shepherd's pie recipe
Pie Recipe

Classic Shepherd’s Pie Recipe – Homestyle Comfort


Hello, and welcome to my classic shepherd’s pie recipe – the ultimate homestyle comfort food. If you’re looking for a hearty and satisfying meal that’s easy to prepare, then this recipe is perfect for you. Made with rich minced lamb and topped with a velvety potato mash, this dish is the ultimate crowd-pleaser that’s perfect for cosy nights in with loved ones.

In this section, I’ll be sharing my step-by-step guide on how to create this beloved British classic in the comfort of your own home. You don’t need to be a seasoned cook to whip up this delicious meal – just follow my instructions, and you’ll have a mouth-watering shepherd’s pie ready in no time.

Shepherd’s Pie – A Traditional British Dish

Shepherd’s pie is a beloved traditional British dish that has been enjoyed for generations. This savoury pie consists of a rich and flavourful filling of minced lamb and a topping of creamy mashed potatoes. Originally, the dish was created as a way to use up leftover roast meat, but over time it has become a staple comfort food in households across the United Kingdom.

The Origins of Shepherd’s Pie

“Shepherd’s Pie was originally known as Cottage Pie. It was a way of using up leftover beef.” – Jamie Oliver

The dish was later adapted to use minced lamb instead, and given the name “shepherd’s pie” to reflect the meat being used.

Recipes for Shepherd’s Pie

There are countless variations of shepherd’s pie, but at its core, the dish consists of a few key ingredients. A shepherd’s pie recipe typically includes minced lamb, onions, carrots, peas, beef stock, and herbs and spices for flavour. The mashed potato topping adds an extra layer of comfort and richness to the dish.

Types of Shepherd’s Pie

Type of Shepherd’s Pie Distinguishing Characteristics
Classic Shepherd’s Pie Minced lamb, carrots, onions, peas, and a creamy potato topping
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie A mix of vegetables such as carrots, mushrooms, and onions, with a lentil or mushroom filling and mashed potato topping
Shepherdess Pie Uses similar ingredients as the classic, but substitutes ground beef for the lamb

Where to Find the Best Shepherd’s Pie

While many households across the United Kingdom have their own recipe for shepherd’s pie, there are also plenty of restaurants, pubs, and cafes that serve up their own version of this classic dish. Some popular spots for a tasty shepherd’s pie include The Wolseley in London and The Churchill Arms in Kensington.

Gather Your Ingredients

For a classic shepherd’s pie recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Ingredients Quantities
Minced lamb 500g
Potatoes 1kg
Onions 2 medium, chopped
Carrots 2 medium, peeled and diced
Peas 200g, frozen
Beef stock 300ml
Garlic 2 cloves, minced
Thyme 2 tsp, dried
Rosemary 2 tsp, dried
Worcestershire sauce 2 tbsp

Note: If you prefer a vegetarian version of the dish, swap the minced lamb for lentils or other meatless alternatives.

Make sure to have all the ingredients ready before you start cooking, as preparation and timing are crucial to ensure the perfect shepherd’s pie.

Preparing the Filling

To create the delicious filling for your shepherd’s pie, I start by sautéing the onions and carrots until they’re soft and fragrant. This process adds a depth of flavor to the dish. Then, I add the minced lamb and cook it until it’s nicely browned. This combination of vegetables and meat is what makes shepherd’s pie so hearty and filling.

Once the lamb is browned, I stir in the peas, beef stock, and herbs. Here, you can add your own touch by choosing the herbs you like. For example, I usually add rosemary for that warm, woody flavor that complements the lamb and vegetables so well. I let the mixture simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, allowing all the flavors to meld together.

Making it vegetarian-friendly

If you’re looking for ways to make this dish vegetarian, try replacing the meat with mushrooms. Portobello mushrooms work particularly well as they have a hearty texture and a meaty taste that’s perfect for replicating the flavors of the original dish. I also like to add some lentils to the mix as they provide an excellent source of protein.

TIP: If you love the meaty flavor but want to reduce the fat content, try using turkey mince instead of lamb. Turkey mince is leaner and has a slightly milder flavor than lamb, making it a great alternative.

Creating the Perfect Potato Topping

Now that we have the savory lamb filling ready, it’s time to move on to the star of the show: the mashed potato topping. To create a velvety and creamy texture, I recommend using floury potatoes as they will absorb the butter and milk better. You can use a potato masher or a food processor to mash the potatoes, depending on your preference.

Here’s how to create the perfect potato topping for your shepherd’s pie recipe:

  1. Peel and chop the potatoes into large chunks. Rinse in cold water to remove excess starch.
  2. Place the potatoes in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, which should take about 20 minutes.
  3. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add a generous knob of butter and 1/4 cup of milk, then mash until smooth. If the mixture looks dry, add more milk or butter as needed to achieve the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the lamb filling in the baking dish. Use a fork to give the surface a grooved texture. This will help the potatoes develop a golden and crispy crust when baked.

As a final touch, you can sprinkle grated cheese on top of the potatoes if you desire an even richer flavor.

Shepherd's Pie Recipe

Tip: To save time, you can make the potato topping in advance and store it covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Bring it to room temperature before using it to top the lamb filling.

Assembling and Baking

With the filling and potato topping ready, it’s time to assemble your shepherd’s pie. First, preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Then, pour the lamb filling into a baking dish and spread it out evenly. Take the mashed potatoes and spread them on top of the lamb filling, also ensuring even coverage. Add a few decorative patterns on the potatoes with a fork for a fancy touch. Place the baking dish into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Once 30 minutes have elapsed, remove the shepherd’s pie from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Slice and serve while still hot for best taste.

If you’re looking for some complementary tastes to go along with your shepherd’s pie recipe, consider serving it with a fresh side salad or some buttered green beans. The savory flavors of your pie will be balanced out by the refreshing taste of the greens, making it a well-rounded and complete meal.

Serving Suggestions

Now that you have prepared your delicious shepherd’s pie, it’s time to think about some appetizing sides to make it even more satisfying.

  • Buttered Green Beans – These bright and fresh-tasting beans are always a great complement to a hearty pie. Simply blanch them for a few minutes, toss with butter, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and serve hot.
  • Fresh Salad – A colourful salad is another excellent option to balance the richness of the lamb filling. You can use a mix of greens, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and avocado, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Roasted Carrots – This simple roasted side dish adds a touch of sweetness and texture to your meal. Toss whole carrots in olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs, then bake them in the oven for around 20 minutes or until tender.

Experiment with different sides to find the perfect pairing for your shepherd’s pie. Presentation is also key – try serving your meal on a beautiful platter and garnish with fresh herbs for an added touch of elegance.

Shepherd’s Pie Recipe by Gordon Ramsay

If you’re a fan of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, you’ll be pleased to know that he also has his own version of the classic shepherd’s pie recipe. While the core ingredients remain the same, Ramsay adds his unique twist to elevate the flavors and presentation of the dish.

Gordon Ramsay’s Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Ingredients Instructions
  • 1 lb. minced lamb
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tbsp. rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup milk, warmed
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the minced lamb and cook until browned.
  3. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes until softened.
  4. Add the carrots and cook for 10 minutes until softened.
  5. Stir in the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, beef stock, and rosemary. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until tender. Drain and mash with the milk and butter.
  7. Stir in the frozen peas to the lamb mixture and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Pour the lamb mixture into an ovenproof dish and spread the mashed potatoes on top.
  9. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden and crispy.

This recipe by Gordon Ramsay is a delicious take on the classic shepherd’s pie. His addition of rosemary and Worcestershire sauce adds an extra dimension of flavor that perfectly complements the creamy potato topping. A warm and hearty meal that’s perfect for a cozy night in with friends and family.

Tips and Variations

There are a few ways to add your own spin to the classic shepherd’s pie recipe. Here are some tips to make your dish even more delicious:

1. Try Different Meat

While minced lamb is the traditional meat used in shepherd’s pie, you can switch it up and use minced beef or even ground turkey for a healthier option.

2. Experiment with Vegetables

Don’t be afraid to add your favourite vegetables to the filling – try sweetcorn, mushrooms, or even roasted butternut squash for a unique twist.

3. Play with Herbs and Spices

Add extra flavour to your shepherd’s pie by experimenting with different herbs and spices. Rosemary, thyme, and sage all work well, or try adding a pinch of chilli flakes for a spicy kick.

4. Add a Cheesy Topping

Topped with cheese, this dish is taken to a whole new level. Try using cheddar or parmesan cheese on top of the potatoes to create a mouthwatering crispy crust.

5. Make It Vegan

For a vegan version, swap the meat for lentils or mushrooms and use vegetable stock instead of beef stock. You can also use vegan butter and soy milk in the potato topping.

6. Make Mini Pies

If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to serve your shepherd’s pie, try making mini pies! Simply use a muffin tin and cut circles of pastry to fit inside each case. Spoon the filling and potato topping into each case and bake until golden.

shepherd's pie recipe

“Shepherd’s pie is a versatile dish that can be personalised to your taste preferences.”


In conclusion, making a classic shepherd’s pie recipe is a wonderful way to bring warmth and comfort to your home. This beloved British dish has been enjoyed for generations and continues to be a staple comfort food in households across the United Kingdom. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily recreate this homestyle favorite in your own kitchen.

Remember to gather all the necessary ingredients, prepare the filling by sautéing the onions and carrots, adding minced lamb, peas, beef stock and herbs, and create the perfect potato topping by boiling and mashing the potatoes with butter and milk.

Then, simply assemble and bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. To elevate the flavors and presentation of the dish, consider incorporating some tips and variations such as experimenting with spices or using different types of meat.

Whether you’re looking for a hearty weeknight meal or a crowd-pleasing dinner party dish, shepherd’s pie is always a reliable choice. So why not make this delicious shepherd’s pie recipe for your family and friends today?


Is shepherd’s pie the same as cottage pie?

No, shepherd’s pie and cottage pie are similar but not the same. Shepherd’s pie traditionally uses minced lamb as the filling, while cottage pie typically uses minced beef. Both are topped with mashed potatoes and baked, but the meat filling is the main distinguishing factor.

Can I use ground beef instead of minced lamb?

Absolutely! If you prefer a beefy twist on the classic recipe, you can substitute ground beef for minced lamb. This variation is often referred to as cottage pie.

Can I make shepherd’s pie ahead of time?

Yes, you can make shepherd’s pie ahead of time. After assembling the pie, you can refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking. This is a great option for busy weeknights or when you want to prepare in advance for a special occasion.

Can I freeze shepherd’s pie?

Yes, shepherd’s pie can be frozen for future meals. To freeze, make sure the pie is completely cool, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and foil, and place it in the freezer. It can be stored for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw the pie in the refrigerator overnight and then bake as usual.

Are there vegetarian or vegan versions of shepherd’s pie?

Yes, there are vegetarian and vegan versions of shepherd’s pie. For a vegetarian option, you can replace the minced lamb with lentils or a meat substitute like crumbled tofu. To make it vegan, ensure that your mashed potato topping is dairy-free by using plant-based milk and vegan butter.

What herbs and spices can I use in my shepherd’s pie?

Common herbs and spices used in shepherd’s pie include thyme, rosemary, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste. These ingredients add depth and flavor to the filling. Feel free to experiment and adjust the seasoning to your taste preferences.

Can I add cheese on top of the potato topping?

Yes, you can certainly add cheese on top of the potato topping for an extra indulgent twist. Cheddar cheese is a popular choice, but you can use any melted cheese that you enjoy.

What side dishes go well with shepherd’s pie?

Shepherd’s pie is a complete meal on its own, but it pairs well with some tasty side dishes. Consider serving it with buttered green beans, steamed broccoli, or a crisp garden salad to add some freshness to your plate.

Can I make Gordon Ramsay’s version of shepherd’s pie?

Absolutely! Gordon Ramsay’s shepherd’s pie recipe adds his personal touch to the traditional dish. You can find his version online or in one of his cookbooks. Give it a try to experience his unique flavors and culinary expertise.

How can I make a gluten-free shepherd’s pie?

To make a gluten-free shepherd’s pie, ensure that all your ingredients, such as beef stock and Worcestershire sauce, are gluten-free. For the mashed potato topping, use a gluten-free flour or skip the flour altogether if your potatoes mash well without it.

Can I use sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes for the topping?

Yes, you can substitute regular potatoes with sweet potatoes for a delicious twist. Sweet potatoes add a hint of sweetness and a vibrant color to your shepherd’s pie. Simply boil and mash the sweet potatoes as you would with regular potatoes.

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