Dairy free shepherd’s pie is a hearty casserole with a savory meat and vegetable filling, topped with creamy mashed potatoes.
As the temperatures slowly begin to drop, I'm reminded of one of my favorite warm and nourishing meals.
It's incredibly easy to make dairy free, if you're lactose intolerant like me, or just avoiding dairy in general.
Why you'll love this recipe
Simply put, it's comfort food at its finest! Each spoonful contains flavorful meat, tender vegetables, and fluffy dairy free mashed potatoes.
I personally love serving beef shepherd's pie during the fall and winter months, when I'm in the mood for something cozy and comforting. However, this meal is perfect served year round as a simple make ahead dinner!
Lastly, shepherd's pie uses a handful of affordable ingredients and common pantry staples. Ready to give it a try? Let's get cooking!
Shepherd's pie vs cottage pie
You may be wondering, what's the difference between shepherd's pie and cottage pie? In short, shepherd’s pie traditionally contains lamb and cottage pie uses ground beef. Most people just call either version shepherd's pie.
My version contains no cheese, no milk, no butter, and no egg!
- Casserole dish: I prefer to bake this casserole in a baking dish, but you could a cast iron skillet instead.
- Stockpot: This is my go-to stockpot due to its size and lid for easy draining.
- Nonstick pan: Every homecook has their favorite pots and pans. This durable frying pan is mine! It's large and easy to clean.
- Meat: I use ground beef. If you're not a fan of red meat, swap it out for ground turkey or ground chicken.
- Vegetables: For convenience, I use frozen mixed veggies with carrots and peas along with onion and garlic. Feel free to experiment with different veggies like mushrooms or green beans.
- Potatoes: In my opinion, yukon gold potatoes are the best for mashed. However, use your favorite type of potato for the topping.
- Butter vs Oil: You can use vegan butter or for a simple plant based butter alternative, just use neutral tasting oil! I typically use olive oil or avocado oil.
Substitutions and variations
Make gluten free shepherd's pie by using gluten free flour and ensuring the worcestershire sauce is safe for you.
For a vegan shepherd's pie, replace the meat with meatless crumbles or even cooked lentils!
How to make
This recipe takes about an hour to cook from start to finish. Here's how to make dairy free shepherd's pie, step-by-step.
Prepare mashed potatoes
I use my olive oil mashed potatoes recipe for the shepherd's pie topping. The result is lighter and healthier.
Just like you would normally make mashed potatoes, place taters in a pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and cook until fork tender, which is about 15 minutes. Drain the water, mash, then stir in olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like.
Cook the meat and vegetable filling
As the potatoes cook, brown the meat in a skillet until fully cooked. Toss in the veggies and cook until just tender.
Make the sauce
Add the flour, tomato paste, broth, worcestershire sauce, italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir to fully combine then bring to a simmer. Let cook until the sauce reduces down and thickens to your desired consistency.
Assemble the casserole
Coat the baking dish with cooking oil spray and transfer filling, spreading out evenly. Top with a single layer of mashed potatoes. Optionally, use your fork as a rake to create a rough topping.
Bake until golden
Place baking dish in oven preheated to 350F. Let casserole cook for 30 minutes, or until golden and slightly crispy on top. Those little crispy bits are the best part!
Storage and reheating
Shepherd's pie is the ultimate recipe to meal prep and enjoy throughout the week or as leftovers the following day.
How to store leftovers
Let the casserole cool completely then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.
Once the shepherd's pie is cooled completely, place in a freezer-safe bag or container, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the fridge.
Reheat in the oven preheated to 350F. For single portions, bake for 10-15 minutes. For the whole casserole, bake for about 25 minutes, or until warmed through. Alternatively and if you're short on time, pop a portion in the microwave and heat until hot.
Try these other delicious dairy free recipes next:
- Tater Tot Casserole (Hotdish)
- Dairy Free Green Bean Casserole
- Egg Free & Dairy Free Meatballs
- Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers
- Dairy Free & Gluten Free Sloppy Joe's
- Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew
Dairy Free Shepherd's Pie
For the mashed potato topping
- 4 potatoes roughly chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil or vegan butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the beef and veggie filling
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 12 ounce frozen mixed vegetables
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup broth vegetable or beef
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1 cup of the potato water. Return potatoes to pot. Mash potatoes with a potato masher, add olive oil, about ½ of the reserved water, and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine, adding more reserved water (or dairy-free milk) if needed to thin out the mashed potatoes. Once cooked, set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Stir in onion and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add frozen mixed veggies and let cook until just tender.
- Coat beef/veggie mixture with flour. Stir in tomato paste, broth, worcestershire sauce, italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cook cook over low heat until the sauce reduces and thickens to your liking.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Transfer mixture to an oil-sprayed 9x13-inch (or similar size) casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes. If desired, use a fork to create texture or ruffles in the topping.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden on the top and bubbling around the edges. Once cooked, remove from the oven, let cool for about 5 minutes, then serve warm.