This delicious and hearty sweet potato shepherd’s pie recipe is family-friendly comfort food packed with savory ground beef and vegetables, layered under a thick and fluffy mashed sweet potato topping.
Easy Shepherd’s Pie With Sweet Potatoes
Friends, fall is here, and we’re getting cozy with this Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie. This recipe has rich, savory ground beef and tender vegetables baked hot and bubbly beneath a layer of creamy sweet potato mash. The ingredients may be humble, but the flavors are mighty! Shepherd’s pie is one of those stick-to-your-ribs dinners that’s quick and easy enough to pull together on a weeknight, and crowd-pleasing enough for a special occasion. Who doesn’t love meat, veggies, and fluffy sweet potatoes? Especially when they’re baked together in a comfort food meal that’s this delicious and easy to make.
Why You’ll Love This Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
- Savory meat and veggies. A shepherd’s pie is easy comfort food, filled with juicy ground meat and tender veggies in a rich and savory gravy.
- Fluffy sweet potato mash. The sweet potato topping is a little sweet, tangy, and extra creamy. It’s the coziest flavor combination with the meat and veg!
- Easy. Simple ingredients and quick prep mean that you can have this wholesome sweet potato shepherd’s pie on the table in under an hour.
- Make-ahead and freezer-friendly. This shepherd’s pie freezes and reheats like a dream, so you can even double it and make two. Cook once, eat twice, as they say.
What Is Shepherd’s Pie?
In the UK, where the dish originated, a shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, while a cottage pie is made with beef. In the US, however, cottage pie and shepherd’s pie are pretty much interchangeable. Both recipes involve ground meat and vegetables baked in a rich gravy under a layer of mashed potatoes. Any way you make it, the combination of flavors in shepherd’s pie is satisfying and ultra-comforting! This version swaps out regular mashed potatoes for soft, fluffy mashed sweet potatoes, made extra flavorful with butter and cream cheese. It’s an easy variation that’s just as delicious.
How to Make Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Comfort food doesn’t get better than a homemade shepherd’s pie. You’ll find some quick notes on the ingredients below, along with an overview of how easy this recipe is to make! Be sure to scroll to the recipe card for the full ingredient amounts and detailed recipe instructions.
- Olive Oil
- Onion: My go-to aromatic for extra flavor in the filling. You can use brown or yellow onion, diced up finely.
- Ground Beef: Savory ground beef is a classic choice. I recommend using lean ground beef, this way the filling won’t turn out too greasy. You can also make this recipe with different ground meats.
- Mixed Vegetables: I use a bag of frozen veggies for convenience. Corn, carrots, sweet peas, and green beans are the most common medley. If you have these vegetables separately and want to chop/combine them yourself, that’s also an option.
- Salt and Pepper
- Chicken Broth and Flour: You’ll slurry the flour into chicken broth to thicken the gravy. For a richer flavor, use beef broth. I recommend sticking with low-sodium broth so that you can adapt the salt levels to taste.
- Sweet Potatoes: Chop two small-ish sweet potatoes into cubes for the topping.
- Butter and Cream Cheese: You can prepare your sweet potato mash any way you prefer, but I love adding butter and cream cheese to mine for extra richness and tang. It’s a pared-back version of my favorite mashed sweet potato recipe.
Can I Replace Ground Beef with Ground Turkey?
Absolutely! If you’d prefer to make this shepherd’s pie with ground turkey instead, go ahead and swap out the ground beef. You can also go the traditional route with ground lamb or a combination of ground meats.
- Cook the meat and veggies. First, get the diced onions and ground meat sautéing in a hot pan with oil. Next, add the veggies to the pan straight from the freezer and continue to cook until the veggies are tender and the meat is browned.
- Prepare the sweet potato mash. Meanwhile, microwave the sweet potatoes until they’re fork-tender, add butter and cream cheese, and then mash them up until they’re smooth and fluffy.
- Finish the filling. Now, you’ll whisk flour into a cup full of chicken broth and pour this into the skillet with the meat and veggies. Let it cook off for a minute, stirring as the filling thickens.
- Assemble and bake. Finally, transfer the meat mixture to a greased pie plate. Spread the sweet potatoes all over the top, and then bake the shepherd’s pie at 375ºF for about 15 minutes, until the filling is hot and bubbly. Top your pie with parsley and serve!
Can I Boil or Bake Sweet Potatoes for Shepherd’s Pie?
Yes! The microwave quickens the process, but you can absolutely boil your sweet potatoes or bake them in the oven instead. Cubed sweet potatoes will take approximately 12 minutes to boil on the stovetop and about 30 minutes to roast in the oven at 425ºF.
Tips and Variation Ideas
- Avoid a soggy shepherd’s pie. You want your sweet potatoes to be soft and fluffy, not soupy. Make sure that you steam the sweet potatoes well, and don’t add too much butter. Removing any excess moisture is key to preventing a shepherd’s pie from becoming soggy.
- Use white potatoes. If you’d prefer to make this recipe with regular potatoes, use a starchy variety that’s best for mashing, like Yukon Gold or russet potatoes. To give the topping more flavor, I’d recommend a batch of garlic rosemary mashed potatoes.
- Cauliflower shepherd’s pie. Top your shepherd’s pie with creamy mashed cauliflower instead for a lightened-up variation.
- More veggies. Get creative with your favorite vegetables. Add chopped broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, zucchini, kale, or spinach to the pie filling or any combination of vegetables you’d like.
- Seasonings. Feel free to sauté garlic with the onion or add additional herbs and seasonings, such as rosemary, thyme, and a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce.
What to Serve With A Shepherd’s Pie
- Salad. Serve shepherd’s pie with a side of fresh green salad drizzled with homemade dressing or this easy kale Caesar salad.
- Veggies. Double down on the veggies and serve shepherd’s pie with a side of grilled asparagus, roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon, or air fryer carrots with sweet honey balsamic glaze.
- Bread. Sop up leftover gravy with homemade focaccia bread or a side of fluffy glazed dinner rolls.
- Thanksgiving. This hearty recipe makes a festive Thanksgiving side dish. Serve it with your perfect roast turkey and gravy from pan drippings, with a side of homemade cranberry sauce.
- Holidays. Sweet potato shepherd’s pie is a fun twist on a classic, served alongside corned beef and cabbage and soda bread on St. Patrick’s Day.
Make-Ahead, Storage, and Reheating
- Store. Once the shepherd’s pie has cooled completely, store any leftovers in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
- Make-Ahead. Prepare the shepherd’s pie as directed, but don’t bake it. Cover and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days. Let the pie come to room temperature 30 minutes before baking, or bake it from the fridge at 375ºF, adding an additional 10-15 minutes to the baking time.
- Reheat. Reheat leftovers in the oven at 375ºF, or in the microwave until hot throughout.
- Freeze. Allow the shepherd’s pie to cool completely, then double-wrap it tightly in foil and place it into the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before reheating.
More Easy Sweet Potato Recipes
- Sweet Potato Gratin
- Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges
- Candied Yams
- Sweet Potato Roast with Parsley Pesto
- Sweet Potato and Cranberry Stuffing
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Parsnips, and Carrots
Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground beef, or ground turkey, lamb, pork, or chicken
- 12 to 16 ounces frozen mixed vegetables, diced corn, peas, carrots, and green beans
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
- 4 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes, about 2 small sweet potatoes
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF and butter an 8-inch pie dish and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 10 seconds or until fragrant. Add ground meat and continue to cook for 3 minutes, occasionally stirring.
- Stir in the frozen vegetables (do not thaw), season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook until the meat is browned and the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
- In the meantime, prepare the sweet potatoes by placing the cubed potatoes in a microwave-safe dish and microwave them on HIGH for 4 to 4-1/2 minutes or until tender. You can also use a microwave steamer.
- Remove them from the microwave and season with salt and pepper. Add butter and cream cheese. Mash until smooth; set aside.
- In a liquid cup or a mixing bowl, combine the chicken broth and flour and whisk until thoroughly incorporated. Add to the meat mixture and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and spoon the beef and veggies into the pie dish.
- Spread the sweet potato mixture on top of the beef.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
- White Potatoes Option: Use starchy potatoes like Yukon Gold for a classic twist and enhance flavor with garlic and rosemary.
- To Boil: If you don’t want to use the microwave, cubed sweet potatoes will take approximately 10 to 12 minutes to boil on the stovetop.
- Lighten Up: Top the shepherd’s pie with mashed cauliflower for a healthier version.
- Veggie Boost: Enhance the filling with a mix of your favorite veggies, from broccoli to spinach.
- Flavor: Add fresh or dried herbs and Worcestershire sauce for added flavor.
- Smooth Topping: Ensure the cream cheese is at room temperature for easy blending.
- Storage: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days.
- To Make-Ahead: Prepare and store the shepherd’s pie unbaked for 2 days in the fridge. Then, bake per the recipe.
- To Freeze: Let the baked shepherd’s pie cool completely, then double-wrap it in foil and freeze for up to 2 months.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.