This Cast Iron Skillet Shepherd’s Pie is true comfort! It’s made with a quick beef and tomato filling, topped with homemade mashed potatoes, and baked until golden brown and delicious. You’ll absolutely love it!
It’s winter time, which means I’m all about comfort food! This cast iron skillet shepherd’s pie is cozy, delicious, and soul-warming. There’s just something about shepherd’s pie that brings so much comfort when it’s cold outside. This one is cooked and baked right in the cast iron skillet for easy clean-up!
Originating from the UK, shepherd’s pie consists of ground meat (usually lamb or beef) cooked with vegetables and a tomato sauce or gravy, and topped with mashed potatoes.
The great thing about shepherd’s pie is that you can use leftover mashed potatoes. Somehow, I always end up making way too much mashed potatoes, so this skillet shepherd’s pie is perfect to use all the leftovers.
This cast iron skillet shepherd’s pie is seriously amazing, and I know you will love it!
Skillet Shepherd’s Pie Ingredients
There are two parts to this cast iron skillet shepherd’s pie: the filling and the mashed potato topping.
The filling is packed with tons of flavor from the aromatics, beef bouillon, tomato paste, and more. It’s delicious! And the topping is just mashed potatoes brushed with butter. You can use leftover mashed potatoes or even make them ahead if you want!
For the filling:
- Beef: Ground beef or beef stew meat cut into 1/4 inch cubes. I like slightly bigger pieces of meat, so cube the beef rather than using pre-ground beef, but up to you! You can also use lamb too if you prefer.
- Onion and garlic: For flavor.
- Thyme: For aromatics. Preferably fresh thyme, but you can use dried thyme too.
- Smoked paprika: This will add lots of flavor and color.
- Worcestershire sauce: For flavor.
- Tomato paste: For flavor and texture.
- Beef bouillon cubes: More flavor!
- Canned diced tomatoes: For flavor, texture, and body. I used fire-roasted tomatoes.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is fine. This will thicken up the filling.
- Beef broth: For flavor, texture, and body.
- Vegetables: Carrots, peas, corn, green beans.
- Salt and pepper: To taste.
For the topping:
- Mashed potatoes
- Butter for brushing the topping.
- Parsley for garnish
How to Make this Skillet Shepherd’s Pie
Making shepherd’s pie is very easy!
Per usual, you can find the specific ingredient quantities and instructions in the recipe card, but to give you an idea of how to make it:
Prepare the mashed potatoes: This is my light and fluffy mashed potatoes recipe!
- Boil the cubed potatoes: Make sure they are cut into the same size for even cooking. Cook them until tender.
- Press the potatoes through a potato ricer: Using a potato ricer rather than a potato mashed will get you a light and fluffy texture.
- Fold in the milk and butter into the potatoes: Use a rubber spatula to fold in the milk and melted butter until light a fluffy. The trick is to not over-mix it.
Prepare the filling:
- Cook the beef: Use an oven-proof skillet.
- Add the aromatics and flavor boosters: garlic, onions, thyme, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, beef bouillon, and diced tomatoes.
- Incorporate flour and beef broth: You’ll need 2 tablespoons of flour and about 1 cup of beef broth.
Assemble the pie and bake:
- Top with the mashed potatoes: Make a pattern with a fork or your spatula! You can also pipe in the mashed potatoes with a decorative piping tip!
- Bake! At 400 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes.
Make it Ahead
Shepherd’s pie is a great make ahead recipe. All components can be prepped ahead (and even frozen!) ahead of time.
You have a few options:
- Make the filling and the mashed potatoes 1-2 days ahead of time, and store the components in the refrigerator. When ready to make it, reheat both component, assemble the pie, and bake.
- Make the filling and the mashed potatoes, let both cool down completely, and freeze in separate containers for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator completely. Reheat both, assemble the pie, and bake.
- Or freeze the entire thing! Use a baking pan rather than a skillet. After baking the pie, let it cool completely, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and freeze it for up to 2 months. To reheat, bake for about 1 hour at 350 degrees F with the aluminum foil on.
I just love this easy shepherd’s pie so much! It’s hearty, comforting, and cozy. It’s the perfect recipe for a cold winter day.
I also love that you can make it ahead in so many ways. It’s definitely a keeper in our family. The filling is packed with tons of flavor, and the mashed potatoes are so light and airy. Every spoonful is amazing!
More comforting recipe ideas for winter:
- Dutch Oven Beef Stew
- Homemade Chicken Pot Pie
- Cheesy Italian Sausage Pasta Bake
- Three Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells
- Mexican Chicken and Rice
- Chicken Veggie and Rice Skillet by The Saucy Fig
Thank you for reading, and please don’t forget to pin this recipe! Happy cooking!
Tips for Success
- Mashed potatoes: Make them ahead of time or use leftover mashed potatoes. Remember to heat up the mashed potatoes, if cold, to make it easy to spread and also to give them a head start.
- Add a touch to the mashed potatoes: Make a pattern with a rubber spatula, run a fork through it, or pipe the mashed potatoes through a large decorative piping tip.
- Brush the mashed potatoes with melted butter to get a golden brown topping.
- Make it ahead! Find several make-ahead and freezer options in the “Make it Ahead” section above.
Cast Iron Skillet Shepherd's Pie
- Mashed potatoes (makes about 5-6 cups)
- Olive oil for pan
- 1 pound ground beef (or beef stew meat cut into 1/4 inch cubes)
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cubes beef bouillon, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water (see note)
- 1 cup fire-roasted diced tomatoes (about half of a 14 oz can)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup beef broth, plus more as needed
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen vegetable mix (carrots, peas, green beans, corn)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Mashed potatoes: Make the mashed potatoes per the recipe instructions (links to my fluffy mashed potatoes recipe). This recipe makes about 5 to 6 cups.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position rack in the middle of the oven.
Make the filling
- Heat about 2 tablespoon of olive oil in an 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. In batches, cook the beef until browned and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Drain excess fat. Transfer the cooked beef to a plate and set aside.
- Reduce to medium heat. To the same skillet, add a few more drizzles of olive oil and cook the onions and garlic until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the thyme and paprika, and cook for another minute. Return the beef to the skillet and combine.
- Add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and the dissolved beef bouillon. Cook and stir until incorporated. Add in the diced tomatoes, along with some of its juices. Combine.
- Sprinkle the flour over the mixture, and stir to combine. Add beef broth and bring to a simmer, stirring until thickened. If too thick, add more beef broth. Stir in the frozen mixed vegetables and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Turn off the heat.
Assemble the pie and bake
- Spoon the mashed potatoes over the filling. Brush with melted butter. Decorate the mashed potatoes by creating patterns with a rubber spatula or run a fork around (like in the pictures). You can also pipe in the mashed potatoes through a large decorative piping tip. Note: if you're using cold mashed potatoes, reheat them before assembling to make it easy to spread and to give them a head start.
- Place the skillet on a large sheet pan in case some of the filling spills over. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until browned and bubbly. Then broil for about 1-2 minutes until golden brown, making sure it doesn’t burn.
- Remove from oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Garnish with thyme or chopped parsley. Enjoy!
- Special equipment: 10-inch cast iron or oven-proof skillet, pastry brush, large sheet pan.
- Beef bouillon: 2 cubes is equivalent to about 1 teaspoon.
- Cook the beef in batches: This will help with better browning. If you overcrowd the pan, the beef will steam instead.
- Frozen vs. fresh vegetables: Both work fine. I used frozen veggies to make it quicker.
- 3 make-ahead options: 1) Make the mashed potatoes and the filling, let cool completely, and refrigerate in airtight containers for up to 2 days until ready to assemble the pie. Reheat both before assembling. 2) Make the mashed potatoes and the filling, let cool completely, and freeze in freezer-friendly containers for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, reheat both components, and assemble the pie. 3) After baking the entire pie (you'll need a baking dish instead of a skillet for this option), let it cool completely. Wrap tightly with aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat for 1 hour or so in a 350 degree F oven.