Cottage Pie with Potato Crust Recipe

Prepared mashed potatoes will help you whip up this classic Cottage Pie with Potato Crust recipe with ease. You can even make up a double batch so you can freeze half for later. Simply prepare through step three, then wrap the top of the casserole dish in aluminum foil before popping into the freezer. You'll want to allow it to thaw completely in the fridge, a process that will likely take 24 hours. In order to avoid excessive browning, add a shield of aluminum foil to the top for the last 25 minutes of baking. For testing purposes, we used Simply Potatoes frozen mashed potatoes from Crystal Farms, but you can use your favorite frozen variety.

Shepherd's Pie with Mashed Potato Crust Image
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Margaret Monroe Dickey; Prop Styling: Cindy Barr
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
8 serves


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground round

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1⁄2 (8-oz.) pkg. fresh mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed

  • 4 teaspoons beef bouillon granules

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 1 (14 1⁄2-oz.) can stewed tomatoes

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 (24-oz.) container frozen mashed potatoes


  1. Brown beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove beef from skillet using a slotted spoon; reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Reduce heat to medium.

  2. Sauté onion, mushrooms, and garlic in hot drippings over medium heat 10 to 11 minutes or until tender. Stir in ground beef, peas, and next 4 ingredients. Sprinkle flour over meat mixture. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, and vinegar, breaking up large tomato pieces with a spoon. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove bay leaf. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased 3-quart ovenproof skillet or baking dish.

  3. Prepare mashed potatoes according to package directions; let cool. Spoon cooled potatoes over beef mixture in skillet, smoothing gently with back of spoon.

  4. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


For testing purposes only, we used Simply Potatoes frozen mashed potatoes from Crystal Farms.

To make ahead: Prepare recipe as directed through Step 3. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Freeze up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator 24 hours. Bake at 400°F for 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated, shielding with aluminum foil after 25 minutes to prevent excessive browning.

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