Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

updated Sep 16, 2022
Turkey Shepherd's Pie Recipe

Have a glut of Turkey Day leftovers? Put them towards this Turkey Shepherd's Pie.


Prep20 minutes

Cook45 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Credit: Kelli Foster

The Thanksgiving table isn’t yet clear before talk of the perfect day-after turkey sandwich begins. But sandwiches aren’t the only way to use leftover turkey, extra mashed potatoes, and the contents of Grandma’s gravy boat. Every year turkey stew, stuffed shells, and enchiladas make it on my post-holiday meal plan, and this year I’m adding another crowd-pleasing one-dish dinner to the list.

Turkey shepherd’s pie is a play on the classic potato-topped meat pie. In this version, instead of ground beef or lamb, diced holiday turkey is mixed with mirepoix, frozen peas, and umami-rich gravy, then topped with enriched mashed potatoes. It’s an easy meal made almost entirely of leftovers, but doesn’t taste like Thanksgiving: The Sequel.

Credit: Kelli Foster

What Is the Difference Between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie?

Both shepherd’s pie and cottage pie are hearty dishes consisting of meat and vegetables in a savory gravy and topped with fluffy mashed potatoes. The difference between the two comes down to the type of meat. Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb, while cottage pie is usually based on beef. Outside of the United Kingdom, the differences between the two dishes dwindle. The terms are often used interchangeably and definitions expand to include other protein sources, like lentils or turkey.

How Do You Keep Shepherd’s Pie from Falling Apart?

  • Add egg yolk to the topping. Adding a single egg yolk to leftover or store-bought mashed potatoes (mashed sweet potatoes would work here too) provides the structure to hold the topping together and encourages the edges to brown.
  • Include a rich gravy. Cooks often make a roux-thickened gravy to marry the vegetables and meat. Thanks to the treasure trove of Thanksgiving (or other holiday) leftovers, that gravy is ready to go. Stir in the leftover gravy until it coats the turkey and vegetables before finishing with the potato topping.

Turkey Shepherd's Pie Recipe

Have a glut of Turkey Day leftovers? Put them towards this Turkey Shepherd's Pie.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 2

    medium carrots

  • 2 medium stalks


  • 12 sprigs

    fresh thyme, or 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 5 leaves

    fresh sage, or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage

  • 1 pound

    boneless, skinless cooked turkey (about 3 cups)

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup

    frozen peas

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 2 cups

    cold gravy

  • 3 cups

    mashed potatoes

  • 1

    large egg yolk


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Prepare the following, placing each in the same medium bowl as you complete it: Dice 1 medium yellow onion (about 1 cup). Peel and dice 2 medium carrots (about 1 cup). Halve 2 medium celery stalks lengthwise, then dice (about 1/2 cup). Pick the leaves from 12 fresh thyme sprigs until you have 1 1/2 teaspoons, or use 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme. Finely chop 5 fresh sage leaves until you have 1 teaspoon, or use 1/2 teaspoon dried sage.

  3. Dice 1 pound cooked turkey (about 3 cups).

  4. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a 10-inch cast iron or oven-safe straight-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the onion mixture (reserve the bowl) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off the heat.

  5. Add the turkey, 1/2 cup frozen peas, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and stir to combine. Add 2 cups cold gravy and stir until the gravy evenly coats the filling. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed.

  6. Place 3 cups mashed potatoes and 1 large egg yolk in the reserved bowl and stir until combined. Dollop over the filling and spread into an even layer. Run a fork in a crosshatch pattern across the surface to create texture on the potatoes.

  7. Place the skillet on a parchment-lined baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake until the potatoes begin to brown and the filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes to let the sauce thicken slightly before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Using a casserole dish: Transfer the filling mixture to a 2-quart oven-safe baking dish before topping with potatoes. Bake as instructed above.