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Shepherd’s Pie Recipe – How to Make it in 19 Simple Steps

A slice of shepherd's pie on a plate.

If you plan on making everything from scratch like Grandma used to do, this recipe does take a bit of time to prepare. If you can learn the skill of cooking all of the various components of the recipe at the same time, you may be able to keep the preparation time to a reasonable amount.

However, if you plan on doing this, you will definitely want to ask your partner to keep an eye on the kids as you juggle the cooking of the gravy, browning of the meat, and boiling of the potatoes all at the same time. It does take a decent amount of concentration to keep things from burning or boiling over.

A slice of shepherd's pie on a plate.

Shepherd's Pie Recipe

April Freeman
With mashed potatoes, creamy gravy, ground beef, and vegetables, Shepherd’s Pie is the definition of comfort food. Perfect for days when it is cool and dreary outside, this recipe will fill your kitchen with soothing fragrances. Its “stick to your ribs” heartiness will satisfy even the healthiest appetites.
Prep Time 30 mins
Baking Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Cuisine British
Servings 6 Servings


  • Casserole Dish
  • Large Saucepan
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Skillet
  • Wire whisk


Gravy Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 cups Beef Stock
  • 3 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup Cool Water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder

Mashed Potato Ingredients

  • 5 pcs Potatoes peeled and chopped into 1-2 inch chunks
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/4 cup Sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

Ground Beef Filling Ingredients

  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 2 cups Cooked Vegetables of Your Choice


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • Put the chopped potatoes in a large saucepan and cover them with water. Bring them to a boil over medium heat and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Cook the potatoes for about 15 to 20 minutes or until fork-tender. If your pot wants to boil over, place a wooden spoon across the top of the pot to help pop the starchy bubbles that will make the pot overflow.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, use a medium-sized skillet to brown the ground beef.
  • Chop the meat up with a spatula until it is well crumbled. Drain the cooked beef and set it aside.
  • In another smaller saucepan, you will create the gravy.
  • Mix together the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, and garlic powder. Bring these ingredients to a boil over medium heat.
  • In a small bowl, use a wire whisk to combine the cornstarch with the cool water. Pour this mixture into the saucepan of the beef stock mixture, whisking the whole time.
  • Continue stirring the gravy, cooking it over medium heat until it is thickened. Remove the gravy from the heat and set it aside until the other ingredients are prepared.
  • If you are using canned vegetables, drain the liquid from them.
  • If you are using frozen, cook them according to package instructions and drain the cooking liquid.
  • Put the cooked ground beef and the vegetables in the prepared casserole dish and stir them to combine.
  • Pour the gravy over top of all of this, stirring to coat.
    The cooked beef with pieces of vegetables.
  • When the potatoes are soft, remove them from the heat and drain the cooking water from them.
  • Return the cooked potatoes to the pot. Add the butter, milk, sour cream, salt, and pepper.
  • Using an electric mixer or a potato masher, mash the potatoes until they are smooth and creamy. If they are too thick, you may want to add additional milk.
  • Spoon the potatoes around the outer perimeter of the casserole dish on top of the gravy, meat, and vegetables, creating a decorative ring.
  • Bake the Shepherd’s Pie in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes start to get lightly browned on top.
  • Remove the casserole dish from the oven; let it rest for about ten minutes before scooping it into bowls to serve.
    A casserole dish filled with shepherd's pie.


There are a few shortcuts of which you may want to take advantage of that can cut your preparation time in half. First of all, you can use leftover potatoes or, alternatively, you can use instant potatoes. Simply follow the instructions on the package to make about three cups or five servings of potatoes.
Secondly, you can use a package of powdered gravy mix or a jar of gravy from the grocery store. You will need about 2 to 2 ½ cups of brown gravy for this recipe. Third, if you think ahead, you may be able to keep zip-top baggies of browned, drained ground beef in your freezer.
Because so many recipes start with a pound of browned ground beef, you may want to get in the habit of browning three to five pounds of beef at once, draining the grease, and storing the extra beef in the freezer for busy nights. Last, this recipe is an excellent one for using up leftover vegetables from previous nights’ dinners. Just drain any cooking liquid and stir it into the beef.
Of course, any cooked vegetable that you like can be incorporated into this recipe. We used green beans, but if you have carrots, peas, or even chopped broccoli on hand, you may want to use those instead. You can start with fresh, frozen, or canned veggies. Simply prepare as normal before draining the veggies and stirring them into the beef.
Keyword Recipe Main Course, Vegan Shepherd's Pie

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