Simple Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

4.78 from 9 votes

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Nothing heartier than a delicious Shepherd’s Pie Recipe! Ground beef, gravy, and vegetables are cooked together and then topped with extra creamy homemade mashed potatoes before baking and serving. A super comforting meal year-round.

Did you grow up eating Shepherd’s Pie? We sure did at my house. During the colder winter months, it always seemed to make it onto the weekly rotation along with Spaghetti and Cauliflower Soup. My Mom had her Shepherd’s Pie recipe *just so* and as I’ve grown and had a family of my own, I’ve turned my version into the way my family likes it. It’s a tasty and simple recipe, but a solid one that will have you licking your plates clean.

Shepherd's Pie Recipe

But first, what is Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s Pie, or sometimes known as Cottage Pie, is a meat pie or casserole made mainly with a ground red meat, cooked in a gravy and topped with mashed potatoes before being baked. Usually carrots, onions and other vegetables are added to the mixture as well before baking.

In America, Shepherd’s Pie is made mainly with ground beef, while in the UK it is made with ground lamb. Both delicious, but different options.

Main Ingredients for Shepherd’s Pie

Nothing surprising here! Lots of obvious culprits that you probably have lingering your fridge riiiiight now 🙂

  • Ground Beef: try to find a 90/10 or a 93/7 so you don’t have to feel guilty for not draining your meat after cooking
  • Onions and Garlic: these cook down quite a bit and add ‘invisible flavor’
  • Flour: to thicken the homemade pan gravy
  • Beef Stock: adds great flavor and helps create that tasty gravy
  • Worcestershire Sauce: no one knows it’s there, but adds great umami
  • Potatoes: peeled and boiled for the mashed potatoes up on top
  • Butter, Cream Cheese and Milk: give me all the dairy! This is what I use to create really creamy mashed potatoes.

beef and gravy mixture

How to make Shepherd’s Pie

I think it’s important to note the ease of this recipe. It really is simple! But because you are making everything from scratch and essentially cooking this Shephard’s Pie twice (first on the stove and then baking it in the oven), it’s the time crunch that will get ya. But I assure you the 60ish minutes are well worth it. All increments and more specific directions are listed in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Prep the potatoes. Peel, cube and bring to boil in salted water.
  2. While potatoes are boiling, start cooking the beef, onions and garlic together in some olive oil until browned.
  3. Make the gravy by sprinkling in flour and then whisking in the beef broth. Add in the Worchestershire, seasoning along with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir in frozen vegetables and remove from heat.
  5. Drain cooked potatoes and then mash with butter, cream cheese and milk.
  6. Top meat mixture with the mashed potatoes and smooth the top. Then use a fork and score the top to create grooves that will brown easily.
  7. Bake in a hot oven until the potatoes have browned. Adding cheese is an optional step.
  8. Serve!

mashed potatoes on shepherd's pie

Do I have to make this in a skillet?

I like dirtying as few dishes as possible, so I use an oven-safe skillet that holds up on the stove and in the oven. But if you don’t like this option, simply pour your meat mixture into a 9×9 or other casserole dish and top with potatoes and bake.

Cheesy Shepherd’s Pie!

Some people’s Shephard’s Pie Recipes call for the addition of cheddar cheese on top of the mashed potatoes. If you’d like to try this, grate 1 1/4 cups of medium to sharp cheddar cheese on a box grater and sprinkle over the top of the mashed potatoes before baking. Tada! Dinner is served.

How long to bake Shepherd’s Pie

Since everything is already cooked, the purpose of baking a Shepherd’s Pie is to simply brown the tops of the potatoes to get that delicious crust. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 450 degrees.

Skillet Shepherd's Pie

Storing leftovers

If you have any leftovers, simply spoon into airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days. You can also assemble this into a disposable casserole dish, cover well with foil and freeze. To reheat, bake at 375 degrees covered until heated completely through. Remove foil for the last few minutes to brown the top, or simply broil.

What to serve with Shepherd’s Pie

Here are some of my favorite side dishes to serve alongside this tasty dinner:

Shepherd's Pie Recipe

So if you’re in the mood for a meat and potatoes kind of meal, I gotcha covered 🙂 Be sure to save/print/pin/bookmark this recipe because it’s a great one.

Have a wonderful day, friends!

shepherds pie
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4.78 from 9 votes

Shepherd's Pie

Nothing heartier than a delicious Shepherd’s Pie Recipe! Ground beef, gravy and vegetables are cooked together and then topped with extra creamy homemade mashed potatoes before baking and serving.
servings 6 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


For the potatoes:

  • 2 pounds Idaho potatoes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • milk enough to get the consistency you want

For the beef filling:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 pound ground beef 93/7
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen vegetables


  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch dice. Add to small pot and cover with cold water. Add salt generously and bring to boil over high heat. Cook until tender, 10-12 minutes. Drain.
  • While potatoes are cooking, heat cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add in oil and saute onion 2-3 minutes. Add ground beef and break apart using a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
  • Sprinkle in flour and stir to incorporate. Cook another minute. Whisk in Worcestershire sauce and beef stock. Continue to cook until gravy thickens, 3 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.
  • To finish potatoes, add in butter, cream cheese, salt and pepper and enough milk to get the consistency you want. Mash until smooth and spread carefully over beef mixture. Bake 7-8 minutes or until potatoes have lightly browned. Sprinkle with chives (optional) and serve.


Calories: 542kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 387mg | Potassium: 1138mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2801IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make shepherds pie, shepherd's pie, shepherds pie recipe
4.78 from 9 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating

28 Responses
  1. Lindsay

    5 stars
    I always use this recipe for my Shepard’s pie. I adda little extra Worcestershire and also add white pepper to my potatoes. I also top with cheese. 5 stars for sure. This is my favorite blog! I recently made your peanut butter chocolate chip banana mini loafs for school and got so many compliments.

    1. Lindsay

      5 stars
      I use canned veggies instead of frozen and just sprinkle on top of ground beef during the layering process. Beef mixture, veggies, potatoes. Id assume that’s when you’d add frozen ones too..

  2. marion

    5 stars
    please may I address the True Shepherds Pie recipe !!
    as handed down to my German Grandma,, firstly it is always made with Minced Cooked Meat, not mince meat from the butcher ?!?!
    Made to feed the Shepherds, the left over Roast Lamb and
    Pickled boiled Lamb, minced and mixed with Tomato Sauce, Worcestershire sauce, a pinch of seasoning and topped with mashed potato, the pie is heated through jn oven and potato top browned under grill,, no vegies are added, ,, that is in Cottage Pie with vegied from the Cottage Garden,, and made with butchers mince that has to be cooked first,, —-so there is a huge difference between Cottage Pie and Shepherds Pie

  3. Jennifer Bradt

    What if you bought the wrong beef and bought 80/20 vs 93/7? I made this tonight and the gravy was soupy and not thick. Are you spouse to drain the fat from meat prior to sprinkling flour in? I drained the fat before putting the flour in.

    1. Lauren

      Mash everything in except the milk and then add in what you think you’d need to get it to be spreadable. Probably around 1/2 cup or so.

  4. Darlene Beck

    Trying this for the 1st time. Looks delicious !
    If I make it ahead and have it in the fridge as a casserole dish – how long should it bake when cold and at what oven temp?? Thank you.

  5. Julie Bouloux

    First, potatoes are NEVER cut into small cubes. They absorb too much water and become mushy. One does not have to fully immerse potatoes or other veg in water. Halfway is sufficient to cook them well.
    Second: wait until the filling is cooled before topping with the potato mash. Otherwise the mash will sink into the hot filling.
    Of course, cooking time will take longer to heat the filling and to brown the mash.
    Just a couple of tips for the perfect dinner.
    Thank you.

    1. Alyssa

      Looks like there are two sets of instructions in this recipe. The one that tells you when to add the frozen veggies is in the first set which is about 1/3 down from the top.

  6. Diane Pehrson

    I do not own a cast iron pan but would like to buy one….to make dinner for 2 most of the time. What size should as buy to use with his recipe? Thanks!

  7. Erin @ Thanks for Cookin'!

    I love that you used a skillet for this! One less dish to wash right? 🙂 And I agree with you on the GRAVY! Gotta have it! I hope the rest of your trip is smooth!

  8. Erin @ Thanks for Cookin'!

    I love that you use a skillet for this! One less dish to wash, right? 🙂 Looks super good and I agree with you about the GRAVY! Gotta have it! I hope the rest of your trip is smooth!

  9. Tara

    I’ll guess that you are looking at a new place to live. Gordon has a job offer that is too good to refuse and you are checking out the town, looking at houses. Am I close?

  10. Julie

    I swapped parsnip for celery that I needed to use up and added peas at the end.
    Super simple and lovely dinner!