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This Homemade Shepherd's Pie is a cozy casserole with a beef and veggie filling topped with cheesy mashed potatoes and baked to perfection. The ultimate family friendly comfort meal that is a real crowd pleaser.
This Shepherd's Pie or Cottage Pie is a hearty meal that is asked for again and again. What's the difference? Shepherd's Pie is traditionally made with lamb while Cottage Pie is made with beef. Everything else about the recipe is the same. You can use either protein in this recipe and get the same hearty and comforting results.
We also love Beef Tips & Gravy, Ground Beef Stroganoff and Baked Chicken Parmesan when the craving for comfort food strikes.
Classic Shepherd's Pie Ingredients
- Ground Beef
- Olive Oil
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- Black Pepper
- Beef Broth
- Frozen Peas
- Frozen Corn
- Russet Potatoes
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Ground Beef: Beef is more widely available and affordable, but traditionally this recipe is made with ground lamb which will also be great in this recipe.
- Olive Oil: Any neutral oil like vegetable, canola or avocado along with butter can be used as a substitute.
- Carrots, Frozen Peas, Frozen Corn: to make this recipe a little easier you can use a bag of frozen mixed vegetables.
- Russet Potatoes: Any type of potatoes can be used to make the mashed potatoes. Yukon gold or red would work just fine. Any leftover mashed potatoes will work with this recipe as well.
- Milk: I used milk to make the mashed potatoes, but you could also use cream, half and half or even broth.
- Shredded Parmesan & Cheddar Cheese: I like the combination of these cheeses in the mashed potatoes, but feel free to use your favorite cheese flavor.
How to Make Homemade Shepherd's Pie
- First step is to cook the potatoes. I like to use my recipe for Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes. Or you can boil the potatoes until fork tender and make mashed potatoes the traditional way.
- While the potatoes are cooking, start making the beef filling by browning the ground beef in large deep skillet over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain any grease if necessary.
- Add the olive oil, onions and carrots and cook until soft, another 3-4 minutes.
- Next, add the Worcestershire sauce and garlic and cook another minute.
- Stir in the all purpose flour, parsley, thyme, salt and black pepper. Cook another minute.
- Slowly stream in the beef broth while stirring. Then bring the beef filling to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the peas and corn. Then either smooth out and flatten in a large oven safe skillet or transfer to a 3 quart casserole dish or deep 9x13 baking dish.
- Once the potatoes are cooked and drained of any water, mash them with butter. Then stir in the milk, salt and pepper.
- Lastly stir in the shredded cheese until melted and fully incorporated.
- Spread the mashed potatoes over the beef filling. Drag a fork across the top of the mashed potatoes making ridges.
- Bake the casserole in a 375°F oven for 20-30 minutes until the top is golden and filling is bubbly.
- Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Tips for Shepherd's Pie
- This recipe is great for repurposing leftovers. Use leftover mashed potatoes for the topping and, pot roast or drip beef for the filling.
- Bake the casserole on a sheet pan to catch anything that may bubble over.
- If you like a more saucy filling, add an extra ¼-1/2 cup of beef broth.
- Spread the potatoes over the filling while they are hot, it's way easier. If you make the potatoes first and they're cold, use your fingers to spread the potatoes out.
- To make it extra easy, use a 12 oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables in place of the carrots, peas and corn.
Make Ahead Instructions
Fully prepare and assemble the casserole. Then tightly cover and store in fridge up to 4 days before baking. Then let the casserole come to room temperature while the oven preheats and bake following recipe directions.
How to Store Shepherd's Pie
Store any leftover Shepherd's pie in an air tight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes or in the microwave for a couple minutes.
FAQs About Homemade Shepherd's Pie
The two main ingredients in shepherd's pie are lamb and potatoes. Shepherd's pie is made with ground lamb, but in the U.S. ground beef is more popular than lamb so you'll most likely find most made with ground beef. Both versions are topped with a good helping of mashed potatoes.
Traditional shepherd's pie is a British comfort dish made with ground lamb and veggies, then topped with fluffy mashed potatoes and baked to golden perfection.
Technically a beef shepherd's pie is called cottage pie because the traditional shepherd's pie is made with lamb.
Other comfort dishes we LOVE:
- Baked Rigatoni Casserole
- Tator Tot Hotdish
- Chicken Dumpling Soup
- Beef Stew
- Oven Fried Chicken Legs
- Cheesy Baked Spaghetti
- Baked Penne Casserole
- Ground Turkey Chili
Homemade Shepherd's Pie
- 3 pounds russet potatoes, about 8 small potatoes
- ½ cup salted butter
- ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1½ cups beef broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen corn
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- First step, cook the potatoes. Add potatoes to a large pot, cover with cold water, heat to a boil and cook potatoes until fork tender then drain. Or use my Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes Recipe.
- While the potatoes cook, brown the beef in a large deep skillet over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain any grease.
- Add olive oil, chopped onions and carrots to the beef and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the the minced garlic and Worcestershire sauce.
- Add flour, parsley, thyme, salt, black pepper and stir to coat everything. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Slowly pour in the beef broth while stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 3-4 minutes until thickened.
- Remove beef from heat and stir in the frozen peas and corn.
- Smooth and flatten the filling in an oven safe deep skillet, or transfer the filling to a 3 quart casserole dish then spread and smooth it out.
- Once the potatoes are cooked and drained, mash them with the butter until smooth.
- Stir in the milk, salt, and black pepper until potatoes are creamy.
- Add the shredded cheeses and stir until they are melted and fully incorporated into the potatoes.
- Scoop the potatoes over the beef filling and evenly spread them out. Use a fork to drag ridges on the potatoes.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes until top is golden and filling is bubbling.
- Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
WRONG! This is Cottage Pie. Shepherds Pie is made from lamb (or shepherd I suppose!)
Heather Warburton says
Thanks for that info George. If you read the blog post, you would see in the introduction I stated that very same fact. 🙂