Easy Shepherd’s Pie With Instant Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Easy Shepherd's Pie With Instant Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Today I will show an easy Easy Shepherd’s Pie with instant mashed potatoes recipe.

This instant mashed potato version of the classic Shephard’s Pie will win everyone’s hearts, especially the ones who make it. For me, it’s easy, fast, and filling. A convenient meal to feed a hungry family on a busy schedule.

You don’t need many ingredients; most of them we already have in our pantries. Similar to a casserole, all you have to do is mix the ingredients and let them roast for 30-45 minutes in a preheated oven. Fortunately, there’s not much active labor going into it.

This gravy-scented, warming, soup-filled, beefy deliciousness might bring up childhood memories, especially of your grandmother’s pro mashed potatoes.

Understandably, that’s hard to compete with, but adding extra butter and whole milk to instant mashed potatoes can give you a very rich taste.

Can you make shepherds pie with instant mashed potatoes?

Instant mashed potatoes

Shepherd’s Pie is a classic meal with real history, but modern versions are altered to suit today’s tastes. Such variations include using beef instead of lamb and, in some cases, using frozen or instant ingredients for convenience.

Incorporating frozen veggies or instant mashed potatoes can still yield an amazing pie after all. Most often, we don’t have the time or means to make meals from scratch.

These shortcuts are nothing to be ashamed of and don’t lower the quality of the final meal. Use quality meat and spices, add some broth as well, and you can’t go wrong with it.

Basically, the only thing you must do before throwing this meal into the oven is brown the ground meat. Anything else is optional.

How long does it take to make the shepherd’s pie with instant mashed potatoes?

How long does it take to make the shepherd's pie with instant mashed potatoes

This classic dish, which feeds many and is filling and tasty, can be done in 50 minutes altogether. You can speed up the cooking process by preparing ahead of time.

You can prepare the ground meat days ahead and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. This is also true for veggies. This can cut down on cooking time significantly.

You can either prepare this meal with instant or handmade potatoes.

Naturally, instant mashed potatoes are way faster and can be elevated in taste by adding extra butter and milk.

It’s better to mix the ingredients while they are still warm because they stick and merge better. This recipe is perfect when you don’t have much time but still crave a real cooked, hot meal.

What’s in this recipe?

Instant mashed potatoes

Shepherds’ Pie was originally made with lamb instead of ground beef, hence its name. Shepherds’ Pie with beef is considered a US version of this dish, but it’s the most commonly prepared recipe for this meal.

All you need for a regular Shephards’ Pie is ground meat, just like beef, pork, or lamb, mashed potatoes, instant or handmade, cheese, gravy, broth, veggies, some tablespoons of flour, and spices.

Adding mushroom cream soup is optional but very much elevates this recipe. 

When making instant mashed potatoes, there’s a cool trick to make them taste like your grandma’s: add some extra milk and butter to them. The most fitting seasonings for this dish are thyme, paprika, pepper, salt, nutmeg, and cumin.

Easy Shepherd's Pie With Instant Mashed Potatoes (Easy Recipe)

Shepherd's Pie With Instant Mashed Potatoes

Shepherd’s Pie is an ideal comfort food both for regular weekdays and special occasions. Stirring up this hearty and warm dish doesn’t take much time or active labor, and you don’t need anything fancy for it.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Resting Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings


  • 1 pound Ground beef, pan-fried
  • 1 cup Brown gravy
  • 1 cup Cream mushroom soup
  • 2 ½ cup Instant mashed potatoes, prepared according to instructions
  • ½ Frozen vegetables
  • 1/3 cup Broth (beef or chicken)
  • Salt and black pepper (ground)
  • 1 tbsp Nutmeg, ground
  • 1 cup Shredded ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dried thyme
  • 3 tbsp Flour
  • 1 teaspoon 1 smoked paprika (ground)
  • 3 Cloves of garlic minced (chopped)


  • Prepare the instant mashed potatoes following the instructions given in the box.
  • Saute the ground beef on medium heat with the minced garlic, smoked paprika, and dried thyme for 8-12 minutes.
  • Add the frozen veggies, broth, gravy, mushroom soup, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 10 more minutes on medium heat, and before removing from the heat, mix in the flour slowly. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease your baking dish. (9*13)
  • Combine the ingredients in the baking dish, add a layer of cheese, and layer the mashed potato on top. Spread the remaining cheese on top of the mashed potatoes.
  • Bake the Shepherd's Pie for 40 minutes in the preheated oven until it’s bubbling.
  • Rest it for 10 minutes before serving it.


A large casserole dish is ideal to bake it in. This recipe uses beef, but feel free to change it up to lamb meat. If you let it rest for a while after baking, the gravy will thicken the pie.
Keyword Easy Shepherd's Pie With Instant Mashed Potatoes
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Can I use homemade mashed potatoes?

Homemade mashed potatoes are one dish we eagerly wait to devour on any occasion. Homey, tasty, filling, delicious, especially with some gravy.

That is why we feel especially guilty when replacing such a staple dish with an instant one. However, that happens, we are busy all the time, and that is a fair reason to use instant convenience replacements.

However, when you have time for that, make a homemade mashed potato. Both work perfectly with this recipe.

To create separate layers in the pie, wait for the filling to completely cool before layering the mashed potatoes on top. It’s best to layer cheese both under and over the mashed potato.

This recipe is also a good way to use the leftover mashed potatoes you have at hand.

Can I use frozen vegetables?

Frozen veggies have an undeservedly bad reputation, despite being more vitamin-dense than their fresh counterparts. In the winter months, it’s advisable to stock up on them because they are of much better quality than fresh veggies.

This recipe is perfect for using either fresh or frozen vegetables. A general one will do just fine with peas, corn, green beans, carrots, and onions.

There are some veggies, like onions and garlic, that are not included in most frozen packets, so you have to add them fresh. Also, go for bite-sized pieces of veggies. 

Tips to improve this recipe

Mushrooms can be dividing ingredients. They add so much depth to meals, but you can leave them out if you don’t like the taste. Instead, add some cream, extra bacon, smoked paprika, and some more broth. 

When mixing the filling, make sure the ground meat is still warm to help the mixture stick together and blend well. You can also create a separate layer by letting the filling cool down before piling on the mashed potatoes.

Adding a layer of cheese below the potatoes and also above them can help stick together the dish and add extra richness and taste.

Some cooks also swear by adding some condensed tomato puree as well. In that case, add some sugary ingredients as well, such as maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar.

Final words

This recipe is very quick and easy to whip together, even on a time budget. You can proudly serve it as a festive meal or as a larger dinner. Leftover shepherds’ pie should not be frozen because cream, soup, and broth will just break the texture.

There are some great sides to pair it with, such as glazed carrots or bean and onion salad. But a simple green or leafy salad is excellent too. 

When making a UK version of this filling meal called Cottage Pie, you can also add lentils, barley, and beans to it, and make it with lamb instead of beef.

The American version utilizes beef, pork, turkey, and chicken ground meats, sometimes mixing them into one filling. Some home cooks love to add some eggs to it as well.

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