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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didichick's picture
15th Dec, 2013
This is gorgeous, perfect on a winter's night. Didn't have thyme, used rosemary. Takes a while but can be made ahead and frozen. Yum!
18th Nov, 2013
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! So delicious and perfect for those cold evenings.
17th Nov, 2013
This is delicious! I doubled up on the ingredients and froze a batch. I used some Italian mixed herbs instead of sprigs of thyme and felt the potatoes needed a bit more liquid so as not to dry out in the oven ,so added slightly more milk and butter. I simmered the mixture right down to thicken and left it go cold before putting on the potatoes as they just sink into it otherwise. Such a lovely tasty recipe and the kids love it too. Perfect for the winter.
3rd Nov, 2013
Superb, well worth the time taken.
19th Oct, 2013
I omitted the red wine, substituted the celery with mushrooms and for the mash used sweet potato and parsnips along with white potatoes. I also added Djon mustard instead of the nutmeg. One of the nicest cottage pies I've made. It does take a little longer but really worth it!
17th Oct, 2013
This is such a good recipe. I made it on Monday knowing that it would be too late to eat that same evening so actually made it to reheat for Tuesdays tea! Gorgeous! didn't realise I didn't have any puree until I went to the cupboard to get itt! GRRR. It was really nice without but I'm sure it will be even better next time with puree added! :) Now a firm fave in our household!
katrinaridout's picture
10th Oct, 2013
Delicious, a real pleasure to tuck into! Freezes brilliantly and defrosts easily in the microwave. I cannot recommend this dish highly enough, I dragged a portion out from the freezer last night for my dinner, wacked it in the micro with a portion of frozen peas - a real taste sensation!!!
6th Oct, 2013
Delicious! I made a veggie version using Quorn mince, veg stock and a little soy sauce (instead of worcestershire). Went down well with meat-eaters and non-meat-eaters alike.
4th Oct, 2013
Best cottage pie I have ever tasted or made. My kids loved it. Clean plates all round & will now become a family staple. The red wine was a stroke of genius! Great blend of flavours and liked knowing there was hidden veg for my 4 yr old & fussy 10 yr old. Win!
23rd Sep, 2013
This recipe is a firm favourite! I halved the quantities to make just fill one smallish dish. I left out the celery, bay leaves and used dried thym. I used cantal cheese for the mash and it was lovely and gooey!


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