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.
Casseroles or dinner pies are a great way to feed the family. Two other budget friendly meals you will want to try are Baked Spaghetti Pie and Classic Tuna Casserole.
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.
This post was originally published on June 27, 2015. Occasionally I update with fresh tips, content, and photos. Current update April 28, 2021.
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.
Sure wish I had seen this last week. Had to take a meal to family from church and they mentioned they liked Shepherds Pie. I have never made it and couldn't find a recipe I thought would be amazing so they got chicken pot pie lol. I'm looking forward to trying this soon. Maybe I will take a meal of Shepherds Pie to them after all. Looks wonderful. Thanks for the recipe.
Drop me a note, love to hear how you like the recipe when you make it.
I made this recipe for my husband and 13 year old, who both loved it! Thanks! I am currently trying to find new recipes to make for co-workers, who recently had babies. I'd love to give it to them frozen, so they can heat it when they're ready. Any suggestions/instructions on how to do that?
Hi Julie, so glad your family enjoyed the Shepherd's Pie recipe. One of my fav recipe to bring to family and friends is my spaghetti sauce. It freezes really well. Also a couple of other of my recipes that freeze well is Irish Stew. Baked Spaghetti Pie, Turkey Burger Soup, and my Fuel to Go Muffins are alway a huge hit that freeze well.
Thank you for the yummy, easy recipe!
your so welcome Tracy
Looks great! Not sure why you are getting so many rude comments about this not being real "Shepherd's Pie". If they don't like it, don't make it and keep it moving! There are more important things to worry about 😉
Hey Ashley, the controversy seems to be that some people would only call it Shepherd's Pie if made with lamb, and cottage cheese if made with beef.
Also, I've always used chicken stock and ketchup to make my sauce but I am definitely going to try your gravy/tomato paste combo! I may add a dash of worcestershire too though, as I enjoy adding some depth of flavor. I'll let you know how it turns out! P.S. I can't believe do many people said they skip the cheese on top. That's my favorite part! lol
Thanks Ashley, I too love the cheese on top!
Thank you Sheila, I too enjoy reading all the comments, most make me smile 🙂
Just made this tonight and it was fabulous! I added extra tomato paste (around 3 TBS) and for veggies used: carrots, celery, green beans, corn, mushrooms, and leaks. My fiancé is absolutely in love with it! Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipe with everyone! It is beyond fabulous and so comforting.
Thanks for letting me know Claire, Shepherd's Pie certainly is comfort food.
Hi Laureen, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your Shepherd's Pie recipe. It looks yummy, and I can't wait to try it. Going to pick up ingredients this week. My daughter loves Shepherd's Pie, but I haven't found a good recipe. We're anxious to try yours. Also, I was truly appalled to see such hostile comments when all you did was kindly share one of your recipes. You did not deserve the rude comments. There are some angry, hateful, opinionated people out there who will inappropriately use any form of social media, including food blogs, to express their ignorance and hostility. Ignore them and keep the yummy recipes coming:)
Hi Cheryl, I hope you enjoy the recipe. I don't let the negative comments bother me, seems like that is just part of why one has to expect being a food blogger.
Hi Newlywed here, what size of casserole dish did you use?
Hi Lauren, congrats on being a Newlywed, I used a 10 round baking dish.
I made this last week as a trial before Thanksgiving. Our small party has turned into a group of ten with some vegetarians thrown in for fun! The dish turned out fabulous, the family cannot wait for next week to eat this again. Thank you! The steps were very detailed and guided me along splendidly.
For convenience, do you think I can make this ahead a day or two? I could bake it, cool, freeze/ refrigerate and then heat to serve on D-day.....what is your advice?
Hi Germenn, So glad you enjoyed the recipe. This recipe should freeze well. The only thing I find is the consistency of the potatoes changes a bit when freezing. I think you would be fine making it a day or two ahead, refrigerate and then reheat day of. Enjoy!
Wonderful, thank you for your guidance. I look forward to a wonderful Thanksgiving with your Super Shepherd's Pie!
How long and at what temp would you need to reheat it at the next day? would this work in a 9"x13" glass dish? Thanks!
Yes it would work fine in 9x13 glass dish, the layers just would not be a thick unless you doubled the recipe. I would think 30 minutes at 350 degrees would work for reheating. If reheating from from frozen it would be about 1 hour. Hope you enjoy the recipe Jessica
This was unfortunately ruined due to the amount of thyme... way too over powering. I would suggest using maybe half of the thyme called for in the recipe.
Hey Kayla, did you use 1 teaspoon? that amount should not of overpowered the dish. But we all have unique taste buds and prefer different strength of flavouring.
I made this dish tonight and I have to say it was delicius! I thank you for sharing.... Made a little bit more gravy 'cuz we llike it and used frozen mixed veggies making it a little easier.... again, fabulous!
Thank you Dana for taking the time to let me know how you liked the recipe.
Mercy. Call it what you want. Maybe the Scots have too narrow a view! Maybe they are not the last word on this dish. Looks delicious. Where I'm from this is shepherd's pie, and we have no such thing as Cottage Pie.
I like the recipe and want to make this but need to know what size casserole dish are using. 8x8? 9x9? 9x13?
Hi Dennis, I baked it in my 3.3 quart round stainless steel casserole dish.
Thank you Laureen for this recipe. It is cold here in Michigan and I wanted to make something hot, quick and filling without having to run around to stores for the items. It came out PERFECT!!! So moist, tasty and very filling. I had made this awhile back without the pkgd beef gravy. It was good, but not nearly as moist and savory....I will be using your recipe from now on! 5 STARS
thanks Lydia, its cold here in Alberta, Canada as well, so nothing beats good old comfort food this time of year!
I love this recipe. My husband says this is the best meal I cook. Thank you for sharing this.
Thank you so much Elizabeth, it is one of my husband's favourites as well.
I made this today and I don't care what it's called, it was DELICIOUS!!
Thank you Bobi-Jean for letting me know how you liked the recipe!
I've never commented before but I think that's because the things I try never turn out, but THIS WAS A HIT! I made it last night and was scared I would mess it up but I didn't! My boyfriend is extremely picky but surprisingly he loved it and I did too! I left out the cheese and the green beans but followed everything else. This is def something I'll be making again And I seriously can't wait! Thank you so much for sharing this 🙂
Bee, so grateful you took the time to comment, I hope you try some more recipes. You and your boyfriend may like my Spaghetti Pie recipe.
This was simply AMAZING! So much taste, so satisfying! My boyfriend was gobsmacked and is asking me to make more!
Love it, hope you try some of my other recipes. Let me know if you would like any my husband recommends.
Love the recipe for "shepherd pie" instead of cheese I always put dobs of butter on the top before cooking....then a few more when I reheat it....
That sounds terrific Pauline
Wow this sounds so much better then the pillsberry recipe that calls for all that processed/frozen junk! I want to make this into cupcake tins ! Thanks for the recipe! 🙂
Terrific idea to make individual servings in cupcake tins!
First time making and eating shepherds pie and it was good! My 4 year who doesn't eat mashed potatoes ate mashed potatoes!
so glad you enjoyed the recipe Alisha, love that you got the 4 year old to eat mashed potatoes with this recipe 🙂
Excellent recipe! Will definitely have again! Thanks!!!
Thank you Mama Lolo
Mmmm just came upon this on pinterest and decided to go ahead and make it for supper! Everything smells good 🙂 Can't wait to dig in!
BTW im from MB, Canada;)
Hello Michelle, my fellow Canadian, hope you and your family enjoy the recipe. We had it for dinner yesterday!
Not sure if the original comment about the name was being critical or just informative. I don't mind informative and on that note, we call this Shepherd's Pie as well but realize it was historically lamb. I've never heard of Cottage Pie but I have a recipe similar to this called Hunter's Pie as it is made with beef. I kind of like the differentiation. However, I really appreciated the way Laureen dealt with this, be it criticism or information. On a different note, I'm not at home so don't have access to my recipe so plan on making this one! Sounds just what I'm looking for. Thanks.
Thank you Caroline for the great comment. I think we traditionally call things what our Mom or Grandma called them. They were great cooks and adapted many ethnic recipes and put there own flare on the recipe. No one really worried too much what it was called as long as it tasted good! (LOL)