Simple Shepherd’s Pie

Transform your dinner into a Scottish treat with our simple Shepherd’s Pie. It’s a lean yet lavish version that upholds the robust, hearty flavors you’ve always loved!

Shepherd's pie on a white serving platter on a table.

Shepherd’s Pie, a classic comfort food, started in the British Isles. Initially, it was a smart way for people to use leftover meat by adding a mashed potato topping. Over time, it became a popular dish in its own right. It’s made with ground meat, usually lamb or beef, cooked with vegetables and herbs, and covered with creamy mashed potatoes. When cooked with beef, this dish is also known as Cottage Pie.

It shows that great food doesn’t need fancy stuff, just simple, good ingredients put together well. Each serving of easy Shepherd’s Pie recipe tells a story of tradition, creativity, and the comforting power of good food.

Reasons to Love Shepherd’s Pie

  • Shepherd’s Pie is nutritious. Packed with protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates, it’s a balanced meal that delivers essential nutrients.
  • Its hearty nature ensures a satisfying meal that keeps you full and content.
  • This meal is very convenient for both cooking and cleanup.
  • Shepherd’s Pie is left-over friendly. It reheats well, making it perfect for meal prep or enjoying leftovers the next day.
  • Its comforting essence makes it a favorite for holiday meals and special occasions.

Recipe Ingredients

Shepherd's pie with parsley sprinkled on top on a serving platter.
  • Potatoes: Essential for the mashed potato topping and a signature element of Shepherd’s Pie.
  • Lean Ground Beef: Acts as the primary protein and base for the meat layer.
  • Yellow Onion: Adds flavor and texture to the meat mixture.
  • Beef Broth: Used to create a rich, savory gravy for the meat layer.
  • Diced Tomatoes: Contribute to the moisture and flavor of the meat filling.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Meat Madness: Opt for ground turkey for a leaner, lighter version. You can also stick to the dish’s traditional roots by using ground lamb.
  • Potato Variation: Use Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes for a richer, buttery flavor and fluffier texture.
  • Broth Selection: You can use Chicken broth as a lighter substitute for the beef broth.
  • Red Wine for Enhanced Flavor: Incorporate a dry red wine such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Sauvignon (avoid cooking wine) into the meat mixture. This addition brings a rich, robust flavor and adds depth of flavor to the Shepherd’s Pie.
  • Add Veggies: Blend in a variety of frozen peas and carrots with the meat for added color, texture, and nutrition.

How to Make Shepherd’s Pie

Step #1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).

Step #2: Cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Boil in water for 4-6 minutes, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.

Step #3: Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook for another 5 minutes, breaking up the large pieces with a wooden spoon. Drain excess fat.

Step #4: Season the beef with thyme, parsley, fennel seed, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and sauté, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

Step #5: Dissolve arrowroot in broth, pour into the pan, and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the diced tomatoes and Greek yogurt.

Step #6: Transfer the meat mixture to a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish. Arrange the sliced potatoes on top in an overlapping pattern. Top with shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Step #7: Remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.

Shepherd's pie on a plate with a fork.

Expert Tips

  • Brown the Meat Well: Properly browning the meat adds depth of flavor. Don’t rush this step.
  • Drain Excess Fat: After browning, drain any excess fat from the meat to prevent a greasy filling.
  • Thicken Properly: Ensure the meat mixture is thick enough to hold up under the potatoes but not too dry.
Shepherd's pie with parsley sprinkled on top.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use cornstarch if I don’t have arrowroot for Shepherd’s Pie?

Yes, cornstarch is a great alternative to arrowroot. It works similarly as a thickener for the meat mixture, ensuring the right consistency for your Shepherd’s Pie.

How to spice up your Shepherd’s Pie?

Experiment with Herbs and Spices: Add herbs like rosemary, or sage for a classic flavor. For a more unique taste, try spices like smoked paprika, cumin, or a pinch of cinnamon.
Cheese on top of the Potato Topping: Just before the dish is finished cooking, sprinkle on grated cheese like cheddar, Parmesan cheese, or Gruyère on top of the potatoes for a creamy and rich flavor.
Richer Gravy: Enhance your gravy with some garlic, a splash of red wine, Worcestershire sauce, or a bit of tomato paste for a richer, more complex flavor.
Spicy Kick: Add some heat with chili flakes, hot sauce, or diced jalapeños mixed into the meat filling.

What do you eat with Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s Pie is quite a hearty and filling dish on its own, but it can be paired with a variety of sides to create a balanced and satisfying meal. Here are some suggestions:
Green Salad: A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette can add a fresh, crisp contrast to the rich and savory pie.
Steamed or Roasted Vegetables: Serve with steamed broccoli, green beans, carrots, or roasted Brussels sprouts for a healthy and colorful addition.
Crusty Bread: Fresh, crusty bread like a baguette is great for soaking up any gravy or juices and adds a nice textural contrast.

Storage Info

Store Shepherd’s Pie in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days in an airtight container. You can freeze it for up to 3 months, either baked or unbaked. For reheating, if refrigerated, warm it in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven (175 degrees Celsius) for about 20 minutes. If frozen, it’s best to thaw it overnight in the fridge before reheating. Cover with foil while reheating to prevent the top from drying out or burning.

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Shepherd's pie with parsley sprinkled on top on a serving platter.

Simple Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Transform your dinner into a Scottish treat with our simple Shepherd's Pie. It's a lean yet lavish version that upholds the robust, hearty flavors you've always loved!
4.1 from 15 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: European
Diet: Gluten Free
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 373kcal
Author: Linda
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon Simply Organic Thyme Leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Simply Organic Parsley Flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon Simply Organic Fennel Seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Frontier Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Simply Organic Black Pepper Medium Grind
  • 12 ounces white or yellow potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion - about 1 large onion
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot - tapioca starch or tapioca flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 14-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 ounce shredded white cheddar cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
  • Cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Boil in water for 4-6 minutes, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook for another 5 minutes, breaking up the large pieces with a wooden spoon. Drain excess fat.
  • Season the beef with thyme, parsley, fennel seed, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and sauté, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
  • Dissolve arrowroot in broth, pour into the pan, and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the diced tomatoes and Greek yogurt.
  • Transfer the meat mixture to a 2 ½ quart casserole dish. Arrange the sliced potatoes on top in an overlapping pattern. Top with shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.

NOTES

Storage Info:
Store Shepherd’s Pie in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days in an airtight container. You can freeze it for up to 3 months, either baked or unbaked. For reheating, if refrigerated, warm it in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven (175 degrees Celsius) for about 20 minutes. If frozen, it’s best to thaw it overnight in the fridge before reheating. Cover with foil while reheating to prevent the top from drying out or burning.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 373kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 449mg | Potassium: 970mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 356IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 4mg

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About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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Comments:

  1. This looks very good and I will make it soon. Just one point of order though, Shepherds Pies is called that because it has lamb in it. They call the rest Cottage Pie.

  2. You’re amazing just wanted you to know. The blog is crisp and clean and it makes me jealous because I just know you’re kitchen is so organized unlike mine. Your dishes are amazing and so are you. The dish can’t be anykind of pie for me unless the taters are mashed LOL.. that’s what I love about Cottage Pie, Sherpherds Pie lol Pie etc… the mashed potatoes yummmm…. Dish looks great.. my British friends make this sooo good.. I cook really well and when I make this Its yum but that British mojo I must be missing same ingredients same skills Mojo missing… anyhoo wanted to say THank you little lady

  3. THIS IS NOT SHEPHERD’S PIE!!!!!

    SHEPHERD’S PIE IS MADE FROM LAMB. THIS RECIPE CALLS FOR BEEF. WHAT YOU HAVE MADE IS COTTAGE PIE! IF YOU WERE TO PUT CHEESE ON WHAT YOU HAVE MADE, IT WOULD BE A CUMBERLAND PIE! THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BWTWEEN THE THREE OF THEM.

    SHEPHERDS HERD SHEEP NOT COWS!

    PLEASE DO NO CALL THIS COTTAGE PIE BECAUSE IT IS NOT!

  4. Yum!! Love the idea of using scalloped potatoes instead of mashed potatoes for the topping. Looks so comforting..