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.
It was excellent. Thank you for the recipe. Um, many things are one thing in Britain and something else in the U.S. A bonnet in GB is called a "car hood" here, a "Bobby" is a "policeman" and there are many other differences. Cottage Pie in England is called Shepherd's Pie here and we don't use enough lamb here to have a special name for a Shepherd's Pie made with Lamb.
I don't much care what you call it, your recipe looks delicious! But for the record, I've made a Shepherd's Pie for years that is a bit different than this but also uses beef not lamb. I am going to make your version tonight for supper, I can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.
I plan to make this for my kids when they come for the weekend because it looks totally awesome and sounds so easy to make! But I'm really concerned because if I use ground turkey, should I then call it "Turkey Pie"? or "Poultry Pie? Or maybe even "Barnyard Pie"? And good God almighty, what if I decide to leave the meat out altogether? Should I then call it Vege Pie? Or maybe "Pie-Pie"?
Thanks Lauren for the recipe. It does look totally awesome!
Lol, thanks for the great comment Rick, you sure gave me a good chuckle this morning!
The BEST comments!!! A sweet mini book! ❤️
Gravy mixes vary greatly so I would appreciate the one or ones you prefer. Have you tried the addition of Worcestetshire sauce as one reader suggested? That sounds good.
Linda, I like McCormick International roast gravy mix
Well, here I go my stomach is growling at me. I was thinking of making this pie with whole chicken livers and a lot of grilled onions, maybe some mushrooms in there too! Maybe latter with ground venison. Wine in both versions.
I may even go back to Aldis and purchase the sheperds' pie I saw in the freezer case.
By the way. The word sheperd refers to someone that herds sheep. The only time I've heard any version of the word herd around cattle is when I was a cowboy driving cattle and one turned around, looked at, and said
STOP IT, YOU'RE HERDING ME!
The comparison between Shepherd's Pie and Cottage Pie ignores a couple of basic rules on language itself. A word in one country may have a different meaning in another country although they speak the same "root" language. What's a hood in America is a Bonnet in the UK and both words are correct only in the location in which they are used. There are many other varietals of the English Language. Austrailia has many varietals, South Africa has many varietals. The second rule is the rule of dictionary meaning which, in English, means that any word in common usage and widely used by everyone in the area in which it is used is, in fact, a legitimate word. Shepherd's Pie, therefore, is a regional dish and has regional names, and second, whatever local uses a word has are, by definition, correct as long as there is widespread LOCAL agreement as to what the word means.
I’m new to cooking and was wondering what the best stove top setting would be to cook the onions carrots and garlic? Also the beans corn and peas. Thanks in advance!
I usually cook onions carrots and garlic over medium heat. Cook the onions and carrots a bit before adding garlic as it doesn't need as much time to saute and you don't want to burn the garlic or it becomes bitter tasting.
We substituted packet gravy with kfc gravy and it was even better. We also put pastry in because it's not a pie without pastry and you can pry that from my cold DEAD CHINESE HANDS. Also we didn't put the tomato paste or thyme in because it sucked. in
I don't think it's meant to be a criticism, rather education. Shepard pie is made with lamb. What's the problem? We live and we learn!
It’s different to everyone. We call it meat potato pie.
Yes!!!! This is cottage pie, not shepherds pie. I don’t know why, but it drives me bonkers when people call it shepherds pie.
absolutely correct shepard's pie is with ground lamb and cottage is with ground beef. I am Irish from Ireland
Firstly, Shepherd's Pie should only be called that if it's made with with LAMB. Secondly, it is BRITISH cousins not American as incorrectly stated in the heading.
Also, if one applies the same logic as this particular cook, then it is okay to make Pecan Pie with walnuts, Beef Wellington with pork, Peach Cobbler with apricots, and Apple Pie with pears....!!!!!
Lauren, this is a wonderful Shepherd pie. We had seconds and this recipe is what I will cook from now on. I didn’t have green beans so used frozen red and green bell peppers. I can’t wait to make it for friends coming for dinner after Thanksgiving. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and thank you for sharing your delicious recipe.
Hi Marjorie, thrilled you tried my recipe. This is one of my family's favs!
I wish people would comment on the dish and not the recipe name. I can't believe how many people are quick to point out that sheep come from shepherds and blah blah blah. Thanks for the history lesson. Who cares? Kraft Dinner is not dinner, it's mac & cheese- albeit a terrible one. People need to get over it. I'm testing out this recipe today, let you know how it goes! Thanks for sharing!
I'll bet many of our Gramma's made the same recipe and each one of them called it something different 🙂
Wow, how negative! Geez!
First time ever making shepherds pie. This was amazing . My family enjoyed every bit of it. Thanks for the recipe!
Thank you Tisha, so glad your family enjoyed the recipe!
This is just like my Shepherds Pie, except I use tomato soup. I've been making it for 50 years. Everybody raves about it.
Hi Kat, tomato soup sounds like a tasty addition!
Look, another crap Shepherd's Pie recipe incorrectly made with beef.
Take no notice Bob, the same people probably crumb pork chops and call them chicken schnitzels !!
Oh look! It’s the Shepherd’s Pie sheriffs …. cracking down on delinquent, free recipe providers. God save the King!
If you STILL think it's correct to make Shepherd's Pie with BEEF and not LAMB then I can only imagine your recipe for Tuna Casserole having crab meat in lieu of tuna and your jam doughnuts containing marmalade instead of jam......!! Such fun in the kitchen for kiddies.. haha !!
John you seem very angry. Perhaps you should save your angry and toxic comments for somewhere more appropriate.
This recipe was divine! I wouldn't have minded if you want to call it shepards pot pie. Haha..delicious and thank you for sharing it with us!
Oh Dear, fancy you thinking I’m angry. Not at all. I always enjoy a Shepherd’s Pie, but unlike the many faux cooks around, I always use real lamb. Once my pie is cooked and I’m enjoying the first tasty mouthful I then of that little poem “Mary had a little Lamb”...... and I smile to myself, and think ‘we’ll this one sure ain’t going to be Mary’s’.......!!
Shepherds frequently cooked with beef, without harming any of their own flock. A passing cow was fair game wherever they went!
By your logic, Shepherd’s Pie should ONLY be made with the meat of ground shepherds while Irish Stew would be made from some fine Irishman’s sorry arse. Well?
Used this recipe on a ‘grandmas teaching the boys how to cook’ night. They absolutely loved it!! Each one added their own twist to show off their skills and they’re still discussing ways to make even more yummy. My family considers this a winner!
What an awesome idea to have a "how to cook" night. Thrilled you would have used one of my recipes! Thanks
I just made this ... and although it is not a “CLASSIC” Shepherds Pie as so many were to comment.
I do know my family enjoyed it emensly, my pocket book was happy.
My only complaint was no leftovers.
THANK YOU FOR AN EASY AND DELICIOUS go to recipe!!!
Thank you Stacey, great to hear your family enjoyed the recipe.
My mom was from the depression era and when she made this she always used to cook the ground beef w/onions and when it was thoroughly cooked she drained the fat off and added 1 can of Campbells vegetable soup saved all the prep. They knew life a little cheaper and easier.
Our Mom's and Grandma's sure knew how to make great food on a limited budget.
Can I make ahead and freeze this recipe?
For sure Eileen
presentation is everything. What mold did you use to make your super shepherd's pie look amazing
Hi Sharyn, I used a 3.5 inch food ring. You can buy them on amazon in all kinds of sizes.
Can’t wait to make this. Question...looks like made in a cast iron skillet. I noticed in directions, to put in casserole. Which one should be used!!
Karen, the photo you see was my stainless steel skillet. I have made it in a dutch oven casserole dish and even just a glass baking dish and it tastes wonderful in what ever pan you choose.
I am trying this recipe tonight.Its similar to how I make mine but I cheat and used canned vegetable soup the way my mom made it when I was growing up.I cook for independant seniors and like to give them better options for nutrition.This looks delish Laureen.
I love shepherds pie!! I’m making this tonight!!! I hate the taste of lamb so I love recipes that use beef so maybe we should call it cowherds pie or possibly cattle pie for the peanut gallery who’s oh so technical about their food name stipulations .. thank you!!!