Cottage Pie

This Easy Cottage Pie is pretty much the only cottage pie recipe you need! It is a rich, savory casserole of ground beef and vegetables baked with creamy mashed potatoes on top. It is hearty and filling and my idea of the perfect kind of comfort food. An English classic peasant food that everyone loves and a dish that is so adaptable too when it comes to add ins - and a great way to sneak in loads of veggies.

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie vs Shepherd’s Pie

If you are anything like me I use both those terms interchangeably but there are many who feel quite strongly about doing that. So to prevent any kind of online revolt let me explain the differences. Cottage Pie is an English classic casserole that’s traditionally made with ground beef, gravy, vegetables, and mashed potatoes (a meal usually eaten by poorer people living in small cottages because the ingredients were affordable thus the name cottage pie). Shepperds pie on the other hand is said to be from Scotland, but is also popular in Ireland and England and instead of using ground beef for the meat layer, ground lamb is used. Shepherd’s herded sheep, and the topping is mashed potato, resembling/representing sheep’s fleece, hence the name. So there you have it. You can do a deep dive on line for more details but there are the very basics. Stay tuned for my shepherd’s pie recipe coming eventually!

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie Ingredients

Here are the basic Cottage pie ingredients that you will need to make this recipe:

  • GROUND BEEF: Cottage pie is traditionally made with ground beef but feel free to use a different type of protein like ground turkey, ground lamb or ground chicken. I use lean ground beef
  • VEGETABLES: I like to do a mirepoix to start off with: onion, carrots, celery, garlic and then I like to add frozen peas and frozen corn. Feel free to add other veggies if you would like too like frozen green beans or saute some mushrooms with the onions. This dish is a great way to sneak in veggies.
  • FLOUR: I use all purpose flour to thicken the gravy but for a gluten free option simply use cornstarch.
  • STOCK/BROTH: I usually use beef broth but for a lighter flavor I often use chicken broth or veggie broth, whatever you have on hand will work. I recommend low salt or low sodium.
  • RED WINE: I like to deglaze the pan and add extra flavor using a dry red wine but feel free to use broth instead if you prefer not to add the wine
  • TOMATO PASTE: Helps thicken gravy and adds a nice deep flavor to it. I use approx 3 tbsp
  • WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE: Love it for extra flavor!
  • HERBS: I like to use fresh thyme and fresh rosemary but you can definitely use dried herbs as well. I also like to add a pinch or so of chili flakes but that is optional. For a blend you could use Italian seasoning or your favorite blend of dried herbs. You could even add a couple of bay leaves for more flavor too. I like to garnish with fresh parsley but that is optional too.
  • MASHED POTATOES: This recipe calls for using russet potatoes, half and half or whole milk, garlic, butter and I usually top the mashed potato layer with grated parmesan cheese. Feel free to use cheddar cheese instead for cheesier mashed potatoes

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie Recipe Variations

  • Put a layer of creamed corn between the ground beef and the mashed potatoes.
  • Add more veggies - saute mushrooms with the onions and rest of veggies or add extra frozen veggies like frozen green beans
  • Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over the top of the mashed potatoes before baking instead of parmesan cheese or do both
  • For gluten free use cornstarch instead of flour
  • Use sweet potatoes for the mash or a combo of both russet and sweet potatoes

Cottage Pie

How To Make Cottage Pie

Here are the basic steps to make this tasty cottage pie:

  1. Cook the mashed potatoes
  2. Brown the meat & saute the veggies
  3. Add in aromatic, flour and tomato paste.
  4. Deglaze with the wine and add broth and W sauce
  5. Stir in frozen veggies
  6. Layer potatoes over gravy/meat mixture -sprinkle cheese overtop
  7. Bake
  8. Garnish & Serve

Cottage Pie

Make ahead, Storage & Freeing

  • STORAGE: Cottage Pie once cooled, or leftovers should be stored in the fridge covered tightly or in an airtight stainer for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or in the microwave
  • MAKE AHEAD: The beef mixture can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Or make the whole casserole ahead, cover the dish with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge for up to 1 day. Let it sit out on the counter while the oven preheats, then uncover and bake and add a few minutes to the bake time.
  • FREEZING: Wrap cooled pie in a couple of layers of plastic wrap, followed by a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil and place in the freezer and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw pie in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat in the oven or in the microwave.

Cottage Pie


Servings: 12 (realistically this serves 8)
Prep Time: 20-30 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins


For the Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled (left whole)
  • ⅔ cup half-and-half
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan for sprinkling over top

For the Filling/Gravy

  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 2 lbs ground beef (lean)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth/chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

For the Mashed Potatoes

  1. In a medium saucepan, cover potatoes with water by ½”; season with 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until potatoes are fork tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain potatoes; set aside in colander.
  2. In same pot over medium-low heat, cook the butter with the smashed whole garlic and half-and-half, stirring until butter is melted and garlic is softend. Remove whole garlic from pan. Return potatoes to pot. Mash potatoes with a potato masher or a fork. season with salt and pepper
  3. Remove from heat and keep warm.

For The Gravy/Filling

  1. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add beef; onion carrots celery season with 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Break up beef with a wooden spoon and cook until crumbled and no longer pink, and veggies begin to soften, 6 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, chili flakes, rosemary, and thyme and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.
  3. Stir in tomato paste and flour. Cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add wine and cook, stirring, until almost completely evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in broth and Worcestershire and bring to a simmer. and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of pot, until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in corn and peas.

Assembling Pie

  1. Pour beef mixture into a 13” x 9” pan and dollop mashed potatoes on top. Lightly spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray and spread potatoes over beef mixture.
  2. Sprinkle with Parmesan
  3. Bake shepherd’s pie until beef mixture is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Place a rack in upper third of oven and turn broiler to high. Broil until top begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven once done and allow to cool 10 minutes before serving. Ganish with fresh chopped parsley or any herbs you like and then dig in and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

I baked my cottage pie in the same pan I cooked the meat mixture in but if you prefer to bake it in a casserole dish/baking dish simply transfer the filling mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, and spread it out in an even layer. Then spoon the mashed potatoes on top and carefully spread them out in an even layer as well. Sprinkle with cheese and bake as noted in recipe above.

Cottage Pie