The answer is a firm yes. You can absolutely freeze your cottage pie. Whether it is your leftover cottage pie or if you are just making it ahead of time.
This was great news to me, since my family loves enjoying cottage pie whenever there is any family gathering or celebration.
What is cottage pie?
It resembles Shepherd’s pie to a great extent, except it is made of minced beef instead of lamb, mixed with gravy filled with onions, vegetables, and a layer of mashed potatoes on top. Everything is baked till the layer of potatoes turns golden brown.
I like to make mine with leftover roast beef instead of minced beef. However, both options results in an amazing dinner pie, perfect for any occasion or get-together.
How To Freeze Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie
Both cottage pie and Shepherd’s Pie can be frozen following the same steps, which I am going to go over in just a minute. But, before we do so, it is worth noting that cooling your pie before freezing is the most important step.
You can either leave your pie to cool to at least room temperature on the counter or you can speed up the process by placing the pan with the pie inside a cooling water bath. Make sure the water doesn’t come in contact with the pie.
Cutting your pie into portions can also fasten the process of cooling. In addition to the fact that it allows you to just take out the portion you would normally eat out of the freezer instead of the whole pie, and makes the defrosting process a bit easier.
- Once your cottage pie cools down to at least room temperature, place it on an aluminum tray, freezer-safe container, or Tupperware box. You can also tightly double-wrap each individual piece or the whole pie in cling film.
- Label the container with the cottage pie inside with the date of freezing and the contents of the container so that it is easy for you to distinguish it from all the other food in the freezer.
- Place the container in the freezer.
How long can cottage pie stay in the freezer?
Cottage pie can last in the freezer for up to 3 months if you follow the previously mentioned steps.
How To Defrost Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie?
I highly recommend allowing your cottage pie/Shepherd’s pie to slowly thaw overnight in the fridge. All you have got to do is to just move the pie from the freezer to the fridge and let it do its thing. The smaller the pie portions, the less time it would take to completely defrost. Whole pies could take almost 48 hours to defrost.
I know some people will prefer to just go right ahead and reheat the pie directly without first defrosting it. But personally, I find this results in a rather dry and burnt up pie with a cool center, instead of a tender and piping hot pie.
Can you freeze cottage pie made with frozen mince?
Yup. You certainly can since minced meat in cottage pie is previously cooked before it is baked with the pie. That’s why freezing minced meat won’t pose a problem relating to its safety when eaten.
Can You Freeze Shepherd’s pie?
Yes. Same as cottage pie.