How Do You Make A Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s pie is a traditional British comfort dish that consists of seasoned ground lamb or beef topped with a layer of mashed potatoes. This dish has a long history and is revered for its comforting flavors. While “shepherd’s pie” is traditionally designated for lamb, a similar dish made with ground beef is commonly called “cottage pie.” This article, will explain how do you make a shepherd’s pie.

What Exactly Is Shepherd’s Pie?

In England (as well as Australia and New Zealand), the beef dish is known as “cottage pie” and the lamb dish is known as “shepherd’s pie.”

A shepherd’s pie, whatever you call it, is essentially a dish with a layer of cooked meat and veggies on top of mashed potatoes that is baked until the potatoes are golden brown.

You get mashed potatoes, crunchy bits, meat, and veggies all at once when you bite into it. This dish epitomizes the term “comfort food.”


To prepare the filling:

  • 450 grams of minced lamb or beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped coarsely 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons flour for all purposes
  • 1 ounce of beef or vegetable stock
  • 0.5 grams tomato paste
  • 1 ounce of thawed peas
  • 1 milligram of Worcestershire sauce
  • pepper and salt to flavor
  • Oil used for sautéing

For the garnish of mashed potatoes:

  • 4 large russet potatoes, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 4 teaspoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup of milk, or as required
  • pepper and salt to flavor
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, minced (optional)

How Do You Make A Shepherd’s Pie?


1. Prepare The Mashed Potatoes

  • In a large kettle of cold, salted water, place the peeled and cubed potatoes.
  • Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are fork-tender.
  • After draining the potatoes, return them to the water. Add to the butter and milk. Mix it up until it’s smooth and silky.
  • Salt and pepper are examples of seasonings. Cheddar cheese shreds can also be added to the potatoes to make them taste better.

2. Prepare The Filling

  • Set some oil on medium heat in a big pan.
  • Cook the diced onion and carrots for approximately 5 minutes, or until they soften.
  • Put chopped garlic and meat powder in the pan. Make the meat dark and crumbly.
  • Sprinkle the meat and vegetables with flour, then thoroughly combine. This will enable the filling to thicken.
  • Put Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste in the pan.
  • Pour in the beef or vegetable broth while stirring continuously, and allow the mixture to simmer until it thickens into a succulent gravy.
  • Add the frozen peas and simmer for two to three minutes more.
  • Season the filling to suit with salt and pepper.

3. Assemble And Bake

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius).
  • Spread the meat and vegetable filling uniformly across the bottom of a baking dish.
  • The pureed potatoes should be placed on top of the filling. Create texture on the potato’s surface with a fork.
  • Optionally, you may sprinkle additional grated cheese on top for a golden exterior.
  • For twenty to twenty-five minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is hot, put the dish in the oven.

4. Serve

  • Before serving, allow the shepherd’s pie to settle for a few minutes. This permits the filling to set slightly.
  • Serve the pie with steamed green vegetables, such as peas or broccoli, to create a well-balanced and comforting entrée.

Recipe Variations

  • Incorporate a layer of corn cream between the minced beef and mashed potatoes.
  • Before baking, cheddar cheese is sprinkled on top of the pureed potatoes.


  • Choose Your Meat: Usually, lamb is used to make shepherd’s pie, but you can use ground beef or even ground turkey if you’d rather. Each kind of meat will give the food its own taste.
  • Sauté the Vegetables: Saute the onions, carrots, and garlic until tender. This improves their flavor and guarantees they are fully roasted in the final dish.
  • Season Well: Season the meat filling and potato sauce with a lot of different spices. As you cook, add more salt and pepper to taste.
  • Thicken the Filling: When adding flour to the meat and vegetable mixture, cook it for a minute or two to eliminate the uncooked flour flavor. This will aid in thickening the filling and creating a richer texture.
  • Flavor Enhancers: Worcestershire sauce contributes depth and umami to the center. For more complex flavors, you can also experiment with thyme, rosemary, and red wine.
  • Don’t Skip the Broth: The beef or vegetable bouillon gives the filling moisture and flavor. It contributes to creating a rich gravy that binds the dish together.
  • Texture Matters: The pureed potatoes should be creamy, but not runny. If they appear too thin, progressively add more milk and butter. If they are too thick, additional milk can be added to obtain the desired consistency.
  • Cheese Topping (Optional): Before baking, sprinkle grated cheese over the pureed potatoes to create a golden, cheesy crust. If you appreciate cheesy mashed potatoes, it’s a delightful addition.
  • Preheat the Oven: Ensure the oven is preheated to the specified temperature for uniform heating and browning.
  • Let It Rest: Allow the shepherd’s pie to rest a few minutes after baking before serving. This makes the filling slightly solidify and simpler to scoop and serve.

Preparing shepherd’s pie is a delightful culinary endeavor that combines flavorful ground meat and creamy mashed potatoes. This dish’s long history and comforting flavors have made it a worldwide favorite. Whether you choose lamb or beef, making your own shepherd’s pie in your own kitchen allows you to experience the tradition and comfort of this beloved dish.

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