Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe – Spend With Pennies

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

St. Patrick’s Day Favorites

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

plated Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe close up

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!

plated Easy Shepherd's Pie Recipe with a title
close up of Easy Shepherd's Pie Recipe with writing
Easy Shepherd's Pie Recipe in the dish and plated with a title

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