CrockPot Shepherd's Pie Recipe

Day 271.

Last week Maura emailed and asked if I had a crockpot shepherd's pie recipe. I didn't. I didn't even have a regular shepherd's pie recipe, and actually wasn't too clear on what went into one.

She sent me a base recipe, and I made it the other night in the crockpot. I also made a box of macaroni and cheese (Annie's gluten free, in the bright blue box) for the kids---just in case.

They ate the mac and cheese, but the stars must have been in a funky alignment because they also each ate a bowl of the shepherd's pie.

I was astonished.

The Ingredients.

--3 cups leftover mashed potatoes
--1 lb ground turkey or beef
--2 cloves garlic, chopped
--2 cups frozen vegetables (I used roasted corn and peas)
--1 medium onion, chopped finely, or 1 T onion flakes
--1/2 tsp seasoned salt
--1/2 tsp onion powder
--1/4 tsp black pepper
--1/4 tsp paprika (then a bit more for garnish)
--1 cup water
--2 cups shredded cheese

The Directions.

I used a 4 quart crockpot---it was the perfect size. A larger will work, but it will cook faster.

Brown the meat and onion on the stove, and drain any fat. Toss the meat with the spices and garlic---I didn't but next time I'd probably put the garlic and spices in with the meat in the frying pan, it would be easier.

Spray the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray. Put the meat in the crockpot and stir in the frozen vegetables, and a cup of water. Add two cups of cheese on top. Press the mashed potatoes down on top of the cheese and meat. Sprinkle with a bit of paprika.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for about 3, then remove the lid and cook on high for 30 minutes to release the condensation and allow the potatoes to brown a bit on top. Everything is cooked already, so you're really just allowing the flavors to meld and the potatoes to crustify.

Someone will ask about using raw meat. I'm sure it will work, but I have a swimming-in-fat-and-grease phobia, so I didn't do it. If you are going to try, I'd cut the water down to 1/2 a cup and remember that the potatoes might not get the type of crust you are looking for unless you vent the crockpot with a chopstick or wooden spoon.

The Verdict.

I will make this again. I loved it that all of us ate the same thing at the table, and the kids really enjoyed the meat and potatoes.
Thank you, Maura!

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at September 27, 2008

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What they say about this article

  1. Anonymous9/27/2008

    I love that you used the term "crustify."

  2. This is great, just this week I was thinking that we haven't had Shepherd's Pie for a long long time, and thought hmmmmm sound like something I can make in the crockpot. You have saved me some time figuring out the details. Thanks.
    I look forward to reading your blog every day and seeing what you come up with next.


  3. Yummy! I will try this one! My kids love mashed potatos!

    I wanted to tell you that I found your blog way back in the summer and have been hooked ever since. I check it everyday to see what you are making. You inspired me to make my formally ignored crockpot into my new best friend! Last weekend I made the homemade applesauce and I thought my kids would lick the inside of the crockpot clean! Today I am using my little dipper to make your cheesy bacon dip for Hubs since he wanted something to eat while watching football games! Thank you so much for inspiring me to be a better cook!

  4. Isn't it nice that sometimes kids will surprise you with what they eat? This looks really good. I love Shepherd's Pie, and it would be fun to try it in the crockpot. :-)

  5. Anonymous9/27/2008

    It's impossible for everyone in my house to eat the same thing at dinner. My sister eats a sandwich from Subway, I eat something vegan, and my parents order pizza. I wish we could be like your family!

    That shepherd's pie sounds divine. My mom always uses Rachael Ray's recipe from 30 minute meals. It's amazing btw. But I think Mac and Cheese is always a safe bet, vegan or not.

  6. if everything is all cooked, do you think you would need to cook for 6 hrs? would reducing it to like, 4 hrs work? or do you think it would work ok on high for 2-3 hrs?

  7. steph, absolutely! I added the high time to the directions.


    I'm eating a bowl right now for lunch. The potatoes are back to being more of a mashed consistency, but the flavor is really tasty. I really like it.

  8. This looks great! Easy, tasty, uses leftovers: perfect for a school day.

  9. I have just come across your blog. It's obvious that I've been living under a rock because if I had known about your blog--I would have been here since January.

    : )

  10. Anonymous9/27/2008

    Who has leftover mashed potatoes? Never heard of them!

  11. I love Shepherd's Pie. Finally broke down and make one a week ago, and was kicking myself afterwards for not making one sooner. :-)

  12. Hey there! here in England, Shepherds pie is a very very common dish,usually has diced carrot and onion in with the minced beef ( And I chuck in a beef stock cube too)Also we "fluff" the top with a fork and when Crusty, sprinkle on grated cheese and brown under the grill
    :-) YUM!!
    Am doing a whole gammon joint in my crock tomorrow, can't wait!!

  13. I have yet another variation on shephard's pie that you might like.

    I use sweet potatoes instead of white, mixed with a chipotle pepper. Inside, I use cumin and corn, along with the traditional peas and carrots.

    I'm sure you could do it in the crockpot!

  14. Stephanie --
    Love your blog! Am so glad that an E-friend pointed me your way.

  15. Anonymous9/27/2008

    I just have to tell you that I check this blog every day (though I lurk and never comment - sorry!).

    I am SO, SO grateful that you have a blog that DOESN'T use cans of commercial soup in every recipe. I can't find a crockpot cookbook that doesn't use them, and the thought of all those chemicals bothers me.

    So thanks, from a (lurking) fan! :)

  16. Anonymous9/28/2008

    Quick Question: I always make Shepherd's Pie with a cheesy layer on the very top (right above the mashed potatoes). If I do it that way in the crock pot, any chance the cheese will get that kind of crusty brown(ish) it does in the oven (if I follow the advice of taking the top off for the end of the cooking time)?

  17. Hi Becky,

    Ooh, I like that idea of an added layer of cheese. The cheese on the edges will get brown and a bit crusty, but it won't be the exact same as it would be if you broiled in the oven. Your stoneware is oven-safe, though, and you can plop it under the broiler (without the glass lid, of course!!!) for a minute or two if you'd like the top more browned.


  18. I have been following this for a couple of months now...surfed in from BHB on BBC (which is switching formats....argh) and you have helped me become a healthier cook who does not spend a ton of money on groceries (nor all evening in the kitchen!). This has come in handy since moving 1000+miles. I finally decided to comment as just as I NEEDED a crock pot Sheperd's Pie Recipe (bought some ground beef that I realized had about a day before going bad) appeared! You read my mind!

    Again, thanks for your blog. I now own 2 crockpots and have increased my expertise 1000 fold. Keep 'em coming!


  19. Anonymous9/29/2008

    If you don't have leftover mashed potatoes, the prepared mashed potatoes that are sold in the refrigerated meat section (like Bob Evans or Country Crock brand) work well. Just microwave them for a couple minutes, stir them and put on top.


  20. I haven't check your blog for a couple of days, and wouldn't you know I already have ribs in by 'pot, or I would be making this for dinner tonight.

    Thanks so much!!!

    PS I lived in the HMB for about five years.

  21. I just appreciate all of the gluten-free recipes, you have saved my life!

  22. I love your blog! Found it and got hooked on it when our stove caught fire and was out of commission for a couple weeks.
    I made this recipe yesterday since it had been forever since we'd had shepherd's pie. All went according to plan except for my dear, sweet hubby who decided to give it a good stir right before I went to open the lid and let it crust up. "What are you doing?!?" I asked. He felt so bad when he realized it was supposed to stay layered. It never did get crusty, but it was SO tasty even mixed up, lol! Our dinner guest wasn't able to finish her second bowl, and begged for a container to take it home in!

  23. Just had to let you know I made this (Shepherd's Pie) this week for my hubby! I was telling him all about the different stuff you make in your crock. When I read SP, he practically did a back flip and asked me to try it. So I did. (We've been married almost 11 years and I had no idea he liked SP!) ANYWAY...I made it...he loved it! My so much, but that won't stop me from making it again...they're 6 & 4...they'll learn! =)

    Thanks for the recipe!

  24. I could not believe my nearly 17-month-old scarfed down a full plate of this! Not to mention how much I ate.:) This was great and will definitely be made again! Thanks for the recipe!

  25. Anonymous10/10/2008

    I made this for dinner tonight, and it was sooo good! I added about a half teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce to the cup of water, and it helped to boost the flavor of the meat. I'll definitely make this again!

  26. I am trying this one today! I know it will be marvelous!


  27. Anonymous10/21/2008

    I am officially addicted to your blog. My husband loves SP (why do men love this so much?) so two days ago I Googled "Shepard's Pie Crockpot" and after a few duds, found your blog.
    I have been giggling ever since. I made the SP that night and the verdict was good!
    Thank you so much for your time and honest results. My favorite so far is "Oh My Little Pony!" referring to the Tomatoes and Goat Cheese with Cranberry Balsamic - which I plan on making later this week after a trip to the grocery.
    My only question... what happens after Dec 31st??? :)

  28. Anonymous10/29/2008

    I really enjoy Shepherd's Pie, but rather than mashed potatoes on top, I use macaroni & cheese. Usually when I make this, I make homemade mac & cheese. I'll have to try this in the crockpot! Thanks for such a great blog!

  29. After Thanksgiving, we used leftovers to make a turkey shepherd's pie. We used diced turkey, turkey gravy, and left-over mashed potatoes. We could also have used succotash (corn and lima beans for the uninitiated) instead of the peas and carrots, but we didn't. Turned out pretty well, though I increased the recipe for a 6 quart crockpot and it made A LOT. We've had 8 adult meals and 3 toddler meals out of it and still have a bit left.

  30. Anonymous3/17/2009

    Making your recipe for the second time. Great for when I am working. Have you ever considered substituting a little red wine for some of the water?

  31. Your blog has inspired me to use my Crock Pot at least once a week! And this week, twice! I tried this and I thought it was delicious...reminds me of a meal I grew up on. Tonight...your Vietnamese Chicken. Thanks so much!

  32. Hi Stephanie,

    This looks awesome and I will def try it exactly like this.

    Just thought it would be worth mentioning though that Shepherds Pie (practically our national dish here in England) should actually be made with ground or minced LAMB. (There's a logic there, right?!?). It was a way to use up leftovers from the Sunday roast. However, we often make it with beef here too 'cos it's so much cheaper. If you ever want an interesting variation to try though or have leftover lamb, that's the way forward!

    LOVE your blog. I'm actually working my way through the alphabetical list 'cos I don't want to miss any good recipes and I only discovered the blog in the summer. I've passed the link to so many people!!!

  33. I left the cheese out, but I did get a bit of grease in the bottom. Still quite good though. Very rich.

  34. This really is an excellent recipe.

    Two things...

    First, I added a little Worcestershire as per someone's suggestion, but it made it too salty in my opinion.

    Second, I didn't have mashed potatoes, so I used 3 cups of frozen shredded worked great!

  35. Thanks! I never thought of doing this in the crockpot!

    A couple other suggestions....
    I put gravey in with the meat instead of water, you could use a thin beef gravy or even beef broth. Also, I mix the cheese into my potatoes with a little low fat Daisey sour cream and everyone loves it!

  36. I'm from the deep South and we never made Sheperds Pie - we made something similar, but not quite "it". My hubby on the other hand, is from the North and grew up with Sheperds Pie. I love to cook and try new things, but this was one I haven't tried - I was afraid it wouldn't live up to his moms!

    I love, love, love my crock pot and use it all the time, so when I came upon this recipe, I nearly leapt out of my chair! I'm happy to report that I made it yesterday and it is yummmmmmmmy! As previously stated, I put mine under the broiler for a couple of minutes to crust up cheese on the top and it was really phenomenal!

    Thanks so much for your blog!

  37. Hjcary1/02/2010

    This was great. For the meat I actually used leftover turkey breast. I diced it up really small.Mmmm

  38. Anonymous2/08/2010

    Delicious recipe, but it should actually be called "Cottage Pie". Shepherd's Pie always has lamb in it, hence the name 'shepherd'. Cottage pie is the same, but it has beef in it instead of the lamb!

    From an anonymous UK and US citizen.

  39. Anonymous3/23/2010

    I made this, took it to school for St. Patrick's Day. It must have been good because I didn't get any. It was gone by the time I went to lunch. I will try it again. thanks,

  40. I'm making this today! Exactly two years later!!!
    I'm using Yves vegetarian ground round so we'll see ;)
    Thanks Stephanie for a GREAT blog!!!

  41. I have never tried crockpot shepherd's pie. Thanks for the idea!

  42. I'm making this right now!
    I was originally going to bake my chicken shepherd's pie in the oven, but the drywall between the kitchen and the bathroom is being torn out today. Your recipe was a godsend!

  43. Anonymous9/27/2011

    I just came across your blog - love it!! Do you think it makes a difference if the recipe is made the night before, refrigerated, then cooked the next morning?

  44. I LOVE this recipe!!!!!!!! You did such a fabulous job on this one. Everybody in my family will eat this. SCORE!!!!!

  45. Anonymous2/06/2012

    I love your blog! I live in a single room basement apartment, so i can't really cook anything that can't be done in a crockpot or microwave and this has made it so easy to cook food that i actually want to eat and is healthy too! Love it!

  46. Trying it today and can't wait for the results! I love the variety of this recipe. I actually get to take the top off! Usually that is a no-no for crock pot recipes.

  47. Thanks for this great recipe! Making it for the second time tonight. It's always a great thing when I make something that my husband goes back for more of... :)

  48. try subbing tomato sauce for the water. The flavor additions make it even yummier! :-)

  49. Anonymous12/17/2012

    I made it for the first time.

    Wow, it's good. It combines turkey, vegetables, and mashed potatoes.

    I had it layered, as suggested.

    6 hours in the crockpot on low did it.

    I'm going to make it again, probably cook it for 8 hours on low.

  50. I have this cooking as I type. I am using ground chicken. It rendered hardly any fat, so I might try using it raw next time.

  51. I honestly had high hopes for this recipe. I make shepherd's pie often, so I thought trying it the crock pot would be cool. I followed the recipe to the T, and I ended up with a soupy mess. I even shoved the crock in the oven to try to get it to set. Generally when I make shepherd's pie, I add some kind of thickener like cornstarch or flour to the meat before covering it with potatoes. Maybe that's why it wasn't thick enough? I guess I just don't get the point of making this in a crock pot. By the time all the prep work was done, I could have popped this in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes and get better results. As an aside, my husband and adult daughter did eat it, and they said it was okay, but they will eat just about anything.