Beef

Skillet Shepherd’s Pie

Skillet Shepherd’s pie is a great way to enjoy the classic in a one-pot. With a hearty beefy base, cheesy middle and topped with a layer of fluffy mashed potatoes.

Skillet Shepherd's pie is a great way to enjoy the classic in a one pot: with a beefy base, cheesy middle and topped with a layer of fluffy mashed potatoes.

Happy September! Fall is almost here and that means more casseroles, slow cookers meals and soups and stews for the blog. Try out some reader favorites like meatball pasta bake, spinach and artichoke ravioli bake, Mississippi pot roast or slow cooker beef and cheese pasta.

And speaking of beefy comfort food, if there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s how to make a good Shepherd’s pie. I like my filling hearty and beefy and my mashed potatoes fluffy.

Skillet Shepherd's pie is a great way to enjoy the classic in a one pot: with a beefy base, cheesy middle and topped with a layer of fluffy mashed potatoes.

I’ve never really had a recipe for it up until now. It was just something I perfected over the course of a decade, adding a few things here and there until it was just right. One year I decided to beef up the meat base by adding some Bovril. Bovril is hard to find in the US so I substituted it with Better than Bouillon or Marmite. Another year, I decided to add a cheesy middle layer with tons of cheddar. Lastly, I focused on the mashed potatoes by adding a bit of chives, fluffing them up for texture and then finishing it off with a healthy sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

I’ve even made tiny little cute appetizer versions of these with these mini Shepherd’s pot pies. My Shepherd’s pie always disappears pretty darn fast in my house so I think I’m on the right track. So let’s get started!

Skillet Shepherd's pie is a great way to enjoy the classic in a one pot: with a beefy base, cheesy middle and topped with a layer of fluffy mashed potatoes.

SKILLET SHEPHERD’S PIE RECIPE TIPS

As mentioned earlier, I used to make a super beefy version before with a flavor concentrate like Bovril, Marmite, or Vegemite. But since that stuff is so hard to find, here’s an approachable recipe using regular beef bouillon cubes or the equivalent in a concentrate like Better than Bouillon. You should be able to find both in your regular grocery stores.

And with the exception of making the mashed potatoes, it’s all done in one skillet. If you want to skip making mashed potatoes from scratch, this also works well with the instant kind for those short on time. I won’t tell! Back to the recipe, you brown the beef, simmer the fillings, layer it and bake it all in the skillet.

Skillet Shepherd's pie is a great way to enjoy the classic in a one pot: with a beefy base, cheesy middle and topped with a layer of fluffy mashed potatoes.

So it’s good to use that cast iron skillet of yours, something I really like playing with lately. Sure it’s a lot of maintenance with the constant oil rub down after every use, but I think it’s worth it. Since most of the cooking will be done on the stove, not much time is needed in the oven. It’s mostly to brown the mashed potatoes and give it a nice crusty yumminess.

I like to take a fork and tease the mashed potatoes into small waves. The textures really show when it’s browned and they turn out super crispy. Mr. Cooking Jar said it looked like a coconut cream pie with a surprise beef filling! All you need to do is use the tines of the fork and sort of pull it upwards at the end of each stroke.

Skillet Shepherd's pie is a great way to enjoy the classic in a one pot: with a beefy base, cheesy middle and topped with a layer of fluffy mashed potatoes.

The messier it looks, the more texture and crisp-to-potato ratio you’ll get once it’s done baking. So take that fork and fluff the mashed potatoes layer until you have hills and craters everywhere. Go nuts!

And that’s about it. You can also do this in a casserole dish for the standard shepherd’s pot pie casserole, but today we are doing this in a cast iron skillet. So bring out your cast iron skillet and let’s get cooking!

MORE MEAT PIE RECIPES TO TRY

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Skillet Shepherd's pie is a great way to enjoy the classic in a one pot: with a beefy base, cheesy middle and topped with a layer of fluffy mashed potatoes.

Skillet Shepherd’s Pie


  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 1x

Description

Skillet Shepherd’s pie is a great way to enjoy the classic in a one-pot: with a beefy base, cheesy middle and topped with a layer of fluffy mashed potatoes.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 12 oz. frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped and divided
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Over medium-high heat bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and simmer until fork-tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Drain and transfer potatoes to a mixing bowl. Add butter and milk and mash until fluffy.
  3. Season with 1/2 tablespoon of chives and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside.
  4. In a 10″ cast iron skillet over medium heat, brown the beef until fully cooked. Drain off any fat. Remove beef and set aside.
  5. In the same pan, saute onions and garlic until translucent.
  6. Add mixed vegetables, crumble beef bouillon cubes and simmer till vegetables are soft.
  7. Toss in beef, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and season with pepper to taste. Stir to mix thoroughly.
  8. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes to let the flavors marry.
  9. Remove from heat and compress the beef layer before topping with a layer of cheddar cheese.
  10. Finish with a thick layer of mashed potatoes and sprinkle Parmesan and leftover chives to finish.
  11. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are browned.
  12. [Optional] Broil at 400°F for 3-5 minutes if needed to brown them even more.
  13. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
Slow cooker creamy tortellini soup in a white bowl.

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Jess
    October 28, 2021 at 12:24 PM

    This is technically cottage pie, not shepherds pie because it doesn’t use lamb. However, whatever you decide to call it, it’s a family favorite and we use this recipe all the time! We like to add a little more tomato paste and some red wine, makes it even better.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      November 1, 2021 at 1:52 PM

      Those are excellent additions! Tomato paste really brings out the flavor in meat. I’ve been using more and more of it in my recent recipes. Thanks for commenting, Jess!

  • Reply
    Rosalee
    September 1, 2017 at 10:42 PM

    Do not have a cast iron skillet. I wonder if there is any other way to make this recipe
    I love Shepherd’s Pie
    I tried it first time in Oz…….wonderful

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      September 2, 2017 at 4:56 PM

      Absolutely. I do it all the time in a normal casserole dish. Just find one that fits the amount in the recipe and layer it well. The last time I made shepherd’s pie with 2 lb. of beef (last week) I used a 9×13 casserole dish. I used 2 packets of instant mash as well for it cause I was super lazy. Good luck, Rosalee!

      • Reply
        RJVB
        December 4, 2017 at 8:13 AM

        Lodge cast iron is hardly more expensive than off-the-shelf nonstick throwaways, but maybe prices are different in Oz.
        You should be able to use a stainless skillet if you have that, with a handle from a material that resists oven temperatures. The big advantage is that you lose nothing of your cooking juices, and the preparation doesn’t get a heat shock when transferred to a dish that’s still cold and will take a long time to get up to temperature.

        Meanwhile, I’m going to try this with the vegetables I have left over from a pot-au-feu, and a nice slice of salmon.

        • Reply
          The Cooking Jar
          December 6, 2017 at 1:48 AM

          I just made this again tonight in casserole form for a meal to last for a couple days. Used some Better than Bullion in lieu of bouillon cubes cause the beef taste is so awesome in this and I like a punch of flavor in the meat which is balanced out with neutral mashed potatoes.

  • Reply
    Jenni
    September 16, 2015 at 4:31 PM

    I do not have beef bullion cubes but do have beef broth. How much should I substitute? Thank you!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      September 16, 2015 at 9:39 PM

      Heya Jenni! Since you’re using broth, you will need to cook it down so the meat mixture isn’t watery from all that extra water content in the broth. It’s the concentrated flavor in the broth we want. Add it in once you reintroduce the beef to pan and let it it simmer over medium high heat until reduced to the right consistency. You can skip the simmering on medium for 15 minutes since there will be time for the flavors to marry while the broth cooks down. It should be thick enough that when you pick up some meat with a spoon and tilt the spoon, broth doesn’t spill through. It takes forever to cook down two cups to match the beef bouillon ratio so use one cup of beef broth and season with enough salt to compensate the lack of salt from the bouillon cubes. I didn’t use salt in the beef mixture because it borrowed it from the cubes. So we’ll readjust by seasoning to your taste. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Brian
    November 23, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    1. I can’t wait to make this. Can. Not. Wait. :o)

    2. Your photography is fantastic! Any tips?

    3. You don’t need to fuss too much over your cast iron skillet, there are a lot of “old wives tales” out there about cast iron maintenance. Check this out from one of my favorite food sites:

    http://seriouseats.com/2014/11/the-truth-about-cast-iron.html

    • Reply
      Brian
      November 23, 2014 at 5:17 PM

      HA! I just found your photography tips page. Thanks for already posting that! ;o)

      http://thecookingjar.com/blogging-tips/food-blogging-photography-tips/

      • Reply
        The Cooking Jar
        November 24, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        Hope you find the tips helpful! They’re just a general guideline, nothing too fancy. Thanks for linking that article! I’m a lot more comfortable around my cast iron skillet now and I love it. And good luck with the recipe. 🙂

  • Reply
    La Cuisine d'Helene
    September 12, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    I make a lot of Shepherds Pies because one of my sons love it but never in a skillet. This is such a great idea. I should try it sometimes.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      September 13, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      Hope you enjoy it, if you do. I just like playing with my cast iron 🙂

      • Reply
        Janet
        October 22, 2014 at 1:14 AM

        What size is your cast iron skillet for this recipe? l think that mine may be too small for 2 pounds of ground meat.

        • Reply
          The Cooking Jar
          October 22, 2014 at 1:30 AM

          Thanks for the good question. I used a 10″ cast iron. I’ll go ahead and add that in the instructions to help others!

  • Reply
    Matt Robinson
    September 2, 2014 at 12:02 AM

    Love this recipe Farah, the perfect comfort dish. Beautiful pictures too!!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      September 2, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      Thanks so much, Matt! It’s one of my favorite foods.

  • Reply
    nicole (thespicetrain.com)
    September 1, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    Yum! I love the beautiful dome shape and the great texture in the potatoes. Happy September to you as well!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      September 1, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      It’s great how a simple fork can make things look good, isn’t it? Just an extra 2 minutes makes a huge difference!

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