Renae Diggles

March 9, 2021

Simple Cottage Pie / Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Renae Diggles

March 9, 2021

Cottage pie is the ultimate, hearty comfort meal. It’s a classic English dish with a savoury mince in a gravy sauce, doused in creamy potatoes and tasty cheese.

So, while I refer to the dish as a cottage pie, I always call it Shepherd’s pie. It’s the same dish that my mum cooked when I was a child, but she used lamb instead of beef mince. Therefore, it’s essentially the same dish but the cottage pie has beef mince and the shepherd’s pie has lamb mince. There you have it.

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While cottage pie originates from England, it’s definitely become an international favourite all-year-round. Why? Well, it’s easy to make, very affordable, and includes everyday ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboard and fridge.

Furthermore, Cottage Pie is so easy to freeze. You can always double the mixture and cook two. One for tonight and another to freeze for later. We often cook 2 and keep slices in the freezer to take to work for lunch.

What’s in The Cottage Pie?

Cottage Pie is really easy to make once you know how to. While you may get frightened by all of the instructions, they’re essentially simple to follow. Basically, the cottage pie is made up of a savoury and saucy beef filling and a thick, creamy layer of mash topped with cheese.

You’ll get your dairy, protein and 3 vegetables all in one meal. and it’s good for you if you go easy on the fat content.

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie / Shepherd's Pie Recipe

This super easy cottage pie recipe is sure to please. It's loaded with vegetables, drowned in a gravy, and covered in tasty cheese. It's the perfect hearty meal all year round.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4 people
Calories 493 kcal


  • Large Frying Pan
  • Large Pot
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Potato Masher
  • Vegetable Grater
  • Potato Peeler
  • Fork
  • Measuring spoons
  • Oven
  • Casserole Dish


  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Carrot peeled and grated
  • ½ cup Frozen green peas
  • 500 grams Beef or lamb mince
  • 4 Potatoes peeled and diced
  • ¾ cup Tasty cheese grated
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Chicken stock powder
  • tbsp Corn flour
  • ½ cup Cold water


  • Preheat oven to 180°c (fan-forced).
  • Dice one large onion finely. Peel and grate a carrot, and crush 2 cloves of garlic.
  • Peel and dice potatoes. Add to a large pot of boiling water and cook until softened while you're preparing the gravy mince.
  • Add olive oil and diced onion to a large frying pan and cook until the onion is translucent. Next add the crushed garlic and grated carrot to the pan.
  • Once the carrot begins to soften, add the mince and stir. Add chicken stock powder, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste to the pan and stir until the mince is lightly browned.
  • You'll then add the frozen peas and stir through the mince.
  • Next, it's time to make the corn-flour mixture. To make the cornflour mixture, mix the cornflour with the cold water until there are no lumps. Add to the mince and stir it in.
  • Once the mince appears to lightly thicken, remove it from the stove, and add it to a casserole dish. Squish it down with a wooden spoon and smooth it on top.
    savoury mince
  • Next, mash the potatoes with butter, salt, and full cream milk until it forms a smooth and creamy texture. Then add the potatoes to the casserole dish and spread across the top of the mince. We use a fork to make a crisscross pattern on top of the potatoes.
    potato and mince
  • Place the casserole dish into the preheated oven uncovered. Cook for approximately 15 minutes until the top of the potatoes looks crusted
  • Finally, smother the top of the potatoes with tasty cheese and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden.
    cottage pie


Calories: 493kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 38gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 780mgPotassium: 1667mgFiber: 7gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 3436IUVitamin C: 52mgCalcium: 224mgIron: 6mg
Keyword cottage pie, cottage pie recipe, healthy recipes, hearty meals, recipes, shepherd's pie, shepherd's pie recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Notes & Swaps

If you’d prefer a Shepherd’s Pie over a cottage pie, simply replace the beef mince with lamb mince. That’s basically the only difference.

While I like to keep my dish simple and light, others like to add a splash of red wine for a punchier flavour. And others like to add beef stock powder instead of chicken stock. It’s really up to personal taste.

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Make it Healthy

Finally, if you are wanting to make a healthier cottage pie, here are a few tips:

Firstly, go easy on the salt. You don’t really need to add salt to add flavour. Especially when you can add some fresh herbs into the potato filling instead. You can also choose a low salt stock option and a low salt tomato paste option too.

Next, you can opt for a leaner mince to keep the fat content down. You can also choose a lower-fat cheese or use less cheese. And last but not least, you can use olive oil spray in a non-stick pan instead of a tablespoon of oil.

At the end of the day, you can swap anything that you want to in this simple dish. We often substitute frozen peas for fresh green beans for a healthier option or add some extra vegetables such as celery.

What goes with Cottage Pie

Many people choose to eat cottage pie on its own as a meal as it is packed with goodness on its own.  But it is high in carbohydrates and has a large meat content, so you might want to balance it more.

A side option of mixed greens is enjoyable. You could also opt for some roasted honey carrots and asparagus.

Enjoy this beautiful, simple cottage pie on a cold winter’s night with a glass of red wine or on a hot summer night with a glass of white and a side of salad. Enjoy!! If you’d like to look at some other main meal recipes, click here.

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