If there’s only one adjective to describe shepherd’s pie, it would be hearty. Hearty means a “wholesome and substantial” dish and shepherd’s pie perfectly fits that description – its savory flavors remind and fill us of the goodness of home.
Shepherd’s pie is a baked meat dish, often lamb or mutton, with a mashed potato topping. Several variations developed from this combination, leading to recipes such as Cumberland pie and Hachis Parmentier.
Make shepherd’s pie if you’re looking for a unique dish that feels like a hug. Look for your favorite shepherd’s pie recipe and get your oven ready.
1. The Best Classic Shepherd’s Pie
This classic shepherd’s pie recipe is a casserole of ground lamb or beef mixture with a potato topping. The meat mixture includes olive oil, onions, spices, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, flour, beef broth, frozen mixed veggies, corn, salt, and pepper.
You’ll make the mashed potato topping using russet potatoes, unsalted butter, half and half, garlic powder, salt, and parmesan cheese. Once the creamy mashed potatoes and meat mixture are ready, you’ll assemble them in a casserole dish.
If you don’t have frozen mixed peas and carrots, you can use separate frozen peas and frozen carrots.
2. Cumberland Pie
Cumberland pie is a shepherd’s pie variation with a cheese and breadcrumbs layer over the potatoes and meat mixture. Moreover, it uses meat chunks instead of minced or ground meat, but beyond those, the two are similar.
Shepherd’s pies have a mashed potato layer or topping. While this recipe does have potatoes, they aren’t mashed. Instead, they’re cooked potatoes that are thinly sliced, then arranged in a slightly overlapping fashion with the meat.
Before arranging the casserole of meat and potato slices, preheat the oven. Thus, once you’ve covered your dish with breadcrumbs and cheese mixture, it’s ready for baking!
3. Hachis Parmentier (French Shepherd’s Pie)
Shepherd’s pie may have British origins, but the French also have their contribution. Many consider Hachis Parmentier the French equivalent of shepherd’s pie, and I’ll let you see why.
Like shepherd’s pie, it also has mashed potatoes and meat mixtures. This recipe uses ground beef and encourages the use of leftover beef stew to avoid food waste. It also uses russet potatoes.
The difference lies in the flavorings – French shepherd’s pie has herbs de provence, a spice mixture popular in French cuisine. The meat layer also has apple cider vinegar, which you can swap for wine, sherry, or cognac.
4. Cottage Pie (Shepherd’s Pie)
Many use the terms cottage pie and shepherd’s pie to refer to the same dish. But for those who are meticulous and technical, there are differences. Cottage pie uses beef, while shepherd’s pie often has lamb or mutton.
Thus, this recipe is a shepherd’s pie in several aspects – meat mixed with gravy topped with mashed potatoes. But it strictly uses ground beef only, which renders different flavors.
It’s a great idea to recreate this fantastic recipe after Thanksgiving. During that period, you usually have a lot of leftovers, like extra mashed potatoes, that you can incorporate into the recipe.
5. Traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie
As we’ve included the French shepherd’s pie, it’s only apt to honor the Irish version of making this beloved dish. Like the French, the difference is primarily in the individual ingredients.
For instance, this recipe uses tomato paste, which you can swap for ketchup if you prefer sweetness over acidity. It also uses chicken stock instead of the usual beef stock, although this recipe uses ground beef or lamb.
There’s also a touch of red wine added to the meat gravy. The combined spices, flavors, and ingredients create a complex but flavorful dish that the Irish love.
6. Pastel Tutup (Indonesian Shepherd’s Pie)
We don’t gatekeep shepherd’s pie to Europe or the United States. Even Indonesia has pastel tutup, a unique rendition of the dish that blends Eastern and Western flavors.
The Indonesian shepherd’s pie isn’t strict on the meat – you can even use ground chicken if you wish. The meat mixture has different ingredients or fillings, including bean thread noodles, mushrooms, fresh veggies, and Asian spices.
Moreover, you can use coconut cream instead of heavy cream for the mashed potatoes. Coconut cream provides fresh, tropical flavors, so I highly suggest using that instead of the heavy cream alternative.
7. Gordon Ramsay’s Shepherd’s Pie
Gordon Ramsay is a household name because of his absolutely delicious dishes. Thus, we’re always on the lookout for his recipes, hoping to replicate some of his notable works.
Luckily for us, he’s fond of sharing his shepherd’s pie recipe, and it’s a must-try! Ramsay’s version is pretty classic – it uses lamb meat, which is standard for a shepherd’s pie.
The recipe also calls for tomato puree, dry red wine, thyme, rosemary, Parmesan cheese, and chicken stock (besides the other usual ingredients). Once you’ve cooked your components, layer them in a baking dish, bake, and enjoy!
8. Jamie Oliver’s Shepherd’s Pie
Jamie Oliver is also a well-known chef, as big a name as Gordon Ramsay. As expected, he also has a fabulous rendition of this classic dish, which we can’t wait to try and make.
Before anything else though – if you want to go all in with Jamie Oliver’s recipe, be ready to roast a whole lamb shoulder. Roasting a lamb shoulder in the oven (by yourself) can take four hours.
Honestly, Oliver’s version is sophisticated. He uses Maris Piper potatoes and fancy spices. It takes time and effort, but with how good it is? Absolutely rewarding.
9. Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd’s pie without meat may seem unheard of, if not an abomination for some, but it exists and is fantastic. It even earned not just one but two monikers – shepherdless or shepherdess pie.
This shepherdless is specifically a vegetarian version. Instead of meat, it uses mushrooms, carrots, and frozen peas. There’s olive oil, shallots, fresh herbs, tomato paste, red wine, flour, veggie broth, and salt.
For the mashed potatoes, you’ll need Yukon gold, Greek yogurt, butter or olive oil, and salt. All these elements result in flavors that are nothing less than the traditional pie.
10. Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
This recipe from Minimalist Baker doesn’t just promise a vegan shepherd’s pie. It also says that you can have it in just ONE hour!
Unlike the vegetarian recipe that uses mushrooms as an alternative to meat and provider umami flavor, this vegan pie uses lentils. Lentils have a lot of protein, fiber, and iron. We’ll also use frozen mixed vegetables comprising peas, carrots, green beans, and corn.
To start, make the mashed potatoes and cook the vegetable mixture over medium heat. Once done, pour into a baking dish, spread mashed potatoes, then load into a preheated oven.
10 Best Shepherd’s Pie Recipes
Bake the best shepherd’s pie (and its variants) using these recipes!
The Best Classic Shepherd’s Pie
Hachis Parmentier (French Shepherd’s Pie)
Cottage Pie (Shepherd’s Pie)
Traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie
Pastel Tutup (Indonesian Shepherd’s Pie)
Gordon Ramsay’s Shepherd’s Pie
Jamie Oliver’s Shepherd’s Pie
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
- Select your favorite recipe.
- Organize all the required ingredients.
- Prep a shepherd’s pie in 30 minutes or less!