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Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

This easy Shepherd’s Pie recipe is filled with flavorful beef and veggies in a rich gravy topped with the creamiest mashed potatoes! Perfect comfort food that can be made ahead!

Shepherd’s pie on a white plate with a fork taking a bite out of it.

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

This Shepherd’s Pie recipe is so creamy and flavorful and is all about comfort food. One scoop (or two) will have you thinking back to the days of sitting in your mama’s kitchen. 

At least, Shepherd’s Pie always brings me back to my childhood. I’m always surprised by how many people have never had Shepherd’s Pie. I just assumed this was a classic dinner recipe in all families, because of how simple, delicious and easy it is. However, that doesn’t always seem to be the case. If you are one of the few that hasn’t tried it yet, it’s definitely time!

In our household, Shepherd’s Pie is a weekly staple dinner idea, especially for a Sunday with the whole extended family. I know that, without a doubt, it’s going to be a win because literally everyone in our house loves it. To me, that’s big!

Shepherd’s Pie in a large pan with a spoon taking a scoop out of it.

Why is it called Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s Pie, also commonly known as Cottage Pie, has English origins. The main ingredients are always ground red meat that is cooked in a gravy/sauce usually with some vegetables, and topped with a layer of mashed potatoes before it is oven baked.

Traditionally it was called Shepherd’s Pie because it was a pie that was filled with lamb meat. Since local shepherds were the ones that tended to and watched over the lamps, the name stuck.

Nowadays it’s more associated with the overall appearance and ingredients that are added into the dish. Most versions are made with ground beef in America.

Ingredients in clear glass bowls arranged together with a tea towel.

Ingredients

You’re about to see why this easy shepherd’s pie is such a hearty and delicious recipe. It has so much goodness packed into every single bite! 

  • Yellow onion
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Ground beef (or turkey)
  • Frozen peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Brown mushroom gravy mix
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes – Homemade or Store Bought

You will also need mashed potatoes. I have included my favorite recipe below to make your own creamy mashed potatoes for on top. Here are the ingredients you will need to make your own mashed potatoes:

  • Potatoes
  • Unsalted butter
  • Half & half
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

However, if you are in a pinch, you can also use store bought mashed potatoes. I tested a few different versions of store bought already mashed potatoes and found the best ones for you! I recommend you try to find Bob Evan’s original mashed potatoes if you choose to use store bought. You will need a couple of family sized packages to top your Shepherd’s Pie with!

Could you use lamb meat in this recipe if you wanted to?

Absolutely! If you’re a fan of lamb meat and have some to cook up, you can totally use it in this recipe and replace the ground beef and/or turkey. Just follow the same process as you would with the ground beef so that it’s flavorful and tasty as well. 

Mashed potatoes in a large pot being mashed with butter.

How to make Shepherd’s Pie:

Homemade Mashed Potatoes:

  1. Prepare: Place the peeled and quartered potatoes in a 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.
  2. Drain: 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.
Ground beef, vegetable and gravy mixture in a large pan.

 Meat Filling:

  1. Prepare: Preheat the 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.
  2. Cook: In a 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.
  3. Combine: Add ground meat and continue to cook over low to medium heat, breaking it up with a spatula or wooden spoon. When the meat is almost done add peas and mushrooms. Cook for 4 more minutes, stirring often until mushrooms have softened.
  4. Stir: Once cooked add Worcestershire sauce and the two mushroom gravy packages.  Stir thoroughly and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Transfer: Transfer meat to a 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.
  6. Bake: 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.
  7. Serve: Let rest for 10 minutes and serve!
Mashed potatoes spread on top of meat in a skillet on a large tea towel.

Tips for making this Easy Shepherd’s Pie

  • 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.
  • Another great shortcut idea to make this recipe even easier is to buy a frozen mixture of peas and carrots in the freezer section already chopped.
  • Be certain that you finely dice your vegetables. I personally don’t like to bite into a big piece of carrot or celery in my shepherd’s pie as I like it minced and blended together.
  • Broil the top at the end to get that perfectly browned top at the end! It’s one of my favorite parts!
  • 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!
Shepherd’s pie on a white plate with a fork and parsley.

Can I make this ahead?

Yes! This Easy Shepherd’s Pie recipe is a wonderful make ahead dish. You can prep it and then cover it with an airtight lid or foil/cling wrap and then place it in the fridge for up to 24-36 hours. When ready to serve, let it rest on the counter for 30 minutes, then bake as directed in the recipe!

How do I store the leftovers?

Store your shepherd’s pie leftovers in a tightly sealed container:

  • In the fridge: For up to 3 days, or…
  • In the freezer: For up to 3 months
Shepherd’s Pie on a white plate with a fork taking a bite out of it.

What to serve with it?

Shepherd’s Pie is pretty much the whole meal all by itself, that’s what makes it so easy and great! You get your meat, your veggie and your side all in one! However, if you want to boost it up a little bit for guests, try the below suggestions:

Yield: 4 large servings

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie on a white plate with a fork taking a bite out of it.

This easy Shepherd’s Pie recipe is filled with flavorful beef and veggies in a rich gravy topped with the creamiest mashed potatoes! Perfect comfort food that can be made ahead!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

Mashed Potatoes:

  • 1 1/2 lbs potatoes (russet or red potatoes), peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup half & half
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Meat Filling:

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Mashed Potatoes: 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Meat Filling: Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside. I recommend a 7x11 or 9x9 baking dish for a thicker shepherds pie.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Once cooked add Worcestershire sauce and the two mushroom gravy packages. Stir thoroughly and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Let rest for 10 minutes and serve!

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4 servings

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 675Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 393mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 8gSugar: 9gProtein: 40g

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1 Comment

  • Kerri
    June 15, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Ladies! This looks incredible! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Reply

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