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

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


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.


  • 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 *see first note below*
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves


  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 the maple syrup, 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, if you didn’t make your candied pecans ahead of time, now is a good time to do that. They only take 15 minutes and are super easy!
  7. 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.


Update: The most recent time I made this, I swapped out the 2 cups of chopped pecans in the filling (not the candied pecan topping) for a few handfuls of frozen cranberries. I actually prefer it this way and will be doing it like this going forward! We served it hot and topped with vanilla ice cream.

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.

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