What To Serve With Cottage Pie: 11 Best Sides

September 14, 2021
what to serve with cottage pie

If you’re on the hunt for inspiration for what to serve with cottage pie, I’ve got you covered right here. 

This dish is a warming bowlful of goodness, and it’s one of those meals that just make you think of home. It’s most enjoyable on a rainy day, snuggled in front of the TV and knowing that you don’t have to venture out anywhere! 

If you’re planning to add cottage pie to your upcoming meal plan, you might be thinking about side dishes or little extras you can add. 

Before we get down to it though, it might be worthwhile to consider what doesn’t work so well when it comes to what to serve with cottage pie! 

Firstly, remember that you’ve already got a serving of mashed potato included in your main dish. This means that any additional potato based item, whether that’s mash, chips, or roasties, will likely be overkill and unnecessary. 

Similarly, large veggies like broccoli and cauliflower won’t bring much to the party, and trays of chunky roasted roots will only distract from the perfectly balanced meal that you already have on your plate. 

With those basic rules in mind, let’s take a look at the best sides for cottage pie… 

what to serve with cottage pie pin

1. Baked beans

Okay, so this one might prove to be a little bit controversial, but hear me out! 

That beautifully rich tomato sauce from baked beans is absolutely delicious with fluffy mashed potato, and it adds another dimension to your cottage pie. 

Make things easy by opening a tin from your favourite brand, or get experimental by preparing your own from scratch. Smokey or barbecue beans could work particularly well. 

baked beans

2. Sizzled sprouts with pistachios and pomegranate 

Sizzled sprouts with pistachios and pomegranate is vibrant and fresh, and really easy to prepare, requiring just a small handful of ingredients. 

This is a great choice for what to serve with cottage pie when you want something that’s a little lighter. 

sprout salad

3. Crusty French stick 

Fresh, crunchy baguette that’s lovely and fluffy on the inside is always fabulous when used to dip into the rich gravy that comes with cottage pie. 

If you don’t have time to make your own from scratch, look out for the part baked varieties in the supermarket that you can just pop in the oven for around ten minutes whilst your main meal is bubbling away. 

This way, you can have freshly baked, warm bread, without any of the associated hassle and mess! 

french bread

4. Salad

A garnish of a side salad can be an option for what to serve with cottage pie, particularly if you’re cooking during the summer months and want to steer clear of heavy, rich side dishes. 

Simply choose a mixture of your favourite green leaves, such as spinach and rocket. Avoid any extra veggies that could detract from the main meal. 

leafy green salad

5. Spaghetti hoops

For many of us, spaghetti hoops will be a trip down memory lane, and we’ll remember being served them alongside crispy chicken or fish fingers after school! 

These are a great alternative to baked beans if you want to change things up a little bit, or you just want to use up a tin that you happen to have in your kitchen cupboard. 

It may not be the most sophisticated side dish for cottage pie, but I think it’s a delicious pairing that you should definitely try! 

spaghetti hoops

6. Garlic bread

Everyone loves garlic bread, right? 

Think crispy crust with a buttery, garlicky centre. You can even add cheese if you like. 

Make your own by taking a ciabatta loaf and slicing in half lengthways. Toast until crisp, whilst you mix together butter, garlic, and parsley in a bowl. Spread your mixture over the bread, sprinkle with grated parmesan, and cook under a hot grill for 5 minutes. 

It’ll be piping hot, so let it cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. 

garlic bread

7. Yorkshire pudding

Cottage pie with a couple of Yorkshire puddings rivals even a Sunday roast when it comes to comfort food! 

Making a decent Yorkie is a kitchen skill that will give you tons of different dinner options, and you could even make a giant version and serve your cottage pie inside. 

Looking for more ideas? Take a browse through my suggestions for what to serve with Yorkshire puddings. I definitely recommend keeping a pud aside and serving it for dessert with a dollop of strawberry jam! 

yorkshire puddings

8. Roasted carrots with rosemary 

Like we’ve already touched upon, a big tray of chunky root veggies is not necessarily the best side for cottage pie. 

That said, carefully prepared carrots can work really well if you choose a Chantenay variety and slowly roast them with plenty of seasoning and some fresh rosemary. 

If you can find them at your local greengrocer, coloured varieties are a real treat. You can often get purple, red, and white carrots that look absolutely beautiful and are worthy of a dinner party gathering! 

honey carrots

9. Red cabbage

Braised red cabbage is a tasty autumnal side dish, and it’s even better when made with a splash of red wine, some fragrant spices, and some small chunks of cooking apple. 

You’ll also be pleased to know that red cabbage is rich in vitamin K, fibre, magnesium, and zinc, making it a healthy choice for a side dish with your next family meal. 

red cabbage with apple

10. Tomato ketchup or brown sauce

Sometimes, you might feel like your cottage pie needs no extras, and that you want to keep things easy with a midweek meal that can be chucked in the oven and plated up without any extra fuss. 

In this case, a choice of condiments is all you need! 

Let your diners choose between tomato ketchup and brown sauce. Straightforward but so tasty! 

brown sauce

11. A piping hot cup of tea 

This one might not be a side dish in the most traditional sense, but when it comes to comfort, it’s hard to beat a homemade cottage pie with a piping hot cup of tea! 

Alternatively, you could choose a beer or a glass of red wine. 


Which option will you be choosing for what to serve with cottage pie? 

What will you be making next time you serve up cottage pie? 

Will you be going old school with a tin of spaghetti hoops, or is there are a new recipe you’d like to try? 

Leave a comment and share how you get on! 

the best sides for cottage pie

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