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 Instant Pot 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!
Update! Shells and Beef is without a doubt, one of my most popular recipes. I first made it in 2017, and you all love it -- check the comments for the rave reviews! So, I just added better pictures and tips to make this recipe even better as of June 2020!
Also, note that this is the original -- a lot of people loved it so much that they created their own recipes. That's great and all, but this one's the real deal. Promise!
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!
How to Make Ground Beef and Shells in the Pressure Cooker
You start off by sauteing an onion in the Instant Pot, and then, you add some lean ground beef. I buy lean or extra lean ground beef, so I don't remove the grease. But, you can definitely remove the grease if you want to.
Next, add your seasonings. Then, 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, ( in fact, don't stir it yet!) 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. A good rule of thumb for cooking pasta in the Instant Pot is to cook for half the time recommended on the package.
I set the timer to 5 minutes, which gives you a softer texture, but you could do 4 minutes for firmer pasta or even 6 minutes for even softer pasta.
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! If you like it, You might also want to try Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pasta and Instant Pot Creamy Sausage and Shells.
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
Instant Pot Creamy Shells and Beef Recipe
Instant Pot Creamy Shells and Beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ 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 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Turn Instant Pot to saute setting, and wait for the display to turn to HOT
- Add olive oil and onions, and cook until slightly soft
- Add ground beef, break up with spatula, and cook until no longer pink, stirring frequently to make sure it doesn't stick to pot
- Season with sea salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic powder, and hit CANCEl
- 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
- Place lid on Instant Pot, close, and make sure vent is set to SEALING position
- Hit PRESSURE COOK for 5 minutes, or half the cooking time on the box of pasta
- When pressure cooking is done, do a quick release, then remove lid and hit CANCEl to turn cooker off
- Stir in heavy cream and Parmesan cheese, and serve
Nutrition information is estimated. Please do your own calculation to fit special diets.
More Easy Instant Pot Ground Beef and Pasta Recipes
- Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
- Instant Pot Ground Beef Stroganoff
- Instant Pot Cheeseburger Mac
- Instant Pot Creamy Taco Pasta
So good! Frequently requested by my teens. I’m sometimes too lazy for the onion and it’s still great. I sometimes use Italian chicken sausage. My fave sauce is the Victoria from Costco! Thanks for the recipe !
Thank you for the wonderful review!
My husband and I have been making this recipe for a couple years now and it’s a staple for us!
I just now made it for my 4 and 2 year old. They liked everything but the ground beef… This may seem like a silly question, but is there a way to make this with no meat, do you think?
So happy you like the recipe -- thanks! I haven't tried it, but you can definitely leave out the meat. Just add the remaining ingredients to the pot and cook as usual.
Nicole Taylor says
This is a great recipe! The only thing I change is swap the water for beef/chicken/vegetable broth (whatever I have on hand)
It takes the flavor to new heights!
This recipe has been a staple in our meal rotation for the past couple of years, but we recently got rid of our instant pot… do you know how I would make this on the stove? Thanks!
Sure do! Here is the stove top recipe, which I made before I even had an Instant Pot. Creamy Shells and Beef I just updated it recently.
James Cochran says
Absolutely fantastic. Quick and simple. Makes enough leftovers to take for lunch. I definitely plan on making it again !
Thank you so much for the wonderful review. Glad you liked it!
This recipe is superb. I had just tried it for dinner. The pasta came out al dente, soft and perfect chewiness. I love it.
My family really enjoyed this and it was super easy to make! We will definitely be adding it to our regular meal rotation.
How much is your serving size for your 254 calories?
It's usually about one cup.
Easy as can be! The kids loved this one. I have found a new family favorite!
So glad you liked the shells and beef, Matt. Thanks!
Hi! This recipe you made looks great!!! We don’t have all the stuff, so we’re making it with penne and buffalo!!😇 We are camping, and we want an easy meal, so we want to try out your recipe!!! Looks great and delicious!!
Sadiya Ahmed says
If I use Barilla whole wheat rotini, does the cook time change?
No, 4 to 5 minutes should be perfect.
This is a family favorite at my house! Thanks for sharing it with us.
SO happy to hear this, Beth! Thank you!
I’ve made this recipe several times and the family loves it!! Just FYI - if you double the recipe, it does NOT fit in a 6 quart Instant Pot!! I tried!! 🤦🏻♀️
I'm so glad to hear this, Rebecca. Thanks for sharing the tip, too!