Shepherd's pie

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Shepherd's pie or cottage pie
Homerton College - Shepherd's pie.jpg
TypeMeat pie
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Main ingredientsMashed potato crust and meat filling
VariationsCumberland pie,
Shepherdless pie
Vegetarian and meat shepherd's pies for sale in a market

Shepherd's pie (lamb) or cottage pie (ground/minced beef) is a meat pie with a crust or topping of mashed potato.[1][2][3][4][5]

The recipe has many variations, but the defining ingredients are minced red meat ("cottage pie" refers to beef filling and "shepherd's pie" refers to lamb), cooked in a gravy or sauce with onions and sometimes other vegetables, such as peas, celery or carrots, and topped with a layer of mashed potato before it is baked. The pie is sometimes also topped with grated cheese to create a layer of melted cheese on top.


The term cottage pie was in use by 1791,[2][6] when the potato was being introduced as an edible crop affordable for the poor (cf. "cottage", meaning a modest dwelling for rural workers).

The term shepherd's pie did not appear until 1854,[2] and was initially used synonymously with cottage pie, regardless of whether the meat was beef or mutton.[1][4][7][8][9][10][11][12] However, in the UK since the 20th century, the term shepherd's pie is used only when the meat is lamb.[13][14][15]


In early cookery books, the dish was a means of using leftover roasted meat of any kind, and the pie dish was lined on the sides and bottom with mashed potato, as well as having a mashed potato crust on top.[8][9]

Variations and similar dishes[edit]

Other potato-topped pies include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 1933
  2. ^ a b c "shepherd's pie". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  3. ^ "The Chambers Dictionary", Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, 1999
  4. ^ a b Concise Oxford English Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (Revised), Oxford University Press, 2006
  5. ^ "Jewish Cookery by Florence Greenberg", Penguin Books Ltd, 1947–1963
  6. ^ "Home : Oxford English Dictionary". Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  7. ^ The Glutton's Glossary: A Dictionary of Food and Drink Terms. Routledge. 1990. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  8. ^ a b Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton, recipe 1427 in 1907 edition. Uses beef or mutton. Recipe not in original 1861 edition.
  9. ^ a b Cassell's New Universal Cookery Book by Lizzie Heritage published by Cassell and Company, 1894
  10. ^ The Constance Spry Cookery Book by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume, J M Dent & Sons, 1956
  11. ^ Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery, editor Susan Dixon, published by Ward Lock Limited, London, 1982, page 145, Shepherd’s Pie made with beef
  12. ^ Chambers Dictionary, Ninth Edition, published by Chambers Harrap Publishing Ltd, 2003
  13. ^ "Delia Smith: Shepherds Pie with Crusted Leeks". Retrieved 24 January 2009.
  14. ^ "BBC Food Recipes: Shepherd's Pie". Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Shepherds' Pie and Cottage Pie". Retrieved 24 January 2009.
  16. ^ "What is Cumberland Pie?". Retrieved 6 December 2010.
  17. ^ "Shepherdess Pie [Vegan, Gluten-Free] - One Green Planet". Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Filosoof -". Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  19. ^ "Escondidinho recipe — Brazilian Wave". Brazilian Wave. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  20. ^ "BBC - Food - Recipes : Turkey and ham pie". Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  21. ^ "cottage pie - Aistriúchán Gaeilge ar cottage pie (An Foclóir Nua Béarla-Gaeilge)". (in Irish). Retrieved 29 August 2018.