Join Our Financial Boot Camp

Subscribe to our newsletter

No Need to Boil Pasta with This Instant Pot Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce Recipe

Instant Pot Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce

yield: 8 SERVINGS

prep time: 40 MINUTES

cook time: 8 MINUTES

total time: 48 MINUTES

Ingredients

  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shedded
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded & divided
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 oz. jumbo shells, uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 25 oz. jar of marinara or spaghetti sauce
  • fresh basil and crushed red pepper flakes for garnish

Directions

1

To a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, spinach, egg, parmesan cheese, and 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese. Place the mixture in a one-gallon storage bag or pastry bag to pipe the filling into the shells.

2

Place the uncooked shells on a platter or baking tray. Snip the corner of a storage bag, and then pipe the cheese mixture into each shell.

3

Set the Instant Pot on Saute mode and add the ground beef to the bottom. Season with garlic, onion flakes, salt, and pepper. Brown and drain the grease from the meat if needed. Scrape down the bottom of the pot to make sure there are no bits stuck to the bottom. This is so important or your Instant Pot may not come to pressure properly. 

4

Place the stuffed shells on top of the meat. Pour water on top of the shells. Finally, pour the jar of sauce over the shells, making sure to cover the top entirely with sauce.

5

Close and seal lid. Turn Instant Pot to Manual or High mode and set to 8 minutes.

6

Once cook time is done, carefully quick release the pressure using the back of a wooden spoon or kitchen utensil.

7

Open the lid and sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese over the top of the noodles. Don't be alarmed as it may look watery, but it won't for long. Close the lid and let sit for 5 minutes. Open the lid and gently stir to combine meat from the bottom with shells and cheese.

8

Serve warm with fresh basil and extra parmesan cheese if desired. Enjoy!

Brought to you by Hip2Save.
More Dinner Ideas
16 Comments
Love Love Love I'd Have Seconds! Meh... Not Feeling It Needs A Do-Over
5.0 / 3 ratings
Print

Instant Pot Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce Recipe

Love Instant Pot meals the whole family can enjoy?

You’ve gotta check out these insanely delicious cheesy stuffed shells with meat sauce that you can make entirely in an Instant Pot! Yep, there’s no boiling the noodles first, which saves a step and makes this meal super smart and efficient. More importantly, this is possibly the best-tasting meal I’ve ever made using my Instant Pot pressure cooker, which makes me even more excited to share it with you!

Hip Tip: Don’t own an Instant Pot? Keep reading for slow cooker instructions.

ingredients for instant pot shells

Easy to find pantry ingredients are the BEST!

Yep, there’s nothing super fancy or over the top expensive here. We’re simply using traditional stuffed shells or common lasagna ingredients. Grab a jar of spaghetti or marinara sauce your family prefers and a box of the jumbo stuffed shells. I used the entire box of dried shells, and it all fit nicely in my 6-quart Instant Pot.

pouring marinara sauce over stuffed shells using the instant pot

We used ground beef for a meat sauce, and next time I’d like to maybe try making this with ground sausage – yum! If you prefer a meatless dish, I’m confident you could just leave that step off and follow through with the rest of the process.

bowl of stuffed shell cheese ingredients

Using three types of cheese creates the ultimate cheese-fest you’re gonna love. I definitely prefer the richer whole milk ricotta texture to skim, but that’s up to you. Try using cream cheese if you’re not a ricotta fan. I added spinach to my cheese mixture and that was yummy, too, but optional.

Hip Tip: An easy way to get all the moisture out of frozen spinach is to defrost it, then press it against a small colander using another bowl or your hand to drain moisture.

pipe stuffef shells using a plastic gallon baggie

Stuffing the shells takes a little time and patience.

For this reason, I’m not suggesting this as the fastest weeknight meal to prepare after you’ve worked all day and have been to multiple kids sports practices or games. LOL It’s a fairly straightforward recipe idea and worth the extra bit of effort to fill those shells – I promise, the results will be so TASTY! You could even fill your shells a day beforehand as a prep ahead idea.

For the jumbo shells, I honestly do NOT recommend this Market Pantry brand from Target that I used, as many of them were closed up super tightly, which made them a tad more tedious to fill. I have heard that the Barilla brand jumbo shells are great. (I also read later that running tightly-closed shells under warm water for a bit will soften them.)

Hip Tip: Place cheese filling inside a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and cut one end to use it like a squeezable pastry bag to fill shells.

stuffed pasta shells placed in instant pot

After filling the shells, brown the meat at the bottom of the Instant Pot. Then stack all the stuffed cheese shells on top of the meat. Pour water and then the jar of sauce over the top of the shells, and seal the lid for cooking.

Once finished, top with the remaining cheese and cover with the lid again for about five minutes to let it melt (the noodles will soak up the remaining liquid nicely).

spreading mozzarella cheese over stuffed shells in Instant Pot before serving


Print

Instant Pot Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce

yield: 8 SERVINGS

prep time: 40 MINUTES

cook time: 8 MINUTES

total time: 48 MINUTES

This Instant Pot meal features delicious cheese and spinach filled shells with a hearty marinara meat sauce prepared using just one pot!

Ingredients

  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shedded
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded & divided
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 oz. jumbo shells, uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 25 oz. jar of marinara or spaghetti sauce
  • fresh basil and crushed red pepper flakes for garnish

Directions

1

To a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, spinach, egg, parmesan cheese, and 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese. Place the mixture in a one-gallon storage bag or pastry bag to pipe the filling into the shells.

2

Place the uncooked shells on a platter or baking tray. Snip the corner of a storage bag, and then pipe the cheese mixture into each shell.

3

Set the Instant Pot on Saute mode and add the ground beef to the bottom. Season with garlic, onion flakes, salt, and pepper. Brown and drain the grease from the meat if needed. Scrape down the bottom of the pot to make sure there are no bits stuck to the bottom. This is so important or your Instant Pot may not come to pressure properly. 

4

Place the stuffed shells on top of the meat. Pour water on top of the shells. Finally, pour the jar of sauce over the shells, making sure to cover the top entirely with sauce.

5

Close and seal lid. Turn Instant Pot to Manual or High mode and set to 8 minutes.

6

Once cook time is done, carefully quick release the pressure using the back of a wooden spoon or kitchen utensil.

7

Open the lid and sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese over the top of the noodles. Don't be alarmed as it may look watery, but it won't for long. Close the lid and let sit for 5 minutes. Open the lid and gently stir to combine meat from the bottom with shells and cheese.

8

Serve warm with fresh basil and extra parmesan cheese if desired. Enjoy!

Brought to you by Hip2Save.

cheesy meaty stuffed shells on a spoon in an instant pot

spinach and cheese stuffed shells on a white plate

Serious comfort food ahead!

Oh man, this was so good. One can never go wrong with all that gooey melted cheese and a hearty sauce! My kids had seconds, and they’re tough critics when it comes to Instant Pot meals. This recipe also makes a generous amount of food if you have a larger family. The leftovers were great warmed up again for lunch the next day.

This Instant Pot Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce recipe was such a winner for us!

plated instant pot stuffed shells topped with basil

Slow Cooker instructions:

While I haven’t made this in the slow cooker yet, others have had great success with this recipe! Brown meat on the stove first, and follow the rest of the directions – except slow cook on low for 4-5 hours until pasta is cooked and tender. I did notice that most slow cooker stuffed shell recipes call for two jars of marinara sauce.


Lina (lina@hip2save.com) loves cooking new recipes, thrift store shopping, and DIY home decor projects.

Make this popular and yummy Instant Pot Fettuccine Alfredo!

Join The Discussion

Comments 16

  1. Sara

    If you don’t put meat in it, do you have to preheat the Instant Pot before putting the shells in there?

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      no – just skip the saute step all together and place stuffed noodles in the IP.

  2. Julie

    Ok so I am trying to make this recipie and following the exact direction. My shells were not cooked after 8 mins then I added 7 more mins since it was pretty raw. I was really expecting the shells to be done after 7 more mins. No luck. Now I have added 6 more mins. I do have a bigger instant pot so maybe it needs more time. Or maybe my shells are not good ones (MP shells).

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Darn so odd – I did 8 minutes and quick release. (Well the Pot takes about 15 minutes to come to pressure then it counts down.) Hmm.. so sorry that’s happening! So your IP is coming to pressure?

  3. Gina

    How much water are you adding? Submerging the shells completely? And then the sauce? Or water and sauce combined to submerge the shells?

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Hi Gina – it’s 2 cups water as listed in ingredients. You don’t have to submerge shells just pour in water after placing shells in IP. Then pour sauce over the top, as stated in directions. Thanks!!

  4. Yolanda

    This turned out really well! I used Great Value Jumbo shells. All but a few were open and easy to fill. I ran out of the cheese mixture before I got to the closed ones, so I just dumped those on top. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      That’s such great news!! I’m so glad 🙌

  5. Laura

    This made plenty for our family of 6 (including two teens). Most of the family liked it, and I used the Barilla shells. Most of the shells were sufficiently open that I could fill them pretty easily. This was a win—thanks!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      That’s so great! Thanks Laura!

  6. Lulu

    I’m going to give this a try. Thanks.

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      You are welcome! Let us know what you think, Lulu!

  7. Pat

    I don’t have an instant pot but will try it in my crock pot. Sounds delicious. I still use my mothers old crock pot and old pressure cooker. Not sure I want to buy a new one since I already know how to use these.

  8. Pat

    I have to use tomato sauce because my brother refuses to eat the pasta sauces in jars. They list tomato pieces in the ingredients and he won’t eat tomato pieces (same with pizza, I have to read the ingredients believe me he will read them and if he can’t he won’t eat it) but I just say that is why he is on disability and go on. No use in fighting cause you can never win when they are challenged.

  9. Gina

    Can you skip the egg?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

It's not your Grandma's coupon site!

OOPS! Be sure to login or register to access this feature. It's FREE!

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot Password

Don't have an account? Register

Become a Hip2Save Insider

Don't Miss Out! Join our large community of insiders - it's totally free! Once you join, you'll be able to save & share your favorite deals, rate posts and recipes and add items to your cookbook! What are ya waiting for?!

Already have an account? Login

Become a Hip2Save Insider

Don't Miss Out! Join our large community of insiders - it's totally free! Once you join, you'll be able to save & share your favorite deals, rate posts and recipes and add items to your cookbook! What are ya waiting for?!



Already have an account? Login

Thank you for rating!

Would you also like to leave us a comment?