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!
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 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 Potatoes – Traditional 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
- Make Mashed Potatoes: If you have leftover mashed potatoes, use those. If not, make homemade mashed potatoes. Tater tots make a great topping too!
- 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. 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.
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
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 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!
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.
St. Patrick's Day Favorites
Did you make this Easy Shepherd’s Pie recipe? Leave us a comment and a rating below!
Easy 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 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.
- 10.5 oz of cream of mushroom soup
- 1 packet of gravy mix prepared as directed and simmered until thickened
- leftover homemade beef gravy.
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!
love it all
If using beef mince then it’s called cottage pie not shepherds pie ! I prefer it with beef mince I don’t like lamb mince
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
Topped with cheese it can be known as Cumberland Pie.
Thank you for this recipe Looks great. Wondering if I can use already cook Lamb if if is put into the grinder.
Cooked lamb should work fine in this recipe.
This recipe was great for my summer family gathering! My kids loved it, a good way to sneak a little veggies into their diet.
So glad your kids love it, Baldwin. It’s always nice when we can sneak veggies into their diet without them knowing! :)
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!
Your variations sound great, Susan! So glad you loved this recipe!