The Ultimate Cottage Pie Recipe
Cottage Pie vs Shepherd’s Pie – What’s the Difference?
Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie are very similar.
Both are British recipes. Both are savory pies filled with meat and vegetables, then topped with mashed potatoes.
In fact, Shepherd’s Pie is a type of the broader term “Cottage Pie.”
The only real difference is that Cottage Pie usually refers to a savory pie made with beef filling, while Shepherd’s Pie is traditionally made with lamb.
However, the terms are often used interchangeably.
Easy Cottage Pie for Saint Patrick’s Day (Or Any Other Day!)
Today I’m sharing my fast and Easy Cottage Pie, that is started on the stovetop and finished in the oven.
Although we already posted a lovely Crockpot Shepherd’s Pie Recipe, it’s not quick to make. The chunks of lamb roast need ample time to slow cook and soften.
However, this Shepherd’s Pie is prepped and baked in less than 1 hour.
This is accomplished by using ground beef, instead of a beef or lamb roast, and by using store-bought or leftover mashed potatoes.
(Instead of making mashed potatoes from scratch before making the Cottage Pie.)
The Ultimate Cottage Pie Recipe (Shepherd’s Pie with Beef)
I love this version of Cottage Pie because it offers a robust beefy flavor, kissed with dijon mustard and herbs.
The bold filling is chunky and colorful, mixed with onions, carrots, corn, and peas. It is the perfect complement to the fluffy mashed potato top.
And even if you choose to buy pre-made mashed potatoes (no judgment; life is busy!) we doctor the potatoes by adding shredded cheddar cheese to the mix to offer extra richness… And help create a crispy crust!
This Beef Shepherd’s Pie is fast to assemble, and oh so comforting. You are going to absolutely LOVE it!
Cottage Pie Ingredients
- Ground beef – Or ground lamb.
- Corn – Frozen
- Peas – Frozen
- Beef broth
- Tomato paste – For tang and thickening.
- Worcestershire sauce – To accentuate the beef flavor.
- Dijon mustard – For intrigue!
- Cornstarch– For thickening.
- Dried thyme
- Mashed potatoes – Store-bought or homemade
- Cheddar cheese – To mix into the mashed potatoes
- Salt and pepper
How to Make Shepherd’s Pie from Scratch
- Sizzle – Brown the ground beef in a large cast iron (or oven-proof) skillet. Make sure to break the beef up into little pieces as it cooks.
- Sauté – Cook the onions, carrots, and garlic until the onions and carrots are soft. If the carrots aren’t cooked enough in the skillet, they will not soften in the oven.
- Mix – Stir all the filling ingredients together. Then spread it out into an even layer in the skillet.
- Smear – Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the beef filling.
- Bake – Bake until the mashed potato top is crispy around the edges.
Get our Full (Printable) Best Cottage Pie Recipe Below
Cottage Pie FAQ
What Do You Serve with Cottage Pie?
Cottage Pie is a One-Pot Meal, so technically, you do not need to serve anything with it.
However, if you like to have more options on the table, consider serving it with: Irish Soda Bread, Chopped Apple Salad, Guinness Ice Cream Floats, Irish Pub Cheese and Crackers, and/or Baileys Irish Cream Jello Shots!
Can You Freeze Cottage Pie?
Yes. Cover it with foil. Then wrap the entire dish in plastic wrap. When ready to use, take off the plastic, and bake at 350 degrees F for one hour. Keep the foil over the top.
You can also thaw it at room temperature, then reheat for 30 minutes.
Is Shepherd’s Pie A Good Make-Ahead Meal?
Yes! This is a great meal for Meal Prep, or for taking to a friend in need.
UnBaked: You can make the Cottage Pie up the point of baking, then wrap and refrigerate it for up to 5 days. When ready to use, bake for 25-35 minutes.
Meal Prep or Leftovers: Place the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 7 days.
More Irish Recipes You Will Love
- Irish Boxties
- Corned Beef and Cabbage Stew
- Corned Beef Pot Pie with Potato Top
- Sweet Irish Soda Bread
- Soda Bread with Granola Top
The Ultimate Cottage Pie Recipe (Shepherd’s Pie)
- 2 pounds ground beef (or ground lamb)
- 1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 5 cups mashed potatoes (store-bought or homemade)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place a deep 13-14 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Break the ground beef into small pieces, with a wooden spoon, as it browns.
- Once the ground beef is fully cooked, move it to the sides of the skillet. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic. Sauté for 5-8 minutes to soften the onions and carrots. (The carrots should be partially cooked before baking.)
- Stir the mixture together. Then add in the frozen corn and pea, broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, cornstarch, and thyme. Mix well. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed.
- Turn off the heat. Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the skillet.
- Mix the shredded cheese into the mashed potatoes. (If using store-bought mashed potatoes, you may need to drain off the extra liquid or press the top with paper towels, before mixing in the cheese.)
- Scoop the mashed potatoes over the meat filling and spread it to the sides of the skillet, making sure there are no gaps. Immediately place the cottage pie in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden on top.
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