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How to Make Shepherd's Pie: A Quick & Easy Canadian Recipe


Sherri is an online writer with years of experience writing about cooking and recipe writing.

pShepherd's pie, beautifully browned and Piping hot out of the oven.

pShepherd's pie, beautifully browned and Piping hot out of the oven.

The Background of the Recipe

Shepherd's pie, sometimes called cottage pie, is an English dish. But great food knows no boundaries. Shepherd's pie is as diverse a dish as we are people.

This wonderful recipe comes from my French Canadian friend, who made it for me during her recent visit to my home.

Shepherd's Pie or Cottage Pie?

The dish is called shepherd's pie when it is made with lamb or mutton, and cottage pie when made with beef. Both pies include vegetables and are topped with mashed potatoes.

Traditionally, cooks minced the meat left over from the an evening's meal to make the pies. With the advent of commercial food processing, making the dish starting with raw, ground meat became popular.

About the Meat

I am lucky to have an old-world German meat purveyor who selects, prepares, and sells the finest meats. If you have this fine meat provider, then that's wonderful. But you can find a ground combination of veal, beef, and pork, commonly sold as "meatloaf mix," in any supermarket.

About the Vegetables

This recipe calls for canned whole kernels of corn and canned creamed corn. If you would like to prepare corn from scratch, that's even better.

Buy fresh garlic and fresh onions. Don't rely on garlic powder or salt, or dried onions. Only when you cook the fresh onions and garlic with the meat will you have the essence of this delectable dish.

The Ingredients

  • 1 Pound "meatloaf mix" (equal portions of ground veal, pork, and beef) or 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 Pounds red-skinned potatoes
  • 1 Envelope Lipton's Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 Large white onion, diced finely
  • 5 or 6 Cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 13-ounce can of creamed corn
  • 1 13-ounce can of whole kernel corn, drained
  • ¼ Cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons butter

The Prep

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease or spray an 11 x 9 inch or 10-inch square baking dish.
  3. Wash the potatoes and cut them into pieces about an inch and a half square, leaving the skin on.
  4. Boil the water for the potatoes.
  5. Add the potatoes to the boiling water, turn the heat a little lower, and boil gently for about 20 minutes until the pieces break apart when poked with a fork. When the potato pieces are done, drain them, and mash or whip them with whatever butter, milk, and salt you would normally use when making mashed potatoes. Set aside.
  6. In a fry pan on the top of the stove over low-medium heat, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter and add the diced onion. Stir occasionally until the onion is translucent.
  7. Add the minced garlic and up the heat just a bit.
  8. Add the ground meat and brown it. Be very careful that the garlic does not burn! (After the meat is browned, you may want to drain the grease from the pan; this is your dietary choice.)
  9. When the meat is browned, stir in the dry onion soup mix and the Worcestershire sauce. Simmer a minute or two, turn off the heat, and cover.

Are You Cooking for One?

Don't hesitate to make this recipe just because you usually cook only for yourself. Those frozen, thawed, and heated smaller portions make for a convenient and hearty breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Putting the Shepherd's Pie Together

Place the meat and its seasonings from the fry pan into the baking dish.

Add the whole kernel corn and spread it around.

Add the creamed corn, and spread it around, too.

Top with the mashed potatoes.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, uncovered.

Individual servings to eat on the spot or to freeze for later.

Individual servings to eat on the spot or to freeze for later.

Plan Ahead - Double the Recipe and Freeze Half

I like to double the recipe, serving half for the evening's meal and dividing the other half into 4 to 6 small oven-proof dishes.

While the large pan is baking in the oven, layer the ingredients in the small dishes just as you did for the large baking pan. Seal the unbaked smaller dishes with plastic wrap, gently pressing the wrap into the potatoes to prevent freezer burn. Cover again with aluminum foil, seal tightly, and freeze.

To thaw and bake the frozen dish, remove it from the freezer the night before you want to eat it and place it in the refrigerator. The next day, about an hour before your meal, remove the dish from the refrigerator and let it sit on the kitchen counter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, remove the plastic wrap and foil, and then bake for 25 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your dish.

Serving Suggestions

When the weather is warm, serve with a fresh garden salad topped with Russian dressing and add a side of a fresh steamed green vegetable such as green beans, snow peas, or sugar snaps.

When the weather is cooler, serve with hot honey-glazed carrots and steamed broccoli.

Ode to Shepherd's Pie

Yellow as the sun in morn

Tender corn


Whilst spuds' white clouds tinged red


Beneath, succulent meat sleeps.

Pray telleth me this shepherd's name

Whose tongue, whose nose, brought on this fame?


Regina Kray on April 02, 2020:

Love to get more meals that l can prepare that are inexpensive

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on November 22, 2010:

Peggy, I promise...you will not be disappointed!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 21, 2010:

This is something that I have never prepared but must correct that soon. Thanks for the recipe. It WOULD be better than a scented candle! Ha!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on June 13, 2010:

You are so right, Lamme, the kids will love it. Don't plan on having leftovers...I don't think that will happen!

Lamme on June 13, 2010:

This sounds absolutely delicious! It's also something that I know the kids would love. Thanks for the great idea for an easy dinner!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 07, 2010:

Don't drool, lovelypaper....definitely not attractive. ;) Thanks, always, for reading and commenting.

Renee S from Virginia on February 04, 2010:

My mouth is watering. Thanks for sharing.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on November 22, 2009:

Jaspal, I am delighted to hear this news. But I also know how you modified this recipe. :)

So, I'm thinking...maybe you could put your variation out here as a Hub of its own? Something like Shepherds Pie Ala India?

Jaspal from New Delhi, India on November 21, 2009:

Thought I must revisit this hub to place on record that I tried out this recipe a few days ago and it was a great success! The boys loved it, and now some of their friends have also put in a request that I make it again and call them over too!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on November 17, 2009:

And easy, too, Wendy. Enjoy!

Wendy Henderson from Cape Coral on November 17, 2009:

Yummy. This is a great idea for dinner tonight.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on March 17, 2009:

Hello again Jaspal! I am honored that you found and enjoyed another Hub of mine, and very pleased that you liked the little poem. Yes, that's mine. I couldn't help it. The words just popped out. There was so much to play with considering the history, the beauty, and the deliciousness of this dish. Yup, kids love it. It's one of those great comfort foods, as you found out at your corsemate's home. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

jaspal on March 17, 2009:

I'm in India, and I had shepherd's pie once 10 or 15 years ago, at an Army corsemate's home. I'd absolutely loved it and had gorged shamelessly! Will try it out definitely, but in the combination oven-grill-microwave that I prefer to the regular oven. If it tastes anything like what I've had earlier, am sure the kids would freak out on it!

Great poetry too in the begining! Is it your own?

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on December 23, 2008:

RGraf, this is the absolute best winter comfort food.  Since you guys up there have been socked hard with bitter weather, I'm sure your friends and family would love some of this shepherd's pie dished up with a little hot soup and maybe a winter side salad (warm or cold), like blanched broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots with some dried herbs and a little vinegar and oil dressing.  Bon appetit!

Rebecca Graf from Wisconsin on December 23, 2008:

Very interesting. Might be a good one to try this weekend.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on December 17, 2008:

Looks like we'll be doing some grocery shopping soon, FP. Can't wait. What a perfect winter dish. I admit I haven't had this feast since you were here last (except for the extra dish in the freezer that you so kindly left for me). What a winner!

FlyingPanther from here today gone tomorrow!! on December 17, 2008:

Sally. Whoever will try this will love it!!! And i cant wait for us to enjoy this dish again real soon!!

love always.


Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on December 16, 2008:

Rockinjoe, it doesn't sound weird to me at all. I grew up never having had any kind of cottage or shepherd's pie. The first I ever had was at a hotel just a few years ago. And the best I've had since is this recipe. I know you'll love it.

Joseph Addams from Standing right behind you! on December 15, 2008:

This sounds delicious. As weird as it may sound to you, I've never had Shepard's pie with corn. I remember my mom making it with canned peas. I'm going to have to try the corn version. Thanks:)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on August 21, 2008:

She will make this incredible dish for you, I am sure.  She's a genius with food!

rebel'splace on August 21, 2008:

Well that lovely french canadian hasn't made it yet for ME!!!! But we shall see how good it is soon,LOLOLOLOL. Then we shall see how she enjoys mine. Enjoyed your hub. Rebel

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on July 11, 2008:

Actually, I'm pretty sure the recipe has no *official* national origin, but an origin with a wonderful friend of mine who happens to be French Canadian.

I promise you, you will make this pie not only decently, but estraordinarily decently. Really, it's easy as, well, 1-2-3.

Thanks for stopping by to comment. You will need to let us know how it turned out for you.

Woody Marx from Ontario, Canada on July 11, 2008:

Don't know if it's a Canadian thing or not, but I have always had S.Pie at the top of my favourite's list. I will check out your recipe. It's one of the not numerous things a bachelor like me can actually make decently! :)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on June 23, 2008:

Thanks for leaving your comment, derekcaulfield. I love shepherd's pie, too, and especially this version. :)

derekcaulfield on June 22, 2008:

I love shepards pie, yum yum!!!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on June 19, 2008:

Hey Danielle, thanks for stopping by and leaving your good words.

Please try this dish. It is so easy, and it smells so good when you are making it. Better than a scented candle, I guarantee. (Has anybody come up with a candle scent for shepherd's pie or sauteeing onions and beef?) :)

Danielle Bullard from Rock Hill, SC on June 19, 2008:

Mmmm -- I'm going to have to give this a try! Your hubs are fun to read and very informative!!!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 09, 2008:

Kat and Karen, this dish is so easy to make. And I guarantee that everyone you serve it to will pig out, big time.

Karen, you are so right...make a salad and serve that first. That way you might get a few leftovers of the pie, or at least some won't pig out.

Thanks for your nice comments. Go make it! And let me know what you think.

Best regards, ST.

Karen Ellis from Central Oregon on May 08, 2008:

This sounds soooo good. I better go fix my salad for dinner before I give in and make this. It sounds great for sunday dinner.

Kat07 from Tampa on May 06, 2008:

This sounds so amazingly easy! I can't wait to try it this week!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 05, 2008:

Thank you, Shaye, for your lovely comments! I agree, gobble pie is the perfect name for Kat's version.

The How To Hub from Australia on May 04, 2008:

What a lovely hub. This is a great alternative to try. We love Shepherds Pie here in Australia too!

p.s Kat2681 As far as the turkey dish name - I'd just go with gobble pie : )

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 23, 2008:

What a great question, Kat. I have no idea, so there's a one-time opportunity for you to name it and write a hub about it! In fact, I think a lot of people would want to try your healthy recipe.

Thanks so much for the nice comments.

Kat2681 on April 22, 2008:

I LOVE Shperard's Pie- It's funny, I didn't know that what I have been eating for 25 years is actually called "Cottage Pie", as it is made with beef...I now make a healthy Shepard's Pie with Ground Turkey...Any idea of what that would be technically called??

marisuewrites from USA on April 21, 2008:

yes and wow I'm doin' it again and freezin some no one wants to run out of this!@!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 21, 2008:

marisue, you had a pig-out weekend. Good for you! Did you make the shepherd's pie?

marisuewrites from USA on April 21, 2008:

mmmm thank god the weekends come and I can cook. are we all pigs or what haha food doth make the world go 'round and connects us all....hahaha

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 20, 2008:

marisue, thank you once again for your inspiring comments! You just made me think about one of my favorite things to do with leftover mashed potatoes...add some finely minced raw onion, make them into little pancakes, fry them in butter, and top with ketchup or sour cream or both!

marisuewrites from USA on April 19, 2008:

cottage pie would be my choice (but Lynn Loves Lamb) and I never found a mashed potato I didn't like 

another great recipe and story...well done!@!  I can almost smell it  I'm definitely going to try it...i think left over mashed potatoes would be used nicely this way.  mmmm

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 19, 2008:

ljm, your mom made shepherd's pie in the most traditional way...using the leftover meat from a meal. I hope you enjoy this recipe. Please let us know. :)

ljm63 on April 19, 2008:

This recipe sounds good, I'm going to try it...my Mom made sheperd's pie any time we had leftover roast beef or pot roast (she was from German stock) and cut up all the leftover meat with veggies and the potatoes on top...Yum!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 15, 2008:

arrh...is right. I agree with you there! The good news is that they'll probably grow out of their dislike somewhere down the road, but will it be in time to enjoy a family onion dinner with everyone present at the table?

Thanks for the nice words, chantelg4.

chantelg4 from Northern Ontario on April 15, 2008:

Great hub, I cook my version of this all the time, we call it "paté chinois", never tried it with onions though cause kids hate them arrh...

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 14, 2008:

Thanks for stopping by, Bob. This dish is just so easy, and I'm guessing that it will be a variation of what you've done before. Please let us know how it works out.

Regards, ST.

Bob Ewing from New Brunswick on April 14, 2008:

One of my favourites, I'll have to make this on the weekend, thanks.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 14, 2008:

cgull, I hope you do try it. It's easy and it tastes so good! Thanks for your thoughts.

cgull8m from North Carolina on April 14, 2008:

I have a heard a lot about them but never tried it. Sounds yummy. Cheers :)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 14, 2008:

Thanks for stopping by, Szuzsy! And thanks for the tip about making it the night before. You are so right. Just assemble the whole thing, cover, put it in the fridge, and pop it in the oven the next day.

Warm regards, S.

Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on April 14, 2008:

Yum! I just love Sheppards pie! I usually make it when I have a big crowd coming. I can have it all ready the night before, then there is time for visiting rather then cooking.

I will try this recipe next time especially since it's a Canadian version. Thanks for sharing.

regards Zsuzsy

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 13, 2008:

Thank you for your comments Patty, lacy, Sweetie.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe and let me know how it works out for you.

Patty, are you doing the mashed potatoes now? LOL

Lacy, I think the key to any good dish is Fresh, Fresh, Fresh...now what that says about Lipton Soup Mix, I'm not sure.

Sweetie, once you have it, you will never want to be without it. Especially since it's so easy to freeze and then go from freezer to an evening's meal.

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 13, 2008:

This is an excellent Hub imo, containing some history and background and then a recipe that sounds very tyasty. Then photos and a fun video as well. Thumbs up!

lacyleathers from US on April 13, 2008:

Sally.... I sooo love Shepards Pie....My family hails from Ireland and we have the same dish with just a few modifications. Your version sounds yummy....especially with the added direction on picking the meats and veggies.... Yummy!

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on April 12, 2008:

I have never had shepherd pie, so this is something I will need to try. Great recipe!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 12, 2008:

Just what I wanted, Donna, to make someone cry! Let's just hope your tears wind up being tears of joy at how delicious this dish is!

Thanks so much for stopping by.

donnaleemason from North Dakota, USA on April 12, 2008:

Sounds delicious, I am definitely going to have to try this one. I'll think of you while I am cutting up all those onions. LOL


Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 12, 2008:

FlyingPanther, what can I say except that YOU should be getting all the comments!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 12, 2008:

In The Doghouse, it is a wonderful and easy, easy dish. Please let me know how you like making it and eating it!

In The Doghouse from California on April 12, 2008:

Hi Sally,

It sounds wonderful. My husband and I had shepherd's pie for the first time at a friends house a few months ago. He has raved about it since. I will have to try this recipe, it actually doesn't sound too hard! lol Thanks for sharing.

FlyingPanther from here today gone tomorrow!! on April 12, 2008:

sally. I am pleased about all the comments ,Great job my friend keep up the great work.

Love always .


Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 12, 2008:

annemaeve, I have never been visited by the comfort-food fairy. Will you please send her over one night after I've eaten this shepherd's pie again?

Yes, the goodness is kind of sinful, isn't it?

Thanks for your nice words!

annemaeve from Philly Burbs on April 12, 2008:

Weight loss program, schmeight loss program. When something tastes as good as this shepherd's pie, the comfort-food fairies come at night and serenade the calories right out of you. They even come on the next night after you've reheated the leftovers and gorged yourself a second time.

Sally, I love your "Ode": it's very evocative of the sweet, creamy, sinful goodness of this dish.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 12, 2008:

You are on, my friend! YOU do all the chopping and slicing and dicing.

This dish is absolutely delish. In fact, it's kind of addictive. I already ate one of the frozen portions. That means I had this pie three times in a week (2 servings from the original prep, and then the one from the freezer a couple of days later).

Very bad for any weight loss program!

trish1048 on April 12, 2008:

Hi Sally,

Well, this sure is one you'll have to prepare for me when I come to visit. But guess what? I'll cut the potatoes and mince the garlic :)

Sounds absolutely yummy!

love, Patty

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 12, 2008:

Neil, thanks so much for the nice and FUN comments.

My friend is an excellent cook and a real sweetheart!

Looks like it's your turn...Shepherd's Pie Omelet? Publish that one, and I'll keep you company going over your self-imposed limit by going over mine. And don't forget the recycling tips, too. :)

proudgrandpa from Charlotte, NC on April 12, 2008:

Halleluia, is see that you are now outed about the dried onion soup and the Worstchester sauce. Ain't it wonderful. It is 6;45 am and I am going in search of a Shepards Pie Omlette. Well, maybe some oatmeal.

Two things stand out to me. First, what a gift to have a friend that would come to your home and share this scrumptious dish and second, if we keep up this food theme I will go over my self imposed limit of 200#'s. Thanks for another great hub. I have to go now, I am hungry.


Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 11, 2008:

Blogger Mom, that's the essence. Who the h*** was his wife? Woo hoo! :)

Eileen, thanks for thinking about this pie as a variation of what you already know. I'd love to hear how this recipe works for you. :)

Eileen Hughes from Northam Western Australia on April 11, 2008:

I love the shepherds pie, or potato pie as we call it . All though I will now have a new one to try with your variations. Thanks for sharing yummy

Blogger Mom from Northeast, US on April 11, 2008:

"Who was his wife?"

Right on, Sally. Right on! =)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 11, 2008:

Thanks for stopping by, pg. This dish is so simple and so tasty. Please let us know how it works for you!

pgrundy on April 11, 2008:

Yum! I can hardly wait to make this. Thanks!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 11, 2008:

robie, whatever comments you may have for the wife, I know we would all love to hear them! Thank you for stopping by.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 11, 2008:

FlyingPanther, if it weren't for you, there would be no shepherd's pie. Thank you so much for bringing this great dish into my life.

Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on April 11, 2008:

Yum yum--i love Shepherd's pie and especially love your way with a recipe, Well done ST and let's hear it for the shepherd's wife:-)

FlyingPanther from here today gone tomorrow!! on April 11, 2008:


You brought tears to my eyes and I thank You for sharing this great recipe you are so amazing and I hope everyone enjoy this great meal,Your friend forever and much Love....FlyingPanther

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