Classic Beef Shepherd’s Pie


Classic Beef Shepherd's Pie


“Delight in the hearty goodness of Beef Shepherd’s Pie, a classic comfort dish that layers savory ground beef with flavorful vegetables, topped with a crown of creamy mashed potatoes. This timeless recipe is a satisfying embrace of homestyle warmth and taste.”

In the realm of traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie, ground lamb is the customary choice. The distinction between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie lies in the type of meat used: Cottage Pie features ground beef, while Shepherd’s Pie opts for ground lamb.

While I’ve labeled this recipe as Shepherd’s Pie, I’ve crafted it to accommodate both ground beef and ground lamb.

Typically, I lean towards ground beef due to its widespread availability. However, for special occasions such as St. Patrick’s Day, I might opt for ground lamb.

The Story of Beef Shepherd’s Pie:

Beef Shepherd’s Pie is a culinary narrative that weaves together the essence of hearty sustenance and homely comfort. This classic dish takes humble ingredients like ground beef, vegetables, and mashed potatoes, transforming them into a layered symphony of flavors that embodies the heartwarming familiarity of a comforting meal enjoyed with family and friends.

Why You Should Make this recipe:

  • Comfort in Every Bite: Experience comfort in every bite with Beef Shepherd’s Pie, where the combination of seasoned beef and vegetables, crowned with creamy mashed potatoes, is a hug for your taste buds.
  • Simple and Wholesome: Enjoy a simple yet wholesome meal that captures the essence of homestyle cooking, bringing joy to the table with its familiar and delicious profile.
  • Versatile Family Favorite: Make it a versatile family favorite by customizing the vegetables, seasonings, and even incorporating leftover mashed potatoes for added convenience.

How to Serve:

Serving Beef Shepherd’s Pie is a heartwarming and comforting process:

  1. Prepare Filling: Cook the ground beef with aromatic vegetables, seasonings, and a savory sauce until the mixture is rich and flavorful.
  2. Layer in Dish: Transfer the beef filling to a baking dish, spreading it evenly. Top the filling with a layer of creamy mashed potatoes, creating a comforting and golden crust.
  3. Bake to Perfection: Bake until the mashed potatoes are lightly browned, and the filling is bubbling, creating a delicious and satisfying Beef Shepherd’s Pie.

What Goes Well With this recipe:

Beef Shepherd’s Pie pairs beautifully with complementary additions:

  • Green Peas: Serve with a side of sweet green peas for a burst of freshness and vibrant color.
  • Gravy: Drizzle with a savory gravy for an extra layer of richness and flavor.
  • Crisp Salad: Enjoy with a crisp salad on the side for a refreshing contrast to the hearty pie.

Storage Info:

If there are any leftovers, here’s how to keep the warmth of Beef Shepherd’s Pie:

  1. Cool Down: Allow the shepherd’s pie to cool to room temperature before storing any remaining portions.
  2. Refrigerate: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a few days.
  3. Reheat (Optional): Reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through before serving again.

Tips and Notes:

  • Mashed Potato Tips: Whip up creamy mashed potatoes using butter and milk for a luscious topping that complements the savory beef filling.
  • Veggie Variety: Experiment with a mix of vegetables such as carrots, peas, and corn to add color and diverse flavors to the filling.
  • Make-Ahead Friendly: Prepare the shepherd’s pie in advance and refrigerate it until ready to bake for a convenient and time-saving meal option.

“Dive into the heartiness of Beef Shepherd’s Pie, where every forkful is a journey into the warmth and nostalgia of a comforting, homemade classic.”

Classic Beef Shepherd’s Pie

A classic comfort dish that layers savory ground beef with flavorful vegetables, topped with a crown of creamy mashed potatoes. 
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Serving Size 6


For the Meat Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 lb. 90% lean ground beef or ground lamb
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup frozen mixed peas & carrots*
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

For the Potato Topping:

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 stick
  • 1/3 cup half & half
  • 1 ½ - 2 lb. russet potatoes about 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes



  • Add oil to a large skillet and place it over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.
  • Add onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add ground beef (or ground lamb) to the skillet, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon.
  • Add parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Cook for 6-8 minutes until the meat is browned, stirring occasionally.
  • Add Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add flour and tomato paste. Stir until well incorporated and no clumps of tomato paste remain.
  • Add broth, frozen peas and carrots, and frozen corn. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Set the meat mixture aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.


  • Place the potatoes in a large pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until fork-tender, 10-15 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes in a colander. Return to the hot pot, letting them rest for 1 minute to evaporate any remaining liquid.
  • Add butter, half & half, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mash the potatoes and stir until all ingredients are mixed.
  • Add parmesan cheese to the potatoes. Stir until well combined.


  • Pour the meat mixture into a 9x9 (or 7x11) inch baking dish, spreading it into an even layer.
  • Spoon the mashed potatoes on top of the meat, carefully spreading into an even layer.
  • If the baking dish looks very full, place it on a rimmed baking sheet to prevent spills.
  • Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.
  • Cool for 15 minutes before serving.


  • If you can't find frozen mixed peas and carrots, use ½ cup frozen peas and ½ cup frozen sliced carrots as an alternative.
  • Bake at 400°F. Begin preheating the oven after preparing the meat mixture as outlined in step 6.


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