Shepherd’s Pie

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This easy Shepherd’s Pie recipe is filled with lots of veggies and tender ground beef (or lamb), simmered together in the most delicious sauce, and topped with the creamiest mashed potatoes.  Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

Shepherd's Pie

Last month on Instagram, I happened to mention that I had never made a homemade shepherd’s pie before…and my inbox instantly exploded.

So many of you love shepherd’s pie!! 

Even better, so many of you had shepherd’s pie tips and recipes that you were willing to share with me.

So with St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I’ve been hard at work this past month testing and re-testing all of your recommendations until I landed on my own classic shepherd’s pie recipe that I’m happy to finally add to this site today.  It’s overflowing (quite literally) with tender beef or lamb and lots and lots of veggies, including a generous handful of chopped mushrooms that bring a delicious depth of flavor and extra heartiness to the filling.  It’s topped with my trademark creamy mashed potatoes (<– which you should totally double, while you’re at it, so that you can enjoy the extras as leftovers.)  And best of all, it is made with an unforgettably rich and flavorful sauce that brings everything together perfectly.

After making multiple batches for testing, I can also vouch that the leftovers are fantastic and freeze well too.  So whether you’re planning a big feast for St. Patrick’s Day, or just looking for some comforting meal prep for the week ahead, be sure to bookmark this recipe and let’s make some shepherd’s pie!

Shepherd’s Pie Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Easy Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie Ingredients:

Alright, grocery list time.  Here are the basic shepherd’s pie ingredients that you will need to make this recipe:

  • Ground beef or lamb: It’s traditional to make shepherd’s pie with ground lamb (and “cottage pie” with beef), but feel free to use ground beef, turkey or chicken if you prefer in the recipe below.  (Or see notes below for how to make vegetarian shepherd’s pie sans-meat too.)
  • Veggies: Finely-dice lots of onion, carrots, celery, garlic and frozen peas.  Plus I also highly recommend adding in some finely-diced mushrooms (baby bella, white button, or portobellos) too.
  • Flour: I used flour to thicken the sauce, but see below for gluten-free substitution options.
  • Beef stock: Or chicken or veggie stock, whatever you have on hand.
  • Dry red wine: I also love the extra depth of flavor this adds.  But if you prefer not to cook with wine, just add in an extra 1/2 cup of beef stock instead.
  • Tomato paste: Which will give it that nice tomato-y base.
  • Worcestershire sauce: A must!
  • Herbs: Definitely toss in a few bay leaves.  Then I also recommend adding in a few sprigs of fresh Italian herbs, such as rosemary and thyme.  (Or if you don’t have fresh herbs available, you can add in 1.5 tablespoons of dry Italian seasoning.)
  • Mashed potatoes: This recipe calls for a half batch of my favorite mashed potatoes recipe, made with potatoes, milk, butter and cream cheese.

Shepherd's Pie Ingredients

How To Make Shepherd’s Pie:

To make this Irish shepherd’s pie recipe, simply:

  1. Cook the mashed potatoes. Cook the large potatoes in a large stockpot until tender.  Then drain, mash, and stir in the remaining mashed potato ingredients until combined.  Set aside for later.
  2. Brown the meat.  Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, cook the ground beef or lamb in a bit of oil until browned, crumbling it with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  Then transfer it to a separate plate with a wooden spoon, reserving any grease that it has left behind.
  3. Sauté the veggies.  Cook the onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms and garlic in the leftover grease (or you can add in extra oil) until they are softened as well.
  4. Add in the flour and wine.  Stir in the flour to help thicken the sauce.  Then add the wine, and scrape the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon to loosen any of those tasty brown bits.
  5. Add the remaining sauce ingredients.  Stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, herbs and frozen peas.  Then give everything a good stir, and cook the mixture until it reaches a simmer.  Reduce the heat to let it simmer for a few more minutes, so that those herbs can really season the sauce.  Then remove the herbs (including bay leaves), stir in the cooked meat, give the mixture a taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Layer it all up.  Transfer the filling mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, and spread it out in an even layer.  Then spoon the mashed potatoes on top and carefully spread them out in an even layer as well.
  7. Bake.  Pop the whole dish in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly golden and the filling starts to bubble up around the edges.  (If you would like the potatoes to be a bit more browned, you can turn on the broiler for 1 or 2 extra minutes.)
  8. Garnish and serve.  Then remove the pan from the oven, sprinkle with a few extra herbs if you would like, and dish it up while the shepherd’s pie is still nice and warm.  Yum.

How To Make Shepherd's Pie

Easy Shepherd’s Pie Variations:

Want to customize your shepherd’s pie recipe? Feel free to:

  • Make it vegetarian.  To make a vegetarian shepherd’s pie, just omit the meat and double the amount of mushrooms.  (It could also be delicious to stir in a cup of cooked farro as well.)  And of course, use veggie stock instead of beef stock, and vegan Worcestershire sauce (if you don’t eat anchovies).
  • Make it vegan.  Do the above, plus use vegan butter, milk and cream cheese in your mashed potatoes.
  • Make it gluten-free.  Nix the flour and whisk 1.5 tablespoons cornstarch together with the (room-temperature) stock before adding it to the sauce.  Also be sure to double-check, as always, that all of your other ingredients are certified GF.
  • Use sweet potatoes: For an amazing sweet+savory combo, feel free to use sweet potatoes instead of Russets or Yukon golds in your mashed potatoes.  So good!!!

Irish Shepherd's Pie with Beef

How To Store Shepherd’s Pie:

You can either store your shepherd’s pie leftovers in a sealed container:

  • In the fridge: For up to 3 days, or…
  • In the freezer: For up to 3 months

What To Serve With Shepherd’s Pie:

You’re welcome to serve this shepherd’s pie with extra gravy on the side, if you would like.  Otherwise, we enjoyed ours with:

  • A simple side salad: Such as my Everyday Salad recipe.
  • A loaf of crusty bread: If you’re interested in more carbs. ;)
  • Corn on the cob: A simple and colorful side dish.
  • A nice cold Guinness: Cheers!

Happy early St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!  Hope you enjoy!

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Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x

Description

This easy Shepherd’s Pie recipe is filled with lots of veggies and tender ground beef (or lamb), simmered together in the most delicious sauce, and topped with the creamiest mashed potatoes.  See notes above for possible ingredient substitutions.


Scale

Ingredients

Shepherd’s Pie Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1.25 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 8 ounces baby bella or white button mushrooms, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (or you can sub in more beef stock instead)
  • 2 cups beef stock (or vegetable or chicken stock)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs each fresh rosemary and thyme (or whatever herbs you love)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1 batch mashed potatoes (see below)

Mashed Potato Ingredients:

  • 2.5 pounds potatoes (either Russets, Yukon golds, or a mix of the two)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, or more as needed
  • 2 ounces cream cheese (or 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt)
  • sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook the mashed potatoes.  Follow the instructions here to prepare a half batch of this mashed potatoes recipe.  Once the mashed potatoes are ready to go, remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.
  2. Brown the beef (or lamb).  Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef (or lamb) and cook until browned, crumbling it with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  Transfer the cooked beef to a separate plate with a wooden spoon and set aside, reserving any grease in the sauté pan that it has left behind.  (Or if there is no leftover grease, add an extra tablespoon of oil to the pan.)
  3. Sauté the veggies.  Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms, garlic and sauté for 5-7 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  4. Add in the flour and wine.  Stir the flour in with the veggie mixture until evenly combined, then continue to sauté for 1 minute more, stirring frequently.  Stir in the wine, then use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the remaining sauce ingredients.  Immediately stir in the stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, herb sprigs and frozen peas until combined.  Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a low simmer, and continue cooking for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove and discard the bay leaves and herb sprigs.  Stir in the cooked meat  Taste and season the mixture with salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Layer it all up.  Transfer the filling mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and spread it out in an even layer.  Spoon the mashed potatoes on top and carefully spread them out in an even layer as well.
  7. Bake.  Bake uncovered at 400°F for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly golden and the filling has started to bubble up around the edges.  (If you would like the potatoes to be a bit more browned, you can turn on the broiler for 1 or 2 extra minutes, keeping a close eye on the potatoes so that they do not burn.)
  8. Garnish and serve.  Remove the baking dish from the oven, sprinkle a few extra herbs on top if you would like, then dish up your servings while the shepherd’s pie is still nice and warm.  Or store the pie in sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

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The BEST Shepherd's Pie Recipe

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75 comments on “Shepherd’s Pie”

  1. This sounds delicious! I love that it’s more of a rich gravy than dry like moist recipes. This is definitely Cottage Pie for me as I will never eat lamb! I’ts hard enough using ground beef.

  2. ALI: This is the best Shepherd’s Pie recipe out there! I love your addition of the red wine and also the rosemary. I have always only added fresh thyme but your additions make the meat mixture outstanding!!!! I do add green beans and corn to the meat mixture, along with the rest of the veggies. Sometimes I sprinkle fresh bread crumbs on top of the mashed potatoes and sprinkle with paprika prior to baking, if I have some. Your recipe is great leftover the next day, as well. Thanks so much for sharing! Love it!

  3. We cooked this last night, and everyone in our quarantine crew agreed it was the best Shepherd’s Pie we’ve ever had! There are so many layers of flavor to it, and the red wine does a great job of emphasizing all of them. Because of limited grocery runs, we had to improvise a bit on some of the ingredients (no celery or peas, so we added in shallots, parsley, oregano, and extra mushrooms to try to make up for it). It was absolutely delicious. Thank you to Ali for the amazing recipe!

  4. This was delicious! Was I suppose to do 2.5 pounds of potatoes or 5? I did 2.5 and it seemed like not quite enough. The recipe said to make 1/2 the amount, so I wasn’t sure.

  5. Made this Shepherd’s pie last night and must admit it is pretty darn good. Of course I added some things to give it my special touch but for the most part everything else was followed. All I can say is YUM and thank you for sharing.

  6. Best Shepherds Pie. I have been cooking for many years and
    This pie is the best I have ever made. I added corn. The pepper when mashing the potatoes is a wonderful addition

  7. This was a great way to make Shepard’s pie have to make again kid loved it.

  8. This turned out great. Lovely recipe!

  9. I loved how the gravy left the pie nice and juicy, not dry! This is a great recipe, and what’s nice is my cooking is done for tomorrow too ;)

    This ones a keeper—I’ve already bookmarked it to add to the rotation. Thank you for the fab recipe!

  10. Absolutely delicious. My family loved it. I didn’t do the celery because they are not fans, but I loved the addition of the mushrooms. Will be making this more often.

  11. I made this the other day, and it was delicious! Will definitely become my go to recipe :)

    It tastes even better the next day, so next time, I think I’ll make it the day before, then bake the following day for extra deliciousness.

  12. First time in many years since I’ve made Shepherds Pie. This recipe was incredibly delicious. I added frozen corn, omitted the celery(not my fav) and added Parmesan cheese to the mashed potatoes. I love fresh rosemary and thyme, definitely added those herbs. Love using red wine in beef recipes, that’s why I chose this one during my search. Will definitely make this big hit again.

  13. Soooo good! I followed the recipe exactly as is and used the red wine. It was delicious. A little time consuming to prep but it was worth it! Will definitely make again!

  14. Love this! Takes me some time to chop up everything but otherwise is relatively quick! I felt like it was an upscale meatloaf with more veggies.

  15. So delicious! Best recipe for shepherds pie! I replaced wine with chicken stock and was perfect! Thanks

  16. Made this Shepard’s Pie turned out fabulous , took a little longer because I was drinking the wine 😂. My family loved it .

  17. This is now my “go-to” shepherd’s pie recipe. It is delicious. It takes a bit more preparation than your basic recipe but the results are well worth the extra time.

  18. This recipe looks amazing! I am actually hoping to make it tomorrow. Is there any way I can freeze it before baking? That way I can make a double batch, and eat one tomorrow, and freeze one for later.

    If I can freeze before baking, how would you suggest cooking thereafter?

    Thanks so much!

  19. I used beyond meat and it was amazing! This is a fantastic dish.