Cottage pie in a rectangular dish with portion taken out

Cottage pie

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(564 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
Save to My Good Food
Please sign in or register to save recipes.


  • 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…

  • 25g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 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 olive oil in a large saucepan and fry 1¼ kg beef mince until browned – you may need to do this in batches. Set aside as it browns.

  2. Put the other 2 tbsp olive oil into the pan, add 2 finely chopped onions, 3 chopped carrots and 3 chopped celery sticks and cook on a gentle heat until soft, about 20 mins.

  3. Add 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, 3 tbsp plain flour and 1 tbsp tomato purée, increase the heat and cook for a few mins, then return the beef to the pan.

  4. Pour over a large glass of red wine, if using, and boil to reduce it slightly before adding the 850ml beef stock, 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, a few thyme sprigs and 2 bay leaves.

  5. 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.

  6. Meanwhile, make the mash. In a large saucepan, cover the 1.8kg potatoes which you've peeled and chopped, in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender.

  7. Drain well, then allow to steam-dry for a few mins. Mash well with the 225ml milk, 25g butter, and three-quarters of the 200g strong cheddar cheese, then season with freshly grated nutmeg and some salt and pepper.

  8. Spoon the meat into 2 ovenproof dishes. Pipe or spoon on the mash to cover. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.

  9. If eating straight away, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and cook for 25-30 mins, or until the topping is golden.

  10. If you want to use a slow cooker, brown your mince in batches then tip into your slow cooker and stir in the vegetables, flour, purée, wine, stock, Worcestershire sauce and herbs with some seasoning. Cover and cook on High for 4-5 hours. Make the mash following the previous steps, and then oven cook in the same way to finish.

You may also like

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
ILoveFit's picture
28th Feb, 2020
Love the Juice in the beef. This site is one the best right now, clear instructions for a quick cook and healthy food. Right now I'm using this site and a Weight loss book I found for Free. Definitely recommend checking it out
28th Jan, 2020
I decided to try pressure cooking the beef filling after having prepared all the ingredients and seared the mince. It was surprising when the beef filling came out and had a very weak taste even though I had added plenty of salt & pepper seasoning and made the stock with less water. I hurried to enrich it by reducing the sauce, adding a second beef stock pot and adding extra seasoning. I chose to finish it with a teaspoon of mustard as I've done with past rich beef stews. It was enriched and tasted good in the end. The base tasted even better after it had been baked. If I make it again, I'll definitely add wine, make sure to use two beef stock pots/cubes at first, double the onion and double the thyme and bay leaves. Preparing and cooking the whole dish consumed over 4 hours of time.
26th Jan, 2020
Tried this for Sunday lunch, oh boy, this is a winner! Absolutely delicious, clean plates all round. Will certainly be adding this to our favourites list.
Judy de Jager's picture
Judy de Jager
18th Jan, 2020
I made the topping with mashed sweet potato in stead of potato. It was delicious! They whole family loved it!
Becci Witton's picture
Becci Witton
12th Jan, 2020
Followed the recipe exactly. Husband said it was the best cottage pie he's ever had!
2nd Jan, 2020
New Year's Day 2020 in Seattle and this is the perfect comfort food recipe for a cold and rainy night! I made the recipe as written except I upped the garlic and added a couple handfuls of frozen peas to the mince just before blanketing it all with the mashed potatoes. We enjoyed one casserole tonight (with plenty leftover for lunches) and I'll freeze the other for a later date. Happy New Year!
19th Dec, 2019
This recipe always goes down well in our house. We both work so if you want to speed the recipe up we often use premade mash and microwave it until it Softens. Add a big dollop of whole grain mustard to the mash or butter and black pepper and mix it up and top the mince off. Also saves on washing up!
Stephen Dunn's picture
Stephen Dunn
5th Dec, 2019
Try substituting a quarter of the potato with some sweet potato, adding it halfway through as it doesn't take as long to cook, thank me later :)
2nd Dec, 2019
Absolutely delicious!! I made this using left over mashed potatoes for the topping. I scaled the recipe to 1/2 as there are only 2 of us. Instead of tomato puree I used Brooks Tangy Ketchup. I omitted the bay leaf and thyme as I did not have it and used fresh parsley in it's place. I drained my browned ground beef well before adding it to the veggies.I have a lot of Holiday entertaining to do and decided to use this for two of my dinners making them in individual ramekins. I plan to serve it with "Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing" and individual mini white bread loaves. Dessert is yet to be decided. Thank you for a wonderful recipe. PS: To make the mini bread loaves I thaw Rhode's Frozen bread dough and cut off pieces to fit my mini bread pans. All my guests have always thought I made the bread from scratch. Please keep my secret. Heehee!
Melissa Sabo's picture
Melissa Sabo
22nd Nov, 2019
This has quickly become a favorite in my family. My husband absolutely loves it! We substitute ground turkey and it works very well. It doesn't take very long for making it all but I substitute in whatever vegetables that I have at the time.


3rd Dec, 2019
Hi, I don’t want to go shopping, and I only have 2 small onions, can I use leek instead? Thanks
3rd Dec, 2019
Hi, Yes you can use leek instead, or as well as onion.
Monica Crampton's picture
Monica Crampton
16th Nov, 2019
Hi I want to make this for my dairy intolerant daughter, which alternative milk and cheese would you use? I'm guessing oatly barista?..
4th Nov, 2019
I have just prepared these but not eating till tonight can i leave covered out of the fridge for a few hours?
goodfoodteam's picture
9th Nov, 2019
Thanks for your question. According to food regulations, cooked foods should not be left out for more than 90 mins before refrigerating. We'd suggest cooling then for up to 90 mins and then popping them in the fridge. Cook for an extra 5 - 10 mins in step 9 to allow for being fridge-cold.
25th Sep, 2019
Hi there, I would like to cook the base of the recipe in a pressure cooker could you please tell me how I would do this and if I would need to change the measurements. many thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
26th Sep, 2019
Thanks for your question. You can certainly cook the base in a pressure cooker but we cannot give exact instructions without testing the recipe. We'd suggest referring to your instruction booklet for tips on timings.
20th Sep, 2019
What size oven dish should I use?
goodfoodteam's picture
21st Sep, 2019
Thanks for your question. As this recipe is made in two dishes we'd suggest using two rectangular dishes of roughly 26cm x 20cm or square dishes of roughly 25cm x 25cm.
14th Jul, 2019
I thought if you use cheese it’s a Cumberland pie. Cottage pie hasn’t got any cheese. Am I right?


8th Dec, 2019
I have made this before as per recipe and it is 5 star. However changed it slightly today after my daughter decided she wanted mince and dumplings for dinner. This recipe is similar to the HAIRY BIKERS recipe for mince and dumplings, (no tin of chopped tomatoes though). I made this as per the Cottage Pie recipe but added dumplings towards the end. Very very nice. Word of warning... I added a glass of cheap Tempranillo wine from Aldi. No offence to them but my grandson said he could taste vinegar!!!! Now I may not have sweated off the alcohol long enough or it may have been the quality of the wine. Who knows but a lesson learned. Still an enjoyable way to change the recipe slightly.
12th Jun, 2019
Don't deviate from the recipe, it's cracking!
11th Sep, 2018
This is the BEST recipe! I make it for my small children so leave out the wine, but it is still absolutely delicious! Thanks!
29th Aug, 2018
Fab recipe. I used lazy garlic as didn't any have fresh and as im a vegi and Worcestershire sauce has fish in it i used miso paste to replace it. Substituting was easy. The Quorn version was a hit.
spindoctor's picture
5th Feb, 2018
A quick tip to speed up cooking. Do what the professionals do when making a dish with mince. Brown the mince in the oven. Spread mince out on a baking tray and put into a hot oven, gas mark 8 or 180-200 degrees brown for about 6-10 minutes. drain of the fat and then add it to the pan when the recipe suggests
11th Mar, 2016
You MUST allow it to cool down before adding the mash
20th Mar, 2015
Have just made this again as we have family staying with us. As usual the taste of this recipe is superb but I did ring the changes somewhat with the topping. Having read a Mary Berry recipe for a similar dish I used her suggestion. Simply boil enough baby new potatoes, skin on to cover the dish. I crushed them lightly in the pan then arranged them on the cold filling. Finally topped off with grated cheddar and cooked at 200c. fan for 30 - 35 mins. Superb and an interesting variation for the topping. Served with cut beans and peas.
17th Oct, 2013
I reheated a full pie last night and put it in the oven at 160deg (covered with foil) for around half an hour. it was piping hot and didn't burn
cgibson1989's picture
8th Sep, 2013
i personally don't have a microwave so when all cooked i cut into potions and put in freezer bags. after defrosting pie i heat fan assisted oven too 180 degrees and cook for 10minutes
Want to receive regular food and recipe web notifications from us?