Classic Shepherd’s Pie

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When it comes to warm, delectable and homey comfort foods, I am in my element.  These types of casseroles are layered in flavor, tastes and textures. I love that the flavors of these types of recipes come together when cooking and the dish turns into something magical. I happen to have an amazing Classic Shepherd’s Pie and I am so excited to share it with you!!

Classic Shepherd’s Pie is rich and meaty with deep flavors from wine and beef broth. It is then covered in creamy mashed potatoes and baked, for a perfect bite, every time!!!

When I make this dish, I often imagine my Irish ancestors putting a hearty casserole similar to this one in their ovens. In Ireland, this is predominantly made with lamb, which I also love. To keep this a dish one everyone likes, I am sticking with the ever popular, ground beef. Saint Patrick’s Day is approaching and most people immediately think of corned beef and cabbage. I love that too! In fact, I have an amazing recipe for that. I happily shared Corned Beef and Cabbage on my blog last Saint Patrick’s Day and it is a crazy good crowd pleaser as well!!

This year though, I have been thinking about this Classic Shepherd’s Pie for several months. I have been waiting to make this for a blog post during March and it is finally here! Now, I don’t normally limit the foods I make to just the holiday they are normally linked to. I make this one year around, but for some reason I haven’t made this in awhile. I am drooling over the smell of this in the oven right now!

Classic Shepherd’s Pie is comfort food at its best! It is a full meal in one dish, hearty and and filling. A meal the whole family will love!!

For those that don’t know, Shepherd’s Pie is an all in one dish. It finds its origin in Ireland as a way to use up extra bits of leftover stewed meat and vegetables. In the United States, there was also something called Cottage Pie, very similar, but primarily made with ground beef. Once Shepherd’s Pie came to the U.S. however, these two dishes kind of morphed into each other and now, Shepherd’s Pie is the most popular term. 

To make Classic Shepherd’s Pie, you first need ground meat. Like I said, ground lamb or beef is used. Once this is cooked and the extra fat is drained away, you add spices like garlic, rosemary, thyme and vegetables like chopped carrot and peas. This is simmered in a rich beef broth enriched with red wine and tomato paste. This cooks down and develops deep flavors and is then topped with creamy mashed potatoes. Then this casserole is slid into the oven and baked where the flavors develop into something just short of magic and the potatoes become golden brown. 

To keep clean up to a minimum, brown the beef in the same skillet you plan to bake it in. I normally cook this in an iron skillet or my grandmothers old enamel coated cast iron. Never fear, if you don’t have this type of dish. Grease a pyrex baking dish, then bake it in that. It works great!

Classic Shepherd’s Pie

Classic Shepherd's Pie is rich and meaty with deep flavors from wine and beef broth. It is then covered in creamy mashed potatoes and baked, for a perfect bite, every time!!!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Casserole, Main Course
Cuisine Irish
Servings 6 people


  • 1-1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef or lamb
  • 2 cloves chopped, garlic
  • 1 large chopped, carrot
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1-1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1-1/2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 cup all purpose white flour
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine or water
  • 1 cup frozen, peas

Mashed Potatoes

  • 2.2 pounds cubed, peeled and cooked potatoes
  • 2/3 cups 1/2-1/2
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Heat oil and saute garlic and add ground beef and chopped carrot. Cook until browned. Drain excess fat. Put beef and carrot mixture back into skillet.
  • Add salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and flour to meat mixture. Then turn up heat to medium and add beef broth, wine, tomato paste, Worcestershire Sauce. Stir well and simmer for 20-30 minutes. This will thicken as it cooks.
  • Meanwhile cook potatoes in water until fork tender, then drain water and add butter, 1/2-1/2 and salt and mash by hand or with hand mixer. Set aside until meat is simmered.
  • When meat is done simmering, add frozen peas and stir in. Place meat mixture into baking dish or leave in iron skillet.
  • Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the meat and smooth out. Place into preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling. ENJOY!!
Keyword Casseroles, Classic Shepherd’s Pie

This recipe for Classic Shepherd’s Pie is an absolute winner! It has wonderful deep flavors from the beef broth, wine and tomato paste. When cooked down with the spices and flour, a delicious gravy is made that bubbles up under and around the mashed potatoes. This will be a family favorite from the first time you taste it!! Enjoy!!

This recipe for Classic Shepherd’s Pie is the best I have ever had. I would love for you to give it a try and leave me a comment on the recipe and tell me what you think of this classic recipe!!


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19 thoughts on “Classic Shepherd’s Pie”

  1. Ive had versions that pour cheese mix over the beef mixture and then putting the potatoes on top. Has anyone ever did this? Its yummy but what you have here looks yummy as well!

  2. Hello! 🙂 I tried your recipe today and omg it’s the best thing I’ve eaten in a while. Definitely made my quarantine a lot better and will be making it again. Thank you and have a great day 🙂 !

    • You are too sweet!! I am so happy you liked the Shepherd’s Pie! I know I love it and it makes me so happy when I hear others made it and loved it too! Thank you so much for letting me know!

  3. Can you omit the flour? I find it mutes the flavors substantially. Can I thicken with something else? I haven’t tried your recipe yet, but it looks close to another one I did try with flour and I was looking for one without.

    • You don’t have to use flour, you can use half the amount of flour as cornstarch. However, if it is a thickener of any sort you are trying to avoid, then just cook it down further so there is just less liquid when you put it in the oven to bake. That should work fine. If you do something different, I would love to know what you did and how it turned out.


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