Classic Lamb Shepherd's Pie Recipe

When most people think of pies, a dessert comes to mind. However, pies also fare very well as main courses as well. Like a traditional Shepherd's pie, this recipe has layers of goodness that are bound to keep you full and satisfied and there's no doubt you'll be loading your plate with seconds, maybe even thirds. This dish is truly the ultimate all-in-one meal, with layers of veggies, ground lamb, mashed potatoes, and a topping of shredded cheddar cheese that melts perfectly over the potatoes and brings the pie together.

Recipe developer Catherine Brookes of Blue Sky Eating came up with her own spin on this all-time classic, and trust us when we tell you — it's one of the most flavorful (and filling) pies you will ever taste. "Shepherd's pie is a classic British comfort food! It's warming, filling, and easy to pack lots of tasty veggies into, too," Brookes raves. "This is a great one to serve for a big family dinner. You can also prep it earlier in the day and keep it in the fridge ready to put in the oven later."

Gather the ingredients for this classic lamb Shepherd's pie

This recipe includes all the ingredients that a classic Shepherd's pie would. You'll need olive oil, onion, carrots, garlic, ground lamb, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, dried thyme, dried rosemary, cornstarch, beef stock, frozen peas, salt, pepper, large baking potatoes, milk, butter, and shredded cheddar cheese.

You could also swap out some of the veggies and the meat if you'd like. "Corn, celery, or mushrooms would also work well," Brookes notes. "And lamb can be subbed for beef also."

Sauté the veggies

You will need a high-sided saucepan or a large pot for this step. Add the olive oil, followed by the diced onion and carrots. Turn the heat to medium and continue cooking the veggies together for about 6-8 minutes, until the they get nice and soft.

Once soft, toss in the garlic and fry for another minute. Be sure to constantly stir the garlic with the veggies. 

Cook the lamb

Crank the heat up a notch to medium-high and add the ground lamb to the same saucepan as the veggies. Use a wooden spoon to break the lamb into smaller pieces and cook for about 5 minutes or so until the lamb browns.

Next, you can add tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and rosemary. Stir well to coat with the lamb and veggies.

Make a slurry

In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of beef stock and the cornstarch and stir to combine. This should make your nice slurry. Next, add the slurry to the pot with the rest of the ingredients and stir.

Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once you see bubbles reach the top of the pot, let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes. "Make sure to simmer the filling for the full 30 minutes as this really helps all the flavors to develop," Brookes shares.

Make the potatoes

Take out a large pan and fill it with salted water. Bring the water to a boil and add the potatoes, continuing to cook until they are fork-tender. This should only take about 20 minutes or so, and you can do it while the lamb mixture simmers.

Once fork-tender, drain the water from the pot and return the potatoes to the pan. Use a potato masher and mash with milk, butter, and some salt to taste.

Preheat the oven and add peas

Since you need an oven to cook Shepherd's pie, turn the dial to 400 F. While you wait for it to get hot, add the peas to the pot with the filling mixture and stir through. 

Then, just add a dash of salt and pepper and mix to combine.

Assemble the Shepherd's pie

Be sure to select a large, oven-safe dish to assemble the pie. To start, transfer the filling mixture first, spreading it evenly at the bottom of the dish.

Next, spoon the mashed potatoes all over the top of the filling. Use a fork to make some rough lines over the potatoes, and last but not least, add the shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake and enjoy

Pop the classic lamb Shepherd's pie into the oven for 30-35 minutes and continue cooking until golden. Then, you can remove and serve as you wish! 

As you can tell, this meal is plenty on its own, but Brookes also provides a few pairing suggestions in case you'd like anything else. "I like to serve this with some broccoli or other fresh greens on the side," she shares.

Even though this dish is fantastic, it still makes a lot — which means you may have some left. "Leftovers will keep well in the fridge up to 3 days," Brookes says. "Just reheat in the microwave or oven." 

Classic Lamb Shepherd's Pie Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
If you're looking for a comforting meal, look no further than this classic lamb Shepherd's pie recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
classic lamb Shepherd's pie in dish
Total time: 1.67 hours
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ pound ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ easpoon dried thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 3 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Add the olive oil to a large pot or high-sided saucepan and fry the onion and carrot on a medium setting until softened, about 6-8 minutes. Then add the garlic and fry for another minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the ground lamb and turn the heat up to medium-high. Break it apart with a wooden spoon and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and rosemary and stir well.
  4. Mix 2 tablespoons of the beef stock with the cornstarch and stir into a slurry. Add this to the pot along with the rest of the stock and stir.
  5. Bring to a boil then leave to simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. While the filling simmers, boil the potatoes in a large pan of salted water until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Then drain and return to the pan.
  7. Mash the potatoes with the milk, butter and some salt to taste.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  9. Add the peas to the pot with the filling mixture and stir through. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Transfer the filling mixture to a large oven dish, spreading it out in an even layer on the bottom.
  11. Spoon the mashed potatoes all over the top to cover the filing mixture. Then use a fork to score some rough lines all over the top of the potato.
  12. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden.
  13. Serve warm.
Calories per Serving 525
Total Fat 26.4 g
Saturated Fat 13.2 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 69.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 54.6 g
Dietary Fiber 5.9 g
Total Sugars 6.6 g
Sodium 1,105.7 mg
Protein 19.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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