Traditional Shepherd’s Pie

Traditional Shepherd’s Pie is an Irish dish made with seasoned ground lamb, carrots, potatoes and peas and topped with mashed potatoes.

Can you believe it is March already? I’m trying to figure out where in the world the months are going! While this year is definitely flying by, winter is not. It feels like it’s been winter for practically a whole year now. Not cool, Mother Nature. Not cool.

But the one thing about winter that I don’t mind, is warm, hearty and comforting foods. You need something to warm you up and fill you up on these bitterly cold days right?

Insert Shepherd’s Pie. Meat, Potatoes and Vegetables. The perfect hearty dish full of ingredients almost everyone keeps in their freezer and pantry.

The ground lamb is what makes Shepherd’s Pie, Shepherd’s Pie. If you use ground beef instead, it’s actually Cottage Pie, but most people call it Shepherd’s Pie regardless of the type of ground meat they’re using.


Traditional Shepherd’s Pie

Traditional Shepherd’s Pie is an Irish dish made with seasoned ground lamb, carrots and peas and topped with mashed potatoes.

  • Author: NicholeL
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 55 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree, Lamb
  • Method: Oven


For the Lamb Mixture:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, finely diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 oz. red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

For the Mashed Potatoes:

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
  • 1/41/3 cup milk
  • 6 oz. Irish butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


For the Lamb Mixture:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet, add olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add in the lamb, onion and carrots.
  3. Cook, crumbling up the lamb for 5-7 minutes or until no longer pink and the onions and carrots have softened.
  4. Add in the peas and butter and stir until combined.
  5. Sprinkle the flour on top and mix in until everything has a slightly sticky texture.
  6. Pour in the Worcestershire sauce, red wine and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Stir frequently until the mixture reduces by half.
  7. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
  8. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.

For the Potatoes:

  1. Bring the water, salt and potatoes to a boil in a large pot. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
  2. Drain potatoes and return to the pot.
  3. Add milk and butter and mash potatoes until smooth. Taste, adding salt and pepper if necessary.

For Assembly and Baking:

  1. Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the lamb mixture.
  2. Optionally, brush the potatoes with the beaten egg and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly golden.

Keywords: traditional irish shepherd's pie, lamb, shepherd's pie, foodie extravaganza, irish recipes,

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Time Savers:

  • Use a bag of mixed vegetables (carrots, onions and peas)
  • A package of prepared, refrigerator mashed potatoes can replace homemade mashed potatoes

To be honest, I don’t cook with lamb a lot. The first time I made lamb burgers I found myself singing “Mary had a little lamb…” and it kind of ruined it going forward. But I did think this dish was delicious with the lamb in it. If you aren’t a fan of lamb, you could easily use ground beef or even ground turkey and I don’t think it would change the flavor of the recipe at all.

If a traditional shepherd’s pie isn’t your thing, you could check out the other versions I’ve made – Shepherd’s Pie with Thanksgiving Leftovers, or for a more Mexican take, Taco Shepherd’s Pie.

March 17 is National Irish Food Day, or National “Eat Like an Irishman” Day. My #FoodieExtravaganza friends and I are all sharing Irish themed recipes to celebrate! Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories, is our host. Check out this collection of recipes celebrating Irish food:


  1. Such a great shepherd’s pie! It has been a cold, rainy day here. I could really use this right about now.

  2. I love lamb and need to cook with it more often! This sounds delicious.

  3. That is a beautiful Shepherd’s Pie. I would love to try a lamb version but I’m the only lamb lover in the family so I usually use venison.

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