Nigella Cottage Pie Recipe

Nigella Cottage Pie
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 20 Mins Cook Time: 1 Hr 20 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr 40 Mins

Nigella Cottage Pie is a comforting and hearty dish, perfectly blending tender minced meat with a rich, flavorful gravy, topped with a layer of smooth, creamy mashed potatoes. It’s a wonderful meal for family dinners, casual gatherings, or as a warming dish on a chilly evening.

In this blog post, I will show you how to make Nigella’s cottage pie recipe, step by step, with detailed instructions and tips.

What is Nigella Cottage Pie Recipe?

Nigella cottage pie is a delicious and easy recipe by Nigella Lawson, a famous British chef and cookbook author. It is a variation of the traditional cottage pie, which is a dish of minced meat cooked in a rich gravy, topped with mashed potatoes and cheese, and baked until golden and bubbly. Nigella cottage pie uses a combination of beef and lamb mince, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste to create a savory and satisfying filling. It also adds some chopped parsley and thyme to the mashed potatoes, along with butter, cream, and egg yolks, to make them extra creamy and fluffy. It is a perfect dish for a cozy and comforting meal, especially on a cold day.

This recipe comfortably serves 6-8 people and can be prepared in about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Other Popular Recipes

Why You Love this Recipe

There are many reasons to love this recipe, such as:

  • Simplicity at Its Best: This recipe doesn’t demand exotic ingredients or complicated steps. It’s straightforward and uses items you likely have on hand.
  • Flexibility is Key: Feel free to get creative! Whether it’s tweaking the meat blend or adding a variety of cheeses, this dish welcomes your personal touch.
  • Freezer-Friendly for Busy Days: Make a big batch and freeze some for those hectic days when cooking is the last thing on your mind.
  • Irresistibly Tasty: The combination of rich, savory meat, creamy mashed potatoes, and a crispy cheese crust is nothing short of heavenly.

Ingredients Needed to Make Nigella Cottage Pie

You will need the following ingredients to make this recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 500 grams of minced beef
  • 500 grams of minced lamb
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 250 ml of red wine
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 500 ml of beef stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 kg of potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 75 grams of butter
  • 100 ml of cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 150 grams of grated cheddar cheese

Instructions to Make Nigella Cottage Pie

To make nigella cottage pie, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Preheat the oven and grease the baking dish

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (180 degrees C fan-forced).
  • Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with some butter or cooking spray.

Step 2: Cook the onion and garlic

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until soft and golden.
  • Transfer the onion mixture to a bowl and set aside.

Step 3: Brown the minced meat

  • In the same skillet, brown the minced beef and lamb, breaking them up with a wooden spoon, for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through and no longer pink.
  • Drain the excess fat and return the meat to the skillet.

Step 4: Make the gravy

  • Sprinkle the flour over the meat and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until well combined.
  • Add the wine, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and beef stock, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened and glossy.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Step 5: Make the mashed potatoes

  • Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water for 20 minutes, or until tender.
  • Drain and return to the pot.
  • Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or a ricer, then add the butter, cream, egg yolks, parsley, and thyme and mix well.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Step 6: Assemble and bake the cottage pie

  • Spoon the meat mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread it evenly.
  • Spoon the mashed potatoes over the meat and spread them gently, making sure to cover the meat completely.
  • Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden.

Step 7: Rest and serve the cottage pie

  • Let the cottage pie rest for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Enjoy with a green salad or some steamed vegetables.
Nigella Cottage Pie Recipe
Nigella Cottage Pie

What Do I Serve With Nigella Cottage Pie?

Nigella’s Cottage Pie is a rich and satisfying dish that can stand alone or be paired with side dishes to round out the meal.

Here are some complementary accompaniments:

  • Fresh Salad: A simple green salad with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, and a dressing of your choice can add a refreshing contrast to the hearty pie.
  • Steamed Vegetables: Incorporate a variety of steamed vegetables like broccoli, carrots, peas, or green beans to add a nutritious and colorful side to your meal.
  • Bread Option: Serve with crusty bread to fully enjoy the delicious gravy and cheese. It’s perfect for soaking up every last bit of flavor.
  • Wine Pairing: A glass of red wine can enhance the flavors in the pie, especially considering the use of red wine in the recipe itself.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Nigella Cottage Pie

To ensure your Nigella’s Cottage Pie is a culinary success, follow these tips:

  • Onion and Garlic: Cook these until they are soft and golden, which will release their natural sweetness and aroma.
  • Managing Fat Content: After cooking the meat, drain any excess fat to avoid a greasy filling.
  • Perfecting the Gravy: When adding flour to the meat, ensure it’s well-cooked to prevent a floury taste and achieve a smooth sauce.
  • Filling Consistency: Simmer the meat mixture until the sauce thickens and becomes glossy, enriching the overall flavor and texture.
  • Mashed Potato Preparation: For smooth and flavorful mashed potatoes, thoroughly blend in butter, cream, egg yolks, parsley, and thyme. Season to taste.
  • Assembling the Pie: Carefully spread the mashed potatoes over the meat, ensuring complete coverage to prevent the filling from overflowing during baking.
  • Cheese Topping: Evenly sprinkle cheese over the potatoes and bake until melted and golden, creating a deliciously crispy crust.

Cottage Pie Recipe Nigella

Variations of Nigella Cottage Pie

Tailor the Cottage Pie to your taste with these simple modifications:

  • Meat Choices: Feel free to use just beef, lamb, or even poultry like turkey or chicken mince.
  • Vegetable Additions: Enhance the onion mixture with chopped carrots, celery, or mushrooms for added flavor and texture.
  • Herb Alternatives: Opt for fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, or oregano in both the filling and potatoes for a more aromatic dish.
  • Cheese Varieties: Experiment with different cheeses such as mozzarella, parmesan, or gruyere for varied flavors and textures.
  • Extra Meatiness: Consider adding bacon bits, ham, or sausage to the filling for an additional layer of flavor and smokiness.

How do I store Nigella Cottage Pie Leftovers?

If you have any leftovers of Nigella cottage pie, you can store them in the fridge or freezer, by following these steps:


  • Let the cottage pie cool completely at room temperature.
  • Transfer the cottage pie to an airtight container, or cover the baking dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  • Refrigerate the cottage pie for up to 2 days.


  • Let the cottage pie cool completely at room temperature.
  • Cut the cottage pie into individual portions, and wrap each portion with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  • Place the wrapped portions in a freezer bag, and squeeze out the air.
  • Freeze the cottage pie for up to 3 months.

How do I reheat Nigella Cottage Pie Leftovers?

If you want to reheat Nigella cottage pie leftovers, you can do so in the oven or microwave, by following these steps:


  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (160 degrees C fan-forced).
  • Thaw the cottage pie in the fridge overnight, if frozen.
  • Place the cottage pie in a baking dish, and cover it with aluminum foil.
  • Bake the cottage pie for 30 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.
  • Remove the foil, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and crispy.


  • Thaw the cottage pie in the fridge overnight, if frozen.
  • Place the cottage pie in a microwave-safe dish, and cover it with a damp paper towel.
  • Microwave the cottage pie for 5 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.
  • Remove the paper towel, and microwave for another 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden.


  • Calories per serving: 693 kcal
  • Protein per serving: 32.5 g
  • Carbohydrates per serving: 51 g (of which 16.5 g sugars)
  • Fat per serving: 14 g (of which 6 g saturates)
  • Fiber per serving: 12 g
  • Salt per serving: 1.2 g

Nigella’s cottage pie recipe is a perfect example of how to make a simple and satisfying dish that is full of flavor and comfort.

It’s easy to make, with ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, and it’s sure to please the whole family. It’s also a great way to use up leftover roast meat or to make a big batch and freeze it for later. I hope you enjoyed this step-by-step guide on how to make Nigella’s cottage pie recipe, and I hope you will try it soon. Let me know how it turns out in the comments below. Happy cooking!

Leave a Reply