Gluten-Free Shepherd’s Pie

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This gluten-free shepherd’s pie recipe makes a comforting, hearty, classic English dish. Traditionally shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb, but when beef is used, it’s called “Cottage Pie”.

Cottage Pie or Shepherd's Pie on a plate

What Makes This Shepherd’s Pie Recipe Gluten Free?

Old-fashioned English shepherd’s pie or cottage pie recipes are usually made with gravy that contains flour as a thickener.

In this recipe, I omit the flour. So while it has broth, there are no thickeners in it. Even without the thickener, there is no sacrifice in taste or texture.

What’s The Difference Between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie?

A classic shepherd’s pie is made from lamb; shepherd – lamb, while a gluten-free cottage pie is made with beef.

ground beef with mushrooms

In the US, not many Americans know the difference, and tend to label them both as “Shepherd’s Pie”. You can also substitute ground turkey in place of ground beef or lamb.

I imagine it was created as a good way to stretch ground meat. When it’s mixed with plenty of vegetables and topped with lots of mashed potatoes, it makes for a hearty meal that can even leave you with leftovers!

One pound of ground beef will stretch to feed 6 with the addition of all the vegetables and potatoes.

shepherd's pie with carrots, mushrooms, and peas

This is one of those dishes, that if you ask 10 cooks how to cook a shepherd’s pie, you’ll get 10 different recipes. That’s the beauty of cooking, adapting, modifying, and putting your own twist on it.

I had to cook a lot of shepherd’s pie when I was a cook at the John Bull Pub in Old Town Pasadena, so this gluten-free shepherd’s pie recipe has evolved over the last 30+ years. The owner of the John Bull taught me her “secret.”  She put a layer of grated cheese under the mashed potatoes as well as on top.

Cooking at the John Bull Pub

How To Make Gluten-Free Shepherd’s Pie

In a medium-sized skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add onions and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, ground lamb, or beef, stirring to break it up for about 5 minutes. If you want, you can substitute ground turkey for the lamb or beef!

Add garlic, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce. Saute until the meat is no longer pink.

Add beef broth, carrots, and peas. Cook until broth is reduced and veggies are cooked.

Season to taste with salt and pepper then put the meat mixture into a casserole dish. You can also use a souffle dish or oval baking dish…something between 8″x8″ and 13″x9″.

Top with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. I recommend using a sharp English cheddar to get that delicious traditional flavor.

Layer of cheese on shepherd's pie

Spread or pipe the mashed potatoes and top with remaining grated cheese. You’ll want ridges or peaks in the potatoes.

Potatoes being piped on top of the shepherd's pie

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted.

Baked shepherd's pie in a dish with a red towel

Use Your Leftover Mashed Potatoes For Shepherd’s Pie Baked Potatoes

If you have leftover mashed potatoes, then you’re already halfway to a fantastic baked potato dish!

You’ll need about 4 cups of mashed potatoes. That works out to about 2 large russets, boiled and mashed with butter, cream or milk, salt and pepper.

These individual Shepherd’s Pie Baked Potatoes are another great way to eat Shepherd’s pie and are fantastic for game days!

Shepherd's pie baked potatoes
Cottage Pie or Shepherd's Pie

Cottage or Shepherd’s Pie

Cynthia
A classic British dish! Use ground beef for Cottage pie and ground lamb for Shepherd’s pie. Use a sharp cheddar, preferably English if you can.
5 from 45 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Entree
Cuisine British
Servings 6 servings
Calories 729 kcal

Ingredients
  

Shepherd's Pie

  • 3 Tablespoons oil use a neutral oil or mild olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 lb. ground beef or ground lamb
  • 2 cups carrots and peas frozen or fresh
  • 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated (divided)
  • 4 cups mashed potatoes
  • 3/4 cup beef broth

Instructions
 

  • In a medium sized skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add onions and cook 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, ground lamb or beef, stirring to break it up about 5 minutes. 
  • Add garlic, thyme and Worcestershire sauce. Saute until meat is no longer pink. 
  • add beef broth, carrots and peas. Cook until broth is reduced and veggies are cooked
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper
  • Put meat mixure into a casserole dish. (You can also use a souffle dish or oval baking dish…something between 8"x8" and 13"x9").
  • Top with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
  • Spread or pipe mashed potatoes and top with remaining grated cheese. You'll want ridges or peaks in the potatoes. Top with remaining shredded cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.

Video

Notes

  • Ground lamb, beef or turkey may be used
  • This is a great way to use leftover mashed potatoes!
  • Use a sharp English cheddar for a great traditional flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pieceCalories: 729kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 38gFat: 46gSaturated Fat: 19gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 130mgSodium: 590mgPotassium: 1077mgFiber: 5gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 4968IUVitamin C: 42mgCalcium: 400mgIron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Easy, Cheesy Shepherd's Pie is a traditional British dish. Substitute ground beef or turkey for ground lamb.
Easy, Cheesy Shepherd’s Pie is a traditional British dish. Substitute ground beef or turkey for ground lamb.

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65 Comments

  1. I’ve always loved shepherd’s pie, but it must be 25 years since I’ve made it! I have no idea why – maybe because my hubs doesn’t want a lot of carbs, even though if I made this he’d eat it! Thanks for the reminder.

  2. 5 stars
    I love shepherd’s pie (well usually it’s a cottage pie) and make it pretty often. It’s so moreish we always end up eating too much! I’ve never added cheese to it but love the idea!

  3. 5 stars
    What a great recipe! This combination of flavors is the ultimate comfort food dinner. Thanks for another winner from What a Girl Eats!

  4. 5 stars
    What a great adventure! You are brave for traveling that far without a job beforehand. I’ve only visited London for a few days, on a trip my senior year of college. I’d love to go back someday. In the meantime, I make both Shepherd’s and Cottage Pie often at home. We add cheese to ours too! So good.

  5. 5 stars
    First, this is one incredible Shepherd’s pie; so rich, loaded, and just comforting. I like seeing your photos from your first cooking in a hostel. Beautiful memories.❤️

  6. 5 stars
    This was such a comforting classic dish to make for our Sunday night family dinner! Super filling and everyone loved it!

  7. Worcestershire sauce is not typically gluten free, so this recipe is not actually gluten free. This could be very dangerous if someone wasn’t gluten aware and looking for a recipe to feed someone with an allergy. sounds like a great recipe if you aren’t celiac though!

      1. 5 stars
        First, this was amazing! Everyone loved it. In regards to the Worcestershire sauce, we use French’s brand and my Celiac child has zero issues. It’s not labeled gluten free but there is nothing in the ingredient list that has wheat; the thickener used is xanthan gum. Maybe this can help someone else.

  8. 5 stars
    Cooked this last week. Going to cook again tomorrow. Housemate and I both loved it. I will be cooking with less salt this time. Housemate has kidney disease.
    I do have one question you say what girl’s eat, neither my housemate nor I am girls. We are full fledged , hormonal balanced guys so am I not supposed to cook your recipes? Just curious.

    1. Thanks Bob…Yeah, when I started my website 12 years ago, I was on my stationary bike trying to figure out a name for it and saw a DVD of What A Girl Wants….oops.

  9. 5 stars
    My family loves this shepherd’s pie. So easy and delicious. I have to leave out the mushrooms because my daughter won’t eat them but I’m certain it is just as good with as well!

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