Cottage pie

Cottage pie

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(281 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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28th May, 2014
Had leftover brisket and adapted this recipe to rave reviews! Used a bottle of porter in place of the wine, reduced the Worcestershire sauce to 2 TBSP, and added some sliced mushrooms. It had to simmer longer to reduce liquid, but the results were amazing!
17th May, 2014
Really nice cottage pie, so handy to have in the freezer for busy evenings so well worth making a few. I also like to add peas if I have them in.
9th May, 2014
One word........ Beautiful!!!!
22nd Feb, 2014
I have made this a few times now and love it, very easy to adapt to what you have in without spoiling it. I really like it with a swede and carrot mash on top, that way you can have some crispy roasties on the side to mop up the gravy.
18th Feb, 2014
Great recipe - especially love the cheese and nutmeg in the mash! Perfect!
11th Feb, 2014
Very tasty cottage pie, highly recommended! Turned out even better than I anticipated. Made a few additions by adding leek and some gravy granules. Doubled up on all quantities and froze a extra one. (I'm not convinced that this would actually feed 10 people, it's more like 6 good portions)
9th Feb, 2014
The best ever cottage pie! Easy to make and full of flavours
6th Feb, 2014
Absolutely a crowd pleaser! I never had cottage pie before, but I risked making it as I had guests coming over for Sunday lunch. Most of all, it was mostly guys who came over who had cottage pie before! It was nerve-racking, but to my surprise I had a lot of compliments from all my guy friends and loved it! No left-overs and mostly everyone had seconds! It was tasty and my ever first cottage pie! It was delicious and I will definitely be making this again! Cheap and easy to make when feeding a crowd!
20th Jan, 2014
Great recipe. I left out wine and celery. Added extra garlic and onion bisto gravy granules. Very tasty. I also used soya milk and dairy free marg in the mash with white pepper and salt.
22nd Dec, 2013
This is a great recipe and I often use it when we have people coming round for tea. I'd recommend leaving it to simmer as long as possible, as it really does bring all the flavours out. Lovely.


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