Beef Main Dishes Recipes

Cottage Pie (AIP, Paleo)

cottage pie

It doesn’t get more comforting than a creamy casserole like shepherd’s pie, or its cousin “cottage pie” – which is what it is properly called with made with ground beef instead of lamb. Yes, I’m a stickler on that point. Why the heck would a shepherd be eating a pie made with beef? Shepherds herd sheep, not cows!

[I’m sure that my insistence on labeling this paleo shepherd’s pie variation by its proper moniker will cause it to be completely buried in the rankings of the great search engine, but its a penalty I am willing to take to be correct!]

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I actually created this recipe several months ago – hence the photographs with the autumnal table decorations – but life has been crazy and therefore I am only now getting around to posting it. It seems like a good time though, because many of my friends in the United States seem to be in sore need of some comfort right now. Regardless of who you voted for, we all can agree that this has been an emotional and tumultuous time that is really testing our sense of decency and the strength of our union. On the one hand, I’m quite worried. We live in the Washington, DC area and we are among the many whose livelihood is dependent on government functioning normally. But on the other hand, I am buoyed by the way I see people banding together to stick up for those whose voices are not usually heard.

But this is not a political blog, so that’s all I will say on that point for now. Instead, I give you food. Good, comforting, nutrient dense, and autoimmune protocol (AIP) friendly cottage pie! This recipe is dairy free, gluten free, and thanks to white sweet potatoes – also nightshade free.

A note on white sweet potatoes… I know they can be hard to find in stores and even produce managers may not know what you are talking about if you ask for them using the term “white sweet potatoes.” If that gets you just blank looks, try asking them to order you some Japanese sweet potatoes, or perhaps Hannah or Jersey sweet potatoes. All of those varieties have white flesh and will work beautifully in this recipe. Or if all else fails, go ahead and use the typical orange sweet potatoes. Either way, it will taste great and that is all that really matters!

Note – I do have a shepherd’s pie recipe on the blog, but it is not AIP. You could use the filling from that recipe and the topping from this one to create a version that is, though!

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AIP Cottage Pie Recipe

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cottage pie

Cottage Pie (AIP, Paleo)

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5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Jaime Hartman
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Cottage pie is the proper name for a shepherd’s pie made from ground beef. Feel free to use lamb in this recipe if you have it. Either way it is 100% AIP compliant and hits all the right notes for comfort food. TIP: White sweet potatoes might be labelled as “Hannah,” “Jersey,” or “Japanese.”


  • 23 small white sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 12 lbs.)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, or other cooking fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 parsnip, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 cup bone broth, plus more if needed for potatoes
  • additional salt to taste


  1. Boil sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes, until very soft. Drain and mash.
  2. Mix in 1 tablespoon coconut oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. If potatoes are very thick, add up to 1/4 cup of broth. Set potatoes aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the beef. Remove and set aside.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil to pan and saute onion, carrot, and parsnip for about 10 minutes, until soft.
  6. Add herbs. Cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  7. Add broth and return beef to pan. Stir to combine and salt to taste.
  8. Transfer mixture to a small baking dish and top with the mashed sweet potatoes.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  10. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Entree

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Shared on Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable.

18 replies on “Cottage Pie (AIP, Paleo)”

I made something similar today with carrots and parsnips instead of sweet potato, and chicken. What’s it called when it’s made with chicken??

This was excellent! Followed the recipe exactly, using ground lamb. For someone strictly on the AIP, this is a wonderful comfort food! Thank you for sharing!

This was FABULOUS. All 4 of my kids gobbled it down and my husband had 3 helpings. Definitely going to make this again.

Recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, I am attempting to focus on the AIP way of eating. I’m wondering why recipes seldom (if ever) show the nutrition value. I understand that AIP is full of incredibly healthy, non processed food, but some of us still have to be mindful of amount of carbs, fiber and natural sugars we consume. I am capable of looking them all up, but it is time consuming. Just a thought.

I’m sure every AIP blogger has their own reasons for either providing calories, macronutrients breakdowns and other such information or not, but I’ll tell you my primary reason:

It’s simple. Like many, I have a history of moderately disordered eating. It manifested for me in the form of becoming overly focused (obsessed) with those numbers. I am much healthier, both physically and emotionally, now that I don’t worry about them and instead just eat only whole foods like this to satiety. With very rare exceptions for specific medical needs, I encourage my clients to do the same.

FYI this popped up as no. 4 on my google search for “aip shepherd’s pie.” Just gotta keep talking about shepherd’s pie, shepherd’s pie, shepherd’s pie! But I have some beef to use so I am actually going to make that other kind of pie 🙂

Jaime, I made this for dinner last night.subbed celeriac for parsnips and lamb for beef. It was the perfect dinner for a blizzardy night. So delicious, so much flavor, mmmm mmmm healthy comfort food!! Thank you!

Normally I have to make multiple meals for the my wife and I; she’s super picky, but with this recipe she doesn’t even notice the difference between regular and AIP! I add mushrooms to give it a little more body and give it a dash of liquid smoke and top it off with nutritional yeast! Thanks for this great recipe!!

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I made it last night for St. Patrick’s Day and my non-AIP husband and I THOROUGLY enjoyed it! I made this with ground turkey b/c I did not have beef on hand and subbed a stalk of celery because I did not have parsnip. The rest of the recipe was executed as written. This is definitely going into the regular rotation at our house!

This is the best cottage pie I’ve made to date. Thank you for this recipe. I love that this is delicious and nutritious. It is a hit with the hubby as well. Two thumbs up!

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