Can You Freeze Shepherd’s Pie?

The perfect dish to prepare ahead of time and freeze for future use, shepherd’s pie is a firm family favourite that is full of flavour while being relatively straightforward to make.

Here’s everything you need to know about freezing shepherd’s pie:

The Quick Answer

Yes, you can freeze shepherd’s pie. Shepherd’s pie can be frozen for around 3 months. You could also freeze shepherd’s pie in parts if you’d prefer, keeping the mince mixture and potatoes separate until it comes time to reheat them.

How to Freeze Shepherd’s Pie

Freezing shepherd’s pie isn’t too complicated. You just need to think about how you will use it when it comes to defrosting and reheating it and make sure you freeze it in the appropriate portion sizes.

Here’s a breakdown of the necessary steps you will need to follow to freeze shepherd’s pie.

  1. Allow to Cool
    Before you think about freezing your shepherd’s pie, you will need to leave it to cool on the countertop. If you’re freezing the leftovers of your family meal, you can leave it to cool while eating and clearing up, and by the time you’ve done the dishes, you should be ready to begin the freezing process.
  2. Separate Into Portions (If Required)
    If you’ve prepared a whole shepherd’s pie for freezing so you can enjoy it whole at a later stage, you can skip this step. If you’re freezing leftovers, we would recommend splitting them into appropriate portion sizes before you place them in the freezer. This ensures that you only need to defrost the required serving of pie when it comes to defrosting and will save on wastage.
  3. Place Into Freezer-Safe Containers
    Place your individual portions into freezer-safe containers. It’s not a good idea to use bags, because your pie will lose its shape when you come to freeze it.
  4. Cover the Top Layer With Cling Film
    Make sure there’s a small gap between the top of the pie and the lid of the container. Then cover the top layer with cling film before securing the lid. This will help to protect the potato from freezer burn.
  5. Label and Freeze
    Label your container by writing the date you prepared the pie, as well as the date you need to use it. Remember, you can keep your shepherd’s pie in the freezer for up to three months.

3 Tips for Freezing Shepherd’s Pie

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing shepherd’s pie to have the best results:

  • Freeze Elements Apart – Some people worry about the pie losing its form in the freezer – i.e. the potatoes and the mince mixture freeze together, as opposed to retaining their initial shape of the potatoes sitting on top. If you would prefer, you could freeze the potatoes and mince mixture separately and then build your pie once you’ve defrosted the components. Either way works perfectly fine, so it’s just down to personal preference!
  • Add Cheese When Reheating – If you enjoy sprinkling your shepherd’s pie with a topping of cheese, we would advise you to leave this off before placing the pie in the freezer. If you do add cheese before freezing, make sure it’s a cheese with a high-fat content to ensure it freezes well.
  • Try Cooking from Frozen – While it’s best to thaw your shepherd’s pie in the fridge before reheating it to ensure the pie heats evenly, it is possible to cook your pie from frozen. This is great news if you’ve made a whole pie for your family to enjoy at a later day, as you can simply remove it from the freezer and place it in the oven when you’re ready to prepare your family’s evening meal.

Grated Cheese Pie

How Long Can You Freeze Shepherd’s Pie?

You can freeze shepherd’s pie for around 3 months. Lots of people prefer freezing the mashed potato and mince mixtures separately, particularly if they’ve prepared the pie intentionally to freeze it for future use.

Of course, this isn’t possible if you’re freezing leftovers, but you don’t need to worry as your shepherd’s pie will freeze perfectly well as long as you follow the steps outlined above.

You Can Freeze Shepherd’s Pie for up to 3 Months

How Do You Defrost Shepherd’s Pie?

As has already been mentioned, you can actually cook your shepherd’s pie directly from frozen. However, to ensure the ingredients are heated equally and for best results, we would recommend thawing the pie in the freezer the night before you wish to reheat it.

Reheating your pie this way will ensure your dish is perfect for your family. You shouldn’t defrost your shepherd’s pie on the countertop as the meat can spoil and go bad, particularly if it’s a warm day outside.

Can You Refreeze Shepherd’s Pie?

As long as you have thawed your shepherd’s pie in the refrigerator, it’s safe to refreeze it if you have any leftovers. However, potatoes can sometimes lose their texture or discolour if you refreeze them more than once, so we would suggest freezing your pie in appropriate portion sizes, so you don’t have to worry about taking more out of the freezer than you actually need.

Does Shepherd’s Pie Freeze Well?

Providing you follow the instructions outlined in this post, your shepherd’s pie will freeze extremely well, and you will have access to a delicious family meal whenever you require it. Shepherd’s pie is truly one of the best meals to prepare in advance, and you will unlikely notice any difference between a shepherd’s pie that is fresh out of the oven and one that has been frozen and reheated.

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing shepherd’s pie or pie in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Cottage Pie?

The only difference between cottage pie and shepherd’s pie is the meat. Lamb is used in a traditional shepherd’s pie while beef is used in a cottage pie. Fortunately, this means that the freezing process is exactly the same for either pie type.

Can You Freeze Costco Shepherd’s Pie?

Although it is likely to be safe to do so, we would, first of all, recommend checking the packaging for any instructions on whether it is suitable for home freezing. There is a chance that the meat they have used was previously frozen but if it has since been cooked then it will be safe to freeze.

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