Easy Shepherd's Pie

Favorite shepherd's pie recipe, a classic casserole of Britain and Ireland done American-style. Cook ground beef and savory vegetables, top with mashed potatoes, and bake to perfection.

Shepherd's Pie
Elise Bauer

Featured in 11 Casseroles to Double and Freeze

Shepherd's Pie comes to us from England, and is traditionally made with lamb or mutton. Here in the states we are more of a beef eating culture than a lamb eating one, and when one is served "shepherd's pie" here, it is most often made with ground beef.

In England (and Australia and New Zealand) they would call the beef dish a "cottage pie" and the lamb dish "shepherd's pie".

Regardless of what you call it, a shepherd's pie is basically a casserole with a layer of cooked meat and vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes, and baked in the oven until the mashed potatoes are well browned.

Shepherd's Pie
Elise Bauer

When you dig in you get a spoonful of mashed potatoes, some crispy bits, meat, and vegetables all in one bite. It's pure comfort food.

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

Video: How to Make Easy Shepherd's Pie

1:38

How to Make Shepherd's Pie

Easy Shepherd's Pie

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 65 mins
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 large (1 1/2 - 2 pounds) potatoes , peeled and quartered

  • 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) butter

  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1-2 cups vegetables—diced carrots, corn, peas

  • 1 1/2 pounds 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
    Elise Bauer
  3. 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
    Elise Bauer
  4. 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.

  5. 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 (9x13 casserole).

    shepherds-pie-method-3
    Elise Bauer
    shepherds-pie-method-4
    Elise Bauer

    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.

  6. 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.

    (Be careful when broiling using Pyrex or glass dishes, they have been known to shatter under the high heat of the broiler. It's not a worry if you are using a ceramic or metal casserole dish.)

    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.

Shepherd's Pie
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
865 Calories
50g Fat
51g Carbs
54g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 865
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 50g 64%
Saturated Fat 25g 123%
Cholesterol 212mg 71%
Sodium 502mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 18%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 54g
Vitamin C 43mg 214%
Calcium 106mg 8%
Iron 8mg 43%
Potassium 2007mg 43%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.