2 One Pot Shepherd's Pie - Instant Pot

This version of Shepherd's Pie, a traditional Irish casserole, is made with ground beef, veggies, gravy and topped with a buttery, garlicky mashed potatoes, and with the help of my Instant Pot pressure cooker, is made all at the same time, in one pot!

Not only does this save cooking time, it saves clean up time as well. Making it on the stove and finishing it in the oven takes 2.5 hours, where using the Instant Pot pressure cooker only takes 30 minutes!

We like to scoop this directly from the pot, but if you want a pretty, table top presentation, you can layer this in a 2.5 quart casserole dish and brown the cheese under the oven broiler.

Chop Stir makes browning ground meats easier!

Pressure Cooking Tips

Build Your Flavors
Cooking in the pressure cooker is all about building flavor, browning the bacon, onions, seasonings and beef to caramelize and bloom the spices. These flavors can be lost if all the ingredients are simply dumped into the pot.

Deglaze the pot
The next tip is to deglaze the pot. This means to add a thin liquid (water, broth, soda, beer, etc) into the pot and let it soften any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot. Leaving stuck on foods will prevent the pressure cooker from reaching pressure, which is what you need to cook your food quickly.

Layer the Ingredients & DON'T Stir!
Always put the thinnest liquids at the bottom of the pot, adding thicker sauces, & pastes on top.
Do Not Stir.
Thin liquids create steam, which is what you need to build pressure and cook your food. Stirring a thick sauce or liquid into your thin liquid will make your thin liquid...thicker, which will not create the steam needed to build pressure.

Thin Liquids = create steam = brings your cooker to pressure
Thick Liquids = burn on the bottom = doesn't bring your cooker to pressure

Cook Time Depends on Thickness
The thicker the food, the more time it will take to cook. When you are combining different foods like carrots & potatoes, consider how large you cut the veggies. With veggies, the longer you cook the softer they will become. You can see by this chart (from Lorna Sass, Pressure Perfect), that carrots take less time to cook than potatoes.
In this recipe, since the sauce is warm when the potatoes are adding, the pot will come up to pressure more quickly. As a result, I'm going to add another 1-2 minutes to my cook time.

Potatoes                             Carrots
1" chunks = 7-8 min          1" chunks = 6-7 min
1/2" slices = 5-6 min         1/4" slices 4-5 min
1/4" slices = 3-4 min         Baby cut = 4-5 min

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

print recipe

Shepherd's Pie - Pressure Cook Pot in Pot
An traditional Irish layered casserole of ground beef, veggies & gravy, topped with buttery garlicky mashed potatoes and cheese, is sure to be a winner! Make is all in one pot to save time and clean up.
*This recipe makes 6-8 generous servings and can be cut in half, keeping the same cook time.
  • 4 slices of bacon, cut up
  • 1 Tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 2 cups of onions, chopped (about 2 medium onions)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 1 pound lean ground beef, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped (1/4 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (this is not a typo)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, pressed or minced
  • 1 (12 oz) bottle of beer, root beer, or beef broth
  • 1/2 cup beef broth 
  • 1 cup carrots, diced (about 2-3 medium carrots)
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour + 1 Tablespoon softened butter, used after cooking
  • Mashed Garlicky Potatoes
  • 1.5 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1/2" slices (about 4 large)
  • 10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, softened 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Cheddar, Swiss or combo
  • 1 Tablespoon parsley
1. Using the Saute medium setting, cook your bacon, stirring occasionally, until they are brown. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate layered with a paper towel.2. Add the cooking oil, onions, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt & cook, stirring until are soft. Sprinkle granulated sugar over the onions and cook for about 3 minutes, or until they begin to caramelize.3. Add ground beef, and cook until it begins to turn brown.4. Add the rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic, stirring until they are fragrant, about 1 minute.5. Deglaze: Turn the cooker off and slowly add your thin liquid (beer, soda, or broth) to the pot, scraping the bottom to loosen any food stuck to the pot.6. Add reserved bacon, carrots, peas, and stir.7. Place the tomato paste on top & DO NOT stir. 8. Place a steamer basket on top of the meat. 9. Put the cut potatoes & whole garlic cloves in the steamer basket. 10. Put the pressure cooker lid on, in locking position and close the steam release valve. 11. Select HIGH pressure for 8 minutes, according to your model. 12. When cook time has finished, open the steam release valve for a quick release. 13. When the float pin has dropped, open the pressure cooker lid, remove the potatoes and place them in a separate bowl and cover.14. Mix together the 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour and butter and stir it into the meat mixture. Replace the lid on the cooker.15. Add sour cream, broth, butter, salt & pepper to the potatoes, and mash well. Remove the lid from the cooker, scoop the mashed potatoes onto the meat and spread them in an even layer. Sprinkle the top with shredded cheese and cover, for 2 minutes or until melted. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.

Prep time: 15Cook time: 15Total time: 30 minutesYield: 6-8 servings


  1. We just made this tonight and it turned out so good. Everyone loved it! We left out the bacon and it was still great!

    1. Thank you for making this recipe and letting me know that you all enjoyed it! 🙂


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