Instant Pot Shepherd's Pie

Everything you love about shepherd's pie, quick and easy in the Instant Pot! Pressure cook the potatoes on top of the filling, then mash, assemble the casserole, and serve. So easy!

Instant Pot Shepherd's Pie
Emma Christensen

Shepherd's Pie is one meal that both my husband and I can have for days on end and never grow tired of eating. I mean, creamy mashed potatoes on top of ground beef and tender veggies in a lip-smacking sauce — what's not to love?!

The only reason that we don't make it more often is because (let's be honest here) it's kind of a production to make. As in, an afternoon-consuming production that leaves my kitchen looking rather storm tossed by the end. Some weekends, I enjoy this production. Others, not so much.

Enter my new favorite recipe: this Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie from my pal and Simply Recipes contributor Coco Morante's book The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook.

You guys, this recipe is fast, easy, and most importantly, delicious. It also leaves a minimum number of pots and pans to clean, and that gets a thumbs up in my book.

Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - finish cooking the filling
Emma Christensen
Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - place the potatoes on top
Emma Christensen

How to Make Shepherd's Pie in a Pressure Cooker

When I first came across this recipe, I was puzzled. Maybe I hadn't had my coffee yet, but I imagined tossing ground beef, veggies, and a few whole potatoes into the Instant Pot and then lifting off the lid to reveal a table-ready Shepherd's Pie topped with mashed potatoes.

In reality, there are a few more steps involved — though not many!

Coco has you start by prepping the filling using the Sauté function on the Instant Pot. Then you place a tall steamer rack in the pot and place the peeled potatoes on top.

Then the lid goes on and everything pressure cooks together. At the end of cooking, the potatoes are perfectly cooked and ready to be mashed with milk.

For a traditional casserole-style shepherd's pie, you transfer the filling to an 8 x 8-inch pan, top with the mashed potatoes, and broil until the top is golden. You can also serve this in bowls by scooping out some filling and topping it with a generous dollop of mashed potatoes. So easy!

How to make Shepherd's Pie in the Instant Pot
Emma Christensen

Say "Hi" to Coco Morante!

One last treat for all you readers out there: I thought it would be fun for you to get to know Coco a little more. Here's a quick Q&A with the author herself!

1. How many Instant Pots do you own?

Right now, four. I've also given some to friends and family as I've upgraded or received new units for review. Currently I have two 6-quart models (Ultra and Smart WIFI), as well as 3-quart and 8-quart pots.

2. What three recipes from this book are best if you just got your first Instant Pot?

Risotto (page 52), because it's so easy you won't believe it. Split Pea Soup (page 86), because it tastes like my grandma's did -- I'm transported back to her kitchen when I eat a bowl. And Succotash (page 246) -- most all the ingredients come from the pantry or freezer, so you can make a hearty, nutritious vegetable side dish any time. Those are all really straightforward recipes that don't require you to buy additional accessories, so you can make them right when you take your Instant Pot out of the box.

3. Three ingredients that are always in your pantry?

Nutritional yeast, almond flour, and San Marzano-style canned tomatoes.

Thanks, Coco!

Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - Mash the potatoes
Emma Christensen

Looking for More of Coco's Instant Pot Recipes?

Instant Pot Shepherd's Pie

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 60 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

Changes I Made to This Cookbook Recipe:

  • I used beef instead of lamb
  • I used chicken stock instead of vegetable stock (it's what I had!)
  • Taste the mashed potatoes and the filling for seasoning and add salt if needed (I used roughly double the amount of salt as indicated in the recipe)

Reprinted with permission from The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook, copyright 2018 by Coco Morante. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or other neutral oil with high smoke point

  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • 1 celery stalk, diced

  • 1 large carrot, diced

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 cup vegetable broth

  • 1 cup frozen peas

  • 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled (about 2 1/2 pounds)

  • 1/2 cup whole milk


  1. Brown the meat:

    Select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and heat the avocado oil. Add the lamb and sauté, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula, for about 7 minutes, until cooked through and no traces of pink remain.

    Set a colander in a bowl. Wearing heat-resistant mitts, lift out the inner pot and pour the lamb into the colander, letting it drain. Return the inner pot to the Instant Pot housing. (Note from Emma: I just scooped out the meat with a slotted spoon and then poured off all but a tablespoon of fat, which I used for sauteing the vegetables.)

    Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - brown the beef or lamb
    Emma Christensen
  2. Cook the vegetables and stir in the meat:

    Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to the pot and sauté for about 4 minutes, until the onion is translucent. (Note from Emma: As the onions release moisture, use that to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. More flavor!)

    Stir in the thyme, pepper, Worcestershire, and tomato paste. Return the lamb to the pot, then add the vegetable broth and peas.

    Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - add the vegetables
    Emma Christensen
    Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - finish cooking the filling
    Emma Christensen
  3. Add the potatoes:

    Place a tall steam rack in the pot, making sure all of its legs are resting firmly on the bot­tom. Place the potatoes in a single layer on the rack.

    Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - place the cooking rack over the vegetables
    Emma Christensen
    Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - place the potatoes on top
    Emma Christensen
  4. Pressure cook the filling and the potatoes together:

    Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Press the Cancel button to reset the cooking program, then select the Pressure Cook or Manual program and set the cooking time for 15 minutes at high pressure. (The pot will take about 15 minutes to come up to pres­sure before the cooking program begins.)

    Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - cook the potatoes and filling
    Emma Christensen
  5. Vent the pressure:

    When the cooking program ends, perform a quick pressure release by moving the Pressure Release to Venting.

  6. Mash the potatoes:

    Using tongs, transfer the potatoes to a bowl. Add the milk and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, then use a potato masher to mash the potatoes until smooth. (Note from Emma: If the filling seems a little liquidy at this point, put the Instant Pot on the Sauté function and let it simmer while you mash the potatoes.)

    Wearing heat-resistant mitts, remove the steam rack from the pot. Stir 1/2 cup of the mashed potatoes into the lamb mixture in the pot. (Note from Emma: Taste both the mashed potatoes and the filling at this point, and add more salt if needed.)

    Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - Remove the cooked potatoes
    Emma Christensen
    Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - Mash the potatoes
    Emma Christensen
    Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - Stir in the mashed potatoes
    Emma Christensen
  7. Assemble the casserole:

    Transfer the lamb mixture to a broiler-safe 8-inch square baking dish, dollop the mashed potatoes on top, and spread them out with a fork, creating a surface texture.

    Note: If you like, instead of assembling and broiling the pie, you can simply serve the lamb mixture with the mashed potatoes on the side.

  8. Broil the casserole:

    Broil the shepherd’s pie in a toaster oven (or a conventional oven) for about 5 minutes, checking often, until the potatoes are lightly browned.

  9. Serve:

    Spoon the shepherd’s pie onto plates and serve immediately.

    Note from Emma: Leftovers will keep for about a week in the fridge and can be warmed in a low oven or in the microwave.

    Cottage Pie in the Pressure Cooker
    Emma Christensen
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
401 Calories
18g Fat
34g Carbs
24g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 401
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 75mg 25%
Sodium 471mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 13%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 24g
Vitamin C 15mg 76%
Calcium 88mg 7%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 1090mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.