For the past two years, I've made a Thanksgiving dinner for my family. Turkey, mashed potatoes, apple pie, cranberry sauce—the works. The process of creating a Thanksgiving dinner starts at least three days before the actual day and requires an entire day in front of the stove stirring, sautéing, seasoning, and baking.

This year, when my parents asked me if I was going to make Thanksgiving dinner again, I agreed before realizing that I'd get home the day before Thanksgiving. I knew that I wouldn't have time to make the usual feast so I thought, what better way to incorporate all the elements of a Thanksgiving dinner than in a pie?

Shepherd's pie is the perfect solution to all your rushed Thanksgiving dinner needs, all wrapped up in one perfect bite of creamy mashed potato, savory turkey, and gravy. 

Thanksgiving Shepherd's Pie

  • Prep Time:30 mins
  • Cook Time:1 hr 30 mins
  • Total Time:2 hrs
  • Servings:9
  • Medium


  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 1/2 pounds gold potatoes
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds turkey tenderloin cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup turkey broth
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • salt and pepper
cheese, gravy, pie, sweet
Sarah Wu
  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel the gold and sweet potatoes, then cut into chunks that are 1/2-inch thick.

    Sarah Wu
  • Step 2

    Separate the sweet and gold potatoes, place in two medium saucepans and add enough cold water to cover the potatoes. Cover the pots and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover the pots and decrease the heat to a simmer. Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and easily crushed by tongs.

    Sarah Wu
  • Step 3

    While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the turkey filling. Add the canola oil into a sauté pan and set over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and onions to the pan and sauté until they start to brown a little (approximately 3 to 4 minutes).

    Sarah Wu
  • Step 4

    Add the garlic and powdered ginger, then stir to combine.

    vegetable, pepper, rice
    Sarah Wu
  • Step 5

    Add the turkey, salt, and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 7 minutes.

    meat, pork, beef, ham, bacon, sausage, vegetable
    Sarah Wu
  • Step 6

    Sprinkle the meat with the flour, toss to coat, and continue cooking for another minute.

    Sarah Wu
  • Step 7

    Add the turkey broth, bay leaf, and basil, then stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

    chicken, shrimp
    Sarah Wu
  • Step 8

    Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add half of the butter, half and half, salt, and pepper to each potato mixture.

    cream, ice, ice cream
    Sarah Wu
  • Step 9

    Add one egg yolk to each mashed potato mixture.

    sweet potato, potato
    Sarah Wu
  • Step 10

    Add the corn and peas to the turkey mixture, then spread it in a 9" by 9" baking pan.

    Sarah Wu
  • Step 11

    Top with the regular mashed potatoes first, starting around the edges to create a seal with the baking dish. Smooth with a rubber spatula.

    chicken, gravy, cheese, mashed potatoes
    Sarah Wu
  • Step 12

    Dollop the sweet potato mash in the center, making sure that the edges of each section of mashed potato touch. Bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes start to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

    mashed potatoes, cheese
    Sarah Wu

Enjoy the look on your guests' faces as they taste all the flavors of Thanksgiving dinner in one bite. Here's hoping their faces look a little something like this:

cake, pizza, beer
Sarah Wu