Traditional Shepherd’s Pie

Homestyle Shepherd's Pie

If you love Traditional Shepherd’s Pie (and who doesn’t?), this ground lamb and potato casserole is hearty and delicious. Old-fashioned Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb or mutton and loaded with vegetables and a savory gravy. It’s my Mom’s old-fashioned shepherd’s pie recipe, and it’s awesome.

vegetables for traditional shepherd's pie.

The Original Shepherd’s Pie recipe was made with mutton which is an older (let’s call it more mature) sheep). For this recipe, I’ve opted for a more widely available (and more tender)protein, ground lamb.


  • Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Ground Lamb
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Peas
  • Beef Broth
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Gravy Master (optional)
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Milk
  • Greek Yogurt (or Sour Cream)
Browning ground beef and making roux for gravy.

A vegetable and ground lamb mixture and creamy mashed potatoes are the two main components of a traditional shepherd’s pie. It’s easy to make but does require a few steps. It’s worth the effort because everyone loves this ground lamb and potato casserole.


  1. Boil the potatoes for mashed potato topping.
  2. Sauté the mushrooms. Separately sauté the carrots and mushrooms.
  3. Season and brown the ground lamb and transfer to a bowl.
  4. In the same pan, make a roux (melted butter with flour) until a thick paste forms.
  5. Whisk in the beef broth to make the gravy.
  6. Add the gravy to the ground lamb and vegetables and set aside.
  7. Drain the cooked potatoes and mash them with butter and greek yogurt or sour cream. 
  8. Layer the ground lamb and potatoes in a casserole dish.
  9. Brush with a bit of butter (optional) and bake.
Combining gravy with ground beef and vegetables for ground beef casserole with potatoes.

The rich gravy augments the flavors in this ground lamb and potato casserole. It also keeps it moist while it bakes. Just toss the vegetables, cooked lamb mince and gravy together in a bowl. You can let it rest while you mash the potatoes.

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Making mashed potatoes for original shepherd's pie recipe

You can make one large traditional shepherd’s pie or you can break it up into multiple dishes or even single-serving casseroles.

On this particular night, I was bringing this old-fashioned shepherd’s pie to a blogger meeting, so I made one large one for the party and one smaller one for my husband so he didn’t have to fend for himself (i.e. order a pizza).

Layering The Shepherd’s Pie with Lamb Filling

  1. Spread the bottom of your casserole dishes with the ground lamb, vegetable and gravy mixture.
  2. Top with mashed potatoes and smooth out evenly. 
Individual and Family Sized ground beef casserole with potatoes.

Getting Fancy With Mashed Potatoes 

If you want to get fancy, you can pipe the potatoes in a pastry bag with a star tip for pretty swirls, but this is completely unnecessary. The back of a spoon will achieve rustic looking whorls of mashed potatoes, too.

Layering mashed potatoes over the meat mixture with a piping bag.

That said, it’s pretty amazing what you can do with a pastry bag and tips, right?  And I’m not even particularly adept at using them…


Brush the mashed potatoes with melted butter and bake until the top just starts to turn golden and the traditional shepherd’s pie is piping hot.

What goes with traditional Shepherd’s Pie?

Spooning out shepherd's pie with beef.

More Comfort Food Favorites:

A serving of ground beef casserole with potatoes.

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Homestyle Shepherd's Pie
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5 from 13 votes

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie is a comforting, layered casserole made with a bed of ground lamb and vegetables in a tempting gravy topped with a layer of whipped potatoes.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword lamb, mashed potato
Dietary Restrictions Egg Free
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 6



  • pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into ½” pieces
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped into ¼” dice.
  • 1 medium onion peeled and chopped into ¼” dice.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced or one teaspoon dried rosemary
  • teaspoons fresh thyme, minced or one teaspoon dried thyme
  • pounds lean ground lamb
  • 1 large clove garlic minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • tablespoons flour
  • cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon gravy master (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup milk


  • Place cut potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Meanwhile, heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a ¼ teaspoon of salt, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes until they are softened and give up their liquid. Transfer mushrooms to a large bowl.  
  • Add one teaspoon of olive oil to the pan, stir in the onions, carrots, and another quarter teaspoon of salt. Cook over medium-high heat until onions are tender and translucent and carrots are softened, about 6-10. Taste the carrots to ensure they are tender and not crunchy. (If they are still crisp, turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid to help them steam. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with mushrooms.
  • Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and add the ground lamb, breaking apart the meat with the back of a fork and browning. When the meat is about halfway cooked, add the garlic, rosemary, oregano, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring, until meat is fragrant and thoroughly cooked through. Transfer the lamb to the bowl with the vegetables and stir in the frozen peas.
  • Melt 1½ tablespoons butter in the pan and add the flour, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine and cook over medium-high heat, stirring for about one minute, until bubbly.
  • Slowly add the beef broth and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Boil and stir for one minute.
  • Add the Gravy Master (if using) and Worcestershire sauce. Remove from heat and add the gravy to the lamb and vegetable mixture. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Heat the milk and two tablespoons of butter in the microwave or a saucepan until the butter melts and the milk is warm. Do not boil.
  • Drain the water from the potatoes. If using a potato ricer, select the smallest extruder disk and run the potatoes through the ricer, then stir in the milk and butter mixture, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Taste for seasonings and adjust to your liking.
    If using a potato smasher, add the milk and butter mixture, sour cream, one teaspoon of kosher salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper to the potatoes. Smash the potatoes, incorporating the dairy products. Potatoes should be smooth but firm, holding their shape when you run a spoon through them.
  • Spray a large casserole dish with vegetable spray. Spoon the meat mixture into the casserole and spread out evenly with a spoon.
  • Spread the mashed potatoes over the casserole with a spatula, creating divots and swirls. (casserole can be made to this point, covered and refrigerated to bake later).
  • Add the remaining butter in small pieces over the top of the potatoes. Bake casserole in the center of a hot oven for 30 minutes, then turn on the broiler and cook for 5 minutes more until lightly browned.


Leftovers can be reheated in a 350° oven for 15 minutes.


Calories: 145.53kcal | Carbohydrates: 33.02g | Protein: 3.82g | Fat: 0.17g | Saturated Fat: 0.05g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.08g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.003g | Sodium: 11.34mg | Potassium: 795.68mg | Fiber: 4.16g | Sugar: 1.47g | Vitamin A: 3.78IU | Vitamin C: 37.23mg | Calcium: 22.68mg | Iron: 1.47mg

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  1. Glenda Trimmer says:

    Just discovered your blog! We are old friends of your Mom and Dad’s, and knew you well as a baby when your Dad and Bill were stationed in San Diego, and then later living in Northern Virginia. I will enjoy following you. It is obvious you have your Mom’s gift for both cooking and writing…she is great at both.

    About the Shepherd’s Pie…your Mom made it all the time when we lived in San Diego and Bill raved about it. When I came across it on your blog, it made me smile.

    Hope your folk’s place in the Keys survived the storm, I have been thinking of them, and have misplaced your Mom’s cell #.

    Give your Mom and Dad our best!

    1. So nice to hear from you Glenda! That Shepherd’s Pie is a definite comfort dish in our house — and I have fond memories of it from my childhood. I’ll pass on Mom’s contact info for you.

    1. Thank you, Nicole! I’m glad you approve! Yes, it’s amazing what you can do with a piping bag! I’m a complete novice at that…

  2. Pat Stoddard says:

    5 stars
    Dang, auto correct didn’t correct my spelling.

  3. Pat Stoddard says:

    5 stars
    This is hands down the best sheperd’s pie I have ever eaten. Bud’s daughter and 5 year old granddaughter came for dinner. No trouble getting Gracie to eat her dinner and Jennifer and Bud were feeling overstuffed after the 3rd helping. I used dried herbs and fresh garlic and some frozen peas and corn because they had been in the freezer long enough. The recipe didn’t mention the garlic or peas but your pictures show peas. The potatoes were delicious with Chobani yogurt. I am a slow poke at everything I do. I’d like to know how long it took you to create this dish. I started at 3:15 and set the casserole on the table at 6:15.

    1. Hi Pat! So glad you enjoyed the Shepherd’s Pie! Thanks for catching the peas – I don’t know how I missed that, but I’ve fixed it. As far as active time in the kitchen, this took me about 1:15 — peeling, chopping, mashing, assembly etc. but when shooting this for the blog — it was a solid 4 hours.

  4. 5 stars
    This is such a great old timey comfort food. Love your small diced carrots and your mashed potatoes are so pretty!

  5. Luci's Morsels says:

    5 stars
    Now here is a meal I haven’t had in a long time. I love how beautiful this looks but so delicious too. I am going to add this to my list of recipes to try. Yummy!

  6. My mom hated her food touching, so she made all the elements separate. Now that I’m an adult, I mix them all up like this 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    I hadn’t made shepherds pied for such a long time and then I made it last week and everyone loved it. Of course mines wasn’t as bonnie as yours with the piped mash. Note to self, must try harder!

  8. 5 stars
    Yes indeed!! Shephard’s pie is truly a classic comfort dish. I always go for the mashed potatoes first and when I make it I usually pile on extra spuds. I’m just a gluten for carbs!

  9. Those potatoes do look pretty amazing! Such a wonderful comfort food. It was so sweet of him to check and see if you needed to photograph first 🙂 Sounds like you had a great time.

    1. He’s a good guy – he deserves his own casserole, don’t you think?

  10. 5 stars
    I love how pretty you got the potatoes to lay. I am horrible with those frosting bags…I always end up with a disaster on my hands when I try to use it.

    1. I’m not so great with them either, but it’s amazing how people respond to pastry tipped potatoes!