Easy Shepherd’s Pie

American favorite shepherd's pie recipe, casserole with ground beef, vegetables such as carrots, corn, and peas, topped with mashed potatoes.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

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 Boil the potatoes: 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 Sauté vegetables: 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.

shepherds-pie-method-1

4 Add the ground beef, then worcestershire sauce and broth: 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.

shepherds-pie-method-2

5 Mash the cooked potatoes: 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.

6 Layer the meat mixture and mashed potatoes in a casserole dish: Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread the beef, onions, and vegetables (if using) in an even layer in a large baking dish (8x13 casserole).

shepherds-pie-method-3 shepherds-pie-method-4

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 Bake in oven: 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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Comments

  • Linda walton

    Making this for supper tonight 11.29.16
    Going to try it with creamed corn .
    With a side of fresh yellow squash.

  • Kirby

    I take the mashed potatoes and add paprika, cayenne pepper till the spuds have a slight red tinge. I then add a couple tablespoons fresh cracked pepper. Some jack cheese and voila a definite southern spin.

  • Christina Schmidt

    I do not eat beef. Can I make this with Turkey and chicken broth?

  • Tracey Prange

    Made this for a Halloween party and had not a bit leftover to bring home, which was nice but kind of sad since leftovers are really, really nice. The only variation I made was that I used my usual method for mashed potatoes and added half-and-half. It was wonderful. Will try the cheese topping next time.

  • Tania

    Can we prepare the whole thing a day before and bake the next day ? Or it should be baked directly just after layering all ingredients. Thanks Tania

  • Sherry Seely

    I’m making this tonight for supper….but the left over mashed potatoes I had in the fridge looked a little dry, so I added about 1/2 cup of sour cream and a little dried chives and whipped them! Hope it tastes as good as it looks and smells!

    • Tracey Prange

      Not sure how it turned out on your end, but I think that sounds absolutely yummy!

      • Sherry Seely

        It was delicious!!! I operate a seniors residence, and all the ladies said it was better than what they used to make!!

  • Joseph Guiliano

    I added two egg yolks to the mashed potatoes and flour and red wine to the meat mixture. The flavor is to die for and the potatoes came out very fluffy and tasty!

  • suzanne

    Even easier and so good: make it with leftover meatloaf.

  • Tony Baldarramos

    It’s good made half with cheese and half without me family prefer without so next time without I there will be a next time.

  • Heather

    I love shepherd’s pie. I use ground turkey however. I cut back on the onions since I like them and they don’t like me. I add extra veggies…peas, corn, carrots. Extra Worcestershire sauce. Tablespoon of tomato paste, a cup of chicken broth, some flour and the all important glass full of red or white wine. Cooking it down to make a wonderful gravy. Yum. No cheese as that just seems to be an American thing to do. Throw cheese on everything. Spoon the potatoes over the meat mixture bake for a bit serve with a crusty bread and you are done! Now I’m hungry.

  • M Bonaccorso

    Love this recipe. I have been making it for a year or two. I do not add beef broth but extra Worcestershire sauce because we like it so much. I use peas, carrots and onion and top with cheese. Next time I will add corn.

  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

    It sounds delicious, I actually never tried it.

  • MICHAEL A STONE

    This was always the Monday (laundry day) meal, using Sunday leftovers. I remember handgrinding the cold lamb.

  • Sheryl J Dintelman

    I use cream of mushroom soup instead of beef broth.

  • Marianne Smallwood

    I am cooking mine now as I type. I cannot wait to eat. With a side of northern beans I think it is going to be great! Thanks for your recipe.

  • Bev

    I grew up on this and still make it. When the kids were young I couldn’t even get it in the oven they just ate it with the meat mixture poured over the mashed potatoes. They loved it. I make regular whipped potatoes with milk and butter and I only use peas and onions and I use flour to thicken the juices. I like the idea of the pearl onions though. I can’t imagine a Shepard’s pie with any tomato product in it but to each his own.
    Thanks, Elise

  • Harold Bond

    A great recipe for beautiful great tasting food, and a beautiful cook as well, awesome!!!

  • stephen w.

    I wonder how it would be to use frozen hash brown instead of mashed potatoes.

  • Hizmo

    What I do is take my old family recipe for creamed hamburger which is butter melted mix flour then add milk to create a gravy you add the meat that then make a layered shepherd’s pie but I love the idea of creamed corn and the other one with making a gravy and onion order broth it all sounds so good I’ll be busy for about to try and all the new ones enjoy everybody

  • HELEN BREEDING

    I have been making Shepherd’s Pie for over 40 years. I use left over mashed potatoes from a meal the day before. I cook the onions with my ground beef then add frozen mixed vegetables with seasoning (garlic salt, salt, pepper) and a bullion cube. Then after cooking is done, I add two small or one large diced tomato and mix it in. I top with the mashed potatoes and grade cheddar cheese on top.

    • Lindsay

      Great tips, I’m using them as my shepherd’s pie cooks now, thanks Helen!

  • gail ruge

    In your suggested variations, I was shocked to see your version using creamed corn. I’ve never seen it anywhere. It’s been a recipe in my family for more than 70 years. My grandmother was born in England in the late 1800’s and came to the US in the early 1900’s. She only used beef and creamed corn and simple mashed potatoes, nothing else except seasonings. She called it Chinese Pie. We don’t know where the name came from, but if anyone knows, I would appreciate the info. Going to try this adding the cheese.

    • Ken

      The French translation of Shepherds Pie is Pate’ Chinois, or Chinese Pie. Did your grandmother know a Frenchman?

      • Allison

        It is not from France but from the French Canadians (Québécois) pâté chinois and we do make it with creamed corn only. The reason I was told it was called pâté chinois (Chinese Pie) is because during the railway construction many Chinese were working and that’s what they fed them mostly.

  • Nancy Wyatt

    I’m going to try this but my little “touch” will be not to salt the meat and to add a can of liquid onion soup and about 2 Tablespoons of flour to the meat…this forms into a wonderful gravy when cooked alone so I’m sure it would be delightful with mashed potatoes on top of it!

    • Nann

      How did this recipient with your ‘touch” go? It sounds delicious appease give an update

  • Eric

    after reading all of the comments I’m excited to try this! I’m going a tbsp. of tomato paste to the mixture and make a small batch or creamed corn to layer over the top of the beef mixture. and add my amazing cream cheese mashed red potatoes over top and of course top with cheese! cant wait to try this!

  • Harvey

    I used 1 lb of ground and 1 lb of antelope cut into small cubes! By the time I put it in the oven, the potatoes were even with the top of a deep baking dish. We are waiting for the 3 minute broil to brown it and will be back with the prognosis !

    • Harvey

      Oops, as a follow up, I used 1 lb of ground beef & 1 lb of antelope, cubed small. However, I included a goodly portion of the corn and pea juice. Consequently it is quite juicy, but excellent; will see how much is left after the grandsons have at it!

  • Norm

    I added a handful of minced celery to the veggies, then sprinkled generous layer of shredded cheese over the veggies, and over the top layer of potatoes. My wife and I agreed it was the best shepherd’s pie either of us ever tasted.

  • Matt D

    One of the best recipes I’ve tried and I’ve made Shepard’s (or cottage) pie a hundred times. I do tweak it a little. I find the carrots should be added a minute or two before the onions, I add a little heavy cream or whole milk and fresh garlic to the potatoes and use 1/2 a can of creamed corn to every can or 8oz of corn I use between the meat and potatoes. The cream corn really helps bring it all together and keeps it moist through out.

    • Matt D

      Also, for chefs looking to use this is restaurants, use pearl onions and you can make the filling ahead of time. Throw it in a sauté dish and heat then place in half deep bowl/plate, cover with potatoes and throw it in the over for a few minutes. Works like a charm for people seeking comfort food.

  • Jim W.

    Hi Elise. I’m a new cook. Your recipe sounded good so I tried it. It came out perfect the first time. Thank you. One question, are you supposed to drain the hamburger/vegetables before adding the beef broth? I didn’t and it tasted great, but was a bit greasy.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jim, our ground beef these days is so lean that I don’t feel a need to spoon off any excess fat. But if you find too much fat being rendered, you can do that. Just try to get the fat and not all of the flavorful juices.

      • Jim W.

        Hi Elise. Thanks for the response. It wasn’t too bad, I just wasn’t sure if I was supposed to drain it or not (even though your recipe didn’t say to). None of the people who ate it said anything about it being greasy, so it might just be me. I’m definitely going to make it again. It really was great.

    • Rebecca Maxwell

      Jim W. Thank you for asking about draining the hamburger meat. I was wondering the same thing. Even after cooking it, it looks very greasy…we haven’t tasted it yet and I guess that’s what matters.

      • Elise Bauer

        Hi Rebecca, the ground beef we get here is so lean that I rarely have a need to drain it. But if you find yourself with excess fat that you don’t want (remembering that fat = flavor), feel free to remove some of it.

  • Jim

    Terrific recipe!!! Thank you for sharing it!!! You just can beat easy and tasty!!!

  • Jay

    hi there I found your recipe website on Google I made a variation of this in a house on the lake By a volcano inGuatemala last night. The house has no power to it and the stove operate solely on natural gas. I didn’t have all the ingredients because of the village I’m in the store doesn’t have everything the recipe called for. I used breakfast sausages along with onions sautéed a can of creamed corn mash potatoes as well as a layer of cheese slices and a package of chips we call tortix, they’re very spicy but I gave it a nice top layer. I didn’t have all the other fancy stuff however I will tell you I made enough for one large pan for myself and that serve me two huge plates thank you very much for posting your recipe you gave me a good start

  • Colette

    This is my all time favorite Shepherds pie recipe! I do tweak it a little, I feel like the worchestershire sauce makes it, so I add a tbsp instead of a tsp. I also use about a cup and a half of frozen veggies and I add milk to my mashed potatoes to make them creamier. Everyone loves this dish!

  • Joan

    This is the best shepherd’s pie recipe ever! Even my picky 4year old loves it! Thank you all the way from ever-sunny Singapore!

  • Sarah

    Excited to try this! Do you think it could feed 5-7 people? It looks like it but wondering if I need to make extra. Thank you.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sarah, it depends on how hungry they are and what else you are serving. It’s a generous 4 portions that I think you could easily stretch to 6.

  • Lucy

    Hey! Is vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie a thing? Is there some meat substitute one could use so it’s not just “Shepherd’s Pie without the meat,” but instead just a slightly different recipe?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Lucy, you could try making a vegetarian shepherd’s pie, maybe with mushrooms?

    • Olivia

      Oh yes, you could sub the beef broth for veggie broth and use carrots, peas, corn, and a more “meaty” veggie like mushrooms or black beans (even a meat substitute like tofu could work) the mushrooms would add the darkness of a shepherd’s pie. It would definitely be delicious.

  • John

    This was delicious! I made it for my mom who is 94 and she raved over it.

  • DeMarie

    Just finished feeding the family a cottage pie :) – they loved it!

  • Amanda

    Mine is in the oven right now. Can’t wait to eat it. I’ve tried a very similar version for the crockpot and it was great so I imagine this will be too. I didn’t have Worcester sauce so I just left it out. Used a can of mixed veggies, a pound of lean meat which I did brown first…I’m one of those types (;), accidentally added garlic cause I just thought I remembered it saying garlic…I’m sure it’ll be fine. I also use instant mashed potatoes for everything. I added extra butter. I tried the suggestion of cheese, but only put it on half so people can choose for themselves.:)

  • dalia

    Mines came out fabulous. I added the flour as well, turns it into gravy!! Yummy! !

  • Ann Dalton

    Thank you. Yours was the only recipe I could find that didn’t add Tomatoe Paste or Canned Tomatoes. I grew up in England until I married an American at age 22. NEVER have I seen Tomatoes added from any of my family or friends. My mother made this on a regular basis during the war. I haven’t made it for some time and just wanted a refresher on the cooking times. I finaly found your recipe. Thanks again

  • John Snyder

    Sorry to break it to you, but this is cottage pie, not shepherds pie. Shepherds pie ALWAYS uses ground lamb, not beef!

    • Elise Bauer

      Did you read the introduction to the recipe?

      • Mark

        Right read above befor leaving this comment … In to much of a hurry to put people down .. I love this recipe just leave out the tomatoes and I do add the floor and a little milk to make the gravy… Awsom!!

  • Joe

    Have you ever tried piping your Duchess Potatoes on ts recipe?

    • Elise

      Great idea! Though it does seem a bit “gilding the lily”.

  • Sally

    I used a little less meat and a little more vegetables plus I added about a tablespoon of tomato paste. I sprinkled just over a tablespoon of flour over the mixture before adding the beef broth. After topping with potatoes I sprinkled on some cheddar cheese. Delicious! The best shepherd/cottage pie I’ve ever made.

  • Pamela Green

    Elise, you might have fun tweaking this version, that was served at Prince William’s wedding.

    http://www.oprah.com/food/Cottage-Pie-Recipe

  • Cassandra

    hey I’m going to make this tonight. Two questions — (btw I am using frozen peas, corn, and carrots.) First, does the 1-2 cups mean 1-2 cups of each veggie or 1-2 cups altogether? Secondly, should I be adding the frozen veggies into the meat as I’m browning it? Or would I only cook the meat and onions together and then after I put that mixture in the pan, layer that with the frozen veggies? I just didn’t know if cooking them frozen with the meat would have a negative effect or something…Thank a lot.

    • Elise

      1 to 2 cups of veggies means 1 to 2 cups all together. If you are using frozen vegetables, cook them with the onions so they have more time to defrost before adding the meat.

  • Dave

    Hello Elise Bauer, have you thought of using brown gravy, mixing it with the beef and veg. instead of beef broth, then adding a layer of shredded cheese, to serve as a barrier to keep the potatoes from sinking into the gravy and ground beef and veg. and adding on top of the mashed potatoes, a thin layer of semi sweat cornbread, helps the potatoes stay moist.

    • Ann Dalton

      That isn’t Shepherd Pie but something very American. Sounds good though

  • Ann Marie Pardee

    Delicious and looking forward to making your Shepherd’s pie recipe again! Having all of the ingredients, you can prepare the dish in the afternoon and invite friends that evening! My prep time took about an hour; what did I do wrong?

  • Holly

    Really, really yummy. I kind of balked at mixing raw meat with veggies, so I browned the meat first. Then mixed it in with the carrots and onions. Once all that was cooked through I added frozen peas and frozen corn. Really good. Since I used my own ingredients, the carrots were still slightly crunchy and the corn nice and crisp. Thank you!

  • AR

    So shepherd’s pie is lamb, and cottage pie is beef. What is it if I use chopped leftover pork roast? Farmer’s pie? Hog-shed pie? I plan on using a bag of frozen veg for soup, homemade stock gravy, and skin-on mashed potatoes with egg. Maybe some sort of grain on the bottom to soak up juices, a really thin layer. I want the squares I cut from it to hold their corners well.

    • Bev

      I use a layer of thinly sliced sautéed parsnips to line my dish before adding the meat/veggie mixture.

  • c jones

    We had a lot of mashed potatoes left over from Thanksgiving dinner yesterday so i made this with ground moose meat and instead of broth I used the leftover gravy. Added sauteed garlic and onions fresh peas and carrots from our garden and a can of corn. It smells awesome and will be done in about 5 minutes!!

    • Elise

      Oh, I love moose meat! I bet this shepherd’s pie would be fantastic with ground moose.

  • KenKen Iwatake

    I had left over pulled pork and used it instead of ground beef,minced garlic, caned corn and green been. Didn’t measure beef broth b/c the pork soaked up more than half a box didn’t measure the worchestershire sauce either just b/c it’s good. Added some beef broth in mashed potatoes to just b/c it was a little dry.

  • Paul

    I am a stickler for correctness, so: Shepherd’s Pie IS always made with Lamb and Cottage Pie is ALWAYS made with ground Beef! However I am also a chef and cuisine is a creative art that evolves with cultural and regional influences and the creativity and innovations of multitudes of chefs, home cooks, any and all who prepare food for enjoyment and sustenance.

    Therefore, being practical and being one who has created original dishes as well as multitudes of variations on traditional foods, I SAY: Call it what you will, Make it with what you will, AND share and enjoy!

    Experiment, innovate, create!

  • Lyn

    Lol exactly! I made it with chicken!! Hehe

  • Christine L. Soutter

    I think thyme and sage are traditional.

  • Paul

    Cottage Pie or Shepherds Pie is a huge favorite in our home. I always try other ideas. Try adding ground turkey, parsnips, garlic, a half cup of wine, and/or a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste to help hold it together and adds a little flavor. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  • Lori

    I so love this recipe! Its a favorite of my boyfriends and a practically begs me to make it for him. I also add a teaspoon of ketchup to the beef mix, it just gives it a little oomph. Thank you for listing this recipe :)

  • Kiran

    Love this recipe. It is my go to recipe for Shepherds Pie. I have made this so many times and it tastes delicious everytime. So many people ask for this recipe and I always direct them to this site! It is also a great way to sneak in vegetables for the kids. I change up the veggies based on what I have on hand.

  • ISBN

    I love this, it’s a family favorite and I have three kids under five! I make it a bit healthier by using turkey instead of beef, and sweet potatoes instead of regular. I mash them with cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. Then, to appease the kids (and me…) I serve it in little individual graham cracker crusts. :) a nice mix of sweet and savory!

  • Patty Gibbs

    It’s a very cold night here in Kentucky, so I went looking for a recipe that required baking so that the kitchen would be nice and warm. This is so easy exactly as written, the only mistake I made was not enough potatoes. Tasty, easily modified, and everyone loved it!

  • AMP

    I’ve made this man times with slight adjustments depending on what’s in the pantry. Always a winner with my picky eaters. More butter seems to be the magical ingredient.

  • zoe

    can tomato sauce or tomato paste be used in the recipe as well?

    • Elise

      We don’t use tomato in our shepherd’s pie, but I don’t see why you couldn’t.

  • Mrs. RK

    Instead of using beef broth, I used brown gravy. 1 package of Pioneer gravy makes two cups and it works well. Just mix it into the ground beef mixture. Its similar to the KFC potato bowl.

  • Lisa

    I have made this so many times now that I’ve remembered the recipe by heart and just adjust it according to my preference. My boyfriend and I love this dish, I’ve made it with both beef and turkey. I would recommend this to any beginner cook. Thank you for the recipe!

  • Neil

    I used 2 1/2 lbs of venison burger. I salted it and added rosemary, onion steakburker seasoning and marojam to the meat while cooking. I sauteed onions with garlic cloves and added that to meat. A bigger baking dish, abouy 8 potatoes to ensure top was covered, and a layer of corn between the meat and a total of 2 cups of beef broth. Absolutely amazing. Thanks for posting! Even the kids eat this with venison burger. Five stars!

    • Elise

      Sounds fabulous with the venison Neil!

  • Michael

    Regarding freezing, several years ago my wife went on a holiday back to the UK with our two children. Prior to leaving, she prepared a large batch of this dish, and stored in individual foil containers in the freezer: not enough for the entire time that she was gone, but I devoured all of them, no difference in flavor, texture, or satisfaction than as if they were directly from the oven!

  • AJ Legault

    This recipe was easy,,,and made a great stick-to-your-ribs meal.
    The dish was hearty, and very tasty. The flavor was rich.
    Will make again.

  • Herb Klug

    I came late to this party with comments dating back to 2004, but better late than never! I cut the recipe in half but somehow managed to screw up the Worcestershire sauce quantity from what should have been 1/2 tsp to 2 Tbsp! Good thing I like it, but must admit it was too strong. But everything else was perfect! Just the exact right proportions to compare very favorably to the pies I remember from my youth. (My Aunt who lived with us loved to cook… And she was great!) I will make this again, but this time I will definitely fix my Worcestershire sauce calculation: 1/2 of 1 is NOT 6! LOL

  • CHERYL HUMPHREY

    I made this dish for my family and they enjoyed it so much they wanted me to make it again the next day. I did added green beans.

  • Mary

    Does this really only serve 4?

    • Elise

      It only has a pound and a half of ground beef. It can serve more if the servings are smaller and you are having other things for the meal in addition to the shepherd’s pie. But the cool thing about shepherd’s pie is that is has everything—meat, starch, vegetables. So it’s a full meal in itself.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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… :)

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Victor Cusumano

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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • suzeee

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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Dana

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

  • 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 :).

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Dawn Black

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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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)

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • Karen Schmans.

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

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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)

  • marmay

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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • SD

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

  • Ace

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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!!!!!!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!!!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Margo

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

  • Danny

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!!

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!”

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!!!

  • Cyntilla

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

  • Lorna

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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • sam

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

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!

  • Anonymous

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

  • anissa hill

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • nancy

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

  • 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.

    • Deborah

      I make this the day after Thanksgiving,using alot of leftovers . Preheat oven to 350. I simmer hamburger and sweet Italian sausage, and 1 sweet onion, lightly season and drain. Cook 1 bag of chopped mixed veggies (corn, peas, and carrots) , and mix with meat mixture .I always make enough green bean casserole to add to this mixture too.It always adds just enough thickness and flavor. Pour mixture in deep dish casserole dish. If you have leftover stuffing, pour over mixture, along with any brown gravy. Add desired amount of shredded cheddar cheese to mashed potatoes. Cover, bake 30 minutes, then remove cover till bubbly and lightly browned. Serve with creamy butter and crusty bread!

      • Deborah

        You can also use turkey, or chicken, or leftover roast instead of hamburger.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • 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.

  • 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. ;)

  • 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.

  • 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. :)

    • Andrea

      yum to this version!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Nicki

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

        • Kathy

          I use beef bovril to thicken the juices into a gravy, just a tbsp is usually enough, and it has always turned out perfectly, never any leftovers.

        • Paul

          I agree RedOwl, flour in certain sauces if not judiciously added tends to make sauces starchy. Roux, frying flour in butter alleviates this but is not always easy or practical for many sauces. Try Arrow Root, it will make your sauces glisten, good for transparent broth based sauces and lighter sauces. Also Water Chestnut starch is a fabulous thickener. I tend to use a little extra wine or the particular stock used in the sauce, soup, stew or whatever I’m thickening when using Corn starch.

      • Paul

        As a humorous aside I’ve always called flour & liquid to thicken, a Sloux (your “slurry smashed into roux” as opposed to flour fried in butter, Roux. Also when making Coq au Vin one uses a Beurre Manie which is softened butter mixed with equal parts flour into a buttery soft paste and whisked into simmering wine sauce a little at a time.

        • Sally

          I almost always have a little container of buerre manie in the fridge.

    • Alex

      I was taught to make this by frying the onion and meat in as little butter/oil as possible then use flour to soak up any juices once the meat has browned, add the beef stock to this ( i use water and oxo) I then add grated carrot. Bring to the boil. Spoon into a dish using a slotted spoon, so the liquid stays in the pan, add your mash. Then heat the liquid when you are ready to serve as this makes a great gravy

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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…

  • 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!

    • RedOwl

      Although you made your comments many years ago, this Recipe continues to appear regularly. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, made with Lamb, if you don’t want to make a irish Lamb Stew. Why, however, would you use canned vegetables of any variety, with the exception of Creamed Corn? NOT GOOD! Frozen Peas, Beans etc. and with diced fresh carrots. Fresh or Frozen are always better.

      • patti

        Do you think this dish would freeze Well?

        • Kari

          According to another recipe, this dish can be frozen for a month, defrosted in the fridge over night and then popped in the oven.

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • darlene

      how about celery, a cup {at least} of chopped celery added to the sauteed veggie mix … chopped celery …. also, my daughter makes a beef gravy with the ground beef and uses that as moisture in the mix along with the veggies — no corn, no peas, just onions, garlic, carrots chopped small, celery … this is about what my daughter makes ….