This post contains affiliate links & photos. See our full disclosure here.
In this post: This shepherd’s pie is a delicious, healthy twist on a classic dish. The mashed sweet potatoes give it a delicious, unique twist and make it easier to prep.
Shepherd’s pie is a classic comfort food for winter. But I know a lot of people don’t eat regular potatoes or they simply like sweet potatoes better! That’s why I made this sweet potato shepherd’s pie recipe for the cold winter months. Learn to make it yourself with step-by-step instructions!
What is Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie?
Shepherd’s pie is an Irish dish made with cooked minced/ground meat topped with mashed potatoes. Many variations (like this one!) also include cooked vegetables. Sweet potato shepherd’s pie is all that classic meaty goodness except it uses sweet potato mash instead of potato mash for those of us who can’t or don’t eat potatoes!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This sweet potato shepherd’s pie recipe:
- is quick and easy to make
- doesn’t require fancy equipment or hard-to-find ingredients
- is totally adaptable to any dietary restrictions or allergies
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie Ingredients
- Ground beef: you could use ground lamb, chicken, turkey, or even a meat substitute instead!
- Red onion: you could also use white onion or yellow onion.
- Mushrooms: try cremini, button, or shiitake.
- Frozen peas: a classic shepherd’s pie veggie.
- Cumin: tastes warm, earthy, and peppery.
- Salt: a classic seasoning where a little goes a long way.
- Thyme: earthy, lemony, minty, woodsy, and more depending on what it’s paired with!
- Black pepper: adds a touch of smoky spice to the recipe.
- Chili powder: a delicious spice mix that can be mild-spicy.
- Tomato paste or ketchup: adds a deep tomato flavor without extra liquid.
- Water: helps the ingredients cook.
Sweet potato topping
- Sweet potatoes: the main star of this recipe!
- Butter: adds great flavor and a creamy texture to the sweet potatoes.
- Unsweetened milk: you can use dairy, soy, almond, etc. just make sure it’s unsweetened.
Variations and Substitutions
- Switch up the seasoning: try adding sage, red pepper flakes, garlic, rosemary, oregano, or other seasonings you like.
- Add cauliflower mash: replace the sweet potatoes or mix them together!
- Top with fresh herbs: parsley, chives, etc.
- Change the meat: ground turkey, lamb, chicken, pork, or even a meat substitute.
- Add new veggies: bell pepper, green beans, spinach, carrots, broccoli, and any others you want!
Tools for Making Shepherd’s Pie
Over a couple of decades of being married and cooking for our family, I’ve found that having the right kitchen tools really helps to make food and meal prep easier. But that doesn’t mean you need to clutter up your kitchen with one-use-only tools. (Strawberry huller or egg slicer anyone?) Thankfully, Shepherd’s Pie is pretty easy to make with a few kitchen staples. Like a vegetable peeler, decent knives, a potato masher, and a cast iron skillet that works on the stovetop and in the oven.
How to Make Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In a large bowl, combine cooked tender sweet potatoes, butter, and ½ cup milk. Beat until combined. Make sure to add additional milk if you need to.
- In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the mushrooms and onions over medium-high heat, crumbling as it cooks. Drain the fat off of the meat well.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet with the beef – except for the mashed sweet potatoes. Bring to a simmer.
- Spoon mashed sweet potatoes over the beef mixture. Smooth into an even layer on top.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbling.
- Garnish with smoked paprika or chopped parsley if desired.
Why is it called a “pie”?
The “pie” in shepherd’s pie refers to its structure – fillings covered by a topping.
Cottage pie vs. shepherd’s pie
Traditionally shepherd’s pie is made with lamb and cottage pie is made with ground beef. However, most people – including myself – just call both versions shepherd’s pie!
Can you freeze shepherd’s pie?
Absolutely! Make it as the recipe directs and then let the pie cool. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap then aluminum foil and store in the freezer for up to 1 month. Or if you’re just freezing leftovers, place them in an airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you want to eat your shepherd’s pie just thaw it, heat it in the oven in a casserole dish, and serve!
Can shepherd’s pie be made ahead of time?
Yes! Follow up to step 5 in this recipe, let the shepherd’s pie cool, and then cover it with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Place in the fridge for up to 2 days. When you want to eat it, follow steps 6 and 7 and serve!
Can I make shepherd’s pie dairy-free?
To make your shepherd’s pie dairy-free, use a dairy-free milk substitute (like soy, almond, etc.) and replace the butter with a dairy-free butter substitute or 6 tbsp of vegetable oil.
How do I make this sweet potato shepherd’s pie vegan?
If you want to make vegan sweet potato shepherd’s pie, you’ll have to make sure you use a vegan milk substitute, vegan butter substitute (or oil), and replace the meat with lentils or a meat substitute.
Can I use regular mashed potatoes?
For sure! Traditional shepherd’s pie uses regular mashed potatoes instead of sweet potatoes.
For the Filling:
- 1 ½ pounds ground chuck
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 (8 ounce) package mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground thyme
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ cup tomato paste, ketchup OR beef broth
- 1 cup water
For the sweet potato topping:
- 2 to 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cooked
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- ½ to ¾ cup unsweetened milk of choice, depending on desired consistency
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine cooked sweet potatoes, butter, and ½ cup milk. Beat until combined. Add additional milk if needed.
- In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the mushrooms and onions, crumbling as it cooks. Drain well.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet with the beef, except for the mashed sweet potatoes. Bring to a simmer.
- Spoon mashed sweet potatoes over the beef mixture. Smooth the top.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly.
- Sprinkle with smoked paprika or chopped parsley as garnish if desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 431Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 505mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 35g
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily via Nutrifox.