This shepherd’s pie recipe is made with ground beef, a savory rosemary infused gravy and lots of vegetables. It’s topped with fluffy russet mashed potatoes! This is the type of dinner where you have all the ingredients on hand in your fridge and pantry.
For winter dinner inspiration try this recipe for sheet pan roasted chicken thighs and root vegetables, creamy chicken gnocchi soup and homemade chicken and thyme dumplings.
Shepherd’s pie is such a classic cold weather dinner. And meals that you can throw together last minute are always on my list of dinner favorites. Like this 30 minute easy broccoli cheddar soup and homemade chicken pot pie.
If you stock basic items in your pantry and fridge you probably have everything on hand that you need to make this recipe.
If not, you’ll want to add this one to next week’s grocery list.
While baking, the aromas that fill the house are just amazing, it smells like warmth, love and happiness.
My kids love this shepherds pie, it’s always a hit with the whole household and it’s the perfect next day lunch.
If your kids have issues with vegetables, try adding some cheddar cheese to the potatoes, it may entice them just enough to give it a shot.
What Is Shepherd’s Pie?
Shepherd’s pie is a savory pie dish topped with mashed potatoes. It’s also called cottage pie. This particular recipe is made with ground beef, vegetables, a savory gravy and cheesy russet mashed potatoes on top.
If you are wondering, where did shepherd’s pie originate, it was England. Although many believe it has an Irish origin, the history hails from the English.
Hundreds of years ago it was originally called cottage pie and after that the name Shepherd’s pie came about.
Despite shepherd’s pie more commonly referring to lamb being used, it’s more common in the US to associate shepherd’s pie with the ground beef variation.
It’s super savory. Like mouth watering, stuff your face, savory goodness. It’s not the most attractive looking meal but the flavors are amazing.
Shepherd’s Pie Ingredients
The ingredients are pretty basic. There really isn’t anything fancy in the recipe. It’s all about using things you have to elevate the flavors and make a boring dish, fantastic.
The vegetables are onions, carrots, peas, corn and garlic. Go for a sweet yellow onion if you can.
The worcestershire and tomato paste are truly the magic secret ingredients. They give the meat mixture so much flavor, the gravy gets super savory. I swear that tomato paste is the secret ingredient in my world’s best beef stroganoff recipe as well.
Rosemary is the only herb in this recipe and you don’t want to be stingy with it. It’s also the main seasoning ingredient, besides salt and pepper. Opt for fresh rosemary when you can and dry if you are in a pinch.
Now let’s talk about those potatoes on top. The mashed potatoes are full of extra sharp white cheddar cheese and Irish butter which makes them so rich and creamy.
Or you can make them dairy free and instead of butter or milk, use some chicken broth, salt and pepper.
- Can I make this gluten free? Yes! I’ve made this for family, altering it to be gluten free for them, take out any flour from the recipe and replace it with half the amount using cornstarch.
- Can I make this recipe dairy free? Yes you can! You can omit the butter when sautéing the vegetables and all the dairy in the mashed potatoes. Instead, use warm chicken broth to whip up the potatoes, I’ve made this recipe dairy free many times and it turns out great.
- What type of potatoes do I need to use? Russet potatoes work the best, the mash well and have the best texture and traditional flavor.
- Can I make this with pork, lamb or venison? So I’ve never tried using another meat in this shepherd’s pie recipe so I wouldn’t be able to advise on how it will turn out.
- What is Irish butter? It is a European style butter that has a higher butterfat content, it also has a more vibrant yellow color. Kerrygold is a popular brand you can get at the grocery store, it has a gold wrapper. It has so much more flavor than regular butter.
Fall Favorite Recipes
- World’s Best Beef Stroganoff – a Modern Crumb fan favorite
- 30 Minute Broccoli Cheddar Soup – big chunks of broccoli, extra cheesy
- Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup – better than the restaurant!
- Homemade Chicken Pot Pie – a 5 minute homemade crust, makes this recipe an easy family favorite
- 20 Minute Pumpkin Ravioli – this is a quick and easy family favorite dinner
Easy Shepherd’s Pie With Ground Beef
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp Irish butter
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 5 garlic cloves minced (about 1 tbsp)
- 3 carrots peeled and sliced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped up
- 1 1/2 c chicken broth
- 1 tsp worcestershire
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 c frozen peas
- 1 c frozen corn
- salt to taste
- 2 1/2 lb russet potatoes peeled and cut in even cubes (about 3 russets)
- 3 tbsp Irish butter melted
- 1/3 c heavy cream warmed
- 1/4 c milk warmed + more if needed
- Salt to taste
- Pepper a pinch
- 4 oz extra sharp white cheddar grated
- Preheat oven to 375
- Brown the ground beef in a pan, over medium heat, drain the excess grease
- Remove the ground beef to a separate plate
- In the pan add the olive oil, 2 tbsp butter, onions, carrots and garlic (toss a pinch of salt on this)
- Sauté for 2-3 minutes
- Add back in the ground beef, along with 2 tbsp flour, stir for 2 minutes
- Pour in the chicken broth, worcestershire, tomato pasta, fresh rosemary, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
- Simmer on low, stirring every few minutes, while preparing the mashed potatoes
- Add the potatoes to a pot, cover with water (a few pinches of salt) and bring to a boil until potatoes are fork tender
- Drain the potatoes, return to the pan, over low heat, and steam the remaining water from the potatoes for a few minutes
- Transfer to a large bowl, mash
- Add 3 tbsp melted butter, mashing
- Next in this order (and stir completely before adding another), add the warm milk, white cheddar, warm cream a pinch of salt and pepper (add more warm milk if too thick)
- Pour the meat mixture into a baking dish, top it with the mashed potatoes
- Place a few pats of butter on top of the potatoes
- Bake 30-40 minutes until golden and bubbly
- Bringing the potatoes back to the pan, helps release extra moisture, which makes the mashed potatoes fluffier and less likely to get gummy
- Adding melted butter to the potatoes is important, this locks the butter to the potatoes better giving it more flavor
- If you don’t have extra sharp white cheddar, any type of cheddar will work as a substitute
- For even more flavor you can add a few cut up bits of cold irish butter to the potatoes right before spreading them on, they will melt when it bakes! (see my photos for a before baking photo)
Did you make this recipe? Please leave your review in the comments below!
This recipe was originally published on October 9th, 2017.