We’ve made this classic dish not just faster, but easier, too – there is  very little prep and we pressure cooked the meat and potatoes at the same time!

The short, gray, rainy days of fall and winter are perfectly matched with British comfort food, in my opinion.

I was born in the United Kingdom and, although my family left when I was still a baby, I remember it through my mother’s stories.  Smiles and sunshine were in short supply in Great Britain, according to her. Her English neighbors called her the “happy American” because she would smile when she would run into them .  Sun was such a commodity, she recalled to me once, that the minute it peeked from behind the fog mothers tossed their children into the strollers and carriages and whisked them outside to absorb every last drop.Laura Pazzaglia as a baby in England.

Cottage Pie is traditionally made with left-over meat and veggies, but always topped with potatoes. It’s sensational taste and flexibility has turned it into a dish worthy of being made from scratch. Most add a dash of ketchup with the meat, and my mother did in hers. I decided to to sub the ketchup with tomato paste and a dash of apple cider vinegar. You can add frozen peas, or green beans. Got mushrooms? Toss those in, too. A leek? Replace the onion in the recipe with it. Cottage pie, is more of a process than an actual recipe.

Comfy Cottage Pie - made faster in the pressure cooker!

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or larger steamer basket 10-12 min. High(2) Normal

4.6 from 9 reviews
Pressure Cooker Cottage Pie Recipe
 
Author: 
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Serving size: ⅛th
  • Calories: 403.3
  • TOTAL Fat: 27.5g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 22.3g
  • Sugar Carbs: 5g
  • Sodium: 357.7mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 3.4g
  • Protein: 17.8g
  • Cholesterol: 85.2mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: British
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Substitute the beef for lamb and, Bob's your uncle, you've got Shepard's Pie! No need to change any other ingredients or cooking times.
INGREDIENTS
Meat Filling
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion,roughly diced medium
  • 1½ pounds (700g) ground beef or lamb
  • 2 large carrots, roughly diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (if using salt-free stock)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup (250ml) stock, any kind
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup (140g) frozen peas
Mashed Potato Topping
  • 1½ pounds (700g or about 4 medium) potatoes, sliced into 2" pieces
  • ½ cup (125ml) milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the cooker over medium heat and add onion saute until onion is soft.
  2. Push the onion aside and drop in the ground meat- break it up with a spatula and brown it, about 5 minutes.
  3. Then, chuck in the carrots, tomato paste, Worcestershire Sauce (if using), salt, pepper, thyme sprig and stock. Mix well.
  4. Lower the steamer basket with the sliced potatoes onto the meat.
  5. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
    Electric pressure cookers: Cook for 12 minutes at high pressure.
    Stovetop pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 10 minutes pressure cooking time.
  6. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Normal release - release pressure through the valve.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (200C).
  8. Remove the steamer basket from the pressure cooker and toss a cup of frozen peas and apple cider vinegar into the pressure cooker and mix into the meat. Remove the thyme sprig and let the cooker stand uncovered while you work on the potatoes.
  9. Tumble the potatoes into a small mixing bowl. Pull on the corners of the potato skins (with fingers or tongs) and peel off the potato skin and discard.
  10. Splash the potatoes with milk and sprinkle with salt. Then mash until fluffy.
  11. Pour the contents of the pressure cooker into a prepared deep oven-safe dish (about 10x13" or 25x35cm).
  12. Using a fork, plop fork-fulls of potatoes over the meat mixture starting at the edge of the dish and working your way into the center. Then squash with the back of the fork into an even layer.
  13. Sprinkle the top with 2 tablespoons of chopped butter and slide into the oven.
  14. Bake, UN-covered for 20 minutes - or until the peaks of the potatoes have browned.
  15. Let casserole stand for 5 minutes before serving.

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63 Comments

  1. This recipe looks great! You might want to tweak your “print friendly” version…it was 10 pages of full color pics. Yikes!

    1. Kathy, you can adjust the print-out by simply clicking on the photos or parts of the page you don’t want included from the print friendly screen!

      Ciao,

      L

  2. Thank you for your pre-recipe comments about family, and including pictures, as it really personalized this for me.

    My family heritage is Scottish, so there’s that conflict in our future conversations…

    …but I am looking forward to constructing this dish on Monday.

    I have russet potatoes on hand, which make great mashed, while your recipe seems to show basic yellow…

    …is this doomed to failure from the start?

    1. Any potato will make a mash, just use what you’ve got. I’ve seem some variations of Cottage Pie where the cook adds a little curry or turmeric to make the mash yellow. My potatoes were yellow-ish to begin with and a little sauce from the meat cooking below intensified this effect. They grow slightly different varieties in Italy and it’s not easy to find crispy white potatoes where I live. But I purposely didn’t specify a type because you can use your favorite kind – even new potatoes are mashable!!

      Ciao,

      L

  3. I’m a bit disappointed that my review of this dish, completed back on Monday (and gobbled up quite nicely with some variations in approach, ingredients, and timing to tweak the recipe to our tastes)…

    …along with three other replies this week (concerning do’s and don’ts of using induction, comments on what surface top units are working (or not) in interfacing with the common surface units, plus a followup on the differences I’ve seen in transitioning from electric entrance level to higher-end surface and induction systems. (Oh, and a response about why I strongly dislike the NuWave2 unit for use in pressure cooking).

    Perhaps, like portions of the Yahoo mail system, and the Safeway.com site you were just off line. or maybe too busy this week to formally review or approve my postings..

    Sorry, as I am stilll relatively new and enthusiastic in my moves from normal cooking over to induction for a large portion of my activities these days. I have a bit of a strong advantage of living around other foodies (some wiho are fairly name-brand chefs if you know Seattle cooking). They also do PC, and want to share with me their gear, recipes and observations from here in Seattle.

    If you don’t want to immediately post this to the blog, that is fine, as odd things can occur over a long week, and we might be able to just discuss and figure out communications and solutions better in a direct email manner.

    –Bill
    SeattleFoodie

    1. Bill, I’m sorry that you are disappointed that your comments weren’t approved quickly enough. We approve all comments (positive and negative) and only remove spam.

      I don’t show any comments for you waiting in the que, please re-post your critique and modifications!

      Ciao,

      L

  4. Your “About” section of the website has a lot about past actions (quite notable), but doesn’t provide the most important aspect that should be included within an about section: contact information to directly communicate with you.

    We could have taken a few things offline immediately if you created a contact email to discuss thing directly

    As advice in working the blogspace, move the extensive promotional “hey we are great and here’s why” stuff over to a seperate header of the main site,. then reserve the About section for a short (again, short) bio of actions of who you are with your goals (under 500 words max), then include several direct pathways for your readers to communicate with you.

    This reduces the mechanics of handling incoming blog-ite communications about a thousand percent (just a comment from a blogger who went through building something from nothing, and working through the steps).

    You’ve originated good material about pressure cookers, but it’s getting fogged by less than optimum presentation on the web, along with followers who promote things that are contrary to doing best cooking actions.

    Back away from easy, and attach to communication pathways that promote pressure cooking in positive ways that make home cooks give their families a better meal in less time.

    Please step away from those who describe PC as a total solution to life (you know whom I am speaking about);

    It’s a device and system.

    –Bill
    SeattleFoodie

    –Bill
    SeattleFoodie

    1. Bill, at the top of every page there is a link called “contact” you can reach me directly there.

      I used to have my email address posted, but as you can imagine on a website as busy as this one I was getting A LOT of emails. I was spending more time answering emails then writing new articles! Plus, my detailed answers only benefited the one person who wrote me.

      This year we launched the forums and now I re-direct most queries to the forums so that everyone can read the question and answer and make use of the knowledge I share.

      Everyone’s feedback is valuable, especially because there is an infinite number of pressure-cooker-to-cook-top combinations so I definitely appreciate readers expressing their personal experiences – even better, I appreciate when they take the time to list any problems they have so I can help find a solution.

      I will gladly read any specific suggestions you send to promote pressure cookery through new channels. The more people who discover pressure cooking, the better, in my opinion!

      Ciao,

      L

  5. This recipe worked well for me. I particularly like the idea of cooking the potatoes and then peeling them; much faster.

    But I think it might work better in a smaller, deeper baking dish (9×12? 9×9?) – mine was spread a lot thinner than yours in the picture.

    Still, I can’t wait to make it again; I almost always have all of the necessary ingredients on hand. (And I could put some of my leftover turkey stock to good use).

    1. Thanks for the feedback – let me go measure my oval baking dish and work-out the volume so I can update the article with a more accurate size recommendation.

      Great ideas on the variations!

      Ciao,

      L

  6. Am complete newbie at pressure cooking, with a brand new model of Instant Pot. First task – a version of Laura’s Cottage Pie.

    Substituted ground buffalo for beef, Pickapepper sauce for Worchestershire, and a mix of garnet yams and potatoes. Buffalo Cottage Pie was a hit! “Please make this again.”

    1. Deb, looks delicious I think you’re going to start a buffalo & yam cottage pie trend, now.

      Thanks for sharing!!

      Ciao,

      L

  7. I made this using ground turkey (dark meat) and called it Poulterer’s Pie. Is it my imagination, or do the potatoes peel easier than when they’re boiled in the skins? I had the big russets and the skins seemed to slip right off. Thanks for another winner . . . I love a one pot meal that isn’t a bowl of compromised cook times.

    1. I think the skins come off more easily because they’re in smaller pieces, and there’s handy corners to grab to lift them off.

      Ciao,

      L

  8. Photo of the Poulterer’s Pie . . . this is the third time I’ve made it and it’s come out great every time. Thanks, Laura!

  9. As a bonafide Brit living in the very soggy south west I can say this is a really good cottage pie. As a newbie to the pressure cooking world I’ve been looking for just this type of recipe! Thank you so much for your site. I’ll be trying the recipes regularly!

    1. Welcome! And thanks for your stamp of approval.

      Ciao,

      L

  10. Fumbled my way through this tonight, and despite too much butter, It was better than excellent as I have come to expect here.

    The only modifications were a dash or two of Mexican hot sauce and too much butter brought about by the accursed tablespoon, reducing everything EXCEPT the butter and mis-reading the recipe re how much butter to saute the onions in. I think I must have some French in my ancestry. Oh and subbing sherry vinegar for cider as that was what I had. Apart from the honey and balsamic vinegars which I deemed too sweet for this use.

    FYI for reasons best known to some bureaucrat back when we converted to metric in the 1970s, a standard Australian tablespoon was defined as 20ml (4tsp) Pretty much everywhere else uses a 3tsp=1Tb measure – generally about 15ml. I usually get it right, but sometimes, like tonight, I forget what country the recipe is from and slip up. Yes I know I should buy some American measures and be done with it.

  11. Hi, long time reader, first time poster… Great recipe, as a Brit I feel I can add a bit to this discussion! First of all, it’s only cottage pie when it’s made with beef, with lamb it’s a shepherds pie. Both delicious! In the spirit of leftovers, if you have any gravey or stock in the freezer, that’s a great addition. As you say, there’s no hard and fast recipe for this, but my family version always included a little blob or Marmite (you know you love it) and grated cheddar on top instead of butter. For a fancier version thinly sliced potatoes can be layered in a nice pattern on top, brushed with butter and finished in the oven until they’re done. But this isn’t really a dish that needto be fancy!

    1. Thanks for sharing your version. I’ve never tried Marmite – it’s definitely on my shopping list for the next time I hop to the UK! I’ll bet it’s the umami equivalent of Gorgonzola cheese! ; )

      Ciao,

      L

  12. I made this for dinner tonight and it was very tasty but I thought it was too soupy. There seemed to be a lot of liquid so when I added the peas I stirred in 2 Tbsp of flour mixed with 2 Tbsp of water hoping it would thicken into more of a gravy in the oven. It didn’t. I followed the recipe exactly so I’m not sure what went wrong. I’m afraid if I reduce the amount of broth next time there won’t be enough liquid to get it up to pressure. I did peel the potatoes before adding them as I didn’t want to deal with trying to peel hot potatoes. Could that be the problem? Any thoughts? Thanks for this great site!

    1. It should be runny, but not soupy. It sounds like the meat you used contained A LOT of water! Next time you can reduce it on low flame while you’re mashing the potatoes, or add a bit of corn starch to the cooking liquid and bring to a boil to thicken before putting in the casserole. The liquid wouldn’t reduce much in the oven because the filling is “covered” with mashed potatoes.

      Ciao,

      L

    2. Did you use normal (quick) release? I find when I make it that the mix is “soupy when I open the lid, but it is still boiling and reduces to a manageable consistency fairly quickly while I am peeling and mashing the spuds. If you allow it to release naturally, then it doesn’t reduce as much as there is not as much residual heat when you lift the lid.

      Also yes, if you pre peel the spuds, that could affect the balance as you will mash them faster and not allow as much time for the excess liquid to evaporate.

      As Laura says, just put the mince back on the heat for a few minutes. That will solve the problem whatever the cause.

      PS Added stars as I haven’t done that for this recipe yet. We do it about once a month.

      1. Thanks Greg – yes, I did use quick release but will take your advice and leave it on simmer while I mash the spuds to evaporate some of the liquid. It may have been that the mince had a high water content as well. I will definitely make it again as it was so tasty and quick. Thanks for your response.

  13. Instead of 20 mins at 400, has anyone tried the broiler for 10 mins or so?

    1. Ordinarily, when you can get away with just broiling I do call for that in the recipe. The reason you have to bake this recipe is because when you pour the contents of the pressure cooker in the casserole they will cool, so you will get hot potato topping with a “warm” filling. Putting it in the oven produces a finished dish with the filling bubbling around and under the potatoes – as the original.

      Ciao,

      L

  14. This was hella good! The only thing I was missing was the sprig of thyme. Threw in a dab of garlic paste and chipotle garlic in with the taters, it smelled amazing.

  15. I see this instruction in many of your recipes:

    “Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker reaches pressure, lower to the heat to the minimum required by the cooker to maintain pressure. Cook for 10-12 minutes at high pressure.”

    Does this apply to electric pressure cookers too?

    1. Eileen, when you see these instructions in my earlier recipes, you can just punch-in the longer recommended cooking time into your electric pressure cooker. You don’t need to regulate the heat, as an electric pressure cooker will do this for you. In the meantime, I have updated the instructions on this recipe to reflect this.

      I hope you enjoy it – my family looooves this recipe (also, sloppy joes).

      Ciao,

      L

  16. What happened to step 6? Thanks!

    1. Betsy there was an editing error. It should have said “When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Normal release – release pressure through the valve.” And it does, now.

      Thanks!

      L

  17. Bought my first pressure cooker yesterday. My parents were both from Scotland, so mince and tatties is my ultimate comfort food. It’s basically cottage pie without the last step. I adapted your recipe and made mince and tattles for dinner last night. BEST EVER. It was easy, fast, and the beef somehow tasted beefier. Hmmm, is 8AM too early for leftovers?

    1. Mandie, thanks for your review – so glad you enjoyed it. Next time you make it, take some photos to share!

      Ciao,

      L

  18. My LORD you were a cute baby!! I’m going to try this recipe with ground venison, popular here in Michigan. Made an incredible venison stew with my PC. While I have you: there don’t seem to be any steam regulators that allow you to pressure cook at low pressure with a stovetop. Seems odd. For canners, yes.

    1. Welcome Frank,
      Most modern stove top pressure cookers use a spring loaded pressure system. These nearly all have a low as well as a high pressure setting.

      Exactly how this is implemented varies from brand to brand. My Kuhn Rikons for example have two rings engraved on a stem that rises. When the first ring becomes visible it is at low pressure. When the second ring becomes visible it is at high pressure. On others you turn a knob to set high or low. There are other systems as well.

      Be sure to lt us know how the venison comes out. I have tried Beef, veal & lamb. All are excellent, but venison is too expensive here.

      1. Hi Greg! Thanks for your response! I have an inexpensive Presto, 136203, so I’ll start Googling. Presto makes a weighted regulator for their canners and I think that will fit.

        What you said helps explain things. I couldn’t believe there was no way to cook at low pressure with stovetops. I understand eggs cook far better at low pressure, for instance.

        You are in Italy I think? Deer are too plentiful in Michigan, causing a lot of crop damage, car damage. It’s a mess. I got chops and ground venison from a friend. Stew was wonderful. MAY have followed a recipe on here. Used some of the chops to cook on a charcoal grill. Very good. Taste can vary since its wild game, not a commercially-processed meat. The meat I got was the best I’ve ever had.

        But there is some discussion, especially out west, that wild deer may have the brain destroying disease similar to English beef a few years ago, that can be transmitted to humans. Not sure how big of a risk that is.

      2. Greg…should have said my venison was not raised commercially. It was commercially processed. It’s such a big deer population here that there are numerous businesses that butcher and prepare deer meat. After packaging, it looks like meat from a grocery store. Venison summer sausage is very popular but the meat is so lean, preparers have to add fat for palatability!

    2. HAha, Frank! I noticed someone replied to your question on Reddit with a link to purchase a 3-part weight that can be used with your cooker.

      BTW, you don’t need low pressure for THIS recipe but I have a feeling you’re going to try pressure cooking eggs, soon!

      Ciao,

      L

  19. Laura: thanks. love your site! Great work, recipes. MORE baby pictures! I don’t have any grandkids! LOL!

    Frank

    1. Hi Frank,
      Laura, who owns the site, is in Italy.

      I am just an interested bystander. I live in Australia. The only deer here is farmed specifically for the gourmet market and so is expensive.

      Kangaroo on the other hand…
      However that meat makes venison look fatty. :)

  20. Greg…I’ve seen photos of the damage Roos can do…very similar to our deer problem…they are struck and killed all the time…especially in deer hunting season when they are being forced to other areas. carcasses everywhere. Can be gruesome. And drivers and passengers can be killed or seriously injured when hitting them.

  21. Hi there! Making it RIGHT NOW as the weather has changed and autumn is on our heels.

    One questions: at what point do you add the ACV? I assumed to add when I added the carrots, salt, stock, etc. Please edit to include.

    Fingers crossed that my family loves this dish!

    1. That’s when I toss it in. Works for me.

      Let us know how it works for you.

      I find it also benefits from just a little hot sauce. I use Tabasco or Sriracha or whatever is to hand. Just a few drops.

  22. This was heavenly! I used what I had on hand — a pound+ of ground beef from Costco and a half pound plus of US Wellness Meats ground lamb that I’d had in the deep freeze for longer than I care to admit. I love lamb myself, but cutting the intense richness with the ground beef still left this tasting like something I could get my picky child to accept. Everything about this recipe just worked so beautifully and easily for me. (I’m not a great cook, but I could fool people with this one.) Because I used so much meat, I would say I browned the meat for something in the neighborhood of 6-7 minutes.

    1. Congratulations, Joy! It looks wonderful, thank you for sharing the photo. If you can make this you can make ANY recipe on this website. Don’t undervalue your abilities!

      Ciao,

      L

  23. Shepherds pie made with lamb, it’s cottage pie when made with beef and cumberland pie either the addition of cheese to the topping.

    1. I’ve always wondered why the beef version isn’t called cowherd’s pie. :)

  24. Best flavor ever! But it was really soupy for me–and sadly, the fluffy potatoes absorbed some of the liquid and became soupy also. Mine had a horrible appearance, unlike your great photo, yet perfect flavor. Would love your opinions on possible tweaks: 1) drain it after the beef has cooked a bit, b4 the stock, carrots, etc. are added, esp. if using ordinary ground beef; 2) remove the cooked mixture (after PC) w/ a slotted spoon (hate to leave all the flavorful liquid behind, though); 3) use extra-lean beef (but the liquid wasn’t just fat, thank goodness, but all the other liquids in the recipe–incl. the 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar, which oddly is in the list but not in the written instructions). Thanks!

    1. Carolyn, my only guess is that the meat wasn’t fully browned before pressure cooking? A pound of meat can contain nearly a cup and a half of liquid so it is really important to evaporate that away in the browning step before continuing with the recipe.

      Read the previous reviews in the comments and look at their photos to get a clear picture of how this recipe should be turning out for you.

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Thanks! I followed the instruction to cook for about 3 minutes; next time, I’ll brown it enough that the liquid’s reduced (or will even drain it afterward, b4 PC).

        Should that splash of apple-cider vinegar be added b4 PC, or later? Thanks again.

        1. You are right, the directions were unlcear in the recipe. I will update it to say to brown the meat. I apologize for the confusion.

          Ciao,

          L

  25. This was delicious! Mine was watery, too. I will definitely make it again, but halve the stock, or leave it out entirely.

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