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Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie)

With tons of flavor from herbs, vegetables and meat you’ll instantly fall in love with this Shepherd’s Pie recipe. Satisfying, filling and delicious for the whole family!

A DELICIOUS AND COMFORTING MEAL

One thing that I have always loved is a good old Shepherd’s Pie. I’ve been eating variation after variation since I was a kid and this recipe I’m sharing with you today is the one that I’ve perfected over time. You get tons of flavor from the meat, vegetable and herb mixture and then of course with the homemade mashed potatoes. Truly it doesn’t get more comforting than meat and potatoes. If you want a filling and comforting recipe to warm up the soul, you need to try Shepherd’s Pie!

a white plate topped with a serving of Shepherd's Pie

TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST SHEPHERD’S PIE:

  • Traditionally Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb. You can use either lamb or beef in this recipe. Technically a Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb and Cottage Pie is made with beef. But we all know it as Shepherd’s Pie so that’s what I’m going with.
  • Russet potatoes are used for the topping, but you could also use Yukon gold as well.
  • Need ideas on what to serve with Shepherd’s Pie? Try beer bread or a traditional Irish soda bread. Shepherd’s Pie is really a whole meal unto itself!
  • I like to create fork marks in the potatoes to create that browning texture on the top. Plus, I like that way it looks. That is completely optional.
  • I also use frozen carrots and peas for this recipe. A lot of people don’t know that frozen vegetables are often better than fresh. They are frozen at the peak of freshness so they retain all their flavor and nutrition. However, you can use fresh if you prefer.
  • Since I use a fresh sprig of rosemary in the filling mixture, it needs to be removed before putting in casserole dish. You do not want to include that in with the meat mixture. It adds a lot of really great flavor though so don’t skip it!
  • Want to make an easier version in the slow cooker? Check out my Crock Pot Shepherd’s Pie recipe!
  • Depending on how shallow your baking dish is (I use a 9″x 13″) you may want to place some foil on the bottom of your oven to catch any spills.
  • I use a bit of ranch seasoning to give the potatoes a slightly elevated flavor (I am American after all – ha!) If you prefer, you can use my recipe for Homemade Ranch Seasoning or leave it out altogether.
Shepherds Pie shown baked in a clear baking dish with some of the pie removed from the bottom right corner.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • onion
  • parsley
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • pepper
  • ground geef or lamb
  • garlic
  • flour
  • tomato paste
  • ranch seasoning (optional)
  • frozen peas and carrots
  • beef broth
  • worcestershire sauce
  • potatoes
  • sour cream
  • butter
olive oil, onion, parsley, rosemary, thyme, pepper, ground geef or lamb, garlic, worcestershire sauce, flour, tomato paste, frozen peas and carrots, beef broth, potatoes, sour cream, butter, ranch seasoning.

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST SHEPHERD’S PIE:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Add the olive oil and diced onion to a 12” skillet and cook on medium heat.

diced onions cooking in olive oil in a large skillet.

Once the onions have become soft and translucent (about 5 minutes) add the ground meat, dried parsley, rosemary, dried thyme and black pepper. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.

ground beef, thyme, rosemary and black pepper added to the skillet with the diced onions.

If you are using a lean ground beef, you shouldn’t have much excess grease. However, if your meat did produce a lot of grease, be sure to drain most of it out and put it back into your pan. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

minced garlic added to the cooked ground beef in the skillet.

Stir in the flour and tomato paste. Cook 5 minutes on medium heat.

flour and tomato paste added to ground beef in a skillet.

Add the frozen peas and carrots, beef broth and Worcestershire sauce and combine well.

frozen peas and carrots and beef broth added to the skillet with the beef mixture.

Turn heat to low and start peeling potatoes. Cut them into small 1-2” pieces. Add to water and bring to a boil. Boil potatoes for approximately 15-20 minutes (or until potatoes are fork tender.)

cooking diced potatoes in boiling water in a pot.

Drain potatoes and add the sour cream, butter, ranch seasoning (optional) and salt and pepper, to taste. Mash well until no lumps remain.

butter, sour cream and ranch seasoning added to cooked potatoes in a large pot.

Remove rosemary stalk from the meat mixture and the beef mixture to a 9×13 casserole dish.

meat mixture added to a clear baking dish.

Top evenly with the mashed potatoes. I like to press the fork into the mashed potatoes to make a pattern but that is optional.

mashed potatoes spread over ground beef mixture in baking dish.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the pie starts to bubble at the sides. I place a piece of foil or an extra baking dish on the shelf underneath to catch any overspill.

fully baked Shepard's Pie shown with some chopped parsley on top.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley (optional) Serve and enjoy!

a serving of shepherds pie on a white plate with a fork holding up some of the serving. A glass of iced tea is in the background.

HOW TO STORE:

  • Once the shepherd’s pie has cooled completely, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • This can also be frozen. To do this, place in a freezer safe container and place in freezer where it should keep for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat, let defrost in refrigerator and either place in oven on low temperature until heated through or scoop out servings and heat in the microwave.

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Originally published: March 2021
Updated and republished: February 2023

Shepherd's Pie recipe from The Country Cook.

Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie)

With tons of flavor from herbs, vegetables and meat, you'll instantly fall in love with The Best Shepherd's Pie. Satisfying, filling and delicious for the whole family.
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Add the 2 Tablespoons olive oil and 1 sweet onion, diced to a 12” skillet and cook on medium heat.
  • Once the onions have become soft and translucent (about 5 minutes) add the 2 pounds lean ground beef, 1 Tablespoon dried parsley, 1 sprig fresh rosemary, 1/2 Tablespoon dried thyme and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
  • Cook and crumble the meat until it is no longer pink.
  • If you are using a lean ground beef, you shouldn't have much excess grease. However, if your meat did produce a lot of grease, be sure to drain most of it out and put it back into the pan.
  • Then add 2 garlic cloves, minced and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Stir in 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour and 2 Tablespoons tomato paste. Cook 5 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the 12 ounce bag frozen peas and carrots, 2 cups beef broth and 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce and combine well. At this point I like to taste it and see if it needs any additional salt and pepper.
  • Cover pan and turn heat to low and start peeling 6-8 russet potatoes. Cut them into small 1-2” pieces.
  • Add to water and bring to a boil. Boil potatoes for approximately 15-20 minutes (or until potatoes are fork tender).
  • Drain potatoes and place back in the pot and add the 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, 1 Tablespoon ranch seasoning mix (optional) and salt and pepper, to taste. Mash well until no lumps remain.
  • Remove rosemary stalk and add meat mixture to a 9×13-inch casserole dish and top with the mashed potatoes evenly. I like to press the fork into the mashed potatoes to make a pattern but that is optional. 
  • Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, until the pie starts to bubble at the sides. I place a piece of foil or large baking sheet on the shelf underneath to catch any overspill.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with 1-2 Tablespoons chopped parsley,and serve!

Notes

  • Traditionally Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb. You can use either lamb or beef in this recipe. Technically a Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb and Cottage Pie is made with beef. But we all know it as Shepherd’s Pie so that’s what I’m going with.
  • Russet potatoes are used for the topping, but you could also use Yukon gold as well.
  • I like to create fork marks in the potatoes to create that browning texture on the top. Plus, I like that way it looks. That is completely optional.
  • I also use frozen carrots and peas for this recipe. A lot of people don’t know that frozen vegetables are often better than fresh. They are frozen at the peak of freshness so they retain all their flavor and nutrition. However, if you want to use fresh you could as well.
  • Since I use a fresh sprig of rosemary in the filling mixture, it needs to be removed before putting in casserole dish. You do not want to include that in with the meat mixture. It adds a lot of really great flavor though so don’t skip it!
  • If you really want to amp up the flavor of the mashed potatoes, try boiling them in chicken broth.
  • You do not need to grease your pan for this recipe. 
  • Try topping this with some shredded cheddar cheese. About a cup to a cup and a half! Remove baking dish from the oven after cooking, sprinkle on the cheese then put it back into the oven for a few minutes to melt. 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British

Nutrition

Calories: 674kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 44g | Sodium: 674mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    So, so good! I sometimes find the meat portion with Shepherds Pie way too dry (maybe that’s how it is supposed to be – I don’t know but I don’t really care for it) and as the other commenter said, this one produces a wonderful gravy that goes great with the mashed potatoes on top. If you like your shepherds pie more solid and dryer, this is not the recipe for you but if you like gravy with your meat and potatoes, you will love this!

  2. 5 stars
    This was delicious! Love the gravy it makes that really balances out the mashed potatoes. Makes for a perfect meal!