This Easy Shepherd's Pie recipe is a classic comfort food with hearty vegetables and ground lamb smothered in rich gravy and topped with mashed potatoes. Made in one pan and baked to golden perfection.
This Easy Shepherd's Pie recipe is not only a convenient one-pan meal, it is nutritious and quite tasty!
Unlike many Shepherd's Pie recipes you may find online, this one calls for frozen vegetables and leftover mashed potatoes. You do not have to compromise on convenience when preparing healthy meals.
Easy Shepherd's Pie Recipe
The meat simmered in a luscious gravy with golden onions, carrots, peas, corn, green beans, or a combination of any of these. Followed by bold and rich flavors of Worcestershire sauce, homemade bone broth, tomato paste and aromatics.
This easy Shepherd's Pie recipe does not call for any flour or thickener. As long as the mashed potatoes are dairy free, this one-pan meal is paleo. And depending on ingredient list of Worcestershire sauce can even be Whole30. Here's a homemade recipe for Whole30 and paleo Worcestershire sauce.
The meat and vegetable gravy is topped with leftover mashed potatoes and baked to golden perfection.
The result is a delicious, healthy, and comforting meal to the soul and the gut.
What is Shepherd's Pie?
And how is it different form Cottage Pie?
Shepherd's Pie is a type of meat pie that boasts a mixture of meat and vegetable gravy and topped with crusty mashed potatoes.
Seeking for ways to incorporate leftovers, European housewives in the late 1700s and early 1800s came up with Shepherd's Pie. The result was delicious.
Recipe for Shepherd's Pie vary widely but they have the same basic tenet: meticulously simmered meat and vegetable gravy, topped with mashed potatoes. Traditionally, mashed potatoes also graced the bottom of the casserole dish as well.
But in the spirit of making this truly a one-pan meal, we'll just do the top mashed potato crust.
So is Shepherd's Pie the same as Cottage Pie?
No, but the difference is much less significant than you may think. The main difference between Shepherd's Pie and Cottage Pie is the choice of meat.
Shepherd's Pie is made from ground lamb (think shepherd = sheep/lamb). Cottage Pie is made using ground beef.
The ground meat can be used interchangeably with the rest of the ingredients and instructions the same.
Simple Shepherd's Pie with Leftover Mashed Potatoes
I love how quick and easy this Shepherd's Pie comes together. With just a few tips, this one-pan meal will become a regular on your meal plan rotation.
Here are some ways to make this a super easy Shepherd's Pie recipe:
- Be flexible with meat: depending on what's on sale and what you have available. Ground lamb for Shepherd's Pie and ground beef for Cottage Pie.
- Use frozen vegetables: grab a 16-ounce bag of frozen vegetables during your next market trip. Check your freezer - you may even have a long-forgotten bag in the back of your freezer. With so many bold flavors to disguise the freezer burn, those veggies are an ideal candidate for this meal.
- Leftover mashed potatoes: this is my favorite tip to maximizing my efforts in making mashed potatoes. Double the mashed potato recipe to include in a meal such as this one.
Ingredients in Shepherd's Pie
The beauty about Shepherd's Pie is that it calls for ingredients you may already have in your kitchen. Ground lamb is the only unusual ingredient and even then can be replaced with ground beef.
Let's look at the ingredients:
- Vegetables: we start with diced onion then add a bag of frozen veggies (any mix of peas, corn, carrots, and green beans). Fresh will work too (see the Q&A below for details).
- Meat: ground lamb is star of this recipe but feel free to swap it out with ground beef
- Seasonings: bone broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, dried thyme, dried rosemary, and sea salt all add great flavor and richness
- Mashed Potatoes: my favorite way to give leftover mashed potatoes a second chance is to add them to a recipe such as this one. If you are following a diet like Paleo or Whole30, be sure your mashed potatoes are compliant.
How to Make Easy Shepherd's Pie
Make this Shepherd's Pie easily in one pan. My favorite pan to use is the cast iron skillet as it goes from stove to oven.
Step 1. Cook onion.
Saute onions in butter or ghee until softened and translucent.
Step 2. Add frozen vegetables.
Add frozen vegetables and cook on medium-low heat until vegetables are slightly thawed.
Step 3. Add meat.
Move the vegetables to the side of the pan to clear the center. Add ground lamb and gently break apart the meat. Cook the meat and slowly incorporate it into the vegetables.
Step 4. Season the meat and vegetable gravy.
Add broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, minced garlic, herbs and salt. Stir to combine and gently simmer on low heat until thickened. You may need to add more broth to keep the meat from drying out.
Step 5 & 6. Spread the meat and vegetable gravy.
Turn off the heat and spread the meat and vegetable gravy evenly across the pan or transfer to oven-safe 9X13 casserole dish.
Step 7. Add mashed potatoes.
Scoop the leftover mashed potatoes over the meat and vegetable mixture. Spread evenly. Score with a fork to create peaks. Bake in preheated oven until warmed through and golden.
Step 8. Enjoy warm!
Enjoy Shepherd's Pie immediately after baking. If saving leftovers, transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. To reheat, transfer to a small saucepan, add a few tablespoons of water or bone broth and reheat on medium-low heat until warmed through.
Common Questions for Easy Shepherd's Pie Recipe
As mentioned above, Shepherd's Pie is traditionally made with lamb. However, you may sub ground beef for lamb in what is known as Cottage Pie.
The problem with instant mashed potatoes is that it is highly processed and adulterated. However, in recent years we've seen manufacturers step up to the plate to create clean products with maximum nutrition. My favorite brand that makes instant mashed potatoes are Bob's Red Mill (which is literally just dehydrated potatoes).
Shiloh Farms and Edward & Sons also have organic potato flakes but as always, check ingredients. When looking for clean instant mashed potatoes, check the ingredient label to make sure it doesn't have corn syrup solids, hydrogenated oils, or other junk ingredients.
This recipe specifically calls for frozen veggies and we find it makes the best Shepherd's Pie. It's super easy and convenient and there is no need to thaw ahead of time. However, you can use a combination of diced carrots, celery, and peas for a total of 4 cups.
Yes! This is one of my favorite meals to meal prep. One caveat is that it won't be one-pan meal but the prep will still be so worth it!
Here's how to meal prep this:
Step 1. Transfer the mixture to an oven-safe 9X13 dish and assemble the casserole.
Step 2. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake per instructions.
Alternatively, you can freeze the meat mixture for up to a month. This is especially helpful when you know you'll have mashed potatoes on the menu soon and you can double that.
Did you make this? Please leave a ⭐ recipe rating in the recipe card below and leave a review in the comments. Thank you!💚
Easy Shepherd's Pie Recipe
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent.
- Add frozen vegetables and reduce heat. Cook until half of the mixture has thawed.
- Move vegetables to the side of the pan creating a well in the center. Add lamb. Gently break up the meat with a flat spoon and cook in the center until no longer pink, stirring as needed.
- Add broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, garlic, herbs and sea salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add more broth if necessary to keep the meat from drying out. Spread mixture evenly across the skillet.
- Turn off heat. Spoon mashed potatoes and spread evenly over the vegetable and meat mixture. Using a fork, score the mashed potatoes to create peaks.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbling. If necessary, broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the surface of the mashed potatoes.
- Frozen vegetables: you need 16 ounces or 4 cups of frozen vegetables. Any combination of carrots, peas, corn, and green beans will do.
- Mashed potatoes: the ease and convenience of leftover mashed potatoes makes this a super easy meal.
- Make ahead tip: assemble the casserole (not in the cast iron skillet - use a glass Pyrex 9X13 dish), cover the dish and refrigerate until ready to bake. Sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before baking. Bake uncovered per instructions.
- Leftovers: can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, transfer to a small pan, add 2 tablespoons of water or broth, and gently heat on medium-low heat covered for 5-10 minutes or until warmed through.