Cottage pie

Cottage pie

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(227 ratings)

Prep: 35 mins Cook: 1 hr, 50 mins


Serves 10

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

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal600
  • fat34g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs40g
  • sugars7g
  • fibre4g
  • protein37g
  • salt1.15g
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  • 3 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1¼kg beef mince
  • 2 onions, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 3 carrots, chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 3 celery sticks, chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 2 garlic clove, 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


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 2 bay leaves

For the mash

  • 1.8kg potatoes, chopped



    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 225ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 25g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 200g strong cheddar, grated



    Once cheddar was 'Cheddar', a large, hard-pressed barrel of cheese made by a particular…

  • freshly grated nutmeg


  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.

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Comments (256)

kaughtknee's picture

I left the red wine out, which may have been a mistake. Taste was okay, though a bit bland. My partner commented it was rather "carrotty". Overall felt the result was not worth the time taken.

adam_aj59's picture

Very very nice cottage pie - make sure the meat isn't piping hot when you put the mash over the top otherwise it'll start to sink!

lovetocook23's picture

This was absolutely delicious and went down a treat with my family. Will cook the gravy a little longer next time to get rid of some of the liquid as the potato sunk into it but apart from that it was great.

lin-green1's picture

Stuck to the recipe but found it very bland, expected a lot more flavour considering the ingredients. Was disappointed.

isaaclare's picture

Halved the recipe as only had 500g mince. Still enough for two meals. Six year old asked for seconds which is high praise indeed. Served with peas and corn and beetroot chutney....YUM (omitted the celery)

hellewrites's picture

This is an absolutely delicious recipe, and I highly recommend it.

janicedewdney's picture

We made this cottage pie for the children, who loved it. The hidden vegetables are a great way to persuade children to eat a wider variety of things that are good for them.

rmitter3's picture

b/c of the wine i used was a bit sweet but good sweet. also used cottage cheese instead of cheddar. if the gravy isn't think enough add flour and let simmer for longer. very good!

dexter216's picture

done this dish about 6 times and it is great , also a great freezer dish .

ehoo118's picture

super easy although it takes forever. i used peas instead of celery, and also added some marmite and lots of bisto! worked a treat :)

cherimoya's picture

Nice but heavy

cornishman1's picture

Not eaten Cottage pie for over 30years until i tried this recipe.
Now cant get enough. Takes time but be assured its worth it.

scornford's picture

Family loved it, clean plates all round. Will definately do again as we tend to find the powder mixes too salty.

janicedewdney's picture

A very tasty cottage pie. The children love it. We liquidise the carrots and onions along with the celery to make it smooth enough for the younger children. We dont add the red wine.

Well worth making.

aimeemacdn123's picture

This was lovely. I had only 500g beef mince so adapted the quantities accordingly, with the exception of the beef stock - I used 4 Oxo cubes dissolved in 680ml boiling water. I also omitted the wine. Next time I will try using more veg to bulk it out, and use lean beef steak mince and leave out the cheese to reduce the fat content, making it a healthier meal option.

emsta88's picture

really nice and comforting. also a pleasure to cook.

tydrawirafon's picture

Made this weekend and clean plates all round tonight. Very nice recipe. Made more or less as per ingredients (just chop the celery small - no one will notice !) Saved time by gently frying the vegetables in my big casserole dish and at the same time dry frying the mince in batches in a frying pan, then draining it to get rid of all the unnecessary sat fat before adding it to the veg.
So sorry but I cheated and used Tesco ready mash -it was on offer :o) I added some cheddar, piped it on top of the cold meat then popped in the oven. Husband and three kids (23, 17 and 8) all said they wanted this recipe everytime.
Its also nice to know I now have another batch sitting in the freezer at the ready. I can happily highly recommend you try it.

rowley123's picture

Stuck to the recipe and it was absolutely delicious.

lakelandlass's picture

I made this for the family evening meal last night and it was so lovely. I didn't use wine, only stock as we have a 12 month old and I substituted the thyme and used a good pinch of Marjaram instead. It was a hit with everyone and so easy to make.

sue_milton's picture

Delicious. Good flavours and fabulous cheesy mash. This recipe will be a regular on the menu.


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