Cottage Pie (Beef Shepherd’s Pie)

Published Date: March 1, 2023

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A green plate with a large slice of cottage pie (shepherd's pie) on it.

Cottage Pie (Shepherd’s Pie) is a hearty dish loaded with comforting flavors from the top layer of mashed potatoes all the way down to the ground beef and gravy! Makes a big batch that’s perfect for large crowds or leftovers!

Slide plates of this Cottage Pie onto the table with a warm batch of 4-ingredient Mayonnaise Biscuits to complete the meal!

A green plate with a large slice of cottage pie (shepherd's pie) on it.

Don’t plan your weekly menu without this recipe for Cottage Pie! It’s a filling and flavorful dish that families have been enjoying for many generations!

This dish is made by topping cooked ground beef and frozen vegetables with mashed potatoes that have been made on the stovetop. Once it’s layered in the casserole dish, it slides into the oven and bakes to the finish line!

All About Cottage Pie

Taste: This hearty comfort dish is loaded with beef flavor! The ground meat itself is cooked in homemade gravy with ingredients such as garlic, spices, steak sauce, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce!

Texture: Thick, smooth mashed potatoes cook up to a delicious golden brown that turns slightly crisp! Hiding beneath the top layer is a tasty mixture of tender ground beef and vegetables that’s covered in gravy!

A white serving spoon in a pan of shepherd's pie.

Cottage Pie Vs. Shepherd’s Pie

Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie are very similar in the sense that both dishes are made with a layer of ground meat, vegetables, and mashed potatoes. The difference between the two lies in the type of meat that’s used in each.

Traditional shepherd’s pie is actually made using ground lamb. Whereas Cottage Pie is made using ground beef.

However, over the years, people just began to call it shepherd’s pie regardless of the meat that’s used in the dish!

A serving spoon scooping a slice of cottage pie out of a baking dish.

Recipe Tips For Delicious Cottage Pie

  • Mashed Potatoes – When making the mashed potatoes, we want them to be a bit thicker. This way, the shepherd’s pie holds itself together. Whereas if the mashed potatoes are too loose, it will be a bit more difficult and messier to serve. You can even make Cottage Pie with instant potatoes for a quicker recipe!
  • Cheese – For extra flavor, grate some cheese on top of the mashed potatoes layer before covering it to bake!
  • Baking – Cover the dish with foil when baking the pie for the first 30 minutes. This will prevent the potatoes from drying out too much and any cheese topping from burning.
  • Meat – If you prefer, you can make this recipe using lamb instead of beef for a more traditional take on the dish. You could also use ground turkey or chicken for a different flavor! Use the meat that you and your family would enjoy most!
  • Vegetables – Frozen peas and carrots can be swapped out for other vegetables of your choice. Sometimes we make ours with canned sweet corn, rutabaga, or turnip. I would suggest using the canned version; everything will cook simultaneously in the oven!
Step by step photo collage showing how to make cottage pie (shepherd's pie) from scratch.

At least once a week, I make a big casserole like this Cottage Pie for dinner! This way, we have leftovers for the next day, giving us a break in weeknight cooking!

I rotate between this recipe for Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken Cobbler, and this Crockpot Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta since they all yield large servings.

Storage Instructions For Cottage Pie

Tightly wrap the cooled casserole dish with plastic wrap or tinfoil. You can also transfer individual slices into airtight containers.

Store leftover shepherd’s pie in the fridge to enjoy for 4 to 5 days.

Can I Freeze Shepherd’s Pie?

Yes, shepherd’s pie does great being frozen! To freeze, wrap it tightly in foil and then store it in the freezer for 4 to 6 months.

Since it freezes well, you can make it ahead for a freezer meal for yourself, a friend, or a family member!

Is There A Substitution For Beef Broth?

Beef broth can be substituted for chicken or vegetable broth.

Will This Cottage Pie Overflow The Baking Dish While Cooking In The Oven?

As long as this recipe is made in a 9×13-inch casserole dish, you shouldn’t have to worry about it baking out of the pan. If you’re concerned about it, you can place a baking sheet under the dish to catch any overflow that may happen.

A green plate with a large slice of cottage pie (shepherd's pie) on it.
A green plate with a large slice of cottage pie (shepherd's pie) on it.

Shepherd’s pie

Cottage Pie (Shepherd's Pie) is a hearty dish loaded with comforting flavors from the top layer of mashed potatoes all the way down to the ground beef and gravy!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Irish, Scottish
Keyword: shepherd’s pie
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 9 people
Calories: 438kcal

EQUIPMENT

  • Large pot
  • Potato masher
  • Frying pan
  • 9×13-inch casserole dish

INGREDIENTS

Potatoes

  • 3-4 large russet potatoes
  • ½ cup salted butter
  • cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Meat Filling

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • pounds ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon dried garlic
  • ½ tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon steak sauce such as A1
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen carrots

INSTRUCTIONS

Potatoes

  • Peel and dice the potatoes into small chunks and add to a large pot and cover with water.
    3-4 large russet potatoes
  • Bring the water to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. Cook for 15 to 18 min ( depending on the size of your chopped potatoes) or until a knife can cut through a piece of potato easily.
  • Drain the potatoes and place them back in the pot and mash the potatoes with a potato masher.
  • When most of the potatoes are broken up, add the butter, milk, parmesan cheese, garlic, and pepper. Continue mashing the potatoes until they are smooth.
    ½ cup salted butter, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ½ cup whole milk, ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese

Meat filling

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Add the olive oil to a large skillet and fry the chopped onions until soft.
    2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • Add ground beef and cook until browned.
    1½ pounds ground beef
  • Add the garlic, parsley, thyme, rosemary, salt, and black pepper and stir.
    1 tablespoon dried garlic, ½ tablespoon dried parsley, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Sprinkle in the flour and mix until well combined.
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Add the Worcestershire, balsamic vinegar, steak sauce, tomato paste, and beef broth. Mix together and cook for 4 to 5 min.
    2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon steak sauce, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 cup beef broth
  • Add the frozen carrots and peas.
    1 cup frozen peas, 1 cup frozen carrots
  • Pour the mixture into a 9×13-inch casserole dish and top with the potatoes.
  • Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake in the oven for 30 min. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 min or until the top starts to brown.

NOTES

How To Store: You should store Shepherd’s pie in the refrigerator. Wrap it in foil or plastic wrap to stay fresh for 4 to 5 days.
How To Freeze: Yes, shepherd’s pie does great being frozen! To freeze, wrap it tightly in foil and then store it in the freezer for 4 to 6 months. Since it freezes well, you can make it ahead for a freezer meal for yourself, a friend, or a family member!

NUTRITION

Calories: 438kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 681mg | Potassium: 752mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2939IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 3mg

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Recipe Rating






  1. 5 stars
    When Mother Nature places a blanket of snow on the state of Maine, it means time for comfort food. This recipe was exactly that. It was simple, used ingredients that I had on hand and it was packed full of flavor! I highly recommend it and will certainly make it again!

Gabby Hubbell Family Busy Family Recipes Author

From one busy family to another, I see you.

Hi, I’m Gabby! From crockpots to one-pot recipes, we’re eager to make dinner time a breeze for you and your family. Follow along for recipes even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy time and time again!
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