Air Fryer Cottage Pie

Enjoy a delicious twist on the classic cottage pie with our air fryer cottage pie recipe. A hearty dish with savoury mince and creamy mashed potatoes, all cooked to perfection in the air fryer. Try this easy and satisfying recipe for a comforting meal the whole family will love.

*This post may contain affiliate links to products I find useful when making this recipe. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.*

When I make air fryer recipes, I often try to make the whole thing, or as much as possible, in one basket inside the air fryer. 

This means there’s less to wash up, and you use less power. 

It works well for some things but not for others. Mac and Cheese and chilli work well.

I don’t recommend cooking the filling for this easy air fryer cottage pie in the air fryer. 

You can try; it will undoubtedly be faster. But personally, I think a cottage pie filling needs to simmer slowly on the hob to get that delicious rich gravy and nice soft carrots. 

So I cook the filling on the hob and brown it all in the air fryer instead of in the oven.

It still saves time and money, and you get a perfect air fryer cottage pie with a wonderfully golden and crispy cheesy top. 

Air Fryer Cottage Pie in basket. Bowl of peas to the side.

Why I Love Air Fryer Cottage Pie

Who doesn’t love cottage pie?! I love this air fryer cottage pie recipe because:

  • Using the air fryer saves time and money. 
  • Cottage pie is delicious, the perfect family comfort food. 
  • It’s one of my favourite midweek meals. 
  • When you cook cottage pie in the air fryer, you can a fantastically crisp cheese top that’s a bit different to baking it in the oven. 
served portion of cottage pie in white bowl. cooking dish and bowl of peas in the background.

Ingredients For Air Fryer Cottage Pie

Cooking Spray – Olive oil, vegetable oil, or other cooking oils are fine, too.

Onion 

Garlic Puree – You can swap for fresh garlic cloves, but I love a puree!

Minced Beef

Carrots 

Frozen Peas

Beef Stock

Tomato Puree

Henderson’s Relish – Other, similar relishes are also available. 

Mixed Herbs 

Salt and Pepper

Beef Gravy Granules – You can skip this, but it will take longer for your sauce to thicken, and I think it loses some of the lovely, rich, beefy flavours. 

White Potatoes – Something like Maris Piper of King Edwards that mash well. 

Butter – Or margarine.

Milk – I use semi-skimmed.

Salt and Pepper

Mature Cheddar Cheese 

ingredients for air fryer cottage pie on table.

You’ll Also Need

To make an air fryer cottage pie, you need a chopping board and a sharp knife to prepare your ingredients. 

Then you need a large, non-stick, flameproof pan and a spatula to cook the filling, and a potato peeler, saucepan and colander for the mash. 

You’ll also need a grater for the cheesy top. 

Then, to bake your cottage pie, you’ll need an air fryer and an appropriate dish. 

I use these silicon baskets (Affiliate Link), which I absolutely love. Silicon means that they are easy to clean, and these particular ones are deep enough for full meals.

They also have firm bottoms and long handles, so your meals hold their shape when you lift them out of the air fryer basket. 

I also recommend a food thermometer when cooking in an air fryer, to make sure the middle is a safe temperature.

I use one like this (affiliate link).

You can see all of my favourite air fryer cooking essentials here. (Affiliate link.)

Baked cottage pie with golden brown top in silicon basket.

How to Air Fry Cottage Pie – Step-by-Step Instructions

Full, easy-to-follow instructions and quantities are available in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step One

Mist a non-stick flameproof pan liberally with cooking spray and warm over medium heat on the hob.

I use a large frying pan, but any flameproof dish or pan is fine.

Step Two

Add the onions and fry for 10 minutes, stirring often. You want them really soft, so don’t be tempted to rush this bit. 

onions frying in pan.

Step Three

Stir through the garlic puree.

If you use puree, you can stir it in and move on to the next step. If you are using fresh garlic, cook it for a few minutes, stirring often, before adding the mince. 

Step Four

Add the mince and break it apart using your spatula or a fork. I use my spatula. 

Step Five 

Fry for 5 minutes until browned, stirring often.

This might take a little longer, depending on how big your pan is and how thin the layer of beef is. Just make sure it’s nice and brown. 

mince beef and onions frying in pan.

Step Six

Stir in the peas and carrots. I always add my peas now and massively overcook them. We like it like this! 

However, if you prefer your peas to have a little bite, you can add them for the last five minutes. 

mince beef, onions, carrots and peas in pan.

Step Seven

Pour in the stock and Henderson’s Relish, and add the tomato puree, mixed herbs, salt and pepper and gravy. 

Step Eight

Stir well. 

cottage pie mixture in pan.

Step Nine

Bring to a simmer and reduce the temperature if necessary. You want a nice, steady simmer, not a violent bubble. 

Step Ten 

Simmer for around 45 minutes, stirring often until the gravy is thick and the carrots soft.

Again, this might take longer or less, depending on the pan. 

cottage pie filling - mince, peas, onions and carrots in large frying pan.

Step Eleven

While your filling is cooking, prepare your mash. You can do this your own way if you prefer. This is just how I make mash. 

Step Twelve

Peel and dice the potatoes. They should be in 2cm chunks. 

Step Thirteen

Add to a pan of boiling water and cook for 20 minutes, carefully skimming off any foam that rises to the top with a spoon. 

Step Fourteen

Drain well, and return to the saucepan. 

Step Fifteen

Place over a very low heat and shake to toss for 1-2 minutes to remove excess water.

I actually turn the heat off and toss them on the still-warm hob; it’s enough. 

Step Sixteen

Remove from the heat. 

Step Seventeen

Add the milk, butter, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

You can skip the salt and pepper, but I love that bit of flavour. 

Step Eighteen 

Mash until smooth. Add a splash more milk or a little more butter if needed. 

mashed potato in saucepan.

Step Nineteen – How Long to Cook Cottage Pie in Air Fryer

Preheat the air fryer to 180 Degrees C and set for 10 minutes.

Step Twenty – Back to the Filling

When the mixture is done, remove it from the heat and carefully spoon it into a silicon air fryer basket or a casserole dish that fits and is appropriate for your air fryer. 

I use a basket with long handles that’s easy to get in and out. It’s also reasonably deep for a nice big pie.

What you use will depend on your air fryer’s size, but I recommend something deep for this particular recipe. It’s a thick layer of mash!

cottage pie filling in silicon air fryer basket.

Step Twenty-One

Spoon on the mashed potato and spread evenly. If you want, you can pipe it on nice and neat, but I spoon it on. 

mash top in silicon air fryer basket.

Step Twenty-Two

Sprinkle over the grated cheese. I use quite a bit.

You can use less if you want, just a nice layer on top. 

cheese topped mash in silicon air fryer basket.

Step Twenty-Three

Add to the preheated air fryer drawer and air fry for 10 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.

Everything is cooked and warm, so you just need to brown the top. You can air fry for a little longer if needed. 

unbaked cheese topped cottage pie in silicon air fryer basket, in the air fryer drawer.

Top Tips

This is a really simple recipe, and the detailed instructions above contain plenty of tips.

Just remember – Your filling doesn’t want to be dry.

You should simmer until there’s a nice thick sauce, but not so long that it’s all simmered away and your beef is dry. 

served portion of cottage pie in white bowl.

Serving Suggestions

You don’t need to serve your cottage pie with anything.

It’s got meat, veg, gravy and potato. It’s got everything you need in a midweek family dinner. 

However, you can serve it with extra veggies, some gravy and some bread and butter if you want extras or are serving more people and want to make it go further. 

served portion of cottage pie in white bowl.

Variations

The main variation is the meat. You can make this recipe with lamb mince if you prefer a Shepherd’s pie. 

You can also make it with chunks of leftover lamb or beef, as long as they’ve been stored correctly and are piping hot when you serve. 

Air Fryer Cottage Pie in basket. Bowl of peas to the side.

Leftovers

Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave for a few minutes or using the reheat setting on your air fryer if you have one.

How long for will depend on how much you have left. 

If there’s not much, I highly recommend serving with bread and butter for cottage pie sandwiches. 

Storage

Store leftover airfryer cottage pie by removing it from the cooking dish to cool on the side in a clean tub or bowl (for no longer than two hours) and then covering and refrigerating for up to two days. 

You can freeze leftover air fryer cottage pie for up to two months, thawing overnight in the fridge before cooking. 

Air Fryer Cottage Pie in basket. Bowl of peas and served portion to the sides.

FAQ

Can You Bake Cottage Pie in an Air Fryer?

Yes, you can bake cottage pie in the air fryer. Set your machine to 180 degrees C for 10 minutes.

Can You Cook Cottage Pie Filling in an Air Fryer?

I don’t recommend cooking the filling in the air fryer. This is best cooked on the hob.

How Long to Air Fry Cottage Pie?

Ary fry cottage pie for 10 minutes.

What is the Difference Between Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie?

Cottage pie is made with beef, and shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. This is because shepherds keep lambs, not cottages. Use lamb mince if you want an air fryer shepherd’s pie.

Can You Make this Cottage Pie in Advance?

You can make the filling and mash and build your pie before keeping it in the fridge to bake later. Remember, you’ll be baking it from cold, so it will take longer. I’d try 15 minutes at 180 degrees C before adding the cheese and baking for a further 15 minutes.

Can You Cook Cottage Pie in Ninja Dual Air Fryer?

You can make cottage pie in ninja air fryer using this recipe. But bear in mind if you have a dual fryer, you may have to use smaller dishes, so you may have to either bake in two batches or adjust this recipe accordingly.

Can You Reheat Cottage Pie in Air Fryer?

Yes, you can reheat cottage pie in the air fryer. If your machine has a reheat setting, use this; if not, place it in a suitable basket or dish and air fry at 150 degrees C until piping hot. Start at 10 minutes, but remember, it will take longer depending on how much you’ve got left. 

Is This a Healthy Air Fryer Cottage Pie?

Cottage pie is filling, comforting and filled with nutrition. But it’s also calorific and high in fat. It’s not unhealthy but should be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.

served portion of cottage pie in white bowl.

Other Air Fryer Recipes 

Other air fryer recipes you might enjoy include:

Recipe Card

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A delicious twist on the classic cottage pie with our air fryer cottage pie recipe. A hearty dish with savoury mince and creamy mashed potatoes, all cooked to perfection in the air fryer. Try this easy and satisfying recipe for a comforting meal the whole family will love.

Air Fryer Cottage Pie


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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Donna Dundas
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Portions 1x
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Description

Comforting Cottage Pie is a classic family dinner, and baking it in the air fryer means it’s ready in no time!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1/2 Onion (Finely Diced)
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Puree
  • 500g Minced beef
  • 4 Medium Carrots (Peeled and sliced)
  • 125g Frozen Peas
  • 500ml Beef Stock
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Puree
  • Big Splash Henderson’s Relish
  • 1 Tablespoon Mixed Herbs
  • Pinch Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Beef Gravy Granules

For the Topping:

  • 1kg White Potatoes (Something like Maris Piper of King Edwards that mash well)
  • 80g Butter
  • 100ml Semi-skimmed Milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 100g Mature Cheddar Cheese (Grated)

Instructions

  1. Mist a non-stick flameproof pan liberally with cooking spray and warm over medium heat on the hob.
  2. Add the onions and fry for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Stir through the garlic puree (if using fresh garlic, fry for 2-3 minutes).
  4. Add the mince and break it apart using your spatula or a fork.
  5. Fry for 5 minutes until browned, stirring often.
  6. Stir in the peas and carrots.
  7. Pour in the stock and Relish, and add the tomato puree, mixed herbs, salt and pepper and gravy.
  8. Stir well.
  9. Bring to a simmer and reduce the temperature if necessary.
  10. Simmer for around 45 minutes, stirring often until the gravy is thick and the carrots soft.
  11. While your filling is cooking, prepare your mash.
  12. Peel and dice the potatoes.
  13. Add to a pan of boiling water and cook for 20 minutes, carefully skimming off any foam that rises to the top with a spoon.
  14. Drain well, and return to the saucepan.
  15. Place over a very low heat and shake to toss for 1-2 minutes to remove excess water.
  16. Remove from the heat.
  17. Add the milk, butter, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  18. Mash until smooth.
  19. Preheat the air fryer to 180 Degrees C and set for 10 minutes.
  20. When the beef mixture is done, remove it from the heat and carefully spoon it into a silicon air fryer basket or a casserole dish that fits and is appropriate for use in your air fryer.
  21. Spoon on the mashed potato and spread evenly.
  22. Sprinkle over the grated cheese.
  23. Add to the preheated air fryer drawer and air fry for 10 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.

Notes

  • You could also use 2 cloves fresh garlic, and whole milk.
  • Read the post above for more tips and advice.
  • Prep Time: 1 hours
  • Additional Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Air Fryer Recipes
  • Cuisine: British

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 916kcal
  • Sugar: 11g
  • Sodium: 964mg
  • Fat: 48g
  • Saturated Fat: 24g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 18g
  • Trans Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 71g
  • Fiber: 9g
  • Protein: 52g
  • Cholesterol: 181mg

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Any nutritional information is given as a general guide only and may not be accurate. The information is provided using an online calculator and is specific to my ingredients. Please make your own calculations if you want precise information. 

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Author
Donna Dundas
Donna Dundas is an experienced family food blogger who has been creating easy and wholesome recipes for over 7 years. Her blog is a must-read for anyone looking for filling and delicious recipe ideas, that reduce waste and minimise stress.

3 thoughts on “Air Fryer Cottage Pie”

  1. I have been looking for a silicon pan like that but I only see ones with whimpy little handles that I had to buy. Where did you get yours may I ask. I am cooking mine tonight.






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