Meat Lovers Shepherd’s Pie

Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 5 servings

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This Meat Lover’s Shepherd’s Pie is a meaty take on a classic comfort food meal! Italian sausage, ham, pepperoni, and bacon are cooked in a thick, flavorful tomato sauce, then smothered with homemade mashed potatoes and gooey cheese.

casserole dish of meat lovers shepherds pie with metal scoop
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At our house, we love pizza. We also love mashed potatoes. We also love meat…and I love coming up with new ways to combine recipes that are already family favorites!

This meat lover’s shepherd’s pie is the perfect combination of meat lover’s pizza and classic shepherd’s pie. It’s made with piles of sweet, savory, and spicy meat, all the veggies you want, tomato sauce, homemade mashed potatoes, cheese, and so much flavor! You’ve got to be kidding me.

This recipe was a winner before I even started!

What is the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie?

Although these two terms are often used interchangeably, they do have one key difference: the meat! Technically, shepherd’s pie uses ground lamb while cottage pie uses ground beef.

This meat lover’s shepherd’s pie recipe doesn’t use ground beef or ground lamb. It does, however, follow the same format as shepherd’s pie and cottage pie—meat cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce and topped with cheesy mashed potatoes. Instead, though, we use Italian sausage, pepperoni, ham, and bacon!

overhead image of meat lovers shepherds pie on white plate

Meat Lover’s Shepherd’s Pie ingredients:

I love recipes that don’t require exact measurements…and this meat lover’s shepherd’s pie is very forgiving! I’ve given you the measurements I used, but if you want to double up on the meat, swap something out for another favorite, or add a bunch of veggies, you totally can!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bacon, Italian Sausage, Diced Ham, and Diced Pepperoni: the classic “meat lovers” meat combination.
  • Onion: you’ll need ½ of a medium-sized onion, diced and sautéed with the bacon and sausage to add a layer of sweet, caramel-y flavor.
  • Oregano: adds an undertone of sweet, peppery earthiness.
  • Minced Garlic: gives the meat sauce a kick of flavor.
  • Frozen Spinach: thawed and drained.
  • Tomato Sauce: creates a sweet, flavorful base for the meat filling.
  • Diced Tomatoes with Italian Spices: make sure you drain the liquid from the can.
  • Mushrooms, Peppers, Shredded Carrots, or Other Veggies: optional but adding veggies is a great way to sneak some extra nutrition into the shepherd’s pie!
  • Potatoes: I recommend using Russet potatoes for the best results. Their fluffy consistency makes them easy to mash and they become deliciously light and fluffy in the shepherd’s pie.
  • Butter: adds flavor depth to the mashed potatoes.
  • Milk: makes the mashed potatoes ultra silky and smooth.
  • Garlic Powder: transforms classic mashed potatoes into garlic mashed potatoes!
  • Chicken Bouillon: an optional addition to the mashed potatoes. I love to mix this in to add another layer of flavor.
  • Shredded Cheese: I use shredded cheddar, but you can use any cheese you like! I recommend shredding it yourself so it melts better.
  • Green Onion: optional, for garnish.

How to make Meat Lovers Shepherd’s Pie

This hearty, kid-approved, delicious dinner is ready in just 45 minutes—cook time included!

  1. In an oven-safe dutch oven or cast iron pan, cook bacon, sausage, and onion until the meat is browned.
  2. While the meat is cooking, start your potatoes in boiling, salted water. Boil for 8-10 minutes or until they can be easily pierced with a knife.
  3. To the meat mixture, add oregano and garlic, then cook for 1 minute. Add in ham, pepperoni, spinach, tomato sauce, tomatoes, and any other vegetable you like, then cook until hot.
  4. Turn off the heat, then drain the potatoes and mash with butter, milk, garlic powder, and bouillon (optional, but gives the mashed potatoes a really good flavor!)
  5. Spread the potato mixture over the top of the meat in the skillet or dutch oven and bake for 20-30 minutes at 350ºF. Top with cheese and broil for another 1-2 minutes until it’s melted and starting to brown.

Variations/substitutions for meat lovers shepherd’s pie

  • Add veggies. You can use whatever veggies you like! I’ve used mushrooms, peppers, and shredded carrots but you could try adding peas, corn, parsnips, broccoli florets, zucchini, you name it. Whatever you use, be sure that the veggies are cut small enough that they cook evenly and fully and incorporate well with the other ingredients.
  • Use another meat. I love the Italian sausage, bacon, ham, and pepperoni combo but you can use any combination you like. Swap any of the meat out for ground lamb, beef, turkey, chicken, etc.
  • Use other mashed potatoes. If you have a different mashed potato recipe that you love, feel free to use that! You could also check out my slow cooker mashed potatoes, my cream cheese mashed potatoes, or my cheesy make ahead mashed potatoes! Store-bought mashed potatoes are always an option, but the flavor and texture won’t be quite as good.
  • Give it another flavor. Instead, check out my Mexican shepherd’s pie, my BBQ chili shepherd’s pie, or my creamy turkey shepherd’s pie!

Serving suggestions

This meat lover’s shepherd’s pie is delicious on its own but I also love to serve it with a side of breadsticks, dinner rolls, or with a simple green salad.

close up image of meat lovers shepherds pie on white plate

Can shepherd’s pie be made ahead of time?

Absolutely! To make this recipe ahead of time, simply assemble as directed, bring to room temperature, then cover and keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to serve, bake as directed, adding time as needed until the pie is cooked through.

How to store

Finished shepherd’s pie will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge (if frozen), then microwave, warm on the stove, or cover with foil and bake in the oven at 350ºF until warmed through.

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Meat Lovers Shepherd’s Pie

5 from 1 vote
Creamy garlic mashed potatoes and cheese top a seriously meaty filling — perfect for fall or game day!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 5 servings
Calories 683cal

Ingredients

  • 2 slices bacon diced
  • 2 links Italian sausage casings removed
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup diced ham
  • 3/4 cup diced pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach thawed and drained
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes with Italian spices drained
  • Optional: mushrooms, peppers, shredded carrots or other veggies
  • 8 medium potatoes diced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • Optional: green onion for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In an oven-safe dutch oven or cast iron pan (I used my 12″ cast iron skillet), cook bacon, sausage (crumbled) and onion until meat is browned.
  • Meanwhile, start your potatoes boiling in salted water. Boil 8-10 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife.
  • To the meat, add in oregano and garlic and cook 1 minute. Add in ham, pepperoni, spinach, tomato sauce, tomatoes and any other vegetables and cook until hot. Turn off the heat.
  • Drain potatoes and mashed with butter, milk, garlic powder and bouillon(optional — I just like the flavour it gives!). Spread on top of meat in skillet or dutch oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbling around the sides. Top with cheese and broil for 1-2 minutes until melted and starting to brown. Serve.

Notes

Leftovers:
Finished shepherd’s pie will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge (if frozen), then microwave, warm on the stove, or cover with foil and bake in the oven at 350ºF until warmed through.
 
Variations:
  • Add veggies. You can use whatever veggies you like! I’ve used mushrooms, peppers, and shredded carrots but you could try adding peas, corn, parsnips, broccoli florets, zucchini, you name it. Whatever you use, be sure that the veggies are cut small enough that they cook evenly and fully and incorporate well with the other ingredients.
  • Use another meat. I love the Italian sausage, bacon, ham, and pepperoni combo but you can use any combination you like. Swap any of the meat out for ground lamb, beef, turkey, chicken, etc.
  • Use other mashed potatoes. If you have a different mashed potato recipe that you love, feel free to use that! You could also check out my slow cooker mashed potatoes, my cream cheese mashed potatoes, or my cheesy make ahead mashed potatoes! Store-bought mashed potatoes are always an option, but the flavor and texture won’t be quite as good.
  • Give it another flavor. Instead, check out my Mexican shepherd’s pie, my BBQ chili shepherd’s pie, or my creamy turkey shepherd’s pie!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 683cal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 1256mg | Potassium: 2120mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 2710IU | Vitamin C: 42.7mg | Calcium: 296mg | Iron: 4.9mg

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

    • Ashley says

      Thanks Stacey! I’m totally all about the mash-ups, too — I think it’s the easiest way to come up with some great new combinations!

  1. Melanie @ Carmel Moments says

    Scrumptious! My hubby would definitely love this too. Man = meat lover. 🙂

    Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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