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side view of slice of shepherd's pie on a white plate
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5 from 34 votes

Irish Cottage Pie aka Shepherd's Pie

One of Ireland's classic dishes is Cottage Pie. Also, known as Shepherd's Pie there are as many recipes for this hearty and filling dish as there are Irish Grandmothers! This is my version of a recipe that was shared with me while visiting Killarney, Ireland.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Entree
Cuisine: English, Irish
Servings: 6
Calories: 719kcal


Beef Filling

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 2 pound ground beef or ground lamb
  • 2 teaspoons parsley chopped - fresh or dried
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary chopped - fresh or dried
  • 1 teaspoon thyme chopped - fresh or dried
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup carrots diced - fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup peas frozen or fresh
  • 1 cup Guinness If you're not a fan of Guinness, you can substitute red wine or your favorite beer.
  • 1 cup beef broth


  • 2 pounds potatoes peeled and cut
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper to taste


  • ¼ cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 tsp parsley chopped (garnish)


Beef Mixture

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F / 200 degrees C
  • Add the olive oil to a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute for 5 minutes. allowing the onion to fully cook.
  • Add the minced garlic and continue to saute for an additional minute.
  • Add the diced carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened.
  • Add the ground beef and cook for 8-10 minutes or beef is nicely browned. Stir as needed and break up the pieces using a spoon or wire whisk.
  • Add the Guinness to deglaze the pan and scrape all the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the flour, mixing well with the ingredients. Allow to cook for 2 minutes, to get the raw flavor out of the flour.
  • Add the tomato paste, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, sea salt and black pepper. Stir well to incorporate fully and let simmer for 2-3 minutes, until liquid is reduced.
  • Add in the peas and remove from the heat.

Mashed Potatoes

  • Bring potatoes to a boil in a large pot with salted water.
  • Cook until the potatoes are tender. Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot over low heat. This will remove any excess water from the potatoes.
  • Add the butter to the pan and using a potato masher, mash the butter into the potatoes.
  • Using a fork whip the egg yolk with the milk.
  • Add milk/egg mixture and cream cheese to the potatoes and mix until well combined. Use a potato masher or wire whisk to mix.
  • Season with sea salt, black pepper to taste.
  • Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese to the potatoes, folding it into the mixture.


  • Transfer the meat filling into a 9-inch by 9-inch baking dish. Spread the mixture evenly in the pan.
    *You can also make individual servings in smaller baking dishes. This is how we would have made it in the restaurant.
  • Spoon the mashed potatoes on top of the beef mixture. Using a spatula even out the potatoes.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the cottage pie from the oven and sprinkle ¼ cup of shredded cheddar and the chopped parsley on top of the potatoes.
    Return to the oven and continue to bake for 10 minutes.
  • Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving



Calories: 719kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 195mg | Sodium: 1345mg | Potassium: 794mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 4555IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 261mg | Iron: 5mg