Shepherd's Pie

There are about a hundred reasons I should not be posting a recipe for Shepherd’s Pie, the least of which is how many times I’ve badmouthed it over the years. I’m sure if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you’ve heard me lament. I’m not sure who I am and how I got here, but I’m doing a complete 180 today. I can honestly say that I never, ever thought I’d be posting a recipe for Shepherd’s Pie. For that reason alone, you know it has to be good.

Thanks to Danielle, a sweet reader who emailed me and nicely, but forcefully, told me I needed to give Shepherd’s Pie another shot, I think I’ve been converted. Danielle, like me, had been traumatized by the instant mashed potatoes, canned green beans and microwaved hamburger Shepherd’s Pies of her youth. However, when a friend of hers brought “the most delicious Shepherd’s Pie” she had ever had, Danielle knew Shepherd’s Pie needed to be part of her life (and mine, too).

Shepherd's Pie

So here’s the deal, this version of Shepherd’s Pie might look like a bit more work than using a lot of instant products, but I’m going to go out on a limb here to say that homemade mashed potatoes is the first step to reinventing this classic. And unless you have an egg allergy, don’t skip stirring in that egg yolk. It might seem unneeded but it lends such a delicious, rich creaminess to the mashed potatoes that you’ll be wanting to eat Shepherd’s Pie every night for the next decade.

And the meat filling. Flavor. FLAVOR! Hearty and delicious, it’s fabulous and doesn’t take that long to put together. I have a hard time finding ground lamb in my neck of the woods, but I’ve made this several times with different varieties of ground meat and it is stellar each time (I’ve included some notes below the recipe title).

I wasn’t quite sure what the fam would think about Shepherd’s Pie. My kids had never eaten it before but they had heard me talk about how they should never, ever make me Shepherd’s Pie on my birthday. They knew the history, and my baggage had become their baggage. Surprisingly, they liked it. A lot. I knew it wasn’t just a matter of being nice, like sometimes happens: “yeah, mom, this experimental recipe filled with olives and eggplant is greeeaaat except let’s not ever have it again ever, ok?” when I spotted this on my 9-year old’s annual birthday survey:
walkers note

For pure comfort food at it’s best, this Shepherd’s Pie can’t be beat.

And on a completely random sidenote, little Cam (2 1/2 years old) thinks it’s called “Cow’s Pie” and we have been unable to convince her otherwise. You can imagine how the boys still giggle over that one, especially when she asks: “we having cow’s pie for dinner, mom?”

What To ServeA wonderful green salad (like this Amazing Romaine Salad)

Shepherd's Pie

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Shepherd’s Pie

Yield: Serves 8

Shepherd’s Pie

The ingredient list looks daunting but I promise this all comes together quickly. While the potatoes are boiling, I start the meat and vegetable mixture - multi-tasking is your friend. You can use a variety of different ground meats here. I've made this once with just ground turkey and another time with a combination of ground beef and sausage. Yum! Danielle, who sent me the recipe, uses ground lamb and sausage which would also be delicious (ground lamb is a bit hard to find where I live).


    Potato Layer:
  • 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 4-5 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 - 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Meat Filling:
  • 2 - 2 1/2 pounds ground beef, turkey, lamb, or sausage (or a combination of any)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 large carrots chopped small (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely pressed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium beef or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 teaspoon fresh)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch pan with cooking spray (I've also used a slightly smaller ceramic casserole dish with good results, too, just makes the layers slightly thicker).
  2. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with 1-2 inches of water. Add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or so (it will depend on how large or small the potatoes are cut) until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Mash the potatoes lightly. Add the butter, milk (start with 1/2 cup and add more if needed), Parmesan and cheddar cheeses, salt and pepper to taste, and garlic powder. Mash together until smooth and creamy. Stir in the egg yolk until combined.
  4. For the meat and vegetable mixture, in a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the ground meat, onion, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, breaking the meat into small pieces, until the meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are starting to soften, 5-7 minutes or so. Drain any excess grease from the mixture.
  5. Sprinkle the flour over the meat and cook over medium to medium-high heat for a minute or so, stirring constantly. Stir in the tomato paste, broth, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in the corn and peas.
  7. Pour the meat mixture into the prepared pan. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top all the way to the edges of the pan creating a seal over the meat mixture. Sprinkle the 1 cup cheddar over the top of the potatoes.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the edges are golden and the casserole is bubbling. Let it rest out of the oven for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe sent to me by a reader, Danielle, who got it from a friend and convinced me I needed to give Shepherd’s Pie another shot (I reduced the butter and cheese a bit and changed up the spices and meat based on what I had on hand) – it looks very similar to this recipe by Alton Brown, no wonder it’s good!

128 Responses to Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Heidi says:

    Mel, have been making this very same shepherd’s pie for years. Am so sorry it took you so long to find it. I never heard of those really bad recipes. They sound dreadful. Well at least you now know that SP can be delicious.

  2. Holly says:

    Uh oh…I happen to LOVE instant mashed potatoes! Guess I’m the only one in the world. I make this recipe with ground turkey, Italian sausage, and spicy Italian sausage all together, and it is freakin’ to die for! Made it for a large crowd (who were kinda dreading it when I told them what I was making!) and they all went crazy for it — not a crumb left, even with instant mashed potatoes on top (with the cheese, of course, like the recipe calls for. Tonight I’ll make it with real potatoes, just because everyone on this thread says it’s fabulous. I’m making it for another large party on Saturday, and will be freezing the whole shebang. Fingers crossed it reheats well!

  3. D Luker says:


    I’ve always really enjoyed Shepherds Pie in restaurants. Decided to make it myself, chose your recipe via Yummly, and omg! Where has this dish been all my life?! My husband and I both had to force ourselves to stop eating more. I had to thank you!

  4. Sarah says:

    A solid hit! Made this to take over for dinner to someone’s house, and it was so good.

  5. Sarah says:

    A solid hit! Made this to take over for dinner to someone’s house, and it was so good.

  6. Sarah says:

    A solid hit! Made this to take over for dinner to someone’s house, and it was so good.

  7. Cathy says:

    So delicious! I didn’t add the egg to the mashed potatoes and used only frozen peas and corn, no carrots. My husband is still talking about it and our Swiss student went back 3 times! I will definitely make this again! (true test will be on my 4 children)!

  8. omg this was so good. I used ground turkey and followed recipe exactly except forgot to add the egg! its a keeper for sure! 🙂

  9. Jennifer says:

    Fantastic! Husband and kids loved it!

  10. Cheryl says:

    I made this shepherd’s pie recipe tonight for our St. Patrick’s Day dinner and we all LOVED it!!! The kids told me over and over how much they like it. We all ate seconds. One kid even ate thirds. They want to bring it to school for lunch tomorrow and said they “want to eat it all day.” What a keeper! Thank you.

  11. Katie says:

    Hey Mel – I made this about a week ago for my family – delish! I am going to make it today for two friends who had babies last week. Question – can I make this up to the baking point and then freeze it for a week? Not sure about how the mashed potatoes will do. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Katie – I’ve actually never frozen this so I can’t say 100% but I know a lot of people freeze Shepherd’s Pie just fine. If you’re worried about the mashed potatoes you could freeze the bottom portion and add the mashed potatoes before baking. Good luck!

  12. Anna says:

    I made this tonight for supper and my husband and three boys loved it! I had leftover baked garlic mashed potatoes that I used on top and then instead of 2-2 1/2 lbs of meat I used one pound of ground beef and then added about 2 1/2 cups of quick cooking bulgur that I prepared on the stove. You couldn’t tell much of a difference in the final product and I saved money and sneaked in some healthy bulgur! Thanks for all your tasty recipes!

  13. Caroline says:

    Hi Mel! Shepards pie is one of my favorite comfort foods and I love this version so, so much! I’ve made it probably 20 times now and It’s the only one I’ll make for the rest of ever! Thank you for posting!!

  14. Becky says:

    Made this tonight and used my leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes! Another awesome recipe, Mel!! Thanks so much! I’m so glad I stumbled upon your website a few years ago!!

  15. Becky says:

    Made this tonight and used my leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes! Another awesome recipe, Mel!! I have never made anything of yours that wasn’t delicious!! Thanks so much! I’m so glad I stumbled upon your website a few years ago

  16. Krista says:

    Hey Mel,
    What would you think about adding puff pastry to this dish? How would you recommend I do that lol. Also, I don’t enjoy ground meat (much to my dismay) I was thinking of adding in shredded beef instead! I can’t wait!

    Thank you for the best website!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Krista – I suppose you could try laying the puff pastry over the meat filling and bake it up that way but since I haven’t tried it, I can’t say for sure. You might try googling similar recipes and see if that leads you in a good direction.

  17. a different Danielle says:

    I finally got around to making this and I enjoyed every bite. It’s definitely one of the best recipes I’ve tried in while. Thank you for am you do.

  18. Natalie says:

    I’ve never made Shepard’s pie before but thought I’d try it since I had some homegrown potatoes and carrots on hand. Saw your recipe online and it turned out beautifully! Very delicious!

  19. Melissa says:

    1 tablespoon of tomato past. What do you do with the rest of the can?

  20. Jessica says:

    This has made my pickies eater’s top 10!! Best Shephers Pie ever. I love the parmesan in the potatoes!

  21. Holly W says:

    Oh Mel! I don’t think I’ve made shepherd’s pie for my family – ever! That all changed with this delicious recipe. We had it tonight for dinner and it was sooo good. I didn’t make a single change to the recipe and it’s going in my “keeper” file – which houses mostly your recipes anyway!

    • Holly W says:

      P.S. I did use Yukon golds instead of russets because that’s what I had on hand. For the meat I used 1 pound 96% lean ground beef and 1 pound Jimmy Dean all-natural sausage.

  22. Julia says:

    I have been looking forever for a shepherd’s pie recipe that wasn’t just a meat/veg combo with instant potatoes on top. This was very, very good with a lot of good flavor, not just of the meat, and not just of the potatoes (which was a favorite with my son, the cheesy potato king), but the combination of everything was, well, worth seconds. Which we enjoyed. Thank you for this.

  23. Debby says:

    My daughter asks for Shepherd’s Pie at least once a week. But she has never eaten an instant potato EVER and I hope to keep it that way. Shepherd’s Pie with real food is one of the tastiest meals out there!!! It takes a bit of work, but it is so good and I just make a huge batch so we can have leftovers. It seems to heat up really well. I make mine with broccoli, peppers and onions. So yummy.

  24. Tanya M. says:

    I haven’t made shepherds pie in years, and when I did it wasn’t this delicious!!!! We had this for dinner tonight and everyone loved it. Serious comfort food! 🙂 Thank you for all your hard work in posting such great recipes that my family loves!!

  25. Mini says:

    I made it in one go. Family loved it. Thanks so much. Wanted to upload pic too but didnt know how to on this. Will do on fb.

  26. Emily says:

    We made this tonight for St.Patrick’s Day. It was FABULOUS! Just like you said, I had to leave behind all my previous ill-conceived memories and judgements about shepherd’s pie. It was a delicious AND an authentic Irish dish.

  27. Liana H says:

    I made this tonight, another success! I’ve tried so many of your recipes all with great turnouts. Whenever I am looking for a recipe I ALWAYS look here first. Some of our favourites include the sweet and sour chicken, the chocolate bunds cake from a box with additions to it and the lemon squares. Great site Mel!
    Liana from Ontario Canada

  28. Verity says:

    Recipes like this help me enjoy cooking again! If it tastes as good as it smells baking in the oven, we are in for a treat tonight. Thank you!

  29. Jocelyn says:

    Today is March 14, 3/14, Pi Day (for all the math geeks out there), which seemed a fitting occasion to try this pie. It is fabulous! I had shepherds pie when I lived in England as a child, but this version is way better. It must be because of the cheese.

    Thanks so much for a terrific recipe and a new tradition for Pi Day!

  30. Megan says:

    Mmm! This sounds good. I personally like Shepard’s Pie but never knew of someone who would ruin it with fake mashed potatoes. Yuck! I’ve only had my English SIL version. It’s simple. Seasoned hamburger, corn and green beans, a prepared package of brown gravy and then the mashed potatoes topped with a bit of cheese. I’m going to try this recipe out and see what we think! Thanks!

  31. Kristin says:

    You have no idea how much I love your recipes and this website. Should I use the canned grated parmesan cheese or shredded parmesan cheese? I’ve ruined a recipe or two by using the wrong one:)

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kristin – shredded (not the canned kind) and if you can, shred it yourself from a block of Parmesan (it melts a lot better because it isn’t coated with powder like the preshredded kind).

  32. AK says:

    I made this last night with 1.5 lb ground sirloin and 1 lb turkey sausage (JennieO brand). It was excellent and me meat and potatoes loving husband had no idea their was turkey in it. Another keeper!

  33. Danielle says:

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was absolutely delicious! My family devoured it. Thanks, Mel, for another fantastic recipe!!

  34. Yvonne says:

    This is exactly the Shepherd’s Pie recipe I have been looking for. Absolutely delicious.

  35. Cyndi B says:

    Just letting you know that I made this a day ahead in two 8 inch casserole pans. I made as instructed,then gave one away to my mom and baked the second one for our dinner. This came out really super delicious. This recipe is replacing my usual shepard’s pie recipe. As usual, your recipe came out perfect. You have never steered me wrong. Thanks Mel!

  36. Susan says:

    I made this last night and we loved it! I substituted green beans for the peas, as my husband does not like peas. This version is much better than the one I used to eat as a child in the school cafeteria.

  37. JennyP says:

    Made this tonight to rave reviews from my husband (and me!). He’s a big Shepherd’s Pie fan – I’m less inclined to make it due the the time and endless possibilities of bland recipes out there. This is definitely a “Sunday night” dinner, as I like to call recipes that take some time – the measuring, chopping, cooking, and baking does add up, but is absolutely worth it. My end result had a bit more liquid to it, some that spilled over onto the top (despite my best attempt to seal with the mashed potatoes), but it did not impact the taste at all. Can’t wait to try the leftovers – there are tons – it was seriously getting better the longer it sat out of the oven. Thanks for another tried and true recipe, Mel!

  38. Barbara says:

    Oh my goodness, Mel! I considered this recipe for a week and decided to make it tonight. My husband and sons devoured half of it in the first 10 minutes. My youngest had three servings and all said I needed to make it when my oldest son is home from college. I served it with the puffed Brie bites. Thank you so much for providing so many incredible recipes week after week!

  39. Barbara says:

    This would fit into the four canned chicken tins I use to make chicken pot pie in to freeze. (They don’t have the linings that are distasteful to some of us) and give us 4 meals, ready to bake and eat. I used to make shepherd’s pie with ground beef and spaghetti sauce with some vegetables added in, then topped with real mashed potatoes, and they all still love it. In 55 years of cooking, I have never used instant potatoes, and I never will because I have eaten them at pot luck suppers. No wonder so many people don’t like shepherd’s pie! I am thinking of trying to fry frozen hash browns, though, to prepare in a hot skillet, but they probably rinsed all the starch away which means the shreds won’t stick together. I wonder if they would make decent mashed potatoes.

  40. Jennifer R says:

    We make Alton Brown’s recipe at least once a month because it’s just that delicious and it’s one way I can “hide” veggies so my toddler will eat them. For most families you can make enough to last two nights so the extra effort is worth it. We will have to try your take on it!

  41. Sidney says:

    Hey, Mel. Gotta try this! My most distinct Shepherd’s Pie memory (nightmare) was my mother making it and not thinking to “rehydrate” the instant potatoes. Just fake potato flakes atop beef stew – yummy. LOL

  42. Kait says:

    Are those carrots in the picture? I don’t see them on the recipe list…… 🙂

  43. Beth says:

    We made this and it was delicious. We were fighting over the leftovers throughout the week. It would also be a good take-in meal– nice, universally liked flavours. I don’t think we’ve ever finished a 9X13 of anything that fast.

  44. Amy says:

    I made this for dinner last night, not ever having tasted Shepherd’s Pie before and liked it! I began making this recipe at 5:30pm and by the time it was out of the oven, it was past kids’ bedtime so my husband and I enjoyed a date night in when he got home from work. Kids will try in tonight for dinner. I used ground turkey and thought it was great. My husband (who had a sour taste in his mouth from tasting it in the past was turned off I was making it for dinner) but after eating one serving he liked it.

  45. Kim in MD says:

    I have never had shepards pie, but have always wanted to make it (homemade everything). This looks like the perfect recipe to try for the first time. If you and your family loved it, I know my family will love it, too!

    Mel- your son’s annual birthday survey is adorable! Where The Red Ferns Grow is one of my all time favorite movies, even though I cry my eyes out every time I watch it!

  46. Sheila says:

    Your 9 year old is right — this is special occasion worthy! I made the “Cottage” Pie and we all thought this should be served often especially in the winter. Thank you for keeping an open mind concerning food and passing on the delicious results. Smiled through the “badmouthing” comment and a reader’s suggestion of naming this pie, humble pie. 🙂

  47. Janet says:

    Well………my family refuses to eat Shepherd’s Pie, but when
    I made this version, they loved it:

    Mashed potatoes (must be real, not instant) on bottom of
    (buttered) glass pan.
    Cooked ground beef and onion and garlic; stir in cream of
    mushroom soup, sour cream, drained home-bottled green
    beans (I take a few moments to cut these into smaller pieces).
    Spoon this mixture over mashed potato layer. Top with a bit
    (1 cup) of grated cheddar. Bake covered, for 20 minutes,
    then uncovered for 10 minutes.

  48. Suzie says:

    Gosh Mel…I guess your next cooking show should be in Billings, MT to prove to some people that our hometown really is pretty great!! Now on to making Shepherds Pie!!

  49. Stephanie says:

    How come you make every food sound so delicious? I suddenly have a craving for this and I never thought I would!

  50. Julia says:

    I made this and I didn’t tell my family about what Cam called SP, but my 3yo started calling it cow pie, too! Ha! I guess it comes from living in a place where the forest is full of the other kind of cow pies.

  51. Putting it on my must-make list–and soon! I made a shepherd’s pie once years ago–obviously, it wasn’t memorable because I never made it again. As so many others have stated, if you say it’s good, then it absolutely must be. Since we have been buried with snow and enduring bitter cold here in New England, I am all about comfort food right now. I recently made a classic pot roast that rocked my boat and changed how I feel about pot roast forever. It’s lick-the-plate good, and I highly recommend it:

  52. Hillary says:

    We tried this last night! I’ve had pretty much the same thoughts about Shepherd’s Pie until now. It was really yummy and, although it wasn’t quick, it was easy. Because I used ground beef and ground chicken sausage that was well seasoned, I didn’t add the oregano/rosemary/thyme to the meat mixture. I also accidentally forgot the worcestershire sauce and it was still really tasty. My husband had a conservative first helping and then went back for more!

  53. Deb says:

    Did anyone make the joke that maybe you should call this ” humble pie?” 😉

  54. Allison says:

    Oh Mel. I wished you lived next door and would bring me yummy things that you’re trying out. I want to make this so bad, but my husband has stated, “I hate Shepherd’s (or Cottage) Pie!”. I have faith in you, you would never lie to me. Maybe this will be the recipe that will change his view on it. 🙂 Thanks (as always) for sharing. You. are. the. best. And you make me want to cook! Oh, and I might have told my students today (when discussing Spanish vocabulary words on food,) “you have to eat as many colors as you can!” Directly inspired by you! They were amazed and hopefully learned something new! 🙂

  55. kimberlee says:

    Oh, Mel! I am cracking up! I think you’re going to as well. I had never ever wanted to try something called “shepherd’s pie.” Not even if Gordon Ramsey said it in his Scottish turned British brogue. And a friend brought if for a meal when we lost our child. I definitely didn’t ask for the recipe. Never ever wanted to try it again.
    Here’s the funny thing. After I got off work on Valentine’s day my husband said he was cooking dinner. How nice! To be off my feet. So I started guessing, steak was my first guess. He kept saying no to everything and I knew he was using potatoes and when I asked for another ingredient and he said ground beef it took a few minutes, probably because I didn’t want to utter it, but I did guess “shepherd’s pie” and he said yes. For Valentine’s day. Well, I overlooked the meal bc he worked so hard at it and and he was cooking. He avoids the oven like the plague. They were the best mashed potatoes I ever had. He even etched a heart in them. 🙂 But I think the meat is always a weird texture and the taste is always so shortcoming. I can’t place it what it is about the “gravy.”
    He didn’t remember ever having shepherd’s pie and he had planned this meal 2 weeks in advance!! He did a trial run when I was out of town and used the kids as guinea pigs. Can you believe it? I still am so blown away by all of it. But laugh that for Valentine’s day he made me shepherd’s pie. LOL Of all the things, why shepherd’s pie?? He said he wanted to try something he thought he could cook. So it has built up his confidence and maybe I can get him to cook more often.
    Sorry this was so long!

    • Mel says:

      Oh my gosh, that is too funny, Kimberlee. Bless you for being gracious during the Shepherd’s Pie Valentine’s meal. I think that’s awfully sweet that your husband went to so much work (a trial run, really??).

  56. angie mitolo says:

    Last night was the first time I have ever made Shepherd’s Pie/ Cottage Pie.
    One word: YUMMY!!!
    Thank you:) I will be adding this to my list of go to dinners!

  57. Jillmc says:

    Made this tonight for dinner…..delicious! Thanks Mel! It’s a keeper!

  58. Momstarr says:

    Great Pie!! This is the one we eat. i make it Gluten Free by using arrowroot powder in place of flour and it thickens up nicely.

  59. Sher' says:

    I just got done making The Sheppard Pie. Put it in the oven and Realized I Forgot to add the egg yolk to the potatoes. What will that do to my 1st ever Sheppard Pie?

  60. Jen T says:

    Shepard’s pie is something we love at our house. My kids know it will be on the menu after we have turkey and mashed potatoes because that is how we use our leftover mashed potatoes. This looks extra yummy and will have to try it! Glad you joined the Shepard’s pie loving club 🙂

  61. Teresa says:

    I love Shepherd’s Pie, and so does my family! I made this last night and had everything on hand (used ground dark turkey meat). It was really delicious. Loved the addition of the tomato paste. It added a nice richness, as did the worcestershire sauce. Enough for leftovers–we all loved it, thanks.

  62. Nan stringer says:

    I love that your son wrote Billings, MT as his desired vacation spot! Hilarious!

  63. Jessica says:

    I agree 100% about using homemade mashed potatoes. It makes the biggest difference in the over all dish.

  64. Cristina says:

    If you have access to ground bison (we get it at costco ) it’s also very good in shepherd’s pie!

  65. I’ve never minded Shepherd’s Pie, but have never loved it. Although I’ve always used real potatoes, it’s always been the meat mixture I haven’t loved. I’ll have to give this one a try if you love it, cause my hubby loves the stuff and would be thrilled if I made it for him! Also, that’s adorable that Cam calls it cow’s pie, so cute!

  66. Kimber says:

    HA! I’m totally going to try this again ONLY because it’s from you and I so often trust your judgement completely on all your dishes, you have yet to lead me astray!

    The past couple years I’ve always cooked shepherds pie with a “white” version for the meat: shredded chicken, green beans, cream of mushroom and some milk. It’s always my go to meal to take into people because it’s a hit for all ages!

  67. Lafayette says:

    Billings? Please explain. 😉

  68. Mimsie says:

    I’ve never heard of instant potatoes in shepherd’s pie, nor microwaved hamburger. Wow. Our family has always loved SP.

  69. Marek says:

    I made this tonight using ground elk from the elk my brother just got a few months ago…delish. This is most definitely the best shepherd’s pie I’ve ever made/had. Thank you!

  70. Kylene says:

    I just had to comment on how impressed I am that your 9 year old can write in cursive!! I have 3 children and in our school system (in Virginia) they are only taught cursive briefly in 2nd grade. My 10 year old cannot even read it when someone sends him a card and they have written a note in cursive.

  71. nancy k says:

    I have come to love shepard’s pie now that I make a “non instant” version. I use ground turkey and make a sweet potato topping with a small amount of cheese. Someitmes I use both white and sewwt potatoes…depends on how I am feeling I guess. Thanks for sharing this version…yum.

  72. gary says:

    Two suggestions to elevate an already scrumptious dish.
    – substitute braised meat chunks – stew size – for the ground meat.
    – top it with a bechamel sauce flavored with your choice of cheese.

  73. Linda Turco says:

    I love Shepards Pie and this is very similar to my recipe. Very, very yummy and such a great dish to make ahead. My one and only question is why would anyone EVER USE INSTANT POTATOES???? That is just WRONG ! Do you think I’ve made my feelings clear about instant potatoes?

  74. Lisa says:

    Your nine year old want to go to Billings MT?????? We live in Bozeman MT……..much better place to vacation!

  75. Liz says:

    Like others who have commented… only because I saw it here might I try it!

    But the thing that stuck out to me was your son’s desire to vacation in Billings. I live near Kalispell. I often stay in Billings on my winter RV trips because there is a decent rv park open through the winter and my last trip, I was there for 2 days … accidentally 🙂

  76. Helen says:

    Foam roller yes! Many ways to do it depending on where your body needs it. I suggest youtube. Totally sign up for another shorter race so that you can feel what it is like. I suggest a 10K if you can find one. It will help you mentally to know that you have basically run 1/2 of a 1/2. Keep up the great work!

    Can’t wait to make the shepherd’s pie. One of my husband’s favorites but I never make it either.

  77. Lindsey R says:

    And he wants to be a chef when he grows up! I love your blog, taste in food, and you’re a real mother! And a good one to boot.

  78. Pam says:

    Greetings from the frozen North up here in New Brunswick, Canada! This is too funny! 🙂 I just searched your blog last week as I wanted a GOOD Shepherd’s pie recipe and figured it would have to be yours! No luck that day, but I am glad you had a change of heart and posted this delicious sounding recipe. I will be sure to try yours the next time my famiy is craving this yummy comfort food.

  79. Catherine says:

    It’s about time, Mel! I’ve been waiting for Shepherd’s Pie to come into my life, but I’ve never trusted another’s recipe for it (do you get what I’m sayin’?). I know I can trust yours. I’ll be serving it.

  80. gina says:

    Forgive me, I forgot the real reason I wanted to post a comment. Your 9 year old has great taste. What first jumped out at me was the favorite movie. ” Where the Red Fern Grows”. It has been one of my favorite books for more years than I care to divulge. I reccomend it to everyone who has a young boy or girl about 8 to 10 years old who loves the out of doors. Just stock up on tissues.

  81. BethAnn says:

    What timing. I prepped Shepherd’s Pie last night. . . to be cooked and eaten later this week. I make mine with leftover roast and gravy, couple of handfuls of frozen veggies, topped with real mashed potatoes and cheese.

  82. Laurel says:

    You must of heard me yelling a state away, at my fridge, 4 cups left over mashed potatoes. Why doesn’t mel have a shepherds pie recipe? I would never make shepherds pie unless it was yours. I’m scarred from my mother in law throwing the contents of her fridge with, yup, instant mashed on top and saying “shepherds pie” shudders. Thanks for coming to the rescue. Again.

  83. gina says:

    I, unlike most commenters, love shepard’s pie. Although I learned something new today (always a good thing!). What I have enjoyed is cottage pie. My family has been engaged in some sort of farming (dairy and beef), for decades, so beef is frequently on the table. We usually knew the name of the animal who provided our supper. Camelia burgers were a favorite, she was NOT a nice cow. Which was a big reason she became a supper cow.
    If you want an even faster supper, you can do what we call hamburger gravy. Just make the meat part as recipe states, and serve over mashed potatoes. You can be eating in 30 minutes, it is filling and tasty.
    Hope I haven’t offended anyone with the dose of reality.

  84. Sherri says:

    I only ever make one shepard’s pie due to disgusting ones my mom used to make growing up (ground beef with tomato sauce, chunks of tomatoes, greens beans, with instant potatoes and cheddar cheese on top). Blech. I’m not a huge fan of ones with tomato sauce, so I usually make this 30-minute (more like 45 minutes) version from Rachel Ray. It has more of a beef gravy base, and is my husband’s favorite meal by far. If any of you are hesitant to try out shepard’s pie, I would check it out as well:

    And like other readers have said, you are beyond my favorite food blogger. I feel like we have similar cooking styles and tastes, so I know if you like it, I will too. Your recipes aren’t too fancy schmancy and are meant for families with real children! Thank you for what you do. 🙂

  85. Not a fan of Shepherd’s Pie. If you have changed your mind maybe I should give this one a try.

  86. Tara says:

    I lived in the UK from 2009-2014 so I have tasted some wonderful Shepherds Pie but have been yet to taste a recipe I really liked that also tastes authentic! So thank you for posting.I usually only post comments on your site after I have tried and loved your food, but this I haven’t made yet. It looks very promising!

    As a side note, which you may already know, if they use beef they call it Cottage Pie and if they use lamb it is Shepherd’s Pie. I’ve never heard of using sausage. Though they have all sorts of sausage and pork pies in England, they are quite different. Interesting.

    I look forward to trying this. I trust your judgement completely. I follow loads of blogs but yours is my ‘tried and true recommend to anyone’ blog!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Tara – always look forward to seeing your comments pop up. You taught me something new today! I didn’t know the difference between Cottage and Shepherd’s Pie so thanks!

      • Lisa says:

        As an Englishwoman born and bred, I can tell you that Tara is right.. Cottage pie = beef, and Shepherds pie = lamb… But most people call it shepherds pie even with beef. I know, we are a strange people! Ha ha!
        The main difference is the tomato paste. When using lamb, it always has a tomato element to the meat layer. When using beef, it is more of a beef gravy deliciously coating the meat and vegetables…
        I’ve also never known either to have sweetcorn in them – though I know you Americans love your corn, so it doesn’t hurt 🙂
        Also, I always brown my onions first before adding my ground meat, I find it adds another layer of flavour!

        For those asking about freezing, you can freeze the meat mixture very well, just make sure it is thawed completely, then put it in an oven safe dish, cover with foil and heat through completely before adding freshly made mashed potatoes and cheese to the top, then just place under the broiler! 🙂

  87. Melanie Helm says:

    I have to say, I never knew Sheperds pie would ever be made with anything instant! Your recipe looks a lot like what we have always made in our family, although I might try adding the spices you suggest. Worcestershire sauce is our friend!

  88. Jenn A says:

    Shepherd’s Pie has long been a favorite of mine – probably because of my love for REAL mashed potatoes. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe, but I’ll be leaving out the peas. My family despises peas. Ha!

  89. Gillie says:

    Shepherd’s Pie is good……it’s ultimate comfort food in the UK where I come from……but having said that…..yes, it can be bad, lol! With instant ingredients and beans…….? Never! Was usually made to incorporate the left over roast from Sunday dinner. Please…….can the words, instant mashed potato NEVER be mentioned here again, Mel?

  90. Teresa R. says:

    My daughter will love this. My mom made shepherd’s pie when I was young and it was ok. This recipe sounds much, much better. Thanks!

  91. Lindsey says:

    If anyone can convince me to give Shepherd’s Pie a shot, it’s probably you…But I come with my own baggage. As a kid, when my older sister was feeling particularly mean after a fight, she would request Shepherd’s Pie for dinner just because she knew I hated it. 😉 But after living in the UK, I know I need to give this peasant food another shot. You may have just convinced me to do it. It seems like it might be great for -40F North Dakota evenings.

  92. Emily F says:

    Definitely making this tonight. I already know my husband will love it. I’m sure I will too, and I’m even optimistic about my kids!

  93. Tammy says:

    Would this work to be put together a day ahead and baked the next day?

    • Sheila H. says:

      Yes, and you can freeze it for a meal and bake like a frozen lasagna.

      • Jane says:

        If you freeze frozen REAL mashed potatoes, it will most definitely change the consistency of the potatoes and they will not be as creamy and smooth as fresh.

        • Jane says:

          I freeze “real” shepherd’s or cottage pie all the time (never knew there was an instant version…)and have never had any problems with the mash not being creamy. I guess you’ll have to try 😉

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t tried assembling and baking that way but I think it’s worth a shot, Tammy!

  94. Bryn says:

    Alright…I’ll try it but only bc you have never steered me wrong before! When you say sausage are you referring to ground italian sausage or ground pork (breakfast) sausage?

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