Shepherd’s Pie

  • By KJ

Shepherd’s Pie is a comforting meal brimming with savory goodness. This is the perfect recipe if you’re looking for a classic meat and potato dish (plus veggies, because balance!). It’s easy, healthy, and comes together in one warming dish.

Ground beef is browned and simmered in a hearty tomato-based sauce with vegetables and herbs. Dollop the mixture with a fluffy blanket of mashed potatoes and bake until golden brown and bubbly.

This is a dairy-free and gluten-free shepherd’s pie recipe. But if you’d like to change that, you can certainly add some cream to the mashed potatoes or sprinkle shredded cheddar on the top.

If you’re tired of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patty’s Day, this is a festive alternative (or really for any day of the year).

A shepherd's pie in a large skillet with a serving taken out of it exposing the ground beef mixture underneath the potatoes.

Shepherd’s Pie is a comforting meal brimming with savory goodness. This is the perfect recipe if you’re looking for a classic meat and potato dish (plus veggies, because balance!). It’s easy, healthy, and comes together in one warming dish. 

Ground beef is browned and simmered in a hearty tomato-based sauce with vegetables and herbs. Dollop the mixture with a fluffy blanket of mashed potatoes and bake until golden brown and bubbly.

This is a dairy-free and gluten-free shepherd’s pie recipe. But if you’d like to change that, you can certainly add some cream to the mashed potatoes or sprinkle shredded cheddar on the top.

If you’re tired of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patty’s Day, this is a festive alternative (or really for any day of the year).

A shepherd's pie in a large skillet with a serving taken out of it exposing the ground beef mixture underneath the potatoes.

Why KJ Loves

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie

A comforting, healthy dish with all my meats and veggies packed into one? Count me in! I love how indulgent this dish is while still being gluten and dairy free. It really delivers all the comforting feels!

What is Shepherd’s Pie?

Time for a quick clarification. This is technically a cottage pie because it uses ground beef. Shepherd’s pie is traditionally filled with ground lamb. 

But since most people know this dish as “Shepherd’s Pie,” we’re going with the title. Plus, ground beef is a whole lot easier to find than ground lamb.

So, what is it? Shepherd’s pie is a hearty dish that starts with a ground meat and veggie mixture, topped with mashed potatoes, and baked until golden. Simple, delicious, and wholesome.

The dish emerged in Ireland and the UK in the late 18th and 19th centuries, probably as a cost-friendly solution to use up leftovers. It was originally called “Cottage Pie.” Over time, the term “Shepherd’s Pie” appeared in cookbooks.

Sautéd carrots, onion and celery in a skillet.

Prepping Ahead of Time

While this is not a complicated meal, it has a lot of pieces. If you need to get dinner on the table fast, you can prep some of the recipe ahead of time. 

The ground beef/veggie mixture can be cooked up to a few days in advance, and you can also pre-peel and dice the potatoes. That way, the day you want to serve the shepherd’s pie, all you have to do is whip up the potatoes, assemble the dish, and bake.

 A browned shepherd's pie straight from the oven.

Filling Ingredients

Ground Beef

Traditional shepherd’s pie uses ground lamb, which you can use instead. 

Veggies/Aromatics

Onion, garlic, peeled and diced carrots, frozen peas

Herbs/Seasonings

Salt, pepper, dried thyme, dried parsley

Worcestershire Sauce

Tomato Paste

Beef Stock

A close-up photo of the filling of the shepherd's pie.

Mashed Potato Ingredients

Yukon Gold Potatoes (peeled & diced)

You can also use russet potatoes, but I love the natural buttery flavor of the golden potatoes!

Mayonnaise

This is a great dairy-free substitute for mashed potatoes. If you don’t need to be dairy-free, I recommend adding 4 tablespoons of butter and ½ cup of heavy cream to the mashed potatoes instead.

Salt

Dried Parsley

A close-up photo of the mashed potato topping.

How To Make Shepherd’s Pie With Beef

1

For the mashed potatoes:

 Boil the potatoes.

Add the potatoes to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and allow to boil for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and add the potatoes back into the pot.

2

Mix in and mash up.

Add the mayo, salt, and parsley to the potatoes. Then, use either a potato masher or a hand mixer to mix until smooth and fluffy. Set aside.

4

Sauté the ingredients.

Add the onion, garlic, and carrots, and stir to combine. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, and parsley and allow to sauté for several minutes more. Add in the Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste and stir to coat. 

1

For the shepherd’s pie with beef:

 Brown the beef.

Add the ground beef to the large oven-safe skillet or braiser over medium heat. Allow the beef to brown, breaking it up along the way.

Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes or until the tomato paste darkens slightly. Pour in the beef stock and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, and then add in the frozen peas.

This is the braiser I love to use for this recipe! Don’t have an oven-safe skillet or braiser? Just transfer the filling to a baking dish before you top it with the mashed potatoes and bake the pie.

3

Assemble the dish.

Remove the oven-safe skillet from the heat and carefully dollop the prepared mashed potatoes onto the top of the meat mixture. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the potatoes out and evenly cover the filling. 

If you’re not concerned about making this a dairy-free shepherd’s pie recipe, you could also sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese on top of the mashed potatoes before baking. 

Note: If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet or braiser, transfer the meat mixture to a baking dish first.

4

Bake.

Bake the shepherd’s pie for 15-20 minutes or until the mashed potatoes are golden brown. Serve with freshly chopped parsley as a garnish, and enjoy!

5

Wash the dishes. How sad.

A cooked shepherd's pie.

What to Serve with Shepherd’s Pie

The nice thing about this recipe is that it’s essentially a full meal in one dish. But if you want to get some greens in, a light salad would be a lovely addition. And don’t forget dessert.

Shepherd’s Pie FAQ

Do you cook the ground beef in advance?

Yes, by cooking the ground beef in advance, you can ensure it’s completely cooked through. It also adds depth to the flavor.

What is the difference between a shepherd's pie and a cottage pie?

Traditionally, a shepherd’s pie uses ground lamb, and a cottage pie uses ground beef. You can use either for this recipe.

Why is cottage pie good for you?

Cottage pie (or shepherd’s pie) includes wholesome ingredients, with veggies, protein, and carbs.

Can you freeze shepherd’s pie?

Yes! To freeze, assemble the pie all the way up until baking. Let cool and cover tightly. When you’re ready to serve the pie, let it defrost overnight and then bake. 

A shepherd's pie in a large skillet with a serving taken out of it exposing the ground beef mixture underneath the potatoes.
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A shepherd's pie in a large skillet with a serving taken out of it exposing the ground beef mixture underneath the potatoes.

Shepherd’s Pie


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

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5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: KJ & Company - Kate Poskochil
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Description

Shepherd’s Pie is a comforting meal brimming with savory goodness. This is the perfect recipe if you’re looking for a classic meat and potato dish (plus veggies, because balance!). It’s easy, healthy, and comes together in one warming dish. 

Ground beef is browned and simmered in a hearty tomato-based sauce with vegetables and herbs. Dollop the mixture with a fluffy blanket of mashed potatoes and bake until golden brown and bubbly.

This is a dairy-free and gluten-free shepherd’s pie recipe. But if you’d like to change that, you can certainly add some cream to the mashed potatoes or sprinkle shredded cheddar on the top.

If you’re tired of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patty’s Day, this is a festive alternative (or really for any day of the year).


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds ground beef 
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups beef stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas

For the mashed potatoes:

  • 45 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & diced (roughly 2.5 pounds)
  • ⅓ cup mayo
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley

Instructions

For the mashed potatoes:

  1. Add the potatoes to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and allow to boil for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and add the potatoes back into the pot. 
  2. Add the mayo, salt, onion powder and parsley in with the potatoes and use either a potato masher or a hand mixer to mix together until smooth and fluffy. Set aside. 

For the shepherds pie:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large oven-safe skillet or braiser over medium heat (if you don’t have an oven safe skillet/braiser, you can transfer everything to a baking dish at the end prior to baking). Add in the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and allow to sauté for a few minutes. 
  2. Add in the ground beef and allow it to brown, breaking it up along the way, making sure to get a good, deep brown on the beef for flavor without burning. About 5-10 minutes. Add in the salt, pepper, thyme and parsley and allow to sauté for several minutes more. 
  3. Add in the Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste and stir to coat. Cook for a couple minutes or until the tomato paste starts to darken slightly. Pour in the beef stock and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and then add in the frozen peas. 
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully dollop the prepared mashed potatoes onto the top of the filling mixture and use a rubber spatula to smooth out to evenly cover all of the filling. 
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the mashed potatoes are golden brown. Serve with freshly chopped parsley as a garnish and enjoy!

Notes

  • Use ground lamb for a traditional Shepherd’s Pie instead of ground beef.
  • Russet potatoes can also be used.
  • If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet or braiser, transfer the meat filling to a 9×13 pan prior to adding on the mashed potatoes and baking.
  • Nutritional information for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: One Pan

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 396
  • Sugar: 15.6g
  • Fat: 11.7g
  • Carbohydrates: 61.2g
  • Fiber: 12g
  • Protein: 18.9g
  • Cholesterol: 27mg

Did you make this recipe?

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If you made this recipe and love it as much as I do, I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, rate the recipe, or share a picture tagging @kjandcompany or using  #kjandcompany so that I can see your fun pictures! Thanks for following and cooking along with me.

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