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Upside-Down Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potatoes

The recipe and photography for this post was provided by Carolyn Hodges of The Dinner Shift.

Shepherd’s pie, also known as cottage pie, is a savory ground beef and vegetable casserole dish. Traditionally, the beef and vegetable mixture is prepared, transferred to a casserole, topped with a layer of mashed potatoes, then baked. To save some time, this version skips the baking and instead calls for serving the beef and vegetable mixture atop mashed potatoes (or sweet potatoes), hence its name – Upside-Down Shepherd’s Pie! It’s just as delicious as the original and a quick 30-minute weeknight dinner option.

Upside-Down Shepherd's Pie Ingredients

Time-saving tip: On busy weeknights, consider swapping in prepared mashed sweet potatoes instead of making your own. Good options include Bob Evans Tasteful Sides Mashed Sweet Potatoes or Hanover Frozen Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

Upside-Down Shepherd's Pie
Upside-Down Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potatoes
Cook time:
Prep time:
Total time:



  • 1 lb. Heinen’s 90% Ground Local Grass-Fed Beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 14.5 oz. can reduced sodium beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 16 oz. bag Heinen’s Frozen Organic Mixed Vegetables
  • 2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2-3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
  • Salt


To Prepare the Beef

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add beef and begin to brown, crumbling with the back of a wooden spoon. After 2 to 3 minutes, add the onion and continue to sauté until beef is cooked and onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, black pepper and flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the beef broth to deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits.
  3. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and bring mixture to a simmer. Continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until mixture begins to thicken.
  4. Add frozen vegetables and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste; remove from heat.

To Prepare the Sweet Potatoes

  1. Add an inch of water to the bottom of a pot and insert a steamer basket or metal strainer. Bring water to a boil, then carefully add the sweet potatoes. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low.
  2. Steam the sweet potatoes until very tender, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a bowl and add the butter. Use a potato masher to mash, or a hand mixer or immersion blender for super smooth/whipped potatoes. Season to taste with salt.
  3. Spoon the sweet potatoes into wide shallow bowls and serve topped with the beef and vegetable mixture.

Upside-Down Shepherd's Pie

Carolyn Hodges headshot
By Carolyn Hodges
Carolyn is a mom of boys and culinary dietitian in Cleveland, Ohio. The Dinner Shift is dedicated to helping busy moms get dinner on the table after the weekday grind, however that is defined for you and yours.

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