Cottage Pie Recipe

A serving of Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie Recipe

Not long ago, I posted a recipe for a Classic Shepherd’s Pie. The recipe here is a variation on that but, since it uses ground Beef instead of Lamb, it is more properly called a Cottage Pie. It also employs a variation that my mother came up with for Shepherd’s Pie, in that it includes frozen Corn, and a generous dollop of Apple Sauce for a lovely sweetness. I now invariably make my Cottage Pies this way and the result is pure comfort food.

The Method

Mixing the ingredients for a Cottage Pie filling
Mixing the ingredients for a Cottage Pie filling

Add the beef, corn, onion, sage, thyme and flour to a large bowl along with a tablespoon of salt and a few grindings of pepper, and mix everything together so that all the solids are evenly coated with the flour.

Cottage Pie filling ready to be covered
Cottage Pie filling ready to be covered

Now add the apple sauce to the mixture and turn it out into a suitable baking dish. Press down well, smoothing it all out to an even depth. Place in the refrigerator to chill for the time being. This will make it easier to spread the topping later.

A Cottage Pie marked and ready for the oven
A Cottage Pie marked and ready for the oven

Next, peel the potatoes and boil until tender in salted water. Mash them with butter (and a little cream if you like) and spread the mix evenly over the meat mixture in the baking dish. Smooth it out and then use a fork to make furrows or an attractive crosshatch pattern over the top. If you like, you can also brush the potato topping with a little cream or full-fat milk as this will help it brown nicely.

A freshy baked Cottage Pie
A freshy baked Cottage Pie

Heat your oven to 375 degrees and cook the pie for about 45 minutes or so. If the top starts to brown a little too quickly then cover the dish with foil. When it is done, remove from the oven and let it rest for a good ten minutes before serving.

Finally, and I rather hesitate to tell you this, but, in my family, we did not eat this dish exactly as you see it on the serving plate pictured at the beginning of this post. When I was a kid, my mother always put HP sauce on the table when she served this dish because my father liked a little on top. She also put out ketchup for others. As for me… well, I discovered that *both* go really well with either Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage Pie and now I can’t eat them without the two of them as an added touch. I know that sounds like a horrible Philistine practice but, although I hang my head in shame, I have to tell you… it’s REALLY, REALLY good!

Your Recipe Card:

Cottage Pie Recipe

Cottage Pie is basically a ‘Shepherd’s Pie’, but made with ground Beef instead of Lamb. This unique recipe incorporates Corn and Apple Sauce.
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Canadian, British
Keyword: Onion, Potatoes, Ground Beef, Corn, Apple Sauce
Servings: 6 People
Author: John Thompson


  • 5 cups of cooked ground Beef
  • 1 ½ cups of chopped Onion
  • 1 cup frozen Corn
  • 1 Tbsp. Flour
  • 8 leaves of fresh Sage
  • 1 tsp. dried Thyme
  • 1 cup Apple sauce
  • 4 Medium potatoes
  • 2 – 4 tbsp. Butter
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Mix together the beef, corn, onion, sage, thyme and flour, along with a tablespoon of salt and a few grindings of pepper, then stir in the apple sauce.
  • Turn the mixture into a baking dish, smooth It out, then refrigerate to chill.
  • Boil and mash the potatoes with the butter, then spread the mash over the meat mixture. Mark into lines or cross-hatch with the tines of a fork, if desired.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!