For a tasty family feed, try our easiest-ever cottage pie. Hearty and flavoursome, it's guaranteed to be your new go-to.
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Meals made with mince are always easy and if you’re looking for a comforting dinner to cook with beef mince, cottage pie is a great choice. Unlike pies topped with pastry, cottage pie is made with a savoury mince filling and a mashed potato topping. A traditional way of using up leftovers, cottage pie can be made with leftover roast meat and mashed potatoes or whipped up from scratch using basic ingredients. You can add different vegetables to the mince mixture and sprinkle grated cheese over the mash for a golden crust.
The terms cottage pie and shepherd’s pie are often used interchangeably to describe the same dish. A cottage pie filling is usually made with beef mince, while shepherd’s pie uses lamb mince. You’ll also find meat-free variations or recipes using other meats, but for us the classic cottage pie is the version made with beef mince.
Feel free to make this recipe with lamb mince following the same directions. It’s also a great way to use up leftover lamb from your Sunday roast. And, feel free to call it whatever you like - shepherd’s pie or cottage pie, either way it’s a delicious dinner.
It takes time to make a traditional cottage pie from scratch using whole vegetables, so we’ve taken a few shortcuts in this recipe to make it the best cottage pie for busy weeknights. To easily add veggies to the cottage pie filling, keep frozen mixed vegetables in your freezer so you don’t need to do any peeling and chopping - just add them straight to the pan when you make the savoury mince. Using gravy powder and liquid beef stock also means you don’t need a long cooking time to create a rich-tasting savoury mince.
A quick trick for the cottage pie crust is to use bought mashed potatoes instead of making your own. No need to heat it first - just pop it in a bowl and break it up with a fork so it’s easy to spoon over the cottage pie filling and spread out to cover any gaps. If you’re lucky enough to have leftover mash in your fridge, go ahead and use that instead. After that, it’s ready to bake until the top is golden – this should only take 15 minutes or so at 200°C. Or to save even more time, pop it under a hot grill for 4-5 mins or until the top is golden brown.
With this easy cottage pie recipe and top tips, you can whip up a basic cottage pie any time you like – it’s one of our all-time favourite meals to make with mince. For a change from the basic recipe, try experimenting with different ways to twist the filling and the topping. If you love curried mince, try our beef korma cottage pie – it’s topped with mashed sweet potato instead of the traditional potato mash. Looking for an easy shepherd's pie recipe? Give our quick shepherd’s pie a go. Want more dinner inspiration? Browse our beef recipes and check out all the easy dinner recipes in our What’s for dinner collection.
Energy: 1927kJ/461 Cals (22%)
Protein: 34g (68%)
Fat: 22g (31%)
Sat fat: 12g (50%)
Carb: 30g (10%)
Sugar: 3g (3%)
Fibre: 2g (7%)
Sodium: 1258mg (63%)