Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie is a comfort food favorite at my house. This turkey version is made with a flavorful tomato sauce, loaded with vegetables and topped with fluffy mashed potatoes.

A serving spoon lifting a serving of shepherd's pie out of a white casserole dish.

 

It’s a different take on a classic that’s hearty, wholesome and delicious. Like stovetop pot roast and creamy chicken and rice casserole, this ground turkey shepherd’s pie is easy enough for a weeknight and cozy enough for Sunday dinner.

 

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What type of turkey to use?

Use a lean ground turkey, but not turkey breast. We need some fat for flavor and moisture. Turkey breast will not supply us with either. We use 93/7 (which is 93 percent lean and 7 percent fat) and it works really well.

 

Tips for great turkey recipes

I love subbing in ground turkey for traditional ground beef recipes. My turkey picadillo and turkey taco soup are fantastic examples. So if you’re trying to cut down on red meat, ground turkey is a really good substitute. However, there are two things about it that can be a turn off.

  1. That pale, grayish color ground turkey takes on when cooked is not appetizing at all. We solve that problem in this recipe with tomato sauce and colorful vegetables.
  2. Those stringy pieces are impossible to break-up once they hit the hot skillet. They scream ground turkey before anyone gets a chance to taste your dish. Here’s how to deal with this pesky problem: Open the package. Use a fork to gently press and fold the turkey to destroy the pattern. Don’t overwork the meat, combine it just enough to get rid of the strings. You’ll still need to break up the turkey when you drop it in the skillet but stringy turkey will be a thing of the past!

 

Turkey filling ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, finely diced
  • 2 Large Carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 Celery Rib, diced
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 pound Ground Turkey, lean but not turkey breast – we used 93/7 (which is 93 percent lean and 7 percent fat)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt, we used kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 8 ounce can Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • ¾ cup Frozen Peas, defrosted and drained
  • Chopped Parsley, or other fresh herbs for garnish, if desired

The ingredients for the turkey filling arranged on a white table.

 

Mashed potatoes ingredients

  • 6 Medium Russet Potatoes, (about 2 pounds) peeled and cut into roughly 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Salt, for the water to cook the potatoes, plus ¾ -1 teaspoon for the finished mashed potatoes, we used kosher salt
  • ¾ – 1 cup Whole Milk, warmed through
  • 1-2 tablespoon Butter- we use two
  • Pinch Black Pepper

The ingredients for the mashed potato topping arranged on a white table.

 

You will also need

 

Prep Work

The prep work for shepherd’s pie requires a little chopping and dicing, but overall it’s quick and easy.

  • Start with dicing the onions, carrots and celery. There’s going in the pan at the same time so I keep them in the same glass bowl.
  • Mince the garlic.
  • Measure out the spices and gather the remaining ingredients.
  • Cook the peas just enough to defrost them. Just follow the package cooking directions but cut the time. We did a steam in the bag variety and used the microwave to cook the peas, cutting the cooking time in half. Make sure to drain the peas well.

The ingredients for the meat filling prepped and arranged on a white table.

 

Prep for the mashed potatoes:

  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into roughly 2 inch pieces. Don’t make them too small so they don’t break apart as they tumble in the water. Also, try to make them all approximately the same size so that they cook at the same rate.
  • Place the potatoes in a bowl and cover them with cold water until ready to use.
  • Measure out the remaining ingredients.

The ingredients for the mashed potatoes prepped and arranged on a white table.

 

Suggested order of preparation: After all of the ingredients are prepped and ready to go, start the turkey meat filling. When everything is in the pan on their way then start the mashed potatoes. The meat will keep on low heat until the potatoes are done.

 

How to make the ground turkey filling

  • Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium heat; add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook the vegetables for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Diced onions, carrots and celery in a large, black skillet.

  • Add the garlic to the skillet, and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  • Raise the heat to medium-high and add the ground turkey, salt, oregano, cumin and black pepper. Stir to incorporate all of the ingredients, and break up any large pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cook the ground turkey for approximately 7-8 minutes until browned, and all rendered liquid has cooked out. Stir occasionally.
  • Add the tomato sauce and 2 tablespoons water to the skillet, stir to combine. I like to add the water to the empty can of tomato sauce and give it a swirl, that way I get every last drop out.
  • Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the peas and cook, covered 3-4 more minutes. Stir the peas in gently to not crush them.

 

The finished ground turkey filled in a large, black skillet.

 

Taste the ground turkey and add salt if needed. As a reference we added ¾ teaspoon of kosher salt to ours.

 

Make the mashed potatoes

  • Start the potatoes while the ground turkey cooks.
  • Place the peeled and cut potatoes in a large pot and cover them with cold water by a couple of inches. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water.
  • Place the pot over high heat and bring the water to a full boil. It will take about 7-8 minutes for the water to start boiling. When it’s boiling vigorously, lower the heat to medium so that the water is still boiling but not splashing everywhere.
  • Cook the potatoes for 12-15 minutes or until they’re tender. They should break apart easily when pierced with a fork or knife.
  • Use a large strainer to drain them completely. Add the potatoes back to the pot. I like to place the pot on the same burner that’s still hot (not on) to let any water left in the pot and on the potatoes dry off.
  • Take the pot off the heat. Add the warm milk to the potatoes a little bit at a time, while mashing with a sturdy whisk or masher. Keep mashing and stirring until the potatoes are smooth. Add more or less milk as needed, depending on the consistency you like.
  • When they’re done, add butter, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine and let the butter melt. Taste the potatoes and add more salt, if needed.
  • Keep them warm until ready to use.

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F

 

Build the shepherd’s pie and bake

Add the ground turkey mixture to a large, ovenproof casserole dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes evenly on top of the meat. Arrange the mash so that it covers the entire top. Place the casserole dish on a large baking sheet just in case it bubbles over it doesn’t make a mess out of your oven. Bake the turkey and mashed potato casserole for 30 minutes.

The finished turkey shepherd's pie in a white casserole displayed on a blue table with a beige linen in the background.

 

Garnish with chopped parsley or other fresh herbs if desired. Let the shepherd’s pie rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

The finished dish served on a white plate with a fork to the right.

 

You may also like these comfort food recipes:

 

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A serving spoon lifting a serving of shepherd's pie out of a white casserole dish.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie is a comfort food favorite. This turkey version is just as flavorful as the classic and has all the vegetables and fluffy mashed potatoes you crave.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ground turkey, potatoes
Servings: 6
Calories: 377kcal
Author: Elizabeth

Ingredients

Turkey filling ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion finely diced
  • 2 Large Carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 Celery Rib diced
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 pound Ground Turkey lean but not turkey breast (we used 93/7)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt we used kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 8 ounce can Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • ¾ cup Frozen Peas defrosted and drained (cooked packaged directions but only about half the time)
  • Chopped Parsley or other fresh herbs for garnish, if desired

Mashed potatoes ingredients:

  • 6 Medium Russet Potatoes (about 2 pounds) peeled and cut into roughly 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Salt for the water to cook the potatoes, plus ¾ -1 teaspoon for the finished mashed potatoes, we used kosher salt
  • ¾ - 1 cup Whole Milk warmed through
  • 1-2 tablespoon Butter
  • Pinch Black Pepper

Instructions

  • You will also need: Casserole dish (at least 1.5 quart), large baking sheet

Make the ground turkey filling

  • Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium heat; add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook the vegetables for 3-4 minutes, stir frequently.
  • Add the garlic to the skillet, and cook 1 minute, stir frequently.
  • Raise the heat to medium-high and add the ground turkey, salt, oregano, cumin and black pepper. Stir to incorporate the ingredients, while breaking up any large pieces. Cook for approximately 7-8 minutes until browned, and all rendered liquid has cooked out. Stir occasionally.
  • Add the tomato sauce and 2 tablespoons water to the skillet, stir to combine.
  • Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Gently stir in the peas and cook, covered 3-4 more minutes.
  • Taste the ground turkey and add salt if needed. As a reference we added ¾ teaspoon of kosher salt to ours.

Make the mashed potatoes

  • Start the potatoes while the meat filling cooks.
  • Place the peeled and cut potatoes in a large pot and cover them with cold water by a couple of inches. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water.
  • Place the pot over high heat and bring the water to a full boil. Lower the heat to medium so that the water is still boiling but not splashing everywhere.
  • Cook the potatoes for 12-15 minutes or until they’re tender. They should break apart easily when pierced with a fork or knife.
  • Drain the potatoes completely.
  • Take the pot off the heat. Add the warm milk to the potatoes a little bit at a time, while mashing with a whisk or masher. Keep mashing and stirring until the potatoes are smooth. Add more or less milk as needed, depending on the consistency you like.
  • When they’re done, add butter, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine and let the butter melt. Taste the potatoes and add more salt, if needed.
  • Keep the potatoes warm until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 350°F

    Build the shepherd’s pie and bake

    • Add the ground turkey mixture to a large, ovenproof casserole dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes evenly on top of the meat. Arrange the mash so that it covers the entire top.
    • Place the casserole dish on a large baking sheet just in case it bubbles over and for 30 minutes.
    • Garnish with chopped parsley or other fresh herbs if desired. Let the shepherd’s pie rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

    Video

    Notes

    Suggested order of preparation: After all of the ingredients are prepped and ready to go, start the turkey meat filling. When everything is in the pan and on their way then start the mashed potatoes. The meat will keep on low heat until the potatoes are done.
    To drain the potatoes completely: Use a large strainer, then add the potatoes back to the pot. Place the pot on the same burner that’s still hot (not on) to let any water left in the pot and on the potatoes dry off.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 1102mg | Potassium: 1164mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3958IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 3mg
    The nutritional information above is computer generated and is only an estimate. There is no guarantee that it is accurate.This data is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only.

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