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close up of baked shepherds pie

Shepherd's Pie

  • Author: Elizabeth Waterson I Confessions of a Baking Queen
  • Prep Time: 25
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: English


Traditional Shepherd's Pie utilizes ground lamb, but I grew up with the ground beef version, Cottage Pie. Whatever you call it, this Shepherd's Pie recipe is the ultimate comfort food. And the leftovers are even better! Step-by-step photos help you make this weeknight dinner recipe.


Units Scale

Mashed Potatoes

  • 2.5lb Russet Potatoes
  • 3oz Salted Butter
  • 4oz-6oz Heavy Cream or Milk
  • 1/2-1 Teaspoon Ground White Pepper

Shepherds Pie Mxiture

  • 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 1lb Ground Lamb or Ground Beef
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt, divided
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper, divided
  • 1 Medium Onion, diced
  • 2 Large Carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 Large Celery Stalks, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 16oz (2 Cups) Beef Broth, low sodium
  • 1 Oxo Beef Stock Cube (You could use beef bouillion instead)
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch/ Cornflour
  • 1/2 oz water

  • 2 tablespoon Bisto Gravy Granules
  • 170 grams (1 Cup) Frozen Peas


  1. In a large pot add the peeled and quartered potatoes, fill the pot with enough water to fully cover the potatoes, and add a pinch of salt. Turn the heat on medium-high and bring the potatoes to a boil, let the potatoes cook for 15-20 minutes, or until fork-tender. 
  2. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and ground meat. Sprinkle on half of the salt and pepper then brown the meat. Once browned transfer the meat to a paper towel-lined plate to help separate the fat from the meat.
  3. In the skillet drain the fat to leave about 1-2 teaspoons of liquid then add the onions, carrots, and celery. Sprinkle on the remaining salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes then add the garlic, mixing to combine. Cook for an additional 3 minutes or so, just to soften the vegetables a bit. Then add the tomato paste and cook for a minute.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F/149C.
  5. In a small bowl whisk the oxo cube (crushed up), cold water, and cornstarch to make a slurry.
  6. Add the meat back into the skillet with the vegetables then add the Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, slurry, and Bisto powder to everything. Continue to cook over medium-low heat for 3-6 minutes stirring frequently, the mixture should thicken up and become glossy*
  7. Add the frozen peas and mix to combine. Transfer the filling to the serving dish. I used a  dish approx 11″x7″ 2 inches deep. 
  8. At this point, the potatoes should have boiled and been fork tender. Drain the water out then put the pot on the stove over the heat for a minute or two to help the excess moisture dry up. Turn off the heat and add the ground white pepper, cream and butter, place the lid on top to let the butter melt and cream warm. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes (You don’t want the mashed potatoes to be too soft because you want them sturdy on top of the pie).
  9. Using a spoon place the mashed potatoes in clumps on top of the meat then use the back of the spoon to spread the potato into an even layer. Use a fork to graze across the top (this helps create some texture for a nice top) add shredded cheddar cheese if desired.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes then turn on the broiler to melt the cheese and brown the top, this will take anywhere from 2-5 minutes. Watch carefully so it does not burn. Carefully remove the dish from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.


*You may need to add a little bit more “slurry” at this point I would just do 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with a tiny splash of water to make it liquid- always cook the mixture for at least 3 minutes to cook the cornstarch flavor out. 

You could prepare the shepherds pie up to 3 days stored in the fridge or two months stored in the freezer. Before you bake it, let the pie cool, then cover with foil or plastic wrap and heat at a later date. When ready to reheat take the frozen pie out of the freezer and bake at 350F/178C for 50-70 minutes. I use an instant-read thermometer to test the temperature to make sure it's cooked thru, you want to reach 165F/74C. I use a Thermapen MK4.

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