Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
To me, Saint Patrick’s Day signifies the beginning of spring. Here in the Blue Ridge, we usually see fresh green buds making their first appearance around that time… and I’ve worn short sleeves at least a time or two by March 17th as well.
Even though these are small accomplishments (if they can be called accomplishments at all) I always feel I have extra cause to celebrate on Saint Paddy’s Day.
Lt. Dan and I have a standing lunch date on Saint Patrick’s Day at a local Irish Pub… We’ve held our lunch date tradition for over 20 years. We nibble on corned beef and cabbage and laugh about Saint Paddy’s Day memories from the past. Then we come home and enjoy a hearty Irish-inspired dinner with the whole family.
One of our favorite meals, that we are able to throw together before ever leaving the house, is this Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie recipe.
The Easiest Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
Shepherd’s Pie is a classic Irish dish that I can never get enough of.
I’ll admit, the traditional cooking method can seem daunting, because there are numerous steps and ingredients. However, our Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie Recipe cuts out quite a few steps, letting you “set and forget” dinner until much later in the day.
When making this recipe, I combine all of the “stew” ingredients in a crock pot, and then just let the slow cooker work its magic.
The secret to easy Shepherd’s Pie is that I top the stew with pre-made mashed potatoes. Usually I reserve some mashed potatoes from a meal earlier in the week, so I don’t have to make them before layering the pie. Yet in a pinch, good quality store-bought mashed potatoes will do the trick.
What Ingredients You Need
I love how simple this crock pot Shepherd’s Pie recipe is, and many of these ingredients are pantry staples – aside from the lamb, obviously.
Prep only takes a matter of minutes, and then you’re ready to let the slow cooker do the work.
Here’s everything you need:
- Lamb roast – or beef stew meat, cubed
- Onion – peeled and chopped
- Garlic – peeled and minced
- Carrots – peeled and chopped
- Frozen peas
- Frozen corn
- Stout beer
- Tomato paste
- Worcestershire sauce
- Corn starch
- Whole grain mustard
- Beef base
- Dried thyme
- Mashed potatoes – either homemade or store bought
- Shredded cheese
Substituting dark, robust stout beer – like Guinness – for the wine or broth in most recipes will provide a rich depth and Irish appeal.
The alcohol does cook off in the Shepherd’s Pie, but if you’d prefer not to use any alcohol you can simply substitute with more beef broth.
How to Make Shepherd’s Pie in the Slow Cooker
1. Brown the bite-sized pieces of lamb or beef on all sides in a deep skillet over medium high heat. Add chopped onions, and cook for several minutes until soft.
2. Excluding the mashed potatoes, pour the lamb or beef and all remaining ingredients into the slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper and stir well.
3. Wipe the sides of the slow cooker with a paper towel to remove any moisture. Next, top with pre-made mashed potatoes and spread evenly to the edges of the crock.
4. The most important step in this Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie Recipe is to place a long sheet of paper towel over the slow cooker before covering with the lid. The paper towel absorbs most of the condensation from the lid and keeps the potatoes from getting runny.
5. Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW for 8-10 hours.
When we’re ready to eat, I sprinkle sharp cheddar or Dubliner cheese over the top of the hot potatoes, and let it melt.
Each hearty spoonful of our Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie Recipe is pure Irish bliss!
Our Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie Recipe with Guinness is perfect to serve on Saint Patrick’s Day this year. I’d bet after trying it once, it will become a new tradition in your family!
Get the Complete (Printable) Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie Recipe Below. Enjoy!
Can I Substitute Beef for the Lamb?
Lamb is traditional in shepherds pie. (Shepherd, as in sheep.) Yet you definitely can use beef. I recommend using chunks of beef rather than ground beef if you do choose to swap. Ground beef would require stirring, which might not be an option if you are leaving your slow cooker for the day.
How Can I Make this a Low Carb Recipe?
If you are a fan of mashed cauliflower you could use a pre-made cauliflower mash as a topping in place of the mashed potatoes; however, as cauliflower can be a bit watery, you might want to wait until later in the cooking process to add to your Shepherd’s Pie.
Is it Possible to Make this Crock Pot Shepherd’s Pie Recipe in the Oven?
Definitely! Check out the recipe card below for notes on making in the oven using just one heavy-duty skillet.
Looking for More Irish-Inspired Recipes?
- Chocolate Guinness Floats
- Dubliners Fondue
- Irish Boxties
- Sweet Irish Soda Bread
- Irish Potato Pie
- Apple Beer Bread
- Irish Coffee Cheesecake – Buttercream Blondie
Slow Cooker Shepherd's Pie Recipe
- 1 1/2 - 2 pounds lamb roast or "beef stew meat"
- 1 large onion peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 3 large carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1/3 cup stout beer
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon beef base
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 5 cups thick mashed potatoes homemade or store-bought
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar or Dubliner cheese
- Cut the lamb into small bite-size pieces. Place the meat in an oven-safe non-stick skillet (or cast iron skillet) and set over medium heat. Brown the lamb on all sides. Then push to the side of the pan and add the onions. Soften for 5-6 minutes.
- Pour the lamb, onions, and all remaining ingredients, excluding the mashed potatoes and cheese, into a 6-quart slow cooker. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and stir well. Wipe down the sides of the slow cooker with a dry paper towel. Then spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the beef mixture all the way to the edges of the crock to seal in the ingredients below.
- Place a long piece of paper towel over the slow cooker to absorb the steam, and cover with the lid. Turn on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 8-10 hours.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle the cheese over the top of the potatoes and place the lid back on for 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Serve hot and garnish with extra herbs if you have them.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Set a large 12-14 inch deep-dish cast iron skillet over medium heat. Brown the lamb and onions (as described in the instructions above.)
- Then add all remaining ingredients, except the mashed potatoes and cheese. Stir well and turn off the heat.
- Cover with a heavy lid (or with tight foil) and bake for 90 minutes.
- Spread the mahed potatoes over the top. Bake, uncovered, another 20 minutes. Then sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for 3-5 more minutes.
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