Let's delve into the fascinating world of cottage pie. Did you know that the distinction between cottage pie and shepherd's pie usually boils down to the choice of meat used? Cottage pie typically uses beef, while shepherd's pie is typically made with lamb. The name 'cottage pie' originated during the late 18th century, a period when potatoes were gaining popularity in the UK as they provided an affordable source of sustenance for poorer people – many of whom lived in small cottages.


This classic dish is the ideal go-to when you're craving a satisfying, warming meal after a hectic day. It's easy to make and freezes brilliantly, so once you've whipped up a batch, you've got a handy solution for those times when cooking is the last thing you want to do. For more freezable family meals, check out our freezable recipes, freezable family recipes and batch-cooking recipes.

If you want extra tips on how to make an epic cottage pie, check out our 10 tips for next-level cottage pie.

See our twists on a classic cottage pie recipe below, and also check out more of our comforting cottage pie recipes.

1. Vegetarian cottage pie

Blue oval baking dish filled with vegetables and topped with mashed potato with a chunk missing

Whip up a soul-soothing, veg-loaded cottage pie, and cleverly portion it for the freezer. Now, you can thaw it whenever the craving strikes.

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Discover more comforting vegetarian meals with our vegetarian comfort food recipes.

2. Next-level cottage pie

Oval baking dish of next-level cottage pie with a serving missing

Prepare to be wowed by our elevated take on the humble cottage pie. We've meticulously crafted distinct layers, whipped up the fluffiest mash, and crowned it with a rarebit topping that will leave your tastebuds tingling.

For more comforting dishes that we've taken to the next level, try our next-level ratatouille, next-level beef stroganoff and next-level chicken pie.

3. Venison cottage pie

Red rectangular baking dish of venison cottage pie with a serving missing from the right side

If you're a fan of venison, this is the recipe for you. Adding red wine is optional, but it does give a luxurious richness to the sauce that works beautifully with the flavours of the meat.

Check out our venison recipes for more of this lean, flavoursome meat.

4. Vegan lentil & sweet potato cottage pie

Vegan lentil and sweet potato topped cottage pie in a white baking dish with a serving missing from the left side

Gather round the table for this hearty meat-free masterpiece. The umami-packed filling, with soy sauce and the subtle kick of mustard, gives this pie incredible savoury depth. Pumpkin seeds add a delicious crunch and subtly nutty flavour to the topping.

Discover more hearty vegan meals with our vegan comfort food recipes.

5. Beef bourguignon cottage pie


Made with succulent, slow-cooked braising steak, bacon lardons and tender button mushrooms, this sensational recipe from Gary Rhodes is a flavour-packed delight for the entire family. What's even better, you can get a head start by preparing it up to a month in advance, meaning it's ready to impress with minimal effort.

Discover more beef bourguignon recipes, from classics to next-level twists like this one.

6. Braised pork cottage pie with celeriac topping

Pork cottage pie topped with celeriac mash in an oval baking dish with a portion missing

With its spiced pork filling and creamy celeriac topping, this dish is perfect for those chilly winter evenings. If you fancy something a little different for dinner, look no further.

Make celeriac the star of the show in stunning seasonal starters and mains with our celeriac recipes.

7. Italian cottage pie


Pancetta, oregano and a parmesan-coated potato topping give this cottage pie a delicious Italian-inspired twist.

Check out our Italian recipes to transport yourself to this beautiful country.

8. Sweet potato cottage pie

Cottage pie topped with sweet potato in a baking dish with a portion put onto a nearby plate with a salad.

Swap regular potatoes for the sweet variety in this tasty twist on a classic cottage pie. What's more, the recipe can easily be doubled, so you can make one pie to eat now and one to save for later in the freezer.

Check out more sweet potato recipes that use this versatile vegetable.

9. Cottage pie cakes

Two cottage pie cakes on a plate with beans, one has been cut open so the mince is falling out

These mini cottage pies are a brilliant way to make the most of any leftover mashed potato after a Sunday roast. They make a crowd-pleasing, fuss-free midweek meal and can be on the table in just 35 minutes.

Check out our leftover potato recipes – we've got plenty of ideas to use up leftover mash or roasties.

10. Wild mushroom & chestnut cottage pie

Baking dish of wild mushroom and chestnut cottage pie topped with mixed root vegetable mash with a serving taken out

Vegetarian cottage pies can be just as hearty and satisfying as their meat-based counterparts. This flavourful twist uses wild mushrooms and chestnuts for robust savoury flavour and texture. We've also traded the regular mash for a blend of potatoes, parsnips, carrots and celeriac, adding a delicious earthiness to the topping. Also, check out our butter pie with apples & cheese recipe.

Discover more wild mushroom recipes.


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