Chicken Shepherd’s Pie Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 25 min. Bake: 25 min.
This chicken shepherd’s pie recipe is the perfect solution when you can’t decide between shepherd’s pie and chicken pot pie. We make it with chicken breasts, but you can use leftovers for an easy shortcut!

Updated: Feb. 28, 2024

Go ahead and bookmark this chicken shepherd’s pie recipe. You’re going to want to make it again and again. Chicken is a refreshing alternative to traditional shepherd’s pie recipes that are made with ground beef or lamb. Here, we pair this lean protein with crisp sugar snap peas, sweet corn and a cheesy gravy. This gravy is so tasty, you’ll want to scoop up every last bite! It’s reminiscent of the sauce used in a chicken pot pie, and it’s fantastic underneath a pillowy mashed potato topping.

This recipe is delicious just as it’s written, but the gravy will pair well with other filling ingredients, so don’t be afraid to experiment! You can use up leftover odds and ends in your refrigerator, like swapping in leftover Easter ham to make a ham-asparagus shepherd’s pie in the spring. Or, after the Thanksgiving holiday, you can make a turkey-mushroom shepherd’s pie.

No matter how you make it, be sure to serve this dish with a side of bread or biscuits. You’re going to want to sop up all those tasty pools of gravy!

Chicken Shepherd’s Pie Ingredients

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts: We use chicken breasts for this recipe, but you could easily substitute chicken thighs. Or make good use of leftover or rotisserie chicken. This recipe calls for 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, so you’ll need approximately 2 cups cubed cooked chicken.
  • Instant mashed potatoes: There are several different kinds of instant potatoes available, and we love the roasted garlic variety in this recipe. If you want to use leftover mashed potatoes instead, each 4-ounce packet instant mashed potatoes makes approximately 2 cups prepared potatoes.
  • Cheesy white gravy: This cheesy white gravy is delicious. It’s based on a basic white sauce made with butter, flour and milk. We add rubbed sage and dried thyme to give it an herbaceous edge, plus Swiss cheese to give it a nutty flavor.
  • Sugar snap peas and corn: These tender vegetables add sweet flavor and a burst of bright color to our chicken shepherd’s pie.
  • Swiss cheese: Swiss is a mild cheese that adds flavor to the gravy without overpowering the other elements. It also melts on top of the mashed potatoes for a gorgeous finish.

Directions

Step 1: Cook the chicken

A person cooking Chicken in a small skilletTMB Studio

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small skillet, cook the chicken in 1 tablespoon butter until cooked through and no longer pink. Set aside, and keep warm.

Step 2: Prepare the mashed potatoes

Cooking Mashed potatoes in a large pan TMB Studio

Prepare the mashed potatoes according to package directions.

Editor’s Tip: Looking to upgrade the flavor of store-bought potatoes? Substitute the water with broth, or swirl in a little sour cream. Check out more tips on how to make instant mashed potatoes better.

Step 3: Make the white gravy

A person holding a spoon filled with white gravyTMB Studio

In a large saucepan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Gradually add the milk. Stir in the rubbed sage and dried thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, and cook, stirring, for one to two minutes or until thickened.

Step 4: Make the chicken filling

Remove the saucepan from heat. Stir in 3/4 cup Swiss cheese until melted. Add the peas, corn and chicken.

Step 5: Bake the chicken shepherd’s pie

chicken shepherd and cheese in a baking trayTMB Studio

Transfer the chicken filling to a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with the mashed potatoes, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Chicken Shepherds Pie served in a baking tray with other vegetables TMB Studio

Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, until heated through. Let stand for five minutes before serving.

Editor’s Tip: If the topping isn’t browned enough for your liking, you can pop the chicken shepherd’s pie under the broiler for a minute or two. Just make sure you use a broiler-safe dish!

Recipe Variations

  • Use another type of meat: The cheesy white gravy pairs well with a number of meats from poultry to beef and pork. Make use of leftover turkey or holiday ham, adjusting the seasoning as needed, as ham is saltier than chicken. You can also make this recipe with cooked ground meats like chicken, beef or lamb.
  • Experiment with vegetables: Change up the vegetables based on your personal preferences and what you have on hand. Add sliced mushrooms or bell peppers to the chicken filling, or try hearty root vegetables like chopped parsnips, rutabagas or turnips. Frozen and canned vegetables, like peas, green beans or green chiles, work well in this recipe, too.
  • Change up the cheeses: Swiss cheese gives the dish a mild, nutty flavor, though most melting cheeses would work in this recipe. Swap in Gruyere, cheddar, fontina or Monterey Jack.
  • Make skillet shepherd’s pie: You don’t need an oven to make shepherd’s pie. To make shepherd’s pie on the stovetop, prepare the sauce and chicken filling in a large skillet. Layer the potatoes directly on top of the chicken filling. Cover the skillet, and cook over medium-low heat until the potatoes are heated through.

Can you make chicken shepherd’s pie ahead of time?

To make chicken shepherd’s pie ahead of time, prepare the chicken filling a day ahead. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to bake the shepherd’s pie, make the instant mashed potatoes. Layer the ingredients, and bake as directed. The chicken filling will be cold, so you may need to adjust the cooking time as needed to ensure the shepherd’s pie heats through to an internal temperature of 165°.

How to Store Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

Store chicken shepherd’s pie in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. If you used leftovers, consider how long the chicken had been in the refrigerator before consuming the leftovers. (Psst: This is how long leftovers last.)

Reheat the leftover chicken shepherd’s pie in a 350° oven or the microwave until they reach an internal temperature of 165°.

Can you freeze chicken shepherd’s pie?

To freeze chicken shepherd’s pie, let it cool completely. Transfer it to an airtight container, and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Chicken Shepherd’s Pie Tips

Chicken Shepherds Pie served in plates with vegetables on sideTMB Studio

What is shepherd’s pie?

Shepherd’s pie is a hearty dish made with minced meat and vegetables simmered in a savory gravy. Some say the dish hails from Scotland while others maintain that shepherd’s pie is Irish or British. Originally, shepherd’s pie was made with a pastry topping, just like pie. But modern-day versions are topped with a layer of mashed potatoes instead.

What’s the difference between cottage pie and shepherd’s pie?

Traditional shepherd’s pie recipes are made with ground lamb or mutton, whereas cottage pie is made with ground beef. The recipes that don’t contain any meat are often referred to as “gardener’s pie,” and those topped with breadcrumbs become “Cumberland pie.” Sadly, shepherd’s pie made with chicken doesn’t have an official name, so it’s usually referred to as “chicken shepherd’s pie” or “chicken cottage pie.”

Chicken Shepherd's Pie

Prep Time 25 min
Cook Time 25 min
Yield 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each), cubed
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 pouch (4 ounces) roasted garlic mashed potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/4 cups 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, divided
  • 1 cup fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn

Directions

  1. In a small skillet, cook chicken in 1 tablespoon butter until no longer pink; set aside and keep warm. Prepare mashed potatoes according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt remaining butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk; stir in seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or thickened.
  3. Remove from the heat. Stir in 3/4 cup Swiss cheese until melted. Add peas, corn and chicken. Transfer to a 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with mashed potatoes; sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 400 calories, 22g fat (13g saturated fat), 89mg cholesterol, 662mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 2g fiber), 23g protein.

Warm up your family with this easy mashed-potato-topped casserole featuring tender chicken, sweet corn and sugar snap peas in a homemade cheese sauce. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Recipe Creator