Mary Berry’s Classic Shepherd’s Pie

Posted on

Shepherd’s pie is a quintessential British dish, a comforting and delicious combination of minced lamb, vegetables, and creamy mashed potatoes. This recipe, inspired by the culinary legend Mary Berry, is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and perfect for a cozy night in. It’s surprisingly simple to make, requiring minimal prep work and readily available ingredients.


Mary Berry’s cottage pie with dauphinoise potato

1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 500g (1.1 lbs) minced lamb
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 400g (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml (14 oz) beef stock
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1.2kg (2.6 lbs) potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 50g (1/4 cup) butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Instructions:

    1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).
    2. Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until softened.
    3. Increase heat to medium-high and add the minced lamb. Cook for 5-7 minutes, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until browned all over.
    4. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for an additional minute.
    5. Add the chopped tomatoes, beef stock, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.
    6. While the lamb mixture simmers, prepare the mashed potatoes. Boil the quartered potatoes in a pot of salted water until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain well and return to the pot.
    7. Using a potato masher or hand mixer, mash the potatoes until smooth. Add the milk and butter, and continue mashing until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    8. Once the lamb mixture has simmered for 30 minutes, remove the lid and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
    9. Transfer the lamb mixture to a baking dish or casserole dish. Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the top, creating a smooth layer.
    10. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving)

    Calories: Approximately 550 kcal

  • Fat: 30g
  • Saturated Fat: 15g
  • Carbohydrates: 50g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Protein: 35g
  • Sodium: (depending on added salt)

  • Please note: This is an approximate nutritional breakdown and may vary depending on the specific ingredients used.


    Mary Berry’s shepherd’s pie is a delightful combination of savory flavors and textures. The rich lamb filling contrasts beautifully with the creamy mashed potatoes, resulting in a satisfying and heartwarming dish. It’s perfect for feeding a family or a group of friends, and the leftovers reheat well for a quick and easy lunch the next day. So, grab your ingredients and give this classic recipe a try – you won’t be disappointed!


    1. Can I use ground beef instead of lamb?

    Absolutely! Ground beef is a great substitute for lamb in shepherd’s pie. You may want to adjust the cooking time slightly, depending on the fat content of the ground beef.

    2. What can I serve with shepherd’s pie?

    Shepherd’s pie is a complete meal in itself, but you can always add a side of steamed vegetables, a simple green salad, or crusty bread for dipping.

    3. Can I make shepherd’s pie ahead of time?

    Yes, you can! Assemble the shepherd’s pie up to a day in advance and store it covered in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, simply bake it according to the instructions, adding a few extra minutes of baking time if needed.

    4. Do I have to use fresh herbs?

    While fresh thyme adds a lovely touch, you can substitute it with 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme if needed.

    5. How can I make this recipe vegetarian?