This Shepherd’s Pie is a classic cozy comfort food! Juicy ground beef and veggies simmered in a rich tomato sauce, then topped with creamy mashed potatoes.
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Shepherd’s Pie is one of those classic comforting meals that you can whip up any time and it just sounds good.
Flavorful ground beef in a rich tomato-y sauce with the perfect blend of veggies all topped off with a layer of buttery, creamy mashed potatoes. I mean, does comfort food get any better than that?
I know we all have our own version of this classic (and yes, we’ll get into the lamb v. beef debate down below!), but this is mine, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
- Oil: use a neutral flavored oil to sauté the veggies and brown the beef.
- Aromatics: we’re creating a flavor base with the classic veggie trio made up of carrots, celery, and onion.
- Seasonings: a simple blend of salt, minced garlic, and black pepper kick the flavor of the ground beef up a notch.
- Ground Beef: use lean ground beef so it isn’t too oily. You can also swap this with ground pork, turkey or chicken.
- Beef Broth and Cornstarch: whisked together to form a slurry which helps absorb moisture and thicken the beef mixture.
- Ketchup and Tomato Paste: adds richness and flavor to the sauce.
- Worcestershire Sauce: provides the tomato sauce with a subtle salty tang.
- Frozen Veggies: we’re adding some extra color and texture with the addition of frozen peas and frozen corn.
- Mashed Potatoes: we’re making a quick homemade mashed potatoes recipe with russet or golden potatoes, milk, butter, dried parsley, salt, and pepper.
How to Make Shepherd’s Pie
This classic comfort food recipe takes just 15 minutes to prep!
- Sauté the aromatics and beef: In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat, then add in the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook until translucent, then add in garlic, salt, pepper, and beef. Continue cooking until the beef is browned.
- Make the sauce: In a bowl, whisk together broth and cornstarch. Add that to the skillet, then mix in ketchup, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, peas, and corn. Cook until thickened.
- Make the potatoes: Place potatoes into a pot of cold water, salt well, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until softened, then drain the water. To the potatoes, add milk, butter, and seasonings. Mash until smooth.
- Assemble the pie: Spread mashed potatoes over the beef mixture, then brush the top with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Bake until heated through.
Shepherd’s Pie FAQs
Traditional shepherd’s pie is a minced meat pie made up of a mixture of ground lamb, veggies, and seasonings topped off with mashed potatoes.
The key difference between cottage pie and Shepherd’s Pie is the meat. Traditional shepherd’s pie is actually made using ground lamb, while cottage pie is made using ground beef. So, I guess this recipe is technically a cottage pie, but we always called it Shepherd’s Pie growing up!
Leftover Shepherd’s Pie will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge, then warm covered in the oven or in the microwave until heated through.
- Use another meat. Ground lamb or ground turkey would also be delicious.
- Try other potatoes. You can put any mashed potatoes you like over your ground beef and veggies. Try Cheesy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, or Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes.
- Add more veggies. Sauté more veggies with the onion, celery, and carrot or add frozen mixed veggies with the peas and corn. You really can’t go wrong!
- Make it vegetarian. Swap the ground beef out for a meatless variety or add more veggies to bulk it up.
- Make it cheesy. Layer on a handful of shredded cheddar for a gooey, cheesy finish.
This Shepherd’s Pie can totally be a complete meal all on its own, but if you want to bulk it up a bit, feel free to serve it alongside any of your favorite side dishes.
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- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 large carrots peeled and diced
- 2 ribs celery finely chopped
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 ½ cup low sodium beef broth
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- ¼ cup tomato ketchup optional
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 ½ lbs russet or golden potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces)
- ¼-½ cup milk
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a large oven-safe skillet (about 3 quarts or 12" diameter) over medium-high heat. (If you don't have an oven-safe skillet, simply transfer the beef mixture to a baking dish after cooking).
- Add carrots, celery and onion and cook until onion is softened and translucent. Stir in garlic, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute.
- Add beef and cook until completely browned.
- Whisk together broth and corn starch. Add broth and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in ketchup, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, frozen peas and corn. Cook until slightly thickened.
- Set aside.
- Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Salt well and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and boil until tender, about 10-12 minutes.
- Drain potatoes. Add ¼ cup milk, ¼ cup butter, parsley and season to taste. Mash until smooth, adding more milk as necessary.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Spread mashed potatoes over beef mixture.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter and brush over the top of the potatoes.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until light golden brown and heated through.
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