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shepherd's pie plated up with green beans blurred in the background
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5 from 6 votes

Traditional Shepherd's Pie

A Shepherd's Pie made the traditional British way (with lamb). A rich meat layer topped with creamy mash, this is sure to be a new family favourite! Serves 6 comfortably, would feed 8 with a side.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 5 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: British
Servings: 6
Calories: 963kcal
Cost: £3 / $3.50


  • Deep 12" Skillet or Large Pot (for meat layer)
  • Large Pot & Colander (for mash)
  • 8x12" Baking Dish (for combined)
  • Tray (to place dish on)
  • Chopping Board & Sharp Knife (for veg)
  • Jug (for stock)
  • Potato Masher (for mash)
  • Fine Grater (for parmesan)
  • Wooden Spoon


Lamb Layer

  • 2lb / 1kg Minced/Ground Lamb
  • 2.5 cups / 625ml Beef Stock
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml Dry Red Wine (see notes)
  • 2 medium Carrots, finely diced
  • 2 ribs of Celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium White Onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Gravy Granules (see notes)
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Dried Rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • Olive Oil, as needed
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Mash Layer

  • 4lb / 2kg White Potatoes, peeled & diced into 1" chunks
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml Cream (can sub milk)
  • 4 tbsp Butter
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup / 40g freshly grated Parmesan
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste


  • Add a drizzle of olive oil to a large skillet/pot over medium heat and add your lamb. Break up with a wooden spoon until it begins to brown, then season with salt & pepper. Continue to fry until completely browned and the liquid (if any) has disappeared. Pour into your baking dish and place to one side.
  • Add more oil as needed to the skillet/pot then add your onion, celery and carrot. Fry until they begin to soften and brown, then add your garlic. Fry for a minute longer, then stir in 2 tbsp tomato puree. Deglaze with 1/2cup / 125ml wine and allow to reduce for a few mins. Add back in your lamb and stir to combine.
  • Pour in 2.5 cups / 625ml Beef stock then add 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 tbsp gravy granules, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp rosemary, 1/2 tsp thyme and salt & pepper to taste. Allow to gently simmer for 35-45mins or until thickened.
  • Meanwhile, boil your potatoes in salted water until knife tender. Drain and mash in 4 tbsp butter. Once lump free, stir in 1/2 cup / 125ml cream and season to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  • Pour your lamb into the baking dish, then top with your mash. I recommend doing this in large spoonfuls dollop by dollop, working from the outside in. This is just so the lamb stays in an even layer and doesn't clump to one end. Top with parmesan, pop the baking dish on a tray and place in the oven at 390F/200C for 20-25mins, or until golden on top and bubbling round the edges.
  • Let it sit for 5mins (just to retain shape) then serve up!



a) Wine - I highly recommend adding this. It adds a gorgeous depth of flavour and pairs beautifully with the lamb. Most, if not all of the alcohol will burn off, but if you're adamant you don't want to add it, just sub with more beef stock.
b) Gravy Granules - These are used to thicken the sauce and add flavour. I highly recommend using a trusted brand such as Bisto. Do not sub for a cheap tasteless brand, it'll end up tasting like perfume... If you're struggling to find gravy granules, I recommend stirring in 2 tbsp flour into the mince before the liquid is added. Fry it off for a few mins to get rid of that floury taste, then gradually pour in the liquid to avoid lumps.
c) Thickening - It's important to thicken the mince layer before it's topped with mash. Whatever the consistency is before you add the mash will be the consistency when it comes out the oven (because no steam can escape through the layer of mash). As such, don't skip the timings - 30mins minimum!
d) Seasoned Mash - It's really important to season well, then season some more. The lamb is going to be gorgeously rich, don't ruin it with unseasoned mash.
e) Tray Underneath - The gravy will begin to spill out of the sides of the dish about half way through, which is fine, just make sure your dish is on a tray to catch this (too many experiences of smoking out the kitchen with the gravy burning on the bottom of the oven)
f) Rest - Allow it to rest for 5mins after it's taken out 1. to help to retain posture 2. so you don't scold the roof of your mouth (again, from experience).
g) Serving - I recommend serving with a side of green beans. Will comfortably feed 6, can stretch to 8 with a side.
h) Calories - based on 1 tbsp olive oil, heavy cream and sharing between 6.


Calories: 963kcal | Carbohydrates: 79.21g | Protein: 53.93g | Fat: 45.57g | Saturated Fat: 22.703g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.027g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17.131g | Trans Fat: 0.001g | Cholesterol: 187mg | Sodium: 621mg | Potassium: 2758mg | Fiber: 8.3g | Sugar: 9.14g | Vitamin A: 4049IU | Vitamin C: 46.9mg | Calcium: 200mg | Iron: 6.57mg