Warm, hearty, and weeknight-friendly cottage pie topped with melty Irish cheddar cheese and potato puffs! The potato puffs become crispy and crunchy in the oven and the cheese gets all melty and delicious! The perfect warm and cozy meal!

baked potato puff cottage pie in cast iron skillet

This recipe is sponsored by our friends over at Alexia. We’re using their high-quality Crispy Seasoned Potato Puffs with Roasted Garlic & Cracked Black Pepper to make this delicious Cottage Pie recipe.

Are you getting all the cozy vibes from this easy dinner recipe?

A delicious beef and veggie base, scented with onions, garlic, herbs, and spices. Topped with melty Irish cheddar cheese and extra crispy potato puffs! There’s no need to make mashed potatoes from scratch here; Alexia’s Potato Puffs make this meal weeknight-friendly and add a delicious crunchy texture! But guess what? I haven’t even told you the best part yet! It’s made entirely in one skillet or dutch oven as long as you have one that’s oven-safe.

Hubby has already declared this one of his all-time favorite dinner recipes, and I’m hoping you get that kind of response when you make it too!

What is the difference between Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie?

A Cottage Pie is similar to a Shepherd’s Pie as it contains most of the same ingredients and is topped with a potato crust. The main difference between a Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie is the meat that is used. Cottage Pie is made using ground beef, whereas Shepherd’s Pie is made with ground lamb. 

wooden spoon lifting filling in skillet with potato puffs

What ingredients do you need to make Cottage Pie?

  • Oil: I usually prefer to use lean ground beef to keep things lighter for my cottage pie recipe. You’ll need a drizzle of oil to saute both the ground beef and the veggies.
  • Ground beef: If you use ground beef with higher fat content, drip off all but a tablespoon of grease before sauteing the veggies – easy peasy!
  • Mirepoix: Mirepoix is the French word for chopped onions, carrots, and celery. We’re using equal parts of each of those ingredients for today’s pie.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic helps add more flavor to the pie base.
  • Seasonings and Sauces: We’re using a few seasonings like ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and Italian seasoning to flavor the pie. The cinnamon and nutmeg really make this a warm and homey pie! Feel free to omit them if you aren’t a fan; I’d never make cottage pie or shepherd’s pie without them! We’ll also use tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce to add depth of flavor. Bay leaves lend a delicious earthy flavor as the pie base simmers. And cornstarch is used to help thicken the base of the pie.
  • Beef Stock: The beef stock ties all the flavors of this pie together. In a pinch, chicken stock would work well. If you use chicken stock, add two teaspoons of low sodium soy sauce. It brings out more umami flavor in the beef.
  • Peas: I used frozen peas for this recipe. Defrost them on the counter or in the microwave before tossing them in.
  • Cheddar Cheese: I specifically like to use Irish cheddar cheese for this recipe. You can use an aged cheddar or one that is mild; either would work for this recipe.
  • Alexia Crispy Seasoned Potato Puffs: I used one whole bag in a 10 ½ inch skillet. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need more or less.
ingredients on white board to make shepherd's pie

How to make Cottage Pie on a weeknight:

  1. Sauté it all. You want to make this in an oven-safe skillet so that you can go directly from the stove to the oven. Add a drizzle of oil to the skillet, cook, and crumble the ground beef until most of the beat browns. Drain any excess grease from the pan other than about a tablespoon. Add the mirepoix, a pinch of salt, and continue to cook until the veggies soften. Then, season with minced garlic and tomato paste. You want the tomato paste to really coat the meat and toast. Then, season with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch. Stir to distribute the ingredients evenly. Add in the Worcestershire, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, beef stock, and just let it come up to a simmer.
  2. Simmer and preheat. At this point, you want to preheat the oven so that it’s nice and hot when your casserole is done simmering. Cover the cottage pie mixture when it reaches a simmer, and lower the heat to low. This is where all those flavors will mingle and develop. Once that’s done, remove the bay leaves, stir in the peas, and taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.
  3. Let it bake. Now that the filling is done, all you have to do is top it with shredded cheese and Alexia’s Crispy Seasoned Potato Puffs. You can decorate with the puffs however you like! Bake until the potato puffs and golden, crispy, and cooked through.
skillet with cottage pie filling topped with frozen potato puffs

FAQs about homemade Cottage Pie:

  1. What if I don’t have an oven-safe pan? No worries! You can make the filling then transfer it to any 3-quart oven-safe baking dish.
  2. How do I reheat leftovers? You can reheat leftover cottage pie in any oven-safe dish. I preheat the oven to 300ºF and then heat the pie for 20-30 minutes depending on how much is leftover.
  3. Can I use another variety of Potato Puffs? I like to use the kind listed because they’re seasoned with roasted garlic and cracked black pepper (yum!) You could also use Alexia Crispy Sweet Potato Puffs (they would add a yummy sweetness to the recipe) or Alexia Organic Yukon Select Puffs. Heads up – you might need a little over a bag if you use the Organic Yukon Select Puffs.
  4. I’m not sure about the ground cinnamon and nutmeg. What if I left them out? You can certainly leave those ingredients out if you feel they may not be to your liking. Just use a little onion powder and garlic powder in place. Say, ¼ teaspoon of each!

I hope you’ll give this deliciously warm and comforting meal a try!

speckled bowl with beef casserole with cast iron skillet on white board

A big thank you to our friends over at Alexia for sponsoring this post. We love working with companies that make good, wholesome products! As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Yield: Serves 4-5

One Pan Weeknight Cottage Pie with Potato Puffs

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Warm, hearty, and weeknight-friendly cottage pie topped with melty Irish cheddar cheese and potato puffs! The potato puffs become crispy and crunchy in the oven and the cheese gets all melty and delicious! The perfect warm and cozy meal!

One Pan Weeknight Cottage Pie with Potato Puffs


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 3 cups mirepoix (equal parts chopped onions, carrots, and celery)
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ¾ cup beef stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 cup shredded Irish cheddar cheese
  • 1 bag (19 ounce) Alexia Crispy Seasoned Potato Puffs


    1. SAUTE: Heat the oil in a large, oven-safe 10 ½-11 inch skillet or 3-quart Dutch oven (or larger) over medium-high heat. If you don’t have an oven-safe pan, you can simply transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish before baking. Add the ground beef and crumble the meat using a wooden spoon. Cook for 2-4 minutes or until most of the meat browns, drain any excess grease leaving just 1 tablespoon. Add the mirepoix and season the veggies with a small pinch of salt. Allow the veggies to cook down until the onions are translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add the minced garlic and let cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and allow it to coat all the ingredients in the skillet. When it smells toasty, sprinkle the ground meat mixture with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch. Stir to combine and let cook for 15 seconds before adding the Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, and beef stock. Scrape the skillet using the wooden spoon to loosen anything that may be stuck on - that’s all flavor!
    2. SIMMER: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF. Allow the beef mixture to come to a simmer before reducing the heat to just above low, cover, and let it simmer for 10-13 minutes or until the liquid thickens to a gravy-like thickness that coats the beef and veggies. Remove the bay leaves, stir in the peas, taste, and adjust with salt and pepper as desired.
    3. BAKE: At this point, if your pan isn’t oven-safe, transfer the cottage pie mixture to a 3-quart greased baking dish. Top with shredded Irish cheddar and lay the potato puffs out in a single layer over the cheese. Bake the cottage pie for 20-25 minutes or until the potato puffs are golden brown, crispy, and cooked through. Let cool for several minutes before serving.

Have you made this recipe?

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below. You can also share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #LITTLESPICEJAR, I'd love to see what you made!