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

Mashed Potatoes, Corned Beef & Cabbage, Bangers & Mash, Pastie, Dublin Coddle and Shepherd’s Pie…

How many dishes was that? Five? Six!

That’s how many traditional Irish dishes I have ever tried so far. And I have to say that out of this handful list, Shepherd’s Pie is by far my favorite.

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

To be honest, there’s no such day when I wake up in the morning and feel like making a shepherd’s pie. Because you are gonna make mashed potatoes first which requires boiling potatoes for 30-35 minutes, mash them, and then cook the filling, and then bake the pie. I feel like that’s too much effort and time spent on a dish that’s supposed to be comforting. (Don’t get me wrong. You are absolutely encouraged to make a super legit and hearty shepherd’s pie with fresh mashed potatoes if you prefer.)

However, whenever I want to kill leftover mashed potatoes, shepherd’s pie becomes the first thing that comes to my mind. Cooking a savory filling is the only thing you need to do on the stove. That seems to make things a lot easier and manageable, right?

If you use a cast iron pan, you don’t even have to transfer the filling to a baking dish before covering it with mashed potatoes. The whole thing can be done in just one pot. Now, that sounds a lot more attractive, doesn’t it?

And this Traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie is most likely going to be a staple in your house if you give it a try. Next time, you have mashed potatoes in your kitchen, you are going to attempt to make this shepherd’s pie because it’s THAT good!

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

Cooked in a combination of tomato paste, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, chicken bone broth (you can use chicken broth or even beef broth) and fresh thyme, the sauce of the filling is so tasty and rich that it goes well with ground lamb, ground turkey or ground beef. In this recipe, I used ground beef. Onions, carrots, and sweet peas help keep the dish nutritious and balance well with the meat as well as the creamy mashed potatoes.

It’s meaty, healthy, and simply delicious! Hope you enjoy!


Traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie

Traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie

A delicious and healthy traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie recipe that 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
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Irish


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3-4 large carrots, finely diced
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 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 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 (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 sauté for a minute or two, then add ground beef; season with salt and black pepper; add thyme; cook until the meat 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 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 slightly greased baking dish; spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes over top. Brush the surface with the beaten egg and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if using.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or until the potato is golden brown. Enjoy!


  • 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

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

44 thoughts on “Traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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. 😛

  6. 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. 🙂

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    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.

    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! 🙂

  10. 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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