Hearty Homecooking

Mum’s Traditional Cottage Pie

‘A comforting and simple cottage pie recipe. Once you try Mum’s Traditional Cottage Pie you won’t have it any other way!‘ – Hungry now? Jump to Recipe

A good traditional cottage pie (not to be confused with a traditional shepherd’s pie) was, is and always will be one of my favourite dinners. Ugh, just the smell of it sends me back to being a young piglet, staring in the oven waiting to devour it.

Mum's Traditional Cottage Pie Fresh Out The Oven

Still to this day, the ingredients for cottage pie make it in my weekly shopping basket. It’s just one of those easy rotation dinners that you know is going to leave everyone hobbling away from the table because they’re so full. Which is usually my aim with anything I make, but cottage pie is the perfect dish to do that.

A layer of rich and saucy minced beef, topped with some smooth and creamy mash finished with a layer of cheese? I don’t know who came up with this idea but wherever you are, whoever you are, I love you and everything you stand for.

Mum's Traditional Cottage Pie Process Shots

‘So what makes your mum’s cottage pie so damn special ey!?’

I mean it’s a valid question given you have no idea who my mother is. It’s also an interesting question which kinda got my brain ticking for a little while. Like, I know this cottage pie is damn special, but unfortunately the answer ‘because it’s mum’s homemade cottage pie, that’s why!’ doesn’t really cut the mustard. But here’s a few contributing factors that I think could be the reason.

Gravy granules – I see so many recipes out there that thicken the mince layer with flour and it makes me want to cry. Not only will gravy granules help along with the thickening, but they’re going to turn the mince layer into a beautifully rich gravy as well. Win win!

Depth of flavour – Alongside the gravy granules, a good helping of Worcestershire sauce and red wine gives this cottage pie a delicious depth of flavour, enhancing those gorgeous beefy flavours.

Time – ‘Is it ready yet?’ ‘how much longer?’ ‘I’m hungry!’. Yep, you’re gonna hear a lot of that, but boy it’ll be worth it. Remember, there’s no such thing as a quick cottage pie!

Mum's Traditional Cottage Pie Recipe

The other perfect thing about cottage pie is that if there is any leftovers, it heats up perfectly the next day for lunch. Or even freeze them in portions for whenever the craving hits again (literally the only thing close to meal prepping I do is freezing leftovers).

Perfect if you’re a small family or aren’t big eaters. Heck, even if it’s just a one man show fear not, it won’t go to waste!

Mum's Traditional Cottage Pie Serving

So do check out the 1 minute recipe video below and the full printable recipe below that! Let me know how you get on and I’ll catch you on the next post 🙂

5 from 4 votes
Mum's Traditional Cottage Pie
Mum's Traditional Cottage Pie
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 5 mins
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins

'A comforting and simple cottage pie recipe. Once you try Mum's Traditional Cottage Pie you won't have it any other way!'

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: English
Servings: 8
Calories: 620 kcal
Author: Chris
Beef Layer:
  • 2.2 lbs (1kg) Beef Mince
  • 1 Large sized White Onion finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups (150g) Mushrooms, finely diced
  • 2 medium sized Carrots peeled
  • 2 cloves of Garlic minced
  • 1 glass of Red Wine
  • 4 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 cups (500ml) Beef Stock
  • 1 tbsp Gravy Granules
  • 1 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1 tsp dried Rosemary
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • Salt & Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil
Mashed Potato Layer:
  • 4.4 lbs (2kg) White Potatoes peeled
  • 3-4 heaped tbsp Butter
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 handfuls Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • Generous helpings of Salt & Pepper
  1. In a suitably sized pot/pan, saute your Onions, Garlic, Carrot and Mushrooms in Olive Oil over medium heat until they begin to soften. Add your Mince, break it up and continue to fry over medium heat until brown all the way through.
  2. Now it's Wine time. Pour in your Red Wine and leave to simmer for around 5 minutes to burn off the alcohol and allow the Mince to soak up the flavour. 

  3. After, add your Beef Stock, Gravy Granules, Worcestershire Sauce, Tomato Puree, Thyme, Rosemary, Bay Leaf, Salt & Pepper (to taste) and leave to simmer over low heat for a good 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. At this point it will look like you've got way too much liquid but it will naturally thicken, so fear not.

  4. Whilst your Mince is simmering, get started on the mash. Whack your peeled Potatoes in a pot of salted boiling water for around 15mins or until soft enough to comfortably slice. Drain (don't rinse) and place back in the pot. Mash with your Butter, Nutmeg and generous helpings of Salt & Pepper until a smooth but fluffy texture. Leave to one side and preheat oven to 220c (430f)

  5. In a tin or baking dish, firstly pour in your Mince (removing Bay Leaf), top the Mince with your mash and finish with a layer of Cheese. Pop in the oven for around 20mins or until golden and crispy on top. Leave to sit for a few minutes to retain shape and then serve.

Recipe Notes

a) Whilst the gravy granules are a key part of this recipe for both flavour and thickening of the mince, make sure it's a reputable brand. Here in the UK we do gravy granules pretty well, but I have bought some very questionable gravy granules from around the world. If you can't find any decent gravy granules I would consider leaving them out all together and allow the mince the thicken naturally. Whilst this may take a little more time, it's not worth your cottage pie tasting like perfume.

b) Seasoning your mashed potato is absolutely key. There is nothing worse than bland mash taking away from the gorgeous flavours of the mince underneath it. For a creamier mash also add milk, cream or creme fraiche until desired texture.

Love a good hearty home cooked meal? Check out my Perfect Spaghetti Bolognese!

Perfect Spaghetti Bolognese

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Mum's Traditional Cottage Pie

Cheers guys, this has been ‘Mum’s Traditional Cottage Pie recipe ’. Comment, share, do whatever you fancy but for crying out loud don’t go bacon my heart. See you next time! 🙂


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  • Reply
    Brian Lageose
    January 9, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    This looks and sounds delicious.

    • Reply
      January 9, 2017 at 10:47 pm

      Thanks Brian 🙂

  • Reply
    Mark Muirhead
    January 11, 2017 at 3:48 am

    A “leftovers” version of this is great for the day after your friends didn’t turn up to the over catered dinner party!
    Mince every bit of cooked red meat you can find (secret ingredient is fresh corned beef, not tinned), the flavours combine well, add in your saute’d veges (to taste), and dig up that bottle of home-made tomato ketchup you pinched from grandma as your fluid mush it all together and top it as per above.
    You don’t need the herbs as the corned beef and the ketchup bring a sweet, tart, hot (lots of cayenne in the K) and pimento/mustard tomato profile. Sound boring but works a treat!

    Sorry for the waffle!

    • Reply
      January 16, 2017 at 6:12 am

      mmmmm that really sounds delicious Mark! If I ever try the leftovers addition I’ll certainly let you know 🙂

  • Reply
    May 7, 2017 at 11:54 am


  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    This is some amazing looking comfort food, can’t wait to try it!

    • Reply
      January 18, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      Enjoy, Sara!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Amanda Finks
    January 18, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    So savory and comforting! Love it 🙂

    • Reply
      January 18, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks, Amanda! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    I have been so craving something like this for weeks, literally! I really need to slow down, print this recipe, hop in my kitchen, and make this beauty…YUMMMM! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Bookmarking and sharing as well!

    • Reply
      January 18, 2018 at 5:42 pm

      Amazing!! Hope you enjoy, Traci 🙂

  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    The perfect comfort food recipe! I’ve never heard of “cottage pie” before, but now I need to make it.

    • Reply
      January 18, 2018 at 5:43 pm

      The perfect comfort food, you’re so right 🙂

  • Reply
    Jeni @ Biscuits & Booze
    January 18, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    ohhhhh, this is drool worthy! It’s basically the perfect comfort food dish. I wish it were more common in the US. But then again, for the sake of my dress size, perhaps it is good that it is not lol!

    • Reply
      January 18, 2018 at 5:46 pm

      Oooo I feel ya! It’s certainly not one for the light hearted, but damn it’s worth it sometimes!

  • Reply
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