Shepherd’s pie soup has all of the classic flavors and elements of a traditional shepherd’s pie in the form of a cozy, creamy, delicious soup!
What a fun twist on an Irish meal for St. Patrick’s day! If you love a thick, creamy soup or stew as much as I do, you’re going to want to check out my easy loaded baked potato soup and creamy cauliflower cheese soup too. They’re so quick and easy to make and brimming with all kinds of fresh flavors. Grab your bowl and a spoon because dinner will be served in no time!
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Homemade Shepherd’s Pie Soup
This homemade soup is a cross between two of my favorite types of comfort foods, a baked casserole and a hearty satisfying soup. Part of what makes this recipe so easy is it’s a one-pot soup made in a fraction of the time as a real shepherd’s pie and there’s no need to turn on the oven!
I’m sharing all of my tips and tricks on how to make it your own because as much as I love this version there are ways to tweak it to suit your taste preferences. I use ground beef, carrots, potatoes, onions, peas, and corn in a creamy cheese broth, but read on to find out what substitutions can be made. Feel free to make a double batch because you just might want to eat it again and again!
What is Shepherd’s Pie?
This depends on who you ask! Traditionally (like, way back in the day) shepherd’s pie was made with lamb (hence the shepherd’s name) and a cottage pie was made with beef. Over time, the traditional shepherd’s pie has been adapted using ground beef so much so that most people don’t even know it was ever made with lamb!
It’s a baked dish made with a layer of seasoned ground beef, peas, and diced carrots, and topped with a layer of mashed potatoes and sometimes melty cheese. A timeless comfort food.
- Ground beef – I use lean ground beef for this recipe. There won’t be as much excess grease to get rid of but it’s still got enough flavor. The rest of the ingredients will only add to it.
- Veggies – Carrots, potato, frozen peas, frozen corn. All the classic shepherd’s pie veggies. Use red potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, russet potatoes, or fingerling potatoes.
- Aromatics – Onion and garlic. The base flavors that everything else is built on.
- Broth – The chicken broth is less robust than beef broth which allows the other flavors to shine, however, if you want to use beef broth you can. You can also use vegetable broth if preferred.
- Half-and-half – Adds just the right amount of creamy richness because it’s half cream. You can use whole milk or any non-dairy milk but keep in mind it will affect the consistency slightly.
- Ground sage – A beautiful herb that pairs well with all kinds of red meat and makes this one tasty soup!
- Cheddar cheese – Freshly grated sharp or mild cheddar cheese is added to the soup making it creamy, cheesy, and yum! Avoid packaged pre-shredded cheese as it has anti-clumping agents which affect the way it melts. Grating your own from a block will melt better and taste better too.
- Cornstarch – We coat the cheese in cornstarch helping it to thicken up the soup.
How to Make this Creamy Soup Recipe
Making a big pot of this budget-friendly Shepherd’s Pie soup is exactly what you want to eat at the end of the day. Having leftovers for the rest of the week is a bonus!
Step 1: Brown ground beef in a large dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Break it apart as it cooks until no longer pink. Drain any excess grease in a colander and allow the meat to sit there for a few minutes.
Step 2: To the same pot, add the onion and carrots and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and stir for another minute.
Step 4: Pour in the broth and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape off the brown bits which will add a ton of extra flavor to the soup.
Step 5: Add back the ground beef to the pot, followed by half-and-half, potatoes, and sage and stir it all to combine. Bring it all to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
Step 6: Toss in the frozen corn and peas and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes over medium heat until potatoes are fork tender. Meanwhile in a small bowl, mix the cheese and cornstarch together.
Step 7: In small batches, add the cheese to the pot, stirring as you go so that it melts nicely into the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add a can of cream of mushroom soup for extra creaminess, if desired.
- For a lighter version using leaner meat, substitute ground turkey for the beef.
- If cheddar cheese isn’t your favorite, feel free to use what is. Gruyere or Swiss perhaps?
- Use sweet onions, yellow onion or shallots. They’re milder and not as pungent as big white onions.
- If you want to make life a little easier and use all frozen veggies, including frozen carrots, have at it. You could also use 2 cups of the pea/carrot/corn mix and add them all in at once when you’re adding in the frozen corn.
- Add a ½ cup of potato flakes instead of diced potato if that’s what’s on hand. Instant potatoes will add a starchy thickness to the consistency without having to dice any potatoes. I do recommend taking the extra time to dice real potatoes, but potato flakes are a great alternative.
- Use ½ teaspoon fresh sage in place of ground sage if desired.
- Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce for extra flavor.
- Double or triple the recipe to serve a crowd!
- Make this in the slow cooker by browning the beef first, then adding all the ingredients in there and cooking on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6. Add the cheese towards the end of the cooking time.
- For a fun variation, make the soup without adding any potatoes at first. Use up any leftover mashed potatoes and add dollops right on top!
- This satisfying soup is a complete meal all on its own, but I still like to serve it with a basket of fresh biscuits and a simple side salad.
This soup can be kept in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days. This is great for meal prep! Make a big batch and portion it out in smaller containers for lunches at home or work or keep it for easy weeknight dinners.
Pour contents of soup into a pot and reheat on the stove over medium-low heat. If you’re just reheating a single serving you can use the microwave.
Shepherd’s Pie Soup
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 large carrots diced
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 ½ cups diced potato
- ½ teaspoon ground sage
- ½ cup frozen peas
- ½ cup frozen corn
- 1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Add the ground beef to a large dutch oven or soup pot and cook over medium heat until the beef is browned, stirring and breaking the meat into small pieces.
- Drain the browned meat into a colander.
- Using the same pot, add the onion and fresh carrots. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for additional minute.
- Add the broth, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
- Add the ground beef, half-and-half, potatoes, and ground sage and stir to combine well.
- Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
- Then add the frozen corn and peas and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix the cheese and cornstarch together and then add it the soup in small batches, stirring constantly until the cheese has melted completely.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.