Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe – Spend With Pennies

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

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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

Author Holly Nilsson

  • 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.

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
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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