Shepherd's pie with portion taken out and serving spoon

No-fuss shepherd's pie

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(326 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 1 tbsp sunflower oil in a medium saucepan, then soften 1 chopped onion and 2-3 chopped carrots for a few mins.

  2. When soft, turn up the heat, crumble in 500g lamb mince and brown, tipping off any excess fat.

  3. Add 2 tbsp tomato purée and a large splash of Worcestershire sauce, then fry for a few mins.

  4. Pour over 500ml beef stock, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 40 mins, uncovering halfway.

  5. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C/ fan 160C/ gas 4, then make the mash. Boil the 900g potato, cut into chunks, in salted water for 10-15 mins until tender. Drain, then mash with 85g butter and 3 tbsp milk.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.)

  8. Leave to stand for 5 mins before serving.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Thraxas's picture
10th Oct, 2019
Great recipe, made it twice and the family love it
3rd Sep, 2019
Super easy recipe. I added some peas to up the veg content, and a tsp of gravy powder to thicken the sauce.
30th Jul, 2019
Just made this for my hubby & mother, I'm not a huge fan of shepherds/cottage pies but have to say this is divine! It's easy, quickish & certainly comfort food at it's best! I did a couple things different, firstly I made this with beef mince (so cottage pie), I added tinned carrots & peas cuz mum likes them and they're supper sweet & works well with this dish and lastly I added a small dollop of mustard to the mash which I have always done and just makes them extra tasty! Really tasty meal.
booo242's picture
26th Jul, 2019
Ooooh This is sooo great recipe!! If somebody want I know delicious recipe!)) Here - No Boil Lasagna! Really Tasty!)
zia2014's picture
7th Jun, 2019
As previously said, the measurements are good. In terms of stock be careful, I left it to cook for a while and added stock 100ml at a time. I needed max 300ml. I added some crushed chillies and paprika.
Spencer Lunn's picture
Spencer Lunn
11th May, 2019
Yes this is to watery just cook it without the lid and add corflower and hey presto plus peas and thyme
6th Apr, 2019
It's delicious. I add celery, a tin of baked beans, and half teaspoon of cinnamon for the lamb.
3rd Feb, 2019
Other than the fact you need to reduce the potato quantity by a third and the stock from 500 ml to 300 ml, a perfect recipe!
23rd Jan, 2019
Follow the BBC cottage pie recipe for this, you'll love it!
18th Oct, 2018
Absolutely delicious .Made it twice the last fortnight . First time followed the recipe , loved it and second time added a spoonful of flour after draining fat, fried celery with the onions and i had a pack of cherry tomatoes to get rid of , so chucked them in too . tasted just as good .Going to use this recipe all the time now and add whatever needs using up


29th Oct, 2017
After freezing, can I defrost in fridge and then cook in microwave?
goodfoodteam's picture
8th Nov, 2017
Thanks for your question. We would recommend cooking this in the oven. You can do this from frozen. Cook it at 160C/fan 140C/gas 3 for 1 hr-1 hr 20 mins until piping hot in the centre.
8th Sep, 2017
Roughly what size oven dish would you recommend using for this recipe?
27th Aug, 2018
I used a 2.9L, 35 x 23 cm Pyrex dish. Note, I added 1.5Kg of potatoes, rather than 900g, and also 4 celery stalks. I recommend 900g of potatoes.
21st Aug, 2017
Once prepared how long would this keep in the fridge for? I'm looking to prepare this today for later in the week. Thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
22nd Aug, 2017
Thanks for your question, you can keep this in the fridge for 2 - 3 days or freeze it for up to a month. Instructions on how to cook from frozen are in step 3. If fridge cold, you'll want to cook the dish for around 30 - 40 mins. Check it is hot in the centre before serving.
27th Apr, 2016
Hi I would love to know the make of the saucepans used in the video ?
5th Aug, 2015
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
26th Oct, 2015
you set the meat in the casserole dish, layer the mashed potato on top, cover with foil then put in the freezer.
31st Mar, 2015
Hi, I would like to make this for 30 - 50 guests. can you help with how much ingredients I would need? many thanks in advance Thishan


6th Apr, 2019
Delicious - but needs double the amount of mince!
2nd Apr, 2019
This recipe is really good. To make this vegetarian, replace with quorn or soy mince (take it out of the freezer awhile before), use less liquid (maybe 250ml), and cook it for 15 mins in a pan instead of the 40 listed here. I only did it for 15 mins in the oven. Instead of Worcester Sauce you can use 2tsp soy sauce + 1/4tsp sugar + 1/4tsp lemon juice. My oven dish is 23+36+6cm. Thyme is divine in this dish. So is cheese. Corn makes it sweeter.
25th Jun, 2016
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.
7th Jan, 2016
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
7th Feb, 2015
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.
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