Cottage Pie

My delicious cottage pie recipe – Beef and root vegetables in a rich gravy, topped with mashed potatoes and melted cheese.

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Cottage pie recipeThe great thing about this cottage pie recipe is that it’s so flexible. This is my favourite way to make it, but if I’ve got different vegetables to use up in the fridge then I’ll happily chuck those in instead.

The other great thing is that it’s packed full of healthy vegetables, so gives you two of your five-a-day. Serve it with lots of peas (as I like to do) then you’re up to three.

Cottage pie recipe

This cottage pie recipe can easily be multiplied to serve more people or to make extra to chill or freeze to save for later. The only ingredient that you shouldn’t simply multiply is the stock, you should keep the amount of stock about the same as it is here (if you multiply it up it won’t reduce down and your pie filling will be very wet).

If you want to freeze the pie to save for later, freeze it before baking. I tend to freeze the potato and filling separately and then defrost them and assemble. I prefer to do it this way as it means I don’t lose one of my baking trays into the freezer until I’m ready to eat the pie. However, you can freeze it assembled if you prefer. Just make sure you defrost it fully in the fridge before cooking.

Cottage pie recipe

One of the rules I set myself when I started Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen was that I would be as exact as possible with the weights and measures for my ingredients. I get quite frustrated when I’m cooking something new and I’m asked to add a knob of butter or a pinch of salt, I like things to be exact. I’d rather include more information than people need, so that a complete beginner can follow one of my recipes, then if someone more experienced comes along they can ignore the detail if they want. However, I’ve found it a real challenge to stick to this rule when writing this recipe. When I make cottage pie at home I tend to just put in what feels about right. I’ve had to make myself weigh everything this week just to be able to add them here.

Cottage pie recipe

Cottage pie recipe
5 from 1 vote

Cottage Pie

My delicious cottage pie recipe – Beef and root vegetables in a rich gravy, topped with mashed potatoes and melted cheese.
Active Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 4 servings


For the beef and root vegetable filling

    • 500 g extra lean steak mince
    • 1 onion
    • 500 g root vegetables - My favourites to use are two large carrots and half a small swede but you can mix and match your favourites
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • 1 tbsp tomato purée
    • 1 tbsp plain flour
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp ruby port
    • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
    • 800 ml beef stock - or 2 beef stock cubes and 800ml water
    • 2 bay leaves
    • a few sprigs of thyme
    • salt and pepper

    For the mash

      • 500 g potatoes
      • 75 ml milk
      • 30 g butter
      • 40 g cheddar cheese
      • salt


      To avoid the instructions getting too confusing I have separated making the beef filling and the mashed potatoes into different sections. However, these two sections should be completed simultaneously.

        Start by chopping the vegetables for the filling and then fit in chopping and cooking the potatoes while the filling is cooking.

          Also, remember to pre-heat the oven while the filling is cooking on the hob.

            Make the beef filling

              • Chop the vegetables - Peel the root vegetables (500g) and chop into small chunks. Finely chop the onion (1 onion) and garlic (2 cloves).
              • Heat half the olive oil (½ tbsp) in a large pan. Fry the mince (500g) until it browns. Remove from the pan and set aside.
              • Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan (½ tbsp). Add the chopped root vegetables and onion (not the garlic) and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that they don't burn.
              • Add the garlic, flour (1 tbsp) and tomato purée (1 tbsp) and cook for a couple of minutes.
              • Return the beef to the pan and add the port (2 tbsp), worcestershire sauce (1 tbsp), beef stock (800ml), bay leaves (2 leaves) and thyme (a few sprigs). Bring to the boil and cook uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally - You want the gravy to be quite thick, if there's a lot of liquid in the pan towards the end of the cooking time then turn up the heat a little. Similarly, if it's becoming too thick, then add a little more water to ensure it doesn't burn
              • Season with salt and pepper - I prefer to season towards the end of the cooking time once the sauce has reduced
              • Once cooked, remove the bay leaves and thyme stalks

              Make the mashed potato

              • Peel and chop the potatoes
              • Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the potatoes for about 20 minutes, until soft
              • Drain the potatoes and return to the pan
              • Add the milk (75ml) and butter (30g) and mash until smooth
              • Season with salt

              Make the pie

              • Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC/200ºC fan
              • Grate the cheese (40g)
              • Fill the base of an oven-proof dish with the beef filling and spread evenly
              • Evenly spread the mashed potato onto of the beef filling
              • Sprinkle over the grated cheese
              • Cook for 25 minutes, then serve


              Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a comment and rating at the bottom of the page to let others know what you thought.
              Recipe Type: Main Course
              Cuisine: British

              Nutritional Information

              Calories: 492kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 775mg | Potassium: 1853mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 425.2% | Vitamin C: 30.1% | Calcium: 21.1% | Iron: 46.9%
              Any nutritional information shown is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you want to learn more about how this is calculated.

              Free From/Suitable For…

              The ingredients I used to make this recipe are all free from the following allergens. However, please check any labels carefully for allergens you need to avoid as brands can vary and product recipes can change over time.

              • Egg-Free
              • Tree Nut-Free
              • Peanut-Free
              • Sesame-Free
              • Soya-Free
              • Crustacean-Free
              • Mollusc-Free
              • Celery-Free
              • Mustard-Free
              • Lupin-Free

              My delicious cottage pie recipe – Beef and root vegetables in a rich gravy, topped with mashed potatoes and melted cheese.

              I’m sharing this recipe with #RecipeOfTheWeek with A Mummy Too and #TastyTuesdays with Honest Mum.



              1. A really yummy recipe. I had four clean plates which rarely happens in my house. The cheese on top of the mash gives it a really great flavour. Loved it.

              2. This sounds so good. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Can’t wait to give this a go.


              3. Mmm, perfect dish for this cold weather! Thank you for sharing

              4. Cottage pie always brings back such lovely memories and this take on it looks great. I know what you mean about inaccurate recipes. I hate it when they just say a can and I am left wondering where they live and if their cans are the same size as here in Australia. I am sure fabulous cooks can interpret but I am not that skilled! So thank you for taking the time to be precise 🙂

                • There’s nothing more frustrating than a great recipe that turns out badly because the instructions aren’t quite clear enough. Fingers crossed people don’t have that problem with any of mine and I hope that if they ever do they let me know so I can try and make it clearer.

              5. Love cottage pie! I am making it tomorrow and I have Port at home. Will try adding some.

                • Me too, it’s proper comfort food.

                  I’ve tried this recipe with and without the port and I really think it adds to the flavour. I hope you enjoy it.

              6. Love this and takes me back to my childhood! Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays x

              7. Ooh I love cottage pie and this recipe looks great, and perfect for the cold Autumn weather 🙂 #TastyTuesdays

              8. You can’t beat a cottage pie and the way the weather’s going I think we’ll be eating a lot of this over the next few months….

              9. The perfect dish for today, it is such a wet and miserable day this would warm me up

              10. Oooo definitly a heart warming dish. This is one of my Dads favourites, who happens to be coming to stay soon, so I may have to try out your recipe on him 🙂 It looks delicious #recipeoftheweek

                • Thanks Hayley.

                  I could do with some now, the weather’s suddenly turned chilly and it’s pouring with rain.

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