Ah the comfort food classic, Shepherd’s Pie! This is one of those casseroles that I used to love as a kid. It is meaty, savory and just delicious! And as a mom I now serve it because it is meaty, savory and EASY:) And my boys love it!

The traditional Shepherd’s Pie originates in the UK and Ireland and is made with lamb and vegetables and topped with mashed potatoes or a pie crust. However, since beef is eaten more than lamb in America we have altered the dish to be made with ground beef.  In Europe a Shepherd’s Pie made with beef is called a Cottage Pie so why do we in America call it a Shepherd’s Pie? Who the hell knows, but I believe it has to do with a mistaken cookbook translation in the late 1860s.

Anyway, it is a classic, hearty, easy, delicious recipe that your family will love, especially if you love casseroles. If you want to make this dish a little bit healthier you can always substitute ground turkey for the beef.

A couple notes– If you don’t have time to make mashed potatoes or just don’t want to you can always buy pre-made mashed potatoes.  There are so many good options in the grocery store these days.  You can typically find them in the deli section (in my grocery store they are under the rotisserie chickens) or you can find them in the freezer section. Just heat according to the directions and spread on top of the meat mixture.  AND, if you do not have an 11″x7″ baking dish DO NOT go buy one! Use your 9″x13″ dish.  The casserole will just be a little thinner, but not a big deal.

Stay Warm and Enjoy!

Shepherd's Pie

A comforting, hearty classic made of ground beef and vegetables in a savory gravy topped with mashed potatoes. What is not to love?

Servings 4


Mashed Potatoes

  • 6 medium sized Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 to 1 cup milk or heavy cream or half and half
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

Meat Filling

  • 2 Tablespoons oil (canola or olive)
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon fresh, chopped)
  • 1 small bag frozen peas and carrots mixture or mixed vegetable bag with peas, carrots, corn and green beans
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Mashed Potatoes

  1. In a medium sized stock pot add cubed potatoes to COLD water. Place on stove and turn heat to high. Once the water starts to boil add about 1 Tablespoon salt to water.

    Boil for about 8-10 minutes or until the potatoes are able to be mashed with a fork. Drain and pour into a mixing bowl.

    Add rest of ingredients to potatoes. Using an electric hand blender, blend until all lumps are gone.

    Adjust the salt and pepper to your taste.

    If you are making this in advance, when you reheat just add a bit more milk before microwaving.  

Meat Filling

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

  2. In a large skillet, with a lid,  heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the onions and saute for 3-4 minutes or until translucent.  

  3. Add garlic, beef, salt and pepper. Cook until browned and no longer pink, about 4-5 minutes.   

  4. Sprinkle the meat with flour and mix well.  Cook for about 1 more minute just to cook off the raw flavor of the flour. 

  5. Add tomato paste, broth, Worcestershire, rosemary and thyme.  Stir to combine and allow to come to a boil.  Cover with a lid and reduce the heat too low.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. 

  6. Add in the peas and carrots and toss to combine. 

  7. Pour mixture into a 2QT baking dish (11"x7"). Top with mashed potatoes. Spread the potatoes in an even layer starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling over. I like to use a rubber spatula. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. 

  8. Place baking dish on a cookie sheet (to prevent spillage in your oven) and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes begin to brown. 

  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving, about 10-15 minutes. 

Recipe Notes

  • If you do not have time to make mashed potatoes there a lots of pre-made options at the grocery store. Look in your deli section or freezer section. 

Needed Items