Here is the ultimate comfort food recipe to feed your family, this gluten and dairy free Shepherd’s Pie with seasoned ground beef, tender carrots and celery, and topped with a fluffy layer of creamy mashed potatoes.
Enjoy this delicious recipe on a chilly night or when you need a cozy, comforting meal that somehow makes everything better.
You won’t find a more filling and hearty meal that can be served on its own or with a side of steamed green beans and warm gluten free and dairy-free rolls.
The flavors and textures of this dish are truly fantastic. And those buttery and creamy mashed potatoes on top are absolutely mouthwatering.
You won’t believe the secret ingredient mashed potato recipe we use. It’s been a family favorite for years. And we serve this rich, mashed potato recipe to everyone– no matter if they’re dairy free or not. It’s that good!
Plus the meat filling is delectable with the right amount of seasoning, tomato paste, beef broth, and tender cut carrots and celery.
shepherd’s pie ingredients
- oil– we cook with grapeseed oil but you may also use olive oil
- diced onion
- fresh minced garlic
- ground beef– ground lamb or ground turkey works too
- diced celery
- diced carrots
- tomato paste
- beef broth
- spices–salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, cayenne, Always double check your spices are gluten and dairy free
- potatoes- we recommend sweet potatoes or golden Yukon potatoes
- dairy free milk— we use this unsweetened almond milk
- dairy free butter— Earth Balance Buttery Sticks are our favorite, they are soy free too
- garnish— with fresh rosemary cut sprigs or fresh parsley
- 9×13-inch baking pan— this recipe can also be cut in half and served in an 8×8-inch baking pan
- serve with a side of green beans and a basket of warm dinner rolls from Udi’s or My Bread Bakery. Both brands have delicious dinner rolls we enjoy often.
- optional— any other vegetable add ons that you want to add
Preparing this recipe is not difficult at all. This recipe is best broken down into 4 steps– making the meat mixture, the mashed potatoes, assembling the casserole, and then baking it.
We find this meal comes together more quickly if the potatoes and meat mixture are prepared at the same time. So while the potatoes are boiling, prepare the ground meat mixture.
Get the full recipe instructions in the recipe card below.
frequently asked questions
How do I pipe potato swirls on top
Those potato swirls definitely add an extra layer of amazingness to this dinnertime meal recipe.
We use a Wilton 6B open flower cake tip like this for those swirls. But really– any large tip will make a beautiful design.
We also use the Wilton plastic cake decorating and pastry bags to make it even easier for this recipe. These disposable bags make for the easiest and fastest clean up… for cakes or the potato swirls.
However, the swirls aren’t absolutely necessary.
We’ve eaten this dish plenty of times with the mashed potatoes spread evenly over the meat mixture using an angled spatula. This spatula helps evenly spread the potatoes into the corners and sides of the dish.
You could also just use the back of a spoon or wooden spoon to spread the potatoes evenly over the beef mixture.
Why is this shepherd’s pie recipe made with beef?
Traditionally shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. However, over the years ground beef has become a frequent meat substitute for lamb in this recipe.
Since our family eats ground beef more, this is why we used it. But, if you want to stick to traditional recipes, you can certainly use ground lamb.
You may find recipes referring to shepherd’s pie with beef as Cottage Pie. So, technically this is a Cottage Pie recipe. But most people (at least in the US), refer to this as a Shepherd’s Pie whether it uses lamb or beef.
And you can substitute ground turkey or the even ground pork in this homemade meal as well.
Can this recipe be made ahead of time?
Yes. Prepare the recipe as noted in the recipe card. Then once the casserole has been assembled, cover the baking pan, refrigerate up to 3 days.
When you are ready to bake this dish, allow it to sit, uncovered, on the countertop for 15 minutes before transferring it into a preheated oven.
Otherwise, if you don’t let it start to come up to room temperature first, you will need to increase the cook time to ensure that the middle of the pie warms up properly.
What else can I add in?
When we want to change things up, sometimes we will add in other veggies.
- Canned corn
- Canned green beans
- Canned peas
Any leftovers of this fantastic dairy free shepherd’s pie recipe should be stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheat your leftovers in the microwave or in the oven until heated thoroughly again.
Recipe Tips and Variations
- As mentioned above, we make this with ground beef (technically Cottage Pie), but you can also use ground lamb to make a traditional shepherd’s pie, or use pork, chicken, or turkey in its place.
- You can add other vegetable mixture you prefer, see my suggestions above.
- We use yukon gold potatoes for our topping, but you can use sweet potatoes, or russet potatoes instead.
- If your whole family likes classic comfort food, this gluten-free shepherd’s pie is it! It is perfect to make an extra batch to put away in the freezer and have on hand when you’re ready to use it.
- Out of beef broth? Use vegetable broth or vegetable stock!
- Want some cheesy flavor on your dairy free mashed potatoes, sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top of the even layer of mashed potatoes.
- Save your casserole dish and make this in a disposable aluminum pan.
more dinner recipes you’ll love
- skillet lasagna— this no fuss recipe skips all the tiring steps of a traditional lasagna, but doesn’t skimp on the cozy lasagna flavor we love and want. Pin this meal idea now.
- taco tater tot skillet— this kid-approved meal is served often in our home. The taco tater tot combination is brilliant and delicious.
- the best chicken pot pie— you’ll love this hearty meal too. This recipe has a buttery and flaky crust and the most amazing filling ever. It’s so good!
- taco bake— a reader favorite recipe this bake is packed with flavor and all your favorite taco toppings in a 9×13-inch baking dish
dessert recipes everyone loves
- chocolate layer peanut butter brownies– these brownie bars are stacked with 3 layers of heaven. The bottom layer features a soft, fudgy brownie topped with peanut butter. Then a top layer of sweet chocolate and marshmallows for the perfect brownie treat.
- classic apple crisp— warm and cozy this is the ultimate comfort dessert, no matter the season. And what sets this recipe apart is theres double the topping so everyone gets plenty.
- chocolate loaf cake— moist and decadent slices of this loaf cake topped with homemade ganache. Rich and fudgy, this is the perfect cake for breakfasts, birthdays, holidays, and any other special occasion. This is the chocolate dessert of your dreams.
- vanilla buttercream frosting— this rich, creamy, and fluffy frosting is so good you’ll want to eat it straight out of mixing bowl
Just enjoy this delicious savory gluten and dairy free Shepherd’s Pie recipe. It is the best homemade comfort meal.
Your family will have no idea this meal is gluten and dairy free!
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Eat well and feel well,
Gluten & Dairy Free Shepherd’s Pie
Ground Beef Mixture
- 2 tbsp oil grapeseed works well
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 lbs ground beef ground lamb or turkey work too
- 4 celery stalks, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 1½ cups beef broth
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- optional– corn, green beans, and peas
Creamy Mashed Potato Topping
- 4 large sweet potatoes or Yukon gold potates, peeled and cut
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup dairy free milk suggestion in the post
- 2 tbsp dairy free butter suggestion in post
- 1 tsp rosemary
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Place potatoes in boiling water. After they are tender, drain.
- While potatoes boil, heat oil in the bottom of a large, deep skillet on medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic. Once the onion is translucent add in the ground beef.
- After the ground beef has browned, drain off extra fat. Add in remaining meat mixture ingredients and stir well. Place a lid on skillet and medium heat. Simmer for 25-30 mins while veggies soften and flavors mix. You'll find the mixture will thicken.
- After veggies have softened transfer the meat mixture to a 9 x13-inch baking pan.
- Place the drained potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add in the egg, dairy free milk and butter, and spices. Using a handheld mixer blend the potatoes until combined. Be careful not to over mix.
- Place creamy mashed potatoes on top of ground beef mixture with a spatula. Spread evenly.
- Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Optional: Place mashed potatoes in a pastry bag with a large decorative tip such as a Wilton 6B. Design potato swirls over meat mixture.
- Garnish with a rosemary twig or fresh parsley.
- Cover and refrigerate leftovers up to 3 days. Leftovers are super delicious too.
- For a smaller serving size of this recipe, half the ingredient measurements and prepare in an 8×8-inch baking pan. Adjust baking time as needed.
Thursday 27th of October 2022
I was so happy to find a good gluten free, dairy free, easy recipe. I used frozen veggies that I thawed out in the fridge, so this was pretty quick and easy. Good flavor. I used unsweetened oat milk. Thanks for posting this!
Tuesday 18th of October 2022
This was a fantastic recipe. I ended up cooking everything in my large cast iron which I was able to throw right into the oven. Added garlic powder to the mashed potatoes which was a good addition!
Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Monday 19th of September 2022
Friday 7th of October 2022
We're thrilled you enjoyed this recipe! Thank you for the 5 star review, Jill
Friday 19th of August 2022
Hi! I found this recipe and I’m really excited to try it :) My question is, are there any other dairy free milks that could be used? My daughter has a tree nut allergy so I can’t use the almond milk.
Friday 16th of September 2022
Yes-- use any dairy free milk alternative you like, Jill
Monday 24th of January 2022
Such a great weeknight one dish meal!!
Friday 4th of February 2022
I am thrilled you enjoyed this recipe, Emily. Thank you for the 5 star review. Jill