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Easy Shepherd’s Pie, a rich, savory casserole of ground meat and vegetables baked with mashed potatoes on top, was one of my favorite dinners as a kid (mostly for the potatoes). Today I love it even more for the hearty filling—and the quick prep time!

easy shepherds pie topped with mashed potatoes in a bowl with a spoon

Why You’ll Love this Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

  • Simple and Easy. This easy shepherd’s pie recipe can be made even easier with prep before! Use bag of frozen peas and carrots, instead of chopping the veggies. And if you make the mashed potatoes ahead, you can have it in the oven even faster.
  • Make a Classic Your Own. Technically speaking, what I grew up eating was cottage pie, since the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie is the kind of meat used. Shepherd’s pie uses ground lamb, while cottage pie uses ground beef. Most of the time in the U.S., we say “shepherd’s pie” for both.
  • Meat and Potatoes. This recipe is my take on traditional shepherd’s pie, and it’s anything but stodgy. This shepherd’s pie with gravy is scrumptious. Plus, as recipes like Ground Beef and Potatoes and Instant Pot Pot Roast demonstrate, meat and potatoes can be pretty darn fantastic!
  • Best Ever Filling. The shepherd’s pie seasoning includes garlic, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and thyme. They are simple and yet make all the difference in creating a rich shepherd’s pie filling.
Easy shepherd's pie being scooped out with a spoon

5 Star Review

“I’ve tried many shepherd’s pie recipes over the years, but this one is by far my favorite. It’s easy to follow, the ingredients are readily available.”

— Lindsey —

How to Make Easy Shepherd’s Pie

The Ingredients

  • Mashed Potato Topping. If you don’t have Russet potatoes on hand, swapping Yukon gold potatoes is the best substitute. Prefer a sweet potato shepherd’s pie? Experiment with swapping sweet potatoes instead. You also can use leftovers from the Best Mashed Potatoes ever or Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Just add an egg yolk.
  • Ground Beef. A classic shepherd’s pie recipe is typically made with ground lamb, but beef is more common in the States. You can also use ground turkey if you’d like. (Looking for a way to make this vegetarian? Check out my Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie.)
  • Onion + Garlic. Powerful flavor builders.
  • Tomato Paste. Instead of an easy shepherd’s pie with tomato sauce, we’re using tomato paste. It adds rich, concentrated tomato flavor to the meat mixture.
  • Beef Broth. Savory, and deeply flavorful, the beef broth adds liquid to the base of the dish. You can swap the beef broth for chicken broth if you prefer. For an Irish shepherd’s pie, swap the beef broth for Guinness.
  • Worcestershire Sauce. Adds wonderful umami flavor.
  • Fresh Thyme + Bay Leaf. Earthy, herby additions that cut through the richness.
  • Frozen Vegetables. Three cheers for an easy shepherd’s pie with frozen vegetables! I used a bag of frozen peas and carrots for convenience.

The Directions

Cooked potatoes in a strainer
  1. Prepare Potatoes. Cut, boil, and drain the potatoes.
Potatoes being mashed for shepherd's pie
  1. Mash. Be careful not to overwork them.
Mashed potatoes in a pan
  1. Stir in Butter. Until it’s mostly melted. YUM.
Ingredients for mashed potato topping in a measuring cup
  1. Prepare the Milk and Egg. Whisk them together.
Mashed potatoes in a pan for shepherd's pie
  1. Stir into Potatoes. Gently until combined.
Onions in a skillet
  1. Saute Aromatics. For the filling.
Onion, garlic, and tomato paste cooking in a skillet
  1. Continue to Saute. Add the garlic and tomato paste.
Ground meat being stirred in a skillet for easy shepherd's pie
  1. Add Meat. Start to brown it.
Flour being stirred into the meat filling for shepherd's pie
  1. Add Flour. Sprinkle it over the meat.
Broth being poured into a skillet of meat
  1. Simmer. Add the broth, Worcestershire, and herbs. Simmer for 10 minutes to thicken the gravy.
Frozen peas and carrots being stirred into a skillet for shepherd's pie
  1. Add Veggies. No need to thaw them first.
The base for easy shepherd's pie in a baking dish
  1. Add to Baking Dish. Spread the meat mixture into the bottom of a baking dish coated with nonstick spray.
Mashed potatoes being added on top of an easy shepherd's pie ingredients in a baking dish
  1. Add Potatoes and Bake. Add the topping, spreading it into an even layer. Bake shepherd’s pie at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then ENJOY!
Easy shepherd's pie served on a plate with lettuce

Recipe Variations

  • Dairy-Free Shepherd’s Pie. Use a vegan butter substitute, dairy free milk, and vegan Parmesan.
  • Gluten-Free Shepherd’s Pie. To make this a gluten free recipe for shepherd’s pie, swap the all-purpose flour for a 1:1 gluten free flour like this one.
  • Shepherd’s Pie With Sweet Potatoes. You can easily swap this mashed potato topping for Mashed Sweet Potatoes or Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes (no need to add the egg).
  • Shepherd’s Pie With Cauliflower. Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes is another option for topping this easy shepherd’s pie.
  • Shepherd’s Pie With Cheese. Add shredded cheddar cheese over the mashed potatoes to make your shepherd’s pie cheesy. Mmmmmm.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. 
  • To Reheat. Rewarm shepherd’s pie in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave. 
  • To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 

Meal Prep Tip

Up to 1 day in advance, prepare the mashed potato topping as directed. Refrigerate it in an airtight storage container until you’re ready to finish the recipe.

A baking dish of easy shepherd's pie with a piece missing

What to Serve with Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Cut the Potatoes into Even Pieces. This ensures that they’re all tender and finished cooking at the same time.
  • Dry the Potatoes a Bit, If Needed. For that signature light-and-fluffy texture, you can cook the drained potatoes in the pot a bit until the excess water evaporates. Once they’re dry, they’re ready to be mashed.
  • Drain Off Any Grease. You might not have any grease to drain off from the ground meat, but if you do, it’s a good idea to drain it off or transfer the filling to the casserole dish using a slotted spoon.
  • Give It a Quick Broil. If, after the cooking time is done, the top of the mashed potatoes isn’t browned in spots, you can turn on the broiler for a minute or two to get those brown and crispy bits that make shepherd’s pie so irresistible!
Easy shepherd's pie on a plate with lettuce

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

5 from 24 votes
An easy shepherd's pie recipe with savory ground beef or ground lamb filling, frozen veggies, and creamy mashed potatoes baked on top.

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes

Servings: 6 (to 8) servings


For the Mashed Potato Topping:

  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter diced
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk or half-and-half
  • 1 large egg yolk

For the Meat Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or ground lamb
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup less sodium beef broth or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 (10- to 12-ounce) bag frozen peas and carrots no need to thaw


  • Boil the potatoes for the topping: Peel the potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a medium saucepan. Add enough cool water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Cover the pot and bring to boil over high heat. As soon as the water is boiling, uncover, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a gentle, steady simmer, until potatoes are fork tender, about 12 to 16 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan. If the potatoes are very moist, heat the saucepan over low, shaking it occasionally, until any liquid on the surface of the potatoes has cooked off, about 1 minute, then remove from the heat.
  • Mix the topping together: With a potato masher or wooden spoon, mash the potatoes well. Scatter the butter pieces over the top. Add the Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
  • With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir a few times, until the butter is mostly melted.
  • In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup with a spout, whisk together the milk and egg yolk.
  • Add to the potatoes. Stir to combine. The potatoes should be rich and fluffy.
  • Make the filling: Coat a 9×9, 8×10, or 11×7 casserole dish with nonstick spray. Place rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 400℉. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once it is hot and shimmering, add the onion and cook until it is beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and tomato paste. Stirring continuously, cook 30 seconds.
  • Add the beef (or lamb), salt, and pepper. Cook, breaking apart the meat, until it is browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes. If there is excess grease in the pan, carefully drain it off (this should not be a problem if your beef is around 93% lean).
  • Sprinkle the flour over the top, and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the broth, Worcestershire, thyme, and bay leaf. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck-on browned bits. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low, then cover the pan and let simmer gently until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove the thyme and bay leaf. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
  • Stir in the peas and carrots.
  • Transfer the meat mixture to the prepared dish, spreading it into an even layer.
  • Add the mashed potatoes by spoonfuls over the top, starting around the edges to create a “seal” (this will prevent the filling from bubbling up). With a spatula, gently spread the potatoes into an even layer.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper, then place the dish on top (this will catch any parts of the filling that bubble over). Bake the shepherd's pie uncovered on the center rack for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to brown. Let cool for at least 10 minutes prior to serving.



  • TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. 
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm shepherd’s pie in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave. 
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 


Serving: 1(of 6)Calories: 351kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 24gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 98mgPotassium: 1030mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2735IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 101mgIron: 4mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. This recipe was quick and easy as well as delicious. Followed the recipe and instructed since it was my first time making it. Next time I’ll probably add diced tomatoes to the meat filling as well.5 stars

  2. My boyfriend and I are OBSESSED with this recipe! Made it the other night for our family and it was such a hit! Just actually had some re-heated for lunch today. Will be making this again!!5 stars

  3. We LOVE this recipe so much! It is easy and just has the best flavor. I sometimes use prepared mashed potatoes if I am short on time, but love to make the mashed potatoes when I have some more band-width. I use carrots, onion and celery for the veggies since hubby won’t touch a pea. Ha ha!! Seriously though, this is just such a delicious recipe and on the rotation. It is in the oven right now and I am SO excited for dinner. :)5 stars

  4. no way to print the recipe due to ads covering the ingredients list and instructions. tried a million ways without success.

    1. Hi Emily, we are so sorry you are having an issue with printing. We’d really like to troubleshoot this to make sure this doesn’t keep happening, could you tell us if you are trying on mobile or desktop? Are you hitting the “jump to recipe” button first and going straight to the recipe? Then clicking the print button? Are you seeing X on the ad to remove it? Thank you for your help!

  5. I made this for dinner the other night following the directions pretty much exactly. I used ground venison and omitted the garlic due to dietary restrictions. After baking for 25 minutes I put some butter on top of the potatoes and broiled the shepherds pie until the potatoes were golden brown.

    Everyone in the family loved this recipe! In fact, my 90 yr old FIL said it was the best Shepherd’s Pie he ever tasted! That’s saying something as he is Pa Dutch and my husband’s family probably ate Shepherd’s Pie weekly growing up! Thank you for a fantastic recipe that even impressed a 90 yr old crotchety Dutchman!5 stars

  6. I made this on St. Patrick’s Day and the family loved it. Easy to make and tastes deliciious.5 stars

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