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Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4-6

A cottage pie is like a shepherd’s pie, except that it’s made with beef, not lamb. Here, a hearty filling of ground beef, salty olives, savory tomatoes, and warming spices like chile powder, cumin, and cinnamon rein in the sweetness of the creamy sweet potato topping.


For the topping

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 lb. total)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk 
  • 3/4 oz. (1/4 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
  • Kosher salt and
  • Freshly ground black pepper 

For the filling

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 medium celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)  
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1-1/2 cups) 
  • Kosher salt 
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin 
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano 
  • 1 tsp. ancho chile powder or other pure chile powder 
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon 
  • 1-1/2 lb. ground beef (85% lean) 
  • 1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pimento-stuffed green olives 
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped raisins or dried cranberries

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 460
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 210
  • Fat (g): 23
  • Saturated Fat (g): 9
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11
  • Cholesterol (mg): 85
  • Sodium (mg): 1340
  • Carbohydrates (g): 36
  • Fiber (g): 6
  • Protein (g): 27


Prepare the toppping

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  • Slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and set them cut side down on the baking sheet. Roast until very tender, about 30 minutes 
  • When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. Add the milk, cheese, butter, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper and beat with an electric hand mixer on low speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Set aside. 

Prepare the filing

  • Heat the oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion, and 1 tsp. salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, fragrant, and starting to turn golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, chile powder, and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds. Add the beef, season with 2 tsp. salt, and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Tilt the pan and spoon off all but about 1 Tbs. of the fat; return the pan to the heat. 
  • Pour the tomatoes and their juice into a small bowl and crush them with your hands or a fork. Add the tomatoes to the meat and cook, uncovered, until thick, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the olives and raisins and cook for another minute; season to taste with salt. 

Assemble and bake the pie

  • Transfer the beef mixture to a 9×9-inch baking dish. Spread the sweet potatoes over the top in an even layer. Bake until bubbling around edges, about 30 minutes. Switch the oven to a high-broil setting and position the rack about 6 inches from the broiler element. Broil the pie until the sweet potatoes are a bit browned, 2 to 4 minutes. 
  • Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. 


You can use another size dish for baking the pie, but keep in mind that the thickness of the meat and sweet potato layers will change, which may affect the baking time.


Rate or Review

Reviews (29 reviews)

  • HouseOfHounds | 04/10/2020

    This is a great way to use up leftover beef or pork roast. Just chop the meat coarsely by hand or in the food processor. To ease up a little on the sweetness, I add a cup or so of leftover mashed potatoes. I play with the spices since I am not a fan of cinnamon. I use long pepper ground finely or freshly ground allspice.

  • SharonCThompson | 12/30/2017

    I've made this casserole several times and love it. Very adaptable as one reader noted. Leftovers are wonderful too!

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