Beef Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Dinner Recipe

Shepherd's pie is an Irish tradition. Try this for St. Patrick's Day! Let's make a delicious Shepherd's pie recipe and learn the origins of this unique dish.

Beef shepherd’s pie is on the menu tonight! This meal will hit the spot and give you a taste of Irish tradition.

When we think St. Patrick’s day, we often think about beer, cupcakes, or other treats. However, when we get down to it, we all want a hearty meal to satisfy our Irish hunger that wholeheartedly burns inside.

That’s why we’re making a delicious St. Patrick’s Day beef shepherd’s pie today. Loaded with beef as well as potatoes, just the way you remember it.

So, today we’ll discover how to make Shepherd’s pie, also known as cottage pie, along with who invented it, and where it originated.

Shepherd's Pie Recipe! A cottage pie made with beef, vegetables, and potatoes, cooked in the oven - perfect for St. Patrick's Day dinner

Let’s talk a little bit about Shepherd’s pie.

What Is Shepherd’s Pie?

Firstly, with so many variations, these days, Shepherd’s pie takes on many forms.

However, generally a traditional recipe would consist of minced lamb or minced mutton, or beef that is cooked with gravy or sauce, onions, and even peas, carrots, and other vegetables.

Finally, it’s also topped with a thick layer of mashed potatoes, then baked in the oven. Often times, it will be topped with a layer of cheese to melt on top.

That’s the basics of the traditional recipe.

Is Cottage Pie the Same as Shepherd’s Pie?

The short answer is yes. Cottage pie is the same thing as Shepherd’s pie. In fact, the word cottage used to refer to a home that workers who lived in rural settings would live in. More or less the poor people, who lived on the outskirts of town.

As potatoes are an easy and edible crop to grow, it became known as a poor man’s food. Thus, this dish became known as cottage pie, among other names.

What is more, the main difference between the two is the societal class of people who were eating the pie. While upper-class folks would make this dish with mutton or lamb, lower class and poor people would make this dish with beef. 

Personally, I prefer it with beef!

Shepard's Pie Beef Potato Recipe for St. Patrick's Day

Who Invented Shepherd’s Pie?

This dinner meal originated in the United Kingdom and Ireland. This meal is well known across Ireland and each place you go will generally make it slightly different.

If you ever have the pleasure of visiting Ireland, go on an Irish Shepherd’s pie tour (self-guided of course, unless that’s really a thing?)

Because they all have a different take on the dish, you’ll want to enjoy Shepherd’s pie a few different times at a few different places.

Each pub makes its own recipe and has a distinct flavor only they can claim as their own.

Without getting too deep into the political aspect, Irelanders couldn’t afford much under British rule and had to make the most of what they had.

As a result, shepherd’s pie was invented by the lower-class as a way to enjoy leftovers.

As potatoes were an easy to grow crop, commoners would use it as the hearty part of their dish. Filling a dish coupled with leftover scraps and topping it with potatoes became an amazing traditional Irish dish.

Shepherd's Pie dinner recipe, easy meat and potatoes dish.

How To Make Shepherd’s Pie

Traditional shepherd’s pie is relatively easy to make. Additionally, you can find my entire recipe below.

The basic structure consists of meat, vegetables, gravy, as well as mashed potatoes. You will usually first want to make the mashed potatoes.

When the mashed potatoes are almost cooked, you can sautee the beef and prepare the vegetables.

The meat and vegetables will go into a 3-quart dutch oven. The mashed potatoes will simply go on top. 

lastly, bake and serve!

It might look like a complicated dish to make, but truthfully, it’s quite undoubtedly easy to do.

Shepherds Pie beef and potato traditional Irish recipe

How to Reheat Shepherds Pie

Yes, you can reheat Shepherd’s pie! You can use an oven or microwave to reheat this dish.

Oven: Remove from the refrigerator and place in an oven-safe dish. Wrap with aluminum foil tightly as to not allow any moisture to escape. Reheat at 350 degrees F. for about 30 minutes.

Microwave: Place Shepherd’s pie in a microwave-safe dish to reheat. Stir occasionally until it is heated through. Microwave reheating is the less desirable option due to uneven heating.

Equipment needed

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5 from 1 vote

Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Traditional Irish Shepherd's pie recipe.
Servings 12 people
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 55 mins
0 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 20 mins


  • Dutch oven


Shepherd's Pie Filling

  • 3 lbs beef chuck roast trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup flour all purpose
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil divided
  • 2 14.5 oz cans beef broth
  • 1 count yellow onion chopped
  • 8 oz baby portobello mushrooms sliced
  • 1-1/2 cups carrots sliced
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen peas thawed
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 10 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 12 count potatoes mashed

Mashed Potatoes

  • 10-12 count russet potatoes
  • 4 tbsp butter salted
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 count egg yolk


Shepherd's Pie

  • Shake beef with flour, salt, and pepper in a large ziplock bag until coated
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat; add 1/3rd of the beef and cook until browned – stirring frequently. Remove beef and set aside; repeat with beef and oil twice more
  • Add broth to dutch oven, scraping beef bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon
  • Stir in onion, mushroom, peas, carrots, thyme, and garlic. Stir and cook for 5 minutes
  • Add cooked beef and its juices, Worcestershire sauce to the dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours or until beef is tender
  • Whisk together cornstarch and 3 tbsp cold water in a small bowl. Add to the beef mixture and cook for 2 minutes or until mixture has thickened.
  • Spoon into a 3 quart baking dish and place on a baking sheet
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spoon mashed potatoes over the beef mixture and bake for 30 minutes or until mashed potatoes have browned and the filling is hot.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Mashed Potatoes

  • Peel and cut potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Place in large saucepan and cover with water; bring to boil over high heat. Decrease heat to maintain a simmer. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until potatoes can easily be crushed with tongs.
  • Place butter and half-and-half in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 35 seconds
  • Drain potatoes, place in a large bowl and then mash with a potato masher. Add half-and-half and butter, salt, and pepper and continue mashing until smooth. Stir in egg yolk.
  • Potatoes are now ready to top your Shepherd's pie


This Shepherd’s Pie recipe is so delicious and easy to make. It will also make your house smell amazing!
Find more recipes at
Author: Scrappy Geek
Cost: $15
Course: Dinner, Main, Main Course, Main Dishes
Cuisine: American, Irish

Join the Conversation

  1. 5 stars
    Crazy good shepherds pie! It looks more daunting than it is. It comes together really quickly and you’ll be glad you tried this one instead of one of those “quick shepherd’s pie” recipes!

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