Classic Cottage Pie

Easy traditional cottage pie recipe

The Spruce

Ratings
(46)
  • Total: 70 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
434 Calories
22g Fat
52g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 434
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Cholesterol 51mg 17%
Sodium 609mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 52g 19%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Protein 11g
Calcium 130mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cottage pie is one of the classics of a British classic kitchen. It is known for being a hearty, filling, and warming food and although often thought of as a winter dish, it is perfect any time of year. 

Don't be put off by the number of ingredients in this recipe—making this pie is well worth the effort.

For a really tasty pie, use freshly ground beef, or if you want to be ultra thrifty, use up leftover beef from the Sunday roast to make your pie authentic.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds baking potatoes (peeled and quartered)
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 4 ounces butter (cubed)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 tablespoon lard (or drippings)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup carrot (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 2 cups ground beef
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • Optional: 1 cup white mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for cottage pie
    The Spruce
  2. Heat the oven to 375 F/190 C/Gas Mark 5.

  3. Place the potatoes into a pan and cover with boiling water. Boil gently until soft—about 15 minutes.

    Place potatoes in a pan
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  4. Drain, then add the milk and butter to the pan. Heat through until the butter melts.

    Drain then add butter
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  5. Add the potatoes back to the pan and mash. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

    Mash potatoes
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  6. Melt the lard or drippings in a large, deep ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onion and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes.

    Onion and carrots
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  7. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, making sure you do not burn the garlic.

    Add garlic and cook
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  8. Add the ground beef and roughly a quarter of the beef stock. Cook, stirring constantly, until all the meat is browned.

    Add ground beef
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  9. Add the remaining stock, parsley, optional mushrooms, and salt and pepper. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 15 minutes.

    Add remaining stock
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  10. In a small bowl, mash the flour into 1 tablespoon butter to form a paste. 

    Mash flour
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  11. Add small pieces of the paste to the ground meat sauce, stirring until all the flour has dissolved.

    Add small pieces of paste
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  12. Repeat until all the paste is used up. The sauce should have thickened slightly.

    Repeat until paste is used up
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  13. Cover with the reserved mashed potatoes.

    Cover with mashed potatoes
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  14. Fluff up the potatoes and then sprinkle with the grated cheese.

    Sprinkle with cheese
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  15. Bake in the heated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the surface is crisp and browned.

    Baked cottage pie
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  16. Serve immediately with fresh seasonal vegetables.

Recipe Variations

  • If you have beef left from a Sunday roast, simply chop it in a food processor and omit the step for cooking the ground beef in this recipe. Add the beef and stock to the carrot and onion mixture and continue with step 4 above. Technically, this would be called a shepherd's pie.
  • Use sausages instead of ground beef or lamb.
  • Use sweet potatoes to make a vegetarian cottage pie.