This Tukey Shepherd’s Pie recipe is the definition of comfort food and so easy thanks to leftover turkey or rotisserie chicken – the dish practically makes itself!
Turkey Shepherd’s Pie is the ideal cozy recipe for using up those holiday leftovers, or swap in ground turkey or rotisserie chicken! It’s loaded with juicy turkey, carrots, bell peppers and peas swaddled in a creamy, herb-infused sauce all topped with creamy mashed potatoes and melty Gruyere cheese. This shepherd’s pie recipe is super easy to prep with leftovers, make ahead friendly (just pop it in the oven) and freezes well too. Serve it up with some bacon broccoli salad and dinner rolls to complete the feast!
How to Make Turkey Shepherd’s Pie Video
Ingredients in Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, herbs and aromatics come together to create this rich, savory, satisfying Turkey Shepherds Pie. You can also make everything from scratch for this recipe, of course! Let’s review the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe (measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
How to Make Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
This recipe uses leftover turkey and potatoes, so much of the prep work is already taken care of! Here’s a look at how make this shepherd’s pie recipe (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
- Step 1: Cook the vegetables. Sauté the onions, bell peppers, carrots, and celery in a large oven safe pan. Add the garlic and sauté 30 more seconds.
- Step 2: Make the sauce. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook while stirring for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat and stir in the chicken broth, milk and herbs.
- Step 3: Simmer. Bring the sauce to a simmer and continue to simmer until thickened.
- Step 4: Add the turkey and peas: Stir in the turkey and peas and heat through for about 1 minute over medium heat.
- Step 5: Top with mashed potatoes. Spread the mashed potatoes over the filling, then top with shredded cheese.
- Step 6: Bake. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and cheese is completely melted. Finally, turn to broil to crisp up those potato peaks!
WHAT to serve with Shepherds Pie
Turkey Shepherd’s Pie is practically a meal in one with carbs, protein, and veggies all included in the recipe! Round out your meal with one of the following sides:
Shepherd’s Pie FAQS
Shepherd’s pie (or more accurately termed “Cottage pie,” when made with beef, “shepherd’s pie when made with lamb), had been around for centuries.
The name “cottage pie” predates “shepherd’s” by nearly a hundred years but each name has come to be used synonymously with the other.
In addition, another variation is called Cumberland Pie in which the mashed potatoes are coated with breadcrumbs. On your next trip to The UK you will know exactly what is on the menu!
Shepherd’s pie comes to us from England when the humble cottagers used potatoes in almost every meal. It is now popular worldwide as a layered casserole of meat and vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes and baked until the potatoes reach golden perfection.
Sometime in England between 1861 and 1907, humble working class women found a way to make leftover roasted meat go farther by combining it with the humble potato in shepherd’s pie.
Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, by Isabella Beeton, recipe 1427 is an early version of shepherd’s pie. In the recipe, a pie dish is is lined with mashed potatoes first, followed by the meat. In Scotland, it became popular to cook shepherd’s pie in a piecrust. This yummy combination of meat, potatoes and veggies began with many variations and that trend continues with this Turkey Shepherd’s Pie!
Many cultures seem to have a version of shepherd’s pie and they all think theirs is the best! That means you could have a lot of fun experimenting to find your FAVORITE version! Here are just a few:
Chilean Shepherd’s Pie: The Chilean dish of “pastel de papa,” is similar to shepherd’s pie and eaten in many parts of the world. It also contains hard-boiled eggs, raisins and black olives.
French Shepherd’s Pie: Also “hachis Parmentier” is the French version, named after the Frenchman who convinced his country to eat potatoes. “Hachis,” which takes its root from the English word “hatchet,” means a dish containing chopped or minced ingredients.
Californian Shepherd’s Pie: This version includes chopped tomatoes, parsnips, rosemary and olives.
This shepherd’s pie recipe is extremely flexible – you can really add whatever you like! You an use different types of vegetables such as green beans, mushrooms and corn, leftover stuffing, and even spinach!
Absolutely! If you don’t have leftover mashed potatoes on hand, simply make your own from scratch. These Garlic Mashed Potatoes are my favorite.
Simply cook the filling for longer if it’s too runny. Make sure you’re cooking the filling uncovered so that the moisture can escape from the pan.
If you’ve accidentally cooked the filling for too long and it’s too thick for your liking, simply add chicken broth a little at a time to thin it out.
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Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
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- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/2 tsp EACH chicken bouillon, dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried oregano, dried thyme, dried sage
- 2 cups chopped turkey meat
- 1 cup petite frozen peas (don't thaw)
- 4 cups leftover mashed potatoes (see notes for scratch)
- 1 cup freshly shredded Gruyere cheese (may sub mozzarella or cheddar)
- fresh parsley for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Cook veggies: Melt butter with olive oil in a 12” cast iron skillet or a 3.5 qt braiser (pictured) over medium-high heat. (May use a different skillet and transfer to a baking dish to bake). Add the onions, bell peppers and carrots; sauté until the onions are softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
- Add broth: Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and cook while stirring for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in the chicken broth, followed by the milk. Add the chicken bouillon and all seasonings.
- Thicken sauce: Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, and continue to simmer until thickened to desired consistency. The consistency now will be the same as when it comes out of the oven. For a thinner consistency, stir in additional chicken broth or milk; for a thicker consistency, simmer longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I add ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper).
- Add turkey, peas: Stir in the turkey and peas and heat through for about 1 minute over medium heat.
- Top with mashed potatoes: Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the filling, then create soft peaks with the back of a spoon. Evenly top with shredded cheese.
- Bake: Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the cheese is completely melted. Broil for 1-2 minutes, or until the potato peaks are golden (watch closely so it doesn't burn!). Garnish with fresh parsley if desired before serving.
- Variations: See post for all sorts of variations, tips and tricks.
- Meal Prep: Prepare the recipe as written through assembling the shepherd’s pie but do not bake. Let the skillet cool completely, cover tightly with foil, and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. You may need to add an additional 5 minutes or so to the baking time.
- Storage: Store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Keep in mind, the storing time starts with the initial cook date of the turkey, NOT from when the pie was assembled and baked.
- To freeze: Freeze for 4 to 6 months in an airtight container. Bake from frozen at 425ºF for 1 hour, or until hot and bubbly around the edges. Alternatively, thaw the pie in the fridge overnight, then bake for 25-30 minutes.
Easy Mashed Potatoes
- 3 lbs. Russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch cubes
- ½ teaspoon salt for water
- 4-8 TBS butter, melted (pick how indulgent you want to be)
- ¾ cup whole milk, warmed
- ½ cup sour cream (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with water. Season with ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until very tender when pierced with a fork, but not falling apart. Drain VERY WELL. Add potatoes to bowl of an electric or hand held mixer.
Slowly stream the heated milk into the potatoes while beating on LOW until combined, followed by the butter. Add the sour cream, if using, and the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Beat on MEDIUM until combined and fluffy. Add additional milk for thinner potatoes if desired. Season to taste.
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