This is the best homemade cottage pie recipe and is my all-time favourite! It’s a perfect recipe for cold, gloomy days when you need something warm, comforting and delicious. You can prep this dish in advance or even freeze it for later!
WHAT IS COTTAGE PIE
Cottage pie is the ultimate British comfort dish that layers seasoned ground beef and vegetables beneath a creamy blanket of mashed potatoes. Baked until bubbling, golden and crispy on the edges.
The name “cottage pie” dates back to the 18th century in England. Traditionally, cottage pie was made with leftover roasted meat, minced and combined with vegetables to create a flavourful filling. Over time, ground beef became the primary meat used in this dish, leading to the cottage pie we know today.
BEST INGREDIENTS FOR COTTAGE PIE
- Beef mince: Choose 15-20% fat beef mince to ensure a juicy and flavorful filling.
- Aromatics: Garlic and onions add depth and aroma to the dish.
- Vegetables: Carrots and celery provide a delicious crunch and natural sweetness.
- Flavor boosters: Ingredients like tomato puree, English mustard, and Worcestershire sauce elevate the taste profile.
- Thyme: Fresh thyme or dried thyme brings a hint of earthiness and warmth.
- Red wine: For those seeking an extra layer of complexity, red wine enhances the depth of flavor.
- Potatoes: Choose starchy potatoes like Maris Piper or King Edward for creamy mashed potatoes.
- Dairy: Whole milk, unsalted butter, and grated mild cheddar cheese create delicious mashed potatoes.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST HOMEMADE COTTAGE PIE
Please note: This is just an overview – the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Prepare the filling.
- Heat olive oil and sauté garlic and onions until soft.
- Add carrots and celery, followed by beef mince. Cook until browned.
- Stir in tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt, and pepper.
- Deglaze with red wine, if using. Add flour and beef broth. Simmer until thickened.
- Transfer to a baking dish and let it cool.
Step 2: Make the mashed potatoes.
- Boil potatoes until tender. Drain and mash with milk and butter until smooth.
- Add grated cheddar, salt, and pepper. Mix until creamy.
Step 3: Assemble and bake.
- Preheat the oven and spoon mashed potatoes on top of the beef filling, creating a decorative pattern.
- Bake until golden brown and bubbling. Let cool slightly before serving.
STORING AND FREEZING TIPS
Leftover cottage pie can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. You can also make cottage pie ahead and refrigerate (unbaked) for up to 2 days. Alternatively, you can freeze it for up to 3 months. When reheating, cover with foil to prevent drying out and bake until heated through.
- Perfect mashed potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are essential. Use starchy potatoes and mash them with milk and butter until silky smooth.
- Let it simmer: Let the filling simmer, allowing the flavors to meld. Don’t rush this step; patience is the secret ingredient.
- Cheese lover’s twist: The addition of cheddar cheese to the mashed potatoes adds a rich flavor and helps the potato layer crisp up in the oven. Don’t skimp on the cheese!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH COTTAGE PIE
This best homemade cottage pie pairs wonderfully with simple sides like steamed vegetables, buttered peas, or a crisp green salad. For a complete British experience, serve with a dollop of tangy brown sauce or a splash of gravy.
You may also enjoy…
What’s the difference between Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie?
Cottage pie traditionally features minced beef as its main ingredient, whereas Shepherd’s pie is made with minced lamb. Despite this distinction, both pies share the same comforting concept of a meat filling topped with creamy mashed potatoes.
Can I make this recipe vegetarian?
Certainly! Substitute the beef mince with plant-based alternatives like lentils, mushrooms, or textured vegetable protein for a satisfying vegetarian version.
Can I make cottage pie in advance?
Absolutely! Cottage pie can be assembled and refrigerated or frozen before baking. Just adjust the baking time accordingly when reheating.
Did you make it?
I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below!
Your feedback is valuable and helps me to continue creating delicious recipes that you will love.
So, don’t be shy, leave a comment and let me know how it turned out for you!
Don’t forget to mention @goodfooddiscoveries or tag #goodfooddiscoveries on social media.
I’d love to see your remakes!