Pressure Cooker Shepherd’s Pie + First Look at The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook!

CookbooksPressure CookerGround Beef

Everything you love about Shepherd's Pie, but this quick and easy version is made in the pressure cooker! Pressure cook the potatoes on top of the filling, then mash, assemble the casserole and serve. So easy!

Photography Credit: 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 new 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. Please allow me to tell you all about it, as well as about Coco’s awesome new book!

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

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 8×8 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!

Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook

New Cookbook: The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook

This is absolutely my new favorite way to make Shepherd’s Pie, but there are plenty more recipes in this book that I’m excited to try.

I’ve actually already made the Sweet Potatoes Stuffed With Black Beans and Quinoa. Verdict: phenomenal. I love having this easy, meat-free meal in my back pocket.

A few that are next on my list:

  • French Toast Casserole
  • Hot and Sour Soup
  • Thai Green Curry Tofu with Rice
  • Lobster Rolls (!!!!)
  • Hoisin-Glazed Spareribs
  • Caramelized Onion Dip

Coco sprinkles her recipes with useful tips and suggestions for substitutions, which are all very useful for cooks like me who employ a mix of roughly 80% “follow the recipe” and 20% “wing it.”

Reading through the book, I also appreciate how straightforward and approachable all the recipes feel — though of course, this shouldn’t come as a surprise since this is why I love featuring her recipes here on Simply Recipes as well! With its mix of basic recipes (like yogurt and chicken broth) and recipes to make for dinner, I think this book would be a good one for new Instant Pot users and die-hard fans alike.

How to make Shepherd's Pie in the Instant Pot

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’s one recipe from this book that you really want people to try and fall in love with?

Cincinnati Chili (page 109). I adapted the recipe from a stovetop version shared with me by my friend Diana Pray. It’s full of spices, including a healthy dose of cinnamon — the Midwestern-meets-Greek flavor is so unique and delicious. You have to try it (served over spaghetti, of course)!

3. 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.

4. Latest food obsession?

Danish-style rye bread, a.k.a. rugbrød. It’s dense and chewy, and so flavorful. I’ve been toasting slices of it for breakfast for weeks now, ever since the weather turned chilly. My favorites are from Tabor Bread and Regular Portland Bread.

5. Three ingredients that are always in your pantry?

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

6. Go-to beverage when you’re done testing recipes for the day?

Lately, a big mug of Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland tea. Depends on the season, though!

7. What are you working on now?

I’m wrapping up my third cookbook and developing recipes for the fourth. It’s a whirlwind of Instant Pot recipe testing over here, nonstop. I can’t wait to share them all!

Thanks, Coco!

Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - Mash the potatoes

Looking for more of Coco’s Instant Pot Recipes?

Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 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.

Ingredients

  • 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 garlic clove, 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

Special equipment:

Method

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

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 Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - finish cooking the filling

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 Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - place the potatoes on top

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

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 Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - Mash the potatoes Pressure Cooker Shepherd's Pie - Stir in the mashed potatoes

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

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Emma Christensen

Emma Christensen is the managing editor for Simply Recipes, as well as a food writer and homebrewing expert. She was formerly the recipe editor for The Kitchn and is the author of three books on home-brewing, True Brews, Brew Better Beer, and Modern Cider. Emma is a graduate of The Cambridge School for Culinary Arts and Bryn Mawr College. She lives in San Jose, California.

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10 Comments / Reviews

No ImagePressure Cooker Shepherd’s Pie + First Look at The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook!

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Amy

    I will be making this again. I substituted refrigerated store bought mashed potatoes I had on hand.
    Please keep on providing instant pot recipes. I have struggled with my recipes tasting bland in it.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Keeley

    Delish and easy! Made a couple of substitutions of course – I used turkey burger instead, used Guinness instead of chicken broth, used corn instead of celery and added cheese before broiling!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. melinda stone

    Our family loved it!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Cindy

    Made this but had a few adjustments that made my husband say that this recipe needs to go on repeat:
    – three potatoes. It was a bit much because 4 made it half potatoes and half filling. We wanted more filling. Cut the potatoes in half.
    – chicken broth instead of vegetable broth
    – once done in the pressure cooker, I went and grabbed a tbsp of flour and poured it into the mix so that the sauce thickened up a bit.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Al

    As you say, you used beef instead of lamb. Pedantically, that makes it a Cottage Pie rather than a Sheppard’s Pie.

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Cottage Pie in the Pressure CookerPressure Cooker Shepherd’s Pie + First Look at The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook!