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Best Cottage Pie Recipe

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 543kcal
The Best Cottage Pie recipe is here! This is the original comfort food! A tasty ground beef gravy filling is topped with  crispy, creamy mashed potato and baked until golden perfection. Swap the beef for lamb, and you’ll turn this into a Shepherd’s Pie!

Print Recipe


For the Mashed Potatoes:

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold or yellow potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup cream half ‘n half or whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Beef Filling:

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef/sirloin – at least 93% lean
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ large onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Madeira or Dry Sherry or Ruby Port optional
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley optional for garnish


For the Mashed Potatoes:

  • Place potatoes in a steamer basket, and steam until fork-tender, about 15 minutes.
  • When potatoes are tender, transfer them to large saucepan set over medium-low heat. Shake the pan until excess moisture in the potatoes has evaporated.
  • Remove from the heat and add butter, cream, salt & pepper. Mash together until butter has melted and potatoes are smooth. (Don’t over-mix or the potatoes can become gummy.) Cover with a paper towel and then with foil and set aside (the paper towel with absorb any steam).

For the Beef Mixture:

  • Add beef to a 10-inch cast iron skillet set over medium heat. Cook beef, stirring often, until it is no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer beef to a paper towel-lined plate and wipe the skillet dry with a paper towel.
  • Add oil, butter and carrots to the skillet, still set over medium heat. Cook carrots 3 minutes, occasionally stirring. Add onions and cook until onions are translucent and carrots and onions have softened, about 5-6 minutes.
  • Add garlic, tomato paste, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Stir and cook an additional 1-minute.
  • Add the cooked beef and stir.
  • Stir in flour and cook 1-minute.
  • While stirring and scraping up any browned bits, add the broth, Worcestershire Sauce and Madeira. Continue stirring until no lumps remain.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until mixture has slightly thickened.
  • Remove from heat and add peas. Season to taste with additional salt & pepper, if needed.
  • Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and set oven to broil.
  • Spoon the mashed potatoes, in an even layer, over the beef mixture and smooth with the back of a spoon. Use the tines of a fork to make ridges on the surface of the potatoes.
  • Sprinkle the potatoes with grated Parmesan and set the skillet in the oven.
  • Broil 5-10 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown and crusty in spots.
  • Transfer skillet to a cooling rack and cool about 5-10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
  • Enjoy!


Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
Use ground beef that is at least 93% lean or the dish will be greasy.


Calories: 543kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 146mg | Sodium: 1713mg | Potassium: 1433mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 4409IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 10mg