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Easy Stuffed Shells in the Instant Pot

Stuffed Shells are a family favorite in our house, and it’s no secret why! Creamy ricotta, sauteed spinach, gooey mozzarella… all stuffed into pasta. Plus, it’s made in the Instant Pot! This recipe for Easy Stuffed Shells will make your next dinner so much easier.
4.34 from 9 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Pressure Building: 10 minutes
Total Time: 39 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • Pressure Cooker


  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 10 oz spinach
  • 1 lb Ricotta
  • 2 cups ½ lb Mozzarella, shredded, divided
  • ½ cup Parmesan
  • 1 tsp Garlic
  • 1 egg
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 12 oz Jumbo Shells
  • 1 ½ cups Chicken broth
  • 2 ¼ cup Marinara sauce, more if necessary


  • Turn the pot to SAUTE. Add olive oil to the pot, then add the spinach. Saute until it wilts all the way down. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then pour the spinach into a strainer to remove any extra liquid. Set aside.
  • Turn the pot off of SAUTE. Add a splash of broth to the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits of cooked spinach stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • In a bowl, make the filling by mixing ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, parmesan, garlic, egg, salt, pepper, and spinach. Use a spoon to scoop into the uncooked shells.
  • Once all shells are filled, spray the liner of the Instant Pot with nonstick spray. Add the broth into the pot. Then add the stuffed shells, stacking on top of one another if necessary.
    PLEASE NOTE: Some newer brands of the Instant Pot have a more sensitive burn notice and it doesn't always like cooking the noodles on the bottom of the pot. You can also place the shells on the trivet and fill the pot with enough water or broth to cover the bottom layer of shells halfway. Still top with marinara sauce. With this method, you may need a bit more sauce at the end to spoon over the hot shells.
  • Pour the marinara marinara sauce over all of the shells. If you need more marinara sauce to cover the shells completely, you can use more. Any shells not covered by liquid will not cook correctly and will come out hard.
  • Put the lid on the Instant Pot and set the pressure to HIGH for 9 minutes. After the timer goes off, allow for a 9 minute natural pressure release.
  • Open the lid and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese on top of the shells. Put the lid back on (don’t turn the pot on) and allow the residual heat to melt the cheese for about 3 minutes. Open the lid and serve. Enjoy!


Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only. 
Recipe was made using an 8 qt pot.
  1. Ricotta: Ricotta cheese is one of my very favorite cheeses to cook with! It is soft, creamy, and oh so tasty. If I could give you one recommendation for this Easy Stuffed Shells recipe, it would be to invest in high quality ricotta. Instead of buying the prepackaged kind, try to buy the fresh ricotta behind the cheese counter (if you can afford it). It will make such a huge difference in your meal!  
  2. Mozzarella:  Mozzarella cheese is another one of my favorites (geez, no wonder I love stuffed shells). It’s creamy and so versatile! Again, for this recipe, I asked the deli counter for some fresh mozzarella, which I then grated myself. It makes such a big difference in the taste of your stuffed shells! Prepackaged mozzarella will also work if need be.
  3. Shells: I love buying a big box of jumbo shell pasta. I use Barilla, but you can use any brand that you’d like! Make sure to stuff your shells when the pasta is still uncooked.
  4. If you’d like to use frozen spinach in this recipe instead of fresh, you can certainly do so! Make sure to thaw your spinach and drain it so that no extra liquid is going into the filling. If you are measuring the spinach after it has been cooked, you can use about ½ cup. 
  5. In most cases a best practice for cooking pasta in the Instant Pot is to cook it for half of the time recommended on the box. Jumbo shells typically have a stovetop cook time of 12 minutes, but I found that I was not satisfied with a 6 or even a 12 minute cook time. Each time, the shells came out undercooked, and I didnt even want to eat them! I found that a 9 minute cook time with a 9 minute natural release suits my taste buds best! 
  6. Many recipes for Stuffed Shells recommend filling a plastic bag with the filling, cutting the corner off, and using the tip to pipe filling into the shells. This is a great idea, but does not work well with this particular recipe, as the spinach clogs the tip. I preferred to use a spoon to fill the shells.
  7. If you’d like to omit the spinach, you can! The shells will be easier to pipe this way.
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