Shepherd's pie with sweet potato topping recipe

(516 ratings)

This shepherd's pie with sweet potato topping gives the traditional lamb dish a twist. It's not just got a fantastic colour, it tastes great too.

Shepherd's pie with sweet potato topping
(Image credit: TI Media Limited)
Preparation Time20 mins
Cooking Time1 hours 10 mins
Total Time1 hours 30 mins
Cost RangeCheap

Shepherd's pie with sweet potato topping is a real family favourite that looks great and tastes even better. 

We love a traditional shepherd's pie but this version with the potato replaced by sweet potato is even more exciting. It brings such a hit of sweetness to the pie that meshes so well with the rich, savoury sauce. This pie serves 4 so it makes a great family dinner, or if there are only two of you - it's just as good reheated for a second night. The pie is ready to eat in an hour and a half. Serve it with some leafy green vegetables to make it a lovely balanced meal.


  • 450g (1lb) lean lamb mince
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 baby leeks, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 275ml (9fl oz) lamb stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

For the topping:

  • 900g (2lb) sweet potatoes
  • 50g (2oz) butter
  • 50g (2oz) mature cheddar




  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion until soft but not coloured. Add the mince, leeks and carrots and cook until the meat is nicely browned. Season the meat and add the thyme and parsley.
  2. Stir in the flour and gradually add the stock to the mince. Stir in the tomato puree. Cover and reduce the heat and simmer for 30-35 mins, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and cut into chunks. Place in a pan of boiling water and cook for 10-12 mins or until tender. Drain and return to the pan, but away from the heat. Add the butter and mash until smooth. Season.
  4. When the mince is cooked, check the seasoning and spoon into four individual oven-proof dishes. Spread the mashed sweet potato over the meat and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 15 mins at 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6) or until the top is beginning to colour brown and piping hot.

Top tips for making shepherd's pie with sweet potato topping

You can add a number of vegetables to shepherd's pie, such as swede, turnip or parsnip. The topping can also be made with half potatoes and half sweet potato - add a pinch of nutmeg for added interest.

Why is my shepherd's pie with sweet potato topping soggy?

If you overboil the sweet potatoes, they can absorb too much water and become a bit soggy. Make sure the water is boiling when you add them to the pan so that they cook as quickly as possible. 

Can I bake the sweet potatoes for this shepherd's pie with sweet potato topping?

Yes, if you have a bit more time you can bake the whole sweet potatoes in the oven for about 45 minutes. When they are cooked and soft all the way through, peel them and then mash as before.

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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.