A delicious, healthy, and classic Shepherd’s Pie recipe made with beef. It will become a staple in your house if you give it a try!

A delicious, healthy, and classic Shepherd’s Pie recipe made with beef. It will become a staple in your house if you give it a try!To be honest with you, there’s never been a day I’ve woken up totally excited to make a shepherd’s pie.

First, you have to make the mashed potatoes (which requires boiling the potatoes for 30-35 minutes, then you get to the mashing), next you cook the filling, and finally, you pop your pie into the oven to bake for what feels like an eternity. (Okay, I’m being dramatic. Twenty minutes isn’t that bad). However, this doesn’t seem to stop me from thinking of shepherd’s pie when I have some leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge that need to be used up fast.

In fact, suddenly the groundwork for this recipe becomes much more attractive. When you’ve already got your mashed potatoes made, cooking the savory filling is the only thing you need to do on the stove. Plus, if you use a cast iron pan to make the filling, you can top it with mashed potatoes directly in the pan and place it straight into the oven. You don’t even need to transfer your bottom layer to a baking dish. Now we’re talking!

A delicious, healthy, and classic Shepherd’s Pie recipe made with beef. It will become a staple in your house if you give it a try!By all means, feel free to use freshly mashed potatoes to make a super legit shepherd’s pie. I personally found that this shortcut made prep time go a lot smoother, and I thought you might enjoy this recipe for the next time you’ve got leftover mashed potatoes kicking around.

Traditionally, this is more of a “cottage pie” recipe, because traditional Irish shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, whereas cottage pie is made with beef. I have seen many variations of American-style shepherd’s pie recipes across the web, and many of them do use ground beef. Since this one does, too, we’ll call it a classic shepherd’s pie recipe instead of a traditional Irish version.

This shepherd’s pie recipe doesn’t skip out on flavor or nutrition. The rich flavors of tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, chicken bone broth, and red wine compliment the beef perfectly (and will also go well with ground turkey or ground lamb if you’d like to substitute).

Using chicken bone broth instead of regular stock or broth also adds a boost of collagen, which is a protein that helps promote healthy bones, joints, and skin. Each serving contains a small helping of veggies, such as onions, carrots, and sweet peas, to help keep the dish nutritious and the flavor well balanced.

A delicious and healthy Traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie recipe that will become a staple in your house if you give it a try!

Hearty, healthy, and simply delicious.

Note: This shepherd’s pie recipe is easy to customize, so if you don’t have chicken bone broth on hand, feel free to use vegetable or beef broth. I have also received some questions about omitting the wine, which you can totally do, but the wine really makes the flavor pop.

Hope you enjoy! If you love this recipe, don’t forget to keep it on hand for your holiday gatherings, St. Patrick’s Day festivities, or even those normal workday nights ;).


Classic Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

A delicious, healthy, and classic Shepherd’s Pie recipe made with beef. It will become a staple in your house if you give it a try!

  • Author: Sharon Chen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 34 large carrots, finely diced
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup chicken bone broth or chicken broth
  • 6 cups mashed potatoes (fresh or leftover)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • grated parmesan cheese or cheddar cheese (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan until hot. Sauté carrots in the olive oil until starting to get tender, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir in onions and garlic and sauté for a minute or two, then add ground beef. Season with salt and black pepper, add thyme, and cook until the meat mixture is browned; drain.
  4. Reduce to medium heat; add the butter and peas; stir until the butter is melted.
  5. Sprinkle with flour and stir until well blended.
  6. Add tomato paste, wine, and Worcestershire sauce.
  7. Cook until the beef mixture reduces slightly, then add the chicken bone broth. Allow the filling to thicken and season with more salt and pepper if desired.
  8. Remove from heat. Transfer the filling to a lightly greased casserole dish; spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes over top. Brush the surface with the beaten egg and sprinkle with cheese if using.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or until the potato is golden brown. Enjoy!


  • To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute 2 tablespoons cornstarch for the flour. Dissolve it in a little cold broth or water, then add the mixture at step 5.


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 458
  • Sugar: 9.6g
  • Sodium: 877.7mg
  • Fat: 19.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 9g
  • Trans Fat: 0.4g
  • Carbohydrates: 44.4g
  • Fiber: 7.6g
  • Protein: 25.4g
  • Cholesterol: 111.9mg

Keywords: shepherd's pie

This recipe was originally published in 2015 and updated in Nov, 2018.

A delicious and healthy and classic Shepherd’s Pie recipe made with beef. It will become a staple in your house if you give it a try!

61 thoughts on “Classic Shepherd’s Pie Recipe”

  1. I made this for my Scottish boyfriend, replacing the ground beef with ground lamb as others suggested. It was a hit and he had seconds! Thanks for a great recipe, Sharon

    1. You are very welcome, Judy! So happy to hear that your boyfriend enjoyed it. It’s your cooking and labor of love made it delicious. <3

  2. Love Shepherd’s Pie and make it every winter. This time I used your recipe but made it with ground lamb. I had never brushed the mashed potatoes with beaten egg before. but I think it makes them richer and they browned so nicely. Thanks for this recipe – it was the best I’ve ever made.

    1. Awesome sauce, Cheryl! So glad to hear it worked out well for you. Brushing with a beaten egg before baking is a technique you can use for other baked goodies as well like beef wellington, pot pie, etc. 🙂

  3. Traditional or not it’s a really good recipe with great flavor. I’ve made it with lamb and I’m trying it with elk tonight. Definitely a keeper and one of the few recipes that I don’t feel the need to tweak. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey Beth! Thanks for making this recipe. Happy to hear that it’s been working out well for you. Please keep me posted on how it turns out with elk. I’ve never had it before.

  4. Nice recipe, but about as Irish as The Queen (or Hugh Grant). And the cheese topping should be Double Gloucester, or a mix of Cheddar and Red Leicester.

    1. Thanks Sean! I realized that this is not really a traditional recipe after many people like you mentioned it in the comments. It’s more of an altered version. I’ll change the name of the recipe to avoid confusion in the future.

  5. can you use something other than chicken broth cause im allergic to chicken i was wondering if i could use something else

  6. I made this tonight in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. My son loved it! It took some time to make it, but worth it!

  7. This was devoured by my family. Excellent flavor. I do need to admit my spice loving teen topped it with salsa and said it tasted even better.

    1. Awesome to hear, Jeanine! So happy that your family loved it. haha… Your spice loving teen is a genius. I ate it with hot sauce. 😛

  8. I appreciate the hard work that goes towards this recipe and no doubt, I know it is delicious. However, this is not the traditional Irish shepherd’s pie recipe. It is very close, but there are a few key ingredients that make a huge difference in the taste and the way it will look when it’s finished…..one being to use ground Lamb or mutton….not beef. There are also some spices that are not included in this recipe. And sometimes, it is good to serve it with a fermented milk beverage and some soda bread to soak up the leftover juices and gravy from the pie.

    1. Hi Dom! Thank you so much for your comment. A few other commenters told me that the traditional shepherd’s pie calls for ground lamb as well. I intend to update this recipe based on what I learned from people like you. So thank you again! Using bread to soak up the leftover juices from the pie is a great idea. 🙂

  9. I just popped this in the oven, so haven’t tasted it yet. I used ground bison and topped it with cheddar cheese, which I suspect is slightly more authentic than Parmesan. I could be wrong, but either way I can’t wait to taste the final product.

  10. This looks like a nice recipe, however, I do have say, being that I live in Ireland, this is actually a Cottage Pie. A traditional shepherds pie uses lamb mince (ground lamb), not beef. I know it seems trivial, but that is a difference between the two. Also, Bangers and Mash is not a traditional Irish dish, it’s English as well as the pasties. And Corned Beef and Cabbage is and American Irish dish made by Irish immigrants in America, when looking to replace Bacon and Cabbage. Traditional Irish dishes are: Beef and Guinness Pie, Guinness Beef Stew, Dublin Coddle, Colcannon, Brown Soda Bread, Roast Chicken with Bacon and Leeks, lots of lamb, Black and White pudding, Rashers, etc.

    1. Hi Rachael! Thank you so much for the note and the information. I will keep all those traditional Irish dishes in mind. Very educational.

  11. I’m making this tonight! So excited to try it! I’ve been looking for a really good shepherds pie recipe forever and this one seems to look AMAZING! Can’t wait! ?

      1. Hmmm…if you can just add extra chicken broth in place of the red wine, it suggests the red wine adds nothing to the recipe.

        1. Hi Elsie! Thank you for your comment. Some people don’t use red wine for cooking or they are allergic to wine. The extra chicken broth is an option if others don’t want to cook with wine.

          1. You will loose tons of flavor when replacing the wine. Saying it doesn’t add anything means you’ve never cooked with wine. 😉 I don’t drink wine due to religious reasons. I will cook with wine due to flavor.

        2. Red wine adds a depth of flavor that you will miss when not cooking with it. I assure you it isn’t nothing. If you make it without the wine, I’m sure it will be good, but you will miss out on the depth of flavor that is out of this world! I don’t drink due to religious reasons, but I do cook with wine since the alcohol is cooked out. I once made beef bourguignon for my family and I had to double it. It took 2 bottles of red wine for what is essentially a French version of beef stew. This was being fed to a whole bunch of people who don’t drink wine due to religious reasons! 😂 My aunt asked me while I was making it, “does it really have to take wine?” My answer was a resounding YES! When it was finally done, and everyone was gorging themselves on this succulent meal with creamy mashed potatoes, I went to my aunt and asked if it needed the wine. With her mouth loaded and chewing and moaning around every bite, she nodded her head with a yes. See, without the wine it would’ve been a basic beef stew, which would be fine. With the wine, it was a mouth explosion of flavor that is so good, you would never consider NOT using the wine. So with your comment of the wine not adding anything to the recipe? Sure you can not use the wine, but it will be just good. Using the wine turns it into amazing! And I can say that without even trying the recipe. Do yourself a favor, they sell tiny wine bottles in a 4 pack. Go buy a pack and add the wine to this recipe. Flavor x10! Beer goes great in chili (they sell those by the bottle). Sherry makes the best BEST tomato soup. White wine and brandy makes the best BEST french onion soup.

      2. Try substituting Guinness stout for the red wine and most of the chicken stock. Also look for Bisto gravy pellets (available at World Market)

    1. If your concern is the alcohol, it will cook off. You will certainly lose some depth of flavor by omitting it, but additional chicken broth (or beef broth) should be fine. I suppose you could use some good quality balsamic (NOT a 1/4 cup!) to get some depth back.

  12. Hello! I’m excited to try this. I would like to make this dairy free, is the butter necessary? Thank you ????

    1. Hi Courtney! The butter is nice to have, but you can totally omit it to meet your own dietary needs. Hope you enjoy it! 🙂

  13. Hi, I’m sure this is a delicious recipe but a traditional Irish recipe it is not. Shepherds pie contains mince lamb, cottage pie contains mince beef, both of which are very traditional English dishes. Also Bacon and Cabbage is what’s eaten in Ireland not Corned beef and Cabbage.

    1. Oh Hi!! Thanks for the clarification. I must visit Ireland some day to really understand the food culture there. Thank you for your comment. It’s appreciated. 🙂

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