Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie comes to us from England, and is traditionally made with lamb or mutton. Here in the states we are more of a beef eating culture than a lamb eating one, and when one is served “shepherd’s pie” here, it is most often made with ground beef. In England (and Australia and New Zealand) they would call the beef dish a “cottage pie” and the lamb dish “shepherd’s pie”.

Regardless of what you call it, a shepherd’s pie is basically a casserole with a layer of cooked meat and vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes, and baked in the oven until the the mashed potatoes are well browned. When you dig in you get a spoonful of mashed potatoes, some crispy bits, meat, and vegetables all in one bite. It’s pure comfort food.

What follows is a simple recipe for a ground beef version of Shepherd’s Pie. The original recipe comes from my friend Frances Hochschild, and her mother (thanks Frannie!).

Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves four.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds potatoes (about 3 large potatoes), peeled and quartered
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1-2 cups vegetables—diced carrots, corn, peas
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground round beef
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice

Method

1 Place the peeled and quartered potatoes in medium sized pot. Cover with at least an inch of cold water. Add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender (about 20 minutes.

2 While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until tender, about 6 to 10 minutes. If you are including vegetables, add them according to their cooking time. Carrots should be cooked with the onions, because they take as long to cook as the onions do. If you are including peas or corn, add them toward the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat starts to cook, as they take very little cooking time.

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4 Add ground beef to the pan with the onions and vegetables. Cook until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper. Add the worcestershire sauce and beef broth. Bring the broth to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth if necessary to keep the meat from drying out.

5 When the potatoes are done cooking (a fork can easily pierce), remove them from the pot and place them in a bowl with the remaining 4 Tbsp of butter. Mash with a fork or potato masher, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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6 Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread the beef, onions, and vegetables (if using) in an even layer in a large baking dish (8x13 casserole). Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the ground beef. Rough up the surface of the mashed potatoes with a fork so there are peaks that will get well browned. You can even use a fork to make creative designs in the mashed potatoes.

7 Place in a 400°F oven and cook until browned and bubbling, about 30 minutes. If necessary, broil for the last few minutes to help the surface of the mashed potatoes brown.

Suggested variations:

Put a layer of creamed corn between the ground beef and the mashed potatoes.

Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over the top of the mashed potatoes before baking.

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187 Comments

  1. Sherry

    In between the meat layer and the potato layer – we put a can of corn (drained). Like my mom says about getting your veggies in.

  2. Pink Sun Drops

    Can you call it a hit when your two little nieces and nephews are over and wolf it down? Along with your mother who generally only likes to eat out? I think so! Delicious! I added steamed baby carrots into the beef before baking and a can of corn between the beef and potatoes as suggested by Sherry and served with broccoli, peas, and artichoke & herb bread. Thank you for this recipe, it’s now on my list of family favorites!

  3. Steven Belt

    Thank you! This is a simple dish that’s always a hit. My 3 teens don’t usualy eat thigs that are “mixed together”, but they do like this. We added 1/2 Lb. more Ground Beef. 1/2 Cup more Onion. 1 Clove Garlic. 1 Tsp. Worcestershire Sauce. And 1/2 can each of Green Beans, Corn, & Carrots. We’ve even added Frozen Peas. There are so many ways to very it!

  4. Jerry in Colfax CA

    Fantastic – I too added the corn, I also added three slices of American Cheese to the mashed potatoes…. and a dash of mustard, then whipped them and put them on top…. came out golden brown and delicious!!!!! Thanks for the idea…

  5. Martha

    Cottage pie is made with beef, peas and carrots. Shepard’s pie is made with lamb. I add frozen peas and carrots to either kind of meat and add half a cup of Guinness dark beer when I’m browning it.

  6. Sheeijan

    I made this tonight for my husband, and he cleaned his plate. I’m not sure, but I don’t think I really needed the beef broth – I ended up straining the meat anyway because it seemed to have too much liquid in it to put in the baking dish. I added Worchestershire sauce and a clove of garlic, but followed the recipe otherwise. I may try adding more vegetables next time; it would be a great way to sneak them into my husband (he doesn’t eat enough vegetables). I used Yukon Gold potatoes because of your Perfect Mashed Potatoes recipe, and boy those were good!

    Lovely recipe, perfect for the meat and potatoes type of eaters. I love your recipes!

  7. Coralie

    When my mum cooks it she always thickens the excess stock in the meat just before it’s all baked with the Mash so that it’s in a moist gravy. That’s how most country pubs do it too, here in England. Rather than draining….?

    I’m doing this for my hungry housemates tonight!

  8. ms. coco

    Gonna try it with ground turkey, follow the recipe, and add some garlic and savory spices (rosemary, thyme, sage, etc.) I like the idea of thickening the juices before baking, too. That sounds like a slammin’ idea.

    Should be gooood eatin!

  9. Patrick

    Thicken juices? How would one go about doing that?

    • Melissa

      You could thicken the liquid by sprinkling a bit of flour over the top. Or you could make a slurry with some beef broth and a tablespoon of flour. Put 1/2 cup of the broth in a jar and the spoon of flour and shake it and add it little by little until you see the sauce start thickening.

      • RedOwl

        I have always used cornstarch mixed with a little water to thicken this and other foods such as gravy or stews. No Lumps!

        I add a can of creamed corn that seems to evaporate, leaving the corn.

  10. Gabriella

    I was thinking earlier what to cook for dinner today and thank you for the great idea! I live in Norway and here norwegians love to put ‘norvigia’ cheese on top but I like your idea to rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely .. So I will still put a bit of cheese but on top of the meat and veggies and also will add the tip of extra veggies and thicken the excess stock! I have done it before but with the cheese on top of the mash potatoes and sometimes the cheese gets too ‘crispy’ so we will see how this change works tonight!
    Thank you so much!!!

  11. Ginger

    Any suggestions for a vegetarian version? We don’t do that fake meat stuff. We do eat cheese though. My 9 year old son is a vegetarian but still very picky. Thanks!

  12. MM

    LOL, I was just going to be pedantic and state that that’s actually a cottage pie since it uses beef as opposed to the lamb we use in shepherd’s pie. Then I saw Martha’s comment …. But it’s all delicious so it works out in the end.

    Me mum would crush some biccies and add that to the gravy to thicken it as well as some Guinness to give it some “body”. Darn, I suddenly have massive cravings for home and good pies.

  13. Nicki

    Try sprinkling some cheese and breadcrumbs on the top for a crispy finish.

  14. Harry

    I used to make this dish a lot when I was on my own (my wife doesn’t like ‘soggy veggies,’ and hates peas.) I used to the do the ‘taters all different ways.

    For variety try my two favorites: Instead of using mashed potatoes, use a ‘cheesy potatoes au-gratin’ recipe. Or, just throw shredded chedder cheese over the top of the mashed.

  15. Nichole

    For a veggie version, I make a ‘shepherds pie’ with lentils. I saute onions and garlic in butter, add flour to make a roux, and then vegetable broth. When the broth thickens a bit, I add cooked lentils, corn, and whatever other veggies are around which need using–putting in salt, pepper and a lot of thyme to taste. From there it’s the same as with the meat version–put in a baking dish, top with cheese and mashed potatos, bake till bubbly.

  16. randy

    If anyone had read the recipe, you would have seen that the author states the difference between shepherd and cottage. Maybe a little less nit-picking, and a bit more reading…

  17. jumper

    I agree with Randy, make sure you read the entire post before you nit pick. It only makes you look like a shepherd’s ***.

    But this recipe looks so good and easy and I love some of the variations that were suggested. I am going to try this one and probably work it in to rotation.

    Also could this be made ahead, like the day before and do the baking of it before being serving? And would it freeze well?

  18. jumper

    I showed this recipe to a flexitarian friend and she made Nicole’s veggie version with the lentils and it was so so good. I haven’t had a chance to make the carnivore’s version but I am sure it will be great also.

  19. Lisa

    To thicken the juices, mix 1/4 cup cold water (or cold milk) with 1-2 Tablespoons of corn starch or flour (more or less) and slowly add to the juices and bring to a simmer for 1 minute. You’ll have a gravy then.

    I’ve always made this from left-overs from the refrigerator. Everything’s been cooked already, just layer in a pan and top with left-over mashed potatoes. It was a way to use up “must-go’s” before they had to be thrown out. It’s a good penny-saver recipe this way. Easter ham and mashed potatoes always wound up as this by Wednesday and it tasted even better than it did on Sunday.

  20. Josh

    Great recipe!
    I’ve tried it with ground turkey and it is fantastic as well. I found that I needed to add quite a bit more Worcestershire and beef broth to liven up the flavor of the turkey.
    This is a great meal if you’re on a budget, too.

  21. Alicia

    This stuff was amazing. My boyfriend and I are starving students as most people know young college students by. He is the typical big boy lol and doesnt like to eat veggies. This was a QUICK, CHEAP, and DELICIOUS way to make him eat his veggies. Also, I go to school during the day while he works and then i work at night while he goes to school. I was able to make this in between my break from school and work, put it the frig and heat up later that night for just the same taste as when it first came out of the oven. Amazing! cant wait to see what else i can make frm this website. I also have a home made cook book for my children that i type the recipe up and put it in a binder. This will be added to my collection!

  22. Jacky

    I made this last night, it was really good. I had never had Shepherds Pie before, so it was the first time I tried it (and made it). I made it for my parents and my sister, they seemed to enjoy it because only a small portion was left. And I’m only 15, so “yay me” haha. Well, I love this site and I’m going to keep coming back. In fact, I’m looking for a recipe for dinner tomorrow and I’m sure I’ll find another delicious one. THANKS!

  23. Courtney

    I made this tonight and it was absolutely wonderful. It was easy, quick, and very tasty. I used two pounds of ground beef, though, so I had to tinker with the seasonings. I also added a few tablespoons of flour before adding a cup of beef broth because I was afraid the beef mixture might be too liquid-y. Then, my mashed potatoes came out kind of. . . wonky, so I sprinkled some paprika over-top to make it look prettier. Next time I’ll use a different sort of potato.

    Anyway, I spent quite a bit of my afternoon reading through the main dish recipes and I’m going to look at the desserts tonight. Your website is wonderful and the recipes are tantalizing and seem very simple. I really appreciate all the work you’ve put into this. Thanks!

  24. Laurie

    My boyfriend taught me how to make shepherds pie and he always used cream corn in the middle. It tastes so good and my children always loved this dish

  25. notromo

    As a Brit and something of a perfectionist when it comes to shepherd’s pie, it is traditional and, I think, essential to add a good two tablespoons of tomato concentrate paste and two sticks of chopped celery. Not traditional but adding wonderful flavour, I add the following: at the saute onion stage, for the quantities above, some mushrooms, whole if small. Usually with the onions, I chop part of them and puree the rest – the pureed onions thicken the sauce well, though I usually stir in some flour with the meat when browning it. I also add sweet pepper paste, at least 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, anchovy paste, mushroom ketchup. Quantities are not precise – it’s not that sort of dish, just taste as you go along. Finally, the mash is very nice with a mixture of swede (can’t remember what that’s called stateside), parsnip and carrot, though it’s best to cook them separately, otherwise you end up with disintegrating potatoes and swede that’s insufficiently cooked to make a smooth mash.

    Do try some or all of my suggestions – they have been arrived at by experimenting trying to improve the basic version given above.

    • Melissa

      Swede is called a Rutabaga in North America or Turnip. :)

  26. chelle

    I make this often but I do a couple of things different. I use cream of mushroom soup in my meat mixture and I put the potatoes on bottom and then a layer of mixed shredded cheese then the meat mix and top with more cheese. This dish goes extremely quick in my house.

  27. Mimi

    I’m making this dish for Christmas, that it’d be appropriate because of the name. Also it’s delicious. I first tried it from my cafeteria in college, I think they made the dish every Wednesday and I absolutely fell in love with it. I’m using a kernal corn layering on top of the beef and shredded cheddar cheese on top of the potatoes. I’m sure my family will fall in love with it too and want to make it a tradition.

  28. jeeves

    I just made this tonight. What a nice filling meal. My father devoured it, and came back for seconds. I think he would have eaten my portion if he wasn’t such a nice guy. ;)

  29. Joanne

    Very delicious, very simple and very easy to make. My kind of dish! lol It was a hit with the whole family. Will definitely make this again.

  30. dorothy

    I made this tonight, wow what a hit! It’s also great to get the kids involved with cooking. I added a little catsup in the ground beef as well. My 6yr. granddaughter went to her poppa and said gramma and me are making some guys pie!!

  31. Ricci

    I always add a cup or two of sour cream and a brick of cracker barrel sharp cheese to the mashed potatoes.Save some of the cheese for a sprinkle over the top.Also Au jou gravy is perfect for this because the meal is so hearty I think a lighter gravy is perfect.

  32. cheryl

    I tired this yesterday for dinner for my fiance and me and it was WONDERFUL Next time over I’m going to put alot more corn. Some of you talk about putting a layer of corn under the potatoes. I just might try that. But by it self, it blew us away. I’m addicted to this site, going to try EVERYTHING!
    Thanks guys!

  33. Piegirl

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. You always make your recipes so easy to follow. I adapted your recipe and made a vegetarian shepherd’s pie using Yves Veggie Ground Round. It tasted great!

  34. KellyBee

    I tried this with ground turkey. It was wonderful. My husband hates casseroles, so my daughter and I enjoy them while he is out of town. As there were only the 2 of us, I halved the recipe and baked it in a bread pan. It worked wonderfully. The only drawback was no leftovers. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

  35. Sonne Kruhsberg

    I stumbled across this blog looking for a recipe for Sheperds pie. I had never made it before so I wanted to check ingredients and method etc. I cooked it up and it looked beautiful. Having recently emmigrated to Sweden and having a Swedish husband he eyed it very dubiously (having seen the amount of veg I had added) But he loved it, we ate it THREE times that week. Nice to have some English comfort food away from home. Ill be using this site more often, Thanks!

  36. Jackie

    This was delicious and pretty easy to make! I’m a teenager and I don’t have a lot of experience cooking big dinners, but I wanted to try making dinner for the family. It was a huge hit. The only thing I did differently was I added an additional half cup of beef broth, and I added some milk and garlic salt to the potatoes.

    This is an excellent recipe. Thanks!

  37. Rebecca

    My family usually makes this dish withouth the veggies and with american cheese on top. My MIL says its ” not shepherds pie” but I’m convinced it is. =) Thanks for the recipe. Cant wait to try our family recipe the traditional way.

  38. Kyle

    I do this another way, and everyone loves it.

    Chop 4-5 slices of bacon up into small bits, and render the fat out. Take out the bacon and set aside, leaving the fat in the pan.

    Chop up an onion (yellow or white) and saute for 10 minutes in the bacon fat. Add the ground beef and cook until brown.

    Strain to remove excess fat, but reserve 3-4 tablespoons (for flavor). Now add equal parts flour (so 3-4 tablespoons depending on what you left in) to make a roux. Cook on medium-low for a couple minutes and add beef broth, whisking the entire time until it comes together.

    Stir until it comes to a boil and add add the beef, onion, and bacon back in.

    I like to buy the mixed frozen peas and carrots from the store, and the already made mashed potatoes from the grocery store (not the stuff in a container, but the mashed potoates the grocery store makes that day in their prepared foods section, it’s usually by the deli and whole cooked chickens). This saves some time if you’re in a bit of a hurry too.

    I’ll warm up the mash potatoes (though they should be warm anyway from the store) and in a small saucepan add heavy cream and a clove of garlic. Some butter, salt, and pepper.

    Pour this on top of the mashed potatoes and mix in some cheese (Monterey Jack and Cheddar). Not too much of the cream mixture though, the mashed potatoes should still have a firm texture, just enough to add the garlic flavor and richness of the cream.

    I also like to put some chives or scallions (green onions) in here too.

    Then in a 2-quart casserole dish, add the beef layer, then the carrots and peas layer, and finally top with the mashed potatoes.

    Sprinkle some more of the Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese on top and put it in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

    Take it out and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to cool off, serve and sprinkle with chives, scallions, more cheese, or some sour cream.

  39. Denise

    Great site! I remember making something similar when I was a child. We called it “hamburger pie”.
    Brown ground beef, drain.
    Add one can of tomato soup, one can of corn and one can of peas (or frozen if you prefer).
    Heat through.
    Pour in casserole dish.
    Spread mashed potatoes on top and sprinkle with shredded cheddar.
    Bake til cheese melts and pie is heated through.
    This was something quick and easy to make for a pre-teen.

  40. Rose

    I’ve been looking for a good Shepherd’s Pie recipe for a long time. I had it for the first time in France when we were on holiday last year. I just made it, and it was super easy and delicious!
    The best part is that my children loved it too. This is definitely going to be a family favorite.
    I added a bit of celery and French thyme. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as directed.

    Thanks again.

  41. nancy

    My husband, son & contractor love this. I add garlic, cayenne, tumeric and beer.

  42. Kim

    Holy Hockey!! I just tried this recipe…….. and quite honestly was skeptical becuse no one in my home likes the same things ( there are 6 of us! ) that is until now! It was fantastic! everyone scarfed it down, there was literally nothing left in the dish. Thanks so much for the great recipe. Can’t wait to find more good eats!

  43. Shel

    This is one of my families favorite dishes and I’m always looking for variations! I can’t wait to try out some of the suggestions left in the comments! Thanks for a wonderful resource!

  44. june hart

    HI:

    This is a very tasty recipe, but I would like to know if you can freeze it…Does anyone know if you can?

    We are painting our fence this week and are feeding everyone this dish, and I thought I could make it ahead of time before they all come over…

    what say you??

    Regards,
    June

  45. Elizabeth Greenhalgh

    The topping is also tasty as a mix of potato and sweet potato mash.
    Sprinkle grated cheese over the potato for a Thatched Cottage Pie.
    Lizzie

  46. anissa hill

    I used this recipe for a school project and everyone loved it. Thank you.

  47. Anonymous

    Lovely recipie. I’m only 12 and I can cook and your recipie worked. My teacher loved it. Grubalisious.

  48. Pompien

    I use two tablespoons flour and four of water, add some of the beef drippings, and pour over the meat in the dish prior to layering…it thickens upon baking…also, I like Mazola spray olive oil to add a low-fat “crunch” to the top without having to warm up the broiler to ‘brown” the top. Great dollar-stretching recipe!

  49. Trisha

    Excellent and very easy dish. My kids are very picky eaters and hate veggies and loved this! My mother-in-law even had nice things to say about it. hehehehehe ;p

  50. Bekah Ruth

    This dish is so easy and delicious! My husband and I especially like it topped with cheddar cheese. It’s also a great meal for when we have company over.

  51. Diane

    I make another version of this recipe (which I obtained from a friend years ago), and when I make it, there are NEVER any leftovers. After browning ground beef and onion, layer the beef/onion mix in a baking dish, add 2 cans cream style corn for next layer, then top with a layer of mashed potatoes. (I add 1 egg to my potatoes, which makes it hold together better when serving). Sprinkle with paprika or chili powder and bake. A very easy version of shepherd’s pie.(and very delicious)

  52. Carolyn

    I make a cottage pie that is similar, but I use leftover roast and the liquid from the roast or a package of brown gravy mix. I also use ground turkey when I don’t have a roast. I also add a little ketchup to the mix of meat, carrots, peas and gravy. My crew doesn’t like onions so I leave those out. I plan to make it soon without meat – what would you call it then? I’m cooking a big meal for vegetarians and meat eaters, so I figured I could use a vegetarian brown gravy mix and leave out the Worcestershire sauce – (anchovies). Yum!

  53. Aryn

    My husband and I tried this last week and really enjoyed it. It is a great make ahead dish if you like to prep some of your meals for the week during the weekend. We went with the can of cream corn under the layer of potatoes and loved it!

  54. Me

    There’s not even a pinch of any herbs in this recipe and there should be loads and loads of of green herbs in this dish.

    Note from Elise: Why don’t you suggest some herbs to add that have worked well for you in this dish?

  55. Heidi

    I cooked the meat separate from the peas & carrots, drained off all the fat, added 1 cup broth, brought it up to a boil, then lower the heat to med, cook for about 5-7 mins, add about 1/2 cup broth, then make a flour paste (1 tsp flour & 1/4 cup cold water), make a well in the middle and stir it into the broth, mix well.
    Comes out nice & creamy

  56. Gretchen

    I also make this dish often for the penny pinching aspect of it, not to mention it’s popularity in my house. I can’t get over all the fattening versions up there (adding cheese, cream, etc…ugh) but I suppose that’s why so much of our country (the US) is fat.

    To make this a bit more flavorful, I add about a tablespoon of Fins Herbs to the meat/veggie mix while it’s cooking. I remove the corn from the recipe (my stepmother is English and said adding corn to Cottage pie – and yes, I did read the intro with the difference – is blasphemy). I also add some tomato paste for color and texture. I also nix the butter and use olive oil.

    For the potatoes, I don’t peel them and add about 5 cloves of garlic to the water while they boil. Once they’re fork tender I drain the water and mash in the pot with 1/2 – 3/4 cup of broth for moisture and that’s it. Bake like normal and serve with (high fructose corn syrup free) Ketchup. Yum yum!

    This can be a healthy recipe that tastes wonderful without about all the fat. Enjoy!

    • Teresa

      Some people take food waay too seriously. Blasphemy altering food dishes?! Come on. People do need calcium in their diet (cheese) and there are 2% and fat free varieties. Lack of exercise is what is making a great portion of the world (incl Brits and other countries) fat, not just Americans. Thanks for your variations.

  57. Rex

    Made this today with some modifications. I drained most of the fat from the pan as it seemed like it would cause the final dish to be too greasy. I added some ground cumin (1/8 tsp??) and a sprinkle of ground nutmeg, 2 Tblsp. of tomato paste to the meat mixture. Also spooned some cream-style corn on top of the meat mixture. Excellent flavors! Thanks!

  58. Jason & Marcus

    My first time ever making shepards pie, the instructions were easy to follow. I’m using the shepards pie as a Christmas dinner for me, my partner and friends..Merry Christmas

  59. Layla

    I made shepherds pie for the first time and my boyfriend and all his friends thought it was the most amazing dish ever, they were practically licking their plates! Being from England and having had many shepherds pies in my time, this was by far the best shepherds pie I have ever tasted…thanks to you!

  60. sam

    My wife just made this very quickly. It was so good!

  61. jon

    Made a vegan version of this last night based on your recipe and it was fantastic – used boca grounds for the meat, earth balance for the butter and soy milk in the potatoes. Oh, and added spinach with the veggies. Thanks!

  62. Shirl

    I like to use frozen peas and carrots, along with a cup of corn (usually leftover)along with a small can of tomatoe sauce.
    I also add a couple of TBS of flour to the mixture before I put it in the pan. I helps it all ‘stick’ together.
    Garlic salt, worchestershire sauce and some celery flakes to spice it up a bit too.
    My teenaged daughter, who I just can’t seem to get to eat meat, will eat this up until the pan is empty.
    Now a family favorite!

  63. Lorna

    Wow, excellent recipe, everyone loved it. I also put grated cheese on top, was fabulous!

  64. Cyntilla

    An excellent recipe, also great for leftovers! Absolutely lovely, thank you!

  65. shirley boshuis

    I have always loved this recipe!I was just told recently that adding a small can of cream corn in between the meat and potatoes give a tasty gravy .I usually use a large can.Worth trying!!!

  66. Elizabeth

    Hi! I made this first the other night with what I had available in my cabinets…beef stew starter mix(add your own beef) of which I didn’t have any…jiffy corn muffin mix, and instant mashed potatoes flavored with butter. I made this without the beef and layered first the jiffy corn bread mixture on the bottom, then the flavored beef stew, and finally the mashed potatoes…all baked for 30 minutes @ 350 degrees.It came out GREAT! and my 7 year old ate up! If you are looking for something fast and with little preparation…then this is an alternative to the chopping, dicing, and browning of the beef and veggies. *Plus is it a vegetarian combo with all the taste of the beef!

  67. Judy

    I use a very similar recipe, I add 1 teaspoon allspice and 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar along with onions, garlic, 1 1/2 pounds ground meat browned, tablespoon of flour to thicken, 1/2 cup beef broth, salt, pepper, 2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce, then a can of peas and carrots. Put in a baking dish. Put the mashed potatoes on top, brush some melted butter on top, add some shredded cheese if you like and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Just had some tonite for supper…a little HP sauce and a Guinness and you’re all set! Some crusty bread would be nice too!

  68. Amanda

    An excellent recipe I used Turkey instead of beef and my family loved it.My son likes BBQ with it and my daughter likes ketchup.

  69. Katie

    I started out with your recipe, and ended up with something totally different, but really yummy. (I bought what was on sale, and got rid of stuff I already had on hand)

    Instead of beef, I used 1 lb ground turkey.
    I used 1 tbsp soy sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce.
    For spices, I added oregano, Spike, celery seed, a pinch of chili powder, and salt & pepper.
    Instead of beef broth, I used chicken broth. Instead of regular mashed potatoes, I used brocolli and potatoes mashed together.
    I added a layer of shredded farmer’s cheese in between the meat mixture and the potato mixture.

  70. Terry

    After making Shepherd’s Pie a few times (hubby once added a small can of Heinz tomato sauce…but I like more of a beef gravy) I started using a Pillsbury Pie crust for the bottom of a pie dish(like a Pyrex 9″ glass pie dish…1 lb of ground beef or a pound and a half is good enough)

    I make the mashed normally (butter and splash of milk and use the paddle first, then switch to the whisk to whip it using my KitchenAid Stand mixer) using Yukon Gold potato’s…gives a wonderful buttery flavor. I used to used a sm. box of mixed veg, but now just add peas or peas and carrots.(frozen)

    I’ve also found a wonderful Shepherd’s Pie spice packet available at my local grocery. Makes the gravy for you…you may need to adjust the spices, but the packet has enough(I found it in my international section in the British area)…you mix it with water and add to the meat and onion and peas til thickened…then put it in the pie dish (with the pillsbury pie crust unbaked) top off with the mashed for about 30-40 min or until nicely browned on top..sometimes I put a few pats of butter on top of the mashed before I cook it and sometimes sprinkle some Mrs. Dash…or Paprika…whatever you fancy!

    The pie crust also browns nicely.

    Love Shepherd’s Pie! Last time I made it, hubby said “now THIS is real food!”

  71. Jonathan Weaver

    Thanks for a very solid and flexible presentation! I’ve always found that this dish will make week-old ground beef taste delicious, but your trick with the beef broth kept even my pound-and-a-half of slightly-past-its-prime ground chuck notably flavourful and juicy.

    Shepherd’s Pie requires different levels of effort throughout its preparation. Once the potatoes are boiling, you have twenty minutes or so of flexible time. Dicing the vegetable ingredients is five or so labour-intensive minutes but can be done anywhere in those twenty. The saute and browning procedure is only intermittently demanding and you can do other things like mashing potatoes, making salad, or pleading with children to wrap up their video-game session. The last half-hour of baking needs no more than a check every ten minutes or so to ensure matters don’t get too brown atop, so greeting guests and preparing cocktails are possible. The dish is as good, if not better, if left to sit for up to half an hour after removal from the oven. For those who have other duties in and around the kitchen before mealtime, this can be a spectacular bonus.

    I followed the recipe as given, with half a cup each of finely diced carrots, celery, and sweet onion. Used thrice the Worcestershire sauce (1Tbsp) with a big dash of all the standard seasonings (rosemary, thyme, marjoram, oregano, parsley, sage) and some spicy, smoky paprika. A cup’s worth of frozen peas had languished in the freezer for too long; they rounded things out nicely in the simmer. Your beef broth tip made the eventual product much better than my numerous prior attempts. I used a very large saucepan, and the meat mixture wound up consuming a full cup of broth as it simmered; I recommend other cooks keep extra broth at hand when entering that ten-minute stage. If given a full half-hour to bake, extra moisture won’t be a problem — but dry filling can dessicate into an unappetising

    Next time, I’ll have to try thickening the ‘juice’ with some of the potato mash before baking. Bravo, Elise, for improving on an all-time favourite!

  72. April

    Thank you everyone for your comments and sharing your adaptations. I teach at a University and am now free this summer to experiment on recipes. We love all things Irish and have had this favorite in Dublin at a pub. I decided to use Bison ground meat instead of beef. It is leaner than chicken and it actually generated all the liquid I needed; no use for the beef broth. I added corn as previously recommended. I also used the ‘perfect mashed potatoes’ recipe. Thank you Elise! It was excellent. It will make a great fall/winter dinner in front of the fire. I’ll be checking out more of your recipes!

  73. Dallas Pootlass

    Thanks for the recipe! I used one large carrot and one cob of corn (what I had in fridge). I didn’t have worcestershire sauce so I used Siracha Hot Sauce. Then I topped the mashed with freshly grated parmesan cheese! So So Good!

  74. Tina Prejean

    I tossed in a packet of beefy mushroom dry soup mix and half a cup of water to the beef mixture and let it simmer a little before putting it all together to bake – the flavor was amazing and perfect for a rainy Kansas day. Use a biscuit to wipe up the juices.

  75. D Sheehy

    Hi Elise,
    I live in Greece and made this last night for a change of pace. I did, however, make a few changes. I used Amber Ale instead of beef stock, added 4 small cloves of minced garlic, fresh parsley and rosemary from my garden with a tbsp of paprika and 2 heaped tbsps of flour to thicken the gravy. It’s a winner, we scraped the plates clean! Thank you.

  76. Ane A.

    Cottage/Sheperds pie are among my favourites! I add a spoon or so of flour to the meat after browning it to help thicken the sauce. I think it’s good with beef (I also use ground chicken sometimes), but the flavour with lamb is unique and certainly the very best.

    I always use carrots and sometimes corn or chopped spinach.

  77. Shareen

    It is an awesome recipe. My husband and I don’t eat beef, so I used ground chicken. It was easy to follow and it came out delicious despite my lil’ modification! Thanks

  78. christa

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe and so does my husband, I made it one week and the next I made it again for a birthday dinner we were having and it’s been a requested favorite ever since!
    I’m making it tonight but I”m going to layer the potatoes on the top and the bottom so the juices soak into the potato’s and i’m going to add a layer of creamed corn in too. Is it five yet?? I want to go home and cook I love your website! Thanks!!

  79. Rose

    I made this dish yesterday, and my boyfriend loved it. I added a light garden salad on the side with a touch of italian dressing, and it was very filling. One pan, with all the ingredents and voila! You can have them asking for more!

  80. Tony

    We make this dish with cheese as well but since my girl friend and I love browned/burnt cheese (just like a pizza) we first brown some cheddar cheese on the bottom of the dish, like a crust, then add the ingredients and more cheese on top of the potatoes. Bake to a bubbly crisp then indulge.

  81. Gwen Thompson

    I absolutely LUV this recipe and some of these ideas are marvelous! Of course, I too, change a few things. I like to add a roll of pork sausage to the ground beef, add celery and garlic to the onion saute and top the mashed with lots of chedder cheese. After it’s all done I use a little ketchup on my plate. You can vary all you want with this recipe! Oh yeah, I also add some greek seasoning (Cavender’s) to the ground beef. Don’t forget all the spices you can use with this!

  82. Jeanette

    I made this for the first time last week. I thought it was strange that the mashed potato only called for butter and no milk – so I took it upon myself to add some. Big mistake! Looking back I understand that adding milk makes the potatoes to creamy and they don’t hold up. Advice – just use butter and skip the extras!

  83. David G.

    I had some mix for Shepherds Pie, it was just the condiments, I think. I make my own soy milk and you get bean dregs when you do that. Very neutral stuff. I tossed the mix into a bowl with a pound of ground turkey and about a cup and 1/2 of the bean dregs. Stirred it and microwaved it for 10 minutes. While I was doing that I used that convection oven thingy with the heating lamps in it it and loaded that thing with all the vegies I could find and chop, I had carrots, leeks, onion, (I held off on the garlic because of my wife) bell pepper, squash that was it. When the microwave finished the meat I put everything into that convection pan and covered it with the biscuits from two jumbo cans of biscuits. Then I gave it the business in that convection deal. I cranked it up to 400 and just watched it until the biscuits were brown. The top biscuit was closer to the heat and it browned first, I worried it would burn but it didn’t. As soon as all those biscuits which I tried to flatten were brown, it was done. Next time I will try the potatoes on top, maybe. This was so good….. You better get some help to eat this because otherwise you will hurt yourself trying to eat the whole thing.

  84. Sarah

    I just got married and am getting into the swing of cooking dinner every night. This recipe was AMAZING! It was so easy and I just used frozen veggies (well… not the potatoes and onions). Several people had mentioned whipping some cheddar cheese into the potatoes so I did that which REALLY made it tasty. My health conscious husband ate half the pan that night. Thanks for the great, lifelong recipe.

  85. Teresa

    I’m Italian born and grew up in England, now living in Italy.
    I often cook english for my family, and thier favourites are among many, shepherds pie, cottage pie, cornish pasties,pork pie.
    Italians often say that english cooking is no good; well when I invite friends over for lunch or dinner among the dishes I prepare there is always one english receipe, they finish thier plates wanting more and more asking for the receipe.
    Wonderful blog, my favourite on the web.

    Happy holidays
    Teresa

  86. Danny

    It was pretty good! needs a little more spice next time.

    http://wecooktogether.blogspot.com/2008/08/easy-shepherds-pie.html

  87. Margo

    Excellent! I used garlic mashed potatoes to give it an extra punch.

  88. David Cunard

    Fifty years ago, my mother (in England) would add baked beans rather than mixed vegetables, and Worcester sauce is essential; it might also be used at the table for an extra kick of flavour. Personally I don’t care for the contents to be too wet, but not of course as ‘dry’ as meatloaf. It should be reasonably cohesive rather than being on the lines of a sloppy joe with mashed potatoes on the side. Any way you make it, cottage pie is a an easy main dish to serve.

  89. Fabes61

    My Ex-wife from England used to do a version suited for breakfast with fried tin corned beef and a layer of baked beans between the mashed potato and the beef. On the top she would spread a layer of crush cheeze nips biscuits and shredded cheeze then bake till the top was brown. I had it after it was cooled in the refridgerator when you could cut it like a cake. I sure do miss the shepherds pie.

  90. Sara

    I had left over mashed turnips, carrots, sweet potatoes and new potatoes from last night. I put carrots, onions, red celery and poblano pepper in with the ground beef, the pepper gave it a little kick. Then I put a layer of asiago cheese between the potatoes and beef. It was wonderful. Thanks for the basic recipe.

  91. Katie

    I am hoping to make this on Thursday for some friends… Is it possible to make it earlier in the day and freeze it or put it in the fridge to heat up later in the evening?

  92. jodie

    I make this a lot in my house, but I put in a packet of French onion soup (just the packet kind). I don’t even have to add water, just toss it in when you put in the worstershire sauce and stock. I also add a tablespoon of tomato paste; it ends up making the sauce really gravy and tasty. In Australia I have been calling it a shepherd’s pie for years (I use beef mince) and have just found out that it is called a cottage pie…lol..
    I don’t know about freezing it, because sometimes potatoes go funny when they have been mashed and frozen, but you can certainly make the beef part and cook and freeze that, then make the potatoes when you are ready to eat.

  93. Jen

    I make this amazing recipe with left overs. I use the left over roast beef and gravy for the first layer, frozen corn for the second layer, and then left over mashed potatoes for the top. I add about a cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the mashed potatoes. I serve this with a fresh veggies (my kids call it a veggie salad) Broccoli crowns, Cauliflower Florets, baby carrots and dip (dressing of choice)

  94. Jood

    I add fresh diced overripe tomatoes to my pie as well as a whole heap of tomato paste. I also like to add a coating of grated parmesan to the top just before reheating in the oven as it gives it a nice, crunchy and delicious crust. I make a huge batch and keep it in several single serving metal ramekins – makes a great mid-week ‘frozen meal’.
    I like my pie made with lamb mince best.

  95. Mike

    Are these directions the same for an 8×8″dish? Because that’s all I have…. :-(

    Not sure. You might want to cut it down by a third. ~Elise

  96. D

    I used this recipe last night and it was great! Everyone wanted more. The variations were all very interesting to read. I used a bag of mixed frozen veggies, but I’m sure I could’ve thrown in any veggies and my family stil would’ve loved it.

    This definitely looks like a keeper! I am already putting this one into my rotation.

  97. Barb

    ok……all the versions sound delicious but I make mine different also. Some people may not like this version, but everyone I have made it for loves it. Of course, I am sure every version is just as good. I use tomato soup and tomato paste for my sauce. And I add cheddar cheese and sour cream to my potatoes. All this can come in the “Lite” version or fat free. It is just another way to try it. Bon Apetit!!!

  98. Eric LeCarde

    I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to cooking, but do you think that subbing scalloped potatoes for the mash would turn out ok?

    If not, then I was thinking of layering the top with with cross section cuts of potatoes (I don’t have a blender or a food processor, so making good mash seems like it would be tough.)

    What do you think?

    Worth a try! ~Elise

  99. JanL

    I made this recipe last week. Per the suggestions above, I added 2 sticks of celery, and 2 tbsp of tomato paste. I added fresh thyme and stout in place of beef broth. In addition , I added leftover green beans with the corn and carrots.
    I thickened the sauce with flour as suggested above for a gray. This was an excellent recipe.

  100. tayjon

    I made a gravy to add to the meat instead of adding broth & Worcestershire sauce.
    I used :2 tbsp of flour
    2 tbsp of butter.
    1 cup of beef broth
    2 tbsp of Worcestershire

    In a small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables.

    After that I followed the recipe BUT added a bit of shredded cheddar cheese to the top (have kids and they will eat anything as long as it has cheese on it!!!) Everyone LOVED IT!!!!!!

  101. Elisabeth Eastman

    This is one of my favorite dishes. It tastes good with ground beef, and beef, but i tastes absolutely amazing with lamb! This is a great dish for the whole family.

  102. colleen

    For a real short version start out with leftover roast beef and gravy, we usually have leftovers and both my husband and I like to use them this way!

  103. Lisa C

    I made this and it was awesome. I just used stuff I already had in the house. I made it even simpler & easier: brown the ground beef and add a bag of frozen mixed veggies. Add cream of chicken soup for a thicker & creamier texture, and use instant mashed potatoes on top with shredded cheddar cheese for the final topping.

  104. PKShaw

    An alternative is to use mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. I guarantee you won’t taste a difference and it’s an excellent way to get your family to eat more vegetables.

    Cut a head of cauliflower into florets and boil until soft with a small amount of water or chicken broth. Place cooked florets in a blender with a small amount of the cooking liquid and spread on pie the same as you would with mashed potatoes. Use any topping, or none at all; either way it’s delicious!

  105. Melissa

    I used a package of onion soup in the ground beef instead of Worcestershire sauce and added a pinch of parsley plus half a bag of fresh frozen mixed veggies. In between the layer of meat and potatoes I added a cup of ricotta cheese. Ricotta is easier to spread at room temperature so I set it out before I browned the meat, then stirred it with a fork to make sure it was ready. I added mashed potatoes over the meat and sprinkled the potatoes with cheddar cheese. Not a bite left!

  106. Ace

    Great recipe! My sister happened to have a bag of frozen peas-carrots-corn. Easy as…….pie.

  107. SD

    I used ground venison to make this. It was delicious.

  108. Michelle

    Wow. My husband loves shepherd pie (didn’t know until I checked for a recipe here today that we’ve actually both been speaking about cottage pie :). Anyway, I made it for him thinking that it would be bland and I wouldn’t enjoy it at all – we both equally finished the whole thing. All 4 portions. We actually helped our 2 year old to alternative foods he prefers so we could finish his portion! The only thing I did different was to add garlic and celery during the meat browning. Fortunately I had some frozen beef broth – or jus – from the pot roast I made recently (I highly recommend the chuck roast/pot roast recipe here – 5 star) to add extra richness. Didn’t require any thickening at all. Fantastic. Thanks so much for such a great recipe Elise. I’m looking forward to trying some of the variations next time.

  109. Jordon

    I made this a few nights ago and it was so good! Instead of beef broth, I put in a can of rotel tomatoes! It gave it the liquid it needed but it totally bumped up the flavor!! :) Yumm! Thanks for sharing your recipes!

  110. Melissa

    Wow! My family LOVED this recipe, for my youngest daughter, she says it the best recipe next to ham & cheese quiche. Thanks for providing great family recipes!

  111. marmay

    This is a great recipe. My teenage boys loved it and so did their friends! Thank you

  112. Elizabeth Davison

    I have made something similar to this but I layer Beef, tomato soup, corn, potatos and cheese on top. The person I got the recipe from calls it hamburger pie. I have gotten so many people to just try it then they want the recipe. When they find out how easy it is to make they just love it. (It’s filling too)

  113. JANE

    I’m nearly 60 and English, and this is a dish I have known all my life. Cottage Pie is always beef (my mum used to say that the mashed potatoes represented a thatched roof) and she only ever added chopped onions and diced carrots to the meat with a little grated nutmeg before adding her stock. She sometimes put mashed swede (rutabaga) with the potatoes, it depended what was on hand. To make the top crispier, half way through the cooking in the oven she would put melted butter on with a pastry brush. I sometimes add grated cheddar cheese to the mash (never milk) and also a little red wine and tomato paste to the stock. Sliced potatoes on top are really good especially if the top layer goes crispy – yummy!

    As a child, if the Sunday roast had been lamb, any leftover meat was minced with onion and mixed with any leftover vegetables and made into shepherds pie for Monday’s supper, or without the gravy but with good seasoning added (even curry powder) put into pastry circles and folded in half and sealed around the edge to make cornish pasties (yet another way to use minced meats). My daughter doesn’t like sliced onion in food, they have to be almost puréed so she uses garlic. Just decided, cottage pie tonight!

  114. Monica

    Hi, tried to read all the comments and don’t think I read an answer for this… I will be gone for a month and will cook for my DH in advance and freeze so He can eat “home cook meals” LOL anyway, can I freeze mash potatoes without changing their consistency and flavor too much, I know cook potatoes get too mushy but never froze mash before, any thoughts/experiences?

    Hi Monica, having never frozen a shepherd’s pie, I don’t know what to tell you. Seems to me that frozen dinners you can get in the supermarket often come with mashed potatoes, so it should work. ~Elise

  115. Jennifer

    Monica,

    For me, frozen potatoes tend to turn gritty. I find them unpalatable. I would recommend making the filling and freezing it for him and having him make the potatoes himself. I know my own husband would need three pages of details instructions in order to peel, chop, boil, and mash a few potatoes so good luck if yours is anything like mine!

  116. jacqueline

    I have lots of hamburger and this one I’m going to be making tonight for dinner. I have made it before and it was really good.

  117. Paul Fitzgibbon

    Many good ideas and variations, I make this recipe once a year for my St. Pats day party. It gets inhaled.. my shortcut is to use the boxed instant potatoes! You can make them as thick or stiff in consistency as you need for the topping.

  118. Mai

    Thanks- this recipe was super easy, cheap and delicious. Have been having it for lunch all week too and it holds up as leftovers.
    Thanks again!

  119. idza

    I love this recipe! I brushed on egg whites over the potatoes before putting the pie in the oven and it turned out beautifully.

  120. Amanda

    I found this site after searching for an easy Sheperd’s pie recipe. I liked this recipe for the simple fact it leaves so much room to play.

    I had to double the recipe because I was cooking for a large family of 7 but it still turned out pretty good. Next time I’m going to use less butter and drain the beef before mixing in the vegetables. Mine turned out a bit too greasy for my liking but it still tasted great. My kid brother, who hates vegetables and almost any healthy food loved this meal! That alone makes it worth cooking again. There weren’t any leftovers either. Everyone had seconds!

    In a few weeks I’m going to make it again but with a few twists. I’m going to make sure it’s less greasy and maybe have a gravy sauce or something similar.

  121. Rose Giesbrecht

    Found this site after searching for an easy Shepherd’s pie recipe. I liked this recipe for the simple fact it leaves so much room to play.

    Everybody had to ask me for the recipe because it was so good and turned out pretty delicious. Next time I’m going to use less butter and drain the beef before mixing in the vegetables. Mine turned out a bit too greasy for my liking but it still tasted great. There weren’t any leftovers either. Everyone had seconds!

    Thank you so much!

  122. Ash

    This meal is a great way to use up leftovers. Whenever we cook roast and mashed potatoes for dinner, we always make extra to be turned into shepherd’s pie the next day. Just shred the meat, add in whatever vegetables we had (usually peas)and enough gravy to make it moist and top with the potatoes. I usually sprinkle a little cheddar over the top too. Reruns can be fun!

  123. rhonda

    I’m going to make this with veggie ground round tonight for my daughter and me. =-)

  124. Christina

    I LOVE this dish but I make it quite differently. I don’t layer anything, I combine the cooked ground beef (usually seasoned with garlic, seasoning salt, some onions… but without broth or gravy… gravy is optional after it is on personal plates), veggies (any and all kinds; drained if canned), mashed potatoes, and cheddar cheese all together and THEN put in the cassorole dish. I add a layer (thin or thick depending on what is left) of cheddar cheese on top and then bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

    Yummy with corn bread or even toast!

  125. Christina

    I forgot to say that a good way to make it lower in calories and fat is to use turkey ground meat and use chicken broth or fat free milk for the mashed potatoes… still very flavorful but better for the waistline!

  126. Fain

    This ended up being a pretty awesome recipe.

    For veggies I just used a bag of partially thawed mixed veggies (carrots, peas, corn, green beans, and lima beans) and sauteed them with the onion.

    We had pot roast a few nights ago, and I used the leftover gravy for that and mixed it with the beef broth and a few splashes of worcestershire. It ended up a little thin first out of the oven, but thickened up nicely as it sat.

    I also ended up adding a dollop of sour cream to the mashed potatoes–we try to keep our butter intake pretty low, so 1:1 ratio of butter and sour cream (2 Tbsp. each, but I just eyeballed it) keeps the creaminess and adds a nice little tartness.

  127. Hillary

    Hubby and I loved this recipe, I don’t think that I will use as much beef broth though next time and a little more Worcestershire…. but other than that it was wonderful!

  128. Mckenzie(12 years old)

    I’m 12 years old and I love to cook! This recipe was the best I’ve made! I love making this recipe because I’m Irish and it really brings culture into the kitchen! Everyone in my family loves this too! It doesn’t take long so I make it after school with my sister, for my mom so she can relax from a hard day at work! I also love this website and I’m always on it looking for new things to cook! The sweet and sour chicken recipe is great too. I am so glad to have found something my family and I love! Thank you whoever made this “Easy Shepard’s Pie” recipe, and good luck to all other who make it!

    Hello Mckenzie, I’m so glad you love to cook! I’ve passed on your comment to my friend Frances who gave me this Shepherd’s Pie recipe. I’m sure she will be happy to know that you like cooking it too. ~Elise

  129. Karen Schmans.

    I like to season this with curry to give it an Indian flavour.

  130. Melody

    I love it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  131. Julie

    I love this recipe! I also like to sprinkle some shredded cheddar on the top of the pie about ten minutes before it is done! It tastes delicious!!

  132. Maria

    I love this recipe! We added a little latin flavor of our own. When cooking the beef, chopped up some fresh cilantro and added it, also did the adding of the corn. Yummy! When the ground beef is all done, I mixed in a couple of different cheeses, then after the baking, right as it browned, we topped it with the remainder of the cheeses. Talk about Delish! My kids were eating as if they never ate before. Thanks for the recipe.

  133. greta

    I love your site, especially since making your smoked paprika roasted chicken. I also love (what we call) Shepherd’s Pie! I usually make mine with ground turkey, since I only seem to tolerate beef that’s been cooked long and slow (i.e. 3-5 hour sauce for lasagna); and I cook/bake (all but the potatoes I steam) in a dutch oven.

    I also vary my recipe as others have commented here, with sweet and regular potatoes mashed, and cheddar on top. I *always* put in a few cloves of garlic, in the meat and regular potatoes. Sometimes I’ll top it with a mix of pepper jack and cheddar.

    But the one thing I’m truly glad I’ve experimented with is to add a light sprinkling of cinnamon, both on the meat and on the potato mix, along with paprika.

    It seems placing the potato mix on the bottom would only make it more flavorful by soaking up the juices from the meat. And what couldn’t be more British than adding a bit of parsnip? I’ll have to try that. Thanks so much for the recipe and ideas!

  134. Taylor Buehler

    Wow. This stuff is great, even though the layout for the recipe could use work. The first time I made this stuff I didn’t pre-read, so I get all the way to the end and THEN read preheat the oven to 400 degrees, so I’m stuck waiting for the oven to preheat while all my ingredients are getting colder and colder.

    But alas, my family LOVES this stuff. No matter how much I make, it’s not enough for my family of four. I am practically at the point of tripling the recipe because it is almost ALWAYS gone on the first night. A family of four eating a 9x13x2 shepherd’s pie in one night? And we’re all relatively skinny? Wow. This must be one great dish! Just wish I could come up with more ways to spice it up a bit, add more fab and pizazz.

  135. Susan

    What a great recipe – I used ground chicken instead of beef, chicken broth and a package of frozen veggies… (it was what I had on hand) I too added cheese – my husband hates onions (he’ll find them even if they are chopped to dust) so I used 3 cloves of garlic.

    Both my 10 year old son and husband loved it!

  136. Lauren

    Well I’m an Aussie living in China at the moment and was greatful to find this recipe, as my husband misses His Aussie meals. Mum always made it when we were kids, but now i’m married and have a family of my own, I needed the extra detail about how exactly to cook it. I’m a ‘throw-it-together-without-a-recipe-and-see-how-it-turns-out’ type girl. I’m cooking for my extended family who are also living with us and want to impress with a simple but delicious meal. I have never called it ‘cottage pie’ though, always shepherd’s pie. Hopefully all goes well in cooking it tonight? Let you know how it goes. Thankfully my mother in law has an oven at her apartment (as they don’t use oven much over here)

  137. Derrick Naylor

    Shepherd’s (Cottage-whatever)Pie has been one of my favourites for over seventy years, I make a large casserole dish and freeze the leftovers in 2 serving portions, I never have any trouble with the potatoes. I will be making it for over 140 Seniors next week and I know there will very little (if any) left.

  138. Melissa

    This dish was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! One of the best things I have ever made and I was so proud to serve this to my company last night…no leftovers! Changed a few things..used 2 1/2 lbs of ground beef, whole onion (medium) and 2 cloves of garlic (sliced). The major difference was I added ALOT more Worstershire, I added 3 tsp. to start and then after the meat browned, I added atleast another 3 tsp, but I love that flavor. Once the meat was browned, then I addded 1 can diced carrots, 1 frozen bag of corn niblets and 1 frozen bag of peas, then I added the beef broth and let it simmer for 10 minutes. My Husband was so sad that there were no leftovers…it was that good! Do not hesitate to make this recipe….a new favorite for sure!! BTW–I made individual Shepherd’s Pies using small aluminum casserole pans…great presention and then I served it with brown gravy (from a jar).

  139. Brionna

    This is the best Shepherd’s Pie recipe on the Internet! I have been making this recipe for over a year now and everyone that I make it for L-O-V-E it. Thank you so much for such a delicious recipe.

  140. Lara

    Just wanted to be the 3,214 person to praise this recipe!! I used a frozen bag’o’veggies and INSTANT garlic mashed potatoes and it will be hard to have enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Simple and delish! Thank you

  141. Tony

    i made this a week ago, and i used frozen corn and instant potatoes as well. nothing left of a 9×13 pan. and it was HEAPING!! also, i shredded some zucchini between the meat/corn mix and the potatoes along with some shredded cheddar cheese. awesome.

  142. Dawn Black

    My family loved this! I used carrots, white corn, peas, and mushrooms and made a little onion gravy for it. YUM!

  143. Newbie Cook

    I just made this today. I put a little bit of my own spin on it (made cheesy garlic potatoes and added more veggies). I did end up using some flour to thicken it up and reduced the “sauce” down some. It was fantastic! My family loved it and it was easy to make!

  144. Roz

    I made this tonight but I switched out the white potatoes and used Sweet potatoes and my family loved it. You can make this like a Lasagna and layer the meat then the veggies and top it all off with the potatoes.

  145. Kristin

    This was a first for making Cottage/Sheperd Pie. It was easy and fantastic. My husband loved it. I did add some Season All (I had forgotten the Worchestershire) and some garlic to the meat and threw in a little salt and shredded cheese to the mashed potatoes like recommended. I did use the broth w/ a lean ground meat so there was not a lot of liquid but to be on the safe side, I added a can of corn between the layers (not cream style) as I thought it may be too much liquid and possibly too sweet. Delicious! Loved the recipe and it will be a family favorite.

  146. Nicole J

    Hello!

    This looks great but I am health-conscious and was wondering if I could saute the veggies in some olive oil instead and maybe use about 3tbsp of butter for the potatoes? What if I use 85% lean beef? I am concerned that these modifications may lead to a dry pie! Thank you for your help.

    You should be okay with all of those ideas. The broth and the fact that the meat is covered by the potatoes will help keep the meat from drying out. ~Elise

  147. Travis

    Funny story here. Earlier today I was looking at the contents of my fridge and thinking I had better use up some of the stuff inside before it went bad. So I basically re-invented cottage pie without ever having made it, eaten it, or heard of it before. Of course my recipe differed slightly but the general concept was the same.

    Fast forward to this evening where I’m checking my email before bed. A friend of mine links me to this page and tells me she’s thinking about trying the recipe. She wanted to know what I thought of it first, and if I would help her make it, (as a college student who cooks I get asked this question by my friends who don’t on a regular basis). LOL, needless to say I almost died laughing when I saw the recipe I just “invented” had been posted on the ‘net 3 1/2 years ago.

    Anyways, for you cooks out there looking for suggestions or tweaks, there was one pretty big difference between my take and this one. Instead of topping with mashed potatoes and baking, I topped with cornbread. The result was something that tasted distinctly Midwestern rather than English.

    For those of you looking to try it at home, I should point out that cornbread is significantly drier than mashed potatoes, so you’ll want to compensate by adding more fluid to the recipe somehow. I didn’t measure anything, but I added in roughly 1/2 a cup of broth, a full bottle of dark beer, and just a dash of the liquid from the can my corn and peas both came from. That seemed to work pretty well for me, although it could have used just a bit more fluid (a glass of water perhaps?)

    Regardless, Elise; if you read this, many thanks. The recipe looks smashing, and I’ll be sure to try it out :).

  148. Dana

    I tried it with chuck steak cut into small pieces & it was SO GOOD!!

  149. LaMona

    What can I say that hasn’t already been said. A fabulous dish. I like it with 1/2 cup of A-1 steak sause added to the mix. yum yum

  150. Debbie

    I was looking for a quick dinner using ground beef and found this. It was a hit! Only had carrots and onions on hand, sauteed in a little garlic olive oil, used prepared mashed potatoes topped with a little smoked paprika. Didn’t have beef broth so used a little chicken stock. My husband says make this again.

  151. suzeee

    Just to mix it up bit I topped it off with a corn bread mix before I baked it. Awesome.

  152. Courtney

    I making this for dinner tonight! I’m going to use corn and green beans for the veggies and garlic mashed potatos with shredded cheddar cheese on top and I hope it turns out as great as everyone else’s did! Wish me luck!!!!!

  153. El

    I used up our Thanksgiving leftovers with yet another spin on this recipe. (Being just two people, we had herb-glazed roast chicken with garlic, carrots and onion for our main dish on the day.) Leftovers included chicken gravy, a whole pile of mashed potatoes and lots of the the roast carrots and garlic.

    I added several cloves of garlic, cut into heavy slivers, at the onion saute stage, as we are big fans of the stinking rose and love the taste of soft simmered or roasted garlic. To help marry the herbed flavor of the chicken-y leftovers with the beef, I browned 3/4 lbs. diced smoked sausage before adding a pound of ground beef.

    Then in went the chicken gravy (the herbs were rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, along with generous amounts of black pepper). I simmered everything with whole “baby” cut carrots and added frozen corn just at the end so it wouldn’t get too soggy. Our gravy was on the loose side and I was worried it would be too runny, but after letting the finished pie sit for ~15 minutes it held together reasonably well – and was delicious!

  154. Miss Patti

    Instead of mashed potatoes…if you find baby red potatoes, boil til just done… place on a pie pan and potato mash/press each one once or twice… then spatula lift them to cover the pie and dot with butter or earth balance vegan fake butter, salt and pepper…. at the last few min, do the broiler to brown. Looks amazing and easy too!

  155. Dickie Ann Mathews

    This is definitely “a keeper”. It was easy to make and delicious! I like to make meals in one dish. There were only 3 of us at dinner and although I used my big casserole dish there were no leftovers.

  156. alexandria

    I am 16 and I made this for my mom and dad’s anniversary. They loved it. I love to cook. Thanks for the recipe.

  157. Charlotte

    Hi…
    I am 12.
    I made this for a school lesson and I got such a good mark I got moved up a level, I wish I could take all the credit but this recipe helped me with every bit, it was so easy and it taste brill
    thanx for the recipe

  158. O

    My friend from church made this similarly for me, and she is a true briton only living here for about 10 years. I asked her what she did to hers and the only difference is she used curry powder and thyme. I have never been able to replicate but now maybe I can!!
    Thanks Elise.

  159. Maina

    In Uni in London in the 80s, I ‘grew’ up with this stuff. As a student, never used veggies – Georgie Bush the first said veggies were ..eyeuu…

    I say, carrots, tomatoes, corn, peas, spinach.. and all the healthy stuff – be gone!

    Checklist.

    1. Ground beef 93/7 – check
    2. Potatoes – check
    3. Garlic (canned is fine) – check
    4. Diced onions – check
    5. Mixed Indian spices – check
    6. 4 mixed Mexican cheese – check

    7. Foil tin – check
    8. Kitchen – check
    9. Stove gasor electric – check

    10. Visitors – NOT TONIGHT.

    Follow instructions in first post

    —-
    11. This goes well with a cool glass of Ribena (spiked is ok).

  160. Torrey

    Love this recipe. I use ground lamb, which I suppose makes it more authentic, and I have found that a few tablespoons of flour really does help it to hold together. Perfect comfort food for a cold winter night.

  161. Meg

    This is now my favorite recipe. I use ground turkey, peas and carrots. I use someone’s suggestion to thicken the meat mixture with corn starch in the beef broth. To make it even quicker, I use the commercial refrigerated mashed potatoes. I prepare them as directed in the microwave, spread them over the meat mixture in the baking dish, pop it into the oven for about 15 minute and voila, an incredible dinner. The only problem is to keep myself from going back for 2nds and 3rds.

  162. LaLa

    Love this recipe. my mother used to make it when i was younger, and since i now live in my own home, i wanted to bring a little home cooking wit me. i made it in a huge cassarole dish, and between three people, it was gone in twenty mines.

  163. Lulu

    Will be making this again tonight, it is a meal I know will never go to waste even with my fussy children.

    To thicken the mixture I simply use some gravy granules, yum.

  164. JennB

    This was super good & very easy to make. We increased the meat to 2lbs & added tomato paste, garlic & also added a little more worcestershire sauce then the recipe called for. It was incredible & everyone gobbled it down!

  165. Ernesto

    In my house, we make a Caribbean version with ripe plantains in place for the potato.

    Use plantains that are very ripe, black all over and soft. Saute them in a little butter and olive oil with a pinch of salt until browned on both sides. When done, mash as you would the potatoes. Add some stock or milk/cream to soften it a little.

    When cooking the beef, use onions, cilantro, and bell pepper as the aromatics. Layer and finish as you would a standard pie.

    Try it sometime, it’s one of the most awesome dishes I’ve ever had.

    Ernesto, that sounds great, thank you! ~Elise

  166. Christy

    I’m Diabetic so I had to modify this a bit. I used mashed cauliflower (made the traditional mashed potatoe way) instead of mashed potatoes. I also used ground turkey instead of beef. I used tons of fresh veggies, a can of chili beens and a can of stewed tomatoes in with the turkey burger. I also layered it backwards… (I guessed – wrong – when I was making it) I put the cauliflower mash on the bottom. Then on top of the turkey mixture I put cooked quinoa (I used chicken broth instead of water to cook the quinoa). It turned out really good. My kids actually ate every bite I put on their plates!!! The next day it was even tastier because all the juices setteled into the mashed cauliflower.

  167. moxypad

    There was no way I was going to use the beef broth and I’m glad I didn’t. I also didn’t use peas nor corn. Even after it came out of the oven, there was liquid at the bottom. Oh btw, I used ground bison! I liked the worcestershire ingredient, it made a difference. Overall, pleased with this recipe, but I think the broth can be eliminated.

  168. Mr. Mom

    I made this tonight for me and my two year old son. He loved it and I am very satisfied and full. I will recomend this to everyone short on time and big on appetite…

  169. heidi

    Add 2 eggs to the mashed potatoes, when it cooks it will “set” the potatos and look better on your plate. It will not be sloppy.

    Great idea Heidi, thanks for the suggestion. ~Elise

  170. Sue

    Hi,
    I have a veggie version in the oven right now, smelling heavenly! My husband has the meat version.We both have added some little extras but not hugely different.
    We make cottage/shepherds pie fairly often, being brits, but I was struck by the simplicity and we needed a speedy recipe tonight.
    Thanks so much.
    I also spent way too much time absorbed by reading all the amazing feedback! LOL :-)
    Thanks for a great website.

  171. Mar

    I made this for dinner last night. I didn’t have any Worcestershire sauce so I used A-1 instead. I added mushrooms and used most of a can of beer as well as beef broth, and I thickened the gravy with beurre manie. Oh and grated cheese in the mashed.

    I made a huge pan but everyone loved it so much there isn’t any left over for lunch today!

  172. Victor Cusumano

    This has become a new family fave… and not just for St Patrick’s Day! Thanks for the recipe!

  173. Aleel

    My family and I really liked this recipe. I remember having it with the corn layer when I was a kid but like it with the veggies mixed in.

  174. Trixie

    I so, so love this recipe! I am making it a little differently this time, though–using fresh veggies instead of canned :P. I am relatively inexperienced in this arena. Could you tell me, if I have corn on the cob, do I need to cook (boil) the corn before I add it to the meat? Or do I add the corn raw? Thanks!

    Great question. Most people will be using frozen corn (and peas) which are blanched first before freezing. So you could do that if you wanted. But I think you could easily use the corn right off the cob too, because you do cook it a bit before it goes in the oven. ~Elise

  175. Trixie

    Thank you for the info, Elise. I ended up just chopping the corn (white sweet corn) off the cob, into the meat that had been cooking for a few minutes. It was really tasty!! We ate wayyyy too much of it… :)

  176. J.Fel

    I like to put a can of drained corn and also a can of cream style corn in between my meat layer and potato layer…the cream corn (while I can’t stand it on its own!) makes the pie deliciously creamy!

  177. D. Caplinger

    I used to be a short order cook. I made this for my family tonight… and it was a shocking success. Even my picky eaters completely cleaned their plates. My wife, who cannot stand peas, and my son, who detests cooked carrots, both ate every bite! There were no left overs. :)

    I will definitely make this one again. Oh, and I added about 2 TBSP of A1 sauce to the mix.

  178. nathan

    I love shephards pie. I use a version I saw from Tyler Florence’s show–the only real difference was he added 3 Tbsp tomato paste to the pan with the vegetables once they were cooked. I also cook the hamburger separately so I can drain the excess liquid then add it to the vegetable tomato paste mix.
    I also do a shortcut using 4-5 cups of instant mashed potatoes which I put slivers of butter on top before baking everything.
    He also sprinkles grated cheese on the potato before the butter.

  179. Sue_Parsons

    To those who would prefer a vegetarian alternative, which would appeal to me as well, how about using a mixture of canned beans as the bottom layer? I am thinking if you used perhaps some kidneys, navies, and maybe cannellini beans (white kidneys) warmed and stirred up with the sauteed onion, some garlic and perhaps a little tomato sauce, with maybe some couscous or rice, that would give you the balance of protein you’d need to make this a main course. You’d forego the beef broth and Worchestershire, of course, perhaps replacing them with low salt soy sauce. Your veggie layer would go next, and then the potatoes on top.

    Tonight I am going to try this using ground turkey, and my daughter suggested using sweet potatoes for the mash on the top. I think I will go for a swirl of both sweet and white potatoes. Thanks so much for all the other ideas on variations with the veggies and spices, all!

  180. Sue

    So, that version I made last night? Liked it better than the original! I used ground turkey, lots of sauteed onions, celery and mushrooms, half a can of cream of celery soup after draining the meat, a little garlic powder, dill and parsley, frozen mixed veggies (and lots of ‘em) as well as a quarter bag of fresh spinach mixed in with the cooked turkey, and half mashed red potatoes with skins, half mashed sweet potatoes with a little evaporated skim milk, swirled together on the top. After baking it for about 35 minutes at 400, I grated about three ounces of asiago cheese on the top, then baked it for about five more minutes. Marvelous!

  181. Steve McDonald

    I thought what a better way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day but with a bit of pub grub. And Shepherd’s Pie is available in most pubs on the Emerald Isle. Tweeked the original recipie just a touch with half ground lamb & half ground beef. Also added a half cup of red Zinfandel to appeal to the ‘snooty’ plough man. Going to share it with my Irish neighbors. Ta.

  182. Christina

    I see this recipe is super old and the last comment was in 2009, but I’m hoping to get a response anyway….

    Would this freeze well? Any tips on freezing. thawing?

    Thank you!

    • Elise

      Hi Christina, I’m guessing that since shepherd’s pie is one of the standards you’ll find in the frozen food section of a grocery store that it should freeze well. I haven’t tried freezing it myself though.

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