Shepherd’s pie, also known as cottage pie, combines a saucy ground beef mixture under a layer of potatoes. This easy gluten-free recipe for shepherds pie keeps all the comforting flavor, but uses a shortcut quick and cheesy hash brown topping!
Is shepherd’s pie gluten-free?
While it is easy to turn shepherd’s or cottage pie into a gluten-free recipe, traditional recipes are not safe for a gluten-free diet. Generally the meat gravy mixture is thickened with flour and it may contain possible non-GF ingredients, such as Worcestershire sauce.
A gluten-free shepherd’s pie recipe may switch out the wheat flour with gluten-free flour, use only gluten-free seasonings, and no canned soup.
However, this easy gluten-free cottage recipe makes it even simpler! Just like the recipes shared on the site and in my gluten-free cookbook, I prefer to incorporate easy, affordable and readily available ingredients.
Therefore, the sauce does not require any gluten-free flour or cornstarch. Instead, it thickens by using a reduced amount of liquid, tomato paste, and a simmering reduction.
Easy Cottage pie with hash browns
Although I’ve always loved shepherd’s pie, I’ve found it a little too labor intensive to make, especially for a quick gluten-free dinners. Mashed potato toppings require peeling, cutting, and boiling, while various fresh veggies need to be chopped for the filling.
This shortcut recipe skips the extraneous mashed potatoes steps and uses a creamy, cheesy hash brown topping instead. When preparing shepherd’s pie with hash browns there is minimal prep and all the veggies are dump and bake!
If you are wondering if frozen hash browns are gluten-free, you will be using frozen grated hash brown potatoes, which generally only consist of grated potatoes. Some brands contain preservatives, such as dextrose, but these are safe for a GF diet.
Ingredient Notes and substitutions
- Ground Beef – Technically using ground beef and not lamb or mutton makes this a cottage pie. You may substitute with ground lamb or even ground turkey to make the dish lighter.
- Worcestershire sauce – This can be a sneaky ingredient because some brands contain wheat. Read label to make sure it’s GF, or use Lea & Perrins Original brand.
- Veggies – Another easy shortcut – used frozen mixed veggies! I use a combination of frozen peas, corn, carrots, and green beans.
- Beef broth (or beef stock) – This ingredient may also have some sneaky gluten. I recommend Swanson or Aldi Simply Nature brand.
- Hash Browns – Frozen hash browns should be GF, but always read the labels carefully. You will have to thaw the potatoes first, which may be defrosted in the microwave if you forget to do this ahead of time. Alternatively, use refrigerated Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns, which are not frozen.
how to make gluten-free shepherd’s pie
(Below shows step-by-step photos and modified instructions. For the complete recipe, along with ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card.)
- Begin by heating a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil or butter, since you will be using lean ground beef. Cook the beef and onions together until onions are tender and beef is no longer pink. Drain excess grease, if necessary.
- Add the garlic, dried seasonings, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine then add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and broth.
- Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the frozen vegetables and cook on low for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the meat mixture is cooking, prepare the hash brown topping. Squeeze the thawed potatoes until most of the excess water is removed. In a large bowl combine dried potatoes, sour cream, egg, and cheddar cheese.
- Pour the meat filling into a baking dish. Bake in a 400ºF oven for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with optional fresh parsley.
alternative gluten-free shepherd’s pie toppings
While hash browns makes a quick and cheesy potato topping, you may swap out the grated potatoes for personal taste or as a dairy-free option.
- Sweet potatoes – mash with salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp melted coconut oil or vegan butter for dairy-free
- Mashed potatoes with butter, milk, and cheese.
- Gluten-free pastry dough – roll a single crust, brush with egg wash, cut slits, and bake at 375ºF for 35-40 minutes.
- Mashed cauliflower
- Sprinkle gluten-free bread crumbs on top of grated or mashed potatoes
freezing and reheating cottage pie
Not only does this shepherd’s pie recipe make the ultimate comfort food, but it is ideal for a make-ahead freezer meal or meal train dinner!
To freeze, prepare the meat filling and cool completely before spreading in a freezer-safe dish. This will prevent ice crystals from forming. Spread the potato topping over top.
Wrap securely with several layers of plastic wrap, then cover with aluminum foil. Freeze up to 3 months.
To reheat, remove plastic wrap and recover with foil. If thawed, heat in a 350ºF oven for 30-40 minutes. If still frozen, it will need 60-70 minutes. Remove the foil the last ten minutes to brown top.
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Gluten-Free Shepherd’s Pie with Shortcut Topping
Hash Brown Topping
- 3 cups frozen hash browns thaw overnight in fridge or defrost in microwave
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup grated Sharp cheddar cheese
Shepherd's Pie Filling
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¾ cup beef broth gluten-free
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free Worcestershire sauce Lea & Perrin's Original
- 10 ounces frozen mixed vegetables corn, beans, carrots, & peas
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the thawed hash browns in a clean dish towel. Squeeze out excess water. Set aside in the towel and begin making filling.3 cups frozen hash browns
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then cook the beef and onions together until the onions are tender and the beef is no longer pink. Drain excess grease, if necessary.½ tablespoon olive oil,1 pound lean ground beef,1 small onion
- Add the garlic, parsley, chili powder, salt, oregano, paprika, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute longer.2 cloves garlic,2 teaspoons dried parsley,1 teaspoon chili powder,¾ teaspoon salt,½ teaspoon dried oregano,½ teaspoon paprika,¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Stir in the beef broth, tomato paste, and worcestershire. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes.¾ cup beef broth,¼ cup tomato paste,1 tablespoon gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
- Add the frozen vegetables. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes, or until the veggies are warmed.10 ounces frozen mixed vegetables
- While the meat mixture is cooking, combine the hash brown topping. First stir together the egg, sour cream, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix in the dried hash browns and cheese.1 large egg,½ cup sour cream,½ teaspoon salt,⅛ teaspoon pepper,1 cup grated Sharp cheddar cheese
- Spread the meat filling a baking dish (11X7-inch, 9X9-inch, 2-quart, or pie dish). Add the hash brown topping and spread evenly. Bake for 30 minutes. If desired, brown the top by finishing under the broiler for 1-2 minutes. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
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Freezing and Reheating TipsTo freeze, prepare the meat filling and cool completely before spreading in a freezer-safe dish. This will prevent ice crystals from forming. Spread the potato topping over top. Wrap securely with several layers of plastic wrap, then cover with aluminum foil. Freeze up to 3 months. To reheat, remove plastic wrap and recover with foil. If thawed, heat in a 350ºF oven for 30-40 minutes. If still frozen, it will need 60-70 minutes. Remove the foil the last ten minutes to brown top.
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