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Playing How to Make Spicy Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potatoes and Cheddar | Rachael Ray

Rachael brings the heat to shepherd's pie with chili powder + spicy sausage and uses sweet potatoes in the mashed potato topping. 

Rach calls shepherd's pie a "people pleaser," and this one has a lot of delicious "twists and turns" compared to traditional versions. Instead of white potatoes, she uses sweet potatoes—flavored with cinnamon, smoked paprika and chili powder, which gives a nice layer of heat. She adds even more heat by using spicy ground sausage, which is combined with ground, not cubed, beef and beer for brightness. The meat and potato layers are covered with cheddar, which gets melty and browned in the oven. The dish is a showstopper, and Rach "hopes you enjoy shepherding [it] into your bellies!"

Pro Tips from Rach:  

  • Using ground meats saves a lot of cooking time.  
  • You can substitute the beer with apple cider, if you'd like. 
  • When cooking potatoes, you can cover the pot to help the water come to a boil quicker. Just be sure to keep an eye on it and remove the lid as soon as it does; otherwise, the starch in the potatoes, especially white potatoes, can bubble up and go all over your stove. 

For more shepherd's pie recipes, check out Royal Shepherd's Pie and Cast-Iron Skillet Buffalo Chicken Shepherd's Pie


  • 2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Salt
  • ⅔-¾ cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon or smoked cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 small to medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or grated
  • 1 ½ pounds ground sirloin 80%
  • 1 pound loose spicy sausage
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¾ cup lager beer or white wine
  • 1 ½ cups beef stock or bone broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese
  • Chopped chives and parsley, to serve


Serves: 6


Preheat oven to 450°F. 

Start potatoes in cold water, then bring to boil and salt the water. Cook until tender and mash with ricer or food mill.   

Warm cream and butter in small pot and stir into mashed potatoes, season with salt, pepper, cinnamon, paprika and chili powder. Cover to keep warm until ready to use.  

While potatoes boil, heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat, add carrots, celery and onions, season with salt and pepper and soften 6 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, stir a minute, add meats and brown, then sprinkle in flour. Add beer, stock and Worcestershire and thicken a bit.       

Rachael Ray Cast Iron Cooking Combo

Rachael Ray Cast Iron Cooking Combo

Transfer to casserole dish, top with sweet potatoes and cheese and bake until browned and bubbly. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow to settle. Top with chopped chives and parsley.