cottage pie recipe
Pie Recipe

Classic Cottage Pie Recipe | Homestyle Comfort


Welcome to my authentic cottage pie recipe. If you’re looking for a delicious and hearty dish that brings homestyle comfort to your dinner table, then you’ve come to the right place. This classic cottage pie recipe follows traditional British cuisine, providing a delicious blend of flavors that is sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Whether you’re new to cooking or a seasoned pro, this recipe is easy to follow and will produce a mouthwatering cottage pie that will become a family favorite. So, let’s get started with the ingredients for this recipe.

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Ingredients for Cottage Pie

To make the perfect classic cottage pie, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Ingredients Quantity
Beef mince 500g
Onion 1 large, diced
Carrots 2 medium, peeled and sliced
Celery 2 sticks, sliced
Garlic 2 cloves, minced
Tomato paste 2 tbsp
Beef stock 500ml
Worcestershire sauce 2 tbsp
Thyme 1 tbsp, fresh or dried
Rosemary 1 tbsp, fresh or dried
Butter 50g
Flour 50g
Milk 500ml
Potatoes 1kg, peeled and chopped
Salt To taste
Pepper To taste

This recipe follows the traditional cottage pie method and ingredients, ensuring that your dish will be packed with flavor and a true British classic.

Making the Pie Base

Now that we’ve gathered all the ingredients needed for our delicious cottage pie, it’s time to make the perfect pie base. The base of the cottage pie consists of a rich meat filling that will provide the perfect flavor to the dish. Here’s an easy cottage pie recipe base that will make your dish a success.

First, we need to preheat the oven to 180°C. While the oven preheats, we’ll start by heating a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan. Once hot, add one medium-sized chopped onion and two finely diced carrots, and cook until softened.

Next, add 500g of minced beef to the pan and cook until browned. As the beef browns, season with a pinch of salt, some freshly ground black pepper, and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce for added flavor. Once the beef is browned, add two tablespoons of tomato paste to the pan and mix well.

At this point, you can also add some additional herbs and spices to the mixture, such as thyme, rosemary, or bay leaves. This will give the base of your cottage pie that extra flavor boost that will take it to the next level.

Tip: If you’re looking to make a homemade cottage pie with a healthier twist, you can swap the beef for minced turkey or chicken. This will reduce the calorie count while retaining the delicious flavors of the dish.

Once the meat mixture is ready, it’s time to transfer it to a large baking dish. Smooth out the mixture so that it is evenly distributed throughout the dish.

With the base of the pie ready, it’s time to add the mashed potato topping. We’ll explore the different options for your cottage pie topping in the next section.

Traditional Cottage Pie Filling

The filling is the heart of any classic cottage pie. For a traditional, indulgent filling that is packed with flavors, follow the steps below:


  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 200ml water
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan, fry the onions and garlic until they are soft and translucent. Add in the minced beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and cook it until it browned. Drain the excess fat.

Next, add the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, and dried thyme. Stir well and allow the mixture to cook for a few minutes. Crumble the beef stock cube over the mixed water and stir to dissolve. Pour this mixture into the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper, then stir. Lower the heat, allow the ingredients to simmer for 20-30 minutes until the liquid has reduced.

If you prefer a healthy cottage pie, you can make a few substitutions. Try using lentils or mushrooms instead of meat, or swap beef broth for vegetable broth. Here’s a healthy filling recipe that is sure to impress:

Healthy Cottage Pie Filling

  • 300g brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan, sauté onions and garlic until softened. Add in lentils and vegetables and cook until the vegetables soften. Stir in the tomato puree and cook for one minute. Add in the vegetable stock, bay leaf, and dried oregano. Bring the mixture to boil then let it simmer for 15-20 minutes until the liquids have thickened to form a sauce.

Whether you opt for a traditional or healthy filling, the next step is to assemble your cottage pie. Let’s move to the next section and create a perfect blend of flavors in the homemade pie.

classic cottage pie

Assembling the Cottage Pie

With our filling ready, it’s time to put our cottage pie together. This is where all the individual components come together to form a delicious and comforting dish. Follow the steps below to assemble your very own cottage pie:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
  2. Take an ovenproof dish and spoon in the meat filling, spreading it evenly across the base with the back of a spoon.
  3. Next, add a layer of mashed potatoes on top of the filling. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the mashed potato evenly across the filling, being careful not to mix the filling and the mashed potatoes together.
  4. Sprinkle grated cheese on top of the mashed potatoes. This will add a nice golden and crispy layer on top of the pie.
  5. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is hot and bubbling.
  6. Remove the cottage pie from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. You can also sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley on top for extra flavor and freshness.

Cottage pie is a perfect one-dish meal for those chilly evenings when you want something warm and comforting. Just a spoonful of this delicious cottage pie will instantly transport you to a place of pure comfort and contentment. Enjoy!

delicious cottage pie

Shepherd’s Pie Variation

While cottage pie and shepherd’s pie are often used interchangeably, there is a slight difference between the two. Traditionally, shepherd’s pie is made with lamb mince whereas cottage pie uses beef mince. This offers a unique flavor profile and texture to the dish.

If you’re a fan of lamb, then this shepherd’s pie recipe is sure to impress. It’s a perfect alternative to the classic cottage pie and is a great way to switch things up at dinner time.

Shepherd's Pie Recipe


  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 600g potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 50g butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. In a large frying pan, brown the lamb mince over medium heat. Drain off the excess fat and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, add the onions, garlic, and carrots. Cook until the onions are translucent and the carrots are slightly softened.
  4. Add the peas, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
  5. Add the browned lamb mince back into the pan and stir to combine with the vegetable mixture.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish.
  7. In a separate pot, boil the chopped potatoes until soft. Drain and mash with the milk, butter, salt, and pepper.
  8. Spoon the mashed potatoes over the lamb mixture, spreading it out to completely cover the top.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the potato topping is golden brown.

Enjoy this delicious and hearty shepherd’s pie with your family and friends!

Cooking and Serving

Once your cottage pie is assembled, it’s time to cook it to perfection. Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6 and place the pie in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is piping hot.

Tip: To achieve that perfect golden crust, brush the top of your pie with an egg wash made by whisking one egg with a tablespoon of water.

Once your cottage pie is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to settle and ensures the filling stays in place when you cut into it.

Serving Suggestions

Cottage pie is a versatile dish that pairs well with a variety of sides. Here are some serving suggestions to complement your comfort food recipe:

Side Description
Green Beans Steam or boil fresh green beans until tender and season with salt and pepper.
Peas and Carrots Boil frozen peas and carrots until tender, then drain and season with butter and salt.
Garlic Bread Toast slices of bread, then spread with garlic butter and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese before broiling until golden brown.

comfort food recipe

Vegetarian Cottage Pie Recipe

If you’re looking for a vegetarian twist on the classic dish, this vegetarian cottage pie recipe is sure to satisfy. It’s packed with all the flavors and textures of the traditional recipe, but with a plant-based twist that is perfect for meat-free diets.


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 can of lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 400g sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 400g parsnips, peeled and cubed
  • 50g butter
  • 50ml milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes until the onion is soft.
  3. Add the carrots, celery, and red pepper, and stir well. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften.
  4. Add the thyme, rosemary, and tomato puree, and stir well to combine.
  5. Add the lentils and chopped tomatoes, and stir well to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  6. Meanwhile, boil the sweet potato and parsnips until soft. Mash them with the butter and milk to form a smooth mash.
  7. Transfer the lentil mixture to a large baking dish, and spread the mashed sweet potato and parsnips on top.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and crispy.

“This vegetarian cottage pie recipe is so delicious, even meat-eaters will love it. The lentils and vegetables create a rich and hearty filling, while the sweet potato and parsnip mash makes for the perfect topping.” – Me

Tips and Variations

Looking to put your own spin on the classic cottage pie recipe? Here are some tips and variations you can explore:

Ingredient Substitutions

If you’re looking to add your own touch to this dish, try experimenting with ingredient substitutions. You can opt for lamb instead of beef, add some chopped carrots or mushrooms for extra flavor, or swap out the potatoes for sweet potatoes or cauliflower mash. The possibilities are endless!

Creative Presentation Ideas

Want to impress your dinner guests with a visually stunning cottage pie? Consider trying out one of these creative presentation ideas:

  • Use a shaped cookie cutter to cut the mashed potato topping into fun shapes
  • Try layering the filling and mashed potato topping in individual ramekins for a more upscale look
  • Sprinkle some cheese or breadcrumbs on top of the mashed potato for added texture and flavor

Additional Seasonings and Herbs

While the classic cottage pie recipe is delicious on its own, adding additional seasonings and herbs can take it to the next level. Try adding some thyme or rosemary to the filling for extra depth of flavor, or sprinkle some paprika or chili flakes on top for a bit of spice.

“Cottage pie is a classic dish that can easily be customized to fit your tastes. Whether you’re swapping out ingredients or getting creative with presentation, don’t be afraid to make this recipe your own.”


In conclusion, this classic cottage pie recipe is the ultimate comfort food recipe that is perfect for any occasion. With its hearty filling and delicious crust, this dish is sure to impress your family and friends. Whether you’re an experienced cook or just starting out in the kitchen, this recipe for cottage pie is easy to follow and will result in a homestyle dish that is packed with flavor.

So, next time you’re in the mood for something warm and comforting, give this recipe cottage pie a try. You won’t be disappointed! And if you’re looking to switch things up, try the shepherd’s pie variation or the vegetarian cottage pie recipe for a delicious twist on this classic dish.

Thank you for joining me on this culinary journey. I hope you enjoy making and savoring this classic cottage pie recipe as much as I do!


Can I make cottage pie ahead of time and reheat it?

Yes, cottage pie can be made ahead of time and reheated. Simply store it in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven until heated through.

Can I freeze cottage pie?

Yes, cottage pie is freezer-friendly. To freeze, assemble the pie and cover it tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Label it with the date and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Can I use mashed sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes?

Definitely! Mashed sweet potatoes can be a delicious alternative to regular potatoes in cottage pie. They add a slightly sweeter flavor and a vibrant color to the dish.

Can I use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef?

Yes, you can substitute ground turkey or chicken for the beef in cottage pie. It will result in a lighter and leaner version of the dish.

Can I add vegetables to my cottage pie?

Absolutely! Adding vegetables such as peas, carrots, and corn to your cottage pie can add extra flavor and nutritional value. Simply cook them before adding them to the meat filling.

Can I make a gluten-free cottage pie?

Yes, you can make a gluten-free cottage pie by using gluten-free flour to thicken the meat filling and opting for gluten-free breadcrumbs or crushed gluten-free crackers for the topping.

How can I make my cottage pie crispy on top?

To achieve a crispy topping on your cottage pie, brush the mashed potatoes with melted butter before baking. This will help create a golden and crispy crust.

Can I use instant mashed potatoes?

While homemade mashed potatoes are ideal for cottage pie, you can use instant mashed potatoes in a pinch. Just make sure to follow the instructions on the package for the proper consistency.

Can I use a different type of cheese for the topping?

Yes, you can use your favorite type of cheese for the topping of your cottage pie. Cheddar, mozzarella, and Parmesan are popular choices, but feel free to get creative with other cheeses.

Can I make mini individual cottage pies instead of one large pie?

Absolutely! Making mini individual cottage pies is a great idea for portion control and serving convenience. Simply divide the filling and mashed potatoes among individual ramekins before baking.

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