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 (260)

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

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 ;)

carolannehawkins's picture

As a Expat living in Thailand. I use to make shepherds pie but finding Lamb here is near impossible.
So I've had to turn to beef mince instead.
This cottage pie is delicious. Again I was unable to find celery so I added frozen peas.
I also added a leek which I sautéed in butter for 3 minutes then added to the boiling potatoes for the last 5 minutes. Then mashed them together with the cheese.

janinechapman's picture

A firm favourite family supper in our house, its even better when you can freeze one for the following week!

ciaraheffron's picture

Takes a long time to prepare, but well worth it! Have made it a few times request!

dayley's picture

Made as per recipe and was delicious. Split into three and froze two.
Ate the other two and they were even tastier.

becbec1000's picture

My husband and children loved the recipe. A big success.

wimmer's picture

PS I agree with Ted. You don't have to like celery, you won't even taste it in the finished dish but it adds essential depth of flavour which is why it is in most sauces/stocks etc.

wimmer's picture

Not really a fan of 'slutchy' food, but made this for elderly visitors for dinner and everyone absolutely loved it - including me - so tasty.
Highly recommended!

Drydoni's picture

Best I've ever tasted yum yum yum!!!!!!

edcarroll02's picture

Really excellent dish. I can't believe people are leaving the celery out, it brings such great depth of flavour.

littletwig's picture

Very tasty. Made it for a family dinner party. All empty plates and satisfied faces. Will keep this as my only cottage pie recipe.

suziefoodie's picture

SO GOOD!! Really comforting, classic sunday food - worth the effort and it has so much flavour. Will def make again

sjbeck19's picture

Busy working mum, so whizzed all veggies in a processor, tipped in a slow cooker amd added the mince unbrowned and just broke it down, added other ingredients and liquids and left for 5 hours. Needed a little gravy browning to add colour. it was great, my 8 year old had thirds. great meal and no faffing must of took 15-20 minutes prepping.

nataliemary's picture

This is the best cottage pie I have ever had. The mash is lovely. You do need to put a lot of work into it but it is worth it. I got two big pies out of this. Next time I will have a go at doing it in the slow cooker.

alisonl262's picture

Thought I'd given it 5 stars

alisonl262's picture

Absolutely delicious. My usual cottage pie recipe has virtually the same ingredients but doesn't taste nearly as nice. Obviously the different method of preparing the mince makes all the difference. Will definitely make again.


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