Dessert Shepherd's Pie | A twist on shepherd's pie fit for Thanksgiving dessert. Mashed sweet potatoes top a combination of apples and pecans tossed in spiced maple syrup. |

Dessert Shepherd’s Pie

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings


  • 5 C sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 C cold water, or more if using stovetop
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, divided
  • 1/4 C almond milk or milk of choice
  • 4 apples, cubed with cores removed
  • 2 C pecans, very roughly chopped
  • 1/2 C maple syrup, divided
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 C pecan halves


  1. If you have an Instant Pot, add the potatoes and water. Secure the lid, set the valve to “sealing”, and use the manual setting to cook for 10 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally. If you don’t have an Instant pot, put the potatoes in a pot on the stove with enough water to cover them and bring to a boil until fork tender.
  2. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  3. Once the potatoes are done cooking and pressure has fully released, drain off the water and transfer back to the pot. Use a fork or potato masher to combine the potatoes with one tablespoon of the coconut oil and the 1/4 cup of almond milk. Continue mashing until the potatoes are smooth then set aside.
  4. In a skillet over medium-low heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Add apples and the 2 cups of chopped pecans. Stir to coat everything in the oil and continue to cook until apples are softened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk together 1/4 C maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Once the apple/pecan mixture is done cooking, stir this into it and transfer to a pie dish. Top with the mashed sweet potato (I like to use a fork to add patterns to the top of mine) and bake for about 40 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
  6. While the pie bakes, start on the candied pecans (they’re really easy!) In a skillet over medium-low heat, warm the pecan halves until they are slightly toasted and become fragrant, about 10 minutes. This does make a difference in the resulting flavor and texture but feel free to skip warming the pecans if you’re impatient.
  7. While the pecans are warming, whisk together the other 1/4 cup of maple syrup and 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Once the pecans are fragrant, stir this in and allow to cook down, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Allow this to cook down until the maple syrup begins to resemble granulated sugar. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  8. Once the pie is finished, top with the candied pecans. I did a simple pattern on my pie and decided to save some pecans to snack on but you can add as many as you like. Serve while still warm.


If you’re making this for Thanksgiving, you can make the filling, sweet potato topping, and candied pecans ahead of time. Store the filling and sweet potato topping in the refrigerator then assemble and bake about 40 minutes before you’re ready to serve dessert.