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Instant Pot Creamy Sausage and Shells is an easy dinner recipe made with Italian sausage and pasta in a tomato cream sauce.  Kid approved!

Instant Pot creamy sausage and shells pasta in a white serving bowl

This creamy, cheesy sausage and shells pasta is a variation on Instant Pot creamy shells and beef — one of the most popular Instant Pot recipes on my blog. If you like easy Instant Pot dinners, you’re going to love this delicious Instant Pot creamy sausage and shells!

We went to the most amazing Italian restaurant when we were in Flagstaff the other night — Fat Olives. If you’re ever up in the High Country, you have to eat there! I had the rigatoni and sausage, which was basically ground Italian sausage and pasta in a creamy tomato sauce. And I loved it so much, that I had to re-create the recipe at home.

Like I said, Instant Pot creamy sausage and shells is very similar to my Instant Pot shells and beef. They’re both made with pasta is a tomato cream sauce, and really the only difference is the meat. I have a lot of Instant Pot pasta recipes on the blog, but honestly, these two are probably my favorites. It’s all about the sauce!

The best thing about this quick and easy Instant Pot dinner  — besides the fact that it’s completely delicious, is that it’s very kid friendly. My picky eaters gobbled it up, so  you know it’s good!

How to make easy Instant Pot sausage and pasta

Can you cook pasta in the Instant Pot?

Absolutely! I cook pasta in the Instant Pot all the time, and I have a gazillion, or so it seems, recipes for Instant Pot pasta on the blog!

How do you cook Italian Sausage in the Instant Pot?

This recipe uses ground Italian sausage, but I do have a recipe for Italian Sausage and Peppers in the Instant Pot.

You can use hot, sweet or mile Italian sausage for this recipe. Of course, if you’re cooking for kids or spice haters, like the Hubs, use mild or sweet. I’ve even used all natural seasoned breakfast sausage in a pinch!

Brown the sausage in some oil, and crumble it up. If the sausage sticks to the bottom, use some of the water called for in the recipe to deglaze the pot before you start pressure cooking. This way, you won’t get the burn notice.

ground italian sausage cook in instant pot

Next, add your uncooked pasta, the rest of the water (or all if you didn’t need to deglaze the pot) and top it all off with marinara sauce. Don’t stir it now — you don’t want it to burn.

layer ingredients for creamy sausage and shells in instant pot

After pressure cooking, give the pasta a good stir, and add the heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Stir it all together, and you’re ready to eat! I topped the sausage and shells off with some shredded Mozzarella, but if you don’t want extra cheese, you can skip this step!

instant pot creamy sausage and shells on spoon

But, if you’re a cheese lover, go ahead and add as much as you want. You won’t regret it, and a little bit more cheese just makes this delicious creamy sausage and shells even better!

instant pot creamy sausage and shells in white bowl with bread and cheese and basil

Looking for more Instant Pot sausage and pasta recipes?

Recipe for Instant Pot Creamy Sausage and Shells

5 from 21 votes

Instant Pot Creamy Sausage and Shells

By: Dee
Instant Pot Creamy Sausage and Shells is an easy pressure cooker dinner recipe made with Italian sausage and pasta in a tomato cream sauce. It's quick, easy and kid approved! 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
pressure time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 23 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1.5 pounds ground Italian sausage
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound uncooked medium shell pasta
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
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  • Hit SAUTE on the Instant Pot, and when it reads Hot, add the olive oil and sausage
  • Add the Italian seasoning and garlic powder, and cook sausage until brown and no longer pink, stirring frequently and breaking up sausage with a spatula or wooden spoon
  • Hit CANCEL, and deglaze pot with some of the water (about 1/2 cup) to loosen up browned bits from bottom of pot, if necessary
  • Add the uncooked pasta over the sausage, and add remaining water over and around pasta. Top with marinara sauce, and spread over pasta, but Do Not Stir!
  • Cover pot with lid, and turn vent to Sealing position. Hit PRESSURE COOK for 5 minutes. Pot will take a few minutes to reach pressure, then begin counting down and cook for 5 minutes
  • When pot beeps, turn vent and do a quick release or  gradual quick release, to control liquid spraying out of pot
  • When pin drops, carefully remove lid, and stir pasta. Stir in the cream, and gradually stir in the Parmesan cheese
  • Serve pasta topped with shredded mozzarella cheese, if desired


Recipe can be made in either 6 quart or 8-quart Instant Pot electric pressure cooker without changing cook time or ingredient amounts.
For firmer pasta, cook for 4 minutes.


Calories: 310kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Like this? Leave a comment below!

Instant Pot Creamy Sausage and Shells made with Italian sausage and pasta in a tomato cream sauce

My family is crazy about this easy Instant Pot creamy sausage and shells. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Alexandra says:

    Hello! I’ve made this recipe a few times and it’s amazing!! I have it to a sweet friend after giving birth and she wants to make it for the future! I was wondering how long it would take to cook in a slow cooker after browning the sausage? She doesn’t have an instant pot.

    1. Dee says:

      I’m so glad you both like the recipe! I haven’t made this in the slow cooker, but generally it’s 1-2 hours on high or 3-4 hours on low for pasta, depending on the actual slow cooker used. You can also make this recipe in a large pot or Dutch oven on the stove — works perfectly!

  2. Keva VanZile says:

    This is so delicious! Just to get my grandkids to eat a few more veggies, I slipped in some baby spinach. They loved it!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks! So glad you liked the recipe!