The Best Homemade Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie) Recipe Ever!

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Looking for the best Homemade Shepherd’s Pie recipe? Look no further!

This recipe features a hearty meat and vegetable filling topped with cheesy garlic mashed potatoes, baked to golden perfection. With easy-to-follow instructions and simple ingredients, this Shepherd’s Pie is a comforting and delicious meal that’s perfect for any occasion. This is the best Shepherd’s Pie recipe you’ll ever make!

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Close up photo of shepherd's pie in a white square casserole dish with a twig of thyme on top and one small piece missing, and text overlay that says "the best Shepherd's pie ever!".

OK – so I may be tooting my own horn a bit too much here, but in all honesty this really was the.best.Shepherds.Pie.I.have.ever.eaten!

Like Macaroni and Cheese, Shepherds Pie (aka Cottage Pie) is one of those things that is easy to grab from the frozen food section, then pop in the oven to bake so you may be saying to yourself:

Why would I ever make Shepherd’s Pie from scratch?!?

I’ll tell you why:

Frozen Shepherds Pie tastes like cat food compared to this.  

Yes, my Shepherds Pie may LOOK a bit like cat food, but I assure you it’s delicious!  My middle daughter had seconds, my oldest daughter had thirds, and my husband ate all that was remaining later that night.  

In my house no leftovers means the meal was good! Other meals where we have no leftovers is my Easy Cheesy Tuna Casserole, my Homemade Creamy Macaroni and Cheese and my Instant Pot Seafood Chowder.

A simple version of the classic meat and vegetable comfort food casserole topped with cheesy garlic mashed potatoes, this is the best Shepherd's Pie recipe you'll ever make! #easyshepherdspie #casserole #gluten-free #groundbeef

What makes this Shepard’s Pie recipe special?

Ahhhh… I am so glad you asked that question! The light, fluffy, FLAVOURFUL mashed garlic parmesan whipped potatoes on top is what sets this Shepherds Pie apart from any that you have ever had before.  This Shepherds Pie is topped with Garlic Parmesan Whipped Potatoes (the potatoes are so good that I may need to feature them in a separate recipe on their own).  

Garlic and Parmesan Cheese are my not-so-secret ingredients.  Before baking the Shepard’s Pie I also topped it with fresh Parmesan so that the cheese would form a delicious crust on top.  Yummy to my tummy!

In this recipe I share the stove top directions for the whipped potatoes, but if you prefer, you could use my Instant Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes recipe to save time and effort.

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A simple version of the classic meat and vegetable comfort food casserole topped with cheesy garlic mashed potatoes, this is the best Shepherds Pie recipe you'll ever make! #easyshepherdspie #casserole #gluten-free #groundbeef

What readers are saying:

Readers who have made this recipe are raving about it! Here is what they had to say after feeding their family:

5 star rating
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This is a really great and simple recipe, we make it at least once a month!
Natalie
Wife and Mom
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
Such a delicious recipe! Definitely adding it to my list of favorite recipes
Cindy
Busy Mom

What you’ll need to make this recipe

Here’s the list of ingredients that you’ll need to make Shepherd’s Pie

For the meat mixture you’ll need:

For the Mashed Potatoes

  • Large potatoes
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh parsley (optional for garnish)

Be sure to check out the full ingredient list and printable recipe in the recipe card below.

Shepherd’s Pie is one of the best and most traditional British dishes. But it’s pointless making one if it’s going to turn out to be a sloppy, runny mess.

Frequently Asked Questions

Read on for tips on how to make my top-notch Shepherd’s Pie recipe, and how to avoid making it a runny disaster.

Why is my Shepherd’s Pie Runny?

Your Shepherd’s Pie might turn out to be runny for a few reasons: 

  • If you use too much stock
  • If you don’t reduce/simmer for long enough
  • If you don’t use (enough) tomato purée
  • If your mashed potato topping is watery
  • You used onion soup instead of dry (powdered) onion soup mix

What size casserole dish do I use to make Cottage Pie?

A standard 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish works well for making this family-sized shepherd’s pie (cottage pie) that serves about 6 to 8 people. You can also use individual ramekins or oven-safe bowls to make single-serving shepherd’s pies. Whichever size dish you choose, make sure that there’s enough room in the dish for the filling and topping without it overflowing.

Can I use frozen veggies to make Shepards Pie?

Yes, of course. Frozen veggies saves time, but feel free to use fresh veggies, such as carrots, peas and corn. If you do use frozen veggies, reduce the beef broth a little bit so that the extra liquid in the frozen veggies doesn’t turn your Shepherd’s Pie into a runny mess.

How do I store leftover Shepherd’s Pie:

Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of cooking, cover the pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Can I freeze Shepherd’s Pie:

Yes you can! After baking, let the skillet cool to room temperature. Transfer the shepherd’s pie to an airtight container and place in the freezer for up to 2 months. You can also cover the casserole dish tightly with foil, or plastic wrap, just make sure it’s tightly covered.

How do you reheat frozen Shepherd’s Pie? What temperature and how long? Do I need to thaw it overnight?

When ready to eat, reheat the frozen shepherd’s pie (covered with the foil) for 1 hour in a 350ºF oven. If you thaw the pie in the fridge the night before, you can cut that time in half.

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A simple version of the classic meat and vegetable comfort food casserole topped with cheesy garlic mashed potatoes, this is the best Shepherd's Pie recipe you'll ever make! #easyshepherdspie #casserole #gluten-free #groundbeef

Can I use store bought mashed potatoes to make this recipe:

Yes, you can, but this recipe won’t taste as good if you do. Store bought mashed potatoes can be used or leftover mashed potatoes. The Garlic Parmesan whipped potatoes is what gives this recipe it’s flavour. To save time and effort, make the mashed potatoes by following my Instant Pot Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes recipe.

What to serve with Homemade Shepherd’s Pie?

Pair your homemade Shepherd’s Pie with a side of buttery mashed potatoes or crusty bread to soak up the savory goodness. A simple green salad with a light balsamic vinaigrette provides a refreshing contrast, balancing the richness of the pie. Enjoy this comforting classic with a side of air fryer broccoli for a complete and satisfying meal.

When you dig in you get a spoonful of mashed potatoes, some crispy bits, meat, and vegetables all in one bite. It’s pure comfort food.  Enjoy!

Make this Shepherd’s Pie recipe then check out my Crockpot Beef and Guinness Irish Stew Recipe, Easy Instant Pot Butter Chicken, and Healthy One Skillet Mexican Inspired Rice and Beef Casserole and more of my comfort food recipes.  

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A simple version of the classic meat and vegetable comfort food casserole topped with cheesy garlic mashed potatoes, this is the best Shepherd's Pie recipe you'll ever make! #easyshepherdspie #casserole #gluten-free #groundbeef

Homemade Shepherd's Pie Recipe

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

A simple version of the classic meat and vegetable comfort food casserole topped with cheesy garlic mashed potatoes, this is the best Shepherds Pie recipe you'll ever make!

Ingredients

For Meat Mixture

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef lean
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper or to taste
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1.9 oz dry onion soup mix I used Knorr, 55g pkg
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup Canned corn, (drained) I used Green Giant Niblets
  • 1 carrot, diced

For Mashed Potatoes

  • 6 large potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
  • 4 tbsp butter softened
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper or to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp parsley fresh, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Boil the potatoes: Start by first cooking the potatoes in boiling water for about 15 minutes or until fork tender. While the potatoes are cooking, you can prepare the meat mixture.
  2. Prepare the meat mixture: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef to the skillet, season it with the salt and pepper and cook it for abut 5 minutes or until it's no longer pink, breaking it up as you go along.
  3. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 more minutes until the onion softens and becomes translucent. Add the onion soup mix, beef broth and stir.
  4. Stir in the corn and carrots and cook for a couple more minutes. Set aside. Be sure to drain the corn before adding to the meat mixture.
  5. Preheat the oven 350 F degrees.
  6. Prepare the mashed potatoes: Drain the potatoes then add them to a large bowl. Add in the butter and using a potato masher, mash until smooth. Add the milk, half of the Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper and whip with a mixer until smooth.
  7. Finish assembling the shepherd's pie: Spread the potatoes over the meat and smooth with a spoon. Take a fork and rough up the top a bit and sprinkle the pther half of the Parmesan cheese on top. garnish with a bit of parsley.
  8. Bake: Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown on top.
  9. Garnish with more parsley and pepper and serve warm.

Notes

What size casserole dish do I use to make Cottage Pie?

A standard 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish works well for making this family-sized shepherd's pie (cottage pie) that serves about 6 to 8 people. You can also use individual ramekins or oven-safe bowls to make single-serving shepherd's pies. Whichever size dish you choose, make sure that there's enough room in the dish for the filling and topping without it overflowing.

How do I store leftovers?

Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of cooking, cover the pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Can I freeze this?

Yes you can! After baking, let the skillet cool to room temperature. Transfer the shepherd's pie to an airtight container and place in the freezer for up to 2 months. You can also cover the skillet tightly with foil, or plastic wrap, just make sure it's tightly covered.

Can I use store bought mashed potatoes?

Yes, you can, but this recipe won't taste as good if you do. Store bought mashed potatoes can be used or leftover mashed potatoes. The garlic/Parmesan whipped potatoes is what gives this recipe it's flavour.

To save time and effort, make the mashed potatoes by following my Instant Pot Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes recipe.

Can I use frozen veggies?

Yes, of course. Frozen veggies saves time, but feel free to use fresh veggies, such as carrots, peas and corn.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 567Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 1336mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 6gSugar: 5gProtein: 35g

The provided nutrition information is an estimate and it does not take brands into account. I use an automatic API to calculate this information.

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A simple version of the classic meat and vegetable comfort food casserole topped with cheesy garlic mashed potatoes, this is the best Shepherd's Pie recipe you'll ever make! #easyshepherdspie #casserole #gluten-free #groundbeef

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30 Comments

  1. Deborah Brooks says:

    Easy, hearty and perfect for January!

  2. What size of casserole dish did you use? I couldn’t find that information on the recipe.

    1. Janice - Salads for Lunch says:

      A standard 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish works well for making this family-sized shepherd’s pie that serves about 6 to 8 people. You can also use individual ramekins or oven-safe bowls to make single-serving shepherd’s pies.

  3. What can I use other than onion soup mix. I don’t have that?

    1. Janice - Salads for Lunch says:

      Hi Nicole,
      Thank you for your comment. You could make your own homemade onion soup mix, here’s a recipe to try for this: Homemade Onion Soup Mix. Another option is to order a dry onion soup mix from amazon: Lipton Onion Soup Mix.

  4. I use instant potatoes and with enough garlic and butter no one has discovered that they are instant. And I use ground turkey.

  5. Freya Petersen says:

    Very nice recipe. It’s true I make shepherd’s pie often in the fall. But a true shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. You should call this cottage pie not shepherd’s pie. For new chefs or Cooks out there it really should be called the way it was originally intended thanks for your version of this classic recipe

    1. @Freya Petersen, I’ve only know it as Shepherd’s Pie.

    2. @Judy, it’s not shepards pie . Shepards pie has lamb . This is cottage pie .

  6. Do you drain the corn?

    1. Janice - Salads for Lunch says:

      Yes, drain the corn, if you don’t the Shepherd’s pie will be runny. Thanks for pointing this out, I will update the recipe directions.

  7. How do you bake it once it’s frozen? What temperature and how long? Do I need to thaw overnight?

    1. Janice - Salads for Lunch says:

      When ready to eat, reheat the frozen shepherd’s pie (covered with the foil) for 1 hour in a 350ºF oven. If you thaw the pie in the fridge the night before, you can cut that time in half.

  8. I had to have done something wrong cause mine is more like soup on the bottom?

    1. Janice - Salads for Lunch says:

      I’m sorry to hear that, what liquids did you add that may have caused that?

  9. Christina says:

    Do you freeze with the potatoes?

    1. Janice - Salads for Lunch says:

      Good question! Yes, it can be frozen with the potatoes.

    2. Christina says:

      @Janice – Salads for Lunch,
      It was absolutely delicious! I doubled the recipe to freeze some.

  10. This sounds great. What size casserole dish did you use?

    1. Janice - Salads for Lunch says:

      A standard 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish works well for making this family-sized shepherd’s pie that serves about 6 to 8 people. You can also use individual ramekins or oven-safe bowls to make single-serving shepherd’s pies.

  11. This has to be the best Shepherd’s pie that I have ever tasted. So delicious!

    1. Janice - Salads for Lunch says:

      Thank you! I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed it!

  12. Never made sheppards pie before. 1st time and it was a hit. So delicious!

    1. Janice - Salads for Lunch says:

      Awesome, great to hear!

  13. I’m legit drooling. This looks SO good! Can not wait to try it!

  14. I made this tonight and it was a hit! I did have to use frozen mashed potatoes and didn’t have enough to cover a 9×13 pan. I ended up mixing mashed sweet potatoes with the reg potatoes 🙂 Thank you this will definitely be on my weeknight dinner rotation!

    1. Janice - Salads for Lunch says:

      Great to hear, thanks for the feedback!

  15. Next time use your instant pot for the potatoes. GAME CHANGER. It’s so much easier than boiling them and they come out with a creamier, more potato-y flavour.

    1. Janice - Salads for Lunch says:

      Great tip, thanks!

    2. Yesssss potatoes in the instant pot are THE best!!