Instant Pot Creamy Italian Pasta is an easy one-pot meal comes that comes together in minutes creating the perfect Pressure Cooker Pasta! This recipe for Instant Pot Pasta comes with directions using homemade tomato sauce or jarred sauce, and directions for including meat or leaving a meatless pasta dish.
I love pasta.
And so when I was asked by so many of you to Instant Pot Pasta–I gladly accepted the challenge.
I am happy to report that I have PERFECTED cooking pasta in the pressure cooker. BUT I am a bit sick of pasta at the moment–HA!!
Instant Pot Pasta
In all seriousness, I tested this Italian Pasta in my Instant Pot more times than I can count.
- I experimented with 4 types of regular noodles and one type of gluten-free noodles.
- I tested this instant pot pasta recipe with homemade tomato sauce and with jarred tomato sauce.
- I made my Italian pasta creamy with the addition of ricotta and cheese and I made it without dairy for a vegan friendly pasta bake.
- I even tried this pasta bake with ground meat and Italian sausage.
I burnt a batch. I under-cooked pasta. I overcooked pasta.
But I finally landed on success and now have one of the EASIEST meals you can make for your family on a busy weeknight–PS-you want to check out all my 30 minute family meals for busy nights!
I will walk you through the different variations, but first let me share with you my favorite version.
How to Make Pasta in your Instant Pot
Step One: Homemade Tomato Sauce (optional)
I love homemade tomato sauce, but a good quality store brand works as well.
- Add ingredients for tomato sauce plus 2 cups stock or water to pressure cooker.
- Cook sauce on high pressure for 10 minutes.
- Let pressure release for 5 minutes, then do a quick release.
- Because there is a large amount of liquid in the sauce, be sure to cover vent with kitchen towel and stay away from steam. It will take about one full minute for the pressure to release.
Step Two: Add Pasta
- Stir in 16 ounces of dried pasta–for this recipe I use rotini but see notes below on other times of pasta you can use.
- You want to be sure to submerge the pasta into the sauce.
Step Three: Add Ricotta Cheese
- Dollop ricotta cheese on top of the sauce and grate Parmesan cheese over the top.
Step Four: Cook Pasta
- Seal the lid and close the valve to sealed.
- Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
- Let release pressure for 5 minutes and then do a quick release and turn off Instant Pot.
It is SO important to watch that you don’t allow more time to pass than 5 minutes for natural pressure to release so you don’t overcook your pasta. I have found that 4 minutes for most pasta (see notes below) with 5 minutes natural release creates a perfect al dente pasta.
Step Five: Serve
- You will notice when you remove the lid the sauce looks very liquidy, just give it a good stir and the pasta and sauce will be perfectly incorporated.
How to Perfectly Cook Pasta in the Instant Pot
Cooking pasta in the instant pot is about the easiest thing to do.
But just like all Instant Pot Recipes, there are a few important guidelines to remember when using your instant pot.
- First, you need to be sure you have enough liquid for pressure to be reached AND enough liquid for your pasta to cook in and to leave a delicious sauce behind.
- The magic number instant pot pasta to water ratio is about 6 cups liquid to 16 ounces pasta. I know that may sound like a lot of liquid, but that includes the liquid in the tomato sauce.
- Secondly, you want to make sure you completely submerge your pasta in the liquid to cook.
- I have seen many recipes that place the pasta on top of the sauce “to steam” the pasta. Every time I have tried this, my pasta cooked unevenly and had dried, crispy spots–yuck. I
- like to pour my pasta in on top of the sauce and then lightly push down the pasta until it is just submerged. This will keep the pasta covered with liquid but not touching the bottom the inner pot in the Instant Pot.
Dried Pasta Instant Pot Cooking Times:
- Spaghetti Noodles: 3 minutes on high pressure, 4 minutes natural release, then quick release (break spaghetti noodles in half so you can submerge in cooking liquid).
- Rotini/Penne/Cavatappi: 4 minutes on high pressure, 5 minutes natural release, then quick release
- Rigatoni: 5 minutes on high pressure, 5 minutes natural release, then quick release
- Linguine: I have NOT had success with linguine noodles, they all clumped together even when I tried to criss-cross them. I would just use spaghetti noodles.
- Elbow Noodles: 3 minutes on high pressure, 4 minutes natural release, then quick release.
Can you cook gluten-free pasta in the Instant Pot?
Yes and no.
- I experimented with Barilla gluten-free rotini noodles and my method still worked perfectly.
- Other brands may have timing differences.
- Quinoa Noodles will break down in the sauce and release starch that can cause the you to get a burn notice, so are not recommended.
Instant Pot Pasta with Jarred Pasta Sauce
If you have a favorite jarred sauce or already have some homemade marinara sauce made, this recipe for Instant Pot Pasta, just got a whole lot easier for you!
- Place your jarred sauce, 2 cups stock or water, 1/2 cup wine (or stock) 1 can diced tomatoes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in pressure cooker.
- Add in pasta and ricotta as directed.
- Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
- Do a natural release for 5 minutes before doing a quick release and serving.
Can you add meat to this Instant Pot Pasta recipe?
Absolutely! I stated that I have tried Instant Pot pasta with both ground beef and Italian Sausage.
- For ground meat:
- Start this recipe by sauteing the meat until browned.
- Drain off the excess grease.
- Add in the stock and scrape off any browned bits off the bottom of the pressure cooker and proceed with the recipe.
- For Italian Sausage:
- Add whole links of Italian Sausage into the sauce as it cooks.
- After the first release, remove the sausage and cut it into slices.
- Add back to the sauce along with noodles and ricotta to finish cooking.
Can you make this Instant Pot Pasta Vegan?
Absolutely. Just omit the ricotta cheese and Parmesan for an easy one pot pasta recipe.
A Few Final Notes on Instant Pot Past Recipe:
- I add in a dry red wine, like Cabernet or Merlot for an extra rich flavor to my sauce. Don’t worry the alcohol cooks off for the kids, but you can leave the wine out and use 1/2 cup more stock or water.
- I highly recommend using stock instead of water for this recipe. The noodles absorb the liquid as they cook, so by using stock, you are imparting more flavor to the pasta.
- This is one time not to let your Instant Pot sit on keep warm after you release pressure. The pasta can become soggy and dry out quickly.
If you liked this Pressure Cooker Pasta you may like:
Want more Instant Pot recipes? Check out my collection of easy healthy Instant Pot Recipes.
Instant Pot Pasta Recipe
Instant Pot Creamy Italian Pasta
For the Homemade Tomato Sauce
- 28 ounce tomato puree
- 3 tablespoons dried parsley
- 5 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 2 tablespoons honey or sugar
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For the Pasta
- 1 recipe homemade tomato sauce or 28 ounces jarred pasta sauce
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup dry red wine or addtional stock
- 15 ounce diced tomatoes
- 16 ounces dried pasta
- 8 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Place all ingredients for homemade tomato sauce along with the stock, wine, and diced tomatoes, in inner pot of pressure cooker.
- Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Once cook time has elapsed, let pressure release for 5 to 10 minutes, before doing a quick release.
- Add in dried pasta and sumberge in sauce. Dollop with ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese.
- Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Let naturally release for 5 minutes and then do a quick release for remaining pressure.
- Stir sauce, ricotta and pasta altogether and serve.
- Skip the step of making homemade sauce and use 28 ounces jarred sauce and then add in diced tomatoes, stock, and wine with pasta.
- Start the recipe by browning the ground beef/sausage and then proceed with making the sauce.
- If using links of sausage, just add to sauce as it cooks.
To Make Instant Pot Pasta You May Need
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