This is an extra fast weeknight version of a traditional Shepherd’s Pie recipe.
Shepherd’s Pie is an Irish dish with a base of saucy ground lamb and vegetables (although many people use beef). It’s all topped with mashed potato crust and baked until bubbly.
Easy and tasty, all year round!
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 – Lamb is traditional but you can use any ground meat in this recipe (I most often use ground beef). Leftover roast works too!
- Vegetables – Frozen mixed vegetables make prep quick and easy but leftover roasted veggies work perfectly too. If using fresh, steam them until tender before adding.
- Sauce – Shepherd’s Pie is so versatile, I’ve given a couple of shortcut sauces in the recipe below but you can use leftover gravy (or gravy mix), tomato sauce… the sky is the limit here.
- Mashed Potatoes – Traditional mashed are what I most often use but garlic mashed potatoes add great flavor to this dish! If you are in a hurry, you can use store-bought mashed potatoes
How to Make Shepherd’s Pie
- Make Mashed Potatoes: If you have mashed potatoes use them! If not, make homemade mashed potatoes or buy packaged. Even tater tots on top make a good topping!
- Brown Meat: Brown lamb (or another type of ground meat like beef) in a skillet with onion. If using fresh veggies, they can be diced and cooked along with the beef and onion.
- Add Sauce: Stir in the seasonings and sauce per the recipe below (if you’d like a from scratch shepherd’s pie, this is the recipe we use!). Stir in the veggies.
- Layer and Bake: Pile the potatoes on top and a sprinkle of cheese or a brush of butter if you’d like!
Prep Ahead and Tips for Shepherd’s Pie
You will love how easy this dish is. It can be made a day in advance, which makes dinner prep easier.
- Layering After prepping the meat mixture, let it cool and then chill it in the fridge for 20 minutes. This will help keep the mashed potato layer separated.
- Prep Ahead Prep and assemble up to one day in advance and refrigerate. Let it come to room temperature 30 minutes before baking.
- Quick Clean Up If the baking dish is very full, place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet to avoid any juices spilling into the bottom of the oven.
- To Freeze Before Baking
- 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
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.
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 for a vegetarian lentil version).
Either way, this crustless meat pie is topped with creamy mashed potatoes and baked until bubbly.
Traditionally, a Shepherd’s Pie is not topped with cheese.
That being said, cheese is my love language so I like to add a little bit on top. If you’d prefer, brush the potatoes with a little bit of butter and skip the cheese.
Bake the shepherd’s pie recipe below 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.
Absolutely!! Make mashed sweet potatoes using this recipe and pile them high!
Serve this With…
- A fresh tossed salad or fresh tomatoes and cucumbers
- Homemade French Bread, crescent rolls or dinner rolls – or Irish Soda Bread
- Fresh veggies like steamed broccoli, sauteed kale, or roasted asparagus
And finish the meal with a belly-warming Irish Coffee!
More St. Patrick’s Day Favorites
- Colcannon Recipe (Cabbage and Potatoes)
- Lamb Stew (Irish Stew)
- Instant Pot Corned Beef
- Fried Cabbage
- My Favorite Reuben Sandwich
- Irish Pub Style Potato Nachos
Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
- 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
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups prepared mashed potatoes
- 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Cook lamb or beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
- Stir in mixed vegetables, soup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, basil, and pepper. Spread into the bottom of a 2 qt casserole dish.
- Spoon mashed potatoes over top and sprinkle with cheese.
- Baked 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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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!