Easy Shepherd’s Pie with Potato Crust Hack

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This simple and easy recipe is a perfect dinner option for those cold and busy days! My shepherd’s pie recipe is sure to fill you up without all the added calories. 

I LOVE Shepherd’s pie, and this recipe only has three main ingredients! If you are looking for a low-budget but still delicious and filling meal, this one is perfect for you. A great thing about Shepherd’s Pie is that you do not need sides! All in one, Shepherd’s Pie has your meat, veggies, and your potatoes. If you are looking for something to add to the mix, this recipe is perfect, and your friends and family will love it!

Shepherd's Pie

What is Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s pie is technically a savory meat pie made with ground lamb simmered in a gravy or broth. Vegetables are often layered under the meat or mixed with the meat. Most always, the pie is topped with potatoes, mashed and spread over the dish to form a crust. Some folks use cauliflower mash to top the pie rather than potatoes.

What is Cottage Pie?

Cottage pie is the same thing as Shepherd’s Pie EXCEPT it uses ground beef instead of ground lamb. But you’ll find many folks referring to cottage pie as Shepherd’s pie, a more widely used and understood term for this meat pie that is popular in Irish fare, especially in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

What ingredients go in Shepherd’s Pie?

This Shepherd’s Pie recipe has only three main ingredients! The meat of your choice, vegetables, and your crust (most commonly potatoes.)  A lot of different seasonings go in as well, but for the main ingredients, we just have those three! Along with the main ingredients, others include Worcestershire sauce, onion soup mix, chicken broth, and something I like to add to the meat, spicy ketchup!

How do you make the meat?

How you want to make the meat is your own preference! However, I saute ground beef in a pan with a little bit of onion and some seasoning. The seasoning is entirely up to what you like. If you wanted, you could use different meat entirely. For example, ground turkey or shredded chicken would also be delicious in this recipe. As I mentioned earlier, I love to mix some spicy ketchup into the meat right before layering it into the pie. 

How do you keep the mashed potatoes from sinking into the meat?

The best way to keep the mashed potatoes from sinking into the meat is by letting it cool down a little bit before adding the potatoes on top. If they are both super hot, they might have less of that defined edge between the two that we’re looking for! Another way to keep them from running together is to make sure that your potatoes are not too runny. If they are the right consistency, then you should not have a problem. 

How do you layer Shepherd’s Pie?

It is SO easy to layer a Shepard’s Pie! You start off by putting down your sauteed mixed veggies. Then, top on the meat (mixed with some sort of sauce), and then you can add your potato layer. After that, sprinkle on some freshly grated parmesan and a little bit of paprika. Once you are done layering, you just pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes. 

How do you season the meat for shepherd’s pie?

Some recipes call for simmering the ground meat in a beef or vegetable broth. Other recipes use a tomato-based gravy type broth. My recipe is spicy, as I like my meat well seasoned. I use lots of special ingredients like dry onion soup mix, Worcestershire sauce, and a few others that give it flavor and kick. 

What vegetables do you use in Shepherd’s Pie?

I brown my meat almost completely, then I add chopped onion~cooking until meat is fully brown and onions are tender. I’ve used many different vegetable combos for the “veggie layer,” but most often I turn to frozen mixed vegetables. I’ve thought about using canned mixed vegetables, but I prefer the consistency of frozen and feel that they are more bright and firm than canned.

What topping is best for Shepherd’s pie?

Most recipes for shepherd’s pie call for a mashed potato topping that is baked to a golden brown. Some recipes top Shepherd’s pie with cauliflower mash. My recipe uses the easiest potato topping ever (but also super delicious). I use refrigerator case mashed potatoes that I heat, spread over the dish, spray with buttery olive oil spray, and bake to golden perfection.

shepherds pie

What do you serve with Shepherd’s pie?

Shepherd’s pie (cottage pie) is a meal in itself really, but I like to serve a salad with it. My favorite one is featured in the video below, but if you want the full recipe, you’ll find it on my blog post for Easy Peasy Baby Blue Salad. It is SO delicious; everyone loves this salad.

baby blue salad

Can you save Shepherd’s Pie leftovers?

As long as you cover what is left and refrigerate it, it will be fine to eat it a day or two later! Just remember to pop it back in the oven and make sure to heat it through thoroughly. But with how delicious this recipe is, you probably won’t have any leftovers!

Watch my video with tips for making Shepherd’s Pie

If you make this Shepherd’s pie, I’d love to hear from you! If you leave comments below, we can all hear your take on this recipe (or your tips for making it better). As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!!

If you love this recipe, you may want to check these as well:

Shepherd's Pie

Easy Shepherd's Pie with Potato Crust Hack

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 TB Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef broth (if needed to thin mixture)
  • 1 can green beans
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 carton mashed potatoes *see notes
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix (Lipton)
  • paprika
  • red pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Brown ground beef until most of pink is gone (drain grease as needed).
  2. Add onion to beef; brown until meat is fully brown.
  3. Season meat with 1/2 - 1 packet dry soup mix.
  4. Season meat with Worcestershire (salt & pepper if desired).
  5. Add Rotel tomatoes and tomato soup; mix well.
  6. If mixture is too thick, add beef broth.
  7. Simmer mixture at least 30 minutes. **see note
  8. Drain green beans; spread on bottom of baking dish.
  9. Spread all meat mixture atop beans.
  10. Sprinkle meat with parmesan cheese.
  11. Microwave potatoes per directions on box.
  12. Stir potatoes until smooth; spread evenly over meat layer.
  13. Spray potato layer with butter/olive oil spray.
  14. Sprinkle potato layer with paprika and red pepper if desired.
  15. Bake uncoverd for 30-45 minutes until bubbly and golden on top.


*I use Simply Potatoes Sour Cream & Chive mashed potatoes

Nutrition Information
Yield 10 Serving Size 1 cup
Amount Per Serving Calories 214Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 45mgSodium 651mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 1gSugar 5gProtein 16g

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  1. Hi Diana! I need to edit this!! Basically I tweaked the original recipe using green beans and just used frozen veggies (no green beans). I also made the second recipe without the tomatoes and Rotel. You basically season the meat mixture to your preference, and then put the potatoes on top. It is very adaptable. I’ll edit this post, though, as I know it is confusing!!!

  2. Hey Jamie, this looks delicious! I am a little confused though. The pie pic shows corn and peas on the bottom but the recipe says green beans. Also the instructions say to add Rotel and tomato sauce but these are not in the ingredients?? Help?

  3. This sounds delicious! However, I am confused. Your ingredients don’t list Rotel tomatoes or tomato soup, but your instructions add these items. Is this an error?

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