Cottage Pie

10 Nov 2023

This traditional, warming dish is great for families to cook and enjoy together. This delicious dinner-time favourite can easily be adapted to include your favourite ingredients.


1kg potatoes (Maris Piper and King Edwards are good for mashing)
1 large onion
2 medium sized carrots
250ml boiling water
1 x reduced-salt vegetable stock cube
1 x 15ml spoon sunflower oil
500g lean beef mince
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 x 5ml spoon dried mixed herbs
2 x 15ml spoons tomato purée
1 x 5ml spoon Worcestershire sauce
100g frozen peas
10g unsaturated fat spread
3 x 15ml spoon semi skimmed-milk
Black pepper (optional)


Weighing scales
Vegetable peeler
Chopping board
Sharp knife
Large saucepan
Measuring jug
Wooden spoon
Measuring spoons
Medium-sized pan OR deep frying pan
Can opener
Medium ovenproof serving dish
Potato masher
Oven gloves
Serving spoon


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan or gas mark 5.
  2. Peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into chunks of about 4cm. Put them in a colander and rinse them under a cold tap.
  3. Put them into the large pan. Add cold water until they are covered.
  4. Put the pan on a medium heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, go on to prepare the mince mixture.
  5. Peel and finely chop the fresh onion.
  6. Peel and dice the carrots into small pieces.
  7. Measure 250ml of boiling water into the measuring jug, crumble in the stock cube and stir to dissolve.
  8. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion and carrots for a few minutes until they start to soften.
  9. Add the mince and fry for a further three minutes or until the mince is cooked (it will turn from red to brown).
  10. Add the tomatoes, stock, herbs, tomato puree and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
  11. Stir in the peas, return to the boil and cook for 3 minutes.
  12. Pour the mixture into an ovenproof dish and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  13. Test if the potatoes are cooked by piercing them with a fork. If the potatoes feel soft, turn off the hob. Drain the potatoes using the colander.
  14. Put the potatoes back in the pan and mash them.
  15. Stir in the spread. Gradually stir in the milk until creamy. Add black pepper to taste (if using).
  16. Top the mince mixture with mashed potato. Bake in the oven until hot throughout and golden brown on top.

Top Tips

  • Younger cooks will need a grown-up to cut the carrots into batons first before they cut into smaller pieces.
  • Allow the mince to cool a little to stop the mash from sinking into the mixture.
  • Carefully place the mash on top of the mince starting at the edges first and working inwards with a fork.

Something to try next time

  • For a vegetarian version, swap the mince for pulses (such as beans or lentils) or a meat substitute. Try our Mixed Vegetable Pie recipe.
  • Use a mixture of root vegetables like swede, parsnip or sweet potato to top your pie instead of potatoes.
  • Sprinkle a little grated cheese on top before putting it in the oven.