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Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie

Enjoy a hearty and comforting meal with this Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie. It is easy to make and a meal the whole family will love!

A FAVORITE SLOW COOKER DINNER

Get ready for a comforting and hearty meal with this Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie! Ground beef and onion are simmered in a flavorful gravy mixed with veggies and herbs. Topped off with mashed potatoes, this cozy casserole will warm your belly, make your house smell delicious, and make sure everyone is full. Put it in your slow cooker and let it cook for hours so that all the flavors can meld together perfectly. Enjoy Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie for St. Patrick’s Day or any time of the year!

A serving utensil with a bite of Shepherd's Pie.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Can you slow cook Shepherd’s Pie?

Absolutely and it’s a very simple way to make this recipe. Once you’ve got it all started, it’s a lot less hands on than making it traditionally in the oven and still just as delicious.

Why is my Shepherd’s Pie soupy?

It’s usually because too much liquid from something was added. If using canned vegetables, it’s best to strain out the liquid. Make sure you measure out the water appropriately and use the tomato paste which helps thicken things up.

How do you stop mashed potatoes from sinking in Shepherd’s Pie?

Making sure that your ground beef and veggie layer is thick and as compact as possible. It will really help prevent your taters from sinking in (although, no matter what you do, you’ll still get a little sinkage but it doesn’t affect the taste at all!)

What is Shepherd’s Pie called when it’s made from beef?

Technically this is a Cottage Pie recipe since it is made with ground beef. Traditional Shepherd’s Pie is made with ground lamb. However, Americans have adapted the recipe so often to be made with ground beef (since ground lamb is not common here) and still call it Shepherd’s Pie. That is what most Americans expect when they enjoy a serving of this tasty casserole but feel free to make it with ground lamb if you prefer.

Can I add cheese on top?

Certainly! You can try adding some shredded cheddar cheese, or be a little more adventurous and try sharp cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or Gruyere cheese on top of the mashed potatoes layer!
We also like to melt the cheese on top sometimes. To do this:
1. Add 1-2 cups of shredded cheese, depending on how cheesy you want to make it, on top of the potatoes when it’s done cooking.
2. Place the lid back on for 5-10 minutes until the cheese has melted, then serve.

Have any tips for the mashed potatoes?

Yes, it’s important to pay attention to what specific directions your brand and packaging says to use. My potatoes said to use 2 cups of boiling water but yours may specify a different amount. Follow whatever your directions on the package say.
If you like more potatoes, you can double the potato amounts and have a thicker potato layer.
Additionally, you can make homemade mashed potatoes to top the dish with if desired.

Do you have to cook ground beef before putting it in the Crock Pot?

Yes. This way, we know the meat is cooked thoroughly and evenly (and therefore safe to eat.) Also, cooking it beforehand also keeps additional grease from releasing into the crock pot while cooking. No one wants a greasy Shepherd’s Pie.

How to store leftovers?

Leftovers should be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Keep them longer by using the freezer. Reheat leftovers in the oven or in the microwave.

Looking down on a slow cooker with shepherd's pie.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • lean ground beef
  • sweet onion
  • garlic cloves
  • frozen mixed vegetables
  • water
  • brown gravy mix packets
  • tomato paste
  • Italian seasoning
  • black pepper
  • packet of instant mashed potatoes
  • boiling water
  • dried parsley flakes, optional
Ground beef, instant potatoes, frozen vegetables, gravy mix, onion, garlic cloves, water, tomato paste, parsley, Italian seasoning, and black pepper.

HOW TO MAKE SLOW COOKER SHEPHERD’S PIE

Add the ground beef and onions into a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook and break up the beef into crumbles. Continue to cook until the onions are softened, and there is no pink left in the beef, about 10 minutes.

A skillet with cooked ground beef and onion.

Drain any excess grease. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds.) Take off the heat. Spray an 6-8-quart oval slow cooker with cooking spray and place the meat mixture into the slow cooker.

Crock pot with ground beef and onion.

Add the frozen veggies, water, gravy mix, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and pepper into the cooker, and stir well to combine.

Slow Cooker with beef, frozen vegetables, tomato paste, water, gravy mix, and herbs and spices.

In a large bowl, stir together the instant mashed potatoes and water until thickened.

A mixing bowl with instant mashed potatoes.

Smooth out the mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture. Add a sprinkle of dried parsley flakes if using. 

Slow Cooker with Shepherd's Pie in it.

Cook on low for 4-6 hours and serve immediately.

Slow Cooker Shepherd's Pie with a serving taken out.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

A plate with a massive serving of Shepherd's Pie.
Close up looking at Shepherd's Pie in the Slow Cooker.

Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie

Enjoy your favorite hearty casserole made in the slow cooker. This Slow Cooker Shepherd's Pie helps make dinner so much easier!
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 medium sweet onion, small diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 12 ounces frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 (.87 ounce) packets brown gravy mix
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

For the topping:

Instructions

  • Add the 2 pounds lean ground beef and 1 medium sweet onion, (small diced) into a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook and break up the beef into crumbles. Continue to cook until the onions are softened, and there is no pink left in the beef, about 10 minutes.
  • Drain any excess grease. Add the 4 cloves garlic (minced) and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds.) Take off the heat.
  • Spray an 6-8-quart oval slow cooker with cooking spray and place the meat mixture into the slow cooker.
  • Add the 12 ounces frozen mixed vegetables, 2 cups water, 2 (.87 ounce) packets brown gravy mix, ¼ cup tomato paste,1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper into the cooker, and stir well to combine.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the 4 ounce packet instant mashed potatoes and 2 cups boiling water until thickened. Smooth out the mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture.
  • Cook on low for 4-6 hours and serve immediately. Add a sprinkle of dried parsley flakes, if using, then serve!

Notes

  • You do not want to overcook this, it may burn along the edges.
  • You can use ground turkey, ground chicken or ground pork in place of the beef.
  • The package of instant potatoes I used called for 2 cups of boiling water, if your package lists different directions, then make it as your package states. If you like a lot of potatoes, you can double the topping. 
  • You can add shredded cheese to the mashed potatoes. I suggest sharp cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or Gruyere. Or, you can melt the cheese on top of the potatoes. Add 1-2 cups of shredded cheese, depending on how cheesy you want to make it, on top of the potatoes when it’s done cooking. Place the lid back on for 5-10 minutes until the cheese has melted, then serve.
  • Use your favorite frozen veggies or mix that you like, we love to use the “mixed veggies” version to get a wider variety of vegetables.
  • Keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days, freeze for up to 3 months. I suggest reheating leftovers in the microwave or oven.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 182mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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