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This Shepherd’s Pie recipe is the best hearty and healthy dinner. It’s a flavorful ground beef base topped with sweet potato mash or cauliflower mash!

overhead of two white bowls with two types of shepherd's pie.

Easy Recipe for Shepherd’s Pie

I didn’t grow up eating shepherd’s pie. But ever since making this recipe, I can’t stop!

This easy shepherd’s pie recipe is the perfect dish when you’re craving something hearty and comforting. It’s loaded with protein and fall veggies and topped with creamy sweet potato or cauliflower mash.

a baking sheet with two bowls of shepherd's pie.

What is Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s pie is a hearty dish that’s made up of a base of minced meat and mixed veggies topped with mashed potatoes and baked.

Traditional shepherd’s pie is made using ground lamb, but you will often see it made with other types of meat as well.

What is the Difference Between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie?

Shepherd’s pie and cottage pie are essentially the same thing. The only difference is in the meat used. Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made using ground lamb. Cottage pie is traditionally made using ground beef.

So, technically this recipe is a variation of cottage pie. But often the terms are used interchangeably!

overhead of two bowls on a baking sheet with shepherd's pie.

What’s in Shepherd’s Pie

This shepherd’s pie recipe is made using a simple ground beef base with two different kinds of mash: cauliflower and sweet potato! Here’s what you’ll need:

Ground Beef Base

ingredients for shepherd's pie in bowls.
  • Olive Oil: You’ll need a drizzle of oil to sauté the aromatics and veggies.
  • Aromatics: We’re creating a flavor base with minced garlic and finely diced onion.
  • Veggies: Our veggie blend consists mushrooms, carrots, and frozen peas. Feel free to use other veggies if you like.
  • Ground Beef: Use grass-fed ground beef. I recommend a lean ground beef so it’s not too oily. If you notice too much grease, drain it before assembling the pie.
  • Stock: You can use beef or chicken stock.
  • Seasonings: I keep the ground beef base seasoning simple with just salt and pepper. If you want to spice things up a bit, feel free to add in other seasonings you like.

Sweet Potato Mash

ingredients for sweet potato mash overhead.
  • Roasted Sweet Potato: To roast the sweet potato, place it on a lined baking sheet and roast at 400ºF until fork-tender. Remove the peel and let it cool before making the mash.
  • Milk: I use non-dairy milk, but feel free to use whatever milk you have on-hand.
  • Sea Salt: A sprinkle of salt brings out the flavor of the sweet potato perfectly.

Cauliflower Mash

ingredients for cauliflower mash in bowls.
  • Steamed Cauliflower: Simply steam until soft (about 5-7 minutes) so the cauliflower can be easily mashed.
  • Garlic: Use fresh garlic for the best flavor.
  • Milk: Again, whatever milk you have on-hand works. I use non-dairy.
  • Butter: Start with 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter and add more to taste.
  • Salt and Pepper: Enhances the flavors in the mash and adds a subtle hint of heat.

How to Make Shepherd’s Pie

This easy shepherd’s pie recipe is made two ways and comes together with just 15 minutes of prep!

Scroll down for the full recipe!

  1. Cook the veggies: In a large skillet, heat oil and garlic until fragrant. Add in the other veggies, then sauté until the onions and carrots are softened.
  2. Add the beef and broth: Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook until browned. Stir in the stock, salt, and pepper, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Make the sweet potato mash: Add the roasted sweet potato to a mixing bowl or blender. Blend or mash in the non-dairy milk and salt until smooth.
  4. Make the cauliflower mash: Steam the cauliflower until soft. Place it into a mixing bowl or blender with the other ingredients. Mix until smooth.
  5. Assemble and bake: Divide the meat mixture evenly between two baking dishes. Top one with the sweet potato mash and top the other with the cauliflower mash. Bake for 10 minutes, then broil for 5-8 minutes until golden.

Tips and Notes

  • Remove the sweet potato skin. If you leave it on, the mash won’t be nearly as creamy. It can easily just be peeled off after roasting. Just be careful. It will be hot!
  • Want to make the cauli mash paleo friendly? Use ghee instead of butter.
  • Customize. Feel free to add in other veggies or use another meat if preferred.
  • Make it cheesy. Make it even more comforting by adding in a layer of your favorite shredded cheese.
  • Use another mash. Feel free to swap the sweet potato or cauliflower mash out for your favorite mashed potatoes. Try my instant pot mashed potatoes or dairy-free mashed potatoes!
  • Make it vegetarian. Feel free to leave out the meat and bulk up the veggie blend to keep this meal vegetarian.
overhead of shepherd's pie with sweet potato mash and cauliflower mash on a baking sheet.

Serving Suggestions

Shepherd’s pie is plenty hearty and filling on its own. BUT it’s also delicious with a couple of classic side dishes!

Enjoy it with:

a spoon being plunged into a dish filled with sweet potato shepherd's pie.

How to Store

Leftover shepherd’s pie will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.

To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen, then warm covered in the oven until heated all the way through.

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overhead of shepherd's pie with sweet potato mash and cauliflower mash on a baking sheet.

Shepherd’s Pie: Two Ways

5 from 2 votes
This Shepherd's Pie recipe is the best hearty and healthy dinner. It's a flavorful ground beef base topped with sweet potato mash or cauliflower mash!
Servings 4 people
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


Ground Beef Base

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 large onion finely diced
  • 1 cup mushroom finely chopped
  • 1 cup carrots diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 cup organic beef or chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon gorund pepper more to taste

Sweet Potato Mash

  • 2 large sweet potatoes roasted until fork tender and skin removed
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt more to taste

Cauliflower Mash

  • 1 head cauliflower roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk add more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper more to taste


  • In a large cast-iron skillet, heat oil and garlic over medium-high heat just until fragrant, about one minute.
  • Add onions, mushrooms, carrots, and frozen peas. Sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the carrots start to soften.
  • Add ground beef and let cook over medium-high heat until brown and no pink remains. Stir often.
  • Add in beef or chicken stock, sea salt, and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Take off heat and set aside.
  • Add roasted sweet potato to a medium mixing bowl or high-speed blender. If using a mixing bowl, mash the sweet potato well before adding in the rest of the ingredients. If using a high-speed blender, place all of the sweet potato mash ingredients in at the same time, and blend until smooth.
  • Steam cauliflower until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Place cauliflower and the rest of the cauliflower mash ingredients in a medium mixing bowl or high-speed blender. Mash or blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 °F.
  • Divide beef mixture between two similar sized cast iron skillets. Top one cast iron skillet with sweet potato mash and the other with the cauliflower mash.
  • Bake for 10 minutes and then broil on high for 5-8 minutes, or until the tops are golden.
  • Serve warm!


For the sweet potato mash: Roast sweet potato at 400°F on a lined baking tray for 45-50 minutes, or until fork tender. Once soft set aside to cool before making the sweet potato mash.
Use ghee in the cauliflower mash to make it paleo-friendly!
Photos updated August 2017.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Love these variations! Also use this as a base recipe for the more traditional shepherd’s pie (which reminds me of childhood!) with potatoes. Have also swapped ground beef for turkey and chicken, and it still comes out great.

  2. Looks amazing! Would love to make this for a crowd — maybe 12 ladies. I’m thinking I quadruple the whole recipe and put it it in 2 9×13’s. would that work?

  3. 5 stars
    I made the cauliflower version today and it’s seriously the BEST shepherds pie that I’ve ever made. So good!

  4. Delicious recipe, made it several times but you don’t mention when to add the mushrooms? Please let me know!

  5. What a great idea, sweet potato on top of shepherd’s pie. In fact, any mix of root veg would probably work.

    Bit confused by the title though as being from the UK, Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb (Shepherds take care of lambs). If it’s made with beef its Cottage pie (because cows live in cottages!!!??) Lol. I don’t know why!

  6. Wow, amazing recipe!!! I made the sweet potato version tonight and it such a delicious dish and super simple to make. Thank you!!!

  7. I made the sweet potato version for dinner tonight- SO amazing! I’ve made shepherds pie before but this was way better, I think the biggest difference was the roasting of the sweet potato (I usually boil it) and it made it sooo much tastier! I made it for my housemates and one said that it was the best shepherd’s pie she had ever eaten! Thanks Lexi 🙂

  8. I made this for my post workout dinner last night and it was amazing! This was my first time ever making a shepherds pie and this recipe explains everything perfectly – no surprises lol. (I added a few pinches of cinnamon to the sweet potato mash for a little extra kick) Lexi for the win.. again!