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, questions and tips

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Comments (265)

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.

16family's picture

simply delicious! my guests enjoyed it . I didn't find worcestershire sauce but even without it it was very tasty. I added some leeks. Thanks for the recipe!

squeaker1942's picture

Just made this cottage pie for tonight's meal. Like celery, but didn't have any. Looking forward to eating tonight, sounds yummy as described by others comments.

squeaker1942's picture

Just made this cottage pie for tonight's meal. Like celery, but didn't have any. Looking forward to eating tonight, sounds yummy as described by others comments.

cheryl1980's picture

Followed this to the letter. Great if you like a sloppy mess. Would highly recommend to people with no teeth.

jackli12's picture

This is so satisfying and warming - a big favourite in our house but does take quite a while to make. Worth it though!

jackli12's picture

This is so satisfying and warming - a big favourite in our house but does take quite a while to make. Worth it though!

888emma's picture

Kids loved this, I also omitted the celery and increased the carrots.

claire3110's picture

Trying this tonight. Will let you know how it goes...

karenk1411's picture

Lovely recipe, tasted great, kid-friendly, and froze very well.

hazelr74's picture

Excellent recipe, and tastes beautiful.

claire333's picture

I have just finished eating this cottage pie and I can honestly say that of all the recipes I have cooked from this website over the years this one is the best. This is the most delicious cottage pie I have ever eaten. It was also a lot easier and quicker to make than it appears at first glance.

hunimummy's picture

this is a favourite for my family without the celery just added more carrots (eaten once a week ) and a full pie left to freeze for next week love it

sometimes ill put a layer of baked beans between the mince and potatoes and change it to cowboy pie the kids love it
defo a good 1 for a big family

clairemc28's picture

This is easily the nicest cottage pie I've ever had. It is well worth taking the time to make it. I have frozen it too and it still tastes delicious once defrosted and cooked. Thoroughly recommend it and made it several times now.

alka666's picture

Just spent ages cooking this for my family, and I don't even eat meat!!! But boy was it worth the sweat! I was told by my husband and teenagers it was the best cottage pie they have ever had! Result! Thank you!

princess132's picture

Really looking forward to making this recipe, anyone know what size pie dish is needed?


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