Photo: William Dickey; Styling: Lisa Powell Bailey
Prep Time
15 Mins
Cook Time
40 Mins
Stand Time
5 Mins
Makes 8 servings

This potato-topped shepherd’s pie gets extra flavor from the cheese and carrots that are added to the mashed potato crust. You can take a shortcut with the crust because the recipe calls for frozen mashed potatoes. There's a reason this comfort dish has remained a classic Southern staple. With its layers of beef, veggies, and mashed potatoes, it utilizes great flavors and gives off a warm, homey aroma that's enough to make everyone gather around the dinner table in no time! Everyone in the family will want seconds. This is the perfect make-ahead recipe because it can freeze for up to one month. That's 55 minutes well-spent. 

How to Make It

Step 1

Brown beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove ground beef from skillet using a slotted spoon; reserve 2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Reduce heat to medium.

Step 2

Sauté onion, mushrooms, and garlic in hot drippings over medium heat 10 to 11 minutes or until tender. Stir in ground beef, peas, and next 4 ingredients. Sprinkle flour over meat mixture. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, and vinegar, breaking up large tomato pieces with a spoon. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove bay leaf. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased 3-qt. baking dish or pan. Spoon Cheese-and-Carrot Mashed Potatoes evenly over meat mixture, smoothing with back of spoon.

Step 3

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Step 4

Note: To make ahead, prepare recipe as directed through Step Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Freeze up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator 24 hours. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated, shielding with aluminum foil after 25 minutes to prevent excessive browning.

Ratings & Reviews

macooks2's Review

May 12, 2012
Great basic recipe for the meat mixture as the base. I add more flavor with minced garlic, Mrs. Dash, & Italian seasoning. I do make my own mashed potatoes with butter, salt & pepper, & buttermilk and add in microwaved cooked carrots. Leftovers are always good and it freezes well to heat & eat at another time.

iamdiana53's Review

January 22, 2010
I'm sure this will be a 5 star recipe the next time I make it. Misprints and confusion caused the dish to be too wet but still delicious. Do not follow the mashed potatoes direction to add 2 1/2 cups of milk - just follow normal directions on package or your own. Definitely drain the stewed tomatoes too. I added can of green beans instead of peas and used chuck beef.

paperclippy's Review

January 06, 2009
I made this recipe for a dinner party. It was extremely easy and delicious! It completely disappeared off the table. The only things I changed were that in the mashed potatoes I used regular carrots chopped into pieces instead of baby carrots, and I used frozen mashed potatoes that didn't require mixing with milk. Since the mashed potatoes I bought already had salt I didn't add any extra.

MissLV23's Review

February 10, 2014
Absolutely delicious! Great flavors and the carrot potatoes were fantastic!

Momsarah's Review

November 16, 2013

SharonHuddle's Review

November 06, 2013

RJMOON's Review

July 11, 2013
This was great! I served it for Dinner and everyone (even the most picky) ate it up! It was everything everyone said and more....

BMarieD's Review

May 24, 2013
The Best Shepherd's pie I've ever had. Being the southern girl that I am, I had a very hard time using the frozen mashed potatoes, but I broke down and made it exactly the way the recipe was given. After reading the reviews of others, I did not mix 2 1/2 cups of milk and added it slowly 'til I got the consistency that I wanted. However, next time they will be homemade. Overall it was was excellent and this meal will definitely be making its way into the rotation.

LizHJohn's Review

March 14, 2013
I make this a few times a winter for my husband, and every St. Patrick's day for a friend's party and it is a huge hit. I always "lighten" it up and it's still just as good. I use very little skim milk for the potatoes, 2% cheese, and ground turkey instead of beef. It's not horrible to make on a weeknight either.

Zipotontiv's Review

January 21, 2013