December 2, 2023| By

Ground Turkey Shepherd's Pie

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
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This ground turkey shepherd's pie is a hearty dish that the whole family will love! Cheesy mashed potatoes on top of ground meat and mixed vegetables in a flavor-packed sauce - it's the ultimate comfort food and so easy to make!

Enjoy this with my Buttermilk cornbread or classic brioche dinner rolls!

Shepherd's pie in a cast iron skillet.
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Why You'll Love this Recipe

- Gorgeous presentation. Whether you have a gorgeous brightly-colored enameled skillet or are using a generations-old regular black cast iron, this pan can go straight from the oven to table.

- Leftovers are key. You can use up leftover veggies or potatoes when making this, AND the leftovers of the meal are also delicious.

Super flavorful! Making your own gravy within the skillet of filling couldn't be easier.

Great way to use thanksgiving leftovers! If you have any leftovers, turn them into the ultimate comfort food! 

What is Shepherd's Pie?

Shepherd's Pie is a traditional British dish that typically consists of minced or ground meat, such as lamb or beef, cooked with vegetables and savory seasonings. The meat mixture is then topped with a layer of mashed potatoes and baked until the potatoes develop a golden crust.

Key Ingredients

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Ground Turkey -  Lighten up the dish by using ground turkey. Select a mix of white and dark meat so it isn't too dry. We have so many flavors here there's no way the turkey will seem bland. Now of course for a more traditional version of shepherd pie, you can use  ground lamb or beef - whatever ground meat you use, this is a great recipe! 

Fresh Herbs - Cooking with fresh herbs gives this dish a savory flavorful filling. Fresh thyme and rosemary play so well with the rich gravy.

Sauce - Both tomato paste and barbecue sauce combine to make a really rich tomato-based sauce that will knock your socks off.

Vegetables - Both fresh and frozen are used here. It's perfect for adding lots of colors and fresh ingredients.

Potatoes - Mash your own potatoes for this dish as the flavor just can't be beat.

Cheese - I like cheddar for the way it crisps up in the oven.

Beef Broth - turkey or chicken broth works here too!

Chicken Bouillion Cube - this is to cook the mashed potatoes in. Just add it to a large pot of water prior to adding the potatoes. It makes a world of a difference and adds SO much flavor to those creamy mashed potatoes! 

Worcestershire Sauce - I love using this in this easy shepherd's pie recipe - it adds SO much flavor. If you don't have any on hand, you can substitute it for soy sauce instead (same quantities).

A serving of cheesy shepherd's pie in a bowl.

Pro Tips 

Evenly dice your carrots, onion, and celery. This will ensure everything cooks through and you won't have any super crunchy pieces.

Use russet potatoes, as they have the right amount of starch to mash up smooth and fluffy.

Make it quick! Skip boiling the potatoes and use instant potatoes instead! This cozy comfort food will be just as delicious!

Step-by-Step Instructions

- Add chicken bouillon cube to a large pot of boiling water. Carefully stir to ensure cube is fully melted into the water. Roughly chop the potatoes and cook until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and mash (Pro tip: I recommend using a potato ricer as opposed to a potato masher for super fluffy mashed potatoes), then add sour cream, melted butter, rosemary, salt and pepper, garlic powder, and diced fresh garlic. Mix together until smooth and set aside. 

A potato masher in a mixing bowl of mashed potatoes.

- Drizzle olive oil into a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat and sauté onion, carrots, and celery until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the ground turkey to the tender veggies, stirring occasionally, and cook until no longer pink and fully cooked. Season with black pepper and kosher salt.

Ground beef with carrots and celery in a cast iron skillet.

- Add remaining ingredients to the turkey mixture and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then lower to a gentle simmer to let flavor develop.

Shepherds pie filling in a cast iron skillet.

- Spread the mashed potatoes over the filling in an even layer, and then top with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake until the edges are browned and bubbling and the cheese is browned, too.

Mashed potatoes and shredded cheddar over shepherd's pie filling in a cast iron skillet.


This is already a riff on the classic shepherd's pie but you can customize it even further. 

  • Keto/low carb option - use cauliflower mash as opposed to mashed potatoes. Be sure to cook out any excess liquid to prevent it from being runny. 
  • healthy shepherd's pie recipe - omit the cheese and sour cream in the mashed potatoes and use greek yogurt instead.
  • make sweet potato shepherd's pie - use sweet potatoes instead of russets for a sweet and savory spin on this dish! 

What to Serve with Shepherd's Pie

This is such a hearty dish, I feel it stands well on its own. You've got the meat, veggies, and a starch so you are all set! You could always mix up a nice side salad with balsamic dressing, or pick up a loaf of crusty sourdough or garlic butter parker house rolls to soak up every last drop of gravy.

Why cheese on shepherd's pie?

I love the taste and the added texture of oven-baked cheese on top. Some may argue this isn't traditional, but food is all about making what you like for those you love so you do you.

Storing Leftovers

Store leftover turkey shepherd's pie by:

  • let come to room temperature and then store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • You can absolutely freeze leftovers as well. Where raw potatoes don't freeze well, mashed potatoes are great to freeze.
  • Reheat gently on the stove or use the microwave.

How to Reheat Shepherds Pie

  1. Oven Method:
    • Preheat your oven to around 350°F (175°C).
    • If the Shepherd's Pie is in a heatproof dish, place it in the oven as is. If it's in a microwave-safe container, transfer it to an oven-safe dish.
    • Cover the dish with aluminum foil to prevent the top from drying out.
    • Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes or until the Shepherd's Pie is heated through.
  2. Microwave Method:
    • If you're in a hurry, you can use a microwave.
    • Transfer a portion of the Shepherd's Pie to a microwave-safe dish.
    • Heat it on medium power in short intervals, stirring or checking for doneness between each interval.
    • The microwave method is quicker but may result in a softer texture compared to the oven method.
Shepherd's pie in a cast iron skillet.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make shepherd's pie ahead of time?

This is a great meal for making ahead of time. I recommend making the filling and mashed potatoes and leaving them both separate in the fridge. Then when it's time to cook, assemble the dish while the oven preheats. Spread the filling in the skillet and cover with the mashed potatoes and cheese. Keep in mind it will need a few minutes extra cook time since you are starting from cold.

How do I customize my dinner?

The great thing about this recipe is how easy it is to sub in what you have on hand. Don't have corn? Use more peas. Use the peas and carrot mix from the freezer. Try the mixed veg blend. Leftover shredded chicken? No problem! Not a fan of turkey, use lean ground beef instead. This is perfect for using up whatever is in the fridge or whatever you prefer.

What is traditional shepherd's pie?

Ok, to be truly traditional, you'd want to use ground lamb. I just don't find that to be common at stores unless you have a large butcher shop in town. I know some don't prefer that taste of lamb, either. Cottage pie is a similar dish but uses beef, and that is also where the cheese generally comes in. I say make whatever you like and get dinner on the table!

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Let's stay connected on social media and continue to cook together! Also, if you decide to make this recipe, please leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below! Tag @BritneyBreaksBread on Instagram and hashtag #britneybreaksbread so I can see your creations! I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

Shepherd's pie in a cast iron skillet.

Cast Iron Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie combines a comforting filling under a nice spread of mashed potatoes. Perfect for cold winter days.
Serving: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Calories: 442kcal


Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 teaspoons Chicken Bouillon Paste
  • 2 ½ lbs russet potatoes
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 clove Garlic diced


  • 1 ½ lbs ground turkey
  • 2 Carrots diced
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Celery sticks
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme stems removed
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 easpoon dijon mustard
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce
  • ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add chicken bouillon paste. Cut potatoes into chunks and to the water. Cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 17-20 minutes.
  • Drain the water and mash the potatoes. Add sour cream, butter, milk, rosemary, salt, black pepper, and garlic. Continue to mash until everything is mixed together and smooth. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees f.
  • Drizzle olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook until browned and slightly softened. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add ground turkey and continue to cook until browned, then add garlic, flour, tomato paste, and thyme, Cook until all ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is slightly thickened. Then add the beef broth, dijon mustard, bay leaf, corn, peas, and bbq sauce. Taste for salt and pepper and season accordingly. Stir together and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
  • Add mashed potatoes on top and sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the potatoes. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the top is slightly browned.


  • It's always worthwhile to mash your own potatoes! If you are making them for another meal, double it and save half for this meal.
  • Substitute ground chicken or beef for the turkey.


Calories: 442kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 1236mg | Potassium: 1312mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1016IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 167mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: British

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