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Easy Dutch Oven Shepard’s Pie with beef is much like the classic Shepard’s Pie or Cottage Pie with layers of meat, vegetables, and creamy, cheesy mashed potatoes. This casserole with ground beef is started on the stovetop and finished in the oven to bake. A one-pot meal at it’s finest, giving you all the elements of a hearty dinner your family will love.
Traditional Shepherd’s Pie hails from the great country of Ireland. In Ireland they use ground lamb for the meat. Here in the United States, lamb is not readily available in many places so ground beef has become the substitute. Technically speaking, a Shepherd’s Pie is one made with lamb while a Cottage Pie is one made with ground beef. In the United States, the terms are interchangeable.
Shepherd’s Pie or Shepard’s Pie?
A shepherd is a sheep-herder. Shepherd’s Pie originated in Ireland during the 1700s and 1800s where sheep herding was the primary focus of farmers. Those farmer’s wives were looking for a way to transform leftovers into a hearty meal. Hence why you find a ground meat or mince meat and an array of vegetables used in each casserole. And while many spell it Shepard’s Pie, the correct spelling (again thinking of the occupation) is Shepherd’s Pie. Though again, traditionally speaking it is made with lamb while Cottage Pie is made with ground beef.
How to make Shepherd’s Pie
In the most basic of ways to explain it:
Brown the meat with your selection of spices and create a gravy with the drippings if you choose.
Layer on the vegetables once the meat is browned.
Make the mashed potatoes on the stovetop and add as the topping to your casserole, texturize, and add butter.
Bake and serve!
What’s in Shepherd’s Pie?
The ingredients for Shepherd’s pie will change depending on who and where you make it. However, in that regards, it is really easy to make substitutions.
- Meat – ground beef, ground lamb, ground turkey, ground sausage, and even ground venison are all viable options.
- Vegetables – canned vegetables (a single variety or a mixed), frozen, and fresh are all delicious. Try one or a mixture of these vegetables: corn, peas, carrots, celery, onions, and even mushrooms.
- Starch – mashed potatoes are always a hit and are most common. However, we have personally used rice and stuffing when we needed to.
How long to bake Shepherd’s Pie
This dish is made in two parts on the stovetop. The baking aspect is really just to give you a great texture on top as well as heating the entire casserole through. Because of that, you really only need about 15 minutes in the oven at 350F if serving immediately. See the tips below for preparing ahead.
Can you freeze it?
Yes you can, but not in your dutch oven. If you’re making this Cottage Pie to freeze, you’ll want to use a disposable casserole dish that is 9×13 inches in size. Make as directed and layer in the casserole dish. Allow to cool completely and cover with freezer-safe plastic wrap. This Cottage Pie recipe will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months.
How to reheat Shepherd’s Pie?
To reheat from frozen, allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes covered with tinfoil, plus an additional 15 minutes uncovered with a few Tablespoons of butter on top.
Can you make it ahead of time?
Yes, if you’re making this casserole to eat later in the week or bring to a potluck you can prepare up to 3 days ahead of schedule. You can, in this case, store in your dutch oven. When removing from the refrigerator, just remember to let your dutch oven come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Then add to the oven without the lid, while the oven is off, and preheat to 350F for 20 minutes. Preheating with the dutch oven in the oven will help to take any remaining chill off and bring the temperature of the dutch oven up slowly, preventing any thermal shock.
How to store leftovers
Leftovers will store for up to 3 days in the fridge if made fresh. If you would like to separate into personal-sized portions, use these freezer-safe storage containers as Tupperware and freeze for up to 3 months.
What to serve with Shepherd’s Pie?
Shepherd’s Pie is really a one-pot meal. You don’t have to serve anything with it. However, cornbread is always welcome at our table as well as a side salad.
Easy Dutch Oven Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie)
- 5 quart dutch oven
- measuring spoons
- Measuring Cups
- potato masher
- garlic press
- wooden spoon
- 2 pounds potatoes Yukon Gold
- 2 pounds ground beef (or lamb) 80/20
- 1 package Lipton French Onion Dip Mix
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cans sweet corn 30 ounces total
- 4 Tablespoons cream cheese
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup milk whole or 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- scallions optional
- Start by peeling your potatoes and dicing them into 2-inch cubes. Add to a pot or enameled dutch oven, and fill with water until potatoes are just covered. Over medium heat, bring to a boil for about 20 minutes. You may need to turn the heat down as the potatoes begin to cook to prevent the water from boiling over. I have my cover loosely on the dutch oven to allow some heat to escape and to watch the boiling of the potatoes. The potatoes are done when they are fork-tender and no longer crunchy. Drain the potatoes and place back into your cooking pot.
- While the potatoes are cooking, add your ground beef to a dutch oven and begin to brown over medium heat. This should take about 10 minutes. Add the Lipton French Onion Mix to the beef as it begins to cook as well as the minced garlic. Ladle out grease from the ground beef as needed.
- Once the beef is done cooking, add a layer of vegetables. For this recipe, I used 2 cans of drained sweet corn.
- To the drained potatoes add the butter, cream cheese, milk, salt, and pepper. Mashed or whip the potatoes until your desired consistency.
- Layer the potatoes on top of the vegetables and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until pockets of golden brown form on top. Sprinkle with scallions or parsley.