Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie)

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This classic Shepherd’s Pie recipe will have everyone asking for seconds. It’s full of flavor and the creamy mashed potatoes make it extra delicious!

Shepherds' Pie

 Your luck has just struck with my recipe for Shepherd’s Pie. The lovely folks of Ireland knew what they were doing when they created this dish. With flavorful meat and veggies at the bottom of a deep baking pan with a thick layer of mashed potatoes and cheese on top, what’s not to love? There is something for everyone with this dinner! The only thing that could make this meal more authentic than it already is, is if you serve a cold Guinness on the side.


 As mentioned earlier, there is a little something in this dinner for everyone. For me and my kids It’s the layer of mashed potatoes that tops the dish. Anytime I can incorporate this into one of my recipes, I know my kids will devour their dinner. Me too! For my husband, Kale it’s the base of the dish. Lean ground beef is sauteed with vegetables like peas, carrots, onions, and seasoning to bring out the full flavor. This recipe makes a TON of food as well. It’s also incredibly filling. We usually put at least half of the pan in the refrigerator to serve and eat the next day.


 There are probably some of you out there wondering what the difference is between the two. Authentic Shepherd’s Pie is traditionally served with lamb. This kind of wildlife was more accessible in Ireland at the time of its origin. If you and your family like the flavor profile of lamb, then I recommend going for it! Here in the Lofthouse we like to substitute ground beef for lamb in the recipe. This style of recipe can be called Cottage Pie. Honestly, if it tastes delicious then I couldn’t care less what dinner is called.

Shepherd's Pie


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Shepherds' Pie
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5 from 17 votes

Shepherd’s Pie (aka. Cottage Pie)

This classic Shepherd’s Pie will have everyone asking for seconds. The meat mixture is so flavorful and the creamy mashed potatoes and cheese make it extra delicious.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6 to 8
Author Holly



  • 3 large russet potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


  • 2 pounds ground beef or lamb, turkey
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas and carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • FOR POTATO LAYER: Peel potatoes and chop into small pieces. Place chopped potatoes in a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender. (About 15 – 20 minutes)
  • Drain water from pot. Mash the potatoes. Add butter, milk and garlic powder. Continue to mash until no lumps remain. Cover potatoes and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • FOR MEAT LAYER: In a large 12-inch skillet, over medium-high heat, add ground beef,onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook and crumble meat until browned. Drain grease.
  • Sprinkle flour evenly over meat mixture. Stir and cook 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste, broth, Worcestershire sauce and oregano. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in frozen peas, carrots and corn. Cook another 5 to 10 minutes or until heated through.
  • Pour meat mixture into prepared pan. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over the top. Top potatoes with cheddar cheese.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes until casserole is hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.



Shepherd's Pie

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129 thoughts on “Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie)

  1. You are very right – it is Cottage Pie when made with beef because shepherds don’t herd cows, they herd sheep. So true shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb, not beef. But your recipe sounds super yummy!!

  2. I think you’ve gotten mixed up about the name of this dish.. Cottage pie is made with beef, Shepherds pie is made with lamb (get it… shepherd = sheep = lamb). What you’ve made is a cottage pie and definitely NOT a shepherds pie

      1. Good lord do these “special people” even bother to look at the name.of the recipe.
        Tell them to help themselves to a great big cup of shut the f#*k up!!

        Superb recipe by the way!!

          1. So embarrassed. I thought it literally meant Shepherds were part of the recipe. Now the whole town is upset since we are missing 3 shepherds. Will use lamb or beef next time. Tasted great tho!

          1. I plan to make this as a surprise meal for my busy daughter and her family. I will explain the controversy over the name. They won’t care. They will call it Yummy Pie. May even make a pumpkin pie for dessert. Granddaughter’s fav.

      2. For Gods sake you forsaken woman get it right!!! LOL But seriously I make this recipe all the time and it is delicious and comforting in all sense of the word! And I prefer to call it Shepards pie regardless of the fact that yes it may have lost the shepherding party as it came across the pond! Thanks!

      3. Hahaha, you tell them Holly Anyway, who cares what it’s called, I am making it right now, and I can’t wait to try it! Thank you for sharing!

      1. Same here. In Canada, anyway. Never even tried a lamb version until this year.

        Holly, beautiful recipe!!! I added more Worcester sauce and stove other herbs. Delicious and simple. Exactly what I was looking for. Thank you

    1. Some people need to read the article before they start to make snarky comments. Love the recipe, no matter what you call it. I call it good food! ❤️

    2. In the USA …. in the South….WE call this Shepherd’s Pie…made with ground meat. If YOU are a foreigner in these parts……it may be easier to adapt to the local customs. This is a fabulous recipe. We do not eat potatoes due to the sugar content…so I use cauliflower and mash like potatoes. So good.
      Thank you Holly

  3. Oh brother! Holly please ignore these perfect people. This site is wonderful and I just thank goodness for it daily! Let’s the correctobots play elsewhere. Keep it light people!! Xo

      1. I first ate at an English family home very good friends of mine. It was called Shephered Pie and made with beef. Excellent dish. Never had had that before. (no cheese though) I must try it with the cheese. thank you so much.=:)

  4. That may have been the original name the dish but everyone I know would associate ground meat + mashed potaroes = shepherd’s pie…I’ve never even heard the the term ‘cottage pie’…point is, nice to add some flavour to a classic favourite! I always add ‘Bisto’ – gravy mix – to the meat mix to make it saucy – why am I so hungry all of a sudden?? 😉 lol

  5. Shepherd’s Pie to me… Made a very similar recipe just the other day, it was delicious. I’ll be sure to try yours. Try a tablespoon or more of horseradish added to the mashed potatoes. It adds a nice touch. Love your blog.

  6. Would y’all get off your high horse & leave her alone??? She knows what the proper term is, hence she explained it. Gah! Just try her delicious recipes and have a seat. Thx!

  7. Made this last night for St. Patty’s day and it was DELICIOUS!!!!! Your site has so many yummy recipes, thank you!!

  8. Just found this recipe and it looks dee-lish. I’ve never made Shepherd’s-slash-Cottage Pie (although I did appreciate learning Shepherd’s is traditionally made with lamb – never knew that, always thought it was beef), but this looks like just the one I want to try! Thanks.

  9. I live in England Sheperds pie is made with lamb hence Shepard, cottage pie is made with beef. No English person would call it shepherdess pie with beef.

  10. Oh, my! The heavenly smells filling my kitchen, as this bakes in my oven! I will double the magic that is the “gravy” the next time I make this. I also cheated and used 2 family sized packets of Idahoan Baby Reds mashed potatoes. Thanks for such a delicious recipe that I can be proud to serve my family 🙂

  11. Great recipe. Made it for dinner tonight (used instant potatoes because that’s what I had on hand) and added some leftover crumbled breakfast sausage to the ground beef. Tasted wonderful/highly recommend!! Recipe will be in steady rotation at our house – thank you!

  12. This recipe was delicious!! I made it for my boyfriend and I and it fed us all week 🙂 I am also making one for my best friend who recently had a baby and doesn’t like to cook 😉 That way all she has to do is warm it up!! This is a great go to that I would recommend to anyone! <3

  13. Hi Holly,

    This recipe is wonderful, so much so that I had to tell you about my experience in making it!

    Even though I had never made Shepherd’s Pie/Cottage Pie in my life, I volunteered to make six 9 X 13 pans of it for a huge crowd last weekend (yes, I had had a glass of wine when I volunteered, lol!) So with no recipe of my own, I searched Pinterest through dozens of recipes and decided on yours above all others, mainly because your recipe was simple, easy, straightforward, and seemed spot-on as to what traditional Shepherd’s Pie/Cottage Pie should taste like. I made a batch for myself first, just to be safe, and I was not disappointed for choosing your recipe, it was absolutely delicious.

    Of course it was a little more work when you multiply it times six, but over than the extra time to make it and then clean up just about every pot and pan that I own (lol), it was still well worth it. And it traveled extremely well too! The crowed I was serving to was a good 30 minutes away, so I pulled all six pans out of my oven, wrapped them in foil and then towels to hold in the heat, and loaded them in my car to deliver them. Believe it or not, they were still piping hot when I served them (the potatoes definitely seal the heat in, and I think the cheese adds its own heat barrier as well).

    To let you know that this meal was a “hit” would be a gross understatement, it was absolutely tremendous and the entire crowd raved about it. That night was an unseasonably cold, rainy, raw night here in Connecticut, and I could not have picked a better choice of what to serve, nor could I have picked a better recipe.

    So thank you, thank you! I apologize about the length of my comments here, but I truly wanted you to know how wonderful this Shepherd’s Pie/Cottage Pie recipe is and that someone like me does appreciate someone like you who takes the time to share such a great recipe…one that is easy to make but tastes like you slaved over it hours and hours…those are ALWAYS the best recipes! And I also wanted you to know that, besides me, you made a huge crowd happy last Friday night, and you never even knew it!! Until now…

    So thanks again, and keep those great recipes coming!

    PS: One final note…even though you clearly explained why you call this “Shepherd’s Pie (aka Cottage Pie),” it seems that the PC Police will always be popping up somewhere, even in the world of cooking! Please don’t take their comments to heart, just keeping doing what you do, there are so many of us who appreciate it!

    1. Liz, Wow. I’ve never had someone comment in such detail, lol, but I absolutely loved reading it and you totally made my day!! I am so glad it was a hit for you, and great job for making that much for a crowd! That is really incredible! Thanks again for your amazing comment. I truly appreciate it ♥ -Holly

  14. My husband is from England. I made this for him tonight (he said he wanted it extra juicy) so I added a little extra Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and beef broth. He LOVED it. Thanks for helping me give my husband a touch of England in Texas… 🙂

  15. It’s also delicious made vegetarian! I used Trader Joe’s beefless ground beef, and veggie broth. My husband can’t tolerate dairy, so I used daiya vegan cheese. It’s awesome. Btw, still calling it shepherds pie… Thanks for the recipe!

  16. I wish I had read all the comments before making this tonight. The gravy is soooo good! I would have doubled it. The only change I made to the recipe was to add a teaspoon of dried thyme and two crushed sprigs of dried rosemary to the gravy. This is now my husband’s favorite dish.

  17. Hi Holly! I’m new to your site. I have the Shepherd’s Pie in the oven right now. I know it will be delicious. Reading all the comments i wanted to share that growing up my mom always made a dish called Chinese Pie. The ground beef mixture was topped with canned cream corn & then the mashed potatoes. When i was married to my husband his mother who grew up in England would make a dish similar to your recipe & she would call it cottage pie. So… i went online to read up on the difference between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie. Traditionally Shepherd’s Pie was made with Lamb. Now it is made with any type of meat you like. Years ago i made a ” Shepherd’s Pie ” where i used curried lamb in it. I have also seen recipes for Shepherd’s Pie where you use sweet potatoes to top the casserole. Seeing as i don’t shepherd a herd of sheep i will call it whatever strikes my fancy….but usually i just call it Shepherd’s Pie. Oh, also when i went online to read up on Chinese Pie there was difference opinions on how it got it’s name. That was several years ago now. I think I’m going to revisit those sites! Oh….there goes my timer now! Bon Appétit!!

    1. Chinese Pie: That is the name used for the meat and corn topped with potato in Maine and other parts of New England. In Quebec it is Pate Chenoise. Some say it was called that because the French immigrants to USA first had the dish in China, Maine and took the recipe home with them….others attribute the name to the Chinese cooks on the railroad and lumber crews . This dish is very popular in Maine and NH and MA and RI….shows up at every pot luck.

  18. Made this tonight and it turned out delicious. The kids ate it and asked for seconds. For my husband, instead of the potatoes, I did a mashed cauliflower on top (with some extra seasonings) and he loved it too!!! THANK YOU!

    1. Hi, yes you can definitely freeze Shepherd’s Pie! I would freeze it after it has been cooked. Some people don’t like the texture of the mashed potatoes after they have been frozen, but I don’t have a problem with it. To read more on freezing Shepherd’s Pie just Google it. Lots of good suggestions.

    2. I should add that if you freeze in a glass baking dish it is important to let this dish thaw before putting in a hot oven, as the hot oven can cause a dish straight from the freezer to crack. Not good! I sometimes freeze casserole type dishes in those foil food containers with lids. Then just remove the lid before popping in the oven.

  19. I made this for dinner last night! It was a huge hit! The only thing I changed was I doubled the sauce recipe because I like saucy shepherds pie. Thanks for a yummy recipe, it’s a keeper.

    1. Hi Amy. So sorry for my late reply. I think you could try cornstarch instead of the flour and get great results. And honestly, you could probably do without either and this would still be delicious. Just the meat mixture wouldn’t be as thick. Hope this helps and let me know if you try it! 🙂

  20. It turned out fantastic! I changed it only slightly, using corn starch (celiac) and seasoning salt, not plain salt. I also didn’t have frozen carrots or corn so used fresh carrots i cooked for a few minutes and canned corn. Will make again soon 🙂 🙂

  21. I wanted to make this for dinner tonight but don’t have tomato paste, is there anything I can substitute for it? Thank you

  22. Everybody seems to be so hard on the author of this recipe, over the silly name of the dish. I use to live in Ireland where Shepherd’s pie originated from. Both lamb and beef were used interchangeably in the dish, but it was always called Shepherd’s pie. Please stop being so hard on the author over a silly name. This is a tried and true recipe. Absolutely delicious and takes me back to when I lived in Ireland. Thank you for sharing.

  23. I’m from England and we always called it Shepherds Pie regardless of the meat involved
    This is a delicious recipe and tastes just how my mother and grandmother made it
    Definitely a keeper

  24. I love shepherd’s pie or cottage pie. I eat it every time I am in Britain. I made it today at home with pork/beef mince (lamb wasn’t available) and added chopped green olives with pimento. Even my wife said it was delicious, She is normally rather fuzzy about everything with meat, so I soaked up the praise.
    Thank’s a lot for this wonderful recipe.

  25. Always have this around.i live alone and freeze it in small casserole dishes to avoid eating it for a week. Suggest cooking the meat in the oven,keeps stove top cleaner.always top with cheese as this livens up the topping.

  26. Just made this and it’s delicious!! I don’t care what the name is–it’s good. Why get ruffled over a title? The food’s certainly not going to care once it’s in you.

  27. This recipe is a winner in my house! We have a big family so i always double it and make two. Most of the time both are gone the same night!! When there are leftover they are sooooo good!! I’ve made this once a week for about 2 months now 🙂

  28. I made this tonight and it was a huge hit! However, I cheated with the potato layer which made recipe easier. I bought Bob Evans family size original mashed potatoes. Made the potatoes as decided on the container. Then spread them over beef mixture! Easy and wonderful!

  29. I was looking for a healthier version of shepherd’s pie without cream of mushroom soup. Making this tonight! Looks yummy! Thanks for the recipe!

  30. I made a (mostly) vegetarian one with green lentils and bulger wheat cooked in beef/mushroom broth, to replace the ground beef. Lots of veggies (cleaned out the fridge)and definitely add nutmeg! adds some complexity. Would be great with just a rich mushroom broth.

  31. Growing up in NEW England it was always called Shepherd’s Pie even when made with beef. I will use your recipe for the first time tonight. It appears political correctness is now flavoring pie.

  32. I made this tonight for my family. It was delicious, but I wish I would have salted the mashed potatoes. Everyone reached for salt for a few extra sprinkles. Only thing I will change next time. Was an overall hit. Thank you for this!

  33. I haven’t had shepherd’s pie since I was a kid, but something tickled my memory and I wanted to make something that would counter the super cold weather outside, so I decided to make it! I found your recipe and it looked perfect.

    I made it exactly according to directions, and to say it was a hit is an understatement. My husband asked, “Why haven’t you made this before? Can we have it again?” The entire dish was gone in one night. The flavor was rich and it was exactly what I was looking for. Great recipe – will definitely be making this again!

  34. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I found it on Pinterest and finally got around to making it for me and my husband today. It is absolutely delicious! I don’t usually use russet potatoes so used a combination of red and gold potatoes instead. The only other changes I made were to substitute frozen mixed vegetables for the frozen peas, carrots and corn and to add a few dashes of Sriracha Sauce for some extra flavor. I think this is the best Shepherd’s Pie I have ever tasted. The flavor of the sauce was fantastic!

  35. Yummy, Yummy! Made this yesterday, Sunday, Followed the recipe very closely except for the following. Instead of the peas and corn, I substituted 2 cans of mixed veggies and I also added a couple of cups of fresh diced Cremini (brown) Mushrooms,. Next time I will add another potato, I prefer a little more mashed potatoes. Gluten free A P flour works just fine. This was soooo good

  36. Hey! So I made this and it was AMAZING, but I would definitely recommend like 4 or 5 potatoes for the potato part of it. It was just kind of hard to spread on top of the meat.

  37. This is my go to shepards pie recipe (don’t care about all the idiotic comments about what it should be called, who cares LOL, it will always be shepards pie to me!)! It comes out perfect every time and my family always gobbles it up! Thanks so much for sharing!

  38. This was AMAZING! Great flavor. I love all your recipes especially the cheeseburger soup. There are never any leftovers. Thank you again!

  39. Hey, I would like to freeze this. Would you suggest I do that before I bake it? And if so, what should I bake it at when frozen? Thanks!

    1. Hi Tarryn, I would make it up until the baking point. Don’t bake. Cover tightly in saran wrap and foil. Then freeze. Then to re-heat I would thaw in fridge for at least 12 hours then bake as normal.

  40. Never made shepherd’s pie for my children while they were living at home. decided to try your recipe and it was absolutely delicious. this is officially their favorite dish. they’ve asked why i never made this when they lived at home.

  41. 5 stars
    This is delicious. (Better than my mom’s! Ha) i grew Up Calling this shepherD’s Pie anD always made with beef (grew up on a beef farm, sooo there arw no “ground meat” alternatives ) i am making this aGain tOnight at the request of my family! Thanks!

  42. You guys are funny
    We call it shepherd’s pie by tradition even if what you said is true and logical.
    In French we say ” pâté chinois” yet it has nothing to do with Chinese people.

  43. 5 stars
    My daughter is leaving for college this week, and she has requested this to be one of her last meals. Love this dish.

  44. 5 stars
    My husband doesn’t like lamb, so this “americanized” version is perfect. I’ve made this recipe over 20 times now and everyOne loves it. I use cabot brAnd cheese, because I am lactose intOlerant so this is my favorite dish. Thanks for the recipe.

  45. 5 stars
    I am rating this recipe very HIGh. Although I have not actually tried it yet, BECAUSE it looks so “yummylicious”, my term for better than yummy and delicious put together! I do have one question, though. I saw “cornstarch” in some the ratings, but I did not see it in the recipe. I did see flour. Just wondering. Did I miss it? I will me making it for my son this week. I do plan to use more cheese

    1. I use flour like I state in the recipe, but others have used cornstarch with great results. Either one works great! I hope you enjoy the recipe 🙂

  46. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was very good and so easy to make. I halfed the the recipe as it is only the two of us. We thought it was a great meal and very filling, no doubt the leftovers will good for the next day. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to your recipes each week.

  47. I just made this last night and it is delicious. And, by the way, we call it Sheperds pie, and always have. Made it with the beef, I grew up with this in the East and it was always called Sheperds Pie.

  48. 5 stars
    Been making this since I first heard of it as a child, helped by my mother and grandmother back then. It’s wonderful. Have tried versions without the broth and tomato sauce, but with is better. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  49. 5 stars
    Dont know what to call mine as i use ground turkey! Maybe gobbler pie? In my house we just call it good dinner!

  50. 5 stars
    this is my go to recipe for this delicious shepards pie. I have made this over and over and it never disappoints. if I’m lucky enough to have left overs it’s absolutely amazing the next day.
    thank you for sharing a wonderful recipe and I hope you don’t allow people to steal your joy when your obviously wonderful at making many families happy. keep up the wonderful recipes!

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