Cottage pie

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 (266)

sarahlou76's picture

Followed the recipe but without bay leaves and made the mashed potato with grated mozarella sprinkled on top as I can't get cheddar here. I am wondering if the people who didn't find it tasty tried to cheat on the cooking time as it definately needs the full time to develop and the celery does need to be chopped really small but makes a huge difference to the flavour. Husband is a chef and said it is the best meal I have done yet and 8 year old daughter said mummy is a much better chef than daddy and wants this dish every day.

sarahadams83's picture

This was absolutley lovely and really easy to make.

janeedlington's picture

Really nice comfort food. I chucked in a handful of gravy powder to thicken the sauce.

sgeddes's picture

Made this last week and it was delicious. It took me ages, as I am new enough to cooking, but the resulting dish was well worth it.

manfas's picture

My husband, 5yr old, 3yr old and 1yr old absolutely love this cottage pie when I make it. It disappears so fast. Definitely worth the time and effort. The good thing if you're busy at home is that you can make it in stages. I've even made the meat part one day and finished it off the next. Much, much better than the cottage pie that I remember being subjected to when I was a child.

janicehales's picture

So yummy, all the family loved it and could eat it for days !!

janeedlington's picture

Really tasty recipe, especially the mash on top. I added a tbsp of gravy powder to thicken the sauce.

becksharper's picture

Sensational! I added a few finely chopped pre-roasted parsnips instead of celery and halved the amounts but otherwise stuck to the recipe. Easily the best cottage pie I've ever had...and I'm a Yorkshire lass ;) I'm currently living in Australia and just served this to guests. After eating it, one of the guests admitted that when he learned what I was making he was very apprehensive as his mother makes a cottage pie by boiling mince and gravy mix and then adding instant mash on the top(!). He finished every last scrap! I served it with peas and steamed cabbage, with just a dash of golden syrup, butter and pepper into the cabbage - delish!

johnjustice's picture

Made this for a second time and it is as good and consistant as ever. I ommitted the celery, increased the carrots and added a small parsnip which proves in a small way like other contributors that the recipie can be tinkered with quite succesfully provided the main ingredients remain. My wife loves the fact that it can be made earlier and popped in the oven just before family comes round. If I am feeling generous then making up an extra pie for family to take home is, I think a superb small "gift"as well as showing of my "extraordinary"cooking skills.

veinoz's picture

Perfect recipe, this cottage pie is delicious. I made it exactly as the recipe said and also with a few changes of vegetables. Will be keeping this recipe for a long long time.

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 :)


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