Recipe – Classic Shepherd’s Pie

Recipe - Classic Shepherd's Pie Recipe

Shepherd’s pie, also called a cottage pie, is a hearty, wholesome dish made out of mashed potatoes and ground meat, and it is Irish in origin. While the more popular version nowadays uses ground beef (because it is widely available), the more traditional version uses ground lamb instead, which gives the dish a deeper, more complex flavor.

Having a classic Shepherd’s Pie Casserole meal can be a wonderful addition to your family’s dining experience for several reasons:

  • Nourishing and Balanced Meal: Shepherd’s Pie typically consists of a rich combination of ground meat, such as lamb or beef, mixed with vegetables like carrots, peas, and onions, all topped with a layer of creamy mashed potatoes. This combination provides a well-balanced meal that includes proteins, carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and minerals. It can be a wholesome and satisfying option for your family’s nutritional needs.
  • Versatility and Adaptability: One of the great advantages of Shepherd’s Pie is its versatility. You can easily adapt the recipe to suit your family’s preferences or dietary restrictions. For example, you can substitute the meat with vegetarian alternatives like lentils or soy crumbles, making it suitable for vegetarians or those looking for a meatless option. It’s a customizable dish that allows you to tailor it to your family’s taste.
  • Comforting and Flavorful: Shepherd’s Pie is a classic comfort food that brings warmth and coziness. Combining savory meat, aromatic vegetables, and creamy mashed potatoes creates a comforting and satisfying flavor profile. It’s a dish that evokes nostalgia and creates a sense of togetherness, making it perfect for family gatherings or cozy nights at home.
  • Make-Ahead and Leftovers: Shepherd’s Pie is an excellent make-ahead meal that you can prepare in advance and simply bake when needed. This can be particularly convenient for busy families or when you want to plan your meals ahead of time. Additionally, Shepherd’s Pie often tastes even better the next day, as the flavors have had time to meld together. Leftovers can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner, saving you time and effort in the kitchen.
  • Family-Friendly and Crowd-Pleasing: Shepherd’s Pie is generally a family-friendly dish that appeals to both kids and adults. It’s a great way to introduce different vegetables to children, as they are mixed with flavorful meat and mashed potatoes. The familiar and delicious taste of Shepherd’s Pie is often a hit with picky eaters. Moreover , Shepherd’s Pie can be easily scaled up to feed a larger crowd if you’re hosting a gathering or potluck.

A classic Shepherd’s Pie Casserole meal brings together nourishment, comfort, and versatility, making it an excellent choice for your family. Its wholesome ingredients, adaptability, and crowd-pleasing nature can contribute to memorable meals and shared moments around the dinner table.

Basic Recipe Information

Prep time

  • 20 minutes

Cooking time

  • 50 to 60 minutes


  • About 6 servings

Required Equipment

  • Skillet
  • Colander
  • Casserole
  • Wooden spoon


For the potato layer

  • 2 large russet potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
  • 8 tablespoons butter, 1 stick (about 113 grams)
  • 1/3 cup half and a half (about 80 ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (about 2 and a half grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (about 2 and a half grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (about 1 gram)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (About 61 grams)

For the meat layer

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (about 28.35 grams)
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 200 grams or roughly 2 onions)
  • 1 lb. 90% lean ground lamb (about 400 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley leaves (about 10 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves (about 5 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (about 5 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (about 2 and a half grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (about 2 and a half grams)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (about 15 grams)
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons flour (28.35 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (28.35 grams)
  • 1 cup beef broth (about 230 ml)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed peas & carrots* (about 200 grams, you can also use fresh or canned)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels (about 100grams, you can also use fresh or canned)

Preparation Directions

  • Add oil to the skillet and place on medium for about 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the lamb to the skillet and break it into small pieces with your wooden spoon. Add the herbs and the pepper and stir every once in a while, so it doesn’t burn. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the meat is browned, and add the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine.
  • Add the garlic and the flour, and stir well until no clumps remain.
  • Add the broth, the peas, carrots, corn, and stir occasionally.
  • Bring the broth to a simmer for 5 minutes while stirring every once in a while.
  • Set the mixture aside and start preheating the over to 400 degrees F. (200 degrees Celsius)
  • To make the potato topping:
  • Place the potatoes in a large pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then to a simmer and let the potatoes cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are fork-tender.
  • Drain the potatoes in a colander and return them to the hot pot. Let the potatoes rest for about 1 minute, until all the liquid is evaporated.
  • Add the butter, half and half, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mash and stir until all the ingredients are blended together.
  • Add the parmesan cheese and stir until combined.

Put the meat mixture into a baking or casserole dish to put all the casserole together. Spread it on an even layer, and then spoon the potatoes on top, making another even layer.

If the casserole looks too full, place it on a rimmed baking sheet, so the mixture doesn’t bubble all over your oven. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes and let cool for about 10 before serving.

How to serve/plate and garnish

There are different ways to serve this dish: some choose to add an even layer of grated cheese on top of it, so it melts in the oven, some decide to decorate with extra Worcestershire sauce on top, and some draw little wave patterns on top of the potato layer before putting it in the over. Your platting will vary according to your own taste.

Shepherd’s Pie
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