If you like pasta, Instant Pot stuffed shells is the dish for you! A combination of shells, spinach and cheese, what could be better?
Anyway, it’s a great option for meatless Monday or anytime you’d like a vegetarian dinner. You can make it in your Instant Pot or any other pressure cooker in just 25 minutes.
For the marinara sauce , you can make it yourself or just use store-bought.
Can I Use a Different Sauce?
Yes! Feel free to replace the marinara sauce with pesto, meat sauce or any other sauce you like. I’m always doing that when I want to diversify without getting bored of this Instant Pot stuffed shells recipe.
Can I Use Frozen Spinach?
I highly recommend using fresh baby spinach for this recipe. Frozen spinach contains a lot of water, so it may result in the shells becoming too watery.
If you do use frozen spinach, make sure to fully defrost and drain it first, squeezing out as much excess liquid as possible with your hands.
If using fresh spinach, you should briefly boil the spinach, then drain and squeeze out excess water before adding to the cheese mixture. The spinach can be minced after cooking and draining.
More Helpful Tips
It may seem strange to add water to the marinara sauce, but it’s necessary for this recipe. If you don’t add sufficient water, the marinara may start to burn and you’ll get a burn message on your Instant Pot, so make sure to add the full 2 cups of water.
After you add the water, use a wooden spoon or flexible rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and corners of the pot. Sometimes there will be bits of stuck on onion or marinara sauce that could also cause a burn message, so make sure to scrape them off before pressure cooking to prevent this.
Pre-cook the shells al dente—1-2 minutes less than the packaging suggests. This will make the shells flexible enough to stuff without breaking but will prevent them from overcooking and becoming mushy in the pressure cooker. They will be cooked perfectly this way!
How many shells do I need?
Since we are placing the shells in a single layer, the amount change based on your Instant Pot size.
If you have 6-quart Instant Pot – use 16 stuffed shells.
If you have 8-quart Instant Pot – use 20 stuffed shells.
Do You Have More One-Pot Meal Options?
Sure! I’m a huge fan of one-pot pasta dishes that make for easy and satisfying dinners.
- 16-20 pasta shells
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 10 ounces spinach boiled or defrosted, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh basil minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1.5 cups water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta in boiling water for 8 minutes. Once cooked, rinse under water and put aside.
- Take a bowl and mix spinach, ricotta, mozzarella (1 cup), parmesan cheese, whisked egg, salt, pepper and minced basil.
- Stuff the pasta shells with the filling.
- Press "Saute" and add olive oil to the Instant Pot.
- Add onion and garlic and cook on saute for 2 minutes, until onion is golden.
- Add marinara sauce, stir and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add water and stir.
- Place the stuffed shells in the sauce in one layer.
- Close the lid and cook at high pressure for about 5 minutes.
- Once done, do a quick pressure release.
- Open the lid.
- Sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella and place the lid back on for 4 minutes (the heat melts the mozzarella).
- Carefully remove shells with a slotted spoon to serve. Spoon extra sauce on top and garnish with additional parmesan cheese and fresh basil if desired.