Instant Pot Shells and Cheese—creamy cheesy pasta shells (or macaroni) with slices of smoked sausage. An easy and delicious dinner that is kid-friendly and adults love it too!
Instant Pot Shells and Cheese
When I was a kid I was always jealous of the kids that got foods like fruit roll-ups, sugar cereal and Velveeta shells and cheese. My mom was more of a homemade mom. For breakfast we would get “mush,” homemade pancakes or if we did have cereal it was cornflakes or plain cheerios. We would get homemade bread sandwiches in our lunches and real fruit, like and apple, and then maybe a homemade cookie. For dinner my mom would make homemade dinners. Looking back I realize that I was lucky that my mom didn’t use processed convenience foods like many of my friends.
However, I can still picture the television advertisements of the Velveeta Shells and Cheese that looked oh so tasty! The cheese look creamy and glossy and it enveloped the shell pasta noodles. That was what I was going for with these Instant Pot shells and cheese. I also wanted to make it more of a meal by adding the smoked sausage. If you don’t like smoked sausage you could add in chunks of uncooked chicken breast, brats or a can of drained tuna. Get creative!
These Instant Pot shells and cheese have a subtle smoky flavor thanks to the smoked sausage, liquid smoke and smoked paprika. This gives it a little more of a grown up flavor profile than normal macaroni and cheese. Having said that, my kids both exclaimed how much they liked this particular recipe and were sad when the leftovers were gone.
I used 3 different types of cheese: cheddar, monterey jack and colby jack. This gives a variation of flavor. You can also just use cheddar if you prefer. Or you can play around with different types of cheese.
I wanted to stir the broccoli into the pasta but Greg put the kibosh on that idea! He is NOT a fan of broccoli intermingled with other foods. If you are, like I am, than try my Instant Pot chicken broccoli mac and cheese recipe.
Try these Instant Pot shells and cheese out for dinner this week! You’ll love it!
More Cheesy Instant Pot Pasta Recipes…Print
Creamy cheesy pasta shells (or macaroni) with slices of smoked sausage. An easy and delicious dinner that is kid-friendly and adults love it too!
- 1 (12 oz) package of pre-cooked smoked sausage, sliced into quarter inch pieces
- 2 cups water
- 8 oz uncooked pasta shells or macaroni noodles
- 1 Tbsp butter
- ½ tsp liquid smoke
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp ground mustard
- ½ cup half and half (or cream or milk)
- 4 oz (about 1 cup) grated cheddar
- 4 oz (about 1 cup) grated monterey jack
- 4 oz (about 1 cup) grated colby jack
- Optional: cornstarch
- Place the smoked sausage evenly on the bottom of your Instant Pot. Then pour in the water. Dump in the pasta in an even layer. Add the butter, liquid smoke, kosher salt, paprika, pepper and ground mustard. Don’t stir.
- Cover the Instant Pot and secure the lid. Make sure the valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 5 minutes. When the time is up let the pot sit for 5-10 minutes and then move the valve to venting. Remove the lid.
- Stir. It will seem like there is a lot of liquid, don’t worry. Slowly stir in the half and half and cheeses. The cheese will get melty and the sauce will thicken up. If it is still too runny you can thicken with a cornstarch slurry. In a small bowl stir together 1 Tbsp of cornstarch with 1-2 Tbsp of water, until smooth. Then pour the mixture into the Instant Pot. Turn your Instant Pot to the saute setting. The cornstarch mixture will thicken up contents of pot quickly.
- Serve the pasta and sausage with broccoli or another favorite vegetable.
To make I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. You can also make this recipe in the 8 quart or 3 quart pot with no changes.
You can make this without the smoked sausage. Leave it out and follow the recipe otherwise.
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
Want more tried and true Instant Pot recipes?
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*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.