Cottage pie

Cottage pie

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(167 ratings)


Magazine subscription – 3 issues for £3

Cooking time

Prep: 35 mins Cook: 1 hr, 50 mins

Skill level



Serves 10

This great-value family favourite freezes beautifully and is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freezable
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving



  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1¼kg beef mince
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • large glass red wine (optional)
  • 850ml beef stock
  • 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • few thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves

For the mash

  • 1.8kg potatoes, chopped
  • 225ml milk
  • 25g butter
  • 200g strong cheddar, grated
  • freshly grated nutmeg

Buy Ingredients

Buy the ingredients for this recipe now via:

Want to know how this works? Read all about it here.


  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan and fry the mince until browned – you may need to do this in batches. Set aside as it browns. Put the rest of the oil into the pan, add the vegetables and cook on a gentle heat until soft, about 20 mins. Add the garlic, flour and tomato purée, increase the heat and cook for a few mins, then return the beef to the pan. Pour over the wine, if using, and boil to reduce it slightly before adding the stock, Worcestershire sauce and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 mins. By this time the gravy should be thick and coating the meat. Check after about 30 mins – if a lot of liquid remains, increase the heat slightly to reduce the gravy a little. Season well, then discard the bay leaves and thyme stalks.
  2. Meanwhile, make the mash. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender. Drain well, then allow to steam-dry for a few mins. Mash well with the milk, butter, and three-quarters of the cheese, then season with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon meat into 2 ovenproof dishes. Pipe or spoon on the mash to cover. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. If eating straight away, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and cook for 25-30 mins, or until the topping is golden. Or follow the steps (below) to freeze.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, October 2010

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.


Show comments
bassymum's picture

Superb, well worth the time taken.

Fluffypanda's picture

I omitted the red wine, substituted the celery with mushrooms and for the mash used sweet potato and parsnips along with white potatoes. I also added Djon mustard instead of the nutmeg. One of the nicest cottage pies I've made. It does take a little longer but really worth it!

gemma99's picture

This is such a good recipe. I made it on Monday knowing that it would be too late to eat that same evening so actually made it to reheat for Tuesdays tea! Gorgeous! didn't realise I didn't have any puree until I went to the cupboard to get itt! GRRR.
It was really nice without but I'm sure it will be even better next time with puree added! :)
Now a firm fave in our household!

katrinahewlett's picture

Delicious, a real pleasure to tuck into! Freezes brilliantly and defrosts easily in the microwave. I cannot recommend this dish highly enough, I dragged a portion out from the freezer last night for my dinner, wacked it in the micro with a portion of frozen peas - a real taste sensation!!!

kitty's picture

Delicious! I made a veggie version using Quorn mince, veg stock and a little soy sauce (instead of worcestershire). Went down well with meat-eaters and non-meat-eaters alike.

musicbizmum's picture

Best cottage pie I have ever tasted or made. My kids loved it. Clean plates all round & will now become a family staple. The red wine was a stroke of genius! Great blend of flavours and liked knowing there was hidden veg for my 4 yr old & fussy 10 yr old. Win!

clep89's picture

This recipe is a firm favourite!
I halved the quantities to make just fill one smallish dish. I left out the celery, bay leaves and used dried thym.
I used cantal cheese for the mash and it was lovely and gooey!

juliagoolia1's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Best cottage pie i've tasted, i don't normally like my own cooking but couldn't get enough of it ! This will now be a regular in my house :-)

ouchorocks's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5


cgibson1989's picture

its fantastic, well worth spending £3.50 for piping bags come with nozzle. mash was devine. my fiance is elergic too milk so soya milk was just as tasty. definatly making again.

golfinpapa's picture

Forgive my lack of knowledge here, but what is beef mince?

cgibson1989's picture

you can get lamb mince, turkey mince, beef mince etc. so it should say on the box it comes in what type of mine it is thats been minced

scotlandstar's picture

Ground beef

roulstone02's picture

Fabulous Cottage Pie, just the best! Try it!

iseveryusernametaken's picture

I made this today and although it took quite a while it was well worth it! Absolutely delicious and my 3 and 1 year old completely cleaned their plates! This will be a regular from now on.

cjrose75's picture

I was missing a few ingredients (carrot celery nutmeg) and used dry thyme instead of fresh and it still turned out great! Addition of cheese is a tasty twist to the mash and the gravy is just divine! Even my fussy eater son loves it. A big hit in my house.

AlyBongooo's picture

Made this for myself and my parents and we all loved it. Best cottage pie by far. It takes a little while to make, but it's totally worth it.

kmartin82's picture

This is the best cottage pie I have ever made, it does take a bit longer but is definately worth it. My son is 2 years old so I made the mash from potatoes and sweet potato combined together (any way to cram more veg in!). Absolutely delicious and freezes a treat.

littlejones's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

I made this recipe for the first time at the weekend for family visiting. We all loved it, it was absolutely delicious. It does take longer than a usual cottage pie, but it's worth it. The gravy was rich and lovely, the meat was really juicy and the cheddar in the mash made it extra tasty. The only change we made was to use dried thyme rather than fresh, which was still very nice. I will be making again, highly recommended!

kellyolivia's picture

This recipe is delicious loved by all the family ;)