by Olena

Instant Pot Spaghetti

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Olena Osipov

Instant Pot Spaghetti takes a simple shortcut to a delicious and healthy one-pot dinner, ready in 30 minutes. Brown the meat, then add uncooked pasta and sauce and let the Instant Pot take care of the rest. Jazz up pasta night any day of the week, even the busy ones, and enjoy this hearty Italian-inspired pressure cooker spaghetti with a lot of flavor and little effort!

Using a pressure cooker will transform your idea of there being only one way to make pasta. Try our most popular pasta dishes, Instant Pot lasagna, Instant Pot chicken pasta parmesan, or Instant Pot mac and cheese, and you’ll never look back.

instant pot spaghetti on plate with fork and garnish

Instant Pot Spaghetti

A simple spaghetti and meat sauce recipe has always been a favorite go-to meal on a busy weeknight. It’s the kind of budget-friendly, comforting, and healthy dinner idea that saves any busy weeknight! We’re not trying to replicate an authentic Italian pasta dish, because we all know, any true Italian recipe requires old-fashioned time and effort. What we ARE trying to do is give the essence of Italian-inspired flavours a modern twist with the magic of the Instant Pot. I have to admit, though, it sure comes close to the real deal!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always have the time to make pasta from scratch or even a simmering sauce for hours. This is why this recipe is a complete time-saver. We add meat, pasta, and sauce into our pressure cooker and we have a healthy restaurant-quality dinner on the table in 30 minutes! Add a basket of garlic bread to sop up the sauce for the kids and a glass of red wine for you!

This spaghetti recipe is a cross between my spaghetti with tomato sauce and meat sauce. You can use any ground meat, pasta, or sauce, which makes it convenient and flexible.

There’s no waiting for the water to boil, no sauce splattering all over the place. The spaghetti comes out perfectly cooked and not mushy and the entire dish is super flavorful. It’s something you can make all year round, as well, because you know the Instant Pot never heats up your kitchen in the summertime. You have to try it!

This is an easy-to-follow recipe every busy home cook needs to keep in their arsenal. It’s all done in one pot (even the browning of the meat) which not only means an easy dinner, but easy clean up too!

Spaghetti night just got a whole lot more fun!

Why This Recipe for Spaghetti in Instant Pot Works?

  • Everyone loves spaghetti. Kids and adults alike will love this dish.
  • It’s quick and easy and more hands off than any other method.
  • Enjoy it year round. A pasta dish is always welcome in the winter and it won’t heat up the kitchen in the summer.
  • Brimming with Italian-inspired flavours that are familiar and mouthwatering!
  • Easily double the recipe to serve a larger crowd. The best part is, the cook time remains the same.
  • Leftovers are just as good the next day and the day after that.
  • A one-pot meal with easy clean up.
instant pot spaghetti and meat sauce garnished with parmesan and basil

Ingredients for Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce

What I love about this recipe is that you can use 5 simple ingredients you have on hand:

  • Pasta: You can use white, whole wheat or gluten free spaghetti. As for the shape, you can use long or short pasta, realistically. Penne, fettuccine, fusilli, elbow macaroni etc. It’s totally flexible.
  • Ground meat: Ground turkey, beef, chicken, lamb or even venison. Poultry will make Instant Pot spaghetti leaner and therefore a healthier choice.
  • Tomato sauce: Plain canned tomato sauce to which we’ll add simple spices. Salt and a bit of sugar to reduce acidity. You could opt for jarred seasoned sauce like spaghetti or marinara that already has spices, salt and sugar added to it.
  • Spices: Dried oregano, basil and thyme or just Italian seasoning. You can skip them with jarred pasta sauce.
instapot spaghetti sauce ingredients

How to Make Pressure Cooker Spaghetti

If you are new to cooking with Instant Pot, check out my Instant Pot guide. Don’t have an Instant Pot yet? Check out which one you should buy. And you should very soon. Life-changing magic pot! You are welcome.

  • Brown meat: Press Saute and cook meat the until it’s in small pieces. If it is beef or lamb, I would drain it mid way to reduce the fat and speed up sauteing. Then, add water and seasonings and scrape the bottom of the pot.
  • Add pasta and sauce: Break pasta noodles in half (if using long noodles) and lay them criss cross in 6 layers. Pour tomato sauce on top and do not stir. Do not worry about water and sauce not covering the noodles. There is enough steam inside the pot to soften them under pressure.
  • Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes: Then do a Quick Release to release the pressure after. Stir and let sit for 3 minutes to soak up the juices. If the pasta is too firm for your liking, let it sit about 10 minutes longer.

Tips for Best Instapot Spaghetti Results

  • To double the recipe: If you have 8 quart Instant Pot, you can double the ingredients for pressure cooker spaghetti but keep the same cook time. For a 6 quart pot, you can only add 1.5 times ingredients (not double) and the cook time remains the same.
  • 3 quart Instant Pot: Cut all ingredients in half (even the water) but keep the same cook time.
  • If pasta is “crunchy”: Close the lid and let it sit an extra 10 minutes after cooking. Pasta cooks fast so it’s always better to undercook and allow it to sit. You can’t reverse overcooked pasta.
  • Too liquid-y? When you first open the pot, spaghetti might look very watery. Give it a stir and a few minutes to absorb more of the surrounding liquid.
  • Clumping noodles: Criss crossing pasta resolves most of the clumping issue. Even if there is some clumping, that’s completely ok. Just use a fork to separate them.

Add-In’s and Variations

  • Gluten free pasta: I would reduce the cooking time from 5 minutes to 3 minutes for gluten free pasta.
  • More meat and sauce: If you like your spaghetti very saucy, reduce spaghetti amount to 8 oz.
  • Thin pasta: If you would like to use angel hair pasta, sauté the meat until brown and no longer pink. Then cook the pasta for 3 minutes.
  • Veggies: Throw in some chopped onion, celery and/or mushrooms while browning the meat.
  • Sausage: Instead of ground meat, you can use sausage. Hot Italian sausage if you like some heat!
  • Red pepper flakes: Speaking of heat..toss some in flakes with the sauce for some spice.
  • Ricotta or cream cheese: You can add 3-4 tablespoons of cream cheese or ricotta.
  • Dried herbs: Replace thyme, basil and oregano with 1 tbsp of Italian seasoning.
  • If using your favorite jarred pasta sauce: Reduce dried herbs to only 1 tsp and salt to 1/2 tsp, and eliminate maple syrup. Jarred sauce is already seasoned.
  • Wine: You can substitute 1/4 cup wine and reduce the water by 1/4 cup.

FAQs

Why did spaghetti sauce burn in the Instant Pot?

This is usually due to the fact that there wasn’t enough added water to the pot. The Instant Pot needs a certain amount of liquid to create steam. If the sauce is too thick and without enough water, there won’t be enough steam to allow it to come to pressure in the way it’s meant too. The spaghetti noodles will also absorb some of the liquid along the way, which won’t help matters if there wasn’t enough liquid in the first place. To avoid this, you’ll want to make sure to layer the sauce over the noodles, but do not stir and of course add the right amount of water to the pot initially.

Can you put uncooked pasta in Instant Pot?

You can add uncooked pasta to the Instant Pot, for sure. This is part of why this recipe is so awesome. You don’t need to boil your noodles ahead of time. Pressure cooker spaghetti is done by steam as well as the surrounding liquids.

I usually cook it for 5 minutes with no problem. If you like very soft noodles, try 7-8 minutes. You can always close the lid and cook for extra few minutes finding the optimal cooking time for your personal taste and the type of noodles you use. Or just close the lid and let noodles sit a bit. The pasta will absorb the liquids fast.

FYI: If noodles are still in their original uncooked condition then something must have gone wrong with IP.

What setting should pasta be for Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot comes with quite a few buttons that appear to be a setting for a particular recipe. More often than not, you don’t need them, which actually makes life a bit easier. Just use the high pressure (or manual, depending on your model) and set the time as directed.

Should I drain meat for Instant Pot Spaghetti meat sauce?

If you are using beef, yes, you can drain the excess fat. I do this halfway through. It’s not 100% necessary, so it’s up to you whether you want to get rid of it.

How do I prevent noodles from ‘clumping’ together in Instant Pot?

Using the crisis cross method when layering the noodles in the pot. This means taking some of your noodles and layering them flat across the pot in one direction. Then taking another handful and layering them across in the opposite direction. Continue doing this for all the layers. This should help, although there may still be clumps here and there. To rid the rest of the clumps just use a fork to separate them.

Can I use different noodles other than spaghetti?

Definitely! Any long or medium short pasta will work. In fact, try a different one each time for a different kind of pressure cooker spaghetti. If cooking fettuccine, try 7 minutes of cooking time. When using shorter pasta it will obviously not be possible to do the criss-cross method, so just do your best to layer them in an even layer trying not to overlap as best as you can.

Can I close back the lid and recook undercooked noodles in the Instant Pot?

Unfortunately not. However, here are some tips to help you out. For a few reasons trying to cook a meal for the 2nd and 3rd time, in an Instant Pot by closing the lid and cooking again, doesn’t usually work the same as cooking it the first time. If it ever happens again, close the lid and let the pasta sit for 10 minutes. The hot sauce and steam inside the pot will “cook” it to your desired texture. The altitude, size of a pot, etc. will all play a role in the end result. Pressure cooker spaghetti definitely comes out very soft after 5 minutes, so you shouldn’t run into this problem very often!

pressure cooker spaghetti grabbed with tongs

Serving Reccomendations

Making Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce in Advance

  • Storing and reheating: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Best way to reheat it is in the microwave.
  • Freezing: Cooked pasta is one of those foods that doesn’t thaw well – too mushy. However, if you are meal prepping the entire recipe, cook spaghetti for 3 minutes, cool (pasta will keep cooking with residual heat) and freeze in portions. Then thaw and reheat in the microwave or bake in oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. This will help with the overcooked pasta issue.

More Instant Pot Recipes

instant pot spaghetti sauce with meat on plate with garnish and parmesan
Instant Pot Spaghetti

Instant Pot Spaghetti {30 Minute One Pot Meal}

Instant Pot Spaghetti takes a simple shortcut to a delicious and healthy one-pot dinner, ready in 30 minutes. Brown the meat, then add uncooked pasta and sauce and let the Instant Pot take care of the rest. Jazz up pasta night any day of the week, even the busy ones, and enjoy this hearty Italian-inspired pressure cooker spaghetti with a lot of flavor and little effort!
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Pressure Up & Down: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 320kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef turkey or chicken
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp oregano dried
  • 1 tsp basil dried
  • 1 tsp thyme dried
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 10 oz whole wheat or white spaghetti
  • 28 oz tomato sauce low sodium

Instructions

  • On 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot, press Saute and wait until display says Hot. Add meat and cook until brown in colour, breaking into pieces constantly. Instant Pot doesn’t really brown the meat and it doesn’t have to be cooked through. If cooking beef, I drain the fat in the middle of cooking. Up to you. Healthier.
    Instant Pot Spaghetti
  • Add water, oregano, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Scrape the bits off of the bottom of the pot with spatula while stirring everything. Helps to avoid Burn message. Press Cancel.
    Instant Pot Spaghetti
  • Break noodles in half and add criss cross in about 6 layers. It helps to prevent noodles from sticking.
    Instant Pot Spaghetti
  • Pour tomato sauce and maple syrup on top. Do not stir.
    Instant Pot Spaghetti
  • Close the lid, turn pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking on High for 5 minutes.
    Instant Pot Spaghetti
  • After Instant Pot has finished cooking, release pressure using Quick Release method by turning valve to Venting and open the lid.
    Instant Pot Spaghetti
  • Spaghetti will look watery. Don’t worry. Stir gently and let sit for 3 minutes.
    Instant Pot Spaghetti
  • Serve hot garnished with basil and Parmesan cheese. Or however you like spaghetti. Enjoy!
    Instant Pot Spaghetti

Storing and reheating: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Best way to reheat is in a microwave.

    Freezing: Cooked pasta is one of those food that doesn't thaw well – too mushy. However, if you are meal prepping entire recipe, cook spaghetti for 3 minutes, cool (pasta will keep cooking with residual heat) and freeze in portions. Then thaw and reheat in microwave or bake in oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. This will help with overcooked pasta issue.

      Video

      Notes

      • To double the recipe: If you have 8 quart Instant Pot, you can double the ingredients but keep same cook time. For 6 quart, you can only add 1.5 times ingredients but not double – same cook time.
      • 3 quart Instant Pot: Cut all ingredients in half (even water) but keep same cook time.
      • If pasta is “crunchy”: Close the lid and let it sit extra 10 minutes after cooking. It’s pasta, it cooks fast and is better to undercook.
      • Too liquidy? When you first open the pot, spaghetti might look too watery. Give it a stir and a few minutes to absorb.
      • Clumping noodles: Criss crossing pasta resolves most of clumping. Some is OK, just use a fork to separate them.
      • Gluten free pasta: I would reduce cooking time from 5 minutes to 3 minutes for gluten free pasta.
      • More meat and sauce: Reduce spaghetti amount to 8 oz.
      • Thin pasta: If you would like to use angel hair pasta, saute meat until brown and no longer pink. Then cook pasta for 3 minutes.
      • Veggies: Throw in some chopped onion, celery and/or mushrooms while browning the meat.
      • Sausage: Instead of ground meat, you can use sausage.
      • Ricotta or cream cheese: You can add 3-4 tablespoons of cream cheese or ricotta.
      • Dried herbs: Replace thyme, basil and oregano with 1 tbsp of Italian seasoning.
      • If using your favorite jarred pasta sauce: Reduce dried herbs to only 1 tsp and salt to 1/2 tsp, and eliminate maple syrup. Jarred sauce is already seasoned.
      • Wine: You can substitute 1/4 cup wine you usually use for cooking pasta for 1/4 cup water.
      See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

      Nutrition

      Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 679mg | Potassium: 371mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 18IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 4mg
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      olena osipov in the studio

      Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

      My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

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