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

Shepherd’s Pie is a full meal 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!

plated Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe close up

A Quick Shortcut Favorite

  • Shepherd’s Pie is a comforting and hearty dish that is perfect for an easy dinner.
  • Using frozen mixed vegetables (and prepared mashed potatoes) cuts down on prep time, making this recipe even faster.
  • 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, its a great way to use up ingredients you already have on hand or leftovers.
  • This dish freezes and reheats well.
ingredients to make Shepherds Pie

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. Although lamb is traditional, I most often use ground beef. 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.

How to Make Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Make Mashed Potatoes: If you have leftover mashed potatoes, use those. If not, make homemade mashed potatoes. Tater tots make a great topping too!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  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

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, 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.

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 for a vegetarian lentil version).

Either way, this crustless meat pie is topped with mashed potatoes and baked until bubbly.

Does shepherd’s pie have cheese on top?

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.

How do you bake shepherd’s pie?

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.

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

St. Patrick's Day Favorites

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

plated Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe close up
4.98 from 97 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Shepherd’s Pie is a traditional Irish dish 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
Author Holly Nilsson


  • 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 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, soup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, basil, and pepper.
  • Spread into the bottom of a 3 quart or 9×13 inch casserole dish.
  • Spoon mashed potatoes over top and sprinkle with cheese if using.
  • Baked for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.



Ground lamb is traditional in shepherd’s pie. When made with ground beef, the dish becomes 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.
4.98 from 97 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

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Shepherd's Pie Recipe in a pot

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!

close up of Easy Shepherd's Pie Recipe on a plate with a title
Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe on a plate and in the pot with a title
pot of Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe with a title
Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe cooked in the pot and plated with writing


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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. So yummy! I have a picky child and he ate this up. I was prepared to cook him a hot dog. We substituted ground turkey for the meat and made homemade mashed potatoes. Love the addition of the tomato soup, also. This is a winner and will be added to the dinner rotation.5 stars

  2. Hi Holly,

    Planning to make this for dinner. But if I were to replace tomato soup with tomato sauce, how much tomato sauce should I use?

    Thanks :)

    1. I’ve haven’t tried this with tomato sauce. Tomato soup is a bit sweeter and creamier in flavor. The can I use is 10.5 oz, so I would use the same amount of tomato sauce (and perhaps a splash of cream if you have it).

  3. I am not a cook, but this was very easy to make. My family enjoyed it, even though they were a little skeptical at first.I did think the recipe called for too many vegetables.5 stars

  4. Good flavor but next time I’ll use canned veggies, the frozen veggies were hard even though I thawed them4 stars

  5. I made this last night for dinner and everyone went back for another serving. This is an easy, flavorful recipe that will be my go to for Shepherds Pie. I used cream of mushroom soup in it, instant mashed potatoes and Mexican blend cheese for on top and it was delicious.5 stars

  6. Lovely easy version of Shepherd’s pie :)
    Wonderful website!!
    I just did a quick scan and it seems the whole internet is mistaken about Shepherd’s and Cottage pies. As you said , Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made using minced (ground) lamb, as the name suggests, shepherds herd sheep.
    A cottage pie is very similar but it is made with mince meat (ground beef) and the distinguishing thing about Cottage pie is the topping. It is sliced potato in rows, each slightly overlapping the previous row so the final effect is reminiscent of a cottage rooftop:)
    As you said, it can be altered endlessly:)5 stars

    1. Sliccd potaoes with chunks of stewing beef ie not minced, and vegtables is called a Hotpot or Lancashire Hotpot here in the UK.XXX5 stars

  7. Can I use Instant potatoes? or possibly the Bob Evans mashed potatoes? I work M-F until 5pm. Time is limited. looking for a short cut…..

  8. You can’t beat a Great Shepherds pie but first off this is not an Irish recipe it’s actually A British Yorkshire dish. I was shocked to read it was Irish. Especially as I’m British. But still it’s St Paddy’s day this week we will share.

    I’ve never personally added tomato soup to one before but it sounds incredible and the fact on my countertop are the ingredients defrosting from 4am this morning and I get the email just now is such an incredible coincidence. I’m going to try the soup as I always feel something is missing.

    We Brits love our shepherds pies. They were originally created for a quick and affordable meal for the coal and Steel miners as it can be eaten hot or cold. I prefer mine hot myself and it’s still a huge favourite with my family. We always have a side of buttered cabbage as it just accompanies it so well.

    Thank you for posting. Roll on dinner time.

  9. Absolutely wonderful! My husband wanted me to fix it again right after it was gone! No need to freeze…won’t last that long! Every recipe I’ve tried from you has been great! You are my number one go to for any recipe! Thank you!5 stars

  10. I just made this for my family of 4, and the last two recipes I tried, my boys did not like it. BUT this recipe is a definite WINNER!!! Everybody ate it up and went back for seconds or thirds. I used the mushroom soup choice and it tasted absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for a yummy shepherd’s pie recipe that makes enough for a family of 4 to have multiple servings and a good amount of left-overs to enjoy the next day!5 stars

  11. I used frozen vegetables by accident; didn’t notice it said defrosted until after it was too late. Will it still work? Thanks!

  12. Shepherds’ pie is made from ground lamb ( not beef; that would be cottage pie). Being born and raised in Scotland, we had Shepherd’s pie often, but never with tomato soup, paste or tomato sauce.

  13. Winner! I’ve seen this cottage pie recipe in my cookbook. It never seemed appealing because of the tomato soup, so I never tried it. Big mistake! When I first made it the color of the soup didn’t look appealing. When it cooked up the rich deep red color emerged. Yum. When I go grocery shopping now I make sure I always have the ingredients for this delicious dish on hand. I just never know when I have an urge for it. Everyone loves this. It lends itself to any favorite additions like French style green beans and fried onion rings,5 stars

  14. Thank you for posting this easy, tasty recipe for shepherds pie- and including the option of ground beef. It has become one of our favorite “comfort food” dishes!5 stars

  15. I have a gluten allergy, and can not have tomato soup. Has anyone tried this with tomato sauce? Perhaps another suggestion.

    Thanks, Holly for all the wonderful recipes! I really enjoy your site!

    1. Hi Jenny, I have never made this with tomato sauce but I would love to hear how it turns out for you. I have found gluten-free tomato soup at my local grocery store though that would be perfect in this recipe.

      1. I use 1 TBS tomato paste instead of soup and 1 TBS worcestershire sauce maybe gluten here not sure.

  16. Wow i didn’t know that sphere pie good asf anyone could make it this my second or third timid like making this or better I miss eating it it’s fye asf d like I’m so ready to do it cause imma love ❤️ these recipes cause thy are so good to me I ❤️ it5 stars