Moroccan shepherd's pie recipe

(73 ratings)

This Moroccan shepherd's pie is a brilliant spiced up twist on one of our favourite winter comfort foods. It's makes four generous portions.

Moroccan shepherd's pie
Preparation Time30 mins
Cooking Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 30 mins

This Moroccan shepherd's pie recipe is a great way to change up a classic dinner option.

We're pretty sure there's nothing authentic about this shepherd's pie recipe, but lamb is a really popular meat in Morocco, so it makes a lot of sense to combine it with lovely Moroccan spices to create this delicious dish. Unlike our classic shepherd's pie, this version is topped with sweet potato, which gives it a gorgeous colour and really sweetens up the whole pie. We find kids especially love this option, but make sure you keep the spice levels in the rest of the pie down if your kids are sensitive to heat.


  • 500g minced lamb
  • 1 large onion
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • Small pinch saffron (optional)
  • Small pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch fresh root ginger
  • 400g tin tomatoes
  • Handful of dried apricots
  • Large bunch coriander leaves

For the mash:

  • 800g sweet potatoes
  • Knob of unsalted butter
  • 2 whisked eggs (optional)




  1. Fry the lamb mince for just a couple of minutes in a casserole dish (one that has a lid) without any added oil. You don’t want the meat to sweat, so fry in small batches, removing the browned meat to a sieve over a bowl as soon as it is coloured. The sieve allows any excess fat or water to drain off the meat.
  2. Finely chop the onion. Peel the carrots and dice, and finely slice the celery. Wipe the casserole dish clean and add a splash of olive oil and the onion, carrot and celery and sauté on low heat for about 10 minutes until soft. Crush the garlic and peel and finely grate the ginger and add to the pan, along with all the spices. Sauté for another minute until the spices become fragrant.
  3. Add the meat back into the pot along with the tinned tomatoes and 500ml boiling water. Chop the dried apricots and add to the pot. Bring to the boil, then cover with the lid and reduce heat to medium/low and simmer for 1 hr. In this time the sauce should thicken nicely; if it’s a little watery, simmer without the lid for another 10mins. Remove from the heat then stir in the coriander leaves.
  4. When the lamb is about half way through cooking, you can prepare the mash potato topping. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into large chunks. Drop into cold water and bring to the boil. Cook for approximately 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain and mash with butter and optional egg. The eggs give the potato a wonderful golden crust when baked, but can be omitted if you prefer.
  5. Heat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6. Carefully spread the mash potato over cooked lamb filling and fork over the top.
  6. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes until the potato is golden and the filling is piping hot.

Top tip for making Moroccan shepherd's pie

Why is the saffron optional in this dish and should I include it?

Saffron is an absolute staple of Moroccan flavours, and adds a musty exoticness to the dish. You only need a small amount to add in the effect. However, it's an expensive spice (if you find it cheaply, it's almost certainly not genuine saffron), so you can leave it out if you prefer to keep the costs down.

Can I swap the spices in this recipe for spice mix?

Yes. The spices listed create a lovely balance of flavours, but if you don't have an extensive spice rack already, it can really rack up the cost of this recipe. An easy and cheaper alternative is to use 4 tsp of ‘ras-el hanout’, a pre-mixed Moroccan spice blend, made up of over 20 different spices. However, check the heat of this spice if using. It varies considerably depending on brand, and can often be too hot for younger children's tastes.

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Octavia Lillywhite
Food and Lifestyle Writer

Octavia Lillywhite is an award-winning food and lifestyle journalist with over 15 years of experience. With a passion for creating beautiful, tasty family meals that don’t use hundreds of ingredients or anything you have to source from obscure websites, she’s a champion of local and seasonal foods, using up leftovers and composting, which, she maintains, is probably the most important thing we all can do to protect the environment.