Shepherd’s Pie

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Shepherd’s Pie: A rich gravy with ground beef and vegetables, topped with ultra creamy mashed potatoes. The ultimate comfort food!

Spoon with a scoop of Shepherd's Pie casserole.

Shepherd’s Pie Is…

  • Comforting: It’s the ultimate feel-good food.
  • Delicious: The beef and veggie mix is coated in a flavorful gravy.
  • Creamy Potatoes: Potatoes cover the top adding the perfect texture and flavor.
  • Customizable: You can change the veggies and meat to your preference.
  • Perfect For Making Ahead: It can be prepared ahead of time.

QUICK TIP

Shepherd’s Pie, typically uses ground lamb (or Cottage Pie with beef), is a seasoned meat, vegetables, and gravy casserole under a creamy mashed potato crust, baked until golden. In the states, it’s often made with beef due to availability.

The meat sauce and mashed potatoes being made in a pot.

Ingredients In Shepherd’s Pie

Base:

  • Olive Oil: Used for sautéing the veggies.
  • Mirepoix: Veggie base providing flavor and texture.
  • Ground Chuck Round: The main base and protein of this pie.
  • White Flour: Thickens the gravy.
  • Frozen Peas or Corn: Adds sweetness and texture.
  • Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes, Tomato Paste: Gives the gravy a richer flavor.
  • Beef Stock, Beef Bouillon Cube, Worcestershire Sauce: Provides savory depth.
  • 100% Grape Juice: Adds sweetness and complexity.
  • Dried Thyme, Bay Leaves: Adds an herbal flavor.

Topping:

  • Potatoes (Yukon Gold and Russet): Makes the irresistible creamy topping.
  • Heavy Cream, Sour Cream, Unsalted Butter: Adds creaminess and richness to the potatoes.
  • Fresh Parsley/Thyme: Optional garnish for freshness and presentation.

Filling that makes the base of the Shepherd's Pie.

How To Make Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Sauté garlic, onion, carrots, and celery.
  2. Brown ground chuck and add flour.
  3. Combine with peas, tomatoes, stock, grape juice, seasonings, and simmer.
  4. Boil and mash potatoes with cream and butter.
  5. Layer meat mixture topped with mashed potatoes.
  6. Bake until golden and bubbly.
  7. Garnish with herbs if desired. Serve hot.

Shepherd's Pie right before and right after baking.

STORAGE

Storage And Make Ahead Tips

  • Make Ahead: Prepare your shepherd’s pie all together and refrigerate before baking.
  • Refrigerating: Store cooked pie covered for 3-5 days.
  • Freezing: Freeze tightly covered for up to 2 months; bake frozen pie at 350°F for 1 hour before serving.

The dish on aa plate ready to be enjoyed.

Serve Alongside:

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Shepherd's Pie

4.92 from 49 votes
A rich gravy with ground beef and vegetables topped with ultra creamy mashed potatoes. The ultimate comfort food: Shepherd's Pie!
Spoon with a scoop of Shepherd's Pie casserole.
Print Recipe

Shepherd's Pie

Spoon with a scoop of Shepherd's Pie casserole.
4.92 from 49 votes
A rich gravy with ground beef and vegetables topped with ultra creamy mashed potatoes. The ultimate comfort food: Shepherd's Pie!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword shepherd's pie
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 -8 servings
Chelsea Lords
Calories 445kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups mirepoix (mix of carrots, onion, & celery), finely chopped (1 small yellow onion, 1 celery rib, & 1 carrot to get 2 cups)
  • 1.2 pounds ground chuck round
  • 1/4 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweet peas or corn
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 and 3/4 cups beef stock (low sodium) (can use low sodium beef broth)
  • 1/2 cup 100% grape juice (Note 1)
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves, separated

Topping

  • 2 and 1/2 pounds potatoes (I use equal mix of Yukon Gold and Russet; if just using one use Yukon Gold)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (can use fat free)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • Optional: fresh parsley or thyme, for topping

Instructions

  • VEGGIES: Heat 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and finely chopped onion, stirring frequently for about 1 minute. Then, add finely chopped carrots and celery, cooking for another 2-3 minutes until veggies are softened.
  • BEEF: Heat skillet to high and add beef. Cook until browned, breaking it apart. If there's excess grease, drain it. Stir in flour and cook for a minute to remove raw flour taste. Reduce heat to medium-high and add the frozen peas or corn, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, grape juice, beef bouillon cube, Worcestershire sauce, dried thyme, and bay leaves.
  • COOK: Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium and let it rapidly simmer. Cook for 25-35 minutes at medium heat, stirring every 5 minutes until gravy thickens. Remove from heat, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake. If making immediately, refrigerate until potatoes are ready. To maintain separate layers while baking, chill the mixture for at least 15-20 minutes. If you didn't prepare in an oven-safe skillet, transfer to a 2 quart oven-safe dish.
  • POTATOES: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel and cube potatoes into golf-ball sized pieces. Rinse them under cold water in a strainer until the water runs clear. Transfer to a large pot, cover with cold water, add 1 tablespoon of fine sea salt and 1 bay leaf, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain potatoes in a strainer, ensuring all excess moisture is removed. Let them dry for about 3 minutes and discard the bay leaf.
  • POTATOES CONT.: As potatoes dry in strainer, melt heavy cream, sour cream, and butter in the pot on low heat, stirring to combine. While the potatoes are still hot, put them through a ricer and add right on top of butter/sour cream mixture. Stir until smooth with a wooden spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble the pie, or use immediately to top the pie evenly.
  • ASSEMBLY: Use a fork to add marks into the surface of potatoes. Drizzle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. 
  • BAKE: Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and edges are bubbling. For crispy tops, broil on high for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh thyme or parsley as desired. Serve hot.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Traditional Shepherd's Pie typically includes red wine in the gravy. To do so, substitute 1/2 cup of medium-bodied red wine (like pinot noir) for an equal amount of vegetable broth.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 445kcal

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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Recipe Rating




144 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      I substituted red cooking wine, instead of grape juice. I’m sure the tastes are very similar. Amazing recipe. Thank you.

  1. 5 stars
    wow, this screams savory and perfect time of year for this and a nice change to the usual pot roast, etc., a nice “import” from across the pond too, thank you!

  2. Looks yummy, I will try it soon!

    You’re right that shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. When it’s made with beef then it’s called Cottage pie. Strange how many people around the world love these pies, but don’t know the naming differences. ?

  3. 5 stars
    As I sit here eating this recipe, I have to compliment the creator. It’s something extremely yummy and comforting. I used a 12” cast iron skillet to make this dish, this time around. 3 large Idaho potatoes. The meat mixture seemed very liquidity even after cooking 30 minutes stovetop and in the oven for another 30 minutes. The layer of potatoes for me was very thin maybe 1/4 inch. I used drained canned peas and canned corn, recommendation that. Can never have too many veggies.
    I am going to make this again.
    I will use 1 lbs 80/20 ground beef and 1 lbs ground lamb for a more authentic flavor profile. 1 extra carrot and 1 celery stick. Use a large Dutch oven. And 4-5 large Idaho potatoes. For a thicker mash potato topping. I will include fresh chopped chives in the mash potatoes as well.

  4. I can’t help but fell I did something wrong mine is really thick not a liquidy ad the picture and more of a red then a brown color I did all the measurements right I don’t really know where I went wrong

    1. Did you simmer the mixture too long? Any recipe substitutions? It will be more brown with all beef broth/stock if you opt to use that instead of wine/juice.

      1. 5 stars
        I made this with a few substitutes.
        I used chicken broth instead and i didn’t have grape juice so i used water and extra chicken bouyang and instead of using olive oil i used bacon fat. Came out extraordinary thank you for sharing

        1. Yay!! Soo glad you enjoyed and were able to work with what you have 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  5. 5 stars
    Great recipe! I was going to use lamb but my grocery store was out of ground lamb. So I used beef. I also used red wine instead of grape juice and added it after I added the flour. To deglaze the pan and cook off some of the alcohol. Delicious!

  6. I made this recipe last week and my family loved it. I omitted the grape juice and added a little more broth. The prep and cooking time is not even close. Between chopping vegetables, making the meat base, cooling the base, preparing the mashed potatoes, assembly, and cooking, this took me over 2 hours to prepare. Great recipe, but give yourself more time than the instructions state.

  7. 5 stars
    I made this recipe using Burgundy instead of grape juice. WOW. Replaced the mashed potatoes with premade mashed potatoes from the grocery (I know, I know…). And it still worked beautifully. Topped with grated cheese. My husband went back for seconds, which is rare.

  8. 5 stars
    Wow! So good! I made this for my family and we all loved it. Kids went back for seconds and requested that I make it again soon. ? I was also pleasantly surprised at the delicious new flavors that resulted from pantry staples. And while it took longer to make than my standard weeknight supper, it was easy. Thanks for a great recipe!

  9. 5 stars
    This recipe is really a delicious comfort food. I usually use a shepherd’s pie seasoning mix. This was my first try making it from scratch. This is so much better. The only change that I made was using red wine instead of grape juice. I did simmer it for 35 minutes to thicken and stirred frequently to keep from sticking. I made the meat mixture one day. Then put it together with the mashed potatoes the next day. Another great recipe. Thanks Chelsea!

  10. 5 stars
    OMG. This is SO DELICIOUS. I have made shepherd’s pie before and it was bland and blah. This recipe is … wow. I actually made cauliflower mash with two heads, and all frozen veggies. I also used Pinot Noir instead of grape juice ?

  11. Making this currently. Subbed a local hard cider for the grape juice, added a bit more seasoning, and a dash of balsamic vinegar (while browning the meat). My supermarket actually had lamb this week, so I’m using that instead of beef. Currently at the simmering stage and my house smells amazing. Dinner is gonna be late tonight (prep too a lot longer than I thought for whatever reason) but it’s definitely going to be worth the wait.

    1. This is the best part about Shepherd’s pie, you can personalize it so easily and it’s still delicious! I’m sooo glad you enjoyed! Thanks Miciah!:)

    1. I made this for the first time. Never made this dish before so I didnt really know what to expect. It was really good. Everyone loved it. The only thing I would change is that I would use twice as much peas and carrots. It definitely needed more veggies. Besides that it was perfect!

  12. It’s so faded here I couldn’t see where to post. Just wondered where the link is for the video. No link is there.

  13. 5 stars
    This was the best shepherd’s pie I’ve ever made, and I’ve tried a number of different recipes. Thanks! The depth of flavor was incredible

    1. Ahh i’m so happy to hear! And cran-raspberry juice sounds awesome. Thanks so much Kellie! 🙂

  14. Meat and veggie mixture was great, thickened up nicely, I added a half cup more veggies. The amount of potatoes seemed half of what it should be (it was a very thin layer) at least to my liking. Next time more potatoes. Great tasting recipe though!

  15. 5 stars
    I love Shepards’s Pie but I have never attempted making it! – I need to! This recipe looks so yummy!

  16. 5 stars
    I don’t like potatoes very much, but I really like beef, I replaced potatoes with sweet potatoes and the result is great food. My husband is quite fond of this recipe, just a little change to suit my family’s taste.
    Thanks for your recipe!

  17. 5 stars
    Seriously fantastic recipe! Excellent flavor! I substituted sherry for the grape juice. Picky husband couldn’t think of a way to improve it!

  18. 5 stars
    Hi Chelsea! I had so much fun cruising around your website/blog. Your recipe for Shepherd’s Pie caught my eye. I had just about everything on hand, except for the grape juice. Grape juice? I couldn’t even imagine that in a Shepherd’s Pie. But .. I trotted on over to our friendly grocery store just a couple blocks away and picked up the grape juice. Amazing! This recipe was absolutely yummy!! Thank you so much for sharing. I’ll be back!

  19. 5 stars
    Wonderful meal, probably the best one to date. I am going to try skme of the other ones for the kiddos. Thanks again!!!

  20. 5 stars
    I changed many things about this recipe (only because I was working with food I received from a food pantry.) This recipe is the perfect guideline for making a great cottage pie. I only had instant potatoes, three cans of mixed veggie tables, amino acids, ground beef, garlic cloves, rosemary. Turned out amazing. Even had a neighbour ask for a go bowl.

  21. 5 stars
    I followed the recipe with the slight twist of doing 50/50 sweet potato and ordinary potato. It looked lovely and tasted delicious and filled us all up very comfortably!

    1. Oh that sounds amazing!! 🙂 I’ll have to try that next time 🙂 Thanks for the comment and review 🙂

  22. It was edible, and people enjoyed it. Though, it was SWEET. Too sweet. I would leave out the grape juice and tomatoes, double up on peas.

  23. 5 stars
    Just made this last night and it was amazing… I did alter it slightly as I tend to like it a little spicy. I used wine (cabernet) instead of grape juice. and added Smoked Tabasco and a little black pepper…perfect.

  24. 5 stars
    Love this recipe. I forgot to buy grape juice, so I used some white wine that I had open and finely chopped some dried apricots for similar depth of flavor (my stew go to). Made one to take to family and small one for here. Can’t. Stop. Eating, It. Thank you.

  25. 5 stars
    I love love this recipe. It’s just me and my boyfriend so this is way too much food but I always forget to cut it in half. So….leftovers!!

    1. I wish I could be more helpful, but to tell you the truth I’ve never used Instant potatoes! Hopefully someone else could chime in here

  26. 5 stars
    I’ve made this fantastic recipe several times the past couple of months; it was immediately our new favorite comfort food dish. I make it fairly close to as written, but we love the richness of red wine in place of juice and I like to add in some sliced mushrooms. I also puree the fire roasted tomatoes (picky wife lol). Thanks again!

  27. Tried making your Cottage Pie recipe—so bland that taco sauce could not save it. Sorry, didn’t like it.

  28. I LOVE this recipe. I made it for the first time on my husband’s birthday last year, and it was so good that I made it again on his birthday this year. I think it’s becoming a tradition. I’ve tried using red wine, but I think the grape juice actually gives the best taste (maybe because of the sugar content?).

    PS – I also just finished your ebook, and it was incredibly helpful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I am so glad you love this Shepherd’s pie so much! What a fun tradition! I like the grape juice because of the sugar it adds! 🙂 And yay, I’m so happy you enjoyed the ebook! Thanks for your support on my site! 🙂

  29. This is a great recipe. Definitely got the thumbs up at my house. I plan on 1.5-2 hours for all the chopping, etc since I pop it in the oven while everything is hot. I substitute cream sherry for the grape juice (1/4 cup), add half the broth and the rest as needed. Top off with shredded cheddar cheese for the last 5 minutes. So glad I ran across this recipe – others I tried didn’t come close!!

    1. I am so happy to hear you love this Shepherd’s pie so much! And what awesome tips for some substitutions! Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  30. Am making this tonight. All of your other recipes I’ve tried are delicious, I am sure this one will be also.

  31. This recipe is just great! its the second time making it, The first time I was in total awe over how much flavor it had, it will be my go to recipe forever!

  32. This recipe is incredible. Never again will our household eat bland shepherd’s pie (that my partner grew up on). Only thing we did differently was use concentrated bouillon because it’s my newest favorite ingredient.

    1. Whoops, actually we also didn’t use greap juice because I neglected to see that on the list when I grocery shopped for this. Since we’re still in a pandemic I wasn’t going to shop for one thing.

  33. 5 stars
    We love this recipe! I’ve cooked it several times for my family. The kids love it and my husband raves about it. Thank you for making it easy 🙌🏻

    1. I’m so happy you guys love this Shepherd’s pie! Thanks so much for your comment Danielle! 🙂

  34. Just made this recipe and have not even eaten it yet because the prep and cook times were not even close to accurate. I’m not a rookie in the kitchen but this took a lot of prep. Please let your followers know this. Will let you know how it tasted. Still in the oven. Took over 2 hours to prep and cook.

    1. Hey Riki, thanks so much for letting me know! I hope you loved this Shepherd’s Pie and I’m very sorry the prep time wasn’t accurate for you!

    1. You can definitely use red wine instead. We like the sweetness the grape juice adds; counteracts the tomatoes really nicely!

  35. 5 stars
    This the best Shepherds pie ever.
    The prep is a bit longer and some ingredients are not in your grandma’s,
    but well worth it .
    Tip: Don’t skip any ingredients.

    1. I know, thank you! This is my reasoning for the name: (From the blog post) “First of all, this meal is not technically a true “Shepherd’s Pie”! A true shepherd’s pie originates from England and is traditionally made with ground lamb. However, since in the states, ground beef is eaten more than lamb, this meal is usually referred to as a shepherd’s pie. (In England and other parts of the world, they’d call this ground beef version a “cottage pie” and the lamb version “shepherd’s pie.”)

  36. I have not made your recipe yet, but it sounds like one I ate at an Irish Pub last week. I usually make mine with half ground beef & half ground lamb. The one at the pub was delicious and had no cheese before the mashed potatoes. I will definitely try yours it sounds perfect for a fall or winter day.

  37. 5 stars
    This recipe is delicious, but does take more time to prepare than you say. I would double the 1 hour to 2 hours. But sooo good!

  38. oh my goodness Chelsea,, you got SO close to traditional Shepherds Pie in your description!!! you say “ground” beef/lamb as so many top cooks do,, but they dont explain it is ground ‘cooked’ meat, not mince meat from butcher, that has to be fried !?!? you did say ——-can be made with left over roast, but how ?? people wld be asking !!
    … so in the 1940’s My German Grandma wld use left over Sunday Roast Lamb pieces put through her mincer that was screwed to her kitchen table,, I helped her turn the handle,, and then she mixed good old tomato sauce through it, with a dash of Worcestershire sauce, and top it with mash potato, flip little peaks with her spoon to make it look so nice when browned in her wood stove,,
    Now if your pie has mince meat from butcher, that would be a completely different taste and especially that yummy texture,, and if it has vegies in it,, from the cottage garden,, then that is a Cottage Pie,, a Shepherds Pie is served with boiled vegies beside it,, we loved it ,,, people in those days were poor, they had Shepherds to mind their sheep, food was scarce, but they did have their own lamb,
    Marion.

  39. Whoever wrote this shepherds pie messed up on the time. It takes more than an hour and a half to cook everything.

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