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Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

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5 from 8 reviews

Cottage Pie is my go-to dinner when I need something delicious, nourishing and comforting to serve the family at the end of a busy day. My version of this classic recipe is loaded with extra vegetables.

  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x



Cottage Pie Filling

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced (or grated)
  • 1 tsp freshly minced garlic
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 zucchini (courgettes), grated
  • 1 kg (2 lb) minced (ground) beef
  • ⅓ cup (50 g) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (concentrated puree)
  • 3 cups (750 ml) beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt

Mashed Potato Topping

  • 1.2 kg (2 lb 10 oz) potatoes (all-rounder), peeled and quartered
  • 40 g (1½ oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (9 fl oz) milk, slightly warmed (see note 1)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup (50 g) freshly grated parmesan


Cottage Pie Filling

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, deep pan. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute until slightly softened.
  2. Add the celery, carrot and zucchini. Cook, stirring, for 3–4 minutes, until softened.
  3. Increase the heat to high, add the beef and cook for 4–5 minutes or until starting to brown.
  4. Stir in the flour, followed by the tomato paste.
  5. Add the beef stock, bay leaves, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium–low so that the sauce is just simmering.
  6. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook for a further 20 minutes, stirring regularly. The sauce will thicken into a lovely gravy (see note 2).
  7. Set the filling aside to cool.

Mashed Potato Topping

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil (you will need a pot large enough so that the potatoes are covered by at least 5 cm/2 inches of water).
  2. Add the peeled, quartered potatoes to the water and cook for 15–20 minutes until soft enough to pierce with a fork.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat. Drain the potatoes using a colander and place the potatoes back in the pot. Allow them to steam-dry for 1–2 minutes. This removes any excess water.
  4. Add the butter and mash the potatoes twice around the pot before adding the milk. Continue to mash until smooth and fluffy, and season with the salt.

Assemble Pie

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (180°C/350°F fan-forced).
  2. Once the beef mixture has cooled slightly, transfer it into a large baking dish (approximately 30 x 25 cm/12 x 10 inches). You can skip this step if you have made your filling in an oven-safe pan. 
  3. Spoon the mashed potato on top of the beef mixture and use the back of a spoon to spread it out evenly. Do this while the mashed potato is hot, as it’s much easier to spread. Use a fork to rough up the surface gently.
  4. Sprinkle with parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes or until the topping is golden and crispy.


Note 1 – Warm the milk slightly in the microwave or a saucepan. It makes the mashed potato extra creamy and easier to spread out on top of the beef mixture.

Note 2 – If the gravy is too thick, add 1 tbsp of water at a time until it is at your desired consistency. If it is too thin, continue cooking on high heat, stirring regularly until it meets your desired consistency. It should be thick enough for the mashed potato to sit on top without sinking.


Follow the recipe steps and assemble the pie. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before cooking, then cover with foil and bake at 200°C (400°F) (180°C/350°F fan-forced) for 45 minutes, covered, and an additional 30 minutes uncovered.


Refrigerate for up to 2 days. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely overnight in the fridge before reheating. Leftovers are best frozen in individual serves and reheated in the microwave.

  • Author: Nicole
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: English