This Classic Shepherd’s Pie Recipe is gravy-soaked beefy goodness, with peas and carrots, covered with 5 pounds of potatoes. Because there are NEVER ENOUGH MASHED POTATOES. The best Shepherd’s Pie, done right my friends.

Classic Shepherd's Pie Recipe

Originally published February 23, 2016.

Have you ever taught a kid to roller skate before? Turns out I am literally the worst person in the world for this job. (Where is my parenting manual?? I know I’m going to need it come 6th grade math, too. Don’t judge me.) This about sums it up:

Learning how to skate - Shepard's pie

Here’s Charlotte and I at her cousin’s birthday party at the skating rink. You will note that I am most certainly not wearing roller skates. If I had, we would BOTH be sprawled out under the disco lights.

Shepards Pie

“Stand straight. Lean into it. Glide your skates OUTward. Hold tight. Don’t slip! Find your balance.”

Seriously, “find your balance?” “glide outward”? SHE’S FIVE. It’s like I’m giving yoga instructions to a puppy. No wonder she’s holding on for dear life in that photo. I may as well be telling her to do the crow pose.

I was laughing, but that’s because I only had one kid at the party. You should have seen the mom’s trying to drag 2 or even 3 kids along. Note: a 5-year-old wielding a roller-skate-clad foot is a danger to innocent feet everywhere.

Shepherds Pie Recipe

Now Charlotte is asking for her own pair of roller skates. I am now preemptively collecting donations for her body cast. And for my pair of steel-toed shoes.

how to make easy shepherd's pie filling

Best Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Do you love Shepherd’s Pie as much as I do? We didn’t have the traditional version growing up. My mom made “Meat and Potato Stuff.” No, I’m not kidding. (We also had “Chicken and Broccoli Stuff.” Bless your heart Mom.) Meat and Potato Stuff had tomato sauce and was basically Sloppy Joe Casserole. (Which explains why I was not into it. Sloppy Joes are gross. Slop sloppy joes…slop, sloppy joes.)

THIS Shepherd’s Pie however, is anything but sloppy. You make a flavorful gravy with beef broth and ground beef, add some peas and carrots, and cover it up with All The Potatoes. In my opinion, the greatest fault of most Shepherd’s Pies is a serious lack of creamy potato-y goodness. It’s all meat, tiny potatoes. Not gonna cut it for this mashed potato freak. 5 pounds definitely does the trick though!

How to make Shepherd's Pie
Allllllll the potatoes.

Top it off with some cheddar cheese that you broil for a few minutes to make it extra crispy. Mm-mm. Invite the neighbors because this casserole feeds a small army!

Shepherd's Pie Recipe

layering sheppards pie recipe

adding cheesy topping to sheppard's pie

Try not to drop your plate of shredded cheese on top.

If you make this Shepherd’s Pie, snap a photo and tag #TheFoodCharlatan on Instagram! I love seeing what you’re making! Here’s a link to a pin where over 150 people have tried this recipe and shared their review. Check it out!

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One year ago: Texas Cowboy Cookies
Four years ago: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut-Lime Sauce
Six years ago: Quick Lunch Wraps with Cream Cheese and Avocado


Shepherd's Pie with Ground Beef

4.84 from 18 votes
Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 8 Servings
This Classic Shepherd's Pie Recipe is gravy-soaked beefy goodness, with peas and carrots, covered with 5 pounds of potatoes. Never enough mashed potatoes!


For the mashed potatoes:

  • 5 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 or 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, 1 stick
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup milk, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

For the beef mixture:

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, 1/2 stick
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4-5 medium carrots, (about 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 & 1/2 pounds ground ground beef
  • 1 & 1/2 cups beef broth, *
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon paste*, see note
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • Fill a large stock pot with plenty of water. Add the chopped potatoes and make sure the water covers them.
  • Bring to a boil, covered, over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and continue boiling for about 20-25 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender.
  • Drain the potatoes and return to the pot.
  • Add 1/2 cup butter. Mash with a potato masher or mixer until they are as smooth as you like them.
  • Stir in sour cream, milk, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, seasoning salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. All seasonings are to taste. Cover and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and carrots. Saute for about 8 minutes, until the carrots are tender.
  • Add the ground beef and cook and crumble until no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes.
  • Drain the fat.
  • Add the frozen peas.
  • In a small bowl, stir together beef broth* and cornstarch.
  • Add this mixture to the meat, as well as the Worcestershire sauce.
  • Cook over high heat for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture boils and the sauce has thickened. Cook and reduce until it has reached a consistency you like.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Taste it and see how you like it! Add other seasonings if you want.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Pour the meat mixture into a deep 9x13 inch casserole dish.
  • Top with the mashed potatoes and spread evenly.
  • Top with cheddar cheese.
  • Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until bubbly. (You could do 375 if you are in a hurry. Check it at 20 minutes.)
  • Broil on the top rack for about 2 minutes if you are obsessed with crunchy brown cheese like my family is. Don't walk away!!
  • Now invite over the neighbors. Because this pie feeds a crowd!


*I'm a little obsessed with Better Than Bouillon. I use 1 teaspoon of the stuff per cup of water to equal however many cups of broth I need. (so for this recipe, 1 and 1/2 cups water + 1 and 1/2 teaspoons paste.) I tried this the second time with 1 and 1/2 cups beef broth from a box, but I still added one teaspoon of Better than Bouillon. It just adds so much flavor!
All of the seasonings in the mashed potatoes are totally according to taste, of course! If it doesn't taste like you want to eat 12 more bites when you taste it, add more salt :)


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 726kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 129mg | Sodium: 1405mg | Potassium: 1699mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 6089IU | Vitamin C: 70mg | Calcium: 210mg | Iron: 5mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Calories: 726
Keyword: pie, shepherds
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

More casseroles to love!

Easy Cheesy Ravioli Lasagna << family classic right here! Too easy.

Easy Ravioli Lasagna from The Food Charlatan

Easy Cheesy Asparagus Tortellini Bake:

Easy Cheesy Asparagus Tortellini Bake from

Chicken and Broccoli Stuff << my mom’s recipe!

Chicken and Broccoli Stuff from

Chicken Crepes << another one from my mom. It’s soooooo good.

Chicken Crepes with Jalapeno Cheese from

More Shepherd’s Pie from friends!

Easy Shepherd’s Pie from Simply Recipes << this is the recipe that inspired my version. Elise’s blog is so amazing!
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie from Budget Bytes << I’m trying this version next!
Shepherd’s Pie from Life in the Lofthouse

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  1. 5 stars
    Coming back years later to give a five-star review. This is an absolute favorite in my family. Like, truly delicious. I’m making it this week for a friend who just had surgery, and doubling it to make it for my family as well. Love it!

    1. Well this is the sweetest! Thank you for coming back to review Coby! I’m sure your friend is going to love you even more now :) SO glad you have loved the recipe, thank you for taking the time!

  2. 5 stars
    You have described the recipe so nicely that really helped me. I am pretty sure now to make it at home like yours. Looking forward for more of such delicious recipes in future too.

  3. My first serving of this Shepherds Pie was way back in the 60’s, in school when cafeteria ladies actually cooked from scratch. I loved it so, but never had a easy, delicious recipe. You make it so easy, I am going to try this. It has everything in it that I love, and enough to share with my niece and her family. Thanks so much, and for bringing back the almost lost memories.

    1. Hi Marcy! I would not freeze mashed potatoes, it doesn’t go well. But you can freeze the other part and have it ready all ready to go!

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe is so underrated. I’ve used it for about 2 years now, typically for my husband who loves it or for potlucks, everyone asks for the recipe. It also introduced the glory of Better Than Bouillon!

    1. I’m so glad you have been enjoying it Cassandra! Thank you so much for the 5 star rating! I just implemented the rating system on my site (like, last week), so people have not had the opportunity to rate it much yet. But a 5 star rating on any of my recipes is always appreciated so thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    I don’t care if it’s called Shepherd’s pie or cottage pie, this recipe is fantastic! The second time I made it I didn’t drain the beef fat. It adds so much depth to the flavor!

  6. 4 stars
    Very good recipe. I do have to take note that as a Brit, this is technically not Shepherd’s Pie, this is Cottage Pie. A lot of non-English folks get this wrong. ;-) Shepherds pie is Lamb meat, cottage pie is beef. In our house, my mum use to add an extra layer of cheese, which made it especially gooey. This is a very tasty recipe though.

  7. Hi Karen! I’ve never made an apple pie, and we never had them growing up, because my mom is allergic to apples. I’m trying my hand at making my first apple pie with your recipe. I just recently starting cooking a little more than quick meals and I’m super excited. Your instructions are so thorough, so I believe I can do it! Have a great weekend!!!

  8. This recipe is EXCELLENT! I have made it many times and it’s a family favorite. In fact, it’s what’s for dinner tonight! I have made some changes as follows, without changing the recipe’s integrity, I think. Please note these tweaks came after making the dish as is the very first time, which for folks who prefer less spice (the added powders) is still awesome!

    For mashed potatoes:
    ***I use 3.5 – 4 lbs (instead of suggested 5 lbs). We have found that when I have used 5 lbs, the potatoes really absorb the liquid and there just isn’t much in the leftovers the 2nd night.
    ***I double the seasoning salt, garlic powder & onion powder

    For beef mixture (we like to have leftovers):
    ***I use 2 lbs of ground meat, which just creates an overall bigger dish
    ***To balance the added meat, I add more carrots
    ***I am generous with the Better Than Bouillon paste (2-3 tsp). No doubt, this ingredient is so good!
    ***The Better Than Bouillon is fairly and so I don’t usually add anymore salt than called for.
    ***I also add more beef broth and little more cornstarch, to balance out the fact that I add more meat and carrots.

    Those are my tweaks after making the dish as is the very first time

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