individual shepherds pie

The other night I was taking out my rubbish (or trash, for my American friends). I was walking past my neighbors door  (I live in an apartment building, so taking out the bin means walking down the corridor to the chute.) There was this most amazing smell coming from my neighbors apartment. It was so familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on it. After standing outside her door sniffing for a minute or two (thank god she didn’t come out) it hit me – shepherds pie! I was unmistakable. I’ve been craving it ever since (ok, so it has only been 3 days). Anyway, I knew I had to make it – so here is my Individual Shepherds Pie recipe! 

shepherds pie mix

I love shepherds pie. It’s such a great British classic dish. When I was a child my mum would make it and we’d eat it with extra Worcestershire sauce drizzled over it. I absolutely love that stuff and that is very much how I devoured this plate. 

If you are wondering if this is shepherds pie or cottage pie – cottage pie is very similar, but made with beef. The way I always remember it is that shepherds herd sheep. 

shepherds pie recipe

This is a perfect dish for cooking for one. It’s not the quickest dish to cook and there are quite a few ingredients but trust me, it’s really simple to cook. You can also can get a lot of mileage from this dish. Here are a few reasons why:

  • You can assemble the whole thing in advance (minus the end baking part) and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days – perfect for prepping ahead
  • As above, but you can clingfilm it and freeze it for up to 3 months. Cook yourself 3 or 4 individual portions and you’ve got some amazing tasty treats in the freezer for when you really can’t be bothered to cook. Plus, if you make 4 portions then you technically have spent less than 30 minutes preparing each meal. 
  • You can even cook it from frozen! Heat the oven to 160C and pop in for around 1 hour (until it’s bubbling in the middle)
  • If you defrost first (stick in the fridge overnight) then you only need to cook for 20 minutes at 180C, as indicated below.
  • Bonus point – when you cook from frozen it will still make your house small beautiful and cozy and amazing. I’m a big fan of cooking smells, as you can probably tell. 

This comes in around 750 kcal. It’s not the healthiest dish in the world, but packs in quite a lot of veg so there’s something to feel better about. You can omit the cheese if you prefer as well. 

Individual Shepherds Pie

Recipe by carolineCourse: Best of British, Dinner, Pie, Recipes


Prep time


Cooking time







Individual Shepherds Pie – the ultimate comfort dish, great to make ahead and to serve up for one. Tender lamb in a rich sauce topped with cheesy mash. What’s not to love?


  • 50g onion, diced (around 1/4 medium onion)

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

  • 50g carrots, diced (around 1/4 large carrot)

  • 30g celery, diced (around 1 small stick or 1/2 a large)

  • 150g lamb mince

  • 50g frozen peas

  • 25ml red wine (optional)

  • 1/2 beef stock cube, made in 100ml water

  • 2 tsp plain flour

  • 1 bay leaf

  • few fresh thyme sprigs

  • 1 tbsp tomato puree

  • 250g potatoes, floury variety such as maris piper – around 1 large potato – peeled & cut into around 1 inch pieces

  • 15g cheddar cheese, grated


  • First heat a drizzle of olive oil of a few sprays of light cooking spray in a frying pan over a medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes until starting to soften.
  • Add the carrots and celery and fry for a further 10 minutes, lowering the heat slightly if needed. You want the sweetness to start to come out of the veg and go nice and soft, but not darken too much. Stir or toss the pan every couple of minutes to make sure things cook evenly.
  • Add the mince to the pan and turn everything consistently together to make sure the mince is broken up and combined well with the veg.
  • Once the mince is browned, add the stock, red wine, tomato puree, peas, bay leaf, flour and a couple of sprigs of the thyme. Stir everything together well and then cook at a slight simmer for 40 minutes.
  • After 40 minutes, remove the meat pan from the heat and set aside See note 1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Add the potatoes to a large pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for around 10 minutes – until cooked.
  • Tip the potatoes into a sieve and let steam for a minute – you don’t want the potatoes to be too watery so make sure you do steam them. After a minute or so use a ricer to mash the potatoes. See note 2.
  • Tip the meat mixture into an individual casserole dish or oven proof bowl. Mine is 6 x 6 inches wide and 1.5 tall, which was the perfect size. Top with the potatoes and spread them out so they cover the dish evenly. Scatter the cheddar over the top.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes so that the potatoes are browned a little on the top and the cheese melted. Eat & enjoy!


  • You may be worrying that the meat is going cold – this is intentional! If you add the potato on top of hot meat then they will seep into the dish a bit which we don’t want.
  • If you don’t have a ricer then feel free to use a standard potato masher – you want them to be as smooth in consistency as possible (which is easier to achieve with a ricer).

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