Shepherd's pie recipe

(376 ratings)

Shepherd's pie is a classic recipe that's so easy to follow. Make a delicious traditional pie topped with creamy mashed potato each time - the whole family will love it...

Shepherd's pie recipe
(Image credit: Future)
  • Nut-free
Preparation Time30 mins
Cooking Time40 mins
Total Time1 hours 10 mins
Five A DayOne
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories580 Kcal29%
Fat21 g30%

A classic winter warmer, Shepherd's pie, with buttery mash and a dash of Worcestershire sauce for a punch of flavour.

Shepherd's pie is a filling, cheap option that caters to four people. A portion of this dish is under 600 calories - ideal if you're trying to eat a little healthier. Keep it as low fat as possible by choosing lean lamb mince. You can also reduce the carbs by mixing potatoes and roots (carrots and parsnips) for the topping, rather than all potatoes. Serve with some steamed green vegetables on the side.


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium carrots (about 250g/8oz) peeled and finely chopped
  • 500g (1lb) minced lamb
  • 1 rounded tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • fresh thyme sprigs or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 200ml (7floz) lamb or vegetable stock

For the topping:

  • Approximately 1kg (2lb) mashed potato, or mixed mashed potato, parsnip and carrot




  1. Set the oven to moderate Gas Mark 4 or 180°C/450°F. Put the pie dish into heat up.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the carrot, cover the pan and cook another 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the vegetables from the pan. Heat the pan again, add the meat and cook until browned underneath then turn it in the pan and cook another minute or two. Sprinkle in the flour, stir well to coat the meat, and brown then add the puree, sauce, herbs and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes
  4. Spoon the lamb mixture into the pie dish, smooth the surface then carefully put spoonfuls of mash round the edge and then the middle. Smooth it over and fork or furrow the top.
  5. Bake the shepherd's pie for 30–40 minutes or until the top is browned.

Watch how to make Shepherd's pie

Top tips for making Shepherd's pie:

If you want an all-in-one dish, you could add 200g frozen peas to the meat sauce before you top with the potato.

What do you eat with Shepherd's pie?

You can serve a whole variety of vegetables with Shepherd's pie - carrots, broccoli, cabbage, green beans and even salad. Some people like to serve their pie with tinned veg  too such baked beans, mushy peas or corn. 

Why is it called Shepherd's pie?

Shepherd's pie gets its name from the meat that is used to make the pie. Traditionally Shepherd's pie is made from lamb or mutton and as a shepherd was the primary carer of sheep, that's where the name originated from. The mashed potato topping represents the sheep's fluffy woolen coats. 

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Octavia Lillywhite
Food and Lifestyle Writer

Octavia Lillywhite is an award-winning food and lifestyle journalist with over 15 years of experience. With a passion for creating beautiful, tasty family meals that don’t use hundreds of ingredients or anything you have to source from obscure websites, she’s a champion of local and seasonal foods, using up leftovers and composting, which, she maintains, is probably the most important thing we all can do to protect the environment.