Cottage pie

Cottage pie

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(256 ratings)

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 cloves, 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



    One of the most useful of spices for both sweet and savoury


  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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30th Jun, 2013
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.
29th May, 2013
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!
22nd May, 2013
This recipe is delicious loved by all the family ;)
22nd May, 2013
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.
21st May, 2013
A firm favourite family supper in our house, its even better when you can freeze one for the following week!
10th May, 2013
Takes a long time to prepare, but well worth it! Have made it a few times request!
24th Apr, 2013
Made as per recipe and was delicious. Split into three and froze two. Ate the other two and they were even tastier.
22nd Apr, 2013
My husband and children loved the recipe. A big success.
5th Apr, 2013
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.
5th Apr, 2013
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!


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