No-fuss shepherd's pie

No-fuss shepherd's pie

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(215 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 1 hr


Serves 4

We've got some lovely twists on shepherd's pie on the site, but we were missing a definitive version of this classic family recipe - here it is!

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freeze once assembled

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal663
  • fat39g
  • saturates20g
  • carbs49g
  • sugars10g
  • fibre5g
  • protein33g
  • salt1.35g
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  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    A variety of oils can be used for baking. Sunflower is the one we use most often at Good Food as…

  • 1 large onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2-3 medium carrots, chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 500g pack lamb mince
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • large splash Worcestershire sauce
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 900g potato, cut into chunks



    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 85g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 3 tbsp milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…


  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, then soften the onion and carrots for a few mins. When soft, turn up the heat, crumble in the lamb and brown, tipping off any excess fat. Add the tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce, then fry for a few mins. Pour over the stock, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 40 mins, uncovering halfway.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C/ fan 160C/ gas 4, then make the mash. Boil the potatoes in salted water for 10-15 mins until tender. Drain, then mash with the butter and milk.

  3. Put the mince into an ovenproof dish, top with the mash and ruffle with a fork. The pie can now be chilled and frozen for up to a month. Bake for 20-25 mins until the top is starting to colour and the mince is bubbling through at the edges. (To bake from frozen, cook at 160C/fan 140C/gas 3 for 1 hr-1 hr 20 mins until piping hot in the centre. Flash under the grill to brown, if you like.) Leave to stand for 5 mins before serving.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (234)

alicemaryflorence's picture

This is a very tasty recipe but it was far too watery for me. Simmered it for about 40 mins to get it to the consistency I like. Will definitely make again but will try with much less stock to avoid the long simmer stage I added.

Zippi212's picture

I don't use any (liquid) stock just a tin of chopped tomatoes, a good dash of worcestershire sauce and then a teaspoon of marmite in a little hot water. Add a few bay leaves and half a teaspoon of powdered stock to up the flavour. It reduces quicker and is moist without the sloppiness.

Tina2285's picture

Cooking it right now... Instead of lamb i'm using beef and i will put peas and mozzarella on top i'll post later the results just can't wait to eat it...

Clare B's picture

Hi. How did the mozzarella work out? I'm just making this and am thinking on adding some in?

lolo5647's picture

i made this and i put cheddar cheese on the top it went all crispy and was really nice you should defiantly try this

tiree50's picture

I brown the mince first then drain off all the fat. I used lamb stock about 300mls and added some thyme. Love it.

corriefan's picture

I too halved the stock,added peas to the mixture and added feta cheese to the mash,delicious!

Tyke's picture

Been making this for a while now and it's a favourite in our house. Would strongly recommend a serious cheese injection in the mash, I usually add an obscene amount of extra mature cheddar and it really makes this dish. Definitely not sloppy, but I probably cook for at least 20 minutes uncovered which reduces the consistency beautifully. Salivating just thinking about it...

buffymay's picture

Needs 2 large onions or add a few spring onion leaves and tablespoon plain flour At least 1 and a half tablespoons Worcestershire sauce and the mash needs lots of pepper and salt in mash, and more milk. Lamb cube and a Bovril cube shake of mixed herbs and a few frozen peas. Cook the mince a bit then add your onions and then you don't need sunflower oil as lamb is fatty enough to fry the onions.

theahoughton's picture

Tasty and fairly quick. Will be adding to list of trusted recipes.

liseh's picture

Made this tonight and really enjoyed it. After reading comments that it can be sloppy at times I only added 250ml of the stock & also a tbsp of beef gravy granules, which thickened it up perfectly and added extra flavour. Definitely making again :)

cyclefly's picture

Yes it will be "sloppy" if you don't reduce it before transfering to the dish. The people who say this is boring (of course it is theres nothing to make it interesting) need to smash a load of parmesan and garlic in the mash. Try adding some bovril beefy as well as the standard beef stock. This is a perfect basis from which to start you own version of a shepherds pie - it just needs some messing around with.

lizleicester's picture

Simple and delicious. I think the 20 minutes of cooking without the lid on probably reduced the "sloppiness" perfectly and intensified the flavours.

maryyoung's picture

After trying this very simple and straightforward recipe, it is now a firm favourite in our household. Easy to make and can freeze even half of it if there aren't enough people eating that night. Delicious. (I like having it with soda scones which are usually only available in winter sadly). For my husband, who is a pescetarian, I use quorn mince and vegetable stock and he loves it too.

buffduffdan's picture

One of the best Shepherd's pies that I've eaten. I added mushrooms to mine and also some grated cheese onto the mash for the last 5 minutes - plus I used a bit more tomato puree and worcestershire suace than the recipe suggested. I didn't find it runny at all - just very tasty!

carla89's picture

I add a tsp of rosemary and time to the devine!

cyclefly's picture

Very simple recipe, unfortunately it is also very boring.

JMTD77's picture

Seems a few people found this a little 'sloppy' as they put, maybe a bit more liquid than wanted. Either reduce down the amount of stock you're using at the start or cook it out longer so that more of the liquid/sauce reduces. If part one, go from 500ml to about 250/300ml. If the second option, just take that bit of extra time if you aren't in a rush, reducing it and cooking it down more will add extra depth to the flavor too.

NoPickedOnions's picture

Great shepherds pie I added mushrooms to mine as well but like others to much liquid. Adding 2 tablespoons of flour did the trick.

callum2903's picture

Really good. Would would recommend using a slotted spoon when putting in the mince mix. Its really nice to cook it in a lot of stock, but this was you can easily adjust the gravy ratio in your final dish :)


Questions (11)

merc21's picture

Hi I would love to know the make of the saucepans used in the video ?

astoelli's picture

Hello, URGENT! I would like to double the amount and precook for the weekend. How does this work? If I put the shepherd's pie in the casserole it is supposed to be baked in after freezing, how do I put it in the freezer? If I put the shepherd's pie into a freezing box with a lid, how do I get it in to the casserole after freezing? Excuse this maybe "silly" question and my bad English, I live abroad... Thanks so much! Regards1

geneticcrazybaker's picture

you set the meat in the casserole dish, layer the mashed potato on top, cover with foil then put in the freezer.

Thishan's picture


I would like to make this for 30 - 50 guests. can you help with how much ingredients I would need?

many thanks in advance


goodfoodteam's picture

Hi Thishan, thanks for getting in touch and glad to hear you're keen to make this recipe. For that number you would probably want to at least multiply these ingredients by 10, possibly even 15 (depending on final numbers and whether or not you are going to be serving additional dishes alongside) we would also suggest baking it in lots of batches, following the above method as closely as possible. However, we haven't tested this recipe with such large quantities so would not be able to guarantee perfect results. Let us know how you get on. 

tjbolton's picture

If you're making this to freeze, do you cook completely and then freeze or should you freeze it before it goes in the oven?

jonodee's picture

I do not own an oven proof dish, would it be possible to make this in several mugs?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there. Good value ovenproof dishes are widely available, we would suggest investing in one as they are useful for many recipes. Thanks.

wigbatt's picture

They are not expensive, buy one for a few quid from asda or the like, you don't need a le creuset one or anything! I can't see your average mug withstanding the heat of an oven very well!

paul_hogan's picture

I think the prep time of 15 mins is optimistic! Maybe edit that to 50 mins and cook time 25 mins? Otherwise, great recipe

goodfoodteam's picture

Thanks for the feedback on timings, they are usually just a rough guide as speed is variable from person to person, glad you enjoyed the recipe though, thanks.

Tips (3)

lesley701's picture

taught how to make this at school in the 60s, I prefer beef in mine, add a can of sweet corn and some garlic salt, also add slice tomatoes and grated cheese on top of mashed pots.

liseh's picture

Made this tonight & loved it. After reading the comments that it can be a little sloppy at times, I decided to halve the stock (250ml) & then add a tbsp or 2 (depending on how you want it) and it worked a treat, also added a bit more flavour to it. Definitely making again :)

Skynorth's picture

Buy lamb from a butcher as it will be cheaper. Add peas and/or green beans to bump up your vegetable portions. Also, try mashing parsnip with the potato, and add some freshly chopped parsley. finally, why not add some grated cheese to the top, and heat under the grill until bubbling.
You could use Quorn mince if you are vegetarian or want to cut down on your red meat consumption.