Shepherd's pie with portion taken out and serving spoon

No-fuss shepherd's pie

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(396 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

    Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

  • 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 a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 3 tbsp milk



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


  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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5th Jul, 2020
Used mixed veg and didn't put in as much stock, but it turned out pleasant
18th Jun, 2020
Everyone loves it. Happy tummy - happy family
Samantha Ali's picture
Samantha Ali
15th Jun, 2020
This was fantastic, however, I think I expected the lamb to taste like beef.
9th Jun, 2020
Tasty. No need for packet mixes anymore. Added peas as well for more veg. Added cheese to the mash too.
Jon Noble's picture
Jon Noble
1st Jun, 2020
Most people agree that this needs more veg and cheese, our rustic Shepherds pie is all that and more, 'Cowbridge Kitchen'
Chloe Humphreys's picture
Chloe Humphreys
7th Jul, 2020
Do you not find rating every single recipe on here 1 star to promote your own website slightly unprofessional?
barbara wood's picture
barbara wood
16th May, 2020
Due to lockdown and staying away from supermarkets I didn't have my usual ready mix for Shepherds pie so used this instead. It was excellent and I will not be buying any more ready mixes. Added a handful of frozen peas and sprinkled with parmesan cheese before browning in the oven. 5/5 from me.
8th May, 2020
This was a winner. Kept to the recipe but just added some peas for more veg. Loved the simplicity of it and would definitely make again.
20th Apr, 2020
Absolutely delivers what it says. A great basic recipe. I softened onions and fried the meat in a pressure cooker, unlidded, then added stock (400 ml) and tomato purée, pressured up and cooked for 15 minutes. Depressurised and added carrots then cooked for a further five minutes I reduced the stock by boiling once the lid was off. I used baby potatoes unpeeled and added a little grated cheddar to the mash. I positioned the mash spoon by spoon to distribute it evenly, then finished with a fork. Delicious.
24th Feb, 2020
made this tonight for tea and it was beautiful but had to add 2 tablespoons of gravy powder to thicken it and also added 3 handfuls of frozen peas too family loved it even the grandson


Sarah Brady's picture
Sarah Brady
16th May, 2020
If I want to add peas, at what point do I do that?
lulu_grimes's picture
19th May, 2020
Hello, If you are using frozen peas then add them right at the end of the cooking time for the mince. They'll only need a minute or two to defrost and heat through. Lulu
GMB Archer
11th Feb, 2020
I want to make this with left over roast lamb. what point should I add the lamb as I don't want it to be tough?
CassieBest's picture
12th Feb, 2020
Hi GMB Archer, Assuming you have leftover shoulder or leg of lamb, you can add the meat at the same point it suggests in the recipe, just reduce the initial cooking time to about 20 mins (these cuts won't go tough, but become more tender as they cook, but the full 40 mins is unnecessary.) I hope that helps, Cassie (Senior Food Editor, BBC Good Food)
31st Jan, 2020
What size of roasting dish would be a good size to use for this recipe?
goodfoodteam's picture
4th Feb, 2020
Hello, thanks so much for your question. We would advise you to use a 1.5-2 litre oven proof dish.
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.


Jon Noble's picture
Jon Noble
1st Jun, 2020
Have to say that this Shepherds Pie is not looking so good. I would not be putting Worcestershire sauce in this classic dish , at Cowbridge Kitchen we do an amazing, rustic Shepherds pie - full of flavour.
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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