This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This classic shepherd’s pie recipe has ground beef, veggies, and mashed potatoes to make the best comfort food! The rich, savory gravy is mouthwatering, and you can make this tasty and affordable meal ahead of time.

You may also like my Tater Tot Shepherd’s Pie or Cowboy Casserole next.

shepherd's pie on a plate with a fork

What is shepherd’s pie?

It’s a baked dish that has a ground meat and vegetable filling that’s topped with creamy mashed potatoes. Even though purists will say that shepherd’s pie must have lamb, according to the Oxford English Dictionary shepherd’s pie was historically used synonymously in the UK with the term cottage pie, and it could have either lamb or beef (or whatever meat was on hand, if any. This is the 1800s, you guys). The more you know!

Whatever you call it, this shepherd’s pie recipe with ground beef is delicious. It’s also actually simple and straightforward to make, and you totally shouldn’t feel intimidated! This cozy complete meal will become a family favorite since it’s inexpensive and comforting.

What you’ll need

For the filling

  • Ground beef – we’re using 90% lean. You can use lamb if you prefer.
  • Onion – we prefer sweet (Vidalia) onion, but yellow is great
  • Butter – for sautéing
  • Italian seasoning – it’s a blend of fragrant dried herbs that comes in one convenient jar
  • Tomato paste – for richer flavor and hint of tomato
  • Flour – to thicken the sauce
  • Beef broth – it gives a deep savory quality
  • Worcestershire sauce – don’t skip it! It’s a fantastic way to infuse a ton of extra flavor
  • Frozen vegetables – they’re already chopped, partly cooked, and frozen at peak freshness

For the mashed potatoes

  • Russet potatoes – I find these are best for mashed potatoes
  • Heavy cream and butter – I don’t recommend changing these up. It makes these potatoes perfectly luxurious!
  • Garlic – along with salt & pepper, fresh garlic is all you really need to season mashed potatoes
ingredients for shepherd's pie on a marble surface

Can I use fresh veggies?

  • Sure! Frozen veggies are great for saving time since they’re already partially cooked, but if you want to use fresh vegetables, you can. Just cook them for a bit first to ensure they’re soft enough. Try sautéing them with the onions.

How to make shepherd’s pie

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

boiling potatoes and frying beef for shepherd's pie

Preheat your oven. Peel and quarter the potatoes and boil until tender. In a skillet, sauté the onion until softened. Add in the ground beef and brown it.

adding seasonings to ground beef in a skillet for shepherd's pie

Stir in the Italian seasoning, tomato paste, and flour, and cook until incorporated, stirring constantly. Add in beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and salt, and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let it thicken.

making mashed potatoes for shepherd's pie

In a small saucepan, heat the cream, butter, garlic, and salt & pepper and warm it over medium heat until the butter has melted. Drain the potatoes, and add the cream mixture over top. Mash well.

adding ground beef and veggie mixture to a baking dish for shepherd's pie

Add in the frozen mixed vegetables to the skillet, and cook for about 5 minutes. Transfer the meat and veggie mixture to a casserole dish and spread evenly with a spatula.

spreading mashed potatoes on shepherd's pie

Add the mashed potatoes over top in a uniform layer. Use a fork to rake the mashed potatoes for texture. Bake and enjoy!

Tools for this recipe

Substitutions and variations

  • You can use your own mashed potato recipe if you like, but we can’t guarantee how it’ll turn out without testing.
  • Sub the cream for half-and-half or milk at your discretion, but the potatoes will end up less rich and likely dry, especially after being baked.
  • Want a fancy touch? Swap half of the beef broth with red wine! Use a full-bodied red wine such as a cabernet sauvignon or merlot.
  • Try sprinkling some parmesan cheese and/or grated cheddar on top of the potato layer prior to baking for a little bit of decadence!

Can I make shepherd’s pie ahead of time?

  • Absolutely! Simply assemble it up to the baking step, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
  • When you’re ready to heat it up, you may need to increase the baking time since it will be cold. Try baking it covered with foil for the first 30 minutes, uncover and bake for 20 more, and then broil if desired.
  • If cooking from frozen, let the baking dish warm up a bit on the counter so that it doesn’t break. Or use these disposable foil baking pans!

What to serve with shepherd’s pie

  • In England, HP Sauce or brown sauce is often served with it. It’s got tomatoes and tamarind and an addictive tangy taste!
  • Shepherd’s pie also pairs well with a side salad. Try this Parmesan Arugula Salad or some mixed greens with this Creamy Balsamic Dressing.
  • It’s also fantastic on its own or with a slice of crusty bread.

Leftovers and storage

  • It will keep just fine in an airtight container 3-4 days in the fridge.
  • Shepherd’s pie leftovers heat really well on the stove in a small saucepan. You can also microwave until warmed through!
  • You can freeze it too even though we prefer the refrigerator. It might not be exactly the same as when first cooked, but it’ll still taste great.
a baking dish with shepherd's pie

Any questions or comments? I’d be thrilled to hear from you in the comments below! Leave me a star rating a review.

shepherd's pie on a plate with a fork
5 from 42 votes

Shepherd’s Pie

This classic shepherd's pie recipe has ground beef, veggies, and mashed potatoes to make the best comfort food! The rich, savory gravy is mouthwatering, and you can make this tasty and affordable meal ahead of time.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

Meat filling:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or lamb
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables see note

Potato topping:

  • 2.5 pounds Russet potatoes peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Garnish: chopped fresh parsley optional, to taste

Instructions 

  • Boil the potatoes. Start the rest of the recipe while they're cooking. Preheat your oven to 375F and move the rack to the top third of the oven. Don't worry if the meat filling and potatoes aren't quite done at the same time.
  • For the meat filling, add the butter to a large skillet and melt over medium-high heat, then add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add the beef to the skillet and cook, breaking it up with your spoon as you go along, until just browned (about 6-8 minutes).
  • Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the Italian seasoning, tomato paste, and flour. Cook (stir constantly), for about a minute.
  • Add in the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and salt, and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the liquid thicken up a bit (about 1 minute).
  • Stir in the frozen mixed veggies and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  • When the potatoes are almost done, add the cream, butter, garlic, and salt & pepper to a small saucepan and warm it over medium heat until the butter has melted and it's warmed through (don't let it boil). Once the potatoes are done (a knife should slide in easily), drain them and add them back to the pot they were cooked in. Pour the saucepan mixture over the potatoes and mash until smooth. 
  • Transfer the meat mixture to a 9×13 casserole dish and then spoon the potatoes over top. Smooth with a rubber spatula (or spoon if that's all you have). You can use a fork to create texture by raking it over the potatoes.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly, then broil for a few minutes (watch it carefully) to brown the potatoes.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes before serving and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley if desired.

Notes

  • I recommend weighing the potatoes at the grocery store as potato sizes vary a lot and everyone has a different idea of what a “large” potato is, but if you need to eyeball, 2.5 pounds of Russets is roughly 3 large potatoes.
  • Frozen mixed vegetables can be found in the frozen foods aisle of your grocery store. It’s a blend of vegetables that typically contains a mix of peas, carrots, corn, and green beans. 
  • Serves 6-8 depending on portion size. Leftovers are delicious.
  • See blog post for more tips including step-by-step photos, substitutions, and make ahead instructions.

Nutrition

Calories: 411kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 78mg, Sodium: 600mg, Potassium: 973mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 2860IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 64mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

Leave a star rating and comment below!

Hi! I’m Natasha.

Salt & Lavender is a recipe blog with a focus on delicious comfort food using everyday ingredients. Beat the weekday grind with hundreds of easy-to-follow and hassle-free recipes!

The Salt & Lavender cookbook is here! Order Now

5 from 42 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Please leave a recipe rating!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

140 Comments

  1. Karen Collier says:

    This is my favorite go to recipe. The family loves it and enjoy left overs.

    1. Natasha says:

      Wonderful! Thanks, Karen!

  2. Farida Ahmed says:

    Amazing Shepard’s pie recipe l loved it

    1. Natasha says:

      Thanks so much, Farida!! 😀

  3. Leanna says:

    5 stars
    This will be the best Shepards Pie you ever make! From the flavors to the mashed potatoes, everything incorporates nicely. Not only is this recipe 5 STARS, I can always count on Salt & Lavender for all their recipes being 5 STARS.

    I recently made chicken fetticini Alfredo and it was AMAZING, my family wants nothing to do with any other recipe now, funny part was when I went to save it, it was of course Salt & Lavenders Recipe! Thank you, thank you for sharing top notch recipes for us!

    1. Natasha says:

      Aww thank you so much, Leanna!! 😀 Your comment made my morning!

  4. Patricia says:

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! I make it for my husband quite often and he loves it! My landlord says it is the best he has ever had.

    1. Natasha says:

      Wonderful!! 😀 Thanks for letting me know, Patricia!

  5. Gramma di says:

    5 stars
    I put this together today and plan on baking it tomorrow. I hope I’m not messing it up. It looks amazing! I was wondering if I can also freeze before baking ?
    Even if I didn’t bake it yet, think I can still give it a 5 * because I’ve been testing everything as I go 🤣

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! I think you should be ok! I haven’t tested freezing it before baking, but I don’t think it’s a bad idea. Let me know if you try!! So glad you’re liking it already haha.

  6. Kat says:

    Made this tonight. Added grated cheddar cheese on top. Perfect and loved the easy recipe. This is probably the third or 4th Salt & Lavender recipe I’ve made. Have not been disappointed yet and every recipe has been delicious. Thank you for sharing your delicious recipes.

    1. Natasha says:

      Wonderful!! I’m so happy you are enjoying my recipes, Kat! 😀 Thank you!