Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie) – call it what you will, but this recipe’s a classic … only better!

  • Prep Time: 45 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 Hour, 20 Minutes
  • Serving: 6
  • Fridge Friendly: 4-5 Days
  • Freezer Friendly: 2 Months

Cost Per Person: $

  • ¢: pennies
  • $: less than $4
  • $$: less than $7
  • $$$: less than $10
  • $$$: over $10

What's Up With the "Cottage Pie" Reference?

Technically Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb. No lamb, no shepherd … thus you have to call it something other than Shepherd’s Pie. Whatever!

Why I Love This "Shepherd's Pie" Recipe 😉

This version incorporates my family’s love of mushrooms.  But you don’t have to put them in!  Carrots will do just fine.

Why You'll Love This Recipe

Creamy mashed potatoes on top of ground meat in gravy.  You can change up the meat and the veggies for a more traditional pie. This will become a family favourite.

Meat Filling Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lbs. (750 gr.) Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 large Onion– Finely Chopped
  • 1 or 2 Stalks Celery – Medium Diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – Minced
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper
  • 3 tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 ½ Cup Roughly Chopped Mushrooms
  • ¼ tsp. Thyme
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • ¼ Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ Cup Beef Broth (add 2 cups if not using red wine)
  • ½ Red Wine (optional)

Mashed Potato Ingredients

  • 6 Large Potatoes – Peeled (about 2 lbs.)
  • 2 tbsp. Butter
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Pepper
  • ½ Cup Milk
  • ½ Cup Beef Broth
  • ½ Cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 3 tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 tbsp. Breadcrumbs

Directions & Cook’s Notes/Tips

  • In a deep skillet, cook ground beef on medium heat until the pink’s gone. Carefully drain any excess fat … but if there’s a little left, that’s okay.
  • Add the onion, celery, garlic, salt and pepper. Sautee for about 3 or 4 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.
  • Add tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute. Add in the mushrooms, thyme and Worcestershire sauce. 
  • Cook another 3 or 4 minutes until the mushrooms start to soften. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the meat mixture and stir in.  Slowly pour in the beef broth and wine and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens.  
  • Set the oven to 350 degrees.
  • While the beef mixture is simmering, cut the potatoes into chunks or slices, and add to a deep pot of salted water. Bring the pot of water to a boil, then turn down the heat so the potatoes can gently simmer until cooked. 
  • When you can easily put a fork through the potatoes, they’re done.  Carefully drain the potatoes in a colander, then add them back to the pot.
  • Turn the stove on very low and add butter, salt, pepper, milk and broth. Give it a mix and let it heat through for about 2 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher. Add more milk or broth if the mixture is too thick. Add the grated cheddar cheese in and gently stir into the potatoes.
  • Mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese together. Set aside.

Assembling the Pie

  • Transfer the meat mixture into a 9 x 12 (ish) oven-safe baking dish.  Spread out the meat mixture, so it’s even. 
  • Let the meat mixture cool down for about 20 minutes before adding the potatoes. It’s easier to spread out the mashed potatoes this way.
  • Dollop the potatoes over all of the meat mixture and gently spread evenly until all the meat is covered.  Sprinkle the top with the breadcrumbs and parmesan mixture.
  • Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown on the top AND until you see bubbling around the edges. 
  • Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting.

Cook’s Notes/Tips


  • 1 carrot finely diced – add with the onions and celery.
  • ½ cup frozen peas.  Add in the last 5 minutes of cooking the meat mixture, or they’ll get too mushy.
  • Replace the ground beef with ground lamb – then it’s Shepard’s Pie
  • Slice the potatoes or dice the potatoes so they’re even sizes.  This ensures they’ll cook at the same time.