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Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

For the past year or so we’ve been part of a meat co-op that purchases pastured meat in bulk. We order every two months. When we picked up out meat this time, Gabriel said “You should make shepherd’s pie.”

You should have heard the “oh, yeah’s ” that went on when a few days later when I finally made it. It’s so super easy and I usually have all of these items on hand. For some reason, I have forgotten about it in my meal planning for quite a while.

Difference Between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie

Both shepherd’s pie and cottage pie are traditional meat pies from the United Kingdom. The only real difference is the meat – shepherd’s pie uses lamb and cottage pie uses beef.

So, while we call this dish shepherd’s pie in our family, it’s really a cottage pie.

shepherd's pie in cast iron skillet

How to Make Shepherd’s Pie

Shepard’s pie is basically a meat casserole topped with mashed potatoes instead of a pie crust. One of the things I love about this recipe is that you can use various meats and vegetables depending on what you have on hand and what your family likes. If you are a foodie purest, just call it meat pie or meat casserole if calling calling it shepherd’s pie bothers you.

We make this with ground beef, corn, green beans, and of course mashed potatoes. We also like to top it with cheddar cheese.

Meats: While shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb, ground beef or venison also makes a tasty shepherd’s pie.

Vegetables: Traditionally, shepherd’s pie would have carrots and peas along with other vegetables that are in season such as leeks, mushrooms, rutabaga, parsnips and onions. In the spirit of using what we have, I usually use home canned corn and home canned green beans.

  1. Make mashed potatoes – make the mashed potatoes however your family likes them. We keep the peels on and just scrub them but you can peel them if you prefer.
  2. Brown the meat – while the potatoes are boiling, brown the meat with some onion.
  3. Putting the shepherd’s pie together – Drain the meat and spread it in a 9×13 pan. Add some diced tomatoes (I use home canned tomatoes). Drain the corn and green beans and spread them over the meat mixture. Spread the mashed potatoes on top. We add grated cheddar cheese to the top which is not the traditional way but it is a tasty way.
  4. Enjoy!
shepherd's pie in cast iron skillet
Yield: 8 servings

Shepherd's Pie

shepherd's pie in cast iron skillet

Shepherd's pie is tasty casserole that doesn't rely on condensed canned soup. The corn and green beans can be substituted for other vegetables such as carrots and peas to add variety.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 1 lb ground beef (browned)
  • I medium onion, diced
  • 1 can (about 2 cups) diced tomatoes
  • 3 large (1 1/2-2 pounds) potatoes
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups corn (I use 1 pint home canned corn)
  • 4 cups canned green beans (I use one quart home canned green beans)
  • I cup cheddar cheese (grated)
  • salt & pepper


Make Mashed Potatoes:

  1. Wash and dice the potatoes. Boil the potatoes until soft. Pour the potatoes into a colander to drain the water. Put the potatoes back into the pot, add the butter, and mash.

Brown the Meat:

  1. In a large skillet brown the ground beef with the diced onions.

Putting it Together:

  1. Drain the fat off the meat and spread the meat into a 9X13 pan. Add the diced tomatoes and mix well.
  2. Drain the liquid from the canned corn and beans. Spread the corn kernels over the meat and then spread the green beans.
  3. Top with the mashed potatoes and then sprinkle with grated cheese.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 3o minutes or until the top is lightly brown and the side are bubbly.

Did you make this recipe?

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Monday 15th of April 2013

Hummm, I remember making this years ago; not sure why I stopped.

Angi Schneider

Wednesday 17th of April 2013

You should make it. I bet your family will be happy you remembered it.

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