Cottage Pie


Comfort food with a British accent.

Cottage Pie
Photo: Jonny Valiant
Cook Time:
20 mins
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Bake Time:
40 mins
Cool Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 35 mins
8 serves

At first glance you might wonder, "What's a cottage pie?" and on second glance, "Wait, isn't that Shepherd's pie?"

To answer your first question, cottage pie originated in rural England and Ireland in the late 1700s, coinciding with potato's rise as a staple in country cottage kitchens. It consists of a rich, meaty, stew-like mixture—made with ground beef and vegetables—that's topped with a decadent buttery mashed-potato topping. Regarding your second question, the distinguishing element between cottage and Shepherd's pies is that Shepherd's uses minced lamb instead of ground beef, although the terms are commonly interchanged. (Case in point, check out our ground beef-centric Shepherd's pie recipe).

This cottage pie uses new potatoes, leaving the skin on to create a chunkier, more rustic mash (with no peeling!). If you prefer a smoother, fluffier texture, go with Yukon Gold or other round, white-or-yellow variety. This recipe also calls for butternut squash in the beef mixture, adding richness, depth, and a hint of autumn to the "pie" filling. A great cold-weather-weekend-at-home meal, we bet your family will welcome this dish any time of year.


  • 3 pounds new potatoes (about 30)

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 pound frozen pearl onions, thawed

  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef chuck

  • ¼ cup tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

  • 1 cup frozen peas


  1. Heat oven to 350° F.

  2. Make the potatoes: Place potatoes in a large pot, add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch, and then bring to a boil.

  3. Add 1 teaspoon salt, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

  4. Drain and return potatoes to the pot; add milk, butter, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper; and mash.

  5. Make the beef mixture: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, stirring often, until beginning to soften, 4 to 6 minutes; and then transfer to a medium bowl.

  6. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the Dutch oven; and then add beef, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, breaking up the beef with a spoon, until no longer pink, 4 to 6 minutes.

  7. Mix in tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce, sprinkle with flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add broth, squash, peas, and onions; and then bring to a simmer.

  8. Make the pie: Transfer the beef mixture to a 9-by-13-inch (or other 3-quart baking dish) and top with potatoes.

  9. Bake until potatoes are lightly golden, the filling is bubbling, and squash is tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

476 Calories
20g Fat
51g Carbs
23g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Calories 476
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 69mg 23%
Sodium 468mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 19%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 23g
Calcium 119mg 9%
Iron 4mg 22%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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