35 minutes

No Bake Shepherd’s Pie with Ground Chicken

No bake shepherd’s pie is classic comfort food. This easy version uses lean ground chicken, and removes the baking step, for a quick and healthy take on this popular dish that your entire family will love.

Shepherds pie, or cottage pie, is the ultimate comfort food. Hearty and filling, this classic one-pot meal has yummy layers of seasoned ground meat, veggies and creamy mashed potatoes. It’s full of delicious rich flavor, and is the perfect thing to warm you and your family up on a chilly fall night.

Traditional shepherd’s pie takes about an hour and a half to make. Which explains why even though it’s a family favorite, I used to make it very rarely. Most nights (every night) I just do not have an hour and a half to devote to making dinner. Maybe that’s true for you too? Well, if so, I have the best news! With a couple of simple changes to the original recipe, we can transform this classic into a meal easy enough even for a busy weeknight.

All you need to make easy no bake shepherd’s pie is a skillet with a tight-fitting lid. With this simple piece of kitchen equipment you can make this whole dish on the stove top, saving yourself nearly half the cook time. I use lean ground chicken to lighten up the classic, and frozen vegetables to reduce prep time. Even with homemade mashed potatoes, you can now have skillet shepherd’s pie in only about 35 minutes!

Serve your shepherd’s pie with easy garlic butter broccoletti, or any of the amazing side dishes featured in our what to serve with shepherd’s pie post!

A close up of a scoop taken out of a shepherd's pie, showing ground chicken and veggies in a savory tomato gravy.

You Will Love This

  • This easy shepherd’s pie recipe is a perfect hearty comfort food for a chilly fall night.
  • If you make the potatoes ahead, you can make this entire dish in one pot on the stove top, transforming this classic recipe from somewhat tedious to an easy weeknight meal.
  • This yummy layered casserole is a perfect way to introduce your little mashed potato lovers to a new food!

Ingredients

Ingredients for no bake shepherds pie on a white background.

Gather up your ingredients. For this recipe, you will need the following (exact measurements are in the recipe card below):

For the meat layer

  • Olive oil: You can substitute butter or another neutral cooking oil.
  • Ground meat: I love shepherd’s pie with ground chicken or ground turkey, and have used both in this recipe. Ground beef also works great.
  • Frozen carrots, peas, and corn: Green beans work well in this recipe too!
  • Onion
  • Garlic: Pre-minced jarred garlic will work fine in this recipe and is another time saver.
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tomato paste: Feel free to substitute ketchup if you don’t have tomato paste on hand.
  • Spices, including rosemary, thyme, kosher salt and black pepper
  • Chicken stock: You can substitute beef broth or vegetable broth.
  • Cornstarch: We will make a corn starch slurry with the chicken broth for a nice thick gravy.

For the mashed potato layer

  • Russet potatoes: Mashed sweet potato would also be yummy to top shepherd’s pie!
  • Half and half: You can substitute milk for lighter potatoes.
  • Kosher salt
  • Parmesan cheese (optional): You can sprinkle some cheese over top of the mashed potatoes in the last step, if you want. Substitute cheddar cheese or any other shredded cheese that your family loves.

Instructions

Step One: Make the mashed potatoes. Dice potatoes into even pieces, rinse them, and place them in a large pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil potatoes for about 10-15 minutes until fork tender. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, drain the excess water off and return the potatoes to the pot. Use a potato masher (or your kitchenaid mixer!) to mash the potatoes until they reach a fluffy texture. Add the half and half and salt, and stir to combine. Set the potatoes aside, and cover them to keep them hot.

Top Tip: If you want this recipe to take only about 35 minutes, make sure to move on to making the rest of the shepherd’s pie while the potatoes cook. The meat layer of the shepherd’s pie should only take about 20 minutes to make. It should be done right about the same time as the potatoes.

A large pot with peeled and cubed Idaho potatoes, floating in water.
A glass bowl with cooked potatoes, butter and milk being mashed with a potato masher.
A glass bowl full of smooth mashed potatoes on a white background.

Step Two: Dice one small onion. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion until fragrant and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add minced garlic, ground chicken, and a small pinch of salt to the skillet and cook until the chicken is browned. To the skillet, add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, rosemary, thyme and half of the kosher salt. Stir the seasonings into the meat until well incorporated.

A grey skillet with cooked ground chicken and onions, topped with dollops of Worcestershire and tomato paste. Prep bowls with carrots, peas and corn sit to the side.
A grey skillet with cooked ground chicken and onions, with tomato paste and Worcester sauce stirred in. Prep bowls with carrots, peas and corn sit to the side.

Step Three: In a small bowl, mix the chicken stock and cornstarch. Whisk until the cornstarch is fully incorporated and there are no lumps. Add the cornstarch slurry to the skillet and stir. Reduce to medium heat and let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes, until the slurry starts to thicken up and form a yummy brown gravy. The gravy is thick enough when it can coat the back of a spoon. Taste the gravy and add the remaining kosher salt and black pepper, to taste.

A grey skillet with cooked ground chicken and onions. A hand pours a cornstarch slurry from a glass bowl into the skillet. Prep bowls with carrots, peas and corn sit to the side.
A grey skillet with cooked ground chicken and onions in a tomato gravy. A hand drags a wooden spoon through the gravy, leaving a trail to show its thickness.

Step Four: Add the frozen vegetables to the skillet and mix everything well. The vegetables will cook very quickly, so you can move onto the next step without letting them simmer. The water from the frozen vegetables might thin the gravy out a bit, but it will thicken again as it simmers in the next steps.

A grey skillet with cooked ground chicken and onions in a tomato gravy, with frozen corn, peas and carrots on top.
A grey skillet with cooked ground chicken and onions in a tomato gravy, with frozen corn, peas and carrots stirred in to form the bottom layer of shepherd's pie.

Step Five: Spoon hot mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture. Smooth out the mashed potatoes with a spoon to make an even layer of potatoes over top of the bottom layer of meat. Don’t mix the layers together – you want to form two separate layers.

A grey skillet with the bottom layer of ground chicken shepherds pie, with three large dollops of mashed potatoes on top.
A skillet ground chicken shepherd's pie, showing the top mashed potato layer all smoothed out.

Step Six: Put the lid on the skillet and let the mixture simmer on the stove top for about 5 minutes over medium to medium-low heat. The shepherd’s pie is done when it is fully warmed through and you can see the gravy from the bottom layer start to bubble up at the sides. Sprinkle fresh herbs and grate fresh black pepper over the top of the mashed potatoes and serve!

No bake ground chicken shepherds pie, garnished with ground pepper and rosemary. More rosemary, salt and pepper shakers, and a stack of plates are to the side.

Storage

Store leftover shepherd’s pie in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Shepherd’s pie is just as delicious reheated, and is one of the leftovers that everyone in my family fights over!

A close up of a wooden spoon holding a scoop of shepherd's pie. The rest of the shepherd's pie is blurred in the background.

No bake shepherds pie, garnished with ground pepper and rosemary. A scoop is taken out of the pie with a wooden spoon, showing the bottom layer of ground chicken and veggies.

No Bake Shepherd's Pie with Ground Chicken

No bake shepherd's pie is classic comfort food. This easy version uses lean ground chicken, and removes the baking step, for a quick and healthy take on this popular dish that your entire family will love.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 294 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the meat layer:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound lean ground chicken 93/7
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup frozen mixed peas and carrots
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels

For the mashed potato layer:

  • 2.5 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Make the mashed potatoes. Dice potatoes into even pieces, rinse them, and place them in a large pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil potatoes for about 10-15 minutes until fork tender (move on to the next steps while the potatoes boil). Once the potatoes are fully cooked, drain the excess water off and return the potatoes to the pot. Mash the potatoes until they reach a fluffy texture. Add the half and half and salt, and stir to combine. Set the potatoes aside, and cover them to keep them hot.
  • Dice one small onion. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion until fragrant and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add minced garlic, ground chicken, and a small pinch of salt to the skillet and cook until the chicken is browned.
  • To the skillet, add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, rosemary, thyme and half of the kosher salt. Stir the seasonings into the meat until well incorporated. In a small bowl, mix the chicken stock and cornstarch. Whisk until the cornstarch is fully incorporated and there are no lumps. Add the cornstarch slurry to the skillet and stir. Reduce to medium heat and let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes, until the slurry starts to thicken up and form a yummy brown gravy. The gravy is thick enough when it can coat the back of a spoon. Taste the gravy and add the remaining kosher salt and black pepper, to taste.
  • Add the frozen vegetables to the skillet and mix everything well. The vegetables will cook very quickly, so you can move onto the next step without letting them simmer. The water from the frozen vegetables might thin the gravy out a bit, but it will thicken again as it simmers in the next steps.
  • Spoon hot mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture. Smooth out the mashed potatoes with a spoon to make an even layer of potatoes over top of the bottom layer of meat. Don't mix the layers together - you want to form two separate layers.
  • Put the lid on the skillet and let the mixture simmer on the stove top for about 5 minutes over medium to medium-low heat. The shepherd's pie is done when it is heated through and you can see the gravy bubble up the sides. Sprinkle with some fresh herbs and ground pepper, and serve.

Notes

Substitutions: Feel free to substitute ground turkey or ground beef in this recipe. If you are looking for a unique take on shepherd's pie, try topping yours with mashed sweet potato!
Storage: Store leftover shepherd’s pie in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Shepherd’s pie is just as delicious reheated, and is one of the leftovers that everyone in my family fights over!

Nutrition

Calories: 294kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 16gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 371mgPotassium: 906mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1878IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 3mg
Keyword no bake shepherd's pie, shepherd's pie, shepherd's pie with ground chicken
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