Kitchen

Cottage Pie – Spend With Pennies

This hearty casserole is the ultimate comfort food all baked until browned and bubbly.

Ground beef and veggies are cooked in a rich brown gravy and then baked under a topping of cheesy mashed potatoes.

It’s a classic cozy favorite that’s so simple to make, it’ll be on constant rotation year-round!

close up of Cottage Pie with a spoon full

What is Cottage Pie?

  • Cottage pie is a meat and vegetable-filled pie topped with mashed potatoes and baked.
  • Prep a day in advance, cover, and refrigerate. Set it out 30 minutes before baking. Or, once assembled, let cottage pie cool. Wrap and freeze for up to 4 weeks. Let the pie thaw overnight and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Quick and easy, homemade cottage pie is a perfectly portable dish! Serve with a slice of fresh Irish soda bread for sopping up the savory sauce.

Cottage Pie vs Shepherd’s Pie

What’s the difference between cottage pie vs. shepherd’s pie? It’s the meat! While many of us make this dish with ground beef and call it Shepherd’s pie, a true Shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb while a cottage pie is made with ground beef or another type of ground meat.

ingredients to make Cottage Pie with labels

Ingredients for Cottage Pie

MEAT Ground beef is affordable and readily available (and it makes this hearty dish so delish)! If using ground turkey or chicken, we like to add extra seasonings or even beef bouillion for flavor.

VEGETABLES Savory veggies like onions, carrots, celery, and frozen peas are just the basics! Feel free to add any other veggies or save time and use a bag of mixed vegetables.

POTATOES Cheesy mashed potatoes are the perfect topper. This cottage pie recipe is a great way to enjoy leftover mashed potatoes, packaged scalloped potatoes, or even instant mash.

Cheddar cheese has a bold flavor that complements the other ingredients but leave it out if you’d prefer!

SAUCE Cottage pie is famous for its rich savory sauce! Beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and a handful of seasonings are all it takes to make a savory sauce. However, a package of gravy mix or a can of tomato soup (we do this in our shortcut shepherd’s pie) will also make a great hearty sauce.

process of adding ingredients together to make Cottage Pie

How to Make Cottage Pie

This comforting casserole is a delicious meal with just a few simple and cheap ingredients.

  1. Prepare mashed potatoes.
  2. While potatoes cook, brown ground beef & onion per the recipe below.
  3. Add veggies and sauce ingredients. Simmer until thickened.
  4. Stir in peas and top with mashed potatoes.
  5. Bake until golden and bubbly.

Quicker Clean Up

Brown the ground beef in an oven-proof 10-inch skillet. Top it with the potatoes and bake it right in the skillet for fewer dishes to wash. No oven-proof skillet, no problem! Use a 2 to 2 1/2 qt baking dish or casserole dish.

process of adding mashed potatoes to ingredients to make Cottage Pie

Tips for a Great Cottage Pie

    • If time allows, chill the meat layer for at least 20 minutes before adding the potatoes, this will keep the layers separated.
    • Use thawed frozen veggies in place of fresh, no need to chop or cook them.
    • For a quick version, use a packet of gravy mix and simmer until thickened or replace the sauce with a can of condensed tomato soup (no water needed).
    • If you’d like it extra saucy, you can increase the flour and sauce ingredients.
    • Bake cottage pie on a parchment-covered rimmed baking sheet in case it spills over.
    • Keep leftover cottage pie covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze portions in covered containers, thaw overnight, and reheat as desired.

plated Cottage Pie

Got Ground Beef?

Did your family love this Cottage Pie? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

Cottage Pie

Everyone’s favorite comfort foods are cooked into this hearty cottage pie!


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  • Preheat oven to 400°F.

  • Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large pot of cold salted water.

  • Bring the potatoes to a gentle boil and cook 13-16 minutes or until fork tender.

  • While potatoes are cooking, combine ground beef and onion in a large skillet, brown until no pink remains.

  • Add carrots, celery, and garlic to the ground beef mixture. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until slightly tender.

  • Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf.

  • Simmer for 20 minutes or until the gravy has thickened. Remove bay leaf, add peas, and season with salt and pepper.

  • Drain the potatoes well and mash until smooth. Stir in the butter. Add warmed milk a little bit at a time until the potatoes are smooth and fluffy, you may not need all of the milk. Stir the cheese into the potatoes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

  • Top the meat mixture with the potatoes and place in the oven. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden.

  • If time allows, chill the meat layer for at least 20 minutes before adding the potatoes, this will keep the layers separated.
  • Use thawed frozen veggies in place of fresh, no need to chop or cook them.
  • For a quick version, use a packet of gravy mix and simmer until thickened or replace the sauce with a can of condensed tomato soup (no water needed).
  • If you’d like it extra saucy, you can increase the flour and sauce ingredients.
  • Bake cottage pie on a parchment-covered rimmed baking sheet in case it spills over.
  • Keep leftover cottage pie covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze portions in covered containers, thaw overnight, and reheat as desired.

Calories: 409, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 83mg, Sodium: 443mg, Potassium: 1296mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 4018IU, Vitamin C: 20mg, Calcium: 209mg, Iron: 4mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Course Dinner, Entree, Main Course

Cuisine American, Irish

Cottage Pie on a plate with a title
plated Cottage Pie with a title
spoon full of Cottage Pie with full dish in the back and writing

 

Cottage Pie cooked in the pan and plated with writing

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