Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. You'll love these other casserole recipes.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Easy Shepherd's Pie Recipe

This recipe brings modern simplicity to a cozy traditional meal. Onions and carrots sautéed with butter and ground beef create a robust foundation for the dish. Red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and fresh herbs add great flavor, while creamy mashed potatoes form the perfect topping. Baked in the oven in a single dish, this hearty meal is fulfilling for any day of the week.

Why I love this recipe.

Recipes become classic for a reason. A good recipe is added to our recipe box many times virtually now, and we make them time and again. That is what shepherd’s pie should be. Instead, the recipe has become dated for many or not worth the effort with little flavor. Enter my easy shepherd’s pie that’s full of flavor and perfect for a chilly night. The fillings are a mixture of ground beef, or any ground meat, and hearty vegetables.

Lamb is traditional in shepherd’s pie, but many people love the convenience of ground beef. When this swap out is made, it’s broadly known as cottage pie.

While the filling is cooking, potatoes are cooked, mashed, and then spread over the filling for a one-pot meal. This recipe will be a classic, but more so, it will be devoured by everyone.

Stoneware bowl filled with serving of shepherd's pie with spoon resting against the side of bowl.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Ground beef is a freezer staple. Choose a slightly lean grind or 85-90% for the best ratio of flavor and fat.
  • Red wine helps tenderize the meat and adds a small amount of acidity. After cooking and evaporating, the wine leaves behind a deep layer of flavor.
  • Worcestershire sauce is the secret sauce that will always add a rich flavor without anyone being able to pinpoint what it is.
  • Thyme and rosemary offer the bright seasoning needed to bring the vegetables and meat mixture to a new, updated flavor level.
  • Potatoes are cooked and then mashed. For the best texture, choose a russet or gold potato.
White marble surface filled with all ingredients needed to prepare shepherd's pie including beef, red wine, carrots, peas, potatoes, spices, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Prepare the potatoes. Scrub and peel the potatoes. Cut into small pieces, about 1 inch in size. Add them to a small pot and submerge them in cold water. Season with salt and place over medium heat.
  1. Cook the vegetables. Place butter in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Evenly dice the carrot and onion. Add to the skillet once the butter has melted. Season with salt and black pepper. Sauté until they begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  1. Cook the ground beef. Add the ground beef to the vegetables, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat. Once it has browned throughout, add in the red wine. After the wine has cooked off, stir in the flour. Cook for about a minute, then add in the beef stock. Add the Worcestershire sauce and bring the dish to a simmer.
  1. Add flavor. Take the dish off the heat. Add in the thawed peas. Chop up fresh parsley, thyme, and rosemary. Add them to the dish and mix everything together.
  1. Assemble the mashed potatoes. Drain the potatoes. Using a potato masher or hand mixer, mix the potatoes together. Add in the room-temperature butter and milk. Grate in the Parmesan cheese and season with black pepper. Salt to taste.
  1. Assemble the final dish. Begin by dolloping the potatoes evenly over the top of the dish. If desired, cover just the center of the dish with the potatoes, leaving a ring showing the contents underneath. Smooth the top into an even layer. Place in the preheated 375°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the dish is bubbling throughout. Serve warm.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • Cut the potatoes into small, similarly-sized pieces. This allows them to cook quicker at an even rate.
  • Fresh herbs make a huge difference. Adding them at the end imparts a fresher flavor than dried herbs. Cooking them in the final moments of the dish warms them just enough to add great taste to the dish.
  • Different techniques can be used to achieve the desired look and crispiness for the mashed potato topping. A completely smooth top will cook evenly. Dragging a fork over the top creates several ridges that will turn golden brown. Using a spatula to create swirls can achieve a similar effect but with less frequency. Use the broiler for the final few minutes to achieve further browning.
Serving spoon resting against the side of a large pot filled with shepherd's pie with mashed potatoes on top with some in a separate bowl as a serving.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Can this be prepared but baked later?

Yes, this can be assembled with the mashed potatoes on top and stored in the refrigerator. To bake, cover with foil and place in a low oven until warmed through, remove the foil and bake until the potatoes are beginning to brown.

Can this be made without wine?

Yes, the wine can be omitted, and the recipe will still work. The flavor that the wine adds will be missing, but it will still be good for those who do not wish to use alcohol.

How long does this keep after preparation?

The leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will last for 7 to 10 days.

Watch how to make this recipe.

More cozy dishes to make

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you can let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they, too, can make, enjoy, and love!

Stoneware bowl with single serving of shepherd's pie with mashed potatoes and beef and carrots with spoon scooping up a serving.

Beef Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie)

5 from 14 votes
This recipe brings modern simplicity to a cozy traditional meal. Onions and carrots sautéed with butter and ground beef create a robust foundation for the dish. Red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and fresh herbs add great flavor, while creamy mashed potatoes form the perfect topping. Baked in the oven in a single dish, this hearty meal is fulfilling for any day of the week.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

For the mashed potatoes

  • 3 lb potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • ½ cup whole milk warmed to 100-110°F
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

For the filling

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas thawed
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Add the prepared potatoes to a large pot. Cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a gentle boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender and a knife inserted meets no resistance, 20-25 minutes. Once tender, drain the potatoes. Mash the drained potatoes, trying to remove any lumps. Add the salt, black pepper, butter, and milk. Mash together until the butter is incorporated. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir to incorporate.
    3 lb potatoes, 1 tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 8 tbsp unsalted butter, ½ cup whole milk, ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • In a 12-inch oven-safe skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion, carrots, salt, and black pepper. Sauté until the onions are softened, 3-4 minutes.
    2 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 onion, 2 carrots, 1 tsp kosher salt, ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Add the ground beef. Break the beef into small pieces and cook until fully browned, 4-6 minutes. If the beef has excess liquid, drain and discard. Pour in the wine and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the wine is nearly evaporated, 4-6 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to incorporate. Cook the flour to coat the mixture and remove the raw flavor, 2-3 minutes. Add the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce, and bring to a simmer. Stir and cook until it is thickened, 4-6 minutes.
    1 lb ground beef, ½ cup red wine, 2 tbsp all-purpose flour, 1 cup beef stock, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and add the peas, parsley, thyme, and rosemary. Stir to evenly combine.
    1 cup frozen peas, 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme, 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • Spread the prepared mashed potatoes over the filling. Bake in the preheated 375°F oven until it is warmed through and the potatoes are beginning to brown, 20-25 minutes.

Notes

Cut the potatoes into small, similarly-sized pieces. This allows them to cook quicker at an even rate.
Fresh herbs make a huge difference. Adding them at the end imparts a fresher flavor than dried herbs. Cooking them in the final moments of the dish warms them just enough to add great taste to the dish.
Different techniques can be used to achieve the desired look and crispiness for the mashed potato topping. A completely smooth top will cook evenly. Dragging a fork over the top creates several ridges that will turn golden brown. Using a spatula to create swirls can achieve a similar effect but with less frequency. Use the broiler for the final few minutes to achieve further browning.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 551kcal
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Cooking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi. Just one more edit. Not sure what you mean by “play each.”

    I’m Kaleb! I’m not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let’s learn together!

    1. Yes, you are correct the English shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. Most in the states know this as a shepherd’s pie no matter the meat so I titled it as such.

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe sounds like it’s spot on for a wonderful cottage pie, in going to give it a try next time I make it 😊👍🏻

  3. 5 stars
    This was so yummy and exactly what Kaleb said that the herbs just really make the pie. Your step by step instructions on your video are fantastic! I made it last night and it was just pure comfort food! Only thing I had to change was I did not add the wine as I did it gave any red wine at home but I would add it if I had it. I also was out of peas so I substituted corn instead. It was soooo delicious a new family favourite in our home for sure! Thank you once again Kaleb for sharing your skills and recipes with us all. ☺️🩵🤍

  4. 5 stars
    This was really tasty. I hate it when people adapt a recipe then comment but I am going to do exactly that, with apologies. I added about two tablespoons of tomato paste for colour and depth of flavour before thickening with flour. The end result was great.

    1. I did the same! Also used garlic mashed potatoes from the fridge section(mixed in some Parmesan and extra butter) and frozen mixed veggies to make it quicker. It was absolutely delicious! Definitely a keeper

  5. you’re an amazing person and a lovely person sharing everything with us. May God continue to bless you always

  6. 5 stars
    I made this Shepard pie (cottage) using ground turkey meat and I added mushrooms [trying to use some items so I didn’t have to throw them out). My husband and son LOVED it! It’s definitely a keeper recipe! Delicious, hot and a great comfort food meal. Next time I’ll take picture!!

  7. 5 stars
    This is a fantastic recipe that I was able to make with ingredients I already had, minus the fresh herbs, but it still turned out amazing! I added a little tomato paste with the flour to take me back to my childhood but otherwise followed recipe as written. I’m excited to try it again with the fresh herbs!

    Ps…we grew up calling this recipe Shepherd’s pie regardless of what meat was used so I guess I have another name for it now. 🙂