Shepherd’s Pie Baked Potatoes! All the flavors of the classic casserole served over baked potatoes (russet OR sweet potatoes!). So easy, so delicious!
You guys, I’ve eaten a lot of good food in my day.
But I have to tell you that these Shepherd’s Pie baked potatoes might just be one of the yummiest (and crazy easy) meals of my life.
Yes, yes, I went into it already a pretty big fan of the classic Shepherd’s Pie casserole*.
Even still, knowing I love Shepherd’s Pie heart and soul, this baked potato version blew me away.
*If you’ve read my deep, dark thoughts about Shepherd’s Pie, you’ll know that my love for the humble casserole is firmly rooted in using the right recipe, says the girl who suffered quite a bit of Shepherd’s Pie trauma in her youth.
This idea to convert Shepherd’s Pie to a baked potato meal was my saving grace one very busy Sunday morning when I knew we’d be walking in from church at 4:30 p.m. starving and needing dinner ASAP.
I had planned on making Shepherd’s Pie, our tried-and-true version, but knew five hungry children staring me in the face after church was its own recipe for disaster if the casserole still had to bake for an hour or so.
So, I decided to live life on the edge and change things up a bit.
I made the delectable meat and veggie filling (with a few quick variations to make it more baked potato friendly), scraped it into a slow cooker to keep warm for hours, and wrapped the potatoes in foil and put them in a low temp oven so they could bake slowly.
We walked in from church to a cry-worthy aroma and dinner ready to be served.
Maybe it’s the fact that these Shepherd’s Pie baked potatoes have a healthy amount of cheese (compared to the original casserole).
Maybe it’s because they are so simple…and because we don’t eat baked potatoes nearly enough (rectifying that immediately).
Or maybe it’s because I was reminded how much I love sweet potatoes when they aren’t covered in marshmallows and brown sugar (ick).
I don’t know what it is exactly (could be extreme after-church hunger, too, not going to lie), but these baked potatoes smothered in tender, flavorful, meat + veggie sauce and sharp cheddar cheese are amazing.
So, so good. Like, hoard the leftovers and lie to your children and spouse about what food is available to eat kind of good.
I baked a few russet potatoes and a few sweet potatoes (notes in the recipe how to get THE best baked potato using a little butter on that foil), and the savory filling over the sweet potatoes was, like I said above, one of the best things I’ve eaten in my life.
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Shepherd's Pie Baked Potatoes
- 6 medium russet or sweet potatoes
- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 large carrots chopped small (about 1 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 teaspoon salt (I use coarse, kosher salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I use coarsely ground black pepper)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium beef or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1-2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lay out six pieces of aluminum foil (large enough to wrap around the potatoes). Grab a cold stick of butter from the fridge, open one end, and rub butter all over the center of the foil, leaving about a 2-inch border on all sides of the foil. Sprinkle salt and pepper lightly over the butter (garlic powder would be yummy, too).
- Place a potato in the center of the butter section and roll up the foil, covering the potato completely. Pierce the potato (through the foil) about 5-6 times with the tines of a fork. Place all the potatoes in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for an hour (more or less, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife).
- While the potatoes bake, make the topping. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the ground meat, onion, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, breaking the meat into small pieces, until the meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are starting to soften, 5-7 minutes or so. Drain any excess grease from the mixture.
- Sprinkle the flour over the meat and cook over medium to medium-high heat for a minute or so, stirring constantly. Stir in the tomato paste, broth, Worcestershire sauce, oregano and thyme. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer gently for 10 minutes until the mixture is thickened and the carrots are tender. If you’d like the mixture more saucy/less thick, add additional broth, as needed and simmer to warm through.
- Stir in the corn and peas and simmer until heated through. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
- To serve, gently unwrap the hot baked potatoes. Slice down the middle of each one to open it up (squeezing the ends in toward each other can help create somewhat of a “bowl” shape in the potato or you can dice the potato into large chunks, too). Sprinkle a little shredded cheese on the potato, top with the Shepherd’s Pie filling and then more cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.
I have to say, this flavorful meat mixture over a tender sweet potato (topped with a healthy amount of sharp cheddar cheese) is a heavenly, heavenly combo. If you are on the fence about what kind of potatoes to use, trust me on this one, and go for the sweet potatoes.
Like I mention in my post, I’ve made the Shepherd’s Pie filling and transferred it to a slow cooker to keep warm for several hours for a helpful make-ahead option. You may need to add a bit of extra broth, so just keep an eye on that if it starts looking a little dry.
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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe