Ultimate Shepherd’s Pie: A Hearty Classic with Rich Mashed Potatoes

Traditional Shepherds Pie Recipe with Savory Beef or Lamb Option

Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with this mouthwatering Shepherd’s Pie recipe. Featuring a luscious layer of extra-creamy mashed potatoes atop a savory, vegetable-studded meat sauce, this dish is perfect for cozy family dinners or impressing guests.

Shepherd’s Pie is a beloved British casserole that combines all the best elements of a hearty meal in one dish. Our version elevates the classic with ultra-rich mashed potatoes and a deeply flavored meat sauce packed with carrots and peas. We’ve added some continental flair with red wine and a touch of tomato paste, creating a Mediterranean-inspired twist that will tantalize your taste buds.

Let’s dive into the delicious details of this comforting classic!

The Perfect Mashed Potato Topping

The crown jewel of this Shepherd’s Pie is the luxuriously creamy mashed potato topping. Here’s how to achieve potato perfection:

  1. Start with peeled and diced russet potatoes, rinsed under cold water to remove excess starch.
  2. Simmer the potatoes in generously salted water until tender.
  3. Drain and rinse again to ensure a smooth, lump-free texture.
  4. Mash with unsalted butter for richness.
  5. Just before assembling, mix in hot cream for the ultimate in spreadability and indulgence.

For varied textures, use a potato masher for a chunkier result, or opt for a ricer or food mill for silky smoothness.

The Hearty Meat Sauce

Our Shepherd’s Pie sauce is a flavor-packed marvel that will have everyone asking for seconds. Here’s what makes it special:

  • A combination of ground lamb and beef for the perfect balance of flavor and texture
  • Aromatic vegetables like onion, carrots, celery, and garlic for depth and nutrition
  • A splash of red wine for richness
  • Tomato paste for a hint of umami
  • Worcestershire sauce and Marmite for that quintessential British touch
  • Sweet peas for a pop of color and freshness

The result is a robust, satisfying sauce that perfectly complements the creamy potato topping.

Assembling Your Shepherd’s Pie

Creating the perfect Shepherd’s Pie is an art. Follow these tips for a showstopping dish:

  1. Layer the meat sauce in a baking dish, being careful not to overfill.
  2. Top with the warm, creamy mashed potatoes, creating peaks and valleys for textural contrast.
  3. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese for extra flavor and beautiful browning.
  4. Bake until golden and bubbling, then let rest before serving for the perfect consistency.

Remember to place your baking dish on a foil-lined sheet to catch any delicious overflow!

Classic Shepherd’s Pie with Rich Mashed Potatoes


For the Mashed Potatoes:

  • 3 1/2 pounds (1.6kg) russet potatoes (about 4 large), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cubed

For the Meat Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups (360ml) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 packets unflavored gelatin (about 5 teaspoons; 1/2 ounce; 14g)
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds (1kg) ground beef or lamb, or some combination (see notes)
  • 1 large yellow onion (about 14 ounces; 400g), diced
  • 3 medium carrots (about 8 ounces; 225g), diced
  • 2 ribs celery (about 4 ounces; 110g), diced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) tomato paste
  • 1 cup (240ml) dry red wine
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) Marmite (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons (15g) all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces (225g) frozen peas
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Assemble:

  • 1 1/2 cups (360ml) heavy cream
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for topping (optional)


  • For the Mashed Potatoes: Rinse potato cubes under cold water until clear. Boil in salted water until easily pierced, about 10-15 minutes. Drain, rinse with hot water, and mash with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  • For the Meat Sauce: Sprinkle gelatin over chicken stock. Heat oil in a Dutch oven and brown half the meat. Add remaining meat and cook until crumbly. Add vegetables and cook until slightly softened.
  • Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until nearly evaporated. Add stock mixture, herbs, Worcestershire, and Marmite. Sprinkle flour over meat and stir. Simmer until thick, about 20 minutes. Discard herbs, stir in peas, and season.
  • To Assemble: Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Heat cream and mix into potatoes. Spread meat sauce in a 9×13-inch baking dish, top with mashed potatoes, and create a textured surface. Sprinkle with Parmesan if desired.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until browned. For deeper color, broil briefly. Let stand for 15-20 minutes before serving.
  • Notes

    Lamb is traditional, but beef can be used for a milder flavor. A combination of both meats offers a balanced taste.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving)
    865 Calories
    53g Fat
    51g Carbs
    41g Protein
    Nutrition Facts
    Servings: 8
    Amount per serving
    Calories 865
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 53g 68%
    Saturated Fat 26g 131%
    Cholesterol 195mg 65%
    Sodium 467mg 20%
    Total Carbohydrate 51g 18%
    Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
    Total Sugars 8g
    Protein 41g
    Vitamin C 23mg 116%
    Calcium 127mg 10%
    Iron 5mg 30%
    Potassium 1712mg 36%
    *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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