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This tater tot shepherd’s pie recipe is the mashup you didn’t know you needed in your life! It has crispy, golden tater tots combined with all the classic flavors of shepherd’s pie.

You may also like my Cowboy Casserole or Simple Ground Beef Casserole next.

a skillet with tater tot shepherd's pie and a serving spoon

Why you’ll love it

This fun twist on two cozy favorites might be a stroke of genius! It’s like Tater Tot Casserole and Shepherd’s Pie had a baby. We’ve got the crunch of tater tots to swap out the mashed potatoes in shepherd’s pie, which is not only delicious but way less work.

Tender ground beef is seasoned with pantry ingredients, frozen mixed vegetables make this easy shepherd’s pie tater tot casserole a complete meal, and tater tots give the potato vibes of shepherd’s pie. They also make this dish super appealing for picky eaters and kids!

What you’ll need

  • Butter – for sautéing
  • Onion – I like sweet (Vidalia) onions
  • Ground beef – shepherd’s pie (historically synonymous with the term “cottage pie”) was traditionally made with any meat available, and that could include lamb or beef. Purists obviously wouldn’t use tater tots either, so have a little fun with this dish!
  • Italian seasoning – it’s my favorite all-purpose seasoning blend
  • Tomato paste – for richer flavor in the gravy and a hint of tomato
  • Flour – to thicken the sauce
  • Beef broth – for deeper savory taste
  • Worcestershire sauce – it enhances the flavor
  • Frozen mixed veggies – usually this includes carrots, peas, corn, and green beans
  • Tater tots – for that crispy potato goodness
ingredients for tater tot shepherd's pie in prep bowls

Pro tip

Don’t have a large, oven-safe skillet? No problem! The recipe below includes instructions for using a casserole dish or skillet.

How to make tater tot shepherd’s pie

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

sauteing onions and ground beef in a skillet

Preheat the oven. Melt the butter in a skillet, then sauté the onion until softened. Add the beef, and cooked until just browned, breaking it up with a spoon.

adding seasonings to ground beef in a skillet for tater tot casserole

Stir in the Italian seasoning, tomato paste, and flour for a minute. Add the broth, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Scrape up the browned bits, and let the sauce thicken a bit.

adding vegetables and tater tots to a skillet for shepherd's pie tater tot casserole

Add the mixed vegetables, and heat through. Transfer the skillet mixture to a baking dish if you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, and smooth into an even layer. Top with tater tots. Bake until bubbly and hot.

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

Substitutions and variations

  • The ground beef can be swapped for ground lamb or even ground turkey or pork if you prefer.
  • You could replace some of the beef broth with red wine it if you plan on opening a bottle and want a fancy touch.
  • Frozen mixed vegetables are fab for saving time since they’re already partially cooked, but if you want to use fresh vegetables, you can. Try sautéing them with the onions so they end up nice and soft by the time the casserole has finished in the oven.
  • If you want this to be a cheesy casserole, add a cup or so of grated cheddar on top during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time.

How to make it ahead

  • You can make the meat filling ahead of time and freeze it for up to 3 months, but add the tater tots on just before you bake it.
  • Thaw, and add a splash more broth to the filling if it’s looking dry.
  • When you’re ready, assemble the casserole in a baking dish and pop it in the oven.

What to serve with tater tot shepherd’s pie

Leftovers and storage

  • Store leftovers of this casserole for 3-4 days in the fridge.
  • Keep in mind that the tater tots may soften up over time, so it’s preferable to reheat in the oven or air fryer versus the microwave to crisp them up again.
  • Freeze any leftovers for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Thaw fully in the fridge before reheating.
a bowl of tater tot shepherd's pie

If you made this tater tot hotdish with a shepherd’s pie twist, please leave a star rating and review below! You can also tag me on Instagram with any of your S&L creations.

a skillet with tater tot shepherd's pie and a serving spoon
5 from 5 votes

Tater Tot Shepherd’s Pie

This tater tot shepherd's pie recipe is the mashup you didn't know you needed in your life! It has crispy, golden tater tots combined with all the classic flavors of shepherd's pie.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or lamb
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1.5 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables see note
  • 32 ounces frozen tater tots see note


  • Preheat your oven to 375F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
  • Add the butter to a large skillet and melt over medium-high heat, then add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add the beef to the skillet and cook, breaking it up with your spoon as you go along, until just browned (about 6-8 minutes).
  • Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the Italian seasoning, tomato paste, and flour. Cook (stirring constantly), for about one minute.
  • Stir in the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and salt, and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Let the liquid thicken up a bit (about 1 minute).
  • Stir in the frozen mixed vegetables and heat them through for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Do not let the mixture get too dry (add a splash more broth if it does dry out).
  • Transfer the meat mixture to a 9×13 casserole dish, smooth it in an even layer, and then arrange the tater tots on top. Or, if your skillet is oven-safe, large, and deep, you can make the casserole right in the skillet like I did (I used a 12" Le Creuset). I arrange the tater tots from the outside in when doing it in a skillet.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Optional: broil for a few minutes (watch it carefully) to brown the tater tots a bit more.


  • Frozen mixed vegetables can be found in the frozen foods aisle of your grocery store. It’s a blend of vegetables that typically contains a mix of peas, carrots, corn, and green beans.
  • Tater tots come in a variety of package sizes, and depending on how you arrange them in your skillet or casserole dish, you may have some left over from a 32 oz. bag, so be sure to reseal them and keep for another time.
  • I don’t drain the fat from the ground beef as it helps make the roux and adds flavor and moisture to the dish. If you buy regular ground beef that’s very fatty, you may want to drain some of the fat, however.


Calories: 516kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 59mg, Sodium: 1287mg, Potassium: 906mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 3290IU, Vitamin C: 20mg, Calcium: 62mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

Salt & Lavender is a recipe blog with a focus on delicious comfort food using everyday ingredients. Beat the weekday grind with hundreds of easy-to-follow and hassle-free recipes!

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5 from 5 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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  1. Elizabeth C says:

    This looks delightful. Can it be made ahead of time (for a meal train)?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! There’s a “how to make it ahead” section in the blog post. Hope you love the recipe!

  2. Jennifer L says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe! I used fresh carrots and celery instead of frozen and added in with the onions at the start. I make shepherds pie (different recipe) often but last night didn’t have time or enough potatoes to make the mash topping. Then I remembered seeing this recipe. Family loved it although husband prefers mashed potatoes to the salty tater tots. Loved the base, this will be my go-to shepherds pie recipe just with mashed potatoes

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi Jennifer!! I’m so happy you decided to try it. Thanks for your review! You may like my Shepherd’s pie recipe too (it’s linked near the top of the blog post) with the same filling and my homemade mashed potatoes.

  3. Mackenzie says:

    5 stars
    This was perfect for an easy weeknight dinner. I didn’t have tater tots so I used diced frozen hash browns instead. Recipe was simple and delicious.

    1. Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says:

      Wonderful to hear, Mackenzie! Thank you for your 5-star review. 🙂

  4. Dave says:

    5 stars
    Thanks for sharing this! It was really good and easy to prepare. This is one of many I make.

    1. Natasha says:

      You are very welcome, Dave!! So happy you enjoyed it! 😀