Easy Shepherds Pie {30-Minute Recipe}

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This Shepherd's Pie recipe is so easy...I didn't realize it could be put together this fast. Love it!

One of my family’s most favorite winter meals is one of my best kept secrets…Easy Shepherds Pie. The recipe itself is fairly uncomplicated and, I’m sure, other families probably do it the same way, but the big secret for my family? How quickly it comes together. I mean, I make the mashed potatoes in a big batch on the weekends, then freeze them. When I want this easy Shepherds Pie, I just pop the mashed potatoes in the microwave while the crust is baking and the meat is cooking and then toss it all together. It’s like a symphony of yummy happening right there in my kitchen. Heh.

easy shepherds pie recipe feature

I made this the other night for just me and the hubby after work. And, of course, we couldn’t eat all that, so we popped it in the refrigerator and I took some to work for lunch the next day. I’d forgotten how RIDICULOUSLY good this recipe is as a day-after-meal. I mean, it’s like lasagna…just gets better with age. And sometimes, I like to let the Shepherds Pie sit in the oven for just a few minutes “too long” to make the mashed potatoes brown a little…So, if you’re into that, this recipe is the one for you. LOL!


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Do You Use a Crust for Shepherd’s Pie?

Yes, a crust is used on the bottom only of your shepherd’s pie. The top doesn’t need a crust, because the beautiful mashed potatoes on top somewhat resemble the look of meringue on a dessert pie.

What do You Need to Make Shepherd’s Pie?

Here are the basic things you need for shepherd’s pie, and some optional ingredients as well:

  • Casserole Dish or Deep Dish Pie Plate (paid links)
  • Pie Crust (store bought or homemade)
  • Ground Beef (you can substitute ground turkey, lamb, chicken, or pork)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • English Peas (if you use frozen peas, heat them first)
  • Celery Seed
  • Salt (regular or kosher salt)
  • Pepper
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Butter


  • Carrots (cook over medium heat until tender before adding to the meat mixture)
  • Thyme
  • Flour (can be used to stiffen the mashed potatoes, if desired)
  • Celery
  • Worcestershire Sauce (just add a teaspoon or so to the meat mixture)
  • Beef Broth
  • Fresh Parsley (for garnish)
  • Tomato Paste (a tablespoon tomato paste added to the meat will create a different flavor)

How do You Thicken Savoury Pie Filling?

In a large skillet, simmer the meat filling over medium high heat and stir in a spoon of all purpose flour or corn starch. If it gets too thick, you can thin it a bit with a small amount of meat broth. 

What is the Difference Between Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie?

In Europe, Shepherd’s pie is typically made from ground lamb, and cottage pie is made from beef. However, in the US, the term shepherd’s pie simply defines a meat pie with mashed potatoes on top, regardless of which meat is used. This dish is also sometimes referred to as Cumberland pie.

How do You Make Shepherds Pie Not Fall Apart?

If the crust is falling apart and you used a store bought crust, it may have been in the fridge too long. Sometimes, the pie crust tends to dry out after being in the fridge for a while. Also, make the mashed potatoes pretty stiff–don’t put too much liquid in them.

Why is a Shepherd’s Pie Called a Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s pie originated in Great Britain. The meat was originally diced or minced lamb. Because the shepherds tend the sheep, it was named shepherd’s pie.

What is the Difference Between Meat Pie and Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s pie is a meat pie, and it typically has mashed potatoes on top. However, a meat pie can be a little hand pie (sometimes moon shaped with almost any type of protein inside).

What are the Types of Pie Crust?

There are innumerable types of pie crusts. Just to name a few, here are some of them:

  • Bottom crust
  • Top Crust
  • Double Crust (top and bottom)
  • Lattice Crust (a cross-hatch pattern)
  • Homemade Crust
  • Store Bought Crust
  • Hand Pie Crust (little filled pie crust pockets, sometimes with a fluted edge)
  • Graham Cracker Crust
  • Cookie Crust


Easy Shepherds Pie {30-Minute Recipe}

easy shepherds pie recipe feature
Yield: 12

Shepherds Pie

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

One of my family's most favorite winter meals is one of my best kept secrets...Easy Shepherds Pie. The recipe itself is fairly uncomplicated and, I'm sure, other families probably do it the same way, but the big secret for my family? How quickly it comes together.


  • 1 Pie Crust
  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced Garlic
  • 1 can English Peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celery Seed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3 to 4 cups prepared Mashed Potatoes, warm
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar Cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 450⁰.
  2. Place ground beef, chopped onion, minced garlic, celery seed, salt and pepper in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.
  3. Stir occasionally and break hamburger into small pieces as it cooks.
  4. While the ground beef is cooking, place the pie crust in a pie pan. Using a fork, prick the bottom of the crust. Trim and crimp the edges.
  5. Place the pie crust in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.
  6. Continue cooking the ground beef until it is browned, then remove to a bowl lined with paper towels.
  7. Open the can of English Peas and drain off and discard the liquids. Place the peas in a small bowl and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  8. Remove and discard the paper toweling from underneath the browned hamburger meat.
  9. Add the drained and heated sweet peas to the hamburger and stir to combine.
  10. Spoon the combined hamburger and peas into the cooked pie shell.
  11. Spread the mashed potatoes over the hamburger and pea mixture.
  12. Top with the grated cheddar cheese.
  13. Place in preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until the cheese is slightly melted.

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