Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

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Fluffy mashed sweet potatoes top a saucy mixture of seasoned ground beef and vegetables to make this Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie in white ramekin

Can you Make Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potatoes?

Yes, you can! Traditionally, a shepherd’s pie is topped with mashed potatoes. However, in this recipe, savory sweet potatoes create a welcome depth of flavor in this dish.

While we’re talking about traditional shepherds pie, let’s go ahead and note that classic shepherds pies are made with ground lamb vs the more popular beef today. For my everyday cooking though, ground beef is simply more accessible.

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The beef here is seasoned with Italian seasonings and a splash of balsamic vinegar. In addition to that, a bit of green chile is in the mix as well. While you can certainly skip the chile, it works nicely to enhance the flavors without bringing much heat at all.

Most people call this type of dish a shepherd’s pie regardless of the meat inside 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 potatoes vs the mashed potatoes that are more common.)

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

Mouthwatering is not the word I typically use to describe a shepherd pie or a cottage pie. This is man food, right? Truth be told I have never been a big fan of dishes featuring ground beef as a main component.

I have come to love the simple flavor and the way I can add a few easy ingredients to create a delicious and filling meal for my hungry crew. Filling them up in a budget-friendly way is not an easy feat! Ground beef has become my best friend in the process.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie Ground beef and seasonings in skillet

Shepherds Pie with Sweet Potato

To create the filling, cook the ground beef in a large skillet, you will be adding a lot of things to it. My favorite is this 12″ skillet, I am pretty sure I use it daily.

When possible, I use a 90/10 ground beef in this, so that I can skip the step of draining any grease. When the ground beef is still just barely pink add the onions and carrots.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie with tomatoes and green chile added

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

So much flavor will come from the tomatoes, green chile, and balsamic vinegar you add next. Continue cooking on medium heat until the liquid has reduced a bit. Stir in the frozen peas and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.

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

Spoon everything into a casserole dish and set it aside for a few minutes while mashing the potatoes. (Sweet potatoes mash so easily by hand with this hand-held fine masher.)

Season the potatoes with a bit of salt and pepper and add a few splashes of milk, if needed while mashing. Spoon the potatoes over the beef mixture.

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

There are a couple of reasons to allow for a bit of resting time before serving. First, this will be steaming hot and I don’t want you to burn yourself. And second, this will allow the ingredients to set up a bit as it cools.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie in white casserole dish

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

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

  • sweet potatoes
  • ground beef
  • yellow onion
  • garlic 
  • carrots
  • diced stewed tomatoes
  • chopped green chile (optional, but highly recommended here)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • parsley
  • thyme
  • basil
  • Kosher
  • freshly ground black pepper 
  • peas
Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie in ramekins with white casserole in background

Comfort food is definitely where it is at during the cooler months. Nothing beats a dish that can warm you not only with its aroma but belly warming ability.

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 simmered together underneath a buttery, flaky biscuit topping to make this chicken pot pie casserole.

This Italian Red Wine Roast Beef slowly cooks in the crock-pot creating an unforgettable dinner with almost no effort at all.

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Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie in ramekins with white casserole in background

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

4.50 from 2 votes
Fluffy mashed sweet potatoes top a saucy mixture of seasoned ground beef and vegetables to make this Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie.
Servings: 6


  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes
  • pounds ground beef
  • ½ large yellow onion
  • 3-4 large cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 cup carrots about 3 medium diced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 14 ounces diced stewed tomatoes
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped green chile this optional to added some depth to the flavor, but absolutely no heat at all
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt adjust to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper adjust to taste
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • milk adjust as needed, I used about 2-3 tablespoons


  • Peel and dice sweet potatoes into 1" pieces. Place them in a pot and cover with water and a sprinkle of salt. Cook until fork tender, this should take less than 15 minutes.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, cook and crumble the ground beef over medium heat. When it is almost browned, drain off any fat and add the onions, and carrots. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the minced garlic, parsley, thyme, basil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes until the onions are soft.
  • Add the tomatoes, green chiles, and balsamic vinegar. Cook until the liquid is reduced if needed. Stir in the peas. Taste and then season with salt and pepper. Adjust as desired. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Drain the potatoes and mash gently with a potato masher. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper to taste. Add just a splash of milk and stir until the potatoes are smooth and fluffy.
  • Layer the beef mixture into a baking dish and then top with the mashed sweet potatoes. Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. Enjoy!


Calories: 401kcal · Carbohydrates: 26g · Protein: 22g · Fat: 23g · Saturated Fat: 9g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 10g · Trans Fat: 1g · Cholesterol: 81mg · Sodium: 688mg · Potassium: 830mg · Fiber: 5g · Sugar: 8g · Vitamin A: 14483IU · Vitamin C: 17mg · Calcium: 86mg · Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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

recipe adapted from and with thanks to Gluten Free Goddess

Sweet potato topped shepherd's pie

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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