Turkey Cottage Pie Recipe

Although English cuisine may, unfairly, have a bit of a bad rap when it comes to flavor, there is no denying that the Brits know how to make hearty food — and they are very good at it. The meat and mashed potato genre of pie is very popular in England. In fact, whichever way you can think of to combine these two ingredients, there is very likely a town or province that has already done it. There are plentiful well-known British dishes made using this combination, such as Lancashire hotpot or shepherd's pie, both of which are made with potatoes and lamb in a meaty stew. 

Cottage pie, a close cousin of shepherd's pie, is traditionally made with ground beef. It is both comforting and well-loved, and combines stewed minced beef with fluffy and soft mashed potatoes that are topped with cheddar cheese; it really is a match made in heaven. Rather whimsically named, cottage pie makes the perfect companion for chilly autumn days and cold winter nights.

In this take on the English classic, recipe developer Jennine Rye has swapped out the ground beef for ground turkey. It's a great and different way to use this often underutilized meat, making for a leaner meal with just as much flavor. While turkey can end up being quite dry in certain dishes, because of the way the ground meat is stewed in this dish, it keeps it wonderfully juicy and tender. 

Gather the ingredients for this turkey cottage pie recipe

To begin this recipe for turkey cottage pie, you will need to gather the ingredients. For the meat stew, you will want some ground turkey, mushrooms, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, red wine, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée, flour, dried thyme, and a bay leaf. For the mash topping, you'll need potatoes, butter, milk, and some nutmeg. Lastly, you'll definitely want some mature (sharp) cheddar cheese to top off this cottage pie.

Sauté the veggies and ground turkey

Start by sautéing the onions, celery, and carrots for a while to soften them. Once they are soft, add the turkey to the pan. Ground turkey can be at risk of being a little under-flavored, so it's important to season it well at this stage with salt and pepper. You'll want to make sure the meat is nicely browned before moving on to the next stage, as this will add more meaty flavor to the turkey and make for a more tasty resulting dish.

Add the liquids and stew

Once the turkey is nicely browned, add in the chopped mushrooms and sauté for a minute or two before stirring in the flour, then adding the liquid ingredients to the stew. Add the tomato purée, the red wine, the beef stock, and the Worcestershire sauce, along with a bay leaf and some dried thyme. With all the ingredients added in, simmer the pan over low heat for at least 45 minutes to allow flavors to develop and fuse together.

Optionally add marmite

At this stage, you have a decision to make: to add marmite, or not to add marmite? Whether you've tried it or not, you'll likely have heard of marmite. In England, it has become a byword for something people either love or hate. No one is on the fence about Marmite. Rye adds this decisive ingredient to her pie, reassuring us that the inclusion of this deeply savory umami ingredient doesn't take over the whole dish, it just adds depth and richness to the turkey which would ordinarily be provided by ground beef. Whether you choose to add it or not is up to you!

Prepare the mash

Before assembling the cottage pie, you'll need to make the mashed potato. To do this, simply peel and slice the potatoes, and boil them until they are soft. Drain away the water and let them sit for a few minutes to allow for the potatoes to release as much water as possible. The drier the resulting mash, the better the mashed potato is when used as a pie topping. Then, return them to the saucepan with the butter, milk, and nutmeg, and get mashing.

Assemble the cottage pie

With all the constituent parts ready, it's time to assemble the pie. Using a large ovenproof dish, layer in the ingredients, starting with the ground turkey stew mixture. Then scoop the mashed potato over the meat layer, making sure that it fully covers the turkey stew below. Finally, top the whole thing off with grated cheddar cheese and bake the cottage pie until the cheesy top is starting to turn an irresistible shade of golden brown. This should take around half an hour, baking at 350 F. Once ready, serve it up hot. Rye recommends completing the English feel by pairing the pie with fresh garden peas. Delicious!

Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container and should be consumed within 3 days.

Turkey Cottage Pie Recipe
5 from 23 ratings
In this take on the English classic, ground beef has been swapped out for ground turkey making for a leaner meal with just as much flavor.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Turkey cottage pie
Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • ⅔ cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 pounds potatoes
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Optional Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon marmite
  1. Heat up a large, deep frying pan to a medium heat. Add the oil and then the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic cloves. Sauté for 10 to 12 minutes until softening.
  2. Add the ground turkey to the pan and continue to sauté it along with the vegetables, until it is beginning to brown.
  3. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook for a minute or two longer, before adding the flour. Stir this in.
  4. Add the tomato purée, red wine, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, dried thyme, and optionally, the marmite. Mix everything in and then let the turkey mince simmer for 45 minutes, occasionally stirring.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  6. Peel the potatoes, slice them, and then boil them. Once soft, drain them and return them to the saucepan.
  7. Add the butter, milk, and nutmeg to the potatoes, along with salt and pepper, to taste, and then use a masher to mash the potatoes.
  8. Transfer the turkey mixture to an oven proof dish, and then heap the mashed potato on top, creating a layer that completely covers the meat stew.
  9. Top the mashed potato with a layer of cheddar cheese, and then place the cottage pie in to the oven to bake for 30 minutes, until the top is golden.
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