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Shepherd’s pie has got to be one of my husband’s and my all-time favorite comfort foods. I like it because it’s super easy to make. We both like it because it’s delicious and filling.
It has a wonderful blend of flavors from the meat, potatoes, vegetables, and cheese. What’s more is you serve it warm, so it makes you feel good from the inside out.
Another thing I like about this is that you can assemble it in advance and put it in the fridge. All you have to do when you’re ready is put it in the oven to heat it up. You’ll have a delicious family dinner by the time you get out of your work clothes and set the table.
Most casseroles are convenient like this. So sometimes I make more than one so there’s always something I can pull out when I’m busy.
You can also make the chicken and rice casserole and mac and cheese with ham casserole ahead of time. In fact, some people claim that they taste better if you prepare them one day and cook them another. They’ve had some time for the flavors to blend.
Key points to keep in mind:
- You may use cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes if you’re trying to keep your car count low. Another thing you can do is half potatoes and half cauliflower.
- For a completely different flavor, use mashed sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.
- If you prefer to leave out the gravy, that is fine. It will taste just as good.
- Most vegetables will work in a shepherd’s pie.
- Canned vegetables will cook more quickly.
What You Need to Make Shepherd’s Pie
There are surprisingly few ingredients in my version of the shepherd’s pie. I use grass-fed ground beef, potatoes, canned or frozen vegetables, and beef broth. Most of the time I add some cornstarch to the broth to thicken it a bit. However, it’s not necessary. In fact, you don’t even have to add broth.
Alternative Ingredients for Shepherd’s Pie
You can swap out some of the ingredients, and it’s still good. If you prefer ground turkey, then you can use that instead of ground beef.
As I researched shepherd’s pie, I was surprised to learn that it was originally made with lamb. I would like that, but my husband doesn’t care for lamb, so I probably won’t make it that way. Shepherd’s pie purists call the version with ground beef “cottage pie.”
There are also meat alternatives for vegetarians. I’ve used some of the soy crumbles in the past, and they’re good. However, I still prefer to use ground beef.
Another thing you may want to swap is the type of vegetables. I used peas and carrots this time, but there have been times when I used green beans. By all means, use whatever you have on hand.
While I prefer traditional mashed potatoes—either from scratch or prepared mashed potatoes—you can also use sweet potatoes. My daughter and her family prefer the mashed sweet potatoes.
How to Make Shepherd’s Pie
I always coat the bottom of my casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray to make cleanup easier.
Next, brown the ground beef, drain it, and pour it into the casserole dish. You may season it if you want. I typically shake a tiny bit of salt and pepper onto the ground beef to keep it from being bland.
After that, drain a can of vegetables if you used the canned version and pour it over the ground beef. However, if you use frozen, I recommend steaming them first.
The mashed potatoes come next. You may either make them from scratch or purchase the ones that are already prepared. I use whichever one I have on hand. Smooth the potatoes out evenly over the vegetables.
Remember that there are always several methods of assembling most casseroles. Next, I usually cover the casserole with foil and bake it for about 20-25 minutes to get everything hot. However, if you like your potatoes browned on top, leave the cover off.
Finally, I remove the foil cover, add the cheese, and return it to the oven for 5-10 minutes. Once the cheese has melted and started to bubble, remove it from the oven.
A shepherd’s pie is a one-dish meal, so you don’t need anything else. However, it goes well with a salad and crusty bread.
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Since life can get pretty crazy for most of us, I thought I’d offer some links to more comfort food. When you want something spicy, try making chicken creole with rice. You can also try these sesame ginger ribs or this steak hash.
For even more wonderful recipes, check out Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.
Another dish we enjoy when it’s just the two of us is this Crockpot sausage and black beans dinner for two. If you have more people to feed, simply double or triple the recipe.
Serve any of these dishes with this delicious cornbread from Back to My Southern Roots.
For a fun dessert, try this caramel apple pizza. You can top it with ice cream or whipped cream. Or you can leave it as is.
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 2 cups of mashed potatoes
- 1-1/2 cups of canned or steamed vegetables
- 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar or Colby cheese
- 1/2 cup of beef broth
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray the bottom of a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Brown and drain the ground beef. Pour it into the casserole dish and spread it out evenly across the bottom. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Whisk the cornstarch with the beef broth until there are no lumps. Pour this evenly over the ground beef to make a thick gravy.
- Pour the vegetables over the ground beef and spread them out evenly.
- Top the vegetables with mashed potatoes—either ones you made from scratch or the kind that come in a tub, already prepared. Spread them out evenly over the top.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. If you want the potatoes to be brown on top, you may leave them uncovered.
- Remove the foil cover and sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top of the potatoes. Return to the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the cheese has melted.
- Serve hot.
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Amount Per Serving Calories 420 Total Fat 26g Saturated Fat 12g Trans Fat 1g Unsaturated Fat 11g Cholesterol 98mg Sodium 578mg Carbohydrates 15g Fiber 2g Sugar 2g Protein 30g