Cottage Pie Recipe

Cottage Pie Recipe

This tasty, meaty, easy to make Cottage Pie Recipe is filled with minced beef, carrots, courgettes, onions, and a herby tomato sauce. The red wine creates a rich beefy taste, topped with creamy mashed potatoes and grated cheese before finishing in the oven.

This is a hearty dish, perfect for these rainy afternoons when you’re craving a warming meal. The beauty of this dish is that it can be created in batches and frozen for up to 2 months.

The history of the cottage pie

The Cottage Pie Recipe originates back to the 1800s. The British dish got its name as it was traditionally eaten by the poorer folk who lived in small cottages. I shit you not it’s true.

People would use leftover meat and vegetables from their dinners and use potatoes to layer over the top and recook and serve as another meal. Potatoes were a cheap food back then, as Sir Walter Raleigh found the potato dating back in 1584. One of the very few things I remember from history at school!

I may be causing a little controversy saying this is a British dish. Given we were introduced to spuds by the Irish, maybe they chucked a few cottage pies on the boat for good measure. This could have been the food for the crew on the way back across the sea – who know’s?

Back then, most people ate meat, potatoes, and vegetables as a meal. You can imagine the waste being scraped from the plates into a large bowl instead of the dustbin. All the leftover gravy chucked in too to make this as another meal for the entire family.

It’s crazy to think all those years ago people may have created this pie back then. And still, til’ this day, it’s being eaten regularly across the world. My Dad eats cottage pie at least once per week!

Variations of the pie

Cottage Pie is easily confused with Shepherd’ Pie. The main difference being the meat used. Cottage Pie is traditionally made with minced beef, and Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb mince. This is easily confused, but as a kid, I had an easy way of remembering which is which. Just think of the shepherd looking after sheep. Lamb is obviously a baby sheep. Check out fucking Einstein over here.

After doing a little research, I’ve found that the Scottish had tweaked the dish ever so slight by covering it with puff pastry. Why have I never even thougfht of doing this? This would be the best pie ever served with gravy!

Watch this space I’m definitely going to give this a try!

Making the cottage pie

Cottage pie is simple to make if broken down into 3 simple steps.

Cooking the vegetables and minced beef. Making a delicious creamy mashed potato. Finishing with toppings and baking in the oven. It really is that simple. There are a few things you need to make sure to enable the pie to have a tasty, consistent texture.

A few tips:

Chop all of your vegetables finely. Make sure they are same size throughout. This will enable them to cook the same through, but to also create a consistent pie texture.

Drain the minced meat of using more than 10% fat mince. There’s nothing worse than a soggy cottage pie, and the last thing you want is for the mashed potato to sink into the gravy mix.

Homemade Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie Recipe

Traditional homemade cottage pie recipe. This is a beautiful, easy to make recipe that can be made in batches and frozen.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 400g minced beef
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 4 maris piper potatoes (700g ish) peeled and cubed
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Courgette finely chopped
  • 1 Carrot finely chopped
  • 1 Celery stick
  • 1 tsp Marjoram
  • 1 Glass red wine¬†
  • 400ml beef stock
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

For the mash potatoes

  • 150g cheddar cheese
  • Knob of butter
  • 1/2 cup of milk


  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan, and start by browning the minced beef in a pan. When cooked, transfer to a bowl.
  2. In a large saucepan, fill halfway with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Add the potatoes and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the onions, carrots, celery sticks, courgette to the frying pan and cook on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until soft.
  4. Add the tomato puree, flour, and crushed garlic and stir well.
  5. Now add the cooked minced beef to the pan, but keep the bowl to make the stock. (I used a beef stock cube)
  6. Add the glass of wine, and simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the Worcestershire Sauce, and marjoram. Simmer for 30 minutes at least.
  7. Drain the potatoes, and add 1/2 cup of milk and a good knob of butter. Mash well until soft and creamy.
  8. In a small ovenproof dish, layer the minced meat mix on the bottom, followed by two tablespoons of mash (depending on dish size) and flatten with the back of a fork. This enables the mash to crisp up. Finish with a layer of cheese.
  9. These can now be frozen if eating at a later date.
  10. Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the mash is crisp and golden.
  11. Enjoy!


Use the back of a fork to apply the mash to create a crispy finish.

Try using different variations of mash to create your own personal favourite!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 574Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 136mgSodium: 596mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 40g

Calories estimated by nutritionix and not always 100% accurate

Use the back of a fork to apply the mashed potato topping. When fluffed up with a fork, it allows a slightly crispy top that gives a little crunch to the outer mash potato.

Be imaginative. This is a super tasty dish and can be adapted in so many different ways. Try adding chorizo, pork mince, different cheese toppings, and even try sweet potato mash if you prefer. What mash do you prefer? Leave me a comment below if you have a recommendation or a favourite.

Thanks for checking out my Homemade Cottage Pie Recipe. Did you try this recipe? Please leave us a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

Do keep an eye out for the Scottish version I’ll be attempting soon. But in the meantime, check out Tom’s recent Beef & Stilton Pie:

Please do check out some of our other recent posts below:

This week I’ll be reviewing the Meat Smoker that I’ve been using over the past month, bought from Sous Chef.

Thanks for reading.

Ped x

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