Cottage pie

Cottage pie

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(248 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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9th Jan, 2016
5 stars, this recipe is phenomenal. Just follow it exactly and it will turn out better than you could imagine. The nutmeg in the potatoes sounds weird, but it really pushes this over the edge and makes it beyond words.
9th Dec, 2015
I made this using quern and served it up to non-vegetarians. They all loved it. I replaced the celery with peas as I didn't have any. The sauce is really tasty. I shall be making this again very soon
ade_in_the_kitchen's picture
6th Dec, 2015
What a beautiful Cottage Pie. The sauce was deep and rich whilst the potatoes added a real savoury flavour to compliment the sauce. Delicious!
ericus15's picture
5th Nov, 2015
I cooked this yesterday (04/11/2015) following the recipe minus the red wine. It was great for a mid week meal and all four of us enjoyed it. Great.
12th Oct, 2015
Yep, the rating is worthy ... do it.
7th Oct, 2015
I made this yesterday for myself and two hungry men, it was gone in an evening. First time making this and I was without nutmeg, garlic, celery (I used peas) thyme or bay leaves but it was still delicious. Can't wait to make it again
26th Aug, 2015
Fab recipe! I always use the slow cooker and it tastes perfect. Lovely & rich flavours
1st Feb, 2016
Hi, I was thinking of using my slow cooker as I love mince to be slowcooked so it's soft and juicy. Did you follow all the step up to the point of simmering and then transferred it? If so, how long did you let it simmer in the sc? Thanks x
7th Jun, 2015
Definitely worth the time, a real crowd pleaser! Amazing flavours. My fave!
24th May, 2015
Not a fan of cottage pie but for this I make an exception! A hit with the whole family and great for freezing. I actually prefer it reheated as the flavour of the mince is even richer (I don't use wine as I have a toddler, but it's still really tasty without).


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