Recipe – Cottage Pie for Two

This Easy Cottage Pie is a perfect dinner for two or three people. The ground beef filling, made entirely from scratch, is rich and a little tangy, with a hint of sweetness from the carrots and the onions. It’s so good that you’ll want to eat it with a spoon before it even goes into the oven. And the potato topping is buttery and creamy and glorious.

Course Dinner

Cuisine American

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 45 minutes

Resting Time 10 minutes

Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Servings 2 to 3 servings

Calories 438 kcal

Author Tracy


Special Equipment

  • 7×5-inch Baking Dish

Potato Topping

  • 1 large russet potato* chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (1oz) butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream
  • 1 large egg yolk

Ground Beef Filling

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot diced
  • 1 garlic clove pressed or minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup or tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas


  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F and lightly grease a 7×5-inch baking dish. Set aside.

Start Your Potatoes

  1. Place chopped potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring potatoes to a simmer and cook until fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, cover, and set aside.

Make the Filling

  1. While your potatoes cook, in a medium skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef until well-browned, breaking up the meat as you go. Drain fat and transfer hamburger to a plate. 
  2. Return the pan to the stove and heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and carrot and cook until the onions begin to soften and turn translucent around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in flour and ketchup/tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in hamburger, peas, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture into your prepared baking dish, smooth into an even layer, and set aside.

Finish Potatoes

  1. Use a fork or potato masher to mash potatoes until smooth. Add butter and stir until butter is completely incorporated. Repeat with the milk/cream—salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add the egg yolk and stir until well-combined. Spoon potatoes over your meat mixture and spread evenly over the top. If your dish is very full, place it on a baking sheet to catch any drips while it cooks.
  2. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes are lightly golden. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving, and enjoy!