Easy Cottage Pie

March 17, 2022 6 Comments

This cottage pie recipe is a real comfort food classic done super quick and easy.

Easy Cottage Pie

From the recipe collection of Tara Ippolito

My goodness, there’s so much to love about cottage pie that I’m not even sure where to start.

Maybe at the very beginning where it all started would be a good idea.

Cottage pie is a British dish that dates back to the late 18th century. It then gained a ton of popularity in Ireland and Scotland, too.

This is real comfort food at its best. it’s easy to see why it’s become so well known around the world.

You may have heard of this referred to as Shepard’s Pie but there is a different between the two that we’ll get into later.

The gravy smothered beef, vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes all compliment each other so well.

The best part about this cottage pie recipe is how easy it it.

Using instant mashed potatoes, frozen vegetables and condensed soup cuts a ton of prep time out of making this classic casserole.

I love thanking time saving short cuts with recipes like this! it just makes my life so much easier.

other quick and easy recipes you’ll love:

What’s the difference between Shepherds Pie and Cottage Pie?

The answer for this one is simple. It’s all about the meat.

Shepard’s Pie recipes use ground lamb and Cottage Pie recipes use ground beef.

Other than that the two recipes are pretty much exactly the same.

Both following the meat, vegetables and potato formula.

Slight variations can be seen between the two but that’s true for any recipe really.

What potatoes can I use for Cottage Pie?

The go to potatoes for cottage pie are mashed potatoes.

I used instant mashed potatoes to make my life easier but you don’t have to necessarily do the same.

Here are some options:

  • Instant mashed potatoes as I used in this recipe.
  • Premade mashed potatoes. You can usually find these at any grocery store in a container.
  • Homemade mashed potatoes. Use whatever recipe you like.
  • Thinly sliced potatoes. Prepare them and lay them on the top of casserole with some butter.
  • Frozen hash browns. Place them on top for a crispier and crunchier potato topping.

What vegetables can I use for Cottage Pie?

Whatever vegetables you use are completely up to you.

Cottage and Shepard’s Pie became such an instant hit because people used what they had available in their area.

If you want to use the same concept and add something different go for it.

I personally like a variety that includes carrots, peas and beans. I feel like they work really well together here.

But that’s completely my taste and opinion so do you!

Here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing:

  • Frozen Vegetable Packages. Choose any variety you’d like.
  • Canned Vegetables. Canned vegetables work just as well as the frozen ones do so feel free to use those, too.
  • Fresh Vegetables. Fresh vegetables are a great choice here, too. Just be sure to cook them just a little bit to soften them slightly before adding them to the casserole to be baked.

What canned soup can I use in Cottage Pie?

Again, here’s where your specific taste and imagination comes into play.

I used cream of mushroom but feel free to swap that out for almost any other flavor.

I would recommend sticking to a vegetable or beef option. That would probably work best in terms of blending flavors.

Here are some condensed soup options to consider:

  • Cream of onion
  • French onion
  • Vegetable
  • Cream of celery
  • Beef broth
  • Beef consommé
  • Beefy mushroom
  • Cheddar (just maybe skip adding the shredded cheddar cheese to the casserole so it’s not too overwhelming.)

The list here goes on so get creative!

Tips for the best cottage pie:

This is a super easy recipe but there are a few things you can do to be sure that it’s at its best.

  • Use a gravy packet like Pioneer instead of canned gravy. The dry packet will add so much flavor and give the beef a ton of nice coloring.
  • Shred the cheese yourself. Skip the shredded cheese in a bag! That stuff contains certain anti clumping chemicals like cellulose that prevent the cheese from melting well.
  • Don’t rush it! Let this cottage pie rest for a few minutes before you dig in. It needs to settle and firm up to hold its shape when you serve it.
This is what can happen if you don’t let it cool and serve it too soon.

Cottage Pie recipe video:

Cottage Pie Ingredients:

  • Ground beef
  • Cream of mushroom soup
  • Frozen vegetables variety bag
  • Dry packet of gravy mix
  • Salt and pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Beef broth
  • Dry gravy packet
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Instant mashed potatoes (and their ingredients)
  • Butter
  • Dried parsley (optional)


First, in a large pan melt the butter

Next add the beef

Now break the beef down into little pieces using your spoon or spatula as browns.

Then drain the fa, return it to the stove and add the Worcestershire sauce.

All the seasoning

And then the beef broth

Next add the dry gravy packet

And stir it all together

Now add the soup cans

And then add the package of frozen vegetables.

Mix everything together until it’s evenly combined

After that, add the mixture to a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.

And spread it out evenly

Next top it with shredded cheddar cheese.

Then make the instant mashed potatoes as directed on the box. I like to mix in an extra tbs of butter when it’s done, too, for some extra creaminess.

Now add some spread out dollops of the mashed potatoes around the top of the casserole.

Using a spoon, gently spread them around without disturbing the bottom layer of cheese too much.

Lastly, bake at 375° for about 45 minutes.

Finally, sprinkle with parsley and the cottage pie rest for about 5-7 minutes before serving. Just to be sure that it all firms up and holds it shape.

Cut it kinda like you would a lasagna and serve warm.

Easy Cottage Pie

This super easy to make cottage pie is a comfort food classic.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: cottage pie recipe, easy cottage pie
Servings: 6


  • 2 tbs Butter, divided
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 packet Dry Gravy
  • 1/2 cup Beef Broth
  • 2 10.5oz Cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 19oz Mixed frozen vegetables
  • 1 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 4oz Instant mashed potatoes
  • dried parsley, optional


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • In a large skillet, melt 1 tbs of the butter and add the ground beef.
  • Break the beef down into small pieces using a wooden spoon or spatula as it browns. Drain the fat from the pan once its done.
  • Add all of the seasonings, worchesterhire sauce, gravy packet and beef broth. Stir together.
  • Now add the soup cans and frozen vegetables.
  • Mix everything together until its evenly combined.
  • Add the mixture to a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese on top.
  • Make the instant mashed potatoes as directed on the package. Add 1 tbs of butter once they'd done an stir it in.
  • Add dollops of the mashed potatoes to the top of the meat mixture and cheese. Using the back of a spoon, gently spread the mixture around so its completely covering the top.
  • Bake uncovered at 375 for 45 minutes
  • Sprinkle with parsley and let the cottage pie sit for 5-7 minutes to firm up before serving.
Tara Ippolito

About Al Dente Diva

Tara Ippolito is a self taught home cook from New Jersey and cookbook author of Fast, Simple, Delicious. Better known as “T” across social media, she makes easy to follow recipes using familiar ingredients. T uses her Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest channels to share recipes and cooking tips for everyday people. Her motivation to share with her followers is simple. To inspire people to cook and become more comfortable in the kitchen.

As a wife and busy mother of two little boys she she’s always cooking fast family friendly meals. Sharing her kitchen with others that want to learn is a true passion of hers. As her social media platforms continue to grow she is committed to delivering consistently delicious content to her followers.

Al Dente Diva

Hello there! My name is T & I’m a home cook from New Jersey. I love to share easy to make recipes, cooking tips & kitchen hacks with people who love to cook like I do. My recipes are all easy to follow & use ingredients most people are familiar with. Being a busy stay at home mother of two, I have to cook delicious budget friendly meals that are fast to make. I hope you find something helpful here. Thanks for coming by.

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  • Anonymous March 17, 2022 at 6:14 pm

    Perfect for St Patty’s Day! Thanks

  • Tami Mullins March 28, 2022 at 2:09 am

    Will be making this tomorrow night. I’m sure my family will love it as much as they’ve loved every recipe I’ve tried from your site.

  • Kyle McGovern April 5, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    I tried for years to replicate my Mom’s and just couldn’t get it right, guess I just wasn’t using the right love. I went out on my own and made one that works for me that is even slightly easier than yours. For the meat, I use Original Manwich, just cook it up according to the directions and then build it similar to yours. Gives it a nice tanginess.

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