Shepherd’s Pie is a classic British dish that is really popular around Saint Patrick’s Day. Shepherd’s pie features a creamy layer of minced meat mixed with carrots, onions, peas, corn, and fresh herbs, topped with a layer of buttery and cheesy mashed potatoes. It’s baked for a perfect golden finish and a slightly crispy top. Traditional Shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb, however, beef is a very common substitute.
My simple Shepherd’s pie recipe is made in a cast iron skillet with cream cheese mashed potatoes, ground beef, Guinness, and a blend of frozen veggies, spices, and fresh herbs. It’s warm, savory, and everything you need in comfort food.
Tips for Making Shepherd’s Pie
My Shepherd’s pie recipe is really easy to make. I recommend making the mashed potatoes first and setting them aside so it’s one less thing to worry about. Once the potatoes are done, the meat filling can be made in your trusty cast-iron skillet or oven-proof pan. Yes, a Dutch oven even works for larger recipes.
Once the beef is cooked, seasoned, and ready to go, we can top it with an even layer of cream cheese mashed potatoes. I recommend working in small clumps when layering potatoes. The potatoes will easily stick to the beef and won’t spread like you’re frosting a cake. I went around the surface of the dish with large dollops and smoothed it with the back of a spoon.
Shepherd’s pie needs to bake for about 20 minutes to crisp the top of the potatoes, however, I recommend you broil on high for the last 2-3 minutes to get a nice golden crust like the picture below. This adds a phenomenal texture that compliments the creamy beef and potatoes underneath. Just to note, it’s harder to get the golden top without broiling.
I recommend frozen vegetables over canned ones for this recipe. Frozen vegetables are fresher and have better color. The only exception is canned corn. That can be swapped in place of frozen if you prefer.
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Classic Shepherd’s pie recipe made in a cast-iron skillet with cream cheese mashed potatoes and a beef mix made with frozen veggies, spices, and a splash of Guinness.
- 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered (about 2 lbs)
- 6 ounces room temp cream cheese, cubed
- 1/2 cup warm cream
- 6 tablespoons butter, cubed and melted
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1.25–1.5 pounds ground beef or lamb
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 carrots (1 cup), peeled and chopped (or frozen)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 2/3 cup Guinness (pour rest in mouth)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, removed from sprig and chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Chopped fresh parsley and rosemary, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
For the mashed potatoes
- Add potatoes to a large pot and fill with cold water, covering potatoes by 2 inches. Generously season water with a big pinch of salt. You should be able to taste the salt in the water.
- Cover and bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 25 minutes or until you can easily pierce potatoes with a fork with no resistance. Do not undercook.
- Add cream and butter to a microwaveable safe measuring glass or bowl. Heat for 45 seconds-1 minute or until the cream is warm and the butter is partially melted.
- Remove potatoes from the heat and strain all water. Return potatoes to the same pot (keep off heat). Pour in half the cream/butter and mash together (with a potato masher) until smooth and creamy. Repeat with remaining cream/butter.
- Add cream cheese and mash/stir until potatoes are smooth and silky. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste if needed.
For the beef mixture
- Heat oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet on medium heat. Add onion, carrots, garlic, and rosemary. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink, about 5 more minutes. Drain all but about 1-2 tablespoons of fat.
- Stir in peas and corn, cooking for 2-3 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add flour evenly over the mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Cook for 1 additional minute before adding Guinness and Worcestershire sauce. Let simmer for about 5 minutes or until the mixture has slightly thickened.
- Make sure beef is evenly distributed throughout the skillet before topping with an even layer of mashed potatoes. It helps to layer in small clumps/sections. It can be hard to spread without the potatoes sticking to the beef. Bake for 20 minutes or until potatoes start to brown on the top. You may need to broil for the last 2-3 minutes to get a nice golden crust. Garnish with rosemary and parsley and serve.
You can use sour cream in place of cream cheese if you prefer.
I recommend frozen vegetables over canned for this recipe. Frozen vegetables are fresher and have better color. The only exception is canned corn. That can be swapped in place of frozen if you prefer.
- Serving Size: 1 piece
- Calories: 572
- Sugar: 8.2g
- Sodium: 314mg
- Fat: 23.3g
- Saturated Fat: 12.2g
- Carbohydrates: 57.2g
- Fiber: 9.1g
- Protein: 30.9g
- Cholesterol: 109mg
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