
More Ground Beef Dinners You’re Sure to Love:
- Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole
- Cheesy Ground Beef Enchilada Chili
- Mexican Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole
- One Skillet Enchilada Ground Beef Casserole
- 30 Minute Skillet Beef Pot Pie
- Taco Pinwheels
- Instant Pot Taco Soup
- Best Sloppy Joes
- Southern Pimento Cheeseburger
- Teriyaki Pina Colada Burger
You can find all of our beef recipes here.
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- 1 Tablespoon Oil
- 1 Pound Ground Beef
- 2 Cloves Garlic chopped
- 2 Onions yellow, finely chopped
- 2 Carrots finely diced
- 2 Stalks Celery finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Paprika
- Black Pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato paste
- 1 1/3 Cups Beef Broth
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Cup Peas frozen
- 1 Tablespoon Parsley finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Thyme fresh,finely chopped or 1/4 teaspoon dry
- 1 teaspoon Rosemary fresh, finely chopped or 1/2 teaspoon dry
- 4 Cups Mashed Potatoes
- 3/4 Cup Cheese cheddar, shredded
- Make our favorite mashed potatoes. You need about 4 cups of mashed potatoes to top off the casserole, set aside.
- Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large, deep skillet.
- Add the beef and cook until browned, using a beef chopper to break up the meat and all the meat juices have evaporated.
- Add the garlic, onions, carrots and celery and continue cooking until the veggies soften.
- Sprinkle the salt, paprika, pepper and flour over the pan, cooking for 2 minutes, stirring often.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring all the time, until it smells rich (about 1 minute).
- Pour the broth and Worcestershire over the meat and veggies, scratching the browned bits off the bottom. Bring to a boil and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and a thick gravy has formed.
- Stir in the peas and herbs. Check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed then spread in a 7×11 baking dish and set aside until cooled.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Spread the mashed potatoes over the cold filling gently so that they don’t mix together.
- Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until golden, adding the shredded cheese the last 10 minutes.
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