Keto Shepherd’s Pie

5 Stars (1 Reviews)

This twist on the classic shepherd's pie replaces mashed potatoes with a creamy, cheesy layer of mashed turnips. Since turnip is a member of the tuber family, it provides a better replacement for potatoes compared to cauliflower, making it a better choice when making Keto Shepherd's Pie.

Shepherd’s Pie is the ultimate comfort food, but it’s not the most low carb friendly. Maybe it’s because the classic version has a thick layer of creamy mashed potatoes on top. Most recipes for keto shepherds pie are topped with mashed cauliflower. If you are disgusted with the way cauliflower has been behaving in your food or you are tired of it always being the hero, then you should try topping your casserole with mashed turnips instead. Turnips are a better substitute for potatoes than mashed cauliflower since they tastes more like a potato!

A serving of shepherd's pie on a white plate filled with greens and carrots with turnips in the background.


Why this recipe beats the rest

  • Doesn’t use cauliflower – I do love cauliflower, but it’s can’t always be the solution to replace high carb ingredients – especially a potato. Cauliflower and potatoes aren’t even in the same family! If you want to find a replacement for starchy potatoes, you have to at least a vegetable that is in the tuber family. Luckily, the turnip and rutabaga are low carb vegetables that are in the tuber family. They cook similar to a potato and you don’t have to squeeze out all the moisture like you do when making mashed cauliflower. The result is a keto mashed potato recipe that looks like the real thing and tastes like potatoes!
  • Easy – The beef filling mixture doesn’t take long to cook. Since making mashed turnip is the same process as making mashed potatoes, this keto shepherd’s pie recipe doesn’t take any longer than a traditional cottage pie. It’s actually less effort compared to if you were making mashed cauliflower since you don’t have to spend time trying to squeeze as much moisture out of the cooked cauliflower as possible.
  • Classic flavor – Cooking the ground beef, carrot, green bean and onion in a hearty sauce that serves to bind the components together but also infuses the dish with depth and warmth.
  • Low carb – Using a turnip to replace the potatoes, keeps this comfort meal low in carbs with only 6.7 grams net carbs per very generous serving. If you wanted to try to get 10 servings out of this casserole (you could it would just be a smaller portion), the net carbs would be 4 grams.

How to make keto shepherd's pie

To make this creative and nutritious variation of the traditional, I like to focus on each layer – the mashed turnips & beef filling. To save time, the turnips can be boiling while you prepare the savory beef filling.

Mashed turnip layer

  1. Boil the diced turnips. Peel & dice the turnips into small chunks. Then boil in a mixture of chicken broth, water and a half of potato until tender. The half of a potato is added to neutralize the bitter flavor of the turnips. Once tender, drain and return the cooked turnips to the pan to cook the remaining moisture off.
  2. Puree until mashed. Add cooked, diced turnips to a blender, along with heavy cream, salt, butter, black pepper and cheddar cheese. Blend until smooth.

Beef filling

  1. Sauté the vegetables. Cook the celery, carrot, onion, and green beans in butter until tender. Then season with garlic and dried herbs.
  2. Brown the ground beef until cooked through.
  3. Add flavor components. Stir in tomato paste, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt and pepper. 

Assemble & bake

  1. Pour beef mixture into a casserole dish first. Spread until even.
  2. Spread dollops of mashed turnips over the top of the beef filling.
  3. Bake at 375 °F for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown on top. 

Keto Cottage Pie Recipe Video

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Mashed Turnips Ingredients

  • 2 lb small turnips
  • 1/2 medium russet potato (don't worry, not for eating)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Shepherd's Pie Filling Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 2/3 cup fresh, canned or frozen green beans
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef or lamb
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

Keto Shepherd’s Pie Directions

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Close up of mashed turnips over meat filling on a plate.

How to make this lower carb

I get it. The carbs in vegetables can be scary sometimes. If 6.7 grams carbs per serving is too much for you, here are some ways to decrease that number.

  • Omit the carrot – Carrots have natural sugars in them and are a little higher in carbs compared to other vegetables. Should you choose to leave out the carrots in this keto casserole recipe, the total carbs will drop to 13.7 g and net carbs to 6.5 g per serving. See they really don’t add that much!
  • Omit the green beans – Eliminating the carrots and the greens beans in our low carb shepherd’s pie will drop the total carbs to 12.9 g and net carbs to 6 g per serving.
  • Decrease the tomato paste – Tomato paste contains natural sugars from the tomatoes. If you must, you might be able to decrease the tomato paste down to 1/4 cup. Do this along with cutting your carrots and green beans, bring each serving to 12.2 g total carbs and 5 g net carbs.
  • Decrease the turnips – If you are okay with a thinner layer of mashed turnips, decrease the amount of turnips used.

Cottage pie vs shepherd's pie

If you truly know the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie, you probably haven’t bothered to scroll down to read this section because I have already pissed you off with my ignorance and you left this page or you are busy writing an angry review.

Here’s the deal. I know this technically isn’t shepherd’s pie because shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with ground lamb. The shepherds tending to the sheep would it eat it. Make sense. And a cottage pie is made with ground beef. Cottage pie was a dish popular among rural people living in cottages and had access to beef.

The reason why am I calling this shepherd’s pie instead of cottage pie is because unless you are British or Irish, the majority of people in the United States have never heard of cottage pie, but they are familiar shepherd’s pie. If I called this a cottage pie, people would think that we are literally making a pie filled with cottage cheese. 

On top of that, I do give you the option of preparing your casserole with ground beef or ground lamb.


A bite of shepherd's pie resting on a fork.

Storage information

Freezer instructions

Good news for my meal preppers, you can make this dish ahead of time and freeze it unbaked or baked! Just assembled as instructed. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze for up to 1-2 months. 

Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or bake from frozen. To bake from frozen, remove the plastic wrap and replace the foil. Bake at 350°F  for 60-70 minutes. 

Refrigerator instructions

Store any leftovers in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

The mashed turnips can be made 1-2 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Keto Shepherd’s Pie: FAQS

Do I have to add the carrot?

No, you can omit the carrot. If the keto police told you carrots aren't keto and you believed them, you can omit the carrot if it makes you feel better. Technically, you can have a little bit of carrot on the keto diet as long as you stay within you daily carb allotment.

Why do some people put eggs in shepherd's pie?

Apparently, adding egg yolks to the mashed potato layer can give it a golden crust on top. You can try this if that is the look you are going for.

How many carbs are in keto shepherd's pie?

This recipe makes six very generous servings and each serving is about 6 carbs. Another top recipe found in google says their shepherd's pie makes 10 servings even though they use volumes of ingredients. Adjusting our recipe to 10 servings would give each serving about 4 net carbs.

Can I use ground lamb instead of ground beef?

Yes! You can use ground lamb, ground beef, ground goat or even leftover chuck roast, pot roast or lamb roast.

Nutritional information & Macros

Nutrition Information

Keto Shepherd’s Pie

Servings: 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 572
Fat 44.9g
Protein 28.1g
Total Carbs 14g
Net Carbs 6.7g

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1 Comment

  1. This Shepherd’s Pie is a huge success. Tastes absolutely gorgeous! 👏
    Thank you
    Michael from London, England

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