This is an extra fast weeknight version of a traditional Shepherd’s Pie recipe.

The Shepherd’s Pie has saucy ground meat and vegetables covered in a a mashed potato crust, sprinkled with shredded cheese, and baked to bubbly perfection.

plates of Easy Shepherd's Pie Recipe

A Quick Shortcut Shepherds Pie

  • Shepherd’s Pie is a comforting and hearty dish that is perfect for an easy dinner.
  • Use frozen mixed veggies and pre-made mashed potatoes to make prep and cook time quick.
  • The shortcut sauce options in the recipe below make it easy to customize the dish to your pantry.
  • Use leftover meat, veggies, gravy, or mashed potatoes.
  • This dish freezes and reheats beautifully!
Shepherds Pie ingredients with labels

Ingredients for Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie can be prepared fresh, but it’s also a great way to use up any leftover meat, veggies, gravy, or mashed potatoes.

Ground Meat –You can use any ground meat in this recipe. Lamb is traditional for a shepherds pie recipe, although I most often use ground beef (which technically makes this a cottage pie). Leftover roast meat also works well.

Vegetables – Frozen mixed vegetables make preparation quick and easy, but you can use leftover roasted veggies too. If using fresh vegetables, steam them until tender or cook them with the beef before adding them to the dish.

Sauce – Shepherd’s Pie is versatile, and I’ve provided a couple of shortcut sauces in the recipe below. However, you can use leftover gravy (or gravy mix) and tomato sauce, or any sauce you like.

Mashed PotatoesTraditional mashed potatoes are what I most often use, but garlic mashed potatoes add great flavor to this dish! If you’re in a hurry, you can use store-bought mashed potatoes. While it’s not traditional and it’s totally optional, I love cheese on top.

How to Make Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Make Mashed Potatoes: If you have leftover mashed potatoes, use those. Simmer baking potatoes in a large pot of salted water until tender. Mash them with butter and cream. Tater tots make a great topping too!
  2. Brown Meat: Brown lamb (or beef) in a skillet with onion. If using fresh veggies, they can be diced and cooked along with the beef and onion.
  3. Add Sauce: Stir in the seasonings and sauce per the recipe below. Stir in the veggies.
  4. Layer and Bake: Pile the potatoes on top. A sprinkle of cheese is not traditional, but it is delicious!

Prep Ahead and Tips for Shepherd’s Pie

  • From Scratch: This recipe is a shortcut recipe; if you’d like, you can find my homemade version here.
  • Layering: After prepping the meat mixture, cool it and chill it in the fridge for 20 minutes to keep the mashed potato layer separated.
  • Prep Ahead: Assemble the Shepherd’s Pie up to one day in advance and refrigerate it. Let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
  • Quick Clean Up: If your baking dish is very full, place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet to avoid any juices spilling into the bottom of the oven.
Shepherd's Pie Recipe in a pot

How to Freeze Shepherd’s Pie

  • Prepare as directed and cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil. Freeze.
  • Thaw overnight in the fridge. Bake for 45 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered.
What is Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s pie is a delicious combo of ground lamb (although many people use beef) that has been cooked with vegetables in a gravy or sauce. The lamb mixture is then topped with a crust of creamy mashed potatoes and baked.

Can You Make Shepherd’s Pie With Ground Beef?

This casserole is traditionally made with ground lamb. Many people make this recipe with ground beef however, if you use ground beef it’s actually called Cottage Pie! (You can also replace the meat with a vegetarian lentil version).

Does Shepherd’s Pie Have Cheese on Top?

Traditionally, a shepherd’s pie is not topped with cheese. That said, cheese is my love language, so I like to add a bit on top. If you’d prefer, brush the potatoes with some butter and skip the cheese.

How Do You Bake Shepherd’s Pie?

Bake this easy shepherd’s pie recipe for 25-30 minutes. If you’ve made it ahead of time and it’s chilly from being in the fridge, bake it a bit longer, about 30-35 minutes, or leave it out on the counter for 30 minutes before baking.

Can You Make Shepherd’s Pie With Sweet Potatoes?

Absolutely!! Make mashed sweet potatoes using this recipe and pile them high!

What to Serve with Shepherd's Pie

It’s a full meal on its own and really doesn’t need sides. If you’d like to stretch it a little further, bread and salad are great additions.

Shepherd's Pie Recipe on a white plate with parsley

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Did you make this Easy Shepherd’s Pie recipe? Leave a comment and rating below!

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Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

This Shepherd’s Pie is a twist on the classic Irish dish. It's made with ground lamb, peas, and carrots, topped with mashed potatoes & cheddar cheese!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
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  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups mixed frozen vegetables defrosted
  • 10 ounces tomato soup or mushroom soup
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon basil
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups prepared mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese optional


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • In a large skillet or Dutch oven, cook lamb (or beef), onion, and garlic over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
  • Stir in mixed vegetables, tomato soup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, basil, and pepper.
  • Transfer the ground beef mixture into a 3-quart or 9×13 inch casserole dish and spread into an even layer.
  • Spoon mashed potatoes over top and sprinkle with cheese if using.
  • Baked for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Broil 2 minutes if desired.
  • Remove from the oven and cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.



Ground lamb is traditional in shepherd’s pie. When made with ground beef, the dish is called cottage pie. This is a shortcut recipe, view our from scratch shepherd’s pie recipe here.
Substitute the tomato soup in this recipe for one of the following:
  • 10.5 oz of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 packet of gravy mix prepared as directed and simmered until thickened
  • leftover homemade beef gravy.
To make homemade potatoes, boil 2lbs of peeled and diced russet potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes in a large pot of salted water for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain well and mash with a potato masher. Add 4 tablespoons of butter, ¾ teaspoon salt, and up to ¾ cup of warmed half and half as needed.
4.98 from 137 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 648 | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 730mg | Potassium: 916mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 2775IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 180mg | Iron: 2.5mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Beef, Casserole, Dinner
Cuisine American, Irish

Why is it called Shepherd’s Pie?

Originally a meat pie made with minced (or ground) meat and mashed potatoes was known as a Cottage Pie (and it was even sometimes made with pastry many years ago). It is very popular in Ireland, Scotland, and England as well!   In the late 1800s, the pie was named Shepherd’s Pie if made with lamb (since the shepherd looked after the sheep) and if made with beef it was called Cottage Pie.

Regardless of the name, this recipe is a classic Shepherd’s Pie recipe loaded with flavor and the perfect make-ahead meal to serve all year long!

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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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Recipe Rating


  1. Too much mixed vegetables in the recipe I would put half as much next time. I’m originally from the U.K. and have never seen anyone put this much veg in a shepherds pie. I should have gone with my initial instinct and put less. Overall flavour was good.4 stars

  2. This was pretty close to my recipe. Very tasty. I did not have any gravy, so added some marinara sauce with the tomato soup. Cooked 5 potatoes. Such a comfy meal. Will definitely be making this again and again.5 stars

  3. I was heading out and needed to have supper prepped and ready for my kids and this was the perfect make-ahead casserole! I made this with ground beef and mushroom soup and everyone loved it.5 stars

  4. Our Neighborhood Market often has caldillo meat marked down. I used this meat, browned with onion, in my take on the recipe. I used cream of potato and about a half cup of broth and let it simmer a half hour before adding the mixed veggies. my family liked it a lot!

  5. I first made this easy version of Shepherd’s Pie last summer when my mother was dying. She requested I make this dish for my brother’s 54th birthday to remind him of his favorite childhood dinner! I had never made a Shepherd’s Pie before so this was an easy, throw together last minute recipe that fit the bill. Everyone loved it and it has now become a staple in my dinner rotation that will always remind me of my last summer with my mom.

    Bless you for sharing delicious, easy recipes that anyone can make! This recipe will always be especially special to me.5 stars

    1. I’m so glad our Shepherd’s Pie recipe brought comfort and joy to your family during a difficult time; thank you for sharing your heartfelt story with us Sarah.

  6. If using beef mince then it’s called cottage pie not shepherds pie ! I prefer it with beef mince I don’t like lamb mince5 stars

  7. Delicious easy meal! I had to substitute a few things because I was too lazy to go to the store and it still turned out great!
    Ground turkey for beef/lamb
    Marinara sauce for tomato soup
    Creamer potatoes for russet
    Fresh basil for dried

    We will make this again!5 stars

  8. I made this shepherds pie last night with ground beef. Easy to prepare and absolutely delicious! I made the recipe exactly as you have it written. It was a perfect meal since we are having an April cold snap. I will definitely make this again. Thank you!5 stars

  9. I have made this recipe with many different variations like different soups, vegetable combinations, and Idahoan instant potatoes of different flavors. No matter what is available, it’s always turned out great.5 stars

  10. Holly–I loved it. My wife complained that there were too many vegetables. Your recipe says “4 cups” of frozen veggies. I added close to 3, but my wife thought the meat/veggie ratio was a bit off.

    Then, in the comments below, you say that you used a single, 10-ounce bag of frozen veggies. I would revise the recipe to say that.

    A single bag of frozen veggies is probably about right. But I would also use 2 pounds of beef instead of 1, just to make it a little beefier.4 stars

    1. Hi Aaron, we do use 4 cups of frozen veggies for the recipe but you can reduce the veggies for a higher beef to veggie ratio! Enjoy.

  11. This recipe was great for my summer family gathering! My kids loved it, a good way to sneak a little veggies into their diet.

    1. So glad your kids love it, Baldwin. It’s always nice when we can sneak veggies into their diet without them knowing! :)

  12. I have been trying variations of Cottage Pie recipes for years with varying results (husband is picky) and this one is a winner for both of us. Not fans of cooked peas so I use what is sold here as Country Trio, carrots/corn/beans thawed. Using recipe as written I put everything but the mashed potatoes in a slow cooker on LO before leaving to run errands. I add the mashed potatoes later so it’s ready anytime after 5:00. No cheese for us even though we are Dairy State natives! Could be sprinkled on later if desired.
    Note: as a personal option I add 1 tsp. sugar (or a packet of Stevia) as I feel it brings out the flavor.
    Thanks for this yummy and easy recipe!5 stars