Main dish

Easy Cottage Pie Recipe with Crispy Tater Tots

Tasty easy cottage pie made with ground beef and cooked in a rich red wine and beef broth gravy. Top with tater tts for the ultimate dinner!

To recipe
2 plates with scoops of cottage pie and crispy tater tots
Recipe insights & TIPS

Ground beef in a rich tasty gravy and topped with crispy tater tots make this easy cottage pie a must have for dinner!

2 plates with scoops of cottage pie and crispy tater tots

Cottage pie is another recipe that falls under the comfort food category in life. Ground beef is cooked in a rich brown meaty gravy and usually topped with mashed potatoes. You'd be right if you noticed a similarity to shepherd's pie, but the difference is cottage pie is made with beef and shepherd's pie is made using ground lamb. Of course I decided to switch my pie up just a little and make things easier at the same time. Instead of using mashed potatoes for the topping, I decided to use tater tots. They're technically still potatoes but the crispiness gives them the edge over regular mash in my opinion.

Making this cottage pie recipe

With a few easy steps, this easy recipe is a great choice for dinner. It's also one that can be made ahead of time with all that needs to be done is to add the tater tots to the top and bake it in the oven. And less dishes are always better, that's why this is basically a one-pan recipe which begins by making a tasty base for the meat using red wine, beef broth and fresh herbs. Don't forget my secret ingredient which is soy sauce! This helps give an awesome deep flavor. I think you'll love this cottage pie recipe, and don't forget to try my shepherd's pie also!

tater tot covered cottage pie in a pan

FAQ's about this cottage pie recipe

Why is it called cottage pie? The recipe dates back to 18th century England where less fortunate people who lived in cottages would make this dish because potatoes were easy to come by.

Can cottage pie be frozen? Yes it can. Cover and freeze for up to 2 months. To reheat warm in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes from frozen or the internal temperature is 165 degrees F.

What size of pan do I need for this recipe? I'd recommend at least a ten-inch pan but a dutch oven pot would also work.

Do I need to thaw the tater tots before adding to the meat? No, the tater tots go straight from the freezer to the meat.

What can  serve with cottage pie? Any green vegetable on the side will work such as broccoli for green beans. Some warm crusty bread and salty butter would also be fantastic to mop up any leftover gravy.

  • To reheat leftovers, place the beef in a 350 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes. A microwave can also be used for quickness but the tater tots won’t be as crispy.
  • Switch out the ground beef for cauliflower and go for a lower barb version of cottage pie, or ground turkey for less fat.
  • Add grated cheese for an extra indulgent version of cottage pie.
  • This 9×13 inch pan will feed 6-8 people or 2 adults and 2 kids with leftovers for lunch the next day.
  • If you prefer the cottage pie gravy a little thicker, combine 1 tbsp of cornstarch with 1 tbsp water and add to the meat as it simmers, stirring it in. This is optional.
  • I like to use ground beef which is 70-30. This means it has 30% fat and is 70% lean. This is the cheapest type of ground beef but usually the most flavorful. Make sure to drain some of the fat from this recipe though or it can make the cottage pie gravy less thick and rich.
cottage pie with crispy tater tots on top on plates
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Enjoy the delicious taste of cottage pie with crispy tater tots

Main dish
50 minutes
Total TIME:
75 minutes
25 minutes


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ¼ cup Worcester sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2½ cups beef broth
  • 2 pounds bag frozen tater tots

Ingredient Swaps


  1. Preheat your oven to 375° F.
  2. In a large pan, heat the olive oil.
  3. Add the diced onion and carrot and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the beef and cook until no longer pink. Tilt the pan and try to drain as much liquid from the beef as possible.
  5. With the heat on medium-low, add the garlic, flour, tomato paste, oregano and thyme. Mix well.
  6. Pour the red wine into the pan and add the Worcester sauce, soy sauce, salt and black pepper and mix.
  7. Ad the broth and bring to a simmer cooking for about 20 minutes or until the beef has thickened.
  8. Transfer the beef to a 9×13 inch baking pan or oven safe casserole dish and spread out evenly.
  9. Carefully place the tater tots on top of the meat making sure to cover all of the beef. It's okay if they are piled on top of one another.
  10. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and teh tater totas are crispy and the meat is bubbling around the edges of the pan.
  11. Serve at once.
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