Sweet potato cottage pie. It’s what happens when you make a ragout (which is pretty much a fancy word for beef simmered in red wine), smother it with creamy mashed potatoes, and bake it to golden brown and bubbly gorgeousness. This recipe veers a little from traditional cottage pie with the inclusion of sweet potatoes in the mash, although we kept some russets in there, too, just to keep things being too healthy. The resulting touch of sweetness melds perfectly with the richness of the ragout. And actually, the ragout is so lovely that you can skip the casserole part those nights when you’re pressed for time and simply toss it with some pasta you boiled while the sauce cooks.Angie Zoobkoff

What’s The Difference Between Cottage Pie And Shepherd’s Pie?

You’ve probably heard of shepherd’s pie. And obviously you’ve heard of cottage pie. Both are economical yet enticing casseroles that stretch your meat dollars so you can frugally feed a family. And both are essentially a meat ragout, or stew, smothered with mashed potatoes. The only difference is that shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with lamb whereas cottage pie is made with beef.

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

5 from 1 vote
Sweet potato cottage pie is made with ground beef smothered with mashed potatoes and is a lot like shepherd's pie. Comforting, cheap, and easy.
David Leite
Servings4 to 6 servings
Calories658 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour


For the beef ragout

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 6 oz onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound 2 ounces ground beef
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons double concentrated tomato purée paste (or substitute regular store-bought or homemade tomato paste
  • Small pinch ground cinnamon
  • Small pinch grated nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup red wine

For the mashed sweet potato topping

  • 9 ounces russet or Yukon gold potatoes (about 2 small)
  • 26 ounces sweet potatoes (3 to 4 medium sweet potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk, warmed
  • Grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 handful finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Make the beef ragout

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Heat the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring and crumbling it with a spoon, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Spoon off and discard any fat and season the beef with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the tomato purée paste, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaves, and wine to the pan and simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaves.

Make the mashed sweet potato topping

  • Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Peel the potatoes and sweet potatoes, cutting them into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) chunks. Toss them in the boiling water and cook until tender, 8 to 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add the butter and begin to mash with a handheld potato masher or the back of a sturdy spoon. Gradually add the warm milk, the nutmeg (if using), and the Parmesan cheese. Mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble the sweet potato cottage pie

  • Scrape the ground beef mixture into a 2-quart (1.9-liter) casserole or other ovenproof dish, such as an 8 1/2-by-11-inch baking dish and smother it with the mashed potatoes. Slide the dish in the oven and bake until golden brown and bubbling, 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand for at least 5 minutes before scooping and serving straight from the dish.

Adapted From

At Home with Umami

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 servingCalories: 658 kcalCarbohydrates: 52 gProtein: 27 gFat: 35 gSaturated Fat: 14 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 15 gTrans Fat: 2 gCholesterol: 107 mgSodium: 211 mgPotassium: 1362 mgFiber: 7 gSugar: 10 gVitamin A: 26451 IUVitamin C: 18 mgCalcium: 137 mgIron: 5 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2016 Laura Santtini. Photo © 2016 Con Poulos. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This sweet potato cottage pie is a simple recipe for a cozy and delicious dish! I really enjoyed the mashed sweet potatoes paired with the ragout. I might actually try what the author suggested and serve just the ragout with pasta as I really enjoyed its flavor. The timing in the recipe was spot on.The leftovers heat up quite well in the microwave and are still delicious. The recipe was done and dusted in a little over an hour.

We all loved the richness of the meat and the sweetness that the sweet potato added to the mashed potatoes. At first it seemed like there was way too much mash compared to meat, but I think it really worked in this sweet potato cottage pie—and is probably more accurate of traditional cottage pie.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Grilled Beef Short Ribs with Bourbon BBQ Sauce

These tender beef short ribs are cooked low and slow, then slathered with a boozy homemade bbq sauce and finished on the grill. They’re perfect for backyard barbecues, picnics, and summer celebrations.

5 hrs

Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew

Haul out your Crock Pot. Grab a can of your favorite stout. Get ready to enjoy a big bowl of Irish-inspired beef stew piled atop a mound of garlic mashed potatoes.

8 hrs 45 mins

Beef Chili

A chili that you can dress up or down, whether you need something really impressive for game day or relatively inexpensive for Tuesday night dinner.

1 hr 20 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I was very pleasantly surprised by this sweet potato cottage pie. I thought it might be bland without the usual other vegetables but was pleased with the rich gravy that the tomato paste and wine produced. The sweet potato topping made for a rich taste and a healthier option than plain white potatoes. It makes 4 generous servings but could probably serve 6 with a side. Leftovers, as usual, were even better as the flavors had concentrated. Will definitely make again.

  2. I made this last night and it was absolutely fantastic. My 13 year old daughter ate two servings, and I had to force myself to stop at one. Of the 8 of us, only one didn’t like it – but he likes nothing except pizza and chicken nuggets, so his opinion doesn’t really count.

    The recipe was spot on and we doubled it with no issues at all.

    1. Carmen, that’s magnificent to hear, thank you so much for taking the time to let us know you loved it as much as we did! You made our day, thank you!