How to Make Cottage Pie

Homemade cottage pie, a staple in England and Ireland, is a simple dish consisting of a minced meat filling covered with a mashed potato crust. Great as a warm comforting meal on cold winter nights. This recipe should serve four people.


  • 900g potatoes
  • 500g beef mince
    • Other types of minced meat may be used if you wish.
  • 2 or 3 carrots
    • You can add other vegetables if you wish, for example, diced celery, minced garlic cloves, frozen mixed vegetable or canned corn.
  • Large onion, chopped
  • 500ml beef stock or gravy
  • Tablespoon of tomato puree (optional)
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • Seasonings of your choice; salt, pepper, thyme or rosemary, parsley...
  • Cooking oil
  • Butter
  • Milk


  1. Image titled Make Cottage Pie Step 1
    Peel the potatoes and then cut into even chunks. Place in a large pan of salted water and bring to the boil. Boil for about 20 minutes (or until the potatoes are tender when poked with a fork).
  2. Image titled Make Cottage Pie Step 2
    Meanwhile, heat a splash of oil in a large pan and throw in the chopped onion and carrots. Once the vegetables are softened, add the meat to the pan. Once the meat starts to brown add the tomato puree and fry with the meat. Add any other vegetables of your choice when the meat is almost browned. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked and the vegetables are tender.
  3. Image titled Make Cottage Pie Step 3
    Drain any excess fats/oils out of the pan. Pour in the beef stock or gravy, add the Worcestershire sauce (optional) and any other seasoning you want. Once the stock/gravy is boiling, cover the pan and leave to simmer for 10-20 minutes if using gravy, or 20-30 minutes if using stock. Stir occasionally. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't become too thick or dry.
  4. Image titled Make Cottage Pie Step 4
    Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 while you wait. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain out the water and mash with half a cup of milk and a big spoonful of butter, (it helps if you microwave the butter for a few seconds to soften it up first), although it depends on your preference.
  5. Image titled Make Cottage Pie Step 5
    Once the mince is done simmering, add it evenly into a deep baking dish. Then, spread the mashed potato evenly over the top of the meat filling. It's easiest to add the potato bit by bit rather than trying to add it all in one go and then try to spread it out. Use a fork to run lines across the potato, this will go crispy once it's been baked.
  6. Image titled Make Cottage Pie Step 6
    Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake the cottage pie for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the mashed potatoes are slightly golden brown. Remove the baking dish from the oven, leave for a few minutes before serving (it will be very hot) and then enjoy!


  • Try adding grated cheddar cheese to the top of the mash to make it extra yummy.
  • As a twist to the meal, try adding crumbled crisps/chips on top of the mash. They'll turn nice and crispy, and kids will love it!

Things You'll Need

  • 2x large pans
  • Deep baking dish
  • Potato masher
  • Potato peeler
  • Wooden spoon

Article Info

Categories: Meat