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 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!

shepherd's pie on a plate topped with cheese

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 PotatoesTraditional 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
ingredients to make Shepherds Pie

How to Make Shepherd’s Pie

  1. 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!
  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 and a sprinkle of cheese or a brush of butter if you’d like!
cooked ground meat with sauce and seasonings on top

Kitchen Tip

If you have an oven-proof skillet or cast iron skillet, use it to brown the beef! Once the sauce is mixed into the meat, the potatoes can be heaped right on top. One less dish to wash!

frozen vegetables on top of a shepherd's pie meat mixture

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 Recipe in a pot
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 creamy 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!

Serve this With…

And finish the meal with a belly-warming Irish Coffee!

Shepherd's Pie Recipe on a white plate with parsley

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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!

Shepherds Pie cooked in the pan and plated with writing
Shepherds Pie on a plate with writing
plated Shepherds Pie with a title
Shepherds Pie on a plate and in the dish with writing


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