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Hearty Pot Roast Cottage Pie Recipe – Simple & Savory Comfort

This easy cottage pie recipe has a unique twist. Instead of traditional ground beef, it’s made with pot roast, mixed with a flavorful gravy and topped with fluffy mashed potatoes for a decadent flavor, good enough for company!

Cottage pie in a white baking dish.

Have you been craving a comforting and delicious meal that will warm you from the inside out? Look no further than this amazing pot roast cottage pie recipe. This dish combines the tender goodness of pot roast, the rich flavors of gravy, and the creamy perfection of mashed potatoes. Trust me, it’s a match made in comfort food heaven!

Let’s dive right in and discover how to create this comforting masterpiece in your own kitchen.

Why I Love This Recipe

This recipe is unexpectedly easy since it is made with leftover pot roast, cutting down the cooking time dramatically. Unlike a cottage pie made with ground meat, this dish feels richer. In fact, the final result feels downright indulgent – perfect for company or a special occasion.

If you’re like me and don’t often have leftovers (especially pot roast!), just throw an extra roast into your slow cooker to shred, portion, and freeze for this recipe. You’ll be glad you did!

To make this recipe even more practical, you can substitute the pot roast for ground beef and whip this up in no time. It’s great for a “clean out the refrigerator” night when you need to use up vegetables about to go bad. The delicious recipe combinations are endless, and we’ve tried many!

Vegetables and pot roast in a cast iron pan.

Cottage Pie vs. Shepherd’s Pie

Technically speaking, the difference between a cottage pie and a shepherd’s pie is the meat. A cottage pie uses ground beef, and a shepherd’s pie uses ground lamb (because a Shepherd tends sheep).

Both pies are typically cooked with vegetables and a gravy, then topped with mashed potatoes and baked in the oven.

If you want to make a shepherd’s pie, just swap out the pot roast in this recipe for ground lamb (or leftover lamb roast, yum!) and you’re all set.

Variations for Cottage Pie

  • Shepherd’s Pie: Swap out the pot roast for ground lamb and you’ve got yourself a Shepherd’s pie.
  • Vegetarian: Sometimes, when trying to be frugal, many families opt for a “meatless Monday.” This recipe would be delicious even without the meat. Simply double the vegetables and add a cup of cooked rice, barley or farro to bulk up the meal. For true vegetarians, be sure to use vegetarian broth.
  • Gluten-Free: If you need to avoid gluten, use one tablespoon of cornstarch in place of the flour.
Freeze dried potatoes on a freeze dryer tray.

Can You Make This Dish Ahead?

That’s the beauty of this pot roast cottage pie. It works best when made with leftover pot roast. You can also make the mashed potatoes ahead and store them in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the pie. Or use freeze-dried mashed potatoes (pictured above), that works like a dream!

When you’re ready to eat, assemble the pie, rewarm or rehydrate the mashed potatoes (using a little extra milk helps keep them to be soft and spreadable). Then, follow the recipe for assembling and baking.

Freezing Instructions

One of our favorite things is to batch-prep freezer meals (like this easy freezer meatloaf and quick chicken casserole). To batch prep cottage pie, follow the directions until ready to bake. Then, allow the cottage pie to cool, cover with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze for up to two months.

When ready to eat, thaw completely before baking and then bake until warmed through.

Homesteading Hack: For a lazy method, pop it directly into the oven and just add to the bake time. I like to use an instant-read thermometer to tell me when it’s ready. Do be careful with your bakeware choices, glass or ceramic casserole pans may crack if placed into a hot oven. I like to place the frozen pan into a cold oven and let everything warm up together slowly.

Ingredients needed for a cottage pie on a counter.

Homemade Cottage Pie Recipe

Ingredients Needed

To make this hearty cottage pie, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Butter – We love using our homemade butter!
  • Onions – Because we grow onions from seed and store our onions for the entire year, this is a great recipe for using them up. We also love using freeze-dried onions for this recipe.
  • Garlic – In our opinion, garlic and onions are a must for nearly every savory dish, and this one is no exception. For you garlic lovers, feel free to increase the amount of garlic used.
  • Carrots – Carrots, onions and celery are a winning combination every time.
  • Celery – Our favorite tip for always having celery on hand is to freeze-dry it. However, if you have celery that’s about to go bad, dice it up and toss it in a zip-top freezer bag. Then, grab it out by the handful for recipes like this.
  • Gravy – When we make pot roast at home, I typically make homemade gravy to drizzle over the top, then use the leftovers for this dish. If you don’t have leftover gravy on hand, there are instructions to make a gravy in the recipe below. Or you can use the gravy recipe from this post or my quick and easy pan sauce recipe. We recommend a gravy that’s rich and flavorful, typically made with beef broth.
  • Flour – For an extra thick gravy, add an additional tablespoon of flour to the sauce. If you’re gluten-free, use cornstarch or tapioca starch instead.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – We may not be able to pronounce it, but the flavor it adds is a winner in this dish.
  • Red Wine (optional) – Adding a splash of red wine deepens the flavors of this recipe. Don’t worry, the alcohol cooks out, and you’re left with the incredible flavor. Any old red wine will do. I recommend using something you enjoy drinking because you won’t use the whole bottle for this recipe.
  • Dried Thyme – I love having my own dried culinary herbs or freeze-dried herbs on hand for cooking. Learn how to grow and preserve thyme here.
  • Leftover Pot Roast – As I mentioned above, if you’re not often left with many leftovers after a pot roast dinner, just make up an extra one at the same time! Or, for batch cooking, make two or three and stock your freezer with meals.
  • Frozen Peas – Any additional frozen vegetables will work for this dish. Peas are traditionally used. Feel free to use up whatever you have in your refrigerator or freezer.
  • Mashed Potatoes – No cottage pie would be complete without fluffy mashed potatoes slathered all over the top. Be sure to use plenty of butter and cream in your mashed potatoes so they’re soft and fluffy after baking. For a fun twist, make mashed sweet potatoes to spread on top!
  • Salt & Pepper – Is it even dinner if you don’t season it to taste with salt and pepper? You know us; we love our Redmond Real Salt. (Use coupon code “HFSalt” for 15% off your order using that link!)

Now that you have all the ingredients ready, let’s proceed with the step-by-step preparation process.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven, heat three tablespoons of butter over medium heat until melted. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes.
  3. If making gravy specifically for this recipe: add flour to the vegetables, stir for 1 minute, then add the remaining gravy ingredients and simmer until thick.
  4. If using leftover gravy: add it to the cooked vegetables and mix well.
  5. Add Worcestershire sauce, wine (if using), dried thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. 
  6. Gently stir in leftover pot roast and peas until fully incorporated.
  7. Top pot roast mixture with mashed potatoes. The thickness of the potatoes is to your preference.
  8. Brush the top of the potatoes with one tablespoon of melted butter. 
  9. Put the cottage pie in the oven for 25 minutes, until gravy begins to bubble around the edges of the potatoes. If you want the top of the pie browner, place it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes.
  10. Remove cottage pie from the oven, allow it to rest for a few minutes and serve while still hot.
Cottage pie in a white baking dish.

Serving Suggestions

Now that your cottage pie is ready, it’s time to serve and enjoy! The great thing about this recipe is it’s a complete meal. However, if you feel like adding a little something extra, here are our favorite serving suggestions:

  • Serve the cottage pie with a side of steamed vegetables or a fresh garden salad for a well-balanced meal.
  • Drizzle additional gravy over the top of the cottage pie for extra flavor and moisture.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs like chopped parsley or thyme to add a pop of color and freshness.

Before serving, it’s important to let the cottage pie rest for a minute. This allows the flavors to meld together, creating a harmonious and mouth-watering experience. As you take that first bite, you’ll be rewarded with a delightful combination of tender pot roast, creamy mashed potatoes, and a medley of savory flavors.

This hearty pot roast cottage pie recipe is the epitome of comfort food. The combination of flavors, inspired by the classic shepherd’s pie, along with the rich and savory gravy, creates a dish that is sure to warm your heart and satisfy your taste buds.

Cottage pie in a white baking dish.

Tips for Making Cottage Pie

There are a couple of important tips to know about when making this pot roast cottage pie. One, it’s easy for the mashed potatoes to sink into the cottage pie mixture while baking. If you want to avoid this, make the filling and then chill it before baking.

Once the filling is cooled, you can layer it into the casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes.

The next tip is to make sure your gravy is nice and thick. Having a thin or watery gravy makes it easier for the mashed potatoes to sink into the filling.

Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below. Then snap a photo of your pot roast cottage pie and tag us on social media @homesteadingfamily so we can see!

Black bean enchiladas in a casserole dish.

More Recipes You May Enjoy

Cottage pie in a white baking dish.

Pot Roast Cottage Pie

This easy cottage pie recipe has a unique twist. Instead of traditional ground beef, it’s made with pot roast, mixed with a flavorful gravy and topped with fluffy mashed potatoes for a decadent flavor, good enough for company!
No ratings yet
Print Pin
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: English
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 287kcal
Author: Carolyn Thomas

Equipment

  • Large Sauce Pan
  • 9×13 Baking Dish
  • Wooden spoon
  • spatula
  • Knife & Cutting Board

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 whole onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 large carrots chopped small
  • 2 large celery stalks chopped small
  • 2 1/2 cups gravy see gravy ingredients below if making from scratch
  • 1 Tablespoon flour or cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • splash red wine optional
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups pot roast
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 cups mashed potatoes

Ingredients for Gravy

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon flour or cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven, heat three tablespoons of butter over medium heat until melted. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes.
  • If making gravy specifically for this recipe: add flour to the vegetables, stir for 1 minute, then add the remaining gravy ingredients and simmer until thick.
  • If using leftover gravy: add it to the cooked vegetables and mix well.
  • Add one tablespoon of flour, Worcestershire sauce, wine (if using), dried thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Gently stir in leftover pot roast and peas until fully incorporated.
  • Top pot roast mixture with mashed potatoes. The thickness of the potatoes is to your preference.
  • Brush the top of the potatoes with one tablespoon of melted butter.
  • Put the cottage pie in the oven for 25 minutes, until gravy begins to bubble around the edges of the potatoes. If you want the top of the pie browner, place it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove cottage pie from the oven, allow it to rest for a few minutes and serve while still hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 287kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 730mg | Potassium: 826mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3332IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.
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