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

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.
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • 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:


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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  • 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.


  • 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!


  • melinda stone

    Our family loved it!


  • 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.


  • Al

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

  • alyson

    My potatoes must have been way too big. I had to remove the meat mixture and do the potatoes for another 8 mins with more water. That still didn’t cook them all the way through! I think next time I will cut them in half or quarters.


  • Erin

    Great recipe, my family loved it! We had no leftovers, so it’s a success.


  • John

    I’m an instant pot fan, but this doesn’t sound any easier than making shepherd’s pie the traditional way. You may save a little time cooking the potatoes, but not much.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, John! It might not save a ton of time overall, but for me, it feels WAY easier. For one thing everything basically happens in one pot so clean-up is a lot less involved. And I like that I can walk away from the Instant Pot while it’s cooking and do something else instead of monitoring ingredients as they simmer on the stovetop. I also think really like steaming the potatoes this way instead of the traditional boiling method; it just feels simpler and less cumbersome to me. I suppose it’s really a matter of perspective, but this really works for my schedule and the way I cook!

      • Steph

        Just made this and my kids and I inhaled it! So much easier than the traditional way! And I liked that I didn’t have to use multiple pots and pans. The potatoes were extra good — tasted like they absorbed some of the flavor from the veggie/meat mix. I also used ground beef instead of lamb. Thanks for sharing. I’ve had my Instant Pot for about a year and I’m just getting comfortable with it. Will make this again!