• 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or sweet onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground meat or sausage
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 box medium pasta shells (16-ounces), types such as: shells, rotini, etc.
  • 1 jar pasta sauce (around 24-ounces)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese or Italian cheese blend
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks and softened
  • 1 cup heavy cream or 2% milk (optional: it adds additional richness, but also adds more liquid that slows down thickening.)


  1. Add olive oil to the pot and turn on “Saute” mode.
  2. Add onion and cook until starting to get soft.
  3. Add ground meat and cook and cook until no longer pink.
  4. Turn the Instant Pot off.
  5. Stir in the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic powder.
  6. Pour shells on top of ground beef mixture.
  7. Pour pasta sauce and water on top of shells. Do not stir, but press shells down into liquid with the back of a spoon. The goal is to prevent burning on the bottom.
  8. Place lid on Instant Pot and set to cook on HIGH pressure for 5 minutes.
  9. Do a manual quick release
  10. Remove the lid and stir in the Parmesan cheese, heavy cream, and cream cheese.


COVER the release valve with something, because liquid will likely shoot out of the top when released!