Instant Pot Ground Beef Pasta

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Instant Pot Ground Beef Pasta — kinda speaks for itself, doesn’t it? Creamy, cheesy, comforting, and all the things you love in one dish, plus half the cooking time you’d normally need. And it’s a great way to use those pantry staples! 

For more terrific Instant Pot recipes, check out my popular posts for Instant Pot Chicken Marsala, Instant Pot Pot Roast and Potatoes, and Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos

up close plate of pasta shells

Who remembers Hamburger Helper? Show of hands? Even though I can’t see your hands, I know there’s a bunch up right now. In fact, I am pretty sure it’s still a thing, I feel like I’ve seen it in the pasta/rice aisle. 

Just throw in a package of ground meat with the noodles and sauce mixture, and you’re good to go. It’s a fantastic idea really. But if you want to make a healthier version (without all those shelf-stable preservatives) or you haven’t been able to go to the grocery in a while but you want to use up that box of pasta and that package of ground beef, then this beef and pasta dish is the perfect thing! 

Plus, I’ve made getting this dish on the table even easier by using my Instant Pot. You can go from shelf/fridge to table in less than 30 minutes. And, this is a dish your whole family will enjoy. Now that’s what I call a dinner winner! 

scoop of ground beef pasta over pressure cooker


  • Ground beef
  • Oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Italian blend seasoning or Herbs de Provence
  • Marinara sauce
  • Water
  • Beef broth
  • Short, uncooked pasta noodles like shells, macaroni, penne, bowties
  • Onion powder
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Freshly grated mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper 

pasta in instant pot


Once you get all your ingredients together, it’s time to make the cheesy beef and shells dish of your dinner dreams! 

First, set your pressure cooker to Saute. Drizzle with the oil, and then add the ground beef. Saute the beef for about 4-5 minutes, breaking the beef as it cooks. When it’s browned all the way through, stir in the Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence, and the garlic and saute for another minute. 

Transfer the ground beef and spice mixture to a bowl and cover it to keep it warm.  

Next, add the marinara, water, broth, noodles, onion powder, and red pepper flakes to the pot and stir. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and lock it down. Turn the vent valve to the “sealed” position. 

Set the pot to Pressure Cook or Manual for 8 minutes. When the 8 minutes is up, do a quick release and remove the lid when the float valve drops or the steam is completely out of the valve cover. 

Stir in the ground beef mixture and the cheese. When the cheese is melted, salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh parsley, basil, or thyme if you like and serve. 

up close ground beef pasta shells


The other great thing about this dish is that it can be customized to your liking. Here are some ideas for ways to change up this pasta and beef Instant Pot dish. 

  • If you don’t have or don’t like ground beef, you can use any other ground meat such as turkey or chicken if you like. 
  • To make the dish spicier, consider using ground Italian sausage instead of ground beef. Follow the directions as stated. 
  • For a little bit extra nutrients, you add frozen peas or corn or both during step 3. 
  • If you want to make this vegetarian, swap out beef broth for vegetable broth and consider adding beans instead of meat. Saute the garlic and spices with the beans, remove the beans to keep warm (as you would the meat) and transfer back during step 7.
  • Add onions and saute them with the garlic. 
  • Instead of marinara sauce, use a homemade (or store bought) alfredo sauce
  • Switch up the spices from Italian to Mexican by subbing cumin and chili powder for the Italian seasonings and swapping cheddar for the mozzarella. 

hands holding plate of pasta


  • Using smaller pasta works best. If you want to use spaghetti, be sure to break it up into smaller pieces first
  • You want to cook the meat first and remove it before cooking the pasta in the Instant Pot, otherwise, the ground beef will soak up too much of the liquid and leave you with a hard pasta, or it’ll be all lumped together and not too appetizing. 
  • If you don’t have garlic to mince, you can use the jarred garlic or I’ve even seen frozen cubes. 
  • If you’re short on broth, you can make your own with water and bullion cubes. Simply follow the directions on the box/jar of cubes/bouillon you have at home. Chicken, beef, or even vegetable bullion will work! 
  • Make sure to vent the Instant Pot right away and don’t let it self-vent or your pasta will get too mushy.

plate of ground beef and shells

up close plate of pasta shells

Instant Pot Ground Beef Pasta

Instant Pot Ground Beef and Shells — kinda speaks for itself, doesn't it? Creamy, cheesy, comforting, and all the things you love in one dish, plus half the cooking time you'd normally need. And it's a great way to use up those pantry staples!
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 teaspoons Italian blend seasoning OR Herbs de Provence
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 16 ounces/1lb short uncooked pasta noodles like shells, macaroni, penne, bowties
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Set your pressure cooker to SAUTE. Drizzle with oil, then add the ground beef and saute 4-5 minutes, breaking beef into pieces as it cooks, until browned.
  • Stir in Italian seasoning and garlic for 1 minute longer. Transfer ground beef to a bowl and cover tightly to keep warm.
  • Add marinara, water, broth, noodles, onion powder, and red pepper flakes (if using) to the pot and give it a good stir.
  • Place the lid on the pot and slide it into the locked position and turn the vent valve to the sealed position.
  • Set to PRESSURE COOK or MANUAL for 8 minutes.
  • Do a QUICK RELEASE (immediately turn the vent valve to VENT position) and remove the lid once the float valve drops.
  • Stir in ground beef and mozzarella cheese. Once cheese is melted and incorporated, add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley, basil, or thyme if desired and serve.
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Recipe Rating


5 stars
Very nice, it was good straight away when I tested it for seasoning, but I made the mistake of making it early and leaving it on the keep warm function for 90 minutes and it was pretty wrecked by the time I got to it, the pasta swelled up, so don’t do that!

    oh dang it!!!

5 stars
I didn’t use the beef broth, just used 3 cups of water and it was a family FAVORITE from very picky eaters!

    Happy to hear that it turned out well for you, Christina!

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