The Best Ever Shepherd’s Pie

The best shepherd’s pie recipe you’ll ever try, with melty sharp cheddar, the creamiest mashed potatoes, and savory bullion-enhanced beef with crisp, fresh green beans and carrots. Top-notch comfort food baked in a casserole dish.

Easy shepherd's pie in a casserole dish, on a table, with and plate

This shepherd’s pie is my death row meal. And that’s saying something, because I fall in love with everything I eat.

This recipe, hot out of the oven, is comfort food times infinity. Melty cheddar cheese blankets creamy mashed potatoes with a secret ingredient, and served atop a hearty base of richly flavored beef with bites of crisp veggies. It’s also quite an easy recipe — prepare the meat and veggies, mash the potatoes, then throw it all into a casserole dish and broil for a few minutes.

I am Irish-American, which means I have eaten a million shepherd’s pie recipes, and I consider myself to be something of a shepherd’s pie connoisseur. I am disappointed every time I order shepherd’s pie while eating out, because NOTHING beats my mom’s shepherd’s pie casserole. It builds upon the traditional recipe, but makes it a zillion times better. No mushy, frozen veggies. Quality, fresh ingredients. No skimping on flavor here.

The leftovers are just as delicious the next day, if not better since the ingredients have more time to mingle together. And since you’re baking a whole casserole, I’m guessing you will have some leftovers on your hands!

Why You’ll Love This Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

It’s way easy, and it really boils down to the ingredients. Here’s how this recipe differs from most out there:

Better than Bouillon (beef flavor): Forget gravy or beef stock, this is really the secret to an incredible and flavorful shepherd’s pie — though if you really wanted to use regular bouillon cubes, you could. If you’ve never used Better than Bouillon before, it’s an awesome ingredient that’s sold in every supermarket I’ve shopped at and can replace stock in your pantry. It keeps for a very long time in your refrigerator.

Fresh veggies: Shepherd’s pie is often made with frozen veggies, but those can get a little sad and soggy. You can use really any that you’d like, but this recipe calls for shredded carrots, to save time, and chopped green beans and onions.

Mashed potatoes: Sour cream is EVERYTHING in mashed potatoes. Fluffy, creamy and a little bit of a tang that is so nice in contrast to the rich, cozy flavors of the meat and veggies. Use light sour cream if you want to cut down on the calories.

Cheddar cheese: You could skip this step if you really wanted, but… Why would you want that?! I love to sprinkle some sharp cheddar cheese on shepherd’s pie. It just adds a whole new comforting element to the dish.

I mean… Seriously. Look. At. All. Dat. Cheese. *faints*

Cheddar cheese on shepherd's pie

Ingredients

For the potatoes:

  • Russet potatoes
  • Sour cream
  • Unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

For the meat/veggies: 

  • Ground beef
  • Yellow onion
  • Shredded carrots
  • Green beans
  • Better than Bouillon (or bouillon cubes)
  • Water

Make It Your Own

A healthy splash of red wine or dark beer in the meat and veggies will go a long way here for adding flavor here! Maybe you’ll also want to add a dash of garlic powder to the pan.

Since the meat/veggies portion of the dish is so hearty and rich, I like to make the potatoes extra tangy. Consider adding a few dashes of white wine vinegar into the mix. It’s a lovely contrast.

When it comes to the veggies, feel free to use whatever’s in season! Squash, zucchini or English peas would also be yummy. Maybe some spinach, leeks or tomatoes. Go crazy!

The best shepherd's pie in a casserole dish, on a table, with and plate

Instructions

Preheat your oven, boil a pot of water and peel your potatoes.

Brown meat, and add onions after the meat begins to break down and oil starts to seep out.

Cover pan and cut potatoes into quarters, then boil until fork-tender and drain.

Drain the fat from the pan, and add carrots, green beans and pepper to taste. Mix warm water (microwave about 40 seconds) and Better than Bouillon, then pour into pan and let simmer.

Mash the potatoes with sour cream, butter and salt to taste.

Spread your meat in an even layer into the casserole dish, then smooth potatoes on top. Add cheese and bake in the oven until cheese browns.

What To Serve With Shepherd’s Pie

Since shepherd’s pie has veggies, meat and potatoes all in one, you really don’t need much else on the table.

Maybe you’ll serve it with some bright greens, like this harvest salad with roasty sweet potatoes, feta, crunchy walnuts, dried cranberries. Some lemony oven-roasted asparagus would be delicious, too.

You might try topping it with the mouthwatering, umami-packed miso mushrooms in this mushroom-potato bowl recipe.

Shepherd’s pie goes beautifully with a bolder red wine or a dark beer, like Guinness (duh) or a coffee porter beer.

And with that, you’re all set to put this beautiful meal on the table! Get ready for the coziest dinner ever. Trust me… The family will be asking you to make this again.

The best shepherd's pie in a casserole dish, on a table, with and plate
The best shepherd's pie in a casserole dish, on a table, with and plate

Best Shepherd’s Pie

The best shepherd’s pie recipe you’ll ever try, with melty sharp cheddar, the creamiest mashed potatoes, and savory bullion-enhanced beef with crisp, fresh green beans and carrots. Top-notch comfort food baked in a casserole dish.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 22 mins
Cook Time 53 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Irish
Servings 6 people

Equipment

  • 9" by 12" casserole dish
  • large pot
  • large pan

Ingredients
  

For the meat/veggie filling:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1.5 c. shredded carrots
  • 1.5 c. green beans diced
  • 1.5 tbsp. Better than Bouillon cubes or 4 beef bullion cubes — feel free to use less if you are on a low-sodium diet
  • 1 c. water

For the potatoes:

  • Approx. 8-10 mid-sized russet potatoes
  • 2/3 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • salt to taste
  • ½ to 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese or to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to broil. Bring a large pot of water to boil under high heat. Peel and quarter potatoes, then place into boiling water, cook until fork-tender (approx. 15 minutes) and drain potatoes.
  • In a large pan under medium heat, add meat and break down in the pan. Brown meat and add onions after about three minutes, or when oil starts to seep out from meat. Cook approx. 15 minutes.
  • Drain the fat from the meat and onions, and add carrots, green beans and pepper to taste. Mix warm water (microwave about 40 seconds) and Better than Bouillon, then pour into pan and let simmer for approx. 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has cooked off.
  • Mash the potatoes with sour cream, butter and salt to taste.
  • In 9" x 12" casserole dish, spread meat into bottom, then scoop and smooth mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over top. Broil for about 5 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and/or starts to get brown and crackle, and sprinkle some fresh pepper on top. Enjoy!
Keyword best shepherd’s pie, casserole dinner, irish recipes, shepherd’s pie, shepherd’s pie easy

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Easy hepherd's pie in a casserole dish with wine and plate


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