Shepherds Pie featured image
This simple Shepherd’s Pie, aka Cottage Pie, is a comforting classic casserole of meat and vegetables simmered in a savory stew and topped with mashed potatoes. It’s a quick and easy one-dish dinner.
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Table of Contents
  1. Simple Shepherd's Pie With Short Cuts
  2. Why We Love This Shepherd's Pie Recipe
  3. Ingredients
  4. Substitutions and Additions
  5. Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
  6. How to Make the Shepards Pie
  7. Tips
  8. Storage Tips
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Other Easy Dinner Recipes
  11. Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

This deliciously simple Shepherd’s Pie, aka Cottage Pie, is a comforting classic casserole of Britain and Ireland done American-style. It is so quick and easy to assemble a mixture of cooked meat and vegetables that’s been simmered in a savory stew, topped with creamy mashed potatoes, and baked until golden brown–it’s a hearty one-dish dinner when you’re in the mood for a meat and potatoes kind of meal.

Shepherd’s Pie hero image

Simple Shepherd’s Pie With Short Cuts

It is so easy to make this Shepherd’s Pie because my recipe has a few secret shortcuts so you can serve this flavorful, filling dish in under an hour.

Hearty ground beef is browned and simmered with salsa to create a thick and flavorful, savory sauce and then combined with a can of veggies. It is then topped and finished with fluffy instant mashed potatoes that form a crispy golden crust that perfectly balances the soft layer below. This is a substantial meal-in-one because you get a forkful of mashed potatoes, meat, and vegetables in every single bite!

I love this simple version of Shepherd’s Pie, not only because it offers a robust beefy flavor with its chunky, bold filling and creamy topping, but also because it is so flexible that you can add almost anything in your fridge or pantry.

Extra beef or turkey from taco Tuesday? Use it for the meat base. Leftover vegetables from lunch? Mix them in. Made too many potatoes at your last meal? Mash them up! Create your own classic comfort food casserole–a perfect way to feed your family and make you feel full and cozy at home.

Why We Love This Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

  • Quick and easy to make because we use simple shortcuts.
  • Inexpensive meal and an easy way to repurpose leftovers or extra pantry staples.
  • Delicious hearty dish that is freezer friendly and feeds a crowd.
  • Full of moisture and flavor with a perfectly balanced textures.
  • Gluten-free because it’s made with cornstarch in place of the flour and can easily be made vegan.
  • Perfect for a cold night, a potluck, or as a special St. Patrick’s Day dinner.
Shepherd’s Pie on a plate

Ingredients

  • Ground beef
  • Garlic powder
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cornstarch
  • Mild chunky salsa: You can substitute this with tomato sauce if necessary but you will lose some flavor. You can also substitute a spicier salsa if you prefer more spice in your dish.
  • Canned mixed vegetables, drained: I used a can of mixed vegetables but you can use just one vegetable if you prefer such as peas, carrots, green beans or corn. Or you can use a mixture of your favorites.
  • Prepared instant mashed potatoes: I used Idahoan Buttery Homestyle Mashed Potatoes, an 8 ounce bag will make 4 cups of prepared potatoes. You can use any flavor or brand you would like, you just want to make about 4 cups worth of prepared potatoes.
  • Minced fresh parsley, optional garnish

Substitutions and Additions

  • More Meat Choices: Feel free to use ground pork, chicken, turkey, or lamb instead of ground beef as your base.
  • Low-Carb/Keto Casserole: If you are following a low-carb/Keto diet, you can swap the mashed potatoes for mashed cauliflower.
  • Vegan/Vegetarian Version: This recipe can easily be made with a vegan/vegetarian protein base. Lentils pack the most nutritional punch and absorb flavors well; they can be added in place of ground beef in just about any recipe. You can also use vegan ground beef or sausage. Make sure your instant mashed potatoes are vegan as well.
  • Vary The Veggies: You can use any vegetable or combination of vegetables you prefer. Carrots, celery, green beans, peas, and onions are great options.
  • Add Some Spices: While this dish is plenty flavorful, feel free to add some fresh thyme, rosemary, or bay leaves.
Shepherd’s Pie with ground beef

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How to Make the Shepards Pie

This Shepherd’s Pie recipe is the easiest way to make a delicious classic casserole that quickly goes from stove to oven. It’s a perfectly nourishing meal with a serving of mashed potatoes, meat, and vegetables in every single spoonful.

  1. Brown the ground beef with garlic powder, salt and pepper and drain the grease.
    Pro Tip: The middle should still have some pink but the outside should be brown.
  2. Mix in the cornstarch.
    Brown the ground beef with garlic powder, salt, pepper and cornstarch
  3. Add salsa to meat mixture and cook until thick and bubbling.
    Add salsa to meat mixture
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in vegetables.
    Pro-Tip: Drain your vegetables before you add them to the meat! You made a beautifully thick, juicy meat layer, you wouldn’t want to ruin it with too much vegetable water.
    stir in vegetables into the meat mixture
  5. Spoon mixture into a pie plate.
    add mixture into a pie plate
  6. Top meat and vegetable layer with mashed potatoes.
    Pro-Tip: Season your mashed potatoes (unless they are pre-seasoned) and be sure to brown them so you get a bit of crunch on top of your soft layer. The added flavor and texture are the perfect finish to this yummy dish.
    Top meat and vegetable layer with mashed potatoes
  7. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes.
    Pro Tip: Your shepherd’s pie is done baking when the meat layer is bubbly and the potatoes are golden brown. 
    Shepherds Pie
  8. Sprinkle with parsley, optional and serve warm. Enjoy!

Tips

  • Make sure to add a tomato liquid and some cornstarch to the meat so that you don’t end up with a dull, dry base. Even if it was previously cooked, I recommend reheating it and adding some salsa or tomato sauce to help amp up the moisture and flavor.
  • Drain your vegetables before you add them to the meat! You made a beautifully thick, juicy meat layer, you wouldn’t want to ruin it with too much vegetable water.
  • Season your mashed potatoes (unless they are pre-seasoned) and be sure to brown them so you get a bit of crunch on top of your soft layer. The added flavor and texture are the perfect finish to this yummy dish.

Storage Tips

  • To Store: This Shepherd’s Pie can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, provided it is well covered.
  • To Freeze: You can also prepare and freeze the dish for up to 2-6 months. I recommend freezing it after assembly but before baking. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then bake as instructed.
  • To Reheat: Reheat the leftovers at 350°F until piping hot all the way through, approximately 15-30 minutes, depending on how much of the pie you are reheating. 
a spoonful of Shepherd’s Pie

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this in advance?

You can absolutely make this whole recipe ahead of time. Just assemble the casserole, cover the dish, and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake it. I recommend baking it within 3 days of preparing it.
Take it out of the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before you bake it to let it come to room temperature,  uncover it, and bake according to directions.

What is the difference between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie?

The difference between “Cottage Pie” and “Shepherd’s Pie” is in the meat. Cottage Pie uses ground beef, while Shepherd’s Pie uses ground lamb. Although a recipe that uses ground beef is traditionally called “Cottage Pie,” I call it “Shepherd’s Pie” because the name is most often used to describe this dish. Both are delicious!

What should I serve with my Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s Pie is generally an all-in-one meal that it can be served by itself. A green salad or steamed veggie would be a nice side dish if you are looking to add more to your meal.

Can I make my own mashed potatoes from scratch?

Yes, you can make your own mashed potatoes for this recipe. I use instant mashed potatoes for simplicity and ease.

Shepherd’s Pie served on a plate

Other Easy Dinner Recipes

3 from 2 votes
Shepherds Pie featured image

Shepherd’s Pie

Serves — 5
This simple Shepherd’s Pie, aka Cottage Pie, is a comforting classic casserole of meat and vegetables simmered in a savory stew and topped with mashed potatoes. It’s a quick and easy one-dish dinner.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 50 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • cups mild chunky salsa
  • 15 ounce can mixed vegetables drained
  • 4 cups prepared instant mashed potatoes
  • Minced fresh parsley, optional garnish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Brown the ground beef with the garlic powder, salt and pepper in a frying pan over medium heat, about 5-7 minutes (the middle should still have some pink but the outside should be brown) and drain off the grease.
  • Add in the cornstarch and mix until combined.
  • Slowly add in the salsa and mix well. Heat over medium heat until bubbling.
  • Cook for 1-2 minutes until thick and cooked through.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the vegetables.
  • Spoon the mixture in a 9.5 inch deep pie plate.
  • Layer the prepared mashed potatoes evenly on top of the vegetable layer.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the meat layer is bubbly and the potatoes are golden brown.
  • Sprinkle with parsley, optional and serve warm.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: This Shepherd’s Pie can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, provided it is well covered.
  • To Freeze: You can also prepare and freeze the dish for up to 2-6 months. I recommend freezing it after assembly but before baking. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then bake as instructed.
  • To Reheat: Reheat the leftovers at 350°F until piping hot all the way through, approximately 15-30 minutes, depending on how much of the pie you are reheating. 
Tips:
  • Make sure to add a tomato liquid and some cornstarch to the meat so that you don’t end up with a dull, dry base. Even if it was previously cooked, I recommend reheating it and adding some salsa or tomato sauce to help amp up the moisture and flavor.
  • Drain your vegetables before you add them to the meat! You made a beautifully thick, juicy meat layer, you wouldn’t want to ruin it with too much vegetable water.
  • Season your mashed potatoes (unless they are pre-seasoned) and be sure to brown them so you get a bit of crunch on top of your soft layer. The added flavor and texture are the perfect finish to this yummy dish.
 

Nutrition Info

Calories: 513kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 1458mg | Potassium: 1577mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 4701IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 6mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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Comments

  1. NO self respecting Brit would EVER put salsa in his Shepherds Pie!!! Nor would a can of mixed veg be mixed into the ground meat!!!
    Bottom line….this might be an interesting casserole, but it is a total fail as a Shepherds Pie!!!

  2. 1 star
    Shepherd’s Pie is NOT AKA Cottage Pie!

    I’m glad you don’t own a restaurant and tried to pawn off Shepherd’s Pie made with beef to me.