Easy Weeknight Shepherd’s Pie with Leftover Roast Beef (+Video)

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Sneak Preview: This Shepherd’s Pie with Leftover Roast Beef recipe is a simple way to use pot roast or roast beef leftovers for a weeknight casserole. You won’t encourage seconds of your Sunday pot roast with dreams of this Shepherd’s Pie in your head.

individual serving of Shepherd's pie on a plate with a florkPin

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If your family can predict the menu for the next two or three days whenever you prepare a beef roast, surprise them. Use your leftovers to make Shepherd’s Pie. This recipe might be even better than the original pot roast and potatoes that started it.

Leftovers were never so comforting.

Four Reasons Why This Will Become a Favorite Recipe

  1. Surprise your family with something new and better than just reheating leftover roast and potatoes.
  2. Because the meat is already cooked, it doesn’t take long to assemble this recipe.
  3. Have fun with the vegetables. Use corn, green beans, mushrooms, or baby limas if you prefer. Substitute mashed cauliflower for the potatoes.
  4. Because there are only two people at my dinner table, we sometimes have shepherd’s pie leftovers. They are worth fighting over.

Happy Cooks Speak Up

“Absolutely yummy recipe! Used left over Tri-tip and it was perfect. Thank you for giving me another great go-to recipe! Family loved it too!!” CHRISTY M.

Is it Called Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage Pie?

According to Jamie Oliver, make this recipe with lamb and call it Shepherd’s Pie. Then, make it with beef and call it Cottage Pie. Oops! This recipe calls for beef; however, I called it Shepherd’s Pie—my mistake.

But it’s too late to teach Google a new trick. So anyway, I think most Americans call this dish Shepherd’s Pie no matter what kind of meat they use.

Roast Beef Leftovers?

I called this a”Weeknight” recipe because we usually have pot roast on Sunday. So that means we have this easy leftover beef recipe the following week.

Whenever I have this dilemma, I can’t decide if I want this Weeknight Shepherd’s Pie recipe, Vegetable Beef Soup, Steak and Mushroom Soup, or Leftover Brisket Quesadillas. They are all great ways to recycle leftover beef.

Another quick idea that doesn’t require a recipe is a beef roll-up. Slice or dice your beef, add shredded cheese and roll it up in a tortilla or big lettuce leaf. Or make roast beef enchiladas substituting finely chopped roast beef for the ground meat in these Memorable Green Chile Beef Enchiladas.

While we’re on the topic of roast beef leftovers, here are some other leftovers that could provide the beef for this recipe:

  • Thinly slices of leftover steak
  • Leftover roast beef stroganoff (without egg noodles, pasta, or rice added)
  • Roast beef sandwiches with horseradish
  • Roast beef sliders
  • Beef stew
Shepherd's Pie-in serving bowl with serving spoonPin

If you don’t have leftovers, buy a pot roast or use sliced roast beef from the deli counter—more about that in the recipe.

Finished Shepherd's Pie garnished with fresh thyme and smoked paprikaPin

Possible Substitutions

1. Ground Beef for Leftover Pot Roast

It’s worth noting that many people substitute one pound of ground beef for pot roast or roast beef. Of course, you could also substitute lamb or ground turkey.

Roast beef layer of Shepherd's PiePin

2. Leftover Mashed Potatoes

The recipe below includes instructions for the mashed potato topping if you don’t have leftovers. I try to make plenty of potatoes and gravy, too. I don’t have to make them again for this recipe.

3. Mashed Cauliflower for Potatoes

Are you counting carbs? Substitute mashed cauliflower for the potatoes. It’s also scrumptious. If you use my recipe for mashed cauliflower (it’s not mushy at all), I bet your family will be hard-pressed to tell the difference.

4. Mushrooms, Corn, or Green Beans

If mushrooms aren’t your thing, no worries. Leave them out.

If you want more veggies, I have subbed corn or green beans in the past, and it didn’t hurt the recipe.

Easy Shepherd's Pie in a skillet, garnished with fresh thymePin

How To Make the Mashed Potato Topping

The directions call for cooking three peeled potatoes in water. When tender, drain well.

I cook potatoes in the Instant Pot (paid link) by adding 1-1/2 cup water to the pot along with the peeled and chopped (large chunks) potatoes. (Note: If you’re a garlic lover, throw in a couple of garlic cloves.)

Set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 10 minutes. Release the pressure immediately, and check if the potatoes are tender. Drain well and allow to sit in the hot pan for a few minutes to dry out.

mashing potatoesPin
Mash with a potato masher until lumps disappear.
adding salt for mashed potato layerPin
Season with salt and pepper.
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How To Assemble the Meat Layer

softening onions in a skilletPin
Saute chopped onions in oil until softened.
adding mushrooms to onionsPin
If using, add fresh chopped mushrooms or canned mushrooms that are well-drained.
adding peas to mushroomsPin
Next, throw in some frozen peas and carrots. (Or add peas if you had leftover carrots with your roast.)
adding leftover roast beef to vegetablesPin
Cut cooked beef into bite-sized pieces and stir into vegetables.
adding gravy to leftover beef roast and veggie mixturePin
Add leftover gravy (or use a brown gravy mix) you have already made according to the directions. If the mixture is too dry, add water or beef broth.

Sprinkle with dried or fresh thyme. (Optional: To add more flavor to the sauce, add Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, or other favorite spice mixtures.)

warming leftover roast beef, vegetables, and gravyPin
Stir together and warm meat and vegetables on top of the stove—taste before adding salt or black pepper.

How To Put Together Shepherd’s Pie with Leftover Roast Beef

Distributing mashed potato topping over meat layer of Shepherd's piePin
Distribute mashed potatoes over the meat and vegetables.

I like using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop because it can be challenging to spread the potatoes like you frost a cake.

smoothing potato layerPin
Use a spatula to gently smooth the potatoes.
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Pour melted butter over the top of the potatoes.

Sprinkle with paprika or smoked paprika if you like. Bake in a 350˚F (170˚C) oven until the mashed potato tips are golden brown and the beef layer is bubbly.

Baked Shepherd's Pie in a skilletPin
Garnish with fresh thyme, parsley, or other fresh herbs.

FAQ About Leftover Beef Recipes:

How do you moisten dry or leftover roast beef?

Add water, beef broth, barbecue sauce, or a cream soup such as condensed cream of mushroom sauce.

How do you tenderize leftover roast?

If your leftover roast beef is too chewy, it probably wasn’t cooked long enough originally. Simmer the meat in liquid until it is fork-tender. This may take a while, perhaps 1-3 hours.

What else can I do with leftover roast beef?

We love this Beef and Vegetable Soup Without Tomatoes that is good with a lot or a little beef.

Parting Thoughts: What did your mom do with roast beef leftovers? A friend says his mom always made Roast Beef Hash every Monday night because they always had Pot Roast and Potatoes on Sunday. Too bad she didn’t have this recipe in her back pocket to make her menu a little more interesting.

Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.

a serving of shepherd's pie on a platePin
Yield: 8 servings

Weeknight Shepherd’s Pie with Leftover Roast Beef

This recipe features roast beef (leftovers are fine) and vegetables (peas and carrots) in a rich beef gravy covered with a layer of seasoned mashed potatoes.

Rate this recipe

(5 stars if you loved it)

5 from 111 votes


Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes


Mashed Potato Topping:

  • 3 medium (639 g) potatoes, peeled
  • ½ cup (114 g) milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper

Meat Layer:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup (13 g) fresh or frozen onion, chopped fresh, or frozen
  • 4 ounces (113 g) fresh mushrooms, sliced or chopped or 2 oz. canned mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup (140 g) frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 .87 oz package (24 g) brown gravy mix + 1 cup water or use leftover gravy
  • 1 package (482 g) beef roast au jus-17 ounces or 2-3 cups leftover beef roast, fork-shredded or cut into chunks
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • freshly-ground pepper
  • paprika
  • 2 tablespoon (28 g) butter thin slices


Mashed Potato Topping

  • Cover 3 medium (639 g) potatoes, peeled with water, and boil until tender. Drain.
  • Mash potatoes until relatively smooth. Heat 1/2 cup (114 g) milk and 2 tablespoons butter in a microwave oven for 1 minute. Add to potatoes. Season to taste with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Beef Layer

  • Preheat your oven to 350˚ F (180˚C).
  • Preheat a large skillet and add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Sauté 1/4 cup (13 g) fresh or frozen onion, chopped in skillet until soft. Add 4 ounces (113 g) fresh mushrooms, sliced or chopped to onions, and continue to sauté until browned. Add 1 cup (140 g) frozen peas and carrots.
  • In a separate bowl, prepare 1 .87 oz package (24 g) brown gravy mix + 1 cup water. Add to skillet along with 1 package (482 g) beef roast au jus-17 ounces and 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme. Stir and simmer until the mixture begins to thicken. Season with freshly-ground pepper
  • Pour meat mixture into a greased 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. Carefully spoon mashed potatoes on top and swirl. Sprinkle with paprika if desired and 2 tablespoon (28 g) butter, thinly sliced.
  • Bake in 350˚F (180˚C) oven for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are golden on top and the beef mixture is bubbly.


I don’t use the brown gravy mix if I have lots of leftover gravy. If you prefer to make your gravy, here’s a good beef gravy recipe you can put together from scratch.
Mushrooms are optional but add to the meaty taste and texture.
If you have it, smoked paprika is nice on top, or leave it off completely.
Potatoes can be cooked in an Instant Pot for 10 minutes under high pressure with quick release.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 353kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 313mg | Potassium: 818mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1879IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 3mg

All images and text ©️ Paula Rhodes for Salad in a Jar.com

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I could not stop eating this! It was so good. I had leftover cooked prime rib in the freezer so I was looking for something other than pot pie to use it up.

    Of course, since this was to use up leftovers I have some tweaks that I did.

    1) made fresh mashed potatoes as directed but with a mix of red and blue potatoes, leaving the skins on. After mashing it with the butter/milk, I mixed it with a generous helping of shredded cheddar cheese.
    2) I made up 2 brown gravy packs, using leftover vegetable broth instead of water. While stirring, I also tossed in a large shake of dried parsley flakes, a few dashes of some seasoning blends (Morimoto yuzu blend and Morimoto black garlic pepper), and a tiny dash of dried thyme leaves.
    3) I used fresh onion and mushrooms and frozen mixed vegetables.
    4) Tossed in the chopped primerib plus a small piece of leftover ribeye.
    5) Assembled the whole thing, and dusted with smoked paprika.
    6) When serving, I like to garnish so I did a dollop of sour cream on each bowl and sprinkle of fresh garlic chives.

    I loved the creaminess that the sour cream dollop added so when I make this in the future I am going to add sour cream to the mixture to turn it more into a stroganoff before baking.

    1. Hi Ess Ess,

      I absolutely love all of your ideas. I’m going to try some of these the next time I make this (which is quite often). Thank you for taking the time to write and inspire all of us.

  2. Hi,
    I am making a Mississippi pot roast right now and today is the first time I have looked for recipes with the leftovers. I am so excited to try this recipe, I have been making myself sick because I’m the one eating the leftovers. I was about to say that I can not believe someone was that “I don’t know what” in order bring attention to the whole shepard thing but considering how far they gone or “hyper-mindful” they are I’m surprised they didn’t say shepardess! Please more leftover recipes !!!! I’ll let you know how this goes with this Mississippi. I am undecided whether to freeze with roast juice or plain beef stock I have in fridge though any advice given I’m using Mississippi?

    1. Hi Ralyn,
      So nice to hear from you. I have a whole category of “leftover recipes” you can see under the recipe tab at the top of any page on my website.

      I’ve heard of Mississippi roast but don’t make it since I have a couple of favorite go-to roast recipes already. I usually freeze the stock and the meat separately, but I imagine that either way is fine.

  3. How much left over gravy is needed?

    1. Hi Cathy,
      One cup of water or gravy or some of both to make one cup.

  4. 5 stars
    we are fortunate to live in a rural community raising our own beef and vegetables. used this recipe with leftover chuck roast … delicious. ” this is really delicious” said hubby. thank you

    1. I agree. You are blessed to have these resources. So happy you liked the recipe. Thank you for writing.

  5. Mary Brunet says:

    Hey there, this is one of my favorites for using leftover roast beef. We get half cow and have found the arm roast to be the least fav as it has way plenty grizzle so I pick it over and shred then make my own gravy from instant pot juices. Some frozen veggies and masked tators topper. Yum!

    1. Hi Mary,
      I’m envious that you have room in your freezer to keep “a half cow.” Glad to hear how you have made this recipe your own. Those are the best recipes!

  6. 5 stars
    I made this with leftover roast tonight. The whole family loved it! My kids rate my meals and my daughter (who is usually my harshest critic) gave it 4.9.

    1. That is high praise from your daughter. Thanks for coming back to share.

  7. the clue is in the name. Shepherds pie was made with the meat of sheep which had served their useful life. you can’t make shepherd pie with cow meat.

    1. That makes sense, Terr. Thanks for writing.

  8. 5 stars
    OMG! (No disrespect, God.) Finally! A person that cooks like I do. Use this up and if you don’t have this, then use that. I can never make anything the same twice, which in a way is a good thing. I’ve been cooking for 60+ years and I’ve never made anyone sick and I rarely had leftovers, but now we’re empty nesters. Thx for a great lesson in cooking as opposed to a recipe.

    1. Hi Sandra,
      It sounds like we are kindred spirits in the kitchen. People often ask me about publishing a cookbook. The very idea scares me to death since I’m constantly tweaking and improving, substituting and making do with what I have on hand. I like having a website where I can change things whenever I want to or need to.

      Glad you enjoyed the shepherd’s pie. I recently realized that I have lots of recipes for “leftover” this or that. They are so useful. I bet you agree?

    2. 5 stars
      Delicious way to use leftover roast! I’d made one in the crockpot with onions, so left some onions in the juices and used my immersion blender to smoothe it, then thickened with cornstarch and water (my husband is gluten free). I would have added some red wine if I had any, but instead added some cooking sherry to the mushrooms. I will definitely make this again!

      1. Hi Sandra,

        I’m sure all those onions made a wonderful gravy. Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your gluten-free adaptation. This could be very useful for other readers.

  9. For years we have made at least three roast beef(s) at once in a browning cooking bag to reduce clean up. We have one as is with carrots, potatoes, gravy etc. Then we chop of shred one to use in cottage pie, soup, enchiladas etc and leave to other whole for a later (quick) roast beef dinner, freezing both. We really prefer shredded or diced roast beef in our beef casseroles. This truly cuts down on preparation time. It was like an epiphany once we thought of this tip/hack!!

    1. Cathy,
      This is GENIUS! Thanks for sharing. I’m sure other people will find this idea helpful, too.

    1. Thanks, MiMi. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the rating.

  10. Where do use the au jus?

    1. Are you referring to the juices the beef comes in if you buy it already cooked? You can use it instead of water in the brown gravy mix, or make gravy with the au jus itself, or save it for another use later. I hope I answered your question. If not, please write back.

  11. Pingback: 13 Leftover Roast Beef Recipes (Best Ways to Use Leftover Roast) - IzzyCooking
  12. Pingback: 13 Delicious Leftover Roast Beef Recipes - The Rusty Spoon
  13. Erin MacDougall says:

    Can this left over shepherds pie be frozen?

    1. Hi Erin,
      Good question. I don’t recommend it because of the potatoes. I think it would be fine to freeze the meat portion.

  14. Pingback: Sneak Peek: 24+ Best Leftover Roast Beef Recipes Ever
  15. Christy Montano says:

    Absolutely yummy recipe! Used left over Tri-tip and it was perfect. Thank you for giving me another great go-to recipe! Family loved it too!!

    1. Glad you liked it Christy. So generous of you and come back and say so!

  16. Hi Paula.
    Made your cottage pie yesterday and it was delicious.
    Used cut up prime rib from the weekend and let me tell you I will never use ground beef again.Served it with a side of pickled red cabbage which is what we did growing up in England.
    Your recipe is definitely a keeper and will be a regular dish in our household.
    Thanks Paula.

    1. Prime rib? Wow. I want to eat dinner at your house. Glad this recipe worked out for you. Thanks so much for writing back.

  17. Hi Paula,
    Just wondering whether the beef might be overdone as it’s already cooked. Can this be prevented ?

    1. Hi Ken,

      I’m not sure I understand. Your beef will not be overcooked unless you don’t use enough liquid in the pie and it dries out. You are basically assembling pre-cooked food, then baking it just enough to warm it up and put a nice crust on the potatoes. Did your beef become overdone? What kind of beef were you using? Maybe I’m misunderstanding your question.

    2. Hi Paula,
      I guess you would only be warming up the ingredients and not cooking them.
      Anyhow I’m making it for dinner tonight and I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  18. TINA B PFEIFER says:

    mine if leftover chunk of prime rib.. How do i get it to shred??

    1. Hi Tina,
      Prime rib? Hmmm. I would go for chop. I’m not a meat expert, but can’t imagine “shreds” of prime rib. You don’t want to cook it long or it will be tough. Here’s what I do with leftover prime rib.

  19. Just the thing for left over roast beef…that’s what’s for dinner tonight!

  20. Carroll Hanks says:

    I came up with my own version of shepherd’s pie by using corn bread mix instead of mashed potatoes. My family likes it better.

    1. Interesting variation Carroll. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Paula: I have made this Shepherds pie three times now. The last time I made it, my ten year old grandson had six helpings! My husband is from Scotland and I have had “Shepherds Pie” there made with beef. Maybe cottage pie is an English recipe. I happened onto your website quite by accident, and my family says that this shepherds pie is the best yet! I have tripled it with no problem, tastes the same. Thanks a million! Oh, the last time I used the
    Hormels beef, it was still delicious.

    1. Connie,
      I love this kind of comment. I am of English descent but don’t really know much about authentic English food. Just know I like the way this tastes. Glad to have your family’s approval.

  22. Perfect looking sheperd’s pie, I bought a roast yesterday to try out the roast recipe, now I know what to do with the left overs 🙂

  23. Great recipe. It was delicious and the family loved it. I love your blog and thanks for sharing such wonderful recipes.

    1. Connie, Love this kind of comment! Appreciate you reporting back.

  24. Yudith @ Blissfully Delicious says:

    Oh, this looks so delicious and hearty! Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

  25. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit says:

    I’d love to take a genealogical jaunt to England! Your shepherd’s pie looks delicious. My boys always loved shepherd’s pie- I usually made it with whatever kind of beef I had on hand. (sometimes ground and sometimes not) They always preferred the NOT ground, however, just like yours. 🙂

  26. The Café Sucré Farine says:

    Yum, Paula, I just returned from London and your pictures look so familiar. I didn’t have any Shepard Pie this time – but lots of other wonderful British food. Whoever came up with the idea that the British food is not good is crazy – we have had delightful food every time we visit there! Your pie looks amazing and quite authentic!

    1. Welcome back Chris. I am always a little envious of your trips to Europe. Looked like you had a great time and wonderful food. Of course, I know the best part is seeing family. pr

  27. Looks wonderful!!! I am a comfort for addict. I have had it both with ground beef and with roast beef and I much rather have the roast ,especially chuck roast it has so much more flavor.

  28. Piper@GotItCookIt says:

    Love it, pot roast sheperd’s pie- the ultimate comfort food and something that always, always pleases my family. You took some fantastic pictures too… I know it’s hard to do that.

  29. This is the first recipe that I’ve seen using roast beef for Shepherd’s Pie and I’m delighted! I was never a fan of the pie being made with ground beef. Your dish looks delicious.

  30. While technically a cottage pie rather than a Shepard’s pie (beef-based v lamb-based), the recipe looks delicious and I will have to try it.

    1. Hi Gord,
      Yes, I’ve been informed by another reader that this is technically cottage pie. Makes sense. I looked around on the internet and it looks like most Americans think of them either as interchangeable or else they have never heard of “cottage pie” since they have used the term “Shepherd’s Pie” all their life for beef or lamb. I think lamb is so expensive here and/or not available that it is not a viable choice for most of us. Thanks for taking the time to write.

    2. tammy lester says:

      Hi I was wondering if I could use mushroom gravey instead of useing each one separately & if I can use instant potatoes instead of real potatoes?

      1. Tammy, I haven’t actually tried either one but I think those substitutions would work.

  31. This looks delicious. My husband likes Shepherd’s Pie, but the only recipes I can find are the ground beef version and don’t sound nearly as scrumptious as this. I’m printing this off to try. Thanks, Paula.

    1. Hi Karen,
      Good to hear from you. I’ve noticed a lot of recipes with ground beef too. Not the same in my book. pr

  32. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking says:

    That is one mouthwatering looking shepherd’s pie, Paula! I can practically taste it from here! Thanks for sharing your recipe. I’d love to try it sometime.

  33. Anna Brown says:

    Mmmn that looks delicious, I think it must be lunchtime…To be honest that looks pretty similar to how I make mine- I just fry up some onions and a little garlic in butter, add the remains of the lamb joint, a little mint sauce, carrots and peas, chopped mushroom, a dash of port wine- and heap some mash on top and a grating of cheese:)

  34. I was born in England but moved to the States while I was still very young. “Me Mum”, on the otherhand, was born and raised there so we were raised on those English staples. Sadly, my Mom’s shepherd’s pie doesn’t look…or taste, I imagine, anything like yours does. I hated knowing we were having shepherd’s pie for dinner. Mom only had ground beef, onions and peas with a mash potato topping. It was d-r-y and boring. I’d drown mine in butter to choke it down. I’ve grown to like it more now that I’m older but yours looks divine with that rich gravy! I can’t wait to try your recipe (ssssshhh, but don’t tell my Mom Ü). I do still love her mincemeat pies, lemon curd, pickled onions and red pickled cabbage….yum!

  35. *Just Fran* says:

    I have always had Shepherd’s Pie with a more tomato-y base. This looks like very good comfort food.

  36. Abbey has been asking me to make Shepherd’s Pie and I know if it is a Paula recipe it’s going to be wonderful!

    1. 5 stars
      Still my favourite dinner

      1. Comfort food, right? Thanks for the 5-star rating!!