Cottage Pie Recipe | Kitchen Explorers | PBS Food

Cottage Pie Recipe


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m sharing with you a wonderful and hearty dinner recipe mostly made from meat and potatoes. Cottage pie, a very popular and common dish from the late 1700’s is made from a potato crust and seasoned beef. Its familiar but younger (1877) cousin, Shepherd’s pie, is a very similar dish except made with lamb. Many people confused the two pies and think of them synonymously with each other.   Both types of meat pies originated from Ireland and the UK where the dish was considered a peasant’s meal because it was an economic way to use leftover roasted meat.

Pair this dish with a nice side salad and a nice slice of Irish Soda Bread and you have the perfect family meal to savor on a cold winter’s evening. This comfort food dish can easily be divided between two pie plates, baked, and then frozen so you can have a second meal in the freezer when needed. And if there are leftovers, this dish is just as wonderful the next day.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Cottage Pie

This cottage pie recipe is simple peasant dish that is hearty and filling. Perfect for St. Patrick's Day or any winter evening.



  • Potato Topping:
  • 2 pounds russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Meat Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped in small pieces
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 pounds ground lean beef
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup frozen peas


  1. Boil the potatoes for 12-15 minutes on high heat until the potatoes fork tender.
  2. Prepare the filling while the potatoes are boiling.
  3. Drain the potatoes and add them to a medium bowl.
  4. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes and add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper until smooth. Set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. While the potatoes are boiling, prepare the filling by heating a large sauté pan with vegetable oil on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook them for 4 minutes until soft. Add the carrots, garlic, and thyme. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper according to your personal preference.
  6. Transfer the onion and carrot mixture to a separate bowl and return the pan to the stove. Cook the lean beef until done and season with salt and pepper. Add and mix in the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce.
  7. Add the (room temperature) beef broth to a small bowl and gently stir in the corn starch until dissolved.
  8. Add the onion mixture and broth back to the pan with the beef and add the peas. Stir everything until well combined and cook for 5 minutes on medium low heat until the sauce thickens.
  9. Spray a medium casserole pan with non-stick spray. Transfer the beef mixture to the pan in one large even layer. Top the beef layer with an even layer of the mashed potatoes.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the potato layer slightly browns.
  11. Allow the pie to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Prep Time: 45 Minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 Minutes

Total Time: 70 Minutes

Yield: 6-8

Alice-Currah-169x215Alice Currah is the publisher of popular food blog, Savory Sweet Life. Her approachable everyday recipes are accompanied by beautiful step by step photos and have been featured online at Martha Stewart, Real Simple, The Pioneer Woman, Epicurious, Bon Appetit, Saveur, iVillage and many more. In March 2010, featured Alice as one of “Eight of the Very Best Food Bloggers.” You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

You Might Also Like

Getting Hungry?

Sign up for weekly recipes