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Individual Cottage Pies (Shepherd's Pie With Beef)

These easy Individual Cottage Pies (shepherd's pie made with beef instead of lamb) are the perfect all-in-one-bowl dinner that the whole family will love!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 4 (very generous)
Calories: 639kcal
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!


Mashed Potato Topping:

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
  • ½ tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup milk, plus more if needed

Beef and Vegetable Filling:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped onion, about ¼" pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, green beans, and lima beans)
  • 2 cups beef stock or broth, I use 2 cups water mixed with 2 teaspoons roasted beef base such as Better Than Bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Make the Mashed Potato Topping:

  • Place the chopped potatoes in a medium sauce pot (I use a 3-quart pot) with ½ tablespoon of kosher salt (or the amount of salt you desire) and cover the potatoes by an inch with cold water.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat; cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
    Note: To save on time, start cooking the filling while the potatoes are cooking.
  • Drain the potatoes and place them back in the hot pot (make sure the stove burner is turned off); let them sit in the pot for a few minutes until any excess moisture has evaporated from the potatoes.
  • Add the butter. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes and butter until there are no large pieces of potato remaining.
  • Add the milk and continue mashing just until the potatoes are smooth (add more milk if needed to reach your desired consistency). Taste the potatoes and, if needed, add more salt.

Make the Beef and Vegetable Filling:

  • Place the ground beef and onions in a large skillet (I use a 12" skillet) over medium-high heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat as you go, until the beef is cooked through and the onions have softened, about 6 to 8 minutes. If needed, drain off any excess grease.
  • Add the garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, tomato paste, and mixed vegetables; stir until everything is well-combined.
  • Add the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce; stir to combine.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and cold water until the cornstarch has completely dissolved. Add the cornstarch slurry to the beef mixture; stir to combine.
  • Bring the filling to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer just until the sauce has thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Assemble and Bake:

  • Place 4 oven-safe bowls (2 cups each) on a large baking sheet (the baking sheet will catch any small spills in the event the filling bubbles over a bit; it also makes transporting the bowls to and from the oven easier).
  • Divide the beef and vegetable filling mixture evenly among the bowls.
  • Divide the mashed potatoes evenly over the filling in each bowl, spreading them out to the edges of the bowl.
  • Sprinkle the potatoes with paprika.
  • Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the filling is hot and bubbly and the potatoes are lightly golden.
  • Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley, if desired; Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • To make shepherd's pie, use ground lamb instead of beef.
  • Use a flavorful beef broth/stock so that your gravy tastes really good!
  • If you're not into the mixed vegetables, you can use 2 cups of frozen peas and carrots instead.
  • If you don't have any individual-sized oven-safe bowls, you can make this in a deep 9-inch pie dish or a 9x9-inch baking dish. Put all of the filling in the dish and then top with all of the potatoes and bake.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 to 4 days. Reheat in a 325°F oven, loosely covered in foil (this will help prevent the potatoes from drying out), until heated through. Let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes first to take the chill off before putting in the oven.
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