Instant Pot Shepherd’s Pie (or Cottage Pie)

A family favorite, this Instant Pot Shepherd’s Pie recipe can be made with ground lamb or beef (known as Cottage Pie) and you can cook both the filling and the potatoes at the same time. We’re using a simple flavor hack to get the most amazing, rich meat gravy.


INSTANT POT SHEPHERD’S PIE

Shepherd’s Pie is one of those meals that you can enjoy for days and never get tired of it! Savory, rich ground meat with veggies and gravy topped with creamy mashed potatoes and a little golden cheese crust on top (optional!) – this casserole dish is true comfort food.

While making a Shepherd’s pie or Cottage Pie (made with beef instead of lamb) may seem like quite a production, using your Instant Pot pressure cooker will make the process much quicker with fewer dishes.

Our Instant Pot Shepherd’s Pie recipe is fast, easy, and delicious with freezer-friendly leftovers, if you have any.

Shepherd's Pie Instant Pot Recipe

SHEPHERD’S PIE VS COTTAGE PIE

Traditionally, Shepherd’s Pie is made with ground lamb and the beef version is called Cottage Pie. Everything else is more or less the same! This Instant Pot recipe can be made with either ground beef or lamb (or even chicken or turkey if you don’t eat red meat).

Instant pot cottage pie with ground beef

INGREDIENTS FOR INSTANT POT SHEPHERD’S PIE

There are many variations on the traditional Shepherd’s pie and our pressure cooker version has a few lovely twists like chopped mushrooms and brown gravy mix that gives it an extra rich, thick gravy flavor and consistency. Let’s go through the ingredients for this:

  • Ground meat: you can use lamb or beef, and if you don’t eat red meat, even chicken, pork or turkey will work wonderfully well here. As we are also using mushrooms, corn and peas, we only need about a pound of meat.
  • Vegetables: As with most stewed meats, onions, garlic and carrots are used and you can also add celery (we didn’t have any on hand). Everything is sauteed together before pressure cooking. We also have chopped mushrooms, frozen corn and peas. All simple staples you might already have in the fridge or freezer!
  • For the gravy: besides the usual salt, pepper, tomatoes and herbs, we’re also adding Worcestershire sauce and our little hack – brown gravy powder – which is added at the end. It adds incredible flavor but thickens the sauce.
  • Mashed potatoes: potatoes (cooked in the Instant Pot at the same time as the filling), butter, sour cream and your choice of grated cheese (we used Cheddar) for that golden crust. Many recipes are made without cheese, which you can also do.
  • For a dairy-free version, replace butter with margarine and omit sour cream or cheese from the recipe.

HOW TO MAKE SHEPHERD’S PIE IN THE INSTANT POT

You will find the full recipe with ingredients and nutritional breakdown in the recipe card below. Here are some handy step-by-step photos of how to cook Shepherd’s pie in the Instant Pot. You can use a 6-quart or 8-quart Instant Pot for this dish.

Prep. Chop the vegetables, peel and cut the potatoes, and prepare the seasonings.

PRESSURING COOKING THE FILLING & POTATOES

Step 1. Turn the Saute function on (Normal heat mode) and once hot add the oil and onions and cook for 4-5 minutes to soften.

Step 2. Add the meat (lamb or beef), garlic and herbs and change the mode to More (press the Saute button again until it changes the heat level). Cook the meat with onions for 2-3 minutes, stirring a few times.

Step 3. Add 1.5 cups of water and stir through. Cancel the Saute function. Stir through well, scraping the bottom. 

Step 4. Add all other ingredients but the gravy powder. Stir through.

Step 5. Place a trivet inside on top of the beef with handles up. Place a cake pan or a round heatproof dish that fits on top of the trivet, and press down gently if needed. Place the potatoes in the pan and add 1/4 cup of water.

Step 6. Secure the lid and set it to Pressure Cook for 12 minutes on HIGH. Pressure will take about 10 minutes to build up. Once the timer is done, release naturally for 5 minutes and then do the quick release. 

If using the oven: At this stage, preheat the oven to 200 C / 395 F. If not using the oven, see the notes below for another option.

Step 7. Open the lid and remove the pan with the potatoes and the trivet.

Step 8. Stir the meat sauce. Add the gravy powder and stir through. It will thicken and add that lush meaty, savory flavor to our filling. Now, press the Saute function again and cook the meat for 5-7 minutes, allowing the gravy sauce to reduce slightly.

MAKING THE MASHED POTATOES

Step 9. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl or a pot and add the butter, sour cream, a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a splash of milk or water if needed. Mash until smooth. Taste for salt and add more to taste. Tip: If you like creamier, smoother mashed potatoes, add a little more milk or water to thin it out.

FINISHING SHEPHERD’S PIE IN THE OVEN

Step 10. Transfer the meat mixture to a casserole dish and level the top. Let it cool for 5 minutes, it will thicken and settle.

Step 11. Add mashed potatoes in clumps until it evenly covers the top. You can use the spatula to spread it gently. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake in the oven on the upper shelf for 15 minutes until the top is golden.

No oven option. If you don’t have the oven, leave the meat mixture in the Instant Pot and spread the potato over the top. Sprinkle the cheese and cover the pot with a regular lid. Press the Keep Warm setting and leave for 5-10 minutes for the cheese to melt over the top.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH SHEPHERD’S PIE

While Shepherd’s Pie is a great standalone dish – meat, veggies, potatoes, and sauce – it does go well with extra sides. Some of our favorites are simple green beans with butter and lemon, steamed or roasted broccoli, or sauteed garlic spinach.

To freshen up the meal, you can make a side of shredded cabbage and dill salad, or a lovely garden salad.

To bulk it up or stretch it into more portions, serve a side of garlic bread or dinner rolls on the side.

Steamed Green Beans

HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER SHEPHERD’S PIE

  • To store in the fridge. Kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator, leftovers will keep for 3 to 5 days.
  • How to freeze cooked brisket. Because of the added fat in the mashed potatoes, this casserole pie dish freezes really well. Once the dish meat has cooled down, divide it into portions in smaller freezer-friendly containers or in a larger one if stored as a family meal. Freeze for up to 3 months. You can even freeze it in the glass dish that it was cooked in, make sure it’s cooled down completely and wrapped tightly in a few layers of plastic.
  • Defrost overnight in the fridge and use it within 24 hours. Reheat until piping hot through.
  • To reheat Shepherd’s Pie: Large portions can be reheated in a 350° oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until warm. Individual portions are easily reheated in a microwave or a small pan with a lid on.

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS

You can make the mashed potato topping and the filling up to 2 days in advance. We recommend waiting to assemble until right before baking to help prevent the potatoes from drying out and to keep the layers distinct. You may want to reheat and mix the mashed potatoes with a little liquid/milk to make it easier to spread on top. Add the cheese last and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden crust.

Freezing before assembling: ideally store the meat and potatoes separately, then defrost overnight in the fridge and assemble just before baking. However, you can also assemble the whole casserole, including the cheese directly in the baking dish or foil tray, then wrap it tightly to make sure it’s airtight before freezing.

Some tips for freezing food in glass here.



FULL RECIPE & NUTRITION

Below is the full list of ingredients, instructions, notes, tips and nutritional breakdown. Don’t forget to rate this recipe and leave a comment with feedback or any questions.


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Instant Pot Shepherd's Pie Recipe (or Cottage Pie)

Instant Pot Shepherd’s Pie (or Cottage Pie)

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot + Oven
  • Cuisine: British

Description

A timeless classic, this Instant Pot Shepherd’s Pie (or Cottage Pie) with rich, flavorful ground meat filling, creamy potato top and golden cheese crust will put a smile on everyone’s face and you will be making it over and over again. It’s easy, quick and leaves you with fewer pots and pans to clean than the stovetop version.


Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 lb / 450-500 g ground lamb or ground beef mince

1 cup diced carrots (about 2 small or 1 large)

1 cup diced mushrooms

1 cup frozen corn and peas (1/2 each)

3 cloves garlic, finely diced or minced

1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1.5 cups water

3 tablespoons brown gravy powder (about 1 oz packet)

For mashed potato topping:

2.2 lb / 1 kg white potatoes, peeled and cut in halves

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup sour cream

1 cup grated cheese such as Cheddar

Salt and pepper to taste


Instructions

  • Turn the Saute function on (Normal heat mode) and once hot add the oil and onions and cook for 4-5 minutes to soften. 
  • Add the meat (lamb or beef), garlic and herbs and change the mode to More (press the Saute button again until it changes the heat level). Cook the meat with onions for 2-3 minutes, stirring a few times.
  • Add 1.5 cups of water and stir through. Cancel the Saute function. 
  • Add all other ingredients but the gravy powder. Stir through well, scraping the bottom. 
  • Place a trivet inside on top of the beef with handles up. Place a cake pan or a round heatproof dish that fits on top of the trivet, and press down gently if needed. Place the potatoes in the pan and add 1/4 cup of water. 
  • Secure the lid and set it to Pressure Cook for 12 minutes on HIGH. Pressure will take about 10 minutes to build up. Once the timer is done, release naturally for 5 minutes and then do the quick release. 
  • At this stage, preheat the oven to 200 C / 395 F. If not using the oven, see the notes below for another option. 
  • Open the lid and remove the pan with the potatoes and the trivet. 
  • Stir the meat sauce. Add the gravy powder and stir through. It will thicken and add that lush meaty, savory flavor to our filling. Now, press the Saute function again and cook the meat for 5-7 minutes, allowing the gravy sauce to reduce slightly. 
  • Transfer the potatoes to a bowl or a pot and add the butter, sour cream, a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a splash of milk or water if needed. Mash until smooth. Taste for salt and add more to taste. Tip: If you like creamier, smoother mashed potatoes, add a little more milk or water to thin it out. 
  • Transfer the meat mixture to a casserole dish and level the top. Let it cool for 5 minutes, it will thicken and settle. 
  • Add mashed potatoes in clumps until it evenly covers the top. You can use the spatula to spread it gently. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake in the oven on the upper shelf for 15 minutes until the top is golden. 
  • If you don’t have the oven, leave the meat mixture in the Instant Pot and spread the potato over the top. Sprinkle the cheese and cover the pot with a regular lid. Press the Keep Warm setting and leave for 5-10 minutes for the cheese to melt over the top. 

Notes

You can use ground lamb or beef for this recipe. 

For a dairy-free version, replace butter with margarine and omit sour cream and cheese from the potatoes, or use a dairy-free alternative.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6 of the pie
  • Calories: 619
  • Sugar: 6.2 g
  • Sodium: 631.7 mg
  • Fat: 41.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 36.8 g
  • Fiber: 5.8 g
  • Protein: 22.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 100.9 mg

Keywords: Cottage Pie, Ground Lamb, Ground Beef, Casserole Recipes, Shepherd’s Pie, Dinner Recipes

By Instant Pot Eats

About us: We are a team of Instant Pot enthusiasts, who love good food and cooking. Our blog is dedicated to delicious recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.

PS. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. 

More about us here »

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Comments

6 Comments
  1. I love how convenient this is to make using the instant pot! This was a satisfying and flavorful dinner for my family!

  2. What a terrific recipe! Shepherd’s Pie is the ultimate comfort food, and I love being able to make this recipe in the Instant Pot. Love the gravy hack, too! Another winner from Instant Pot Eats.

  3. I love that this shepherds pie is in the Instant Pot. I had been looking for a good recipe to make it in the Instant Pot. Thanks so much!

  4. I would have never thought to use my Instant Pot for this! Genius…and who doesn’t love fewer dishes?

  5. This is absolutely delicious! I love that it’s such a crowd pleaser for the whole family

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