When it comes to comfort food you really can't beat skillet shepherd's pie with sweet potato. Ground beef in a rich gravy sauce is covered with buttery mashed sweet potato and finished with a layer of grated cheese. You'll make this classic recipe on repeat.
This delicious one pan skillet shepherds pie is perfect if you're craving some good old fashioned home cooking.
Not only does this sweet potato shepherds pie (also know as sweet potato cottage pie) taste great but it's surprisingly straightforward too!
Why You Should Make This Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
- My shepherd's pie with sweet potato is a dish the whole family can enjoy, loved by adults and children alike.
- By swapping mashed potato for a sweet potato mash topping, you are effortlessly adding to your 5-a-day and fiber.
- The entire dish is made in one skillet, saving on the washing up later.
- This dish freezes well so is perfect for family meal prepping.
- I'm a huge fan of one pot meals that can be prepared earlier and heated up when you are ready to eat. Why not try my Chickpea and Spinach Curry, Smoky Eggplant Vegan Chilli or my Braised Lamb Shanks with Balsamic.
What is the Difference between Cottage Pie and Shepherds Pie?
The answer to this often depends on where you live in the world. In the US, ground beef is usually used in both these dishes. However, in the UK a cottage pie is made with ground beef and a shepherd's pie with ground lamb.
Shepherd's Pie Ingredients
Find the full list and quantities in the recipe below.
Ground Beef - I have used ground beef to make my pie. You can substitute with ground lamb if you prefer.
Sweet Potato - is mashed and spread over the top of the pie to form a pie crust. You can swap the sweet potato for regular mashed potato if you prefer.
Vegetables - the base of onion, celery, carrot and garlic not only adds flavor to the pie base, but also adds those all important veggies into our diet. I also like to add in frozen peas to increase the veg count. No need to defrost first, they can be added straight to the skillet for convenience.
Worcestershire Sauce - adds a savory note to the ground beef. Use any variety Worcestershire sauce.
Tomato Paste - adds a depth of flavor and color to the gravy.
Flour - this is added to thicken the gravy the meat cooks in. If you're gluten sensitive, feel free to substitute any gluten free flour.
Stock- beef stock adds a wonderful flavor to the ground beef pie base. You can also substitute with chicken or vegetable stock for a lighter flavor.
Bay leaf - a bay leaf is added for its distinctive savory flavor and aroma. Bay leaves won't make or break your dish but if you have them in your kitchen it's a great addition.
Cheddar cheese - is optional but shredded cheese adds a lovely golden finish to the mashed potato. I like to use a mature cheese for flavor, but go with your favorite cheddar.
How to Make Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato
Find the full printable recipe below.
Start by putting the sweet potatoes on to boil. Once boiled, season and mash with butter.
While the potatoes are cooking, start making the pie filling by sautéing the vegetables in a large skillet with olive oil.
Add the garlic and then the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook the meat until broken up and browned.
Add the tomato paste then sprinkle over the flour and stir in.
Follow with the stock and Worcestershire sauce and continue stirring over the heat until the mixture has thickened.
Stir in frozen peas and a bay leaf then take off the heat.
Add the mashed sweet potato to the top of the filling and spread out with a fork.
Sprinkle over shredded cheese and bake until piping hot, golden and bubbly.
What Dish is best to use to make Shepherd's Pie?
I make this a skillet shepherd's pie so it's easier to clean up. But you can use an ovenproof frying pan or a regular 9x13 inch casserole dish if you prefer.
If I'm making this dish ahead of time and storing it in the freezer, I use a casserole dish which better fits in my freezer.
Variations of Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
For a dairy-free shepherd's pie, omit the butter and cheese from the sweet potato topping. Instead mash the sweet potatoes with a dairy free spread instead.
I have used ground beef for my pie base but you can substitute with ground lamb if you prefer.
Likewise, if you don't have any sweet potatoes, replace with a mashed potato topping.
Tips For Making Skillet Shepherd's Pie
- Here's a great tip: when topping sweet potato shepherds pie, I add the mash in 4 large spoonful's arranged around the pie (see image below). Then it's very easy to use a fork to evenly spread the mash out.
- When adding the flour to the ground beef pie base, sprinkle it in a thin layer over the meat. That way you don't get lumps.
What to serve with Shepherd's Pie
This one pan shepherds pie is packed full of veggies, so I like to keep any additional side dishes on the simple side.
If you want to add extra vegetables, my Honey Butter Roasted Carrots are ideal. Not only are they easy to prepare, but they can roast in the oven alongside this Shepherd's Pie.
How To Reheat Shepherd's Pie?
This dish can be prepared and cooked earlier in the day and then warmed up in the oven just before you are ready to serve. Likewise, store any leftovers in the fridge and warm back up in the oven before serving.
How to Freeze Sweet Potato Cottage Pie?
This dish freezes really well so is great for get-ahead meal prepping. There are a number of couple of way to prepare and freeze this pie for enjoying later.
Firstly you can prepare and cook the ground beef pie base, allow it to cool and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to serve remove the ground beef base, defrost it then top it with the mashed sweet potato and bake in the oven.
Alternatively, cook the entire dish, allow it to cool and cover the dish with a double layer of aluminium foil. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months. Cook from frozen by placing the dish into a warm oven and heating through until piping hot.
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More Easy Recipe Ideas
Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato
For the Pie
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- ½ Onion - finely chopped
- 2 Carrots - finely chopped
- 2 ribs Celery - finely chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic - finely grated
- 1½ lbs Ground Beef
- 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1 tbsp All-Purpose Flour (Plain Flour) - gluten free if required
- 1 cup Beef Stock - or chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 cup Frozen Peas - no need to defrost them
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper
For the topping
- 1½ lb Sweet Potato - peeled & cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 cup Cheddar Cheese - grated. Optional
- Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC
- 1½ lb Sweet PotatoAdd the sweet potato pieces to a medium saucepan.
- Cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer for around 12-15 minutes, until tender.
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil | ½ Onion | 2 ribs Celery | 2 CarrotsMeanwhile, add the olive oil to a large oven safe skillet set over a medium low heat. Sauté the onions, carrot and celery in the oil until softened - around 10 minutes.
- 2 cloves GarlicWhen the onion mixture is softened, stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
- 1½ lbs Ground Beef | Sea Salt and Black PepperStir in the ground beef, season well and brown over a medium heat. Beak up the meat with your spatula as it cooks.
- 2 tbsp Tomato PasteWhen most of the meat is browned, stir in the tomato purée.
- 1 tbsp All-Purpose Flour (Plain Flour)Sprinkle over the flour and stir again.
- 1 cup Beef Stock | 1 tbsp Worcestershire SaucePour in the stock and Worcestershire sauce.
- 1 cup Frozen Peas | 1 Bay LeafGently stir in the peas and add the bay leaf.
- Set the skillet aside off the heat.
- 2 tbsp ButterDrain and mash the potatoes with the butter using a potato masher or fork.
- Add the potatoes to the top of the pie in four large spoonfuls and then smooth out to cover the beef filling with a fork.
- 1 cup Cheddar CheeseOptional - Sprinkle on the cheese in an even layer.
- Bake in the oven for around 30-40 minutes until the filling is piping hot and top is golden brown.
This post was shared with the #cookblogshare community, which this week was hosted by Kate at Gluten Free Alchemist.
I love shepherds pie, the perfect comfort food for this time of year. Great idea swapping potato for mashed sweet potato topping.
Jo Keohane says
Thanks so much Lesley! So glad you like this.
Kate - Gluten Free Alchemist says
Another winning dish. Super-tasty and simple.
I love using sweet potato on shepherds pie, although often combine 50-50 with standard potato. It's perfect, warming comfort food and I would happily devour the lot xx
Jo Keohane says
I like a 50-50 mix too, a nice Shepherd's Pie is hard to beat on a cold day. Thanks so much for your comment.