Deconstructed Shepherd’s Pie

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My family enjoys a variety of meals, but a hearty dish like this is always a favorite on a fall day. As I write this, the leaves are starting to fall to the ground, the air has a crisp chill in it, and we start using the Instant Pot even more than normal. 

I can read your mind though…what’s the difference between this recipe and a beef stew in the crockpot? You could just as easily put it together in the crockpot and be done with it, but with this recipe, you’ll simplify things a bit, not have quite as many dishes, and it’ll be super easy. Don’t believe me? Well, let me count the reasons….

  1. Crockpot relies on having several hours. This recipe can be done in as short as 90 minutes.
  2. Usually meat needs to be thawed to cook best in crockpot. Not so with Instant Pot! Bonus – beef that is still slightly frozen is very easy to cut into cubes (although you can certainly buy pre-cut stew meat to save time like I did).
  3. Saute the beef chunks AND make the thickened gravy right in the Instant Pot instead of getting out a different pan to brown the beef and thicken the gravy on the stove. Everything is in one pot.
  4. Easy to customize for every member of your family. Have a picky kiddo who hates peas? You can easily leave them out of his serving! Have someone who wants each food separate on their plate? Done – easy to mix this together or keep it separate. You can even customize the seasonings on each serving. 

Things to note – the potatoes need to be cut into similar sized pieces so they cook evenly – but they don’t need to be pretty since you’ll be mashing them. I never peel potatoes, choosing to retain the nutrients in the skins, but you do whatever your family likes. I also don’t peel carrots, just scrubbing them clean.


  • 1 lb beef stew meat
  • 1 TB vegetable oil
  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • 1 14 oz can broth (I used low sodium)
  • 2-3 carrots, scrubbed and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup frozen peas and/or corn
  • 1-2 TB corn starch or flour
  • Seasoning of choice (I used salt and pepper, and Penzey’s Brady Street Sprinkle and butter on potatoes)


  1. Turn Instant Pot to ‘saute’ and warm up the vegetable oil until hot.
  2. Add beef chunks, browning on each side. Remove and place in one of the divided basket sections.
  3. Pour beef broth into inner liner of Instant Pot
  4. Add beef chunks to one section of divided basket. Set to ‘manual’ high pressure for 20 minutes. Use natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then QR.
  5. Scrub potatoes clean, peel if desired. Cut into chunks. Place in one of the divided basket sections.
  6. Open Instant Pot lid, add potatoes to second divided basket, and carrot to the third. Place in IP and close lid. Set to ‘manual’ for 12 minutes. Use QR.
  7. Remove potatoes from Instant Pot and place in a large bowl. 
  8. Add peas to the basket that the potatoes were in. Close IP and set for 0 minutes high pressure. Use NPR until potatoes are ready.
  9. Mash potatoes with 1 TB butter and 1 TB half and half or heavy cream.
  10. Open IP and remove baskets.
  11. Add cornstartch or flour  to about 1-2 TB of cold water and mix well. Add to remaining broth and stir til thickened.
  12.  Mix meat, carrots and peas together, and serve on top of mashed potatoes OR, serve a dollop of mashed potatoes on top of each serving.