How to Freeze Shepherd’s Pie – Cooked or Uncooked

Do you love shepherd’s pie but don’t always have time to cook it? Or maybe you’ve cooked a big batch and have leftovers that you don’t want to waste. Either way, freezing shepherd’s pie is a great option!

This is how to freeze shepherd’s pie – cooked or uncooked:

  • Cooked: bake the pie, and then allow it to cool completely before freezing.
  • Uncooked: simply assemble the pie according to recipe instructions and then freeze.

Which way is easier? And which way tastes better? This blog post will show you how to freeze shepherd’s pie – both cooked and uncooked versions. We will also provide some tips on the best reheating your frozen shepherd’s pie.

Let’s get started!

What is a Shepherd’s Pie?

how to make shepherd's pie
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Shepherd’s pie, cottage pie, or hachis Parmentier is a traditional English or Irish dish made with minced lamb or beef, a crust or topping of mashed potato. It is most likely of English origin.

It originally served as an economical alternative for the poor who could not afford meat on Fridays. The name comes from “shepherd” because it was traditionally cooked in a casserole that resembled a small oven tray used by shepherds. 

Where Did Shepherd’s Pie Originate from?

It first came about in Ireland in the 1800s. People tried to be frugal and make food from what they had back then. They were also trying to figure out how to use the leftovers that husbands and children would reject.

It was delicious, even though it was created as a way to utilize leftovers. There are many variations in the dish. However, its basic form remains consistent.

There’s a mashed potato crust on top and bottom. Minced beef is used in the dish. On the other hand, A Cottage Pie uses beef, while a Shepherd’s Pie includes lamb or mutton instead.

What is Shepherd’s Pie Made of?

How to Freeze Shepherd's Pie - Cooked or Uncooked
Credit: canva

Although there are many different versions out there (some with vegetables and some without), we will be focusing on a traditional version. Traditionally, this dish consists of meat, vegetables, and potatoes.

Traditionally, the meat used is lamb or mutton (sheep). However, it’s not uncommon to see beef being used instead–and sometimes veal too! Some people also like to add cheese for an Irish twist on the traditional recipe when making this dish.

A dish has a lot of versions. But the essential ingredients are meat cooked in gravy or sauce, onions, and mashed potatoes on top.

Sometimes people add other vegetables to the filling. They might add peas, sweetcorn, carrots, or celery. Sometimes the filling is also grated with cheese.

What’s the difference between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie?

Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie are very similar to one another; however, there is a difference between the two. The main differences come from their ingredients:

  1. A Shepherd’s Pie includes lamb or mutton (sheep) as its meat base while a cottage pie uses beef instead.
  2. While both include mashed potatoes for the crust, a shepherd’s pie typically includes it both on the top and bottom while cottage pie only has one layer.

How to Freeze Shepherd’s Pie – Cooked or Uncooked?

There are two main ways to freeze shepherd’s pie: cooked or uncooked. Both have their pros and cons, so it’s really up to you to decide which way is best for you.

How to Freeze Cooked or Baked Pie?

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to freeze shepherd’s pie, then cooking it first is the way to go. All you have to do is cook the pie according to recipe instructions and then allow it to cool completely before freezing.

The downside of this method is that the pie won’t be as fresh once it’s thawed and reheated.

How to Freeze Uncooked or Unbaked Pie?

If you’re looking for a way to freeze shepherd’s pie that will taste fresher, then freezing it unbaked is the way to go. To do this, simply assemble the pie according to recipe instructions and then freeze.

When you’re ready to bake, simply thaw the pie overnight in the fridge and then bake according to recipe instructions.

The downside of this method is that it takes a bit more time and effort upfront.

Which Way is Better?

No matter which way you choose to freeze shepherd’s pie, be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before freezing. This will help to prevent freezer burn and keep the pie fresh tasting.

Shepherd’s pie can be frozen for up to three months.

How to Cook Shepherd’s Pie?

How to Cook Shepherd’s Pie in the Oven?

To make, you should start by preparing the meat. This means that after cutting it into small pieces, you’ll have to fry them in a pan first before adding other ingredients and cooking it for about 40 minutes.

While this is happening, you can also boil the potatoes. Once the potatoes are ready, you’ll have to mash them and then mix them with butter or milk until they become creamy.

Then it’s time to add some salt and pepper–and that’s all!

Now it’s just a matter of putting everything together in an oven-friendly dish before baking for around 40 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

What’s Best Way to Reheat Shepherd’s Pie?

Cooked or Baked Pie

If you’re reheating a shepherd’s pie that was cooked and then frozen, the best way to do it is by taking it out of the freezer the day before you want to eat it.

Then, all you have to do is put it in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes.

Uncooked or Unbaked Pie

On the other hand, if you’re reheating a shepherd’s pie that was frozen unbaked, it will take a bit longer–around 50 minutes to an hour.

Just make sure to follow the instructions on the recipe you’re using!

How to Make Shepherd’s Pie?

shepherd pie oven
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Shepherd’s Pie is a hearty dish that will keep you warm during winter. These recipes are easy to make and can be made in large batches for your family, friends, or yourself.

All the ingredients are cheap and readily available at any grocery store, so there’s no need to worry about missing out on this fantastic comfort food.

Easy Classic Recipe

This simple recipe is the most basic and classic.

Ingredients:

For potato topping

  • 2 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For meat filling

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb or lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste or tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Method:

  1. Put the potatoes in a pot and cover them with water. Put the pot on the stove and turn it to high. Cook for 13-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft when sticking them with a fork.
  2. Take the potatoes out of the pot and put them in a colander. Add milk, butter, a pinch of salt, and pepper to the potatoes. Mash with a potato masher or fork until creamy.
  3. Preheat your oven to medium heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius).
  4. Put oil on the stove in a large oven-safe pan and turn it to medium. Put onions and garlic in the pan. Cook them for 1 minute. Then add carrots, celery, and lamb to the pan. Cook the meat mixture for 8-10 minutes or until meat is browned; use a spatula to break up the meat while cooking.
  5. Drain the fat or excess grease from the pan and add a broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes until it’s slightly thick.
  6. Add the frozen peas and stir together. Turn off the stove and use the back of your spatula to flatten the meat into a single layer.
  7. Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the meat. The mashed potatoes make it taste good.
  8. Bake until most of the masher has turned golden brown. Do this for about 25-30 minutes. If you want, you can also broil the top for 1-2 minutes, so it becomes crispy and golden crust too.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Vegetarian or vegan recipes can be made by changing out the ground lamb for vegetables such as mushrooms and lentils.

Ingredients:

For potato topping

  • 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, partially peeled (thoroughly washed)
  • 3-4 Tbsp vegan butter
  • Sea salt or kosher salt, and black pepper (to taste)

For filling

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 generous pinch of each sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown or green lentils (rinsed and drained)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme (or sub 1 tsp dried thyme per 2 tsp fresh)
  • 1 10-ounce bag of frozen vegetables (mixed veggies)

Method:

  1. Slice large potatoes in half. Put them in a pot and fill them with cold water. Boil on medium-high for between 20-30 minutes, or until you can easily slide the potato off of a knife.
  2. Once the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the pot and add them back to it. Then they will evaporate the water. Transfer them to a bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork until they are smooth. Add vegan butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Then grease a 2-quart baking dish with some oil.
  4. In a big pot, cook the onions and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and tomato paste. Add lentils, stock, and thyme. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the temperature to simmer. Cook for 35-40 minutes or until lentils tender. Remove the lid when it’s done cooking, then keep cooking until there’s no more liquid left in the soup stirring every few minutes.
  6. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the frozen veggies, stir, and cover to meld the flavors together.
  7. Taste your food. Adjust the seasonings if needed, and then put it in a casserole dish. Spread mashed potatoes on top and add some pepper and salt.
  8. Put the dish on a baking sheet to ensure they don’t spill over. Cook in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until the top is lightly brown.
  9. Let cool briefly before serving.

Is Shepherd’s Pie Healthy?

This dish is definitely not healthy. It’s very high in carbs, sodium, and fat. Additionally, this food does not contain much vegetables or fiber. Eating it every day might not be good.

It contains saturated fats from the meat and butter, and it doesn’t contain any vegetables. This dish is a good source of protein but has high amounts of fat as well as carbs from the potatoes.

Is Shepherd’s Pie Good for You?

It isn’t exactly “good for you.” But that can also depend on how much meat you use.

For example, if you’re using lean meat like ground chicken or turkey, it’ll be much lower in fat and will also contain more protein than traditional one which contains beef (or lamb).

Is Shepherd’s Pie Bad for You?

It is not bad for you inherently. However, the ingredients used in this dish are generally considered to be bad for you.

For example, the meat is usually ground beef or lamb (which contains saturated fat). The potatoes typically include butter and milk which both contain high amounts of sodium as well as cholesterol–and it doesn’t even contain any vegetables!

See also:

FAQs

What are the two main ingredients of shepherd’s pie?

The dish has many types, but the thing that makes it is meat and mashed potatoes.

What was shepherd’s pie made initially with?

Shepherds’ pies were made by baking the pie crust, adding leftover meat bits and gravy, and baking it. When the dish made its way from Scotland to Ireland, they skipped the pastry and used their abundance of potatoes. They created mashed potato topping.

Can you freeze shepherd’s pie?

After baking, let it cool, cover with foil, and put in the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, take it out of the freezer and put it in an oven at 350 degrees—Bake for 1 hour.

Can you reheat shepherd’s pie in the oven?

Cover your pie tightly with foil and bake it for 30 minutes at 350°F.

Can you leave shepherd’s pie out overnight?

Yes, it is okay. I do this all the time because when we eat dinner late at night, it is too hot to put in the refrigerator, so I leave it out until morning. And I have never had food poisoning. It will be fine if you heat it again before eating.