Super Shepherd's Pie is the ultimate comfort food recipe! A savory casserole of ground beef and vegetables simmered in a rich gravy, topped with fluffy mashed potatoes.
What is the difference between shepherd's pie and cottage pie?
The traditional Shepherd's pie came from England and was made with minced lamb. The American version commonly referred to as Cottage Pie uses ground beef. Ground beef is more readily available in North America and has become the more popular version of this classic recipe.
Ground beef - use extra lean ground beef. I have found that regular ground beef is too fatty. Minced lamb can be used for a more traditional recipe.
Vegetables - fresh and frozen vegetables are used in this recipe. Canned vegetables will bake up too mushy.
Potatoes - Yukon gold are my favorite for making mashed potatoes.
Butter - butter is added to the mashed potatoes giving them an extra creamy flavor.
Milk - whole milk is added to the mashed potatoes. For a richer and creamier layer of mashed potatoes you can use cream.
Thyme - this herb adds a subtle hint of flavor. If you do not like thyme, simply leave it out.
Tomato paste - tomato paste compliments the ground beef for an extra punch of flavor.
Beef gravy mix - prepared as per packet directions. In addition to adding more savory flavor, the gravy will ensure the Super Shepherd's pie is saucy, not dry.
Variations and substitutions
- Using ground turkey in shepherd's pie is a healthy alternative to ground beef.
- Try some different vegetables like celery, zucchini, red peppers and mushrooms.
- Instead of using regular mashed potatoes, this recipe tastes incredible topped with my garlic mashed potatoes.
- Top with melted cheddar cheese.
Some great additions for extra seasoning
½ cup red wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
This easy shepherd's pie recipe is such a hearty one pot meal you do not need any sides, but if you like, make a simple green salad like my tossed pomegranate salad.
How to make Shepherd's Pie
Peel and cut potatoes into cubes. Boil in salted water until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain.
Add the butter and milk. Mash with potato masher until fluffy, set aside.
Using a large heavy skillet add ground beef, salt and pepper. Fully cook the meat and set aside.
Using the same skillet drain fat from skillet, leaving about 1 tablespoon. Add onions, carrots and garlic. Sauté over medium heat until tender.
Stir in the green beans, corn and peas. Simmer for about 4-5 minutes.
Prepare the gravy mix as per package directions.
Mix together the gravy, ground beef and vegetables. Stir in the tomato paste and thyme, then spread into a 2 quart casserole dish.
Top with the mashed potato mixture. Cover and bake at 350º fahrenheit for 40-50 minutes.
Optional - Add shredded cheddar cheese. Remove from oven, sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Return to the oven and bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.
Can you freeze Shepherd's Pie?
Super Shepherd's Pie freezes very well for up to 3 months. Cover with plastic wrap, and store in airtight container. Thaw and bake for 50-60 minutes.
Super Shepherd's Pie
- 1½ pounds extra lean ground beef
- 7 medium potatoes 6-7 cups raw, chopped
- 3 carrots chopped 2 ½ cups raw, chopped
- 1 onion chopped about 1 cup
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 cup corn frozen or fresh
- 1 cup green beans frozen or fresh
- 1 cup peas frozen or fresh
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 packet beef gravy mix prepared as per instructions
- 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- Peel and cut potatoes into cubes. Boil in salted water until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain.
- Add the butter and milk. Mash with potato masher until fluffy. Set aside.
- Using a large heavy skillet add ground beef, salt and pepper. Cook until meat is browned. Set aside.
- Using the same skillet drain fat from skillet, leaving about 1 tablespoon. Add onions, carrots and garlic. Sauté over medium heat until tender.
- Stir in the green beans, corn and peas. Simmer for about 4-5 minutes.
- In the meantime prepare the gravy mix as per package directions.
- Mix together the gravy, ground beef and vegetables. Stir in the tomato paste and thyme. Spread mixture into 2 quart casserole dish.
- Top with the mashed potatoes. Cover and bake at 350º fahrenheit for 40-50 minutes.
- Optional - add shredded cheddar cheese. Remove from oven, sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Return to oven and bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until has melted.
- This post was originally published Dec 14,2012. Occasionally I update with fresh tips, content and photos. Current update November 1, 2022