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This crockpot shepherd’s pie is made with widely available ingredients! Rich beef stew with cheesy mashed potatoes on top is comfort food at its finest.

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This crockpot shepherd’s pie is a beefy and easy take on the classic comfort food.

Instead of lamb, this slow cooker shepherd’s pie recipe uses the readily available ground beef.

Crockpot Shepherd's Pie

The thick and savory stew is made extra hearty with frozen veggies and then topped with fluffy parmesan mashed potatoes before being cooked low and slow in the crock pot. 

Make this flavorful shepherds pie crockpot recipe for a filling but fuss-free family dinner, or serve the comforting dish in your gatherings these cooler months!

What is Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s pie is technically not a pie in the sense that it doesn’t have a crust. It’s more of a casserole featuring a savory stew baked with mashed potatoes on top.

But for this recipe, we’re putting two twists to the classic comfort food. 

First, this crockpot shepherds pie uses beef instead of lamb.

“But if the dish uses beef, that’s not a shepherd’s pie. That’s a cottage pie!” – Shepherd’s pie purists, probably. 😅

I think what matters is knowing the difference between the two.

What is Shepherd's Pie

Nowadays, most people use the terms shepherd’s pie and cottage pie interchangeably. I’m sure every home also has its own version of shepherd’s pie.

Have you ever thought of making it in the slow cooker?

After browning the ground beef, we’ll cook the shepherd’s pie in a crockpot!

This means you can just let your slow cooker do the work and come back to a filling and delicious meal.

Therefore, this crockpot recipe for shepherd’s pie is perfect for the busy and hungry!

shepherd's pie in a crockpot

Why You’ll Love This Shepherds Pie Crockpot Recipe

  • Available All The Time: Satisfy your shepherd’s pie cravings with this crockpot recipe that uses ground beef. Even the other ingredients for this dish are likely already in your pantry!
  • Hearty and Delicious: This crockpot cottage pie is satisfying with its rich, chunky beef filling and cheesy, creamy mashed potato topping. Every slice is comforting and guaranteed to make your taste buds and belly happy. 
  • Great For Multi-Tasking: Once you finish the quick beef stew, this slow cooker shepherds pie recipe is pretty much hands-off! You can also use the time to get other things done, so it’s perfect for hosting!

What Does Crockpot Shepherd’s Pie Taste Like?

This crockpot shepherd’s pie tastes rich, savory, beefy, and even a bit cheesy because of the parmesan mashed potatoes.

The ground beef stew underneath is hearty and thick (not soupy or greasy!), which makes a delicious combo with the creamy potato topping. 

What Does Crockpot Shepherd's Pie Taste Like

We also stuck to the classics and used peas, carrots, and corn in the ground beef filling. They add flavor, texture, and color to the dish, so it’s a feast for the eyes and tummy. 🤤

Making shepherd’s pie in a crockpot means the dish is cooked low and slow, allowing all the delicious flavors to deepen and blend beautifully.

This beef shepherd’s pie is also made even better by thyme, rosemary, parsley, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce! Can you just imagine the mouthwatering aroma in your kitchen???

Oh, and this is one of those dishes that will taste better after storage!

slow cooker shepherd's pie

What’s in a Shepherd’s Pie?

Beef filling:

  • Olive oil – For browning the ground beef. 
  • Onion – The perfect base for cooking the beef. I recommend something sweet like yellow onion. 
  • Ground beef – This slow cooker shepherd’s pie uses 90% lean ground beef, so it’s flavorful without being too greasy. 
  • Thyme – We’ll make the beef filling with different dried herbs to boost its flavor. 
  • Rosemary – Rosemary always tastes great in beef recipes!
  • Parsley – Another delicious herb that pairs really well with beef. 
  • Salt – Don’t forget to taste as you go, and season your beef stew with salt as needed!
  • Ground black pepper – You can’t go wrong with black pepper in classic dishes like shepherd’s pie.
  • Garlic – The strong, savory-spicy garlic flavor completes this shepherd’s pie crockpot recipe.
  • Worcestershire sauce – The umami booster for the slow cooker shepherd’s pie meaty filling. 
  • Tomato paste – A delicious thickening agent for our beef filling. 
  • All-purpose flour – Say goodbye to watery shepherd’s pie! This dish has a thick stew thanks to flour and tomato paste.
  • Beef broth – The main liquid for our savory sauce. 
  • Frozen peas and carrots – Make this crock pot cottage pie any time with frozen mixed veggies!
  • Frozen corn – Makes the filling tastier and heartier.

Mashed potato topping:

  • Russet potatoes – Perfectly starchy for mashed potatoes.
  • Half and half – Makes the mashed potatoes creamy for the best spreadable consistency.
  • Unsalted butter – Of course, our mashed potato topping will be incomplete without butter.
  • Salt – Just to season the potatoes some more.
  • Ground black pepper – Yep, there’s no shortage of seasoning in this crock pot shepherd’s pie.
  • Garlic powder – Our beef filling has minced garlic, while our mashed potato topping has garlic powder for savory goodness in every layer. 
  • Parmesan cheese – You can also add more cheese on top before cooking the shepherd’s pie in the crockpot. 
  • Non-stick cooking spray – For preparing the crockpot. 

Tools Needed To Prepare Shepherd’s Pie in a Crockpot

Ingredient Additions & Substitutions For Shepherds Pie

Ground lamb

This crockpot cottage pie uses ground beef, so you can whip up the comforting dish whenever you want. But if you can’t bear calling this beef recipe shepherd’s pie, feel free to use ground lamb!

It’s the perfect St. Patrick’s Day dish!

More cheese

Make your beef crockpot shepherd’s pie extra cheesy! Add a layer of shredded cheddar cheese between the meat filling and potatoes.

You can also open the slow cooker after the 5-hour cooking time, sprinkle shredded cheese over the shepherds pie, and cook for 10 minutes more for a melty cheese topping. 

Add-ins for the meat filling

This slow cooker cottage pie is a delicious way to sneak more veggies into your diet!

For example, make the beef stew filling with green beans or diced tomatoes.

Me? I like adding mushrooms, especially when making a big batch of shepherd’s pie to feed a crowd. 

How to Make Crockpot Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

Beef filling:

Mashed potato topping:

Tools you need:

Instructions:

STEP 1: Gather the ingredients for your crockpot shepherd’s pie. Prepare the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.

Crockpot Shepherd's Pie ingredients

STEP 2: Pour the oil into a skillet and heat over medium-high for 2 minutes.

STEP 3: Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally.

STEP 4: Together with the herbs and seasonings, brown the beef in the skillet for 6 to 8 minutes, breaking the ground meat apart and stirring the mixture occasionally. Drain the excess grease.

step 4 Crockpot Shepherd's Pie

STEP 5: Stir in the garlic and Worcestershire sauce and cook for 1 minute.

STEP 6: Add the tomato paste and flour and mix until incorporated and clump-free.

step 6 Crockpot Shepherd's Pie

STEP 7: Pour the broth into the pan and add the frozen vegetables. Bring the stew to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Set the filling aside.

step 7 Crockpot Shepherd's Pie

STEP 8: Let’s make the mashed potato topping. Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil.

STEP 9: Reduce to a simmer and cook the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender.

step 9 Crockpot Shepherd's Pie

STEP 10: Drain the potatoes and return to the pot to rest for a minute.

STEP 11: Mash the potatoes with the other ingredients.

step 11a Crockpot Shepherd's Pie
step 11b Crockpot Shepherd's Pie

STEP 12: We’re now ready to assemble the shepherds pie! Pour the beef mixture into the bottom of the crockpot.

step 12 Crockpot Shepherd's Pie

STEP 13: Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the meat stew.

step 13 Crockpot Shepherd's Pie

STEP 14: Cover with lid and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or until bubbly.

step 14a Crockpot Shepherd's Pie
step 14b Crockpot Shepherd's Pie

What Goes Good with Shepherd’s Pie?

Serve crockpot shepherd’s pie with veggies on the side! Try spinach salad, roasted Brussels, or crispy fried onions, for example. 

For me, the savory dish pairs well with crusty baguette slices smeared with butter. Garlic mushrooms will also taste amazing, especially with the mashed potato layer and beef stew. 

What Goes Good with Shepherd's Pie

Serving this slow cooker shepherd’s pie for your holiday gathering? Have it alongside a soothing appetizer like our crockpot white chicken chili! (Yes, this one is also made in the crockpot!)

Our chicken lettuce wraps are also a tasty way to tease your taste buds while waiting for the shepherd’s pie.

Tips About Making Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie

  • Slow cookers cook differently, so adjust the cooking time as needed. 
  • Brown the beef first instead of putting the raw ground beef in the crockpot. This way, your meat will be evenly and thoroughly cooked, and you can also drain the excess grease from cooking the ground beef. No one wants a greasy shepherd’s pie!
  • Don’t forget to put the drained cooked potatoes back in the pot for a minute! This will dry them out so they won’t add moisture to the final mash. OR you can just use instant mashed potatoes for this crockpot shepherd’s pie for hassle-free prep work. 
  • Want to make this beef shepherds pie in the oven? Pour and spread the beef mixture into a baking dish, then layer the mashed potatoes on top. Bake the dish uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes in the oven preheated to 400°F, and cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. 

How To Store Crockpot Shepherds Pie

  • Fridge: Shepherd’s pie tastes better the next day, and I’m pleased to tell you that you can refrigerate your leftovers for this dish in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer: You can freeze your shepherd’s pie for up to two months. Transfer to a casserole dish for easy reheating, then cover with foil after it cools down. Reheat the dish from frozen (still covered with foil) at 350ºF for an hour in the oven. 
  • Reheating: Just pop your leftover shepherd’s pie in the microwave for a minute or two until warmed through. If you want the topping a bit crispy, you can also reheat the dish in the air fryer at 400°F for a few minutes. 
How To Store Crockpot Shepherds Pie

Why Is It Called Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s pie got its name because it’s a dish made with lamb. (Shepherd = a person who tends sheep. Got the connection?)

This is why I completely understand if you think this crock pot shepherd’s pie should be called crock pot cottage pie. 😅’

Anyway, it’s up to you to decide what you want to call this slow cooker dish. Nowadays, there are a lot of shepherd’s pie variations made with meat that’s not lamb. 

shepherds pie

Can I Substitute Turkey for Ground Beef in Shepherds Pie?

Definitely! Ground turkey works for shepherd’s pie and is a delicious light alternative to ground beef and lamb.

Most people won’t be able to tell the difference in taste between ground turkey filling and beef turkey filling for shepherd’s pie. 

However, for the best experience, you still want to brown your ground turkey with seasonings and spices before using it in the slow cooker. 

Love turkey? We’ve also swapped them with beef burgers in this turkey bacon ranch sliders recipe. 😋

FAQ About Shepherd’s Pie

Can shepherd’s pie be made in the crockpot?

Yep. This crockpot shepherd’s pie recipe is actually perfect for multi-tasking because after browning the beef, it’s mostly hands-free. 

How long do you cook shepherd’s pie?

Cooking shepherd’s pie in a slow cooker can take up to 6 hours. Just keep in mind that every slow cooker and recipe is different, so adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Can you freeze shepherd’s pie?

Yes! You can freeze shepherd’s pie before and after cooking. For the former, wrap the cooled assembled shepherd’s pie with plastic wrap and freeze. Thaw overnight, then cook as usual. 

Can you turn beef stew into shepherd’s pie?

Of course. This is also a clever way to use up leftover beef stew. The chunks of beef in the stew might even be more enjoyable to eat than ground meat.

Does shepherd’s pie have cheese?

Based on the origin story of shepherd’s pie, it doesn’t include cheese. But if you love cheese, don’t worry; it definitely has a place in the savory dish. Parmesan and sharp cheddar cheese will taste amazing in shepherd’s pie.

Crockpot Shepherd's Pie Recipe

Crockpot Shepherd's Pie

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 20 minutes

This crockpot shepherd's pie is made with widely available ingredients! Rich beef stew with cheesy mashed potatoes on top is comfort food at its finest.

Instructions

  1. Gather the ingredients for your crockpot shepherd's pie. Prepare the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Pour the oil into a skillet and heat over medium-high for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally.
  4. Together with the herbs and seasonings, brown the beef in the skillet for 6 to 8 minutes, breaking the ground meat apart and stirring the mixture occasionally. Drain the excess grease.
  5. Stir in the garlic and Worcestershire sauce and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add the tomato paste and flour and mix until incorporated and clump-free.
  7. Pour the broth into the pan and add the frozen vegetables. Bring the stew to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Set the filling aside.
  8. Let's make the mashed potato topping. Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil.
  9. Reduce to a simmer and cook the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender.
  10. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot to rest for a minute.
  11. Mash the potatoes with the other ingredients.
  12. We're now ready to assemble the shepherds pie! Pour the beef mixture into the bottom of the crockpot.
  13. Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the meat stew.
  14. Cover with lid and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or until bubbly.

Notes

  • The cooking times are only guidelines. Test the recipe in your slow cooker and adjust the time as needed.
  • I prefer browning the ground beef first and not using raw beef in the crockpot. This way, the meat will be cooked evenly, and you can drain the excess grease before adding it to the slow cooker.
  • We're putting the drained potatoes back into the pot for a minute to dry them out further and keep them from adding moisture to the final mash. But if making the mashed potatoes seems like a hassle, you can always use instant potatoes for this crockpot shepherd's pie!
  • You can make this shepherds pie in the oven! Just pour and spread the beef mixture into a baking dish evenly, and spoon the mashed potatoes on top. Bake the pie uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes at 400°F, and cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 458Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 1286mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 32g

* Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for the most accurate results.

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Conclusion

Comforting, filling, and delicious, it wouldn’t surprise me to see this crockpot shepherd’s pie in our dinner rotation.

This variation of the classic dish is also made in the slow cooker, so it’s perfect for multi-tasking!

This shepherd’s pie recipe uses ground beef for convenience, but feel free to use lamb and stick to the “real” definition of shepherds pie. 

Just make sure to brown your meat first so it’ll be thoroughly and evenly cooked. 

After this step, your crock pot will pretty much do the rest. After 5 to 6 hours, come back to a satisfying, savory meal with the perfect potato to beef ratio.

Who needs appetizers when you can just smell this cozy casserole?

shepherds pie crockpot recipe

Love this crockpot shepherd’s pie? Here are our favorite recipes that are as hearty and tasty to please busy families and hungry crowds:

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