These Instant Pot Lazy Lasagna Beef and Shells has been a new favorite for easy weeknight dinners, and stress-free entertaining!
The time between having the idea of simplifying traditional lasagna, to actually getting this recipe fully tested has been a long haul! It seemed easy enough, but I had some learning to do when it comes to pasta in the Instant Pot. Don’t worry if you don’t have an Instant Pot though, I have stove top directions below as well.
Tyler and I both love lasagna which I probably make only once or twice a year. It just takes more time than I usually spend on dinner. So I wanted to come up with a version that was easy enough for a weeknight dinner. But I also wanted it to be a new recipe in my repertoire for stress-free entertaining as well.
So I got to work trying to put together a recipe in the Instant Pot that actually worked. I kept getting watery results, and I almost just changed the recipe name to lasagna soup. But in the end I’m glad I tested this all of 5 times total!
The stove top version came together on the first try. And really either way you go is very easy, it just took me a while to get the liquid ratios/cooking times right in the Instant Pot. The stove top version always wins for me because you’re more in control of texture. The flavor is also predictably better because of the evaporation involved when you cook on the stove top.
But the Instant Pot version is really good too, even if it is more saucy. Not that either of us is complaining around here with all this yummy lasagna pasta floating around the fridge from all the recipe testing. We’ve happily eaten leftovers for days at a time. And even when I thought Tyler might be getting tired of it after 4 test rounds, he was actually excited I had to give it another whirl!
How to make Instant Pot Lazy Lasagna Beef and Shells:
- Start by sautéing the ground beef, then add the onions, garlic, and seasonings.
- Next add some chicken stock and sea salt, and scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot.
- Then add the fire roasted tomatoes, pasta, and remaining chicken stock.
- Now the Instant Pot does the cooking and you prep the cheeses and maybe prep some veggies or a salad.
- When the Instant Pot is done, let it release naturally for 10 minutes, then quick release.
- Stir in the cheeses and season to taste before serving.
- Total time takes about 30-40 minutes for the Instant Pot.
Tip: Do not stir the pasta into the liquid before setting the Instant Pot to cook. Just lightly press the shells into the liquid to cover them with liquid. You don’t want to stir because the pasta will be near the bottom and can cause the Instant Pot to have a BURN signal.
How to make Lazy Lasagna on the stove top:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
- In another large pot, sauté the beef, then add the onion, garlic, and Italian seasoning.
- Cook until the onion is tender, then add the blended tomatoes and only 1 cup of chicken stock. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer.
- While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta according to the package directions. You can also check out my tips on how to cook pasta.
- When the pasta is done, drain and do not rinse. Add it to the sauce and simmer together for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheeses. Season to taste and serve immediately!
- Total time takes about 15-20 minutes for the stove top.
So it’s definitely faster to cook this on the stove top than the Instant Pot. However the Instant Pot is more hands off during the cooking time. Either way you go, it’s going to be pretty easy!
Stove top vs. Instant Pot: well I think you know I always love stove top over Instant Pot. But I have to say when things are crazy I make this with the Instant Pot directions. Just be aware it’s a little more saucy in the Instant Pot. There’s absolutely nothing to do about this because I tried many different ways to reduce the liquid which only resulted in unevenly cooked pasta.
Timing Tip: I like to roast a sheet pan of veggies while the pasta is cooking. For the stove top version, I pop the veggies in the oven when the pasta goes into the water. This way the veggies can roast for about 12 minutes. For the Instant Pot, I like to put the veggies in when the cooking time is up, and you’re in the step for the 10 minute natural release.
Instant Pot Lazy Lasagna Beef and Shells
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4–6 servings 1x
- Diet: Gluten Free
All the flavors of the classic lasagna made into an easy weeknight dinner!
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef, I used lean 85/15
2 cups, 1/4″ diced onion, 1 small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning, no salt/sugar added
1 1/2 Teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
3 cups chicken or beef stock/broth, no sodium, see notes
1 – 28 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, blended into a chunky sauce
1 – 12 ounce package gluten free shell pasta
8 ounces mozzarella grated, 2 cups
1 cup grated parmesan
1 cup ricotta cheese, or 1/2 sour cream (sour cream makes a looser sauce)
Fresh basil if desired for topping + more grated parmesan
For the Instant Pot, start by using the sauté function to cook the ground beef, then add the onions, garlic, and seasoning.
Next add 1 cup chicken stock and sea salt, and scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot well. Do not leave any browned bits on the bottom.
Then add the blended fire roasted tomatoes, evenly scatter the pasta over the surface of the tomatoes, and pour the remaining chicken stock over the top. Do not stir, but instead lightly press the shells just under the liquid with the back of a spoon.
Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook for 3 minutes, and set the valve to sealing.
When the Instant Pot is done, let it release naturally for 10-15 minutes until the button goes down.
Then stir in the 3 cheeses and season to taste before serving.
Stove top instructions:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
In another large pot, sauté the beef, then add the onion, garlic, and Italian seasoning.
Cook until the onion is tender, then add the blended tomatoes and only 1 cup of chicken stock. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a light simmer.
While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta according to the package directions. When the pasta is done, drain and do not rinse. Add the pasta to the sauce and simmer together for 1-2 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheeses. Season to taste and serve immediately!
Total time takes about 15-20 minutes for the stove top.
Total time takes about 30-40 minutes for the Instant Pot.
I use homemade chicken stock which doesn’t have any added salt. If your stock/broth does have salt, decrease the amount you add, then season to taste at the end of the cooking time.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 5
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: Italian American
Keywords: Lazy Lasagna, Recipe for Lazy Lasagna, Lazy Lasagna Recipe, Lazy Lasagna Instant Pot