If you like pasta and one-pot meals, this Instant Pot stuffed shell is the dish for you!
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 30 minutes (total).
Table of Contents
Do I need to precook the shells?
No. This is a one-pot meal so you can use the shells directly from the package.
How about the marinara sauce?
For the marinara sauce, you can make it yourself using this Instant Pot Marinara sauce recipe or just use store-bought.
Can I Use a Different Sauce?
Yes! Feel free to replace the marinara sauce with pesto, bolognese, spaghetti sauce, 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.
How to serve?
You can have it as is, with fresh salad or steamed vegetables.
For more quick and easy ideas for side dishes, check What To Serve With Stuffed Shells.
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.
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 a 6-quart Instant Pot - use 16 stuffed shells.
If you have an 8-quart Instant Pot - use 20 stuffed shells.
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 burning message on your Instant Pot.
So, make sure to add the full 1 and ½ 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 burning message, so make sure to scrape them off before pressure cooking to prevent this.
How to make
Gather all the ingredients first, trust me it lessens the hassle.
Take the Spinach and chop it.
Now take an onion and chop it, chop the garlic as well.
Take the Parsseman Cheese and shred it.
Take a bowl, and add Ricotta Cheese.
Add the chopped Spinach, and shredded Mozzarella into the bowl.
Now add previously shredded Parssamen Cheese and an egg as well.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Now take your Instant pot to add olive oil.
Add previously minced garlic.
Now add chopped onions and set the pot to Saute for 5 minutes.
Add Marinara Sauce after Sauteeing and stir well.
Add ½ cup of water so our mixture doesn't burn and stir well.
Now comes the fun part!
Take Pasta shells and fill them with the stuffing we prepared earlier.
Fill the Pasta shells and keep putting them into the sauce in Instant Pot.
Set the Instant pot to High Pressure for 8 minutes.
Do a quick release.
Add Mozzarella onto the freshly cooked shells and set the instant pot to High pressure AGAIN for 4 minutes.
Do a quick release and Voila! your Instant Pot Stuffed Shells are ready to be served 🙂
One-Pot Pasta Recipes
Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta
Instant Pot Stuffed Shells
- 16-20 pasta shells uncooked
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
- 10 ounces spinach boiled or defrosted, minced
- 2 tablespoon fresh basil minced
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1.5 cups water
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a bowl 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 saute for 2 minutes until golden.
- Add marinara sauce, stir and saute for 1 more minute.
- Add water and stir well.
- Place the stuffed shells in the sauce in one layer.
- Close the lid and cook at high pressure for 8 minutes.
- When cooking time is complete, do a quick pressure release.
- Open the lid and sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese (1 cup).
- Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
- When cooking time is complete, do a quick pressure release and open the lid.
- Carefully remove shells with a slotted spoon to serve. Spoon extra sauce on top and garnish with additional parmesan cheese and fresh basil 🙂
Instant Pot Heavenly Stuffed Shells
36 thoughts on “Instant Pot Stuffed Shells”
WHERE do you get the large shells for stuffing? I've been looking all over Northern Arkansas and NO-ONE has them!
I'm planning to use your recipe to make IP stuffed shells. If using fresh spinach, why bother to boil, drain, squeeze and mince it? Why not just mince it fresh and use raw? What is the drawback?
Stuffing uncooked shells seems difficult. So many in the box are closed. Did no one else have this problem?
Sorry about that, I suppose it depends on the brand how big the opening is. You can precook them if it's easier, you just don't have to.
I buy American Beauty brand and didn't have that problem. Love that you don't have to cook them!! This is my favorite dish in the instant pot. Great recipe!!
Thank you for your recommendation, it does help a lot that you don't have to cook them I think!
This recipe is good but I find that the extra 4 minutes at the end make the noodles super soft so I put them in one side of a baking dish and put the sauce on the other than move them and broil them with cheese for 5 minutes so they aren’t falling apart. I also added ground hot Italian sausage and made 40 of them using the amount of ingredients listed and it was just enough with .
This goes to the top of our list of favorites!! It did burn on the bottom. Will try again though!! I put the water in the empty sauce container to rinse it out, so it was maybe too thick. Great recipe!!
Sorry about the burn, but I'm glad you enjoyed it anyway! It should definitely help to thin out with sauce with a bit of water.
Can I freeze the filling?
Yes! When you thaw it, it may separate a little, but you can just drain the excess liquid and it will work great.
Within the instructions it only tells you to add a half a cup not a full cup and a half they have caused some people some confusion I know it did me I went back over at several times
Made this tonight. Yummmmm! I probably added more sauce and water. No burn notice. My very picky eater even enjoyed it. Thank you.
It makes me very happy to hear when picky eaters enjoy my recipes 🙂 thank you! Glad it worked well for you!
I made this recipe tonight and it was delicious. I followed the recipe and it seemed like there was too much sauce, the shells disappeared when first placed in the pot. Will be making this again!
Thanks, glad you liked it!! It's ok if the shells disappear in the sauce at first, you want to make sure you have enough liquid in there.
Thank you Corrie
Just made Stuffed Shells today It was delicious the family all loved it especially my Naples born husband.
I received a burn notice too but I believe my 8qt Pot was cramped with 20 shells. I made it in 2 batches had to double the recipe for my family. I added the water as instructed, The first time I got the burn notice It was slightly burned but didn’t affect the taste of the gravy. After cleaning I sprayed the pot got the burn notice but nothing was burnt Again I think it was just too cramped.
PS yesterday was my initial meal and made Mongolian beef it was a big hit as well.