Damn Delicious

Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Shells

Cheesy Taco Shell Recipe

ONE POT DINNER! So creamy, cheesy and full of taco flavors using ground beef. Quick, simple + so bomb for the whole family!

Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Shells Recipe

So the sleepless nights continue with baby Cartman. He is unbelievably adorable and sweet, but he’s also a little bit of a terror when all he wants to do is play at 1AM, and then again at 4:30AM.

But that’s okay. I can still get dinner on the table in a flash using one single pot.

That’s right. We have a one pot wonder here from start to finish using crumbled ground beef, making this super quick and budget-friendly. Best of all, the uncooked pasta shells cook right in the Instant Pot with the rest of your ingredients in just 5 minutes!

Not to mention, these pasta shells are amazingly cheesy, creamy and so so filling, giving me the energy to play with this 6lb baby corgi all night long!

Instant Pot Taco Shells Recipe

Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Shells

ONE POT DINNER! So creamy, cheesy and full of taco flavors using ground beef. Quick, simple + so bomb for the whole family!

20 minutes20 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 small poblano pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup mild salsa, homemade or store-bought
  • 12 ounces medium pasta shells
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 ounces shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Set a 6-qt Instant Pot® to the high saute setting. Heat olive oil; add ground beef and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; drain excess fat.
  2. Add onion and poblano, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder, oregano and cumin until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in beef stock, tomato sauce, salsa and pasta; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Select manual setting; adjust pressure to high, and set time for 5 minutes. When finished cooking, quick-release pressure according to manufacturer’s directions. Stir in cheese and heavy cream until cheese has melted, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in cilantro.
  4. Serve immediately.

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  1. My husband doesn’t like hamburger helper.  He enjoyed this and the kids raved about it.  I added a jalapeño and used 1/2 and 1/2 creamer with a teaspoon of butter added since I didn’t have a poblano or heavy cream.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    I made this for a meal train drop off for a friend just home from hospital.  Many thanks to the previous reviewers who confirmed that ground turkey, any broth and Greek yogurt would be successful subs.  I kept a small portion at home so I could try it and discovered that my family ate half of it while I was out dropping it off.  They are already asking me to make it again for us to have!  Very tasty and really quick to pull together after work.  

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Quick, easy and flavorful weeknight dinner. All 6 of us loved it!

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    This was delicious!!! Quickly threw it together as my fiance was already eating leftovers for dinner. He then proceeded to eat 2 servings as a second meal because it was so good. Used mostly Banza chickpea pasta for extra protein and a huge scoop of 0% greek yogurt instead of heavy cream. And forgot the cilantro because I was starving. Might only cook for 3-4 mins next time because I don’t mind al dente pasta and leftovers will get softer. Thank you!!!

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    Amazing! Next time I may reduce the time on my IP so the noodles are not so soft.

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    I don’t eat beef so I made this with ground turkey and vegetable broth. It turned out delicious! We will definitely make this again.

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    Hi I just purchased my 1st IP and came directly to your website to find recipes. As usual I was not disappointed! This was a hit in my house, I cannot wait to try more recipes from you!

  8. Rated 5 out of 5


  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    So my husband loved this. The changes I made were adding Frontera Taco sauce mix instead of chili powder, also added extra beef bone broth (total of 4 cups) then cooked down at the end. Got more sauce and BAMM flavor!! Will definitely being making this again and again!

  10. I’m going to make this tonight with ground turkey – do you think chicken stock would be a good substitute for beef stock? Or should I stick with beef stock? Thanks!

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    Made this for the first time last night and we all loved it. I think it was even better leftover for lunch today.   It was a little runny last night, but it was perfect today.  Thanks for another great and easy to follow recipe.  

  12. Rated 5 out of 5

    This was really delicious! I forgot to pick up the heavy cream, so I used the skim milk I had on hand. I made a slurry with the milk and a tsp of cornstarch. I’ll definitely be making this again! 

  13. Rated 5 out of 5

    I made this last night and it was delicious! Husband loved it too. Followed recipe as-is (I used Chi Chi’s mild chunky salsa) and added lots of grated parmesan to my serving. We will be making this again for sure.

  14. Rated 5 out of 5

    Easy & Delicious!!! So very satisfying on a cool evening. Great alternative to chili for game day. Definitely a crowd pleaser! I didn’t have the creme to add – didn’t matter it was still delish! Would recommend to others and  I’ll make again!!

  15. Rated 5 out of 5

    Can I substitute the instant to the slow cooker?

    • What a great idea! But unfortunately, without having tried this myself, I cannot answer with certainty. But if you get a chance to try it, please let me know how it turns out! Good luck! 🙂

      • I tried it with the crockpot. I made this for national taco day. My kids & husband hate it when I make any form of pasta that is not Mac & Cheese. This dish was a hit; they all wanted seconds! All I had to do is add flour to thicken the sauce.

  16. Rated 5 out of 5

    Thank you! This was loved by everyone at dinner tonight! It’s the first time I made it but reading the ingredients I knew it would be “Damn Delicious”! I wanted my little ones to get into the flavors of tacos and since they’re to little to eat them this was perfect! I just added the juice of one lime when you add the beef broth and pasta. Soooooo gooood! Nice job lady

  17. Rated 4 out of 5

    Awesome taste and super easy. If I followed the directions exactly but prefer a thicker sauce, what is your recommended way of thickening it?

  18. Rated 5 out of 5

    Just made this for dinner tonight, didn’t change a thing, and it was AMAZING! Husband said this one is a keeper! Enough food for another two meals for us. 

  19. Rated 5 out of 5

    I made with what I had on hand, venison, no onion (bf isn’t a fan), no poblano, no chili powder, subbed garlic for powder (I was just feeling lazy ) and I just added my whole bag of pasta plus more water and cream and wow!!!!!!!! Just wow! I had just enough cilantro to garnish. I can’t wait for my leftovers this week for lunch, for once!

  20. Rated 5 out of 5

    If I want to make this on the stove top, do I need to alter the amount of liquids? Like should I cut them back? I don’t have an instant pot but want to make this soooooo bad!

  21. Rated 5 out of 5

    Making this this week, sounds delicious! Can’t handle spicy, can I omit the poblano pepper completely? Should I out anything else in like a bell pepper? Thanks!

  22. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great recipe, very flavorful. I didn’t have shells, so used rigatoni pasta and added 1 minute to the cook time. Didn’t have poblano, but did have a fresno chili, so used that. Didn’t have heavy cream, so subbed sour cream…like a stroganoff. Turned out so good, we loved it!

  23. Rated 5 out of 5

    Made this today and it was absolutely fantastic! A total hit!! My local grocery store didn’t have poblano peppers so I just used a small jalapeno. Also, pasta boxes around here come in 16oz sizes, so I threw in the whole box (instead of using 12 oz pasta like the recipe states) and threw in an extra half cup of salsa for a tad more liquid. It turned out perfectly! Thank you so much, it will now be a regular around here! We LOOOVE your IP recipes!! Please keep them coming! (Especially that creamy pepper pasta shell one please!!)

  24. Rated 5 out of 5

    This was absolutely delicious!  Total comfort food and easy to prepare. I’ll definitely make it again and would love more I start Pot recipes!

  25. Making this tonight!    How do yiu drain the grease from the instant pot?  It is difficult to access it with a spoon!

  26. This was so so good and really simple to make. My whole family loved it. The only thing I did differently was that I only used half of the poblano pepper because I didn’t want it to be too spicy for my 8 month old. Turned out perfectly! Thanks for a new favorite recipe!

  27. Rated 5 out of 5

    Just made this for the first time and it was a HUGE hit with my family of 6! I will need to double this next time as they all had seconds and then complained there weren’t any left overs for the following day. Recipe was an easy, quick homerun. Thank you!

  28. Rated 5 out of 5

    This was a quick, easy and very delicious weeknight dinner for my family. My kids have even asked for it to be part of our regular dinner rotation. I love the convenience of making it all in an instant pot, too- easy clean up! Please keep those instant pot recipes coming- they’re game changers on busy weeknights! 🙂

  29.  Can you do this in a crockpot?  If so, how long do you cook it.?  What recipe do you have.

  30. Haven’t tried yet but wanted to know if it freezes well. 

  31. Rated 5 out of 5

    I haven’t tried this yet, but I know it’s going to be delicious. Every recipe you post is good. However, it would be welcomed if you would post an alternative cooking method for those who don’t have an instant pot. I think I can figure it out, but I’d feel better if it came from you. I don’t intend to buy an instant pot. I already have too many cooking vessels, and I don’t have the counter space or cupboard space to store one. Thank you!