Beef Shepherd’s Pie

Beef Shepherd’s Pie is a traditional dish with ground beef, veggies, creamy mashed potatos on top. A comforting meal for the whole family.

This simple comfort food is similar to other classic Dinner Recipes like Chicken Pot Pie or Pot Roast with Vegetables. It’s perfect to keep you cozy during the winter. 

Beef Shepherd's Pie in baking dish with wooden spoon scooping

Shepherd’s Pie, also known as Cottage Pie, is a traditional casserole-like dish originating in England. The mashed potato topping, vegetables, gravy, and meat make it a filling and savory meal. You don’t even have to worry about making lots of side dishes because it’s plenty filling all by itself. 

Ground Beef Shepherd’s Pie is perfect to enjoy as a weeknight meal during the winter. Or, lots of people like to make for their St. Patrick’s Day feast. The leftovers are also great to heat up in a microwave-safe dish and enjoy throughout the week.

How to Make Easy Beef Shepherd’s Pie

Mashed Potatoes

  • Bring a pot of cold water with potatoes to a boil on your stovetop. 
  • Continue to cook the potatoes at a boil for another 12 minutes. 
  • Drain the water from the potatoes. 
  • Add in heavy cream and salt then use a potato masher to mash them together. 
  • Let the mixture cool for five minutes before mixing in an egg yolk. 

Beef Mixture

  • Add ground the ground beef and onion to a large skillet with oil over medium-high heat. 
  • Sauté until the meat is browned and the onion is fragrant. 
  • Once the meat is sautéed, add the flour to the meat mixture and whisk the ingredients together.
  • Once the flour is mixed in, pour the broth and add the vegetables. 
  • Bring all the ingredients to a boil. 

Combine

  • Pour the meat mixture into an oven-safe dish.
  • Top the mixture with the prepared mashed potatoes and use a spatula to spread them out. 
  • Brush melted butter over the top, and bake in the oven until the top is golden brown. It should only take 30-35 minutes. 
Shepherd's Pie Collage of assembly steps

More Classic Comfort Food Dishes

Why is it called Shepherd’s Pie?

Technically this recipe is for cottage pie because it is made with beef. Traditionally any kind of meat casserole like this topped with mashed potatoes was referred to as Cottage Pie. 

Classic Shepherd’s Pie gets its name and is slightly different from Cottage Pie because it uses ground lamb. Shepherd’s Pie is originally named for the lamb because shepherds look after sheep.

However, since most people enjoy this dish with ground beef, more often than not the names Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie have become somewhat interchangeable, at least in the US.

Beef Shepherd's Pie slice on plate with fork

Frequently Asked Questions

What meat is used for Shepherd’s Pie?

To make a traditional Shepherd’s Pie you can use ground lamb, instead of beef. If you’d prefer not to use red meat or just want to try something new, you can always try making it with ground turkey or ground chicken. You’ll also want to replace the beef broth with chicken broth.

What can be added into Shepherd’s Pie?

For some more add-ins try mixing in other frozen veggies like cauliflower, chopped celery, cucumbers, chives, or green onions. You could also try adding some seasonings like thyme, black pepper, parsley, garlic powder, or Italian seasoning.

Can you put gravy on Shepherd’s Pie?

There are lots of different flavors you can add to the liquid surrounding the meat. Mix in some ketchup or Worcestershire sauce. You can also mix in some red wine with the beef broth.

What cheese can be used in Shepherd’s Pie?

Make the mashed potatoes more creamy, and cheesy. You can add shredded cheese over the top or even mix it in when you mash the potatoes. Apart from cheddar, you could also add Swiss cheese, jack, or gouda. To make the potatoes extra creamy you can also mix in sour cream.=

How do you make Shepherd’s Pie with sweet potatoes?

If you want to totally change up the flavors of your Easy Shepherd’s Pie make Mashed Sweet Potatoes for the topping instead of regular mashed potatoes.

How do you make Gluten Free Shepherd’s Pie?

If you want to make your casserole dish gluten-free you’ll just have to replace the all-purpose flour you mix in with the meat. Using corn starch or a gluten-free flour will work nicely.

Beef Shepherd's Pie in baking dish with fork

What to Serve with Beef Shepherd’s Pie

How to Store Beef Shepherd’s Pie

  • Serve: Don’t leave Shepherd’s Pie at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
  • Store: Let Beef Shepherd’s Pie cool to room temperature before storing it. Cover the dish tightly in plastic wrap or tin foil, and store it in the fridge for 3-4 days. 
  • Freeze: If you want Shepherd’s Pie for a make-ahead meal, you can also freeze Shepherd’s Pie. Cover it in tin foil and keep it in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to reheat the dish keep it covered in foil and cook for an hour at 350 degrees. 
Beef Shepherd's Pie slice on plate with fork

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Beef Shepherd’s Pie

Beef Shepherd's Pie is a traditional dish with ground beef, veggies, creamy mashed potatos on top. A comforting meal for the whole family.
Yield 10 Servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine British
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

Mashed Potatoes:

  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes , peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter , melted

Beef Mixture:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion , diced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables , peas, carrots, corn, green beans

Instructions

To Make Mashed Potatoes:

  • Add a pot of cold water to your stovetop with potatoes in it.
  • Bring to a boil (with the potatoes in it) and cook for 12 minutes at a boil.
  • Drain water, mash potatoes with heavy cream and salt.
  • Let cool for five minutes then mix in the egg yolk.

To Make Beef Mixture:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • To a large skillet on medium-high heat add the ground beef and onion and cook until browned.
  • Add in flour and whisk it into the meat.
  • Add in broth and vegetables and bring to a boil.
  • Pour mixture into 9×13 baking dish.
  • Top with mashed potatoes and brush with melted butter.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Nutrition

Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 378mg | Potassium: 525mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2084IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2mg
Keyword: Beef Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd's Pie Collage

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

cross-section of Beef Shepherd's Pie in baking dish
Beef Shepherd's Pie filling ingredients in bowl
Beef Shepherd's Pie in baking dish before cooking
Beef Shepherd's Pie collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. I love shepherd’s pie but I lost the recipe that I loved many years ago. This one is very similar and easy to make. I actually used a family sized container of Bob Evans mashed potatoes and they worked just great. It was a little juicier than I wanted it to be but next time I’ll just cook the meat mixture a little longer to cook out a little more of the liquid. It was delicious and thank you for posting it. I got my recipe from a older Scottish lady and she called it shepherd’s pie so that’s good enough for me!

  2. This is the best Shepherd Pie recipe!!! The only change I made was with the potatoes. I cook creamed potatoes, as well call them in the South. That means I add mayonnaise which gives the potatoes the best flavor. I did use the heavy whipping cream as the recipe called for. I will definitely be making this pie again. It was a hit all my family, including young grandchildren!

        1. Hi! I haven’t tried it with bob evans so I am not sure how it would change flavor or consistency wise, but the cook time should be the same. Good luck!

  3. If its beef its a cottage pie…. There’s no such thing as a beef shepherds pie. A shepherd looks after sheep.

    1. Wow! It amazes me how prideful we can be. I always love to read the reviews of recipes to help me discern if this recipe is what I’m looking for and how I may make changes if needed. I’ve never once hoped to find a “review” like this. It saddens me that someone would feel the need to correct the recipe name… how petty and unthoughtful. That helps no one, it may hurt someone instead, and only serves to elevate the reviewer sense of pride in themselves. I usually just sigh and move on, but felt compelled to write something this time. By the way, I love Sabrina’s recipes. I can always count on them to be good! So thankful for her sharing her talents with us!