Frozen Shredded Hash Browns Give Shepherd's Pie A Crispy Upgrade

Traditional shepherd's pie has a base of ground lamb, vegetables like carrots, other aromatics such as onions, and herbs topped with creamy mashed potatoes. There are many variations of this dish that originated in the United Kingdom decades ago, like swapping lamb for mutton or beef (usually called cottage pie) or adding shredded cheddar cheese on top of the potatoes. Another way to switch it up is to replace the mashed potatoes with frozen shredded hash browns that you might usually serve with breakfast.

When you swap mashed potatoes with shredded hash browns, the result will be a crispy topping that provides crunch at the top of each bite. This switch will also save you time in the kitchen because you won't have to boil, mash, and season potatoes. And you can use this ingredient swap with any shepherd's pie recipe — simply skip the steps involving mashed potatoes.

Shredded hash browns are readily available in the freezer section at grocery stores. You can also use non-frozen varieties from the refrigerated section for the same crispy upgrade. 

Upgrade your shepherd's pie with these tips

You don't have to worry about defrosting frozen shredded hash browns before incorporating them into your shepherd's pie — but there's still a little prep work. One option is to cook the hash browns in olive oil then let them cool while you work on the rest of the dish. An easier method  is to combine the shredded potatoes with other ingredients like cheddar cheese and mayo and then add it to the top of the dish. Regardless of how you prep the hash browns, you'll bake them with the shepherd's pie in the oven for the entire cooking time.

To add to your dish, we've got a few other topping recommendations to pair with the hash browns. The easiest go-to addition is shredded sharp cheddar cheese for a melty, gooey hash brown topping. You could also try pepper jack to add spice, mozzarella for creaminess, or Parmesan to infuse the topping with mild nuttiness. And finally, add even more flavor to the crispy topping with a garnish of fresh herbs like parsley, rosemary, or thyme.