Cheesy Cottage Pie

$6.59 recipe / $1.10 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.93 from 27 votes
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Okay, I’m going to squeeze in one more wintry comfort food dish before the weather really starts warming up! This Cheesy Cottage Pie is chock-full of vegetables in a rich beef gravy, and topped with a layer of super smooth and creamy cheddar mashed potatoes. It’s kind of a labor of love, but you won’t regret one minute of it—promise! This Cheesy Cottage Pie tastes even better as leftovers, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I ate it for lunch, then dinner, and then breakfast the next day. Yup, it’s that good.

A casserole dish full of Cheesy Cottage Pie with a portion scooped out into a bowl on the side

Can I Make This Cottage Pie Vegetarian?

If you’re interested in making a vegetarian cottage/shepherd’s pie, check out my Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie, or replace the ground beef in this recipe with about 1.5 cups cooked lentils, and replace the beef broth with vegetable broth.

Fresh or Frozen Vegetables?

I’m all about using frozen vegetables for this recipe because they’re fast, easy, and you can keep them on hand in your freezer without them going bad. My grocery store didn’t have the frozen pea and carrot mix this particular day, so I chopped up one large fresh carrot (about 1 cup chopped) to use in place of the frozen. Whether you use fresh, frozen, or a mix of both, just make sure you have about 3 cups of vegetables total.

The Mashed Potato Short Cut

If you’re in a hurry and looking to make this recipe a lot faster and easier, you can use store bought mashed potatoes, but keep in mind that it will increase the recipe cost quite a bit. You’ll need about 6 cups of prepared mashed potatoes.

Front View of Cheesy Cottage Pie being scooped out of the glass casserole dish with a large wooden spoon

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Cheesy Cottage Pie

4.93 from 27 votes
This Cheesy Cottage Pie is chock-full of vegetables in a rich beef gravy, and topped with a layer of super smooth and creamy cheddar mashed potatoes. 
Overhead view of a wooden spoon scooping out a portion of Cheesy Cottage Pie from the casserole dish
Servings 6
Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr
Total 1 hr 20 mins

Ingredients

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

  • 2.5 lbs. russet potatoes ($0.87)
  • 1 tsp salt, divided ($0.05)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.36)
  • 1/2 cup milk ($0.16)
  • 4 oz. shredded cheddar ($0.85)

Cottage Pie Filling

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.23)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.21)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef ($2.65)
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour ($0.01)
  • 1 cup beef broth ($0.13)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce ($0.03)
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
  • 2 cups frozen peas and carrots ($0.26)
  • 1 cup frozen corn ($0.30)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)

Instructions 

  • Peel and chop the potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Rinse them in a colander with cool water, then place them in a pot and add enough fresh water to cover them completely. Add 1/2 tsp salt, place a lid on the pot, and bring it up to a boil over high heat. Boil the potatoes until very tender, about 7-10 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes in a colander and rinse them again briefly with hot water. This removes excess starch and helps give the mashed potatoes a light and fluffy texture.
  • While the potatoes are draining, add the butter and milk to the pot used to boil the potatoes. Heat the butter and milk over low until the butter is melted and the milk is hot. Add the drained potatoes back to the pot, then mash until smooth. Taste and add salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp). Stir in the shredded cheddar. Set the potatoes aside until you're ready to assemble the casserole.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, begin to preheat the oven to 350ºF and begin the filling for the cottage pie. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion and garlic to a large skillet along with the olive oil and sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the beef to the skillet and continue to sauté until the beef is fully cooked. Add the all-purpose flour and continue to stir and cook for about 2 minutes more, or until the flour coats the bottom of the skillet. 
  • Add the beef broth and stir to dissolve the flour from the bottom of the skillet. The broth will come up to a simmer fairly quickly, at which point it will thicken into a gravy.
  • Add the Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, frozen peas and carrots, and frozen corn to the skillet. Heat through, then taste and add salt if needed (I added 1/2 tsp).
  • Finally, assemble the cottage pie by transferring the beef and vegetable mixture to the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish (mine was 9"x11"). Top with dollops of the warm cheesy mashed potatoes, spreading it out smooth to cover the surface.
  • Bake the Cheesy Cottage Pie for 30 minutes in the preheated 350ºF oven. If you want extra browning on top, switch the oven to broil after baking and allow it to broil for a few minutes or until the desired browning has been achieved. Let the casserole rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 461.77kcalCarbohydrates: 50.82gProtein: 19.22gFat: 21.38gSodium: 1036.88mgFiber: 5.27g
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PURE COMFORT.

Overhead view of a wooden spoon scooping out a portion of Cheesy Cottage Pie from the casserole dish

How to Make Cottage Pie – Step by Step Photos

Cubed Potatoes in a stock pot

Peel and cube about 2.5 lbs. russet potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Rinse them briefly with cool water in a colander, then add them to a large pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes. Add 1/2 tsp salt, place a lid on the pot, and bring it up to a boil over high heat. Boil the potatoes until they are very tender, about 7-10 minutes.

Finished Fluffy Mashed Potatoes in the pot

Once the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander and rinse them briefly a second time with hot water. Let them drain in the colander. While the potatoes are draining, add 2 Tbsp butter and 1/2 cup milk to the pot you just used. Heat them over low until the butter is melted and the milk is hot. Add the drained potatoes back to the pot and mash until smooth (I also whipped mine with a hand mixer). Taste and add more salt if needed. I added 1/2 tsp salt.

Cheddar Mashed Potatoes finished and in the pot

Finally, stir in 4 oz. shredded cheddar. It’s okay if the cheddar doesn’t fully melt. Set the mashed potatoes aside until you’re ready to assemble the cottage pie. Placing the lid back on top will help them keep warm.

Browned Beef with Onions and Garlic in the Skillet

While the potatoes are cooking you can begin the filling. Also begin to preheat the oven to 350ºF. Dice a yellow onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Add both to a large skillet along with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the ground beef and continue to sauté until the beef is cooked through.

Browned Beef with Flour in the skillet, pouring beef broth into skillet

Add 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour to the skillet with the beef and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes more, or until the flour coats the bottom of the skillet. Add 1 cup beef broth (I use Better Than Bouillon) and stir to dissolve the flour from the skillet. The broth will quickly come up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken into a gravy.

Add Vegetables Herbs and Spices to Beef and Gravy in the skillet

Once the gravy has thickened, add 2 cups frozen peas and carrots (or in my case, 1 cup frozen peas plus 1 cup fresh chopped carrot), 1 cup frozen corn, 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp dried rosemary, and 1/2 tsp dried thyme. 

Finished Cottage Pie Filling in the Skillet

Stir everything to combine and heat through. Give the beef and vegetable mixture a taste and add salt if needed (I added 1/2 tsp salt).

Assemble Cheesy Cottage Pie in a 2 quart casserole dish

Finally, assemble the Cheesy Cottage Pie. Pour the beef and vegetable mixture into the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish (mine was 9″x11″). Add the cheesy mashed potatoes on top in dollops and spread it smooth to cover.

Baked Cheesy Cottage Pie in the casserole dish

Bake the Cheesy Cottage Pie in the preheated 350ºF oven for 30 minutes. It should be bubbling up all around the edges. If you want extra browning on top, like I have in my photos, switch your oven to broil and broil for a few minutes more, or until you get the desired amount of browning.

Cheesy Cottage Pie being scooped out of a glass casserole dish with a big wooden spoon.

Let the casserole rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. This will allow the gravy time to cool just enough to thicken up a bit and make serving a little easier.

Close up overhead view of Cheesy Cottage Pie being scooped out of the glass casserole dish with a large wooden spoon.

 

TRY THESE OTHER SAVORY PIE RECIPES:

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  1. I made this exactly as instructed Beth and we all loved it! But I’m serving it as a main dish, what sides would you serve it with? I added a salad and garlic bread but want other ideas. Thank you!

    1. Try our lemon butter green beans, baked beans, Irish soda bread, or balsamic mushrooms!

  2. Used up all my leftover veggies laying around and we loved it! Thanks for another great recipe.

  3. This was great. I added a bit of curry powder to the beef mixture and chopped up four large mushrooms to add in after the beef, but otherwise made it as written. Everyone went back for seconds, which tells me I will need to make it again. = )

  4. This turned out great! Lower in calories than you’d expect, and very savory. Easy to make, too!

    If you’re doubling it, I’d suggest another 1/2 lb or lb of beef to even the radios a bit more. I added green beans to mine as well as a few teaspoons of curry powder if you want to make the flavors more complex.

  5. Love this recipe so much. I made it with Beyond Beef and it turned out excellent. I love the amount of veggies and next time I want to add green beans because I think they would also go really well in there! Thanks for another great one, Beth!!

  6. This was so flavorful on a chilly rainy Sunday. I added a dab of Dijon mustard with the Worcestershire sauce. Made it gluten free by subbing cup4cup GF flour.

  7. I’ve made this recipe several times and it’s always been well received. Using ground turkey and leftover mashed potatoes, frozen mix of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots today’s meal turned out just as good!

  8. This is *good*. It’s been in my rotation for several months now, and that’s where it’s staying. I make a vegetarian version with an equivalent amount of Beyond Beef and Better Than Bouillon vegetable stock. It’s rich and savory, with plenty of gravy, and a generous amount of mashed potatoes on top. This easily makes several meals’ worth for two people, plus plenty to freeze (it freezes beautifully) for future meals.

  9. I always add mushrooms, which is good if you want to add to the dish without adding more meat or a great addition/substitute for non-meat versions.

  10. It’s okay. It tastes exactly how you think it would… It’s kinda bland and doesn’t really satisfy my appetite. But if you like this sort of thing definitely give it a try!

  11. So delicious! I doubled the filling since I had a pound of ground beef I wanted to use up. Instead of doubling the liquid to two cups of broth, I used 1 1/2 cups broth and 1/2 cup red wine. It was so good. Will definitely add this to our rotation of fall/winter meals.