Quick Shepherd’s Pie Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 25 min.
Ditch the prep work, and make this easy shepherd’s pie recipe with ready-made ingredients. It's ready to eat in less than 30 minutes!

Updated: Jan. 23, 2024

Shepherd’s pie is one of our favorite comfort classics. Savory meat, tender vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes come together to create a warm and hearty dish. And with this easy shepherd’s pie recipe, we use a few shortcuts to get the dish on the table in only 25 minutes.

Making a shepherd’s pie is always a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes, and if you have the time to spare, you can cook the potatoes fresh for a traditional shepherd’s pie. But for those days you’re rushing to get food on the table, this easy shepherd’s pie recipe comes together in about half the time!

We swap in refrigerated mashed potatoes, prepared gravy mix and frozen vegetables to create a delicious shepherd’s pie that’s ready in a flash. Simply saute the beef-vegetable filling, then layer everything in your dish, and pop it under the broiler.

You can make this shepherd’s pie with instant potatoes, but prepackaged refrigerated mashed potatoes are even easier. These premade potatoes are ready to eat, so they taste great without needing additional ingredients like milk or butter. As a bonus, you can create a cheesy shepherd’s pie using cheddar mashed potatoes—no cheese grater required!

Ingredients for Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Quick Shepherd's Pie Ft24 106964 Jr 0111 1 SseditTMB STUDIO

  • Ground beef: Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb or mutton, so, technically, this recipe is a cottage pie! Naming conventions aside, ground beef is a family favorite. It creates a casserole with familiar flavors that even the pickiest eaters will enjoy.
  • Refrigerated mashed potatoes: Cheddar mashed potatoes taste fantastic in this recipe, but original or homestyle flavors work as well. If you want to substitute with leftover or instant mashed potatoes, you’ll need about 2-1/2 cups to equal one 24-ounce package of refrigerated mashed potatoes.
  • Mushroom gravy: Packaged gravy mix is a real time saver! It adds concentrated flavor to the pie’s filling. Some packaged gravies contain flour, so check the ingredients label if you’re concerned about allergens.
  • Frozen vegetables: You can use any frozen vegetable mix in our easy shepherd’s pie. Blends that contain carrots, green beans, corn and peas are always a good fit, but feel free to experiment.

Directions

Step 1: Heat the potatoes

Heat potatoes according to package directions.

Step 2: Prepare the beef filling

Quick Shepherd's Pie Ft24 106964 Jr 0111 2 SseditTMB STUDIO

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat, breaking it into crumbles as it cooks, for six to eight minutes, until the beef is no longer pink. Drain the excess grease. Stir in the gravy mix. Add the frozen vegetables and water, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Quick Shepherd's Pie Ft24 106964 Jr 0111 3 SseditTMB STUDIO

Step 3: Layer the shepherd’s pie

Quick Shepherd's Pie Ft24 106964 Jr 0111 4 SseditTMB STUDIO

Transfer the beef filling to a 9-inch square baking pan. Spread the heated potatoes over top, and sprinkle them with pepper.

Quick Shepherd's Pie Ft24 106964 Jr 0111 5 SseditTMB STUDIO

Editor’s Tip: Use the back of a spoon to even out the potatoes, which will give the shepherd’s pie a smooth look. Or create a rustic look and drag a fork through the potatoes to create craggy edges.

Step 4: Broil the pie

Quick Shepherd's Pie Ft24 106964 Jr 0111 7 SseditTMB STUDIO

Broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potato topping is golden brown.

Editor’s Tip: Not all baking pans are broiler-safe. Some glass pans can crack under the broiler’s intense heat, so make sure you use the right pan (and avoid these other common broiler mistakes).

Recipe Variations

  • Make shepherd’s pie baked potatoes: If you don’t want to mess with mashed potatoes, stuff the meaty filling into a baked potato to make baked potato shepherd’s pie.
  • Swap in another ground meat: Ground lamb is a classic choice for shepherd’s pie. You could also use ground turkey or chicken.
  • Add cheese: If you use cheddar mashed potatoes, this easy shepherd’s pie will already be pretty cheesy. But who doesn’t love more cheese? After layering on the potatoes, add grated cheddar or Parmesan cheese.
  • Make it in a skillet: You don’t need the broiler to make an easy shepherd’s pie. To make shepherd’s pie on the stovetop, prepare the beef filling as directed in a large skillet. Then layer the potatoes directly on top of the beef filling. Cover the skillet, and cook over medium-low heat until the potatoes are heated through.
  • Use the slow cooker: This is a great option if you plan to make shepherd’s pie ahead of time! To make slow-cooker shepherd’s pie, layer the beef filling and mashed potatoes in a greased 4-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for five to six hours or until bubbly.

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

To make easy shepherd’s pie ahead of time, prepare the beef filling the day before. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to bake the shepherd’s pie, reheat the filling and the mashed potatoes. Then layer the ingredients, and broil as directed.

How to Store Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Store shepherd’s pie in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat the leftovers in a 350° oven or the microwave until they reach an internal temperature of 165°.

Can you freeze easy shepherd’s pie?

To freeze easy 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.

Easy Shepherd’s Pie Tips

Quick Shepherd's Pie Ft24 106964 Jr 0111 8 SseditTMB STUDIO

What is shepherd’s pie?

Shepherd’s pie is a hearty dish made with minced meat and vegetables simmered in a savory gravy. Modern-day versions are topped with a layer of mashed potatoes (and sometimes cheese). Some say the dish hails from Scotland, while others maintain that shepherd’s pie is Irish or British. Its origins may be debatable, but one thing is agreed: True shepherd’s pie must be made with ground lamb or mutton. Any version that contains ground beef is technically a cottage pie.

Can you make shepherd’s pie without potatoes?

Most shepherd’s pie recipes are topped with mashed potatoes, but they don’t have to be potatoes made from scratch. You can make easy shepherd’s pie with instant potatoes or store-bought refrigerated mashed potatoes. To give the dish a fun twist, top this casserole with another pureed vegetable like mashed cauliflower, pureed parsnips or mashed sweet potatoes. You can also use a pastry crust or a puff pastry to turn it into a savory pie (similar to this beef stew skillet pie).

Quick and Easy Shepherd's Pie

Prep Time 25 min
Yield 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (24 ounces) refrigerated mashed potatoes
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1 envelope mushroom gravy mix
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Heat potatoes according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles; drain. Stir in gravy mix. Add vegetables and water; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until heated through, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a 9-in. square baking pan.
  3. Spread potatoes over top; sprinkle with pepper. Broil 4-6 in. from the heat for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 302 calories, 12g fat (5g saturated fat), 61mg cholesterol, 619mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 3g fiber), 18g protein.

Shepherd’s pie is great with leftover homemade mashed potatoes, but it’s tasty with ready-made mashed potatoes too. —Jennifer Early, East Lansing, Michigan