Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie – Healthy Seasonal Recipes

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by Sil Pancho

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03.12.2023


Our Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie is savory, yet healthy comfort food that will give you all the cozy vibes. The rich-tasting turkey vegetable filling is baked with irresistible creamy mashed potatoes on top until they are golden and delicious. Serve it for a Sunday Supper or make it ahead for a weeknight dinner.

a casserole dish full of ground turkey shepherd's pie with a spoonful missing from the upper left corner, and a spoon in the dish

Shepherd’s Pie is a dish steeped in a lot of history, but did you know it wasn’t always called Shepherd’s Pie? Its origins date back to the 1700s in Ireland as a money-saving way to use up leftovers. It consisted of ground beef and vegetables topped with a mashed potato crust. This version of the dish was known as Cottage Pie.

Over time, shepherds started making the dish with lamb instead of beef – hence, the new name. In modern times, and in the United States in particular, we tend to use both names interchangeably, and we also use different types of ground meat, like the turkey we used in our recipe today.

No matter what you call it, it reigns supreme as the ultimate comfort food! Savory meat and veggies, golden buttery potatoes and rich gravy… What’s not to love about this hearty meal?

Why We Love This Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

  • Loaded with veggies 
  • Made with lean ground turkey instead of lamb so it is lower in fat and lighter tasting
  • Turkey reduces its environmental impact since poultry has a lower carbon footprint than lamb or beef used in classic shepherd’s pie. 
  • Mashed potatoes have just enough butter to taste rich without being too high in calories
  • With our healthier method/combo of ingredients it comes in under 400 calories which is much lower than traditional shepherd’s pie
  • Can be prepped ahead or frozen
  • Makes enough for 6 people for a Sunday Supper. Serve with crusty bread, a side salad, or one of our serving suggestions below.

Key Ingredients for this Recipe

the ingredients in bowls  on a gray table with text overlay
  • Potatoes: Use thin-skinned potatoes like fingerling or yellow potatoes.
  • Ground turkey: Lower in fat content than ground lamb.
  • Vegetables: Onion, garlic, mushrooms, and frozen corn, peas, and carrots.
  • Chicken Broth: If you don’t have chicken broth, you can substitute vegetable broth or beef broth. Or use homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock.
  • Ketchup: I originally tested this the first few times with tomato paste, but when I ran out I ended up trying it with ketchup and we liked this version best. You can use either!  
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Or substitute with tamari
  • Non-fat milk: To make it richer you can add in a dollop of sour cream or softened cream cheese too. We tried it with Greek Yogurt, but did not like the sour taste so we do not recommend using it in place of milk.
  • Unsalted butter
  • Seasonings and Herbs: Ground pepper, salt, paprika, dry thyme, dry sage
  • Avocado oil or Organic Canola Oil
  • Cornstarch

How To Make Shepherd’s Pie with Ground Turkey

Step 1: Preheat and Prep

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and lightly coat your casserole dish with cooking spray. Alternatively, you can brush it with oil.

Step 2: Boil Potatoes

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover them with cold water. Add salt and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender. This should take about 13 to 15 minutes.

Step 3: Mash Potatoes

Drain the potatoes thoroughly and return them to the saucepan. Add milk, butter, salt, and mash with a potato masher until they’re smooth. Cover the mixture and keep it warm.

Step 4: Cook Ground Turkey Mixture

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat and add the turkey, garlic, and onions. Cook, breaking up any large chunks with a wooden spoon until it’s no longer pink and the onion starts to soften. This should take 5 to 7 minutes. Add mushrooms and salt. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables are softened, the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, and the onions are slightly browned. This should take 7 to 10 minutes.

Step 5: Add Seasonings and Herbs

Add paprika, thyme, sage, and pepper to taste and stir to coat. 

Step 6: Make the Gravy

Stir in 1 1/4 cups of broth, ketchup, and Worcestershire (or tamari) into the turkey mixture. Bring it to a simmer while stirring often. In a small dish, stir the remaining 1/2 cup of broth with cornstarch to create a slurry. Stir the slurry into the simmering turkey mixture while stirring constantly. Cook, stirring until the sauce is thickened and reduced for about 3 to 6 minutes.

Step 7: Add Frozen Vegetables

Stir in the corn, peas, and carrots, and remove the skillet from the heat. The carryover heat will defrost the veg, and then it will bake- so there is no need to defrost the peas and carrots.

Step 8: Assemble Casserole

Pour the turkey filling into the casserole dish spreading evenly. Then dollop the mashed potatoes over the pie filling and gently spread it out with the back of the spoon without disturbing the turkey mixture too much. Sprinkle the top with paprika and pepper if desired. We love the way it makes the topping look extra golden!

browned mashed potato crust on top of the ground turkey and vegetable shepherd's pie mixture

Step 9: Bake

Transfer the casserole dish to the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbling along the edges. This should take about 15 minutes.

close up photo of a spoonful of shepherd's pie being scooped out by a spoon

FAQs and Expert tips for Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

Make Ahead

This dish can be prepared through Step 8 up to 2 days ahead. Keep it covered in foil in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it. To reheat, place the casserole dish in the oven, uncovered, and bake your pie until an instant-read thermometer reaches at least 165 degrees F when inserted in the center of the casserole. This should take about 30 minutes. 

Freezing

Turkey Shepherd’s Pie can be frozen for up to 6 weeks. Start by covering it with aluminum foil and then wrapping it up with two layers of plastic wrap. You should seal it in an extra-large Ziplock bag if you have one.

Freeze flat the dish flat to maintain the layers, and then it can be baked straight from frozen. Remove the plastic, but keep it covered in foil. Bake until it is no longer frozen in the center (test with a knife in the center.) This takes about 30 to 40 minutes, covered.

Then, remove the foil and continue baking until it’s steaming hot, and a digital thermometer registers 165 degrees F in the center. The top should also be starting to brown. This final step will take about 30 minutes.

Substitutions and Variations

  • You can use frozen cut green beans instead of the peas and carrot mix. 
  • Try it with a cauliflower mash topping to make this low-carb: Use our Creamy Mashed Cauliflower instead of the mashed potatoes. 
  • If you have a preference for a different kind of protein, you can also use ground lamb, ground chicken, or ground beef.
  • Slice bell peppers and saute them into the meat mixture.
  • Use our recipe for Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes as an alternative to the mashed potato crust.
overhead shot of a spoon scooping up some shepherd's pie out of the corner of the casserole dish

More Ground Turkey Recipes To Try

We love our ground turkey around here. Here are some more healthy dinners we have created using ground turkey:

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Description

Our Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie is savory, yet healthy comfort food that will give you all the cozy vibes. The rich-tasting turkey vegetable filling is baked with irresistible creamy mashed potatoes on top until they are golden and delicious. Serve it for a Sunday Supper or make it ahead for a weeknight dinner.


  • 1 ½ pounds thin-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ½-inch chunks (about 3 medium)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/3 cup non-fat milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or organic canola oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, wiped clean and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon paprika, plus more for garnish
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dry sage or rubbed sage
  • 1 ¾ cups chicken broth, divided
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or Tamari
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly coat a 2 ½ quart casserole dish with cooking spray or brush with oil.
  2. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Add ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender, 13 to 15 minutes. 
  3. Drain the potatoes thoroughly and return to the saucepan. Add milk, butter, pepper and ½ teaspoon of the remaining salt and mash until smooth. Cover and keep warm.
  4. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat. Add turkey, garlic and onions and cook, breaking up the turkey with a wooden spoon until it is no longer pink and the onion is starting to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Add mushrooms and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables are softened, the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated and the onions are browned slightly, 7 to 10 minutes.
  5. Add paprika, thyme, sage and pepper to taste and stir to coat. 
  6. Stir 1 ¼ cup broth, ketchup and Worcestershire (or tamari) into the turkey mixture. Bring to a simmer stirring often. Stir the remaining ½ cup broth with cornstarch in a small dish. Stir slurry into the simmering turkey mixture while stirring constantly. Cook, stirring until the sauce is thickened and reduced slightly, about 3 to 6 minutes. 
  7. Stir in corn, peas and carrots and remove the skillet from the heat. 
  8. Pour turkey filling into the casserole dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over the turkey mixture. Sprinkle with paprika and pepper if desired. 
  9. Transfer the casserole dish to the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbling along the edges, 15 minutes.

Notes

Make Ahead:

Can be prepared through step 8 up to 2 days ahead. Keep covered in foil in the refrigerator.

To reheat:

Place in the oven, uncovered and bake until an instant read thermometer reaches at least 165 degrees F when inserted in the center of the casserole, about 30 minutes.

To freeze:

Can be frozen up to 6 weeks. Cover with aluminum foil and then wrap with two layers of plastic wrap. (Seal in an extra-large Ziplock bag if you have one.) Freeze flat. Can be baked straight from frozen. Remove plastic, but keep covered in foil. Bake  until it is no longer frozen in the center (test with a knife in the center.) This takes about 30 to 40 minutes covered. Then remove foil and continue baking until steaming hot, a digital thermometer registers 165 degrees F in the center and the top is starting to brown, about 30 minutes longer. 

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Active Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Mixed

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 3/4 cups
  • Calories: 395
  • Sugar: 10 g
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Carbohydrates: 41 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 20 g

Keywords: Ground turkey shepherd’s pie, ground turkey shepherds pie, shepherds pie with turkey, turkey cottage pie, turkey shepherds pie, turkey shepherd’s pie



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