Shepherds pie is a good, hearty dish. A classic staple that can be enjoyed by the whole family, packed full of all the nutrients you need for a healthy meal.
It’s super easy to make and so delicious, with the perfect combination of ground beef and potato mash for a great meal.
Shepherd’s pie is a great option if you are looking to meal prep for the future, and the fact that you can freeze it removes the dread of having leftovers after your meal.
Like so many other things, shepherds pie can be frozen. The meat filling of the pie freezes extremely well, however, the topping can struggle.
Throughout the freezing process, the texture of the potato mash topping does change consistency which could put some people off. But the change isn’t so noticeable that it makes you unable to enjoy this yummy meal.
So if you have leftover shepherds pie, or want to prepare some to freeze for the future, follow this guide and the process will be easy pie-sy!
How to freeze shepherds pie
Whether you have leftovers from your evening meal or want to prepare for the future, freezing shepherds pie can be a great way to ensure you have easy access to good, healthy meals.
The process of freezing is simple but does differ depending on whether you are preparing shepherds pie exclusively to freeze or if you are planning on freezing leftovers.
If you are completing meal prep, the first step is to prepare your homemade shepherds pie like normal. Once the pie has cooked you should leave it to cool completely before you do anything else.
When it comes to transferring the cooked pie into an airtight, freezer-safe container you have 2 options.
The first is to keep the meat filling and the potato topping separate. This allows you to easily pour the meat mixture into the container with minimal mess. Once you have transferred the mix you can then add the mashed potato on top to secure the meat mixture in the container.
Alternatively, if you have prepared the shepherd’s pie with the mashed potato already on top you can carefully transfer spoonfuls of the pie into the airtight container. Should you choose this method, it’s very important that you limit the disruption to the potato topping as much as possible.
Once your shepherd pie is in the airtight container, you can simply cover the container with saran wrap. This will prevent any leaks during the freezing process. Seal the lid on top of the saran wrap and label with the date of freezing for future reference.
Alternatively, if you are freezing leftover shepherd pie you should use a rigid, airtight container. Simply transfer the leftover shepherds pie into the container using a large spoon or spatula. You should then seal the lid and label it with the date of storage before placing it in the freezer.
How to defrost shepherds pie
The freezing process for shepherds pie may appear complex, but the defrosting process is incredibly simple. So when you decide that you want to eat the yummy shepherd’s pie which you froze earlier you can easily access this meal.
Once frozen, shepherds pie will have a shelf life of roughly 2 months which is significantly longer than its shelf life in the fridge. This shelf life will increase even more if the shepherds pie is kept frozen at a consistent temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
The day before you want to eat your leftover shepherds pie you should remove the container from the freezer and place it in the fridge. You must check the date of storage was less than 2 months ago to ensure that the pie is still edible.
You should then leave the frozen shepherds pie to defrost in the fridge overnight.
The next morning you should find the shepherds pie has thoroughly defrosted and is ready to eat. All that’s left to do is reheat it. To ensure the shepherds pie reheats thoroughly you should place it in the oven for approximately 1 hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
A very simple process for a yummy meal.
Factors to consider
As with everything you can freeze, there are some factors you should consider before deciding to freeze shepherds pie.
The first is the impact freezing has on certain ingredients. In particular, the mashed potato topping which makes up a large amount of the shepherds pie struggles with the freezing process.
Mashed potato is loved by many because of its light, fluffy texture, making it particularly upsetting that this is lost during the freezing process. Due to the extreme temperatures that the potato is exposed to in the freezer, the potato can often become grainy when defrosted.
If this sounds particularly off putting to you, there are some ways you can work around this. The most common way is to freeze the shepherds pie mixture without adding the mashed potato topping.
This might seem strange, but the shepherd’s pie filling freezes well so by freezing half you are reducing the cooking time and ensuring the potato topping does not go grainy as it will not be frozen.
Simply prepare the mashed potato once the filling has defrosted, then add to the top before you reheat in the oven for a frozen shepherds pie which tastes fresh.
Other factors you should consider include portions. If you are the only person in your household who will be eating the shepherd pie, it might be a good idea to freeze it in individual, meal-size portions.
You can do this by freezing separate portions in different containers so when you want a meal all you have to do is take one container out to defrost. This will also reduce waste as shepherds pie cannot be refrozen once defrosted.
So the answer is yes, you can freeze shepherds pie.
Whether it be for meal prep or simply a way to preserve leftovers, freezing shepherds pie can be an easy way to ensure you have a delicious meal available whenever you want it.
Some ingredients can struggle with the freezing process, but if you follow this guide freezing shepherds pie will be simple.