It doesn’t get more comforting or tasty than this homemade Shepherd’s Pie! Perfect for cold weather, super filling, and packed with wholesome ingredients like ground beef, peas, carrots, and mashed potatoes!
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the best shepherd’s pie
I look forward to making homemade Shepherd’s Pie also referred to as Cottage Pie any time the temperatures dip. It’s the perfect all-in-one dish to warm you up from the inside out!
There’s no crust in Shepherd’s Pie. Instead, the ground beef mixture is topped with smooth mashed potatoes that get browed in the oven to form a crust-like topping that’s toasted on the top and creamy underneath.
The best part of this Shepherd’s Pie recipe is that it’s a great way to use up any veggies in your fridge! I used carrots, celery, onions, and peas, but really any veggie that pairs well with beef will work here.
This recipe is threefold — the beef-and-vegetable filling, the layer of mashed potatoes, and the cheese topping.
- Mirepoix: Onion, Carrots and Celery are added
- Ground Beef: Traditionally shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb but I prefer the less gamey taste or ground beef.
- Flour: A little flour is used to thicken up the sauce so it’s thick and creamy.
- Red Wine: Is used to deglaze the pan to remove the brown bits “fond” off of the bottom of the pan. That is where all the flavor is!
- Tomato Paste: Gives the sauce a deepened tomato flavor.
- Chicken Broth: I like using chicken broth over beef broth because it packs way more flavor (here’s proof)
- Peas: You can’t have Shepard’s pie without peas! Fresh or frozen work!
- Herbs: I use fresh thyme, rosemary and parsley!
- Potatoes: I like to use a starch potato for my mashed potatoes because they break down easily and become airy and fluffy. My go to’s are russets or Idaho potatoes.
- Bay Leaf: Is added to help flavor the potatoes as they cook
- Butter & Milk: Are added to make the potatoes super creamy and rich. I make them on the thinner side so they can be easily spread on top of the beef mixture.
- Parmesan Cheese & Butter: Go on top of the mashed potatoes before baking and give you that golden brown crispy top!
How To Make the best shepherd’s pie
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add in the mirepoix (aka onions, carrots, and celery), and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables turn golden brown and slightly tender. Then, add in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add in ground beef, and cook until it’s no longer pink.
- Next, make the roux for the gravy in this Shepherd’s Pie. Add in flour and tomato paste, stir to coat everything, and cook for 1 minute.
- Pour in red wine and bring to a simmer. Deglaze the pan by scraping up brown bites from the bottom of the pan. (This is where the flavor is!)
- Stir in chicken broth, peas, Worcestershire sauce, and fresh herbs. Then, take this mixture off of the heat and transfer to your greased baking dish.
- Top with mashed potatoes, spreading to cover all of the ground beef filling, brush on the melted butter, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the mashed potato topping is golden brown. Serve immediately with some chopped parsley, and enjoy!
How To Make Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Start by peeling and cutting the potatoes into large, evenly sized chunks.
- Add the potatoes to a large pot along with the bay leaf, and fill will cold water. Sprinkle with salt, and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Drain potatoes in a colander or mesh strainer, and transfer them back to the pot. Discard the bay leaf.
- Add the butter and milk, and mash the potatoes until they’re smooth and lump free.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. That’s it!
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions
- Store cooled leftovers in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 5 days.
- Freeze cooled Shepherd’s Pie in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
- Reheat from chilled in the microwave until warmed through, or reheat from frozen in a 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until warmed through and bubbling.
Tips and Variations
- If you want to make this Shepherd’s Pie a little lighter, you could swap ground turkey or ground chicken for the ground beef.
- Change up the potatoes! You could also use mashed sweet potatoes in place of the standard mashed potato topping.
- Add more or different veggies like leeks, shallots, sweet peppers, or parsnips!
More Easy Dinner Recipes To Try
- Broccoli Rice Casserole
- Crock Pot Beef and Noodles
- Mexican Stuffed Shells
- Crock Pot Chicken Alfredo
- Cajun Chicken Pasta Bake
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup peas
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp fresh parsley, plus more for serving if desired
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add in onions, carrots and celery and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables get golden brown and slightly tender. Add in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add in ground beef and cook until no longer pink.
- Add in flour and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Pour in red wine and deglaze the pan (scraping up brown bites from the bottom of the pan).
- Stir in chicken broth, peas, Worcestershire sauce and fresh herbs.
- Take of the heat and transfer to a greased 9 x 13 pan.
- Top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and butter.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Peel and cut potatoes into large chunks. Add the potatoes to a large pot along with the bay leaf and fill will cold water. Sprinkle with salt and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain potatoes and transfer them back to the pot. Discard bay leaf.
- Add the butter and milk and mash the potatoes until smooth and lump free. Season with salt and pepper to taste.