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 (266)

princess132's picture

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

charlottemarriott's picture

Excellent recipe. This will be my go to cottage pie recipe from now on! Lovely!

dee1971's picture

This was really tastey and all the family enjoyed very much,I made according to the full recipe instructions,took a good bit if time but was well worth it.

pasham's picture

super yummie!!

domesticgoddessnmore's picture

Excellent! This is my go-to recipe for cottage pie. I make this often and sometimes substitute ground turkey for the mince. My boys love this dish and I do too.

bowen192's picture

forgot to rate it....

bowen192's picture

Yummy scrummy. Halved the recipe and because we were hungry my partner and I demolished the whole thing after going back for seconds :-) I missed out the thyme because I don't like it, and swapped for a bit of dried parsley. Had it with curly kale and peas and will definitely be making again.

pamposel's picture

Fabulous winter meal in one dish. Easy to follow and delicious.

dognpony's picture

Loved this!
Made a slight modification by replacing half the Worcestershire Sauce with Soy Sauce and it was delicious .... the gravy is to die for!
Next time I'll double the quantity of gravy in the mix. A new firm favourite

amyloureilly's picture

Delicious. I blitzed the carrots, onion and celery in the food processor so it took hardly any time at all. Made two family dinners portions so will freeze the other half. Will definitely make this again.

bethesue's picture

Is beef mince the same as ground beef or chuck in the US? I've been waiting for a great recipe since we visited Great Britain!

katherinelynch's picture

Excellent recipe! Love it and will definitely be making it again :-)

metime's picture

Was looking for a nice recipe to make for a large batch to make for us and another for an ill friend. Will be making tonight for us and delivering to her for tomorrow

shelley-anne's picture

Absolutely AMAZING!! Making it again tonight for entertaining friends. Such a hit.

amycullen's picture

I found this recipe extremely easy & very tasty. Unlike some of the others on the site, I didn't find it took particularly long to prepare.

serengoch's picture

Fed 30 people with this recipe today, I froze the meat base as I had prepared it earlier in the week. Topped with mashed potato and cheese this morning before popping in oven. Without exception everyone said it was the best cottage pie they have ever eaten!

secrisp's picture

Slightly lengthy but very easy to make and delicious! Will definately make again.

moonfan's picture

Really loved this recipe! So easy to make and a huge hit with my family!

toogsh12's picture

This took me a bit longer to make than what the projected time says, but it turned out great! I completely forgot to to get some tomato purée but it turns out diced tomatoes are fine if you use a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. Dried thyme does an okay job if you can't get your hands on fresh thyme. A dash of Italian seasoning herbs, too, may be a welcome addition.

moonfan's picture

Really great recipe! I didn't use nutmeg for the mash but it still turned out really tasty! I will definitely be making this again.


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