Instapot Unstuffed Italian Shells

I just love Italian type casseroles like lasagna and manicotti, but the preparation and time it takes is just not something I enjoy. I am all for a meal with multi steps, but if I have to use multiple pots and pans, I just can’t get on board. So, attempting to create this Italian goodness in the Instapot was something I knew I had to do.

The sauté, pour, stir, and let pressure cook is my kind of meal. When I took a look in my pantry the other day, I realized I had a couple boxes of large pasta shells. It was then I decided I wanted to make stuffed shells in the Instapot…except not stuffed. So unstuffed Italian shells was born.

Instapot Unstuffed Italian Shells

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 435 kcal


  • pressure cooker


  • 1 lb ground meat sausage, beef, turkey…your choice
  • 1 small purple onion diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced
  • cups ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • cup water
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese shredded
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh basil


  • On the sauté setting, brown the ground meat in the bottom of the pressure cooker. Add in the diced onion and minced garlic. Stir for a couple of minutes to slightly cook the onion and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cancel the sauté setting. Add in the tomato paste and the ricotta cheese. Stir to combine
  • Add in the marinara sauce, water, and shells. Press the shells into the liquid until they are nearly immersed. Place the lid on and set the pressure cooker to medium for 4 minutes. Let the steam release naturally.
  • Once the steam is released, pour in all but a small handful of each of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses into the pasta, stir to combine. Sprinkle, the rest of the cheese over the top and then place the pressure cooker’s lid over top again for 5-10 minutes to allow the cheese to melt. Don’t turn the pressure cooker back on, just let the cheese melt with the left over radiating heat.
  • Serve immediately, and top with fresh basil. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 435kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 30gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 873mgPotassium: 625mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 892IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 403mgIron: 3mg
Keyword 20 minute meal, Italian, pasta
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Have you ever made lasagna, manicotti, or stuffed shells in an Instapot? Do you love these Italian casseroles, but loath the preparation it takes? If you attempt this recipe, please tag me and let me know how you enjoyed it.

Hope y’all are having an amazing week. Stay safe, be kind, and hug your loved ones.

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