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Instant Pot Stuffed Shells Recipe

Authentic italian instant pot stuffed shells on a white plate.

Are stuffed shells your favorite at your local Italian restaurant? A shell-shaped pasta loaded with a combination of cheeses and topped with a delicious marinara sauce makes stuffed shells wonderful to enjoy. However, you may think that this recipe is out of the reach of most ordinary cooks.

And yet, with our recipe for Instant Pot Stuffed Shells, you can master this tasty dish and we have some hints and tips to make it easy to create, and in your Instant Pot, you can make it quickly and easily.

Authentic italian instant pot stuffed shells on a white plate.

Pot Stuffed Shells Recipe

If you have made homemade filled pasta dishes in the past, you probably expect that you will have to boil large vats of water, cook the pasta, and then put together the dish which is then baked. This makes a huge mess in your kitchen and takes quite a while. 
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8


  • Large skillet
  • Spatula
  • Bowl
  • stirrer
  • Cooking spray non-stick
  • Spoon
  • Pot


  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 piece egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 12 oz jumbo shell pasta
  • 24 oz marinara sauce
  • ½ lbs ground beef
  • 1 ½ cups water


  • In a large skillet, brown the ground beef until it is fully cooked and no more pink remains. Chop the beef with a spatula to break it into small bits. Drain any accumulated grease. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the marinara sauce and the cooked ground beef. 
    Top view shot of ingredients of Instant Pot Stuffed Shells.
  • In another medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the cottage cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, the Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, egg, and salt, and pepper. Add the parsley and blend it all together until it is thoroughly combined. 
  • Spray the inside of the Instant Pot with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Spoon the cheese mixture into a gallon-sized zip top bag. Snip the corner off of the bag and squeeze the cheese mixture out into the uncooked pasta shells.
  • Place the shells inside the Instant Pot as you fill them. You may not use all of the shells. We used about two thirds of them in our recipe. Add the water to the Instant Pot, pouring it along the side of the pot and not over the top of the shells.
    A mixture of ingredients in zip top bag.
  • Next, spoon the prepared marinara sauce over the shells in the Instant Pot. Do not stir. 
  • Set the Instant Pot to high pressure and cook for 8 minutes. Quickly release the pressure in the pot by using the valve. 
    A shells inside on instant pot.
  • Sprinkle the reserved mozzarella cheese over the top of the mixture inside the pot. Replace the lid but do not seal. Just let the cheese melt with the residual heat in the cooker. 
  • Spoon the pasta shells out to serve.
    A delicious and cheesy instant pot stuffed shells on a bowl.


Our recipe for Instant Pot Stuffed Shells comes together quickly and easily. You will just blend together the filling for the shells, fill them, stir up the pasta sauce, and put it all in the Instant Pot. Instant Pots are nifty kitchen gadgets that use the magic of pressure cooking to cook things quicker than you ever thought possible.
You don’t have to pre-cook the pasta when you use an Instant Pot. You can put the uncooked pasta in the cooker and it will cook perfectly in just a few minutes. 
Another trick that we use to make creating this recipe easier is to use a plastic freezer bag to help you fill the shells easily. Usually, when you spoon the filling into pasta shells, it is tedious and messy. Packing all of the filling into the shell pasta gets the cheese filling all over the counter top and your hands.
For our recipe, we spooned the filling into the freezer bag, snipping off the corner and squeezing out the filling into the uncooked pasta shells. This trick will save you a lot of hassle, and when you are done with the baggie, you can just toss the plastic bag in the trash can. 
Between using uncooked pasta shells and piping the filling into the shells, creating this recipe is much quicker and easier than you ever thought. 
This recipe can be altered to suit your own taste. We flavored the pasta filling with parsley, but other herbs would be delicious as well. If you have plenty of fresh rosemary or basil around, they would be perfect for seasoning the filling too. If you want to, you can add thawed frozen spinach to the filling, as long as you are careful to press out any excess water from the frozen spinach.
Fresh spinach will work too, and you just need to chop it finely and add it to the filling. 
We included ground beef in our recipe. However, if you have ground pork, ground turkey, or Italian sausage on hand, you can substitute those kinds of meats as well. Alternatively, if you are a vegetarian or are just trying to cut back on the amount of meat that you consume, you can forgo the meat all together, just omitting it from the recipe. 
Keyword stuffed shells

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