This Easy Shepherd’s Pie recipe is bursting with rich flavors and textures. The flavor of the onions, carrots, peas and corn really come through when you take a bite, and the seasonings we use are prominent and pair well with each element. The fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes topping turns golden brown in the oven and adds a delicious and smooth element to the pie. It’s the best flavor and texture combination!
This recipe uses ground beef (although you can use ground turkey or ground lamb). For more delicious recipes using ground beef, try out my Beef Stroganoff Boats, Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes and Swedish Meatballs Recipe.
Why This Recipe Works
- Exciting texture. You know I love good textured food! This recipe definitely delivers in the texture department. The nice bite to the vegetables, paired with the juicy meat and fluffy mashed potatoes — you just can’t go wrong! It’s a texture paradise!
- Delicious flavor. I used to turn up my nose to shepherd’s pie because it was always bland when I tried it! My husband was even skeptical when I told him I was making this recipe for the same reason (he was worried it would be bland, too!). But let me tell you, this recipe is far from bland! The combination of parsley, thyme, rosemary and garlic is pleasantly prominent in the dish. The flavors come through beautifully without overpowering the natural flavor of the vegetables. I could taste the flavor of the peas while still tasting the hint of rosemary and thyme.
- Great way to use leftover mashed potatoes! I’ve never been a big fan of leftover mashed potatoes. They just aren’t as good plain on the second day. That’s where this recipe is a lifesaver! Repurpose your mashed potatoes in this new delicious way!
- Ground Beef: If you don’t have any ground beef or you want to switch things up, you can use ground lamb or ground turkey. The flavor will be slightly different, but still really delicious!
- Spices: The most amazing seasoning combination is dried parsley, rosemary, and thyme. The flavor really comes through and it isn’t bland at all!
- Worcestershire Sauce: The Worcestershire sauce adds a nice umami flavor that creates depth and saltiness to the dish.
- Flour: The flour helps thicken the meat mixture so it turns into a texture similar to sloppy Joe mixture.
- Tomato Paste: The tomato paste is enough to make the meat mixture creamy and to have a subtle tone of tomato but it isn’t overpowering in any way. It also helps thicken the mixture.
- Beef Broth: The beef broth combined with the flour is what creates that thickened sauce texture. Using beef broth instead of just water will add more flavor to the pie.
- Frozen Peas & Corn: I love the peas, corn and carrots combination in the pie. It’s a delicious way to get a variety of vegetables in the dish. The flavors from the vegetables really come through when you take a bite.
- Potatoes: I used russets. peeled and cut into 1″ chunks. While you can make the mashed potatoes fresh for this dish, this is also a great recipe for leftover mashed potatoes!
- Half and Half: Feel free to use milk or heavy cream instead if you want a creamier or healthier option in the mashed potatoes. You can also use 1 part heavy cream and 1 part milk to make half and half if you don’t have it. This helps make a really creamy mashed potatoes topping.
- Garlic Powder: The garlic powder will add a nice flavor dimension to the potatoes.
- Cook the onion and carrots. Add the butter to a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion and carrots and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Brown the meat. Add the ground beef (or lamb) to the skillet. Using a wooden spoon, break apart the meat. Add the garlic, parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook until the meat has browned, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, flour, and tomato paste. Add these ingredients and then stir until combined.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Add the beef broth, frozen peas, and frozen corn. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a 9×9-inch baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
- Make the potato topping. Boil the chopped potatoes in a large pot filled with water over medium-high heat until very fork tender. Drain then mash the potatoes. Add the butter, half and half, garlic powder, kosher salt, and pepper. Continue mashing until smooth and combined.
- Bake. Spread the potato mixture on top of the meat in an even layer. Bake at 375°F uncovered for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
To make crockpot shepherd’s pie, rather than place the meat mixture in a baking dish, add it to the bottom of a (nonstick cooking sprayed) slow cooker or crock pot. Layer the mashed potatoes overtop and place on low for 3-4 hours or on high for 2 hours.
A potato masher works just fine for the potatoes. You can also used hand beaters if you’d like.
You can use ground beef, ground lamb or ground turkey.
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
Store any leftovers covered or in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
When it comes to reheating shepherd’s pie, you have a few options: microwave individual servings on plates for a minute or two, stirring or breaking up the mashed potato topping so you don’t have any hot pockets; or you can return the baking dish to the oven set at 375°F and bake it covered in aluminum foil for 15-20 minutes to heat up the dish, then remove the foil and continue baking for 5-10 minutes or until the mashed potatoes are warmed and golden.
Freezing shepherd’s pie is a great way to store leftovers to enjoy later. Wait until your baking dish has cooled completely and then tightly wrap the entire dish in plastic wrap twice. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Remove from the freezer and let thaw in the fridge overnight. Remove the plastic wrap and bake following the recipe instructions.
If you want to bake from frozen, remove the plastic wrap and replace with aluminum foil. Bake at 375°F for 35-45 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the mashed potato topping is golden brown.
Sides for Shepherd’s Pie
Need some help coming up with what to serve with shepherd’s pie? I’ve collected a few recipes you can make for some delicious side dishes for shepherd’s pie! Here are some of my favorites:
- Roasted Frozen Cauliflower
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe
- Rocket and Pear Salad
- Strawberry Spinach Salad
Yes you can! Let the dish completely cool before wrapping the entire dish in plastic wrap and storing in the freezer for up to 2 months. You can also transfer the food into a separate airtight container and store in the freezer.
When it comes to shepherd’s pie vs cottage pie, there aren’t many differences. The biggest difference is in the meat. Typically shepherd’s pie is made with ground or minced lamb, as shepherds were herding sheep. Cottage pie were those made with ground or minced beef. However, as the dishes have become more widespread, the names have been used interchangeably to refer to a ground meat mixture that contains chopped vegetables and topped with a fluffy mashed potatoes topping.
The shepherd’s pie origin is of British and Scottish tradition. It is originally made with lamb as this area of the countries was known as sheep country. Made with minced lamb and vegetables and topped with mashed potatoes, the dish was an inexpensive meal made by families in the area.
- Lamb Gyros
- Ground Beef Taquitos
- Homemade Hamburger Helper
- Homemade Sloppy Joes
- Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Noodles
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Easy Shepherd’s Pie
- 2 tablespoons butter - salted or unsalted is fine
- 1 cup yellow onion - diced
- 1/2 cup carrots - peeled and diced
- 1 pound lean ground beef - or ground lamb
- 3 garlic cloves - minced
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup reduced sodium beef broth
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 2 pounds russet potatoes - peeled and cut into 1" chunks
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter - 1 stick
- 1/3 cup half and half
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
- In a large skillet over medium heat add the butter. Once melted add the onion and carrots. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef (or lamb) to the skillet and using a wooden spoon, break apart the meat. Add the garlic, parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook until the meat has browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, flour, and tomato paste.
- Add the beef broth, frozen peas, and frozen corn. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer the meat mixture to a 9"x9” baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Place chopped potatoes in a large pot. Fill with water and place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil the potatoes until very fork tender. Drain the water. Mash the potatoes then add the butter, half and half, garlic powder, kosher salt, and pepper. Continue mashing until smooth and combined.
- Spoon the potato mixture on top of the meat and spread it into an even layer. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
3 Comments on “Shepherd’s Pie”
Ya, no. That’s not Shepherd’s Pie.
Why did you rate the recipe without making it? The FAQ section clearly explains the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie and the fact that shepherd’s pie is more commonly and widely used, regardless of what meat is used in the dish.
This shepards pie was very flavorful. We loved the addition of the rosemary and thyme spices. It makes a big difference! Also really liked that the meat mixture wasn’t dry, it seems like a majority of the shepherds pie I’ve tried tend to be dry. Not this one!!