Cottage Pie

by Hint of Helen
cottage pie recipe

Cottage pie is the perfect autumn and winter meal – it’s a one-pot dish that is so comforting and makes perfect leftovers too.

This cottage pie is made up of minced beef, carrots, peas and garlic – topped with thick, creamy mashed potato – then finished with grated cheese and crisped up in the oven. You can make it ahead of time and re-heat at dinner time, or even make it the day before if you have guests coming over.

cottage pie recipe

This is a traditional recipe which I’ve been making since childhood – my mum would always let me do the mashed potato toppings and I had great fun with patterns – if you want to get your kids involved in the kitchen I recommend giving them that task, too!

cottage pie recipe

If you have a KitchenAid, you can make the mashed potato in it using this recipe.

I always serve my cottage pie with lashings of brown (HP) sauce and some buttered bread – yum!

How to make the best cottage pie at home

Scroll down to the bottom of photos for the full recipe and ingredient list. See below step-by-step photos:

1. Begin by chopping the carrots – I tend to slice lengthways, then finely widthways

chopping carrots

2. Then, dice one onion

chopped onions

3. Heat oil in a large, non-stick pan to a medium heat – then, add in the carrots and onion. Stir, and cook for 3 minutes – until the onions begin to turn a little clear, like this:

chopped carrots

4. Then, add in the 500g minced beef – stir to break down into small pieces, and cook until browned throughout – like this, which usually takes 5-10 mins.

If your pan is small, then empty it of the carrots and onions, and cook the beef alone – then add in the carrots and onions once browned (so the pan isn’t too crowded when cooking the beef)

cottage pie ingredients

5. Whilst the beef is browning, boil the kettle and mix together 600ml of boiling water, with 1 beef stock cube – then set aside

beef stock

6. Once your beef is browned, add in the 3 crushed garlic cloves, 1 tbsp tomato puree, and 1 , or 2 tsp of thyme (depending on your preference)

cottage pie ingredients

7. Stir to evenly coat

cottage pie cooking

8. Then, pour in the earlier prepared stock

beef stock cottage pie

9. Followed by the Worcestershire sauce

worcestershire sauce cottage pie

10. Stir – then turn the heat down to simmer, and allow to simmer on a low heat whilst you prepare the mashed potatoes

cottage pie cooking

Making the mashed potatoes (if you know how to make mash, skip to step 17)

Pre-heat your oven to 200C

11. Begin the mashed potato by peeling the potatoes (about 6 normal sized ones) into equal-sized pieces – I tend to make them this size:

chopped potato

12. Then, add the potatoes into a large pan, and rinse with cold water – then drain away the cold water (this will wash off excess starch)

drain potatoes

13. Next, fill the potato pan with boiling water (from the kettle)

boiling water on potatoes

14. Transfer the pan to the hob, and turn the temperature to medium – boil gently for 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes fall apart when pierced with a fork

boiled potatoes

15. Then drain the potatoes using a sieve, and allow the potatoes to sit in the sieve for 2 mins – for any final water to evaporate

drained potatoes

16. Add 1 tsbp butter, 1/2 tsp salt and 3 tbsp of milk to the soft, drained potatoes – then use a potato masher to mash until smooth and creamy (add any more milk, salt or butter as needed)

mashed potatoes

17. Now (about 30 minutes later) turn your attention back to the base mixture – pour in 150g of frozen peas, stir

peas cottage pie

18. Then, stir in 1 tbsp gravy granules (this will thicken the liquid)

gravy cottage pie

Assembling and cooking the cottage pie

19. Stir the mixture to dissolve the gravy granules – then, transfer the mixture to a deep-sided oven-proof dish

cottage pie base

20. And top with the mashed potato – do this in steps, using a large spoon to spoon the mashed potato to all sides of the dish (this is to make it easier to spread – if you put it all in one bunch the next step is harder)

cottage pie mashed potatoes

21. Then, take a fork and spread out the mixture – be gentle

cottage pie mashed potatoes

22. Then, once it’s evenly spread – use your fork to create a rough texture on top (you want it to be rough so it crisps up in the oven)

how to make cottage pie

23. Top with grated cheese

cottage pie cheese

24. Then, cook in the oven at 200C for 30 minutes, until the cheese has browned and bits of the mash are crisp (don’t worry if some gravy bubbles up – like it did here)

how to make cottage pie

25. Then, remove from the oven allow to cool for 5-10 mins and serve

Yield: 6 Servings

Cottage Pie

cottage pie recipe

A delicious, classic cottage pie made with rich, thick gravy, beef, carrots, and peas.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 or 2 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 600ml water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp beef gravy granules

For the mash

  • 6 potatoes
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp milk

To Serve

  • Cheddar Cheese


Step 1: Making the meat & gravy base:

  1. Boil the kettle, and mix 600ml of water with the stock cube - set aside
  2. Finely dice the onion
  3. Thinly chop the carrots (I tend to peel, cut lengthways, then slice into thin pieces - as per the photos above)
  4. Peel and crush the garlic - then set aside
  5. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick pan
  6. Add the onions and carrots, stir and cook for 3 mins, stirring often until the onions begin to turn slightly clear
  7. Then, add in the minced beef
  8. Use your spatula or wooden spoon to break the mince into smaller pieces, stirring and cooking until browned - about 5-10 mins (if you have a small pan only, you may have to do this in 2 batches)
  9. Then, add in the crushed garlic and thyme - stir
  10. Then, pour in the earlier prepared stock, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, and salt
  11. Stir, then turn the heat down to a simmer, cover with a lid and allow to simmer whilst you make the. mashed potatoes
  12. Whilst your gravy/meat mixture simmers - prepare the mashed potatoes

Step 2: Making the mash

  1. Peel and chop potatoes into equal-sized pieces
  2. Add potatoes to a large pan of cold water, rinse of additional starch and drain away the cold water
  3. Boil the kettle, then add the boiling water to the drained pan of potatoes, place on a hob/stovetop and simmer until a fork is inserted with no resistance.
  4. Drain the potatoes and allow to steam in the sieve for a couple of minutes - to ensure they're properly dry
  5. Then, return the potatoes into the dried, empty pan
  6. Add in butter, milk, salt - and use your potato masher to mash until smooth

Step 3: Assembling & cooking:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C
  2. Turn off the heat on the simmering meat/gravy pan
  3. Add the peas, and gravy granules into the meat pan - stir to mix
  4. Then, pour the mixture into the bottom of a large, ovenproof casserole or pyrex dish
  5. Next, place the cooked mashed potato on top - take a fork and spread it out evenly, use your fork to make a pattern on the top (have fun with it!) you want the mash to be a bit 'rough' on top so it crisps up in the oven
  6. Then, (optional - but recommended!) grate some mature cheddar over the top of the dish
  7. Once assembled, place the cottage pie in the oven for 30 mins, or until the cheese is melted and bits of the mash is crisp
  8. Remove from the oven - allow to rest for 10 minutes then serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 451Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 85mgSodium 491mgCarbohydrates 46gFiber 6gSugar 5gProtein 33g

Nutritional data provided here is only an estimate. If you're tracking these things for medical purposes please consult an outside, trusted source. Thanks!

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