One bite of this easy shepherd’s pie recipe will warm you up on even the coldest night. A rich and flavorful stew of beef and veggies is topped with a layer of creamy mashed potatoes. Perfect comfort food for any day of the week.
Why This is the Best Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
Shepherd’s pie is one of those classic comfort foods that everyone loves. It’s warm, filling, and bursting with layers of flavor. But not all shepherd’s pie are created equal. Some are bland, dry, or mushy, while others are too rich, greasy, or salty. Here are some of the reasons that make this recipe the best:
- Fresh Ingredients: Our easy shepherd’s pie recipe uses fresh ingredients like potatoes, loads of veggies, real butter, and ground beef. There are no canned soups, instant potatoes, or processed meats here. You can taste the difference in every bite.
- Flavorful: It has a rich and flavorful gravy that infuses every morsel of pie. This adds depth and umami to the meat filling, and keeps it moist and juicy. No more dry or bland shepherd’s pie!
- Crisp Golden Crust: Thanks to a few minutes under the broiler, our shepherd’s pie is topped with a beautiful golden crust. This creates a lovely contrast with the creamy potatoes underneath and adds great texture and color to the dish.
What You’ll Need
You’re about to see why shepherd’s pie with ground beef is such a hearty and delicious recipe. It has so much goodness packed into every single bite! Be sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post for exact amounts of each ingredient.
- Onion: We like the flavor of sweet yellow onions for this dish, but white onions or shallots will work too.
- Vegetables: You can really customize this recipe to your liking, but we use celery, carrots, garlic, frozen peas, and mushrooms.
- Ground Beef: Traditional shepherd’s pie uses lamb, but ground beef is more popular in the US. You can also sub turkey if you prefer a more lean meat. Any option will be delicious!
- Brown Mushroom Gravy Mix
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Mashed Potatoes: We recommend making homemade mashed potatoes for this recipe, but store bought will work in a pinch.
How to Make Shepherd’s Pie
Nothing says comfort food like shepherd’s pie. It’s a creamy and flavorful dish that reminds you of your mama’s (or grandma’s!) kitchen. You’ll love every scoop (or two!) of this easy shepherd’s pie recipe. Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this page for detailed instructions.
- Make the Mashed Potatoes: Place peeled and quartered potatoes in a medium sized pot. Cover them with water and then bring it up to a boil. Simmer the potatoes for about 15 minutes. Once a fork can easily pierce them, drain the potatoes and mash them up with butter, half and half, salt, and pepper.
- Preheat the Oven: Preheat the oven to 375°F and coat a baking dish with non-stick spray. We recommend a 7×11 or 9×9 baking dish for a thicker shepherds pie.
- Make the Meat Filling: Add the carrots, celery, and onion to a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté for about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and let it cook for about 30 seconds before adding in the ground beef. Break up the ground beef so it cooks evenly, adding the peas and mushrooms once its almost done. Cook everything together for 4-5 minutes until the mushrooms have softened.
- Assemble: Transfer the cooked meat and veggies to your prepared baking dish and spread it in a nice even layer. Top it all with mashed potatoes. We use a rubber spatula to smooth it out. Press a little potato around the edges to prevent the mixture from bubbling up.
- Bake and Serve: Bake the entire pie for 30-35 minutes until everything is hot and the potatoes are lightly browned. Feel free to put it under the broiler for a few minutes at the end to get that nice crust. Let it rest for about 10 minutes and then dig in!
Tips For Making This Easy Shepherd’s Pie
Once you’ve made this dish the first time, you’ll appreciate just how easy it is. But we know how helpful it can be to have some tips and tricks to make sure it all goes smoothly right off the bat. Here’s some advice from our kitchen to yours:
- Beef: Use lean ground beef to ensure the final dish isn’t greasy. If you have a higher fat content of meat, you may need to drain any excess grease. The same goes for lamb or turkey.
- Use Frozen Veggies: If you’re looking to save some time, a great shortcut is to buy a frozen mixture of peas and carrots in the freezer section already chopped.
- Finely Dice Veggies: Be sure you finely dice your vegetables. There are some dishes where big chunky veggies are ideal (like stews), but shepherd’s pie isn’t one of them. Aim for the diced veggies to be roughly the same size as the ground beef.
- Broil: Broil your dish to get that perfectly browned crust at the end! It’s one of our favorite parts!
- Resting: Lastly, make sure you allow for the 10 minutes of resting time. This will let the gravy in the meat below thicken a little making it perfect!
What Can I Serve With Shepherd’s Pie?
Shepherd’s Pie is pretty much the whole meal all by itself, and that’s what makes it so easy and great! You get your meat, your veggies, and your side all in one! However, if you want to boost it up a little bit for guests, here are a few suggestions:
- Salad: A simple side salad would be excellent here, but if you’re looking for a fancier option for guests, we suggest our strawberry and spinach salad.
- Bread: A piece of crusty bread is always a nice accompaniment when you have sauce to sop up! We love a slice of our beer bread or garlic bread to scoop up all that tasty gravy.
- Dessert: A slice of the best chocolate cake would be a pretty great end to this dinner!
How to Store and Reheat
One of the best part of shepherd’s pie is the leftovers. Just like with a lot of soups, stews, and sauces, the filling of this dish gets even better as it sits. Here’s how to store and reheat your leftovers so you can enjoy them as much the next day.
- Make-Ahead: This is a wonderful make ahead dish. You can prep the entire pie, cover it tightly with foil, and then place it in the fridge for 24-36 hours. When you’re ready to serve, let it rest on the counter for 30 minutes and then bake as directed.
- Refrigerate: Store any leftovers in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days.
- Reheat: You can reheat leftovers in the microwave or the oven. The oven will take quite a bit longer, so we usually opt for the microwave.
- Freezing: You can freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. We recommend freezing individual servings and then wrapping them tightly in foil before placing in an airtight container. This will prevent the potatoes from sticking to the wrapping and make it easy to pull out a piece for lunch or dinner.
Try These Other Easy Beef Recipes
Ground beef doesn’t have to be boring or just for pasta. Check out some of these other easy dinner ideas using ground beef:
Easy Shepherd’s Pie
- 1 ½ lbs potatoes, russet or red potatoes, peeled and diced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup half & half
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 3 stalks celery, finely diced
- 1 cup finely diced carrots
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb ground beef, or turkey
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- 2 .87 oz packages brown mushroom gravy mix
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Place the peeled and quartered potatoes in medium sized pot. Cover the potatoes with water. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain potatoes and return the potatoes to the hot pot. Add butter, half and half, salt and pepper. Mash the potatoes and stir until all the ingredients are mixed together. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside. I recommend a 7×11 or 9×9 baking dish for a thicker shepherds pie.
- In large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil. Add carrots, celery and onion and sauté for about 5-8 minutes, until carrots are tender. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add ground meat and continue to cook over low to medium heat, breaking it up with a spatula or wooden spoon. When meat is almost done add peas and mushrooms. Cook for 4 more minutes, stirring often, until mushrooms have softened.
- Once cooked add Worcestershire sauce and the two mushroom gravy packages. Stir thoroughly and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
- Transfer meat to prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Top with mashed potatoes, spreading them on top into an even layer with a rubber spatula. Press around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until hot and the top has lightly browned. If necessary, broil for the last few minutes to help the surface of the mashed potatoes brown a little.
- Let rest for 10 minutes and serve!
- Mashed Potatoes: Purchase already prepared mashed potatoes at the grocery store to speed up recipe even more.
- Peas/Carrots: You can also purchase a frozen mixture of peas and carrots in the freezer section already chopped.