Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie – Barefoot in the kitchen

Fluffy mashed sweet potatoes on a savory blend of seasoned ground beef and veggies to make this Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie in white ramekins

Can you make shepherd’s pie with sweet potatoes?

Yes you can! Traditionally, a shepherd’s pie is topped with mashed potatoes. In this recipe, however, hearty sweet potatoes add a welcome depth of flavor to this dish.

While we talk about traditional shepherd’s pie, let’s go ahead and note that classic shepherd’s pies are made with ground lamb as opposed to the beef that’s more popular today. However, for my everyday cooking, ground beef is simply more accessible.

The beef here is seasoned with Italian spices and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Add a bit of green chili. While you can skip the chili, it works well for enhancing the flavors without generating much heat at all.

Most people call this type of dish a shepherd’s pie, regardless of the meat in it. Technically, when made with beef, this is a rancher pie or a cottage pie. (Though many believe that a cottage pie should be made with layered slices of potato, as opposed to the more common mashed potatoes.)

In other words, you will never please everyone. So call it what you like, but rest assured it will be devoured as soon as it hits the table.

Yummy isn’t the word I usually use to describe a shepherd pie or a cottage pie. That’s man food, right? To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of ground beef dishes.

I love the simple taste and the way I can add a few simple ingredients to make a delicious and filling meal for my hungry crew. Filling them up in a way that is easy on the budget is no easy task! Minced meat has become my best friend.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie Ground beef and spices in a skillet

Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato

To prepare the filling, cook the minced meat in a large pan, you will add a lot of things. My favorite is this 12 inch pan, I’m pretty sure I use it on a daily basis.

If possible I use a 90/10 ground beef in it so I can skip the fat draining step. When the ground beef is still slightly pink, add the onions and carrots.

Added Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie with tomatoes and green chili

Continue cooking, then add chopped garlic, parsley, thyme, basil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the onions are soft.

So much flavor will come from the tomatoes, green chili, and balsamic vinegar you add next. Continue cooking over medium-high heat until the liquid has reduced slightly. Stir in the frozen peas, adjusting salt and pepper as needed.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie casserole with mashed potatoes in pot

Place everything in a casserole dish and set aside for a few minutes while the potatoes are mashed. (Mashed sweet potatoes by hand is so easy with this fine hand masher.)

Season the potatoes with a little salt and pepper and, if necessary, add a few splashes of milk while pureeing. Scatter the potatoes over the beef mixture.

Bake until hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

There are a few reasons to rest before serving. First, it’s going to be steaming hot and I don’t want you to get burned. And second, the ingredients may firm up a bit as they cool.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie in a white casserole dish

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. The shepherd’s pie comes together easily!

  • sweet potatoes
  • ground beef
  • yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • carrots
  • diced braised tomatoes
  • chopped green chili (optional, but highly recommended here)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Parsely
  • thyme
  • basil
  • Kosher
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Peas
Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie in ramekins with white casserole in the background

Comfort food is definitely where it belongs during the cooler months. Nothing beats a dish that can warm you not only with its aroma but also with its ability to warm your tummy.

This fully loaded Chicken Potato Broccoli Casserole starts with fluffy mashed potatoes mixed with tender bites of broccoli and chicken, then generously sprinkled with bacon and cheese. The result is an absolutely irresistible dinner.

Tender chunks of chicken and vegetables are cooked together under a buttery, flaky cookie topping to make this chicken pot pie casserole.

This Italian Red Wine Roast Beef cooks slowly in the Dutch oven, making for a memorable dinner with almost no effort.

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Servings: 6

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  • Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 2.5 cm pieces. Place in a saucepan and cover with water and a pinch of salt. Cook until fork is tender, this should take less than 15 minutes.

  • While the potatoes are cooking, cook and crumble the ground beef over medium-high heat. When it’s almost browned, drain all the fat and add the onions and carrots. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add chopped garlic, parsley, thyme, basil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the onions are soft.

  • Add the tomatoes, green chilies, and balsamic vinegar. If necessary, cook until the liquid is reduced. Stir in peas. Taste and then season with salt and pepper. Adjust as desired. Remove from stove and set aside.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Drain the potatoes and mash finely with a potato masher. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add just a splash of milk and stir until potatoes are smooth and fluffy.

  • Layer the beef mixture in a casserole dish, then top with the mashed sweet potatoes. Bake in center of oven for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Enjoy!

Calories: 401kcal · Carbohydrates: 26G · Protein: 22G · Fat: 23G · Saturated Fatty Acids: 9G · Polyunsaturated fat: 1G · Monounsaturated fatty acids: 10G · Trans fats: 1G · Cholesterol: 81mg · Sodium: 688mg · Potassium: 830mg · Fiber: 5G · Sugar: 8thG · Vitamin A: 14483ie · Vitamin C: 17mg · Calcium: 86mg · Iron: 4mg

{originally posted 2/1/12 – recipe notes and photos updated 2/15/23}

Recipe adapted by and with thanks to Gluten Free Goddess

Shepherd's pie with sweet potatoes

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