Best Shepherd’s Pie Recipe with Ground Beef
Shepherd’s Pie proves that comfort food can be fast and delicious. Hearty beef and veggies are topped with fluffy mashed potatoes and cheese for a family-favorite gluten free casserole everyone loves. This Easy Shepherds pie recipe is the best since it is even quick enough to make for dinner on a busy weeknight.
Originally published on Sep 26, 2017.
You’ll notice that I mention this recipe is made with ground beef. For those who may make or are looking for the most classic Shepherd’s Pie recipe, they will say this is incorrect.
But as someone who loves ground beef as a quick and affordable protein for my favorite easy dinner recipes, it is what I use. Especially since my family and I love how it tastes.
But it always seems to beg the question…
Can you make shepherd’s pie with ground beef?
Many people say you can’t, and that the only way to make authentic shepherd’s pie is with lamb. However, in the United States, ground beef is easier to find and used more in American households than ground lamb.
So then what is cottage pie, and what’s the difference?
Cottage pie is typically a mixture of minced beef and vegetables in gravy, baked in a casserole dish with a cap of mashed potatoes.
So basically the same as Shepherd’s Pie, except that dish is traditionally made with ground lamb since a shepherd raises lambs. However, I personally don’t like lamb, and I have always seen it on menus, even in Irish restaurants, with this name.
And the cottage pie name doesn’t make sense to me anyway since I don’t know any cows who live in a cottage.
I’m joking, but the point is, make what you like.
Since this dish and cottage pie are essentially the same thing, just swapping the protein, I think it is totally acceptable to make Shepherds Pie with ground beef instead of lamb.
You can always call this recipe “cottage pie” or you can use ground lamb and stick with tradition. I have not claimed this recipe is traditional, I just call it “easy” and it happens to be delicious.
Now I’m not sure what shepards pie is, but many people seem to spell it that way.
Making shepherd’s pie
Or shepherd’s pie? Or sheperds pie? (Hahaha!)
I always thought this was a complicated and time-consuming dish to make. However, I realized when I made these Individual Shepherd’s Pies, if you plan out the steps, it really comes together in no time.
Here’s the plan:
- First, pull the frozen veggies out of the freezer and preheat the oven.
- Peel and boil the potatoes.
- During this time, prepare the meat and veggie mixture.
- While the filling simmers, drain and mash the potatoes.
- Finally, add the filling to the casserole dish, top with the potatoes and cheese, and bake.
Now I’m not going to pull the wool over your eyes. It’s essentially the same recipe but I baked it in one baking dish instead of individual ramekins. But it’s still super easy and super delicious.
- Ground beef
- Tomato paste
- Worcestershire sauce
- Beef broth
- Frozen mixed vegetables
- Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Salt and Pepper
- Cheddar cheese
Once you have the ingredients, you’ll need a casserole dish to bake it in.
I use my Corningware French White Round and Oval Bakeware all the time. From this recipe to Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese and Baked Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Sausage Tomato Cream Sauce or even just reheating a rotisserie chicken from Costco, these baking dishes are in constant rotation.
For this recipe, I used the smaller 1.5-quart casserole dish here and had it on a baking dish to catch any drips. If you don’t mind it not being filled to the top and don’t want it bubbling over a bit, try the 2.5-quart casserole.
Here is a brief overview so you can see just how easy it is to make. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full quantities and details.
But don’t skip my PRO TIPS below!
- Peel and cut potatoes, add to a pot of cold water and boil until tender.
- Brown ground beef with onions and garlic.
- Stir in tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and beef broth.
- Add frozen vegetables and bring to a simmer.
- While it simmers, mash the potatoes with Greek yogurt or sour cream, milk, and cheddar cheese.
- Pour the beef mixture into the casserole dish.
- Top with mashed potatoes.
- Add more shredded cheese and bake art 350°F for about 30 minutes.
Done and done!
Make-ahead meal prep options
Yes, you can definitely make it in advance, and you have several options.
- You can make the meat and vegetable mixture and store it in the refrigerator for a couple of days before preparing and baking the dish.
- Another option is to assemble it and refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to bake and serve it.
- Additionally, you can even bake it and then refrigerate or freeze it. It is possible to reheat it even after it has been frozen. Be sure to thaw it completely and pop in the oven at 350°F for about 20 minutes or more until it is heated through. The potatoes might give off a bit extra moisture, but there is no impact on the flavor.
The classic dish is meat (typically ground lamb or ground beef, as noted above) and vegetables in gravy, topped with mashed potatoes. But you can put many creative twists on the classic recipe to make it one of your favorite easy dinner recipes that you can enjoy in many different ways.
- Instead of making mashed potatoes, you can pile the filling into these Shepherd’s Pie Loaded Baked Potatoes.
- Put it on top of Shepherd’s Pie Loaded French Fries for a super easy version.
- Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Peppers combines two comfort foods in one.
- With a few simple swaps, you can even cut the carbs to make Keto Shepherd’s Pie.
- Buffalo Chicken Shepherd’s Pie totally changes up the traditional recipe with a spicy kick and sweet potato topping.
Gluten free recipe tips
Gluten Free Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This information is solely based on my research and personal experience, and I provide it as a courtesy to my readers. Please consult your doctor or medical professional for any questions as it relates to your needs, particularly if you have celiac disease or a severe gluten allergy or intolerance. Products, manufacturing facilities, and ingredients change frequently, so you should always contact the manufacturer for the latest information.
Many traditional recipes are not, as they contain a brown gravy thickened with flour. However, this one does not. So it’s easy to make it as a gluten free casserole.
Just be sure to use Worcestershire sauce that is gluten free (Lea & Perrins is if you buy it in the United States), as well as a gluten free beef broth.
The topping is nothing more than mashed potatoes with cheddar cheese. So there are no gluten-containing ingredients there. Go ahead and enjoy this classic dish as part of your gluten-free St. Patrick’s Day without worry!
This is a hearty casserole that can be a meal by itself. But if you want to serve something with it, try one of these ideas:
- A simple salad with Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing is a light option for more veggies.
- Bacon Brussels Sprouts Cauliflower Colcannon is a low carb alternative to the classic Irish mashed potatoes recipe.
- Have a slice of Irish Soda Bread (you can even make Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread).
- For dessert, you’ll love a Mini Bailey’s Chocolate Mousse Pie.
More easy ground beef dinner recipes
Easy Shepherd’s Pie
While not the most traditional version of the classic Irish recipe, this dish is easy and delicious. Undoubtedly the whole family will love to dig into this comfort food casserole made with ground beef and veggies, plus fluffy mashed potatoes and cheese. And it’s great to make ahead of time to reheat when you need it. Plus this version is a gluten free shepherd’s pie that everyone can enjoy.
I hope you’ll leave a comment and give it a FIVE STAR rating or share a review on Pinterest or photo on Instagram!
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Easy Shepherd’s Pie
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 medium onion chopped (roughly 1/2 cup)
- 1 garlic clove crushed or minced
- 3/4 cup tomato paste one 6-ounce can
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 4 cups frozen mixed vegetables or about two 10 oz. packages frozen vegetable medley, thawed (carrots, peas, corn, and green beans)
- 1 pound white or russet potatoes peeled and cut into about 1 inch chunks
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese divided
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and coat a 1.5 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into about 1 inch cubes, and place the potatoes and a pinch of salt into a pot of cold water.
- Cover, and bring to boil. Remove cover and boil for 10-12 minutes, until fork tender.
- While the potatoes are cooking, heat a skillet over medium heat.
- Add the ground beef, onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the skillet and cook, breaking up the meat, until it is browned. Drain any excess grease.
- Stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and beef broth. Add vegetables, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes or until thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- While the meat mixture is simmering, drain the potatoes and return to the pot.
- Add ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream, milk, and 1 teaspoon salt to the potatoes. With a potato masher or hand mixer, mash to desired consistency.
- Add the meat mixture to the prepared casserole dish, then top with the mashed potatoes and remaining cheese.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until heated through, and cheese and potatoes are slightly browned.