Cottage Pie serving on a plate

This Cottage Pie is a northern New York girl’s comfort food version of Shepherd’s Pie. It is made with ground beef, gravy, vegetables, and homemade mashed potatoes topping. Then, it is finished off with a sprinkling of cheese on top. For my Keto peeps, be sure to check out the substitutions to make low carb so you too can enjoy this comfort food recipe.

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Cottage Pie makes a great weekend dinner recipe. While it can be enjoyed on a weekday, if you work outside of the home, it is easier to prepare this on the weekend. It is comfort food in a casserole dish that will make you feel all warm and cozy. Not to mention your tummy will be very satisfied!

Overhead shot of cottage pie casserole dish out of the oven

Why I made this recipe

Did you know that as a child I was not a fan of mashed potatoes? Now that I am all grown up, I do think they are delicious, but that lingering attitude of thinking I didn’t like them kind of carries over. And as a result, I just don’t make them that often.

Grumpy on the other hand is a steak and mashed potato fanatic. He would eat the same thing every single day if I was willing to do so. Unfortunately for him, he married someone who likes to experiment and try new things. So, when I do make something like this Cottage Pie, it is a real treat for him.

The difference between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie

What I did not know when looking to make this recipe, was that there is a difference between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie. Grumpy was asking for Shepherd’s pie, but when I researched the recipe, I found that Shepherd’s pie was made with ground lamb meat and Cottage Pie with ground beef.

I am not a huge fan of lamb. I have never cooked it myself. My mom would make lamb chops when I was a child and I absolutely did not like them so I never would make it myself. And, when Grumpy was asking for Shepherd’s Pie, I don’t think he realized it was really Cottage Pie he wanted!

Cottage Pie serving on a plate

Which came first? A little bit of Cottage Pie history

I was surprised to find out that Cottage Pie was in existence before Shepherd’s pie. And, Cottage Pie was a meal that was made with leftover roasted meat. It was deemed cottage pie in the 1700’s as an affordable meal for peasants.

The term Shepherd’s Pie showed up in the 1800’s and still implied minced meat. Then, in the 2oth century it was declared to be a dish made with lamb by the British. This interesting fact I was not aware of, and I always thought Shepherd’s Pie was original, whereas, it is completely the opposite!

Make this Cottage Pie Keto Low Carb

This recipe can easily be adapted to the Keto lifestyle. Just remove the flour and water thickener in step 4 and instead sprinkle 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum over top of the hot mixture, being sure to stir it well as it is sprinkled. Then, instead of potatoes, use the Garlic Mashed Cauliflower recipe to top off the meat and gravy portion. If you wish, swap out the peas for green beans (however I would just leave them in).

Variations to this recipe

Its is very ok to change this Cottage Pie recipe to your own liking! There is no rule or law says that you ever have to follow anything to a T! Below are some suggestions you may find interesting.

  • Substitute mashed sweet potatoes for the white potato topping.
  • Use your favorite protein. I have made this with ground venison, turkey, and beef.
  • Stir the cheese into the mashed potatoes instead of topping them with it.
  • Use your favorite blend of vegetables. I love the frozen mix that includes corn and asparagus!

What you need to make Cottage Pie

Ground beef: Ground and crumbled, it all will work. As I indicated above, beef, venison, turkey, pork, whatever your tastebuds want, it will work just fine.

Mixed Vegetables: The most common is carrots, peas, and corn. Feel free to use the vegetables that appeal to you the most.

Beef Bone Broth: This is my favorite brand of bone broth.

Potatoes or Cauliflower: Depending on whether you are making a low carb or regular version. Use the cauliflower if you want low carb.

Glass Casserole Dish: This is my favorite 9×13 casserole pan.

Other Comfort Food Recipes you may enjoy

Cottage Pie isn’t the only comfort food recipe we enjoy in this house and I would like to share with you some of our very favorites.

*If you made this Cottage Pie recipe, please give it a star rating*

Cottage Pie serving on a plate

Cottage Pie

A comfort food casserole dish of ground meat and gravy with a cheesy potato topping.
4.5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Keyword: Cottage Pie
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen carrot and pea mixture
  • 1/2 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 cups beef bone broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper optional
  • [1 recipe Homemade Mashed Potatoes]
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, crumble and cook the ground beef with the onion and garlic for 7 minutes, or until browned.
  • Stir in the beef stock, worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • In a small mixing bowl, stir together the flour and water until combined. Stir the flour mixture into the beef stock mixture. Return heat to medium and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, or until meat mixture has thickened. Add salt and pepper (if using).
  • Spread the meat mixture in a 9×13 casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and spread over the meat mixture to cover completely. Sprinkle with the cheese.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese and potatotes have lightly browned.

About the Author: Shelby Law Ruttan

Shelby is the author/owner of Grumpy's Honeybunch. Established in 2007, she shares and preserves family recipes as well as recipes for cooking light and keto. She is an experienced, self-taught home cook who loves to share recipes with others. You can see her work on websites such as Veal Made Easy, Parade, Community Table, SoFab Food, Yummly, and FoodGawker.


  1. Elra August 30, 2008 at 7:44 am - Reply

    My son loves “Shepherd’s Pie”, I never really make it with ground beef though. I use ground lamb instead. I am sure yours taste delice!

  2. Natashya August 30, 2008 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    This is definitely “mommy loves me” food. My hubby would love it too.
    As far as I know it is shepherd’s when you use lamb and cottage with beef, etc. (Cows not being associated with shepherds and all)
    This looks like a great dish, worthy of being part of the regular repertoire.

  3. Barbara Bakes August 30, 2008 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    I don’t think I ever even eaten shepherd’s pie. Looks tasty!

  4. Teresa August 30, 2008 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Hy husband would love this. It includes all his favorite foods. This will make a good birthday dinner. 🙂

  5. RecipeGirl August 30, 2008 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Hmmm. I have a few meat-and-potato friends who would love this dish. I’m not so into English food… we didn’t have the best of luck with it while in England, but this does look rather comforting and yummy!

  6. noble pig August 30, 2008 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    Yep, this is the perfect grumpy dish! Looks like it tasted great.

  7. Katypi August 30, 2008 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    I love shepherd’s pie!

  8. Michelle Dargen August 31, 2008 at 5:55 am - Reply

    My hubby and I both love Shepherds Pie. Great choice!

  9. Pam August 31, 2008 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    This looks great – I am sure my kids and husband would love it. Great recipe!

  10. Bellini Valli August 31, 2008 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    You have no idea how I love Shephers Pie or Cottage Pie…truly one of my favourite comfort foods!!!!!

  11. Jenny September 1, 2008 at 5:53 am - Reply

    Oh my, I love shepherd’s pie. We usually have it twice a month at my mom’s for sunday dinner. The kids go nuts for it. Your version looks incredible!

  12. Sophie September 3, 2008 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    This is one of my favorite things to make because it packs so many delicious ingredients in one serving :). Yummy!

    We’d like to invite you to participate in our September apple and peach recipe contest. All competitors will be eligible to win one of three prizes :)! Please email me,, if you’re interested.

    Thanks :),
    KI Chief Blogger

  13. Andrea September 3, 2008 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    Oh great job! I was almost going to make sheperdess pie (which is apparently the vegetarian version of sheperd pie) for MKMW England but I thought I’d enjoy that dish more in the fall.

  14. Gluten Free Shepherd's Pie January 20, 2017 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    […] easy shepherd pie recipe uses instant gravy mix. Nothing could be easier if you can find a gluten free gravy mix like […]

  15. Anonymous December 26, 2019 at 1:40 pm - Reply


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Shelby Welcome! I'm Shelby, author of Grumpy's Honeybunch. I have been sharing family favorite recipes since 2007. I started the Keto Diet in October 2017 and since then I have been creating Keto ... read more

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