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Easy Shepherd’s Pie + Tasty St Patrick’s Day Food Traditions

Easy Shepherd’s Pie is a quick casserole recipe with lamb, tender vegetables, and creamy mashed potatoes on top. It’s one of my favorite St. Patrick’s Day food traditions! It’s hearty, delicious, and makes the perfect dinner on a cold day. 

titled image (and shown): Easy Shepherds Pie Recipe

What do you put in shepherd’s pie?

This shepherds pie recipe uses ground lamb, just like the traditional St Patrick’s Day meal.

Some of the recipes I see on the Internet call for ground beef. Some people say that technically, cottage pie is what you call a shepherds pie when it is made with beef.

My theory is since lamb is not readily available in many places in the United States people started swapping beef for the lamb and over the years and generations many people didn’t even know the difference. 

At any rate, this easy casserole is comforting food at its best. It’s a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes, too!  


St. Patrick's Day dinner of shepherd's pie

casserole dish of shepherds pie with beef (cottage pie)

Can you freeze shepherds pie?

This shepherd’s pie is one of my favorite Sunday dinners and it’s a great meal prep idea. The casserole freezes and reheats really well!

Before you freeze shepherds pie, cool it to room temperature first. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil and place it into the freezer. Once frozen, it will keep well in the freezer for 2 to 3 months.

To reheat shepherds pie, leave the foil on top of the casserole dish. Heat the frozen pie in a 350 F. oven for one hour.

What to serve with easy shepherd’s pie

I like to serve the casserole with a few spinach parmesan sables on the side. When I make them for a St Patrick’s Day meal, I bake them in the shape of 4-leaf clovers. They’re so cute!

For a delicious dessert to serve with this casserole, check out my dessert recipe index!  Personally, I serve it with dark chocolate ganache tart. A double chocolate bundt cake would be perfect, too.

close up image of the inside of a shepherds pie

spoonful of shepherds pie


[mv_create title=”St Patrick’s Day Food Traditions” key=”5″ type=”list” layout=”hero” thumbnail=”https://www.itsyummi.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/slow-cooker-guinness-beer-cheese-dip-1-1.jpg”]I hope you enjoy the easy shepherd’s pie recipe!

If you make or plan to make the recipe, please leave a comment and rate the recipe below this post. Thank you!

close up image of a single serving easy shepherd's pie

Easy Shepherd's Pie

This Easy Shepherd's Pie is one of my favorite St Patrick's Day food traditions! It's also delicious as an easy weeknight dinner any day of the year! 
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Irish
Servings 6
Calories 578 kcal


Potato Topping

  • 1.5 pounds russet potatoes (about 3 medium) peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup whole milk warmed
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  • 1.5 pounds ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion minced
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or more or less, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper or more or less, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef stock or beef bone broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas



  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, then cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the lamb in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink and the fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Drain the grease through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat.
  • Drain the potatoes well and return them to the saucepan over low heat. Mash the potatoes thoroughly with a potato masher. Fold in the butter until melted, then stir in the warm milk and egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover pan and set aside while preparing the filling.


  • Heat the 1 tablespoon of reserved lamb fat over medium heat, using the same skillet you cooked it in. Once the fat is shimmering, add the onion, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute.
  • Slowly stir in the stock/broth, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Off the heat, stir in the drained lamb and frozen peas, season with salt and pepper to taste, and smooth the filling into an even layer. Dollop the potato topping evenly over the filling, then spread it into an even layer, covering the filling completely and anchoring the potatoes to the sides of the skillet. Bake the pie at 400 F. until the top is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the shepherd's pie cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Recipe from Cook's Illustrated


Serving: 1gCalories: 578kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 28gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 166mgSodium: 365mgPotassium: 951mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 3995IUVitamin C: 20.6mgCalcium: 88mgIron: 3.9mg
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