Friday, March 22, 2019


Instant Pot Creamy Shells and Beef is an easy pressure cooker dinner recipe made with ground beef and pasta in a tomato cream sauce. Perfect for busy days!

If you’re looking for an easy dinner recipe made with ground beef and pasta, you’re going to love this delicious Instant Pot Creamy Shells and Beef. It’s like homemade Hamburger Helper, and it’s super kid friendly. Best of all, it’s a one pot dinner, so there’s hardly any clean-up!

Have you bought an Instant Pot yet? I’ve been seeing so many Instant Pot recipes on Pinterest and just about everywhere lately, so of course I was curious. I finally gave in and bought one of these modern pressure cookers on Cyber Monday — I got a smokin’ deal!  And friends, let me tell you, that I’m definitely in love!

If you’ve never made dinner or anything else in a pressure cooker, it can be tricky at first. There’s definitely a learning curve here! But once you get the hang of it, you’re going to love cooking with your Instant Pot!

I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with different Instant Pot recipes, and I was able to convert some of my favorite one pot dinner recipes to pressure cooker dinner recipes. Yea — Go me!

This Creamy One Pot Shells and Beef  is not only one of my family’s favorite ground beef recipes, but it’s also one of the most popular recipes on the blog. It’s basically just pasta, beef and marinara sauce, along with a little bit of cream. It’s super easy to make on the stove, but I had to change some things to make it work in the pressure cooker.

And in case you’re wondering — Yes, you can make pasta in the Instant Pot! You just have to make sure that you also add enough liquid to make it all work!

You start off by sauteing an onion in the Instant Pot, and then, you add some lean ground beef. Add some flavor, and when that’s done, you add your uncooked shell pasta, some marinara sauce and water.

You have to make sure that the pasta and everything else is completely covered with water and sauce. You don’t need to stir it all together, but you can push it all down with a spatula or spoon, just to make sure the liquid is covering the pasta.

Next, you use the pressure cooking function. Pasta cooks in the Instant Pot for about half the time it cooks on the stove. I set the timer to 5 minutes, which gives you a softer texture, but you could do 4 minutes or even 6 minutes.

It takes about 10 minutes or so for the pot to come to pressure, and then, the Instant Pot starts cooking and counting down the minutes until the pasta is done

When 5 minutes are up, do a quick release by turning the valve to release. Be sure to wear an oven mitt or use a spoon to be on the safe side. Remove the lid, stir in the cream and Parm, and you’re done!

One of the best thing about cooking with an Instant Pot is that you don’t have to babysit a pot on the stove. Just let the pressure cooker do the work, and come back when the time is up!

It’s quick and easy to prepare, and dinner is made in just one pot for easy clean up! My family loves the texture of the pasta, too. In fact, my kids couldn’t get enough of this creamy shells and beef! They literally ate it all up!

Tips for Cooking Pasta and Meat in the Instant Pot

Make sure pasta and meat are completely covered by liquids
Don’t stir the mixture before pressure cooking
Cook pasta for about half the cook time on the box of pasta
Add milk or cream at the end, right before serving

Recipe for Instant Pot Creamy Shells and Beef

Instant Pot Creamy Shells and Beef is an easy one pot dinner made entirely in the pressure cooker. It's like homemade hamburger helper, with ground beef and pasta in a tomato cream sauce and very kid friendly!
5 from 62 votes

Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: instant pot creamy shells and beef, instant pot ground beef recipes, instant pot recipes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 304kcal
Author: Dee


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1-pound box medium shell pasta
  • 1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Turn Instant Pot to saute setting, and wait for the display to turn to HOT
  2. Add olive oil and onions, and cook until slightly soft
  3. Add ground beef, break up with spatula, and cook until no longer pink, stirring frequently to make sure it doesn't stick to pot
  4. Season with sea salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic powder, and  hit CANCEl
  5. Add shells over ground beef, then add the marinara sauce and water. Do not stir, but press lightly with spoon to ensure pasta is completely covered with sauce and water
  6. Place lid on Instant Pot, close, and make sure vent is set to SEALING position
  7. Hit PRESSURE COOK for 5 minutes, or half the cooking time on the box of pasta
  8. When pressure cooking is done, do a quick release, then remove lid and hit CANCEl to turn cooker off
  9. Stir in heavy cream and Parmesan cheese, and serve
Recipe was made with Bertolli brand marinara sauce.
You can add another 1/2 to 1 cup water for a thinner sauce
Calories: 304kcal

My family is crazy about this easy Instant Pot Creamy Shells and Beef. Let me know how you like it!

Happy Cooking,