Simple shepherd’s pie recipe
If you want a hearty, delicious meal that doesn’t take too long to put together then you need to try this simple shepherd’s pie recipe. Fluffy mashed potatoes top a hearty, flavorful beef mix to make a classic dish that everyone will enjoy.
Poor Man’s Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherds pie has mand different names. However, whether you call it shepherds pie, poor mans pie or cottage pie, it is a great dinner option for any night of the week. Not only is this dish inexpensive to make (that is why some people call it poor man’s pie!) but our recipe also makes it quite easy to put together. In just about 30 minutes you can have the whole dish in the oven, baking to perfection. Once the pie is cooked, you can put the casserole dish right on the table and serve it to your family- this quick recipe makes a complete meal!
How to Make Shepherd’s Pie With Beef
The traditional way to make cottage pie is to layer mashed potatoes on top of a seasoned beef mixture then bake the dish in the oven. Our recipe will walk you step by step through the details of how to make this dish but here is a quick look at how to put this comfort food together.
- Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F or turning on your broiler to heat.
- First, the mashed potato layer is made by boiling the potatoes then combining them with a cream cheese, egg yolk and milk mixture until smooth.
- After making the mashed potatoes, the ground beef is cooked in a skillet with chopped carrots and onions.
- Homemade gravy is made by whisking beef broth and Worcestershire sauce together over medium heat with some butter. The sauce is then stirred in with the ground beef mixture and spread in a casserole dish.
- The potatoes are layered on top of the ground beef in the baking dish and then the whole meal is baked or broiled for 10 minutes. The potatoes should be slightly browned.
That is all it takes to make this delicious comfort food that is sure to be a family pleaser. It is definitely something you can handle during a busy week or even serve for a larger group of people at a buffet-style party.
Easy Shepherds Pie Variations
While our recipe is already pretty great, there are a few alterations we have tried to help you make this dish faster, better and also healthier. Here are a few of our favorite recipe tweaks that we love.
- Buy mashed potatoes pre-made in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Spread the pre-cooked, fluffy potatoes over the ground beef mixture and skip the need to peel, boil and make the mashed potatoes layer. This will definitely cut back on prep time.
- Replace the ground beef with ground turkey, ground chicken, ground sausage, ground lamb or a mixture of them all. Choose your favorite meat or whatever meat happens to look good at the grocery store- any ground meat will work great!
- Skip the cream cheese in the mashed potatoes and use sour cream instead. Sour cream will add a nice tangy taste to the mashed potatoes layer of the pie. Using sour cream is also a way to cut back on the calories and fats and make this comfort food a little bit healthier.
- Add some more chopped vegetables to the meat mixture. Add more onion, chopped mushrooms, diced celery, frozen corn or even some peas. Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the veggies very small, blending them into the meat mix well.
- Skip the gravy and simply mix a can of mushroom soup into the ground beef. This will add lots of flavor and save you time.
If you have any other ideas, let us know in the comments below. We love to hear creative ways to make our recipes even more fantastic.
Since our recipe for easy shepherds pie is so popular, we often get questions about our recipe. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions with answers that will hopefully help you make the recipe perfectly.
How do I thicken Shepherds pie?
If you want your Shepherds pie sauce to be slightly thicker, mix a teaspoon of cornstarch into the gravy mix, whisking well over medium heat so clumps don’t form. The sauce will get thicker as the gravy comes to a boil and will thicken even more when the pie bakes in the oven. If you want your potatoes to be a little thicker, cut back on the milk and also consider using an extra potato or two.
Can you Freeze Shepherds pie?
You can definitely freeze shepherd’s pie and it will thaw and reheat wonderfully! Wrap this pie well and freeze for up to three months. To reheat the pie, place the dish in the fridge the night before you’d like to enjoy it. Then, either reheat it in the oven, baking for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F, or place a slice on a plate with a microwave cover and microwave for about 2 minutes or until heated through. This recipe is the perfect make ahead meal!
Hopefully you love this easy version of shepherds pie and add it to your weekly cooking repertoire. It is definitely a crowd pleaser! Enjoy.
Easy to assemble layers of potatoes, carrots and beef make this a pretty and complete meal.
- 2 lbs. of russet potatoes, peeled cubed
- 2 tablespoons softened cream cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup milk
- sea salt + black pepper (to taste)
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 bag baby carrots (chopped or shredded)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup beef stock or broth
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- dash of paprika
- Boil potatoes in salted water until tender (about 12 minutes). While potatoes boil, blend cream cheese, egg yolk and milk.
- Once potatoes are tender, carefully drain them and place in a mixing bowl. Add the cream cheese mixture in with potatoes and continue blending until smooth. Set aside.
- Cook meat in a non-stick skillet over high heat. Add chopped carrots and onions to skillet and continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a small pot over medium heat. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce then continue to cook for a few minutes. Add gravy mixture to the meat mixture.
- Prepare a 9×13 casserole dish with non-stick spray and preheat broiler to high. Spread meat and vegetable mixture in bottom of prepared dish. Evenly spoon potatoes over the meat then sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper.
- Place in oven (broiler) for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown.
- Rather than use regular mashed potatoes as the top layer of this pie, try using sweet potatoes instead. Sweet mashed potatoes will add a whole new flavor to the dish and make this simple recipe even more delicious.
- Use a mixture of meat rather than just ground beef. Pairing the ground beef with ground pork, for example, will add complexity to this comfort food. Try different blends to see which you enjoy the best.
- If you do not have Worcestershire sauce on hand for the gravy, you can use a few drops of brown gravy enhancer, soy sauce or balsamic vinegar.
- Divide the recipe between two smaller baking dish and then freeze one for later. This is a great idea especially if you do not need to serve a large amount of people and love having an easy meal on hand.