Shepherds pie is a classic comfort food.
But just because something is classic doesn’t mean you can’t make it better.
The best way to do that?
By adding seasonings!
It might seem like this dish should just be made using whatever seasonings you have on hand, but the truth is that there are some seasonings that work better than others when it comes to shepherd’s pie.
So, what are the best seasonings for shepherds pie?
The best seasonings for shepherds pie are salt, pepper, and parsley. Salt is a must-have because it helps to bring out the flavor of the other ingredients. Pepper is also important because it adds spice to the dish. Parsley can be added at the end of cooking to add an extra layer of flavor and color to your dish.
Keep scrolling for more of our favorites!
Read Also: Shepherd’s Pie Wine Pairing – The Best Wines for Shepherd’s Pie
12 Best Seasonings for Shepherds Pie
Shepherds pie is a dish that’s enjoyed by people all over the world, and it’s easy to see why.
It’s hearty, delicious, and can be prepared in just about any way imaginable.
But what if you want to change it up?
You don’t have to go out and buy new ingredients or make a whole new meal!
With just a few simple seasonings and some love (and maybe some cheddar), you can transform your shepherd’s pie into something entirely different.
Here are 12 of our favorite seasonings for shepherds pie:
1. Italian Seasoning
Italian seasoning is perfect for adding a little bit of zest to this dish.
It has a nice mix of basil, oregano, marjoram and thyme — all herbs that work well with lamb, which is what you’ll most likely be using in your meat mixture when making shepherd’s pie.
You can find it at any grocery store or online.
Paprika has a long history in Hungarian cuisine, but it’s also become popular in other cuisines around the world.
It has a bright red color and a slightly spicy flavor that adds depth to dishes without being overpowering—perfect for shepherds pie!
3. Ground Cumin
Cumin is the wonderful spice that gives hummus its distinctive flavor, and it also works wonderfully in shepherds pie.
Just sprinkle a bit on top of the mashed potatoes before you bake them, and they’ll come out with an added depth of flavor that will make them truly special.
This seasoning adds a rich flavor and earthy aroma that will make your dish taste like you’ve been cooking for hours.
You can also use it in other dishes like chili and stews, so it’s a versatile choice!
4. Chili Powder
If you want to add some heat to your shepherd’s pie, chili powder will do the trick!
Sprinkle a little bit on top before baking for a spicy kick that will wake up your taste buds.
A word of caution: be careful not to overdo it with the chili powder—you don’t want things getting too spicy!
5. Oregano, Dried Basil and Parsley Flakes
This combination of dried herbs makes for an incredibly versatile seasoning mix that can be used on all kinds of dishes from stews to soups to meats and even beans!
The amazing thing about this combination is how well-balanced it is: each herb has its own particular flavor profile that pairs perfectly with the others without being overpowering or blandly neutral like many other herb combinations tend towards being when they’re put together into one blend like this one does!
It’s almost as if these herbs were made for each other!
6. Garlic Powder and Granulated Garlic
This combination of garlic powder and granulated garlic adds a whole new dimension to your shepherd’s pie, and the flavor is great!
The garlic will balance out the saltiness of the meat and potatoes in your dish—and it’s cheap, too! Just combine equal parts of each seasoning and sprinkle over your finished dish before serving.
If you don’t have an equal amount of both seasonings, just guess at what sounds right for your taste buds.
7. Onion Powder and Granulated Onion
This combination of onion powder and granulated onion will give your shepherd’s pie the perfect amount of oniony flavor without the hassle of chopping or grinding onions by hand.
Simply combine equal parts onion powder and granulated onion, and use this mixture when making your shepherd’s pie crust.
8. Cayenne Pepper (Use Sparingly)
Cayenne pepper will give your shepherd’s pie a spicy kick that will leave your taste buds tingling for more.
It also adds a little heat to help you stay warm during winter months.
Be careful when adding cayenne pepper to your dish—it can easily overpower the rest of your ingredients and leave an unpleasant aftertaste.
Use sparingly until you find what works best for your palate!
Rosemary is a great herb that pairs well with other spices like thyme and sage, but it also has its own distinct flavor that makes it stand out on its own as well!
The woodsy smell of rosemary makes this herb perfect for pairing with potatoes in any dish—especially soups and stews like shepherd’s pie!
Thyme has a strong, earthy flavor that works well with meat dishes like this one.
To add some thyme to your shepherd’s pie, sprinkle some fresh thyme over the top before baking.
The aroma will fill your house and the flavor will permeate through every bite.
11. Salt and Pepper
Salt and pepper are a staple in any kitchen, so why not make them part of your shepherd’s pie?
A little bit of both sprinkled over the top of your dish before baking will give it an extra kick without affecting the taste too much—plus, it looks pretty cool!
Parsley is a natural for shepherds pie, especially if you use fresh parsley and add it in at the end. It adds a little bit of freshness but also complements the potatoes, which can sometimes be bland.
To get the most out of your parsley, chop it up finely and sprinkle it on top of your finished dish before serving!
How to Pick the Right Seasonings for Shepherds Pie
It’s difficult to pick the right seasonings for shepherds pie. Seasonings can make or break a dish, so it’s important to choose carefully.
Here are some things to consider:
1. What Flavor Do You Want?
- Do you want it spicy?
- Or do you want it mild?
- Do you want your pie to have a creamy flavor or a crunchy texture?
Once you know what flavor you’re going for, think about which spices and herbs will give you the best results.
For example, if you want your pie to taste like mashed potatoes, then rosemary, thyme and garlic powder might be good choices.
If instead you’re looking for something spicy, try cayenne pepper and chili powder instead!
2. What Kind of Meat Are You Using?
Shepherds pies are traditionally made with ground beef or lamb, but they can also be made with turkey, chicken, fish, or even tofu if you’re vegetarian!
If you’re using a different kind of meat than what is traditionally used in shepherds pie (like chicken instead of beef), then try using seasonings that complement that meat’s flavor profile.
For example, if you’re using chicken in your shepherds pie, consider adding rosemary or sage—they pair well with poultry!
3. How Do You Like Your Potatoes?
If you like your potatoes crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, use olive oil and garlic powder when making your mashed potatoes.
If you like your potatoes creamy with an earthy flavor, try adding rosemary or thyme to them while they’re boiling or roasting them in the oven with olive oil, garlic powder and salt/pepper seasoning.
4. What Do Your Guests Like?
If you’re making this dish for guests, you should consider what their favorite flavors are.
If they love spicy foods, then you could add some cayenne pepper or chili powder to your shepherd’s pie recipe.
If they prefer sweet dishes, then you could try adding cinnamon or nutmeg instead of salt and pepper in order to achieve a more complex flavor profile that will suit their tastes better than traditional ingredients like garlic powder might do on their own.
5. Do You Have Any Vegetables in Your Shepherd’s Pie?
If so, try garlic powder, onion powder, basil and oregano—they’ll compliment the flavors of your vegetables very nicely.
Or if you want something a little more exotic (and maybe even better than basil or oregano), try adding some cilantro!
It works especially well with corn on the cob or summer squash like zucchini or yellow squash because it has sort of an earthy taste that goes well with them both.
6. How Do You Want Your Shepherd’s Pie Served?
Do you want your shepherd’s pie served as a main course or appetizer?
If it’s a main course, you’ll want something that can stand up on its own without being overwhelmed by the other ingredients in the recipe.
If it’s an appetizer, then you might want something lighter and more delicate-tasting so that it doesn’t overwhelm your guests’ palates.
7. Do You Have Any Beans in Your Pie?
If you do have beans in your pie, then you’ll want to go with something spicy.
Something like cayenne pepper or chili powder would be perfect.
If not, then go with something more mild like oregano or basil (though if you don’t have any of those either, don’t worry—just leave them out).
8. How Much Moisture Do You Want?
If you want your shepherds pie to be moist, season it with butter and cream—it’ll add some extra fat that will help keep things juicy.
If you want it dryer (and therefore more filling), use salt instead of fat—the salt will draw out moisture from the meat as it cooks, which will give your dish a drier texture and feel in your mouth when you eat it!
9. What Kind of Potatoes Are You Using?
If you’re using waxy potatoes, like fingerlings or Yukon Golds, then you’ll need to add more salt than you would if you were using starchy potatoes, like russets or reds.
That’s because waxy potatoes have a higher moisture content and don’t absorb as much salt as starchy potatoes do.
The result is a bland-tasting dish!
10. Is This Dish Going to Be Served Cold or Hot?
If you’re planning on serving your shepherds pie hot, then you should use more salt than usual because it will help bring out all of the flavors in your dish.
If you’re planning on serving it cold, then you should avoid salt as much as possible since this will make the food taste bland and unappetizing.
12 Best Seasonings for Shepherds Pie
- Italian Seasoning
- Ground Cumin
- Chili Powder
- Oregano, Dried Basil and Parsley Flakes
- Garlic Powder and Granulated Garlic
- Onion Powder and Granulated Onion
- Cayenne Pepper
- Salt and Pepper
- Pick your favorite seasoning from this list to use for your Shepherds Pie recipe.
- Prepare the rest of your tasty meal.
- Be ready to munch in no time!
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.