This Shepherd’s Pie is the best hearty and comforting dinner! It’s juicy ground beef loaded with sautéed veggies, smothered in a rich gravy, and layered with golden, buttery mashed potatoes.
Easy Shepherd’s Pie with Ground Beef
There is nothing better than a bowlful of delectable Shepherd’s Pie. Silky smooth, buttery mashed potatoes spread over a filling of carrots, peas, onions, and tender ground beef in a flavorful gravy?
I mean, dinner doesn’t get better than that!
This recipe is so easy and will be a hit with the whole family. Gather ‘round and get ready to feast!
What’s in a Traditional Shepherd’s Pie?
Traditional shepherd’s pie is made with a ground lamb and veggie base that’s simmered in gravy and layered with mashed potatoes. For this recipe, you have the option of ground beef or ground lamb!
We give the option because ground beef is easier to locate in most supermarkets than ground lamb.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need. Scroll to the recipe card below for ingredient amounts!
- Olive Oil: You’ll need a little bit of olive oil to sauté the aromatics and brown the beef.
- Aromatics: We’re creating a flavor base and adding some color with a blend of carrots, white onion, and garlic.
- Ground Beef: You can also use ground lamb for a more traditional shepherd’s pie if you like.
- Herbs and Seasonings: We’re adding the perfect amount of flavor with a combination of fresh thyme and rosemary, salt, ground black pepper, and bay leaves.
- All-Purpose Flour: A sprinkle of flour helps thicken the gravy mixture.
- Gravy: Our homemade gravy is made with a combination of beef broth, red wine, tomato paste, and worcestershire sauce.
- Frozen Peas: Adds a pop of color and texture to the filling.
- Mashed Potatoes: Use your favorite mashed potato recipe or make a quick batch using russet potatoes, unsalted butter, whole milk, heavy cream, and gruyere or parmesan cheese.
How to Make Shepherd’s Pie:
This easy shepherd’s pie is totally made-from-scratch and takes just 20 minutes to prep!
See the recipe card below for the ingredient amounts and full instructions.
- Add oil and carrots to a pan and cook until softened. Add in the onions and cook until translucent, then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Place the beef or lamb into the pan, then season with thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cook until browned.
- Sprinkle flour over the beef, then add broth, red wine, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook until the liquid reduces to a gravy.
- Add the peas, additional salt and pepper, then transfer to a baking dish. Cool for about 30 minutes.
- Cook the potatoes in boiling water until softened, then drain and transfer to a bowl. Add in butter and mash, then pour in milk and cream. Mash until smooth, then fold in cheese.
- Layer the potatoes over the top of the meat filling, drizzle with butter, then bake on a foil-lined baking sheet until bubbly and browned on top.
Tips and Notes
- Potato texture: The mashed potatoes should be spreadable, but not too thin. If they are too thick, simply add more milk to reach the desired consistency.
- Don’t over-mix the potatoes. Over-mixing potatoes releases too much starch and the texture can become gluey. Mix only until just combined.
- Bring the dairy to room temperature. Room temperature dairy incorporates more easily into the potatoes and requires less mixing. The result is creamier potatoes!
- If you don’t want to use wine in this recipe, you can swap it out for additional beef broth instead.
- To substitute dried herbs for fresh herbs, reduce the quantities from 1 tablespoon to 1 teaspoon.
What to Serve with Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd’s pie is delicious and filling all on its own, but you definitely can’t go wrong with a tasty side dish to pair it with! Here are a few ideas:
Refrigerator: Leftover shepherd’s pie will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Freezer: To freeze your shepherd’s pie, bake as directed, cool completely, then wrap tightly in aluminum foil. It will last in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Reheating: To reheat leftovers, thaw in the fridge if frozen, then bake at 350ºF until heated through.
You can also reheat your pie from frozen. Just make sure the baking dish is safe to place in a hot oven straight from the freezer. Leave the foil on and bake at 350ºF until heated through.
What’s the Difference Between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie?
While the terms are often used interchangeably, shepherd’s pie and cottage pie are technically different!
Classic shepherd’s pie is made using ground lamb, hence the “shepherd” in its name. Cottage pie, on the other hand, is traditionally made using ground beef.
Other than that, the ingredients are the same! We’re aware that is recipe falls under the cottage pie category, but we give the option to use beef, lamb, or a combination of the two. The name is dependent on which meat you choose.
Why is My Shepherd’s Pie Soupy?
If your shepherd’s pie is soupy, then you likely didn’t allow the gravy to thicken enough.
Make sure you simmer the gravy mixture on the stove for the full 25-30 minutes or until the liquid reduces into a thicker gravy.
Shepherd’s Pie (with Beef)Print Pin
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- 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 cup white onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
- 1 pound ground beef, or ground lamb
- 1 tablespoon(s) thyme, fresh
- 1 tablespoon(s) rosemary, fresh
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoon(s) tomato paste
- 2 tablespoon(s) Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 to 2 ½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ⅓ cup whole milk, room temperature
- ⅓ cup heavy cream, room temperature
- ¼ cup gruyere cheese, or Parmesan cheese, grated off the block
- 2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling:
- Grease a 2 ½ quart baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Heat a large pan over low-medium heat. Add the oil and carrots, and cook until the carrots begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Add the onions, and continue to cook until the onions become translucent, another 5-7 minutes. Next add the garlic, and cook for an additional 30 seconds.1 tablespoon(s) olive oil1 cup carrots1 cup white onion2 garlic cloves
- Place the beef or lamb in the pan along with thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Break apart the beef as it cooks. Continue cooking until the beef is browned and cooked through.1 pound ground beef1 tablespoon(s) thyme1 tablespoon(s) rosemary1 tsp. kosher salt½ tsp. ground black pepper
- Sprinkle flour over the beef, and stir to combine. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes then add the beef broth, red wine, tomato paste Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves.2 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour1 cup beef broth1 cup red wine2 tablespoon(s) tomato paste2 tablespoon(s) Worcestershire sauce2 bay leaves
- Bring the mixture to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat to a slow simmer. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes until the liquid reduces to a gravy. Add the frozen peas and additional salt and pepper if needed.1 cup frozen peas
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Allow the filling to cool for 30 minutes to an hour in the refrigerator before topping with mashed potatoes.
For the Potatoes:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.2 to 2 ½ pounds russet potatoes
- Add the butter, and use a potato masher to mash until the butter melts. Pour in the milk and heavy cream. Continue to mash until smooth and creamy, then fold in the cheese. The potatoes should be spreadable and not too thin. Use additional milk if necessary to reach the desired consistency.2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter⅓ cup whole milk⅓ cup heavy cream¼ cup gruyere cheese
- Spread the potatoes over the top of the meat filling. Use a fork to scrape texture into the potatoes. Drizzle with melted butter.2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
- Place the dish on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the potatoes are browned. Serve hot.
- Scroll up and see the post for tips, FAQs, and storage options.