A traditional dish gets a flavor upgrade in this best-ever Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie recipe! The subtle sweetness of the mashed potatoes pairs exceptionally well with the rich filling made of ground beef, vegetables, a thick and hearty sauce and a secret ingredient. It’s the perfect cozy dinner to snuggle up with all fall and winter long!

A baking dish of sweet potato shepherd's pie is served for dinner.

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

There are a few traditional dishes that always come to mind when someone mentions the ultimate comfort food…

Chicken Pot PieChicken Noodle Soup. And of course, Shepherd’s Pie.

So when the first cool front of the season blew in, I immediately had a hankering for shepherd’s pie. When I looked in my pantry I had almost all of the ingredients on hand… except for those potatoes.

But what I did have?! Sweet Potatoes!! 

The subtly sweet addition of mashed sweet potatoes balances out the savory ground beef and vegetable filling tremendously well.

The process is simple enough to follow that you can make it on any ole’ weeknight, or even whip it up when you want to impress the whole family with a delicious recipe! It’s also one of the best freezer meals if you like to meal prep, so make extra.

What is Shepherd’s Pie?

Sometimes called cottage pie, shepherd’s pie is a classic comfort food that originated in the United Kingdom. The casserole-style dish generally consists of ground meat in a gravy topped with mashed potatoes. There are many variations of the recipe that include different meats or veggies. This particular recipe uses nutritious sweet potatoes in place of the usual mashed potatoes.

Sweet potatoes, ground beef, frozen vegetables, seasonings, broth, milk, butter, tomatoes, and flour are the ingredients in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • Sweet potatoes. Measure out exactly 1 ½ pounds of either garnet or jewel sweet potatoes. For a traditional shepherd’s pie use russet potatoes instead. 
  • Milk. This makes creamy mashed sweet potatoes. Choose regular, oat, soy, or cashew milk. Full fat is ideal for the best taste and texture. 
  • Ground beef. Find a fat ratio of 90/10 or 93/7. You don’t want it too fatty or it will be runny. Beef tastes amazing, but you can swap it out for lean ground turkey or even lamb.
  • Tomato paste. In addition to adding a nice depth of flavor, this thickens the sauce. Do not substitute with tomato sauce or diced tomatoes.
  • Worcestershire sauce. For the perfect touch of umami, don’t forget this condiment- it’s my secret ingredient!
  • Dried herbs. Thyme, rosemary, and parsley are all included in the filling. While you can use fresh herbs, you will need more than what is called for in dried.
  • Frozen vegetables. Pick a mix of corn, peas, and carrots.
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

How to Make Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Please see the recipe card below for more detailed ingredient amounts.

1. Prep the Potatoes

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin from the sweet potatoes

Cut them into uniform 1-inch cubes. If you make the chunks larger they will take longer to cook.

The sweet potatoes are cubed with a knife.

2. Boil Sweet Potatoes

Add peeled and cubed sweet potatoes to a large pot, cover with 1 inch of cold water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer (uncovered) and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until they pierce easily with a fork.

Drain the cooked potatoes in a colander.

If you don’t want to boil them, you can also Bake Sweet Potatoes in the Oven or cook Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes.

Tender sweet potatoes are removed from the water.

3. Mash the Sweet Potatoes

Return the potatoes to the pot that you used for boiling. Mash the potatoes along with melted butter, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. A potato masher or fork works well for this.

Alternatively, you can add the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and purée for 20-30 seconds. (This makes the topping silky smooth and is what I prefer to do!)

Set aside until you’re ready to use them.

Sweet potatoes are mashed with a potato masher.

4. Make the Ground Beef Filling

Sauté the onion and celery in olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Mix in the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Add the ground beef to the pan and cook for 7-8 minutes or until it is completely cooked. Break apart the meat with a potato masher into fine crumbles.

Mix in the tomato paste and flour to the meat and veggie mixture. Pour in the Worcestershire sauce and ½-cup of broth. Simmer until the sauce begins to thicken and then add in the remaining broth in ¼-cup increments, waiting between each addition for the sauce to thicken up.

Toss in the herbs, salt, pepper, and frozen mixed vegetables and continue simmering until they’re heated through.

All the ingredients are combined in a pan on the stove.

5. Layer It Up and Bake

Spray an 11×7-inch casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and pour in the ground meat mixture so it covers the bottom. Place dollops of the sweet potato mash all over and then spread it over the base. Leave some peaks of the fluffy mashed sweet potato topping if you’d like for it to get slightly crispy.

Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 25-30 minutes. Popping it under the broiler at the end is a great way to get crispier potatoes that are golden brown. Serve this complete meal with some fresh parsley, if preferred.

The Shepherd's pie is baked in the oven.

Is shepherd’s pie healthy? 

While Shepherd’s Pie packs in loads of healthy nutrients from all the veggies, it can contain a relatively high amount of fat. Select lean ground beef and low-fat milk to reduce the fat content. The healthier version of this hearty casserole has sweet potatoes, which offer extra vitamin C.

FAQs

Can I make a regular shepherd’s pie? 

You sure can! Just swap out the sweet potatoes for white potatoes, like russet. 

Can I use ground turkey or lamb instead of beef? 

Yes, any ground meat can be substituted for the beef in shepherd’s pie. 

Can I use instant potatoes? 

For a quick and easy topping for your shepherd’s pie, instant potatoes instead of regular potatoes may be used. 

Recipe Tips

  • Similar in size. Cut the potatoes uniformly before boiling so they cook evenly. 
  • Prep ahead. Make the mashed sweet potatoes one day in advance. 
  • Mash it good. Break up the beef into fine crumbles using a potato masher.
  • Let it thicken. Take the time to let the sauce simmer between additions of broth to ensure the right consistency.  
  • Leave some peaks. Achieve a crispier topping by creating ridges in the mashed potatoes. 
A scoop of sweet potatoes, ground beef, and veggies is served from the sweet potato casserole.

Other Sweet Potato Recipes

If you love sweet potatoes, then you’re in luck! Check out this handy round up of Sweet Potato Recipes and whip up any of these delicious recipes when the craving strikes.

More Cozy Comfort Food Recipes

Ready to explore more comfort food favorites? Snuggle up with any of these tasty dishes.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 4 votes

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

A traditional dish gets a flavor upgrade in this best-ever Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie recipe! The subtle sweetness of the mashed potatoes pairs exceptionally well with the rich filling made of ground beef, vegetables, and a thick and hearty sauce.
Yield 8 servings
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 1 hour

Ingredients 

Mashed Sweet Potatoes:

  • 1 ½ lbs. sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 Tbsp. butter melted
  • ½ cup milk oat or cashew milk
  • ¾ tsp. salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper to taste
  • tsp. garlic powder

Ground Beef Filling:

  • 2 Tbsp. oil olive or avocado
  • 1 cup sweet onion finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 ½ lbs. ground beef 90/10 or 93/7
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour or a gluten-free 1-to-1 blend
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth regular sodium
  • ¾ tsp. each of dried thyme rosemary, and parsley
  • ¾ tsp. salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ cups frozen mixed vegetables

Instructions 

  • Boil the Sweet Potatoes: Add peeled and cubed sweet potatoes to a large pot and then cover with 1 inch of cold water. Bring the potatoes to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes, uncovered. Once the potatoes pierce easily with a fork, drain them in a colander in the sink.
    1 ½ lbs. sweet potatoes
  • Mash the Potatoes: Add the cooked potatoes back to the pot along with the butter, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mash with a potato masher or fork until your desired consistency is reached. Alternatively, you can add the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and puree for 20-30 seconds.
    4 Tbsp. butter, ½ cup milk, ¾ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper, ⅛ tsp. garlic powder
  • Sauté the Veggies: Place a large skillet over medium heat and add oil, onion, and celery. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then add garlic. Continue cooking for 1 minute.
    2 Tbsp. oil, 1 cup sweet onion, 2 celery ribs, 3 cloves garlic
  • Cook the Beef: Push vegetables to the side and add ground beef. Cook for 7-8 minutes, or until it is cooked through. Mash the beef with a potato masher to get fine crumbles.
    1 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • Season and Simmer: Mix in tomato paste and flour. Pour in Worcestershire sauce and ½ cup of broth. Simmer until the sauce begins to thicken and then add in the remaining broth in ¼ cup increments, waiting between each addition for the sauce to thicken up. Add herbs, salt, pepper, and frozen mixed vegetables and continue simmering until they’re heated through.
    3 Tbsp. tomato paste, 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour, 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 ½ cups beef broth, ¾ tsp. each of dried thyme, ¾ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper, 1 ½ cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • Build the Pie: Spray an 11×7-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and spread out the ground beef filling in the bottom. Place dollops of the mashed sweet potatoes all over and then spread it to cover the filling. Leave some peaks of mashed potatoes if you’d like for the topping to get slightly crispy.
  • Bake the shepherd’s pie in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Add it to a high broiler for 2-3 minutes at the end to get the topping extra crispy.
  • Serve with a sprinkle of parsley and enjoy!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 4 votes

Video

Notes

Prep-Ahead Instructions:
Chop the veggies, cook and mash the potatoes, and refrigerate in separate containers one day in advance. You can also measure out and mix the dried herbs, just keep them at room temperature.
Storage Directions: 
Place leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days. If you are freezing in individual portions make sure to chill the entire thing in the fridge first, as it will hold together better when cutting. Then seal in a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake in a 350°F oven until heated through. You can also microwave the leftovers. 
Recipe Tips
  • Similar in size. Cut the potatoes uniformly before boiling so they cook evenly. 
  • Prep ahead. Make the mashed sweet potatoes one day in advance. 
  • Mash it good. Break up the beef into fine crumbles using a potato masher.
  • Let it thicken. Take the time to let the sauce simmer between additions of broth to ensure the right consistency.  
  • Leave some peaks. Achieve a crispier topping by creating ridges in the mashed potatoes. 

Nutrition

Calories: 430kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 76mg, Sodium: 712mg, Potassium: 808mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 14078IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 68mg, Iron: 3mg

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

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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