Beef

Skillet Shepherd’s Pie

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! Autumn is almost here and that means more comfort food, casseroles, slow cookers, soups and stews for the blog. And speaking of 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 never really had a recipe. It’s something I perfected over the years. A little bit of chives in the mashed potatoes gives it some color contrast and freshness. A cheesy layer in between for my cheese fix. A dash of Worcestershire sauce to add some depth of flavor to the filling. Some beef bouillon cubes to give it that concentrated beef flavor.

My Shepherd’s pie always disappears pretty darn fast in my house so I think I’m on the right track.

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 used to make an extra 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 that’s all done in the skillet. Except for the mashed potatoes of course. If you want to skip making mashed potatoes from scratch, this works well with the instant kind too. For those short of time or just plain lazy. I won’t tell! But aside from that, 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 down 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.

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 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 crisp. 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.

So bring out your cast iron skillet and let’s do this!

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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
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 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 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 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 chives and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside
  4. In a 10″ cast iron pan 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 degrees F for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are browned
  12. Broil at 400 degrees F for 3-5 minutes if needed to brown them more
  13. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving warm

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.

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21 Comments

  • 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!

  • 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
    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
    50 Real Food Fall Recipes - Taste of Divine
    September 24, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    […] […]

  • 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)

      https://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
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  • 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
    Fall Food Inspiration
    October 1, 2015 at 11:32 AM

    […] up. It was a fan favorite and my momma needed to feed the masses. I am excited however to give this version a whirl  as I have never even considered busting it out in my ole cast iron skillet.  I love me some […]

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  • 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.

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