How To Cook Pasta In An Instant Pot
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Everybody loves pasta, but nobody loves having to use half the pots and pans in the kitchen to get it ready. With an Instant Pot, all you need is a single piece of cookware and about 10 minutes. Just throw your pasta and sauce of choice into the Instant Pot, along with 3½-4 cups of water. Secure the lid and set the manual timer to 4-8 minutes. Once the pot beeps, release the pressure valve and give everything a good stir. Youll have dinner on the table in less time than it takes to boil a pot of water!
How To Tell If Pasta Is Undercooked
Before you try to fix your pasta, youll need to figure out whether its overcooked or undercooked. Pasta that is soft and mushy is usually overcooked, while if its crunchy and hard, this is a good indication that you havent cooked it for long enough.
Pasta cooked perfectly tends to be tender on the inside and a bit firm on the outside. This is also known as al dente, which means firm to the bite. The best way to tell if pasta is cooked correctly is to pull one piece out, let it cool enough so you wont burn your mouth, and taste it.
How To Reduce Pasta Foam
I’ve learned some great tips and tricks from all of you in the comments below, here is a summary of the knowledge I’ve gathered over time:
- Add Fat
- Oil or butter will reduce foaming. I add about 1 tablespoon per 8 ounces of pasta
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How To Cook Pasta In Instant Pot
Cooking plain pasta in the Instant Pot is as simple as adding your dry pasta, water, and kosher salt to the pot, pushing a button, and then walking away until its done!
NO stirring so the pasta doesnt stick, NO watching to make sure it doesnt boil over, and NO constantly checking to see if its perfectly al dente yet In fact, you dont even have to drain the pasta when its done, since most of the water is absorbed during the pressure cooking process.
1| Add the dry pasta, water, and kosher salt to the Instant Pot insert. Dont stir the ingredients. Just place the lid on top and turn the steam release knob to sealing.
2| Use the Manual Pressure function to cook the pasta on high pressure for 5 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 11-12 minutes to come to pressure before the actual cooking time begins.
3| When the cook time is up, perform a quick release. The pasta is ready to serve!
Ingredients For Instant Pot Pasta Sauce
MEAT: We like lean ground beef in this recipe so there isnt lots of fat to drain. If you use regular ground beef drain the fat after cooking.
VEGGIES: Canned tomatoes make this easy and have the perfect consistency. We love the consistency that whole tomatoes add to the sauce.
Stir in extra veggies to use them up or to stretch the sauce. Zucchini, extra peppers or mushrooms, or even shredded carrot are all great.
SEASONINGS: Onion and garlic are cooked into the base of this sauce. A spoonful of Italian seasoning is all you need.
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Instant Pot Pasta Sauce
Unless Im following a specific recipe, I prefer to cook the pasta in water and cook the sauce pot-in-pot above the pasta.
However, you can cook pasta in a sauce. If you do this, it is SO IMPORTANT to add enough liquid to the pot. Many jarred sauces include thickeners, which can create a film on the bottom of the cooking pot that will change how your pasta cooks and may lead to a Burn notice.
If the sauce is thin when you remove the lid after pressure cooking, turn off the Instant Pot. The pasta will continue to absorb liquid as it cools.
If the sauce has far too much liquid, select Sauté and simmer the pasta until the sauce is somewhat thickened.
By Step Instructions For Instant Pot Pasta
The steps for cooking pasta in the electric pressure cooker couldn’t be easier! Simply:
- Add liquid and pasta: Add water, pasta, salt and oil. If cooking short pasta , give it a stir. If cooking spaghetti or other noodle shaped pasta, break in half and lay in two batches in a criss-cross pattern. Do not stir.
- Set cooking time: Close the lid on sealing position. Using the rule of thumb, calculate the cooking time for your specific pasta shape. Set Pressure Cook/Manual for the calculated pasta time.
- Perform an intermittent quick release: After the cooking time is done, use the intermittent pressure release technique and release all the pressure. Open the lid when the pin drops.
- Rest, sauce and serve: Stir the pasta and separate any clumps using two forks. Let the pasta rest for 3 to 5 minutes as this lets it absorb the leftover liquid. For a simple and satisfying meal, stir in your favorite sauce, such as spaghetti sauce or pesto.
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To Drain Or Not To Drain
And here is where the magic lies with Instant Pot pasta: you dont always have to drain the pasta! Using this method for cooking pasta results in most of the water being absorbed into the pasta. When its finished there will be just a little bit of water leftover. You can then toss your pasta with your sauce, or make one directly in the Instant Pot such as Mac and Cheese.
However, you can drain the pasta too. And you should if your recipe calls for it, such as a Macaroni Salad.
One word of caution about cooking pasta made from different grains, such as a brown rice flour: When you are making non-traditional pasta, the leftover water might be too starchy and sticky to leave in a recipe. In that case, rinsing and draining the pasta will do the trick of eliminating that less-than-desirable starchiness.
How To Make Instant Pot Pasta
If youre looking for fast and easy dinner recipes, this one is for you! This vegetarian Instant Pot pasta recipe could not be easier: the concept is to cook the pasta and make a homemade marinara sauce at the same time: directly in the pressure cooker. Then youll stir in goat cheese to make the sauce creamy: kind of like a vodka sauce, but using goat cheese instead! The cool thing is that it takes only 5 minutes of cook time! If youre familiar with Instant Pot cooking youll know it takes a few more minutes than just the cook time: but not much!
The ingredients required for this Instant Pot pasta are simple:
- Crushed fire roasted tomatoes: using fire roasted tomatoes is helpful for their sweet flavor if you cant find them, use the best quality crushed tomatoes you can find!
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Penne pasta, or any short pasta shape
- Goat cheese, to make the creamy sauce
Now, to make the Instant Pot pasta, you literally dump all the ingredients into the Instant Pot and pressure cook on High for 5 minutes. If youre experienced with cooking with a pressure cooker youll know theres a preheat time to add to that where the Instant Pot is heating up. For this recipe it takes about 10 minutes to preheat . Then youll do a quick release, where you immediately let out all the steam in the Instant Pot. Stir in the goat cheese and the pasta is ready to go!
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Best Types Of Pasta To Cook In The Instant Pot
I generally prefer using short pastas, such as rotini, penne, macaroni, and farfalle. I often use small pasta, like ditalini, in soup.
Dont use itty bitty pasta shapes, like orzo or those little pastina stars.
I have used longer pastas, like spaghetti and fettucine. While these can work well, they are more likely to clump together when cooking.
If youre going to use long noodles, I suggest breaking them in half first and adding a little bit of oil to the water so they arent as likely to stick together.
I wrote separate instructions for how to cook tortellini in the Instant Pot and how to cook frozen ravioli in the Instant Pot, because both of those are a little bit different than plain, dried pasta.
And although gnocchi isnt technically a pasta, it sort of falls under the same umbrella, so Ill include it here as a variety Ive cooked in the Instant Pot !
Since tortellini and gnocchi arent as dry as the typical boxed pasta, they cook a little bit faster .
Common Question For Instant Pot Pasta
Can you cook dry pasta in an Instant Pot?
Yes, that’s exactly what this guide covers. All pasta, cooking times and formulas are based on packages of dried pasta.
How do you fix undercooked pasta in Instant Pot?
Mistakes often happen when first learning to cook Instant Pot pasta. If the pasta is seriously crunchy after the 3-5 minute rest after pressure cooking, add another ¼-½ cup water to the pot, seal it and pressure cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
Can you cook 2 pounds of pasta in Instant Pot?
Yes, but only in the 6 or 8-qt Instant Pot . For 2 pounds pasta, use 8 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt and 4 teaspoons olive oil. If using two quarts of broth, use 1 teaspoon salt and adjust the seasoning after cooking.
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Tips For Cooking Pasta
To cook pasta perfectly the first time, start by choosing a large pot and adding enough water so the pasta can be fully submerged. Once the water starts boiling, make sure you add salt. This will help bring out the flavor of the pasta. As a general rule, if youre cooking one pound of pasta, youll want about one tablespoon of salt for every four cups of water.
Wait until the water is fully boiling before you add your pasta. Once you do, be sure to stir it right away. Each type of pasta requires a different cooking time, so be sure to follow the instructions on the package. Youll want to start checking sooner than the time indicated, though, so you dont overcook it.
Use An Intermittent Pressure Release
High-starch foods like potatoes and pasta frequently foam while pressure cooking. Usually, a long, slow natural pressure release is better to allow the foam to subside. However, pasta will easily overcook so you need a quick pressure release to keep it from going mushy.
Thats why youll use an intermittent release. Heres how to do it:
- When the cook time ends, flip the pressure valve from Sealed to Venting. Allow the pressure to release until you see foam or large water droplets coming from the valve.
- As soon as this happens, flip the switch back to Sealed and wait for 20 to 30 seconds. This will reduce the foam.
- Flip back to Venting and repeat as necessary until all the pressure is released.
You should only need to do this once or twice.
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Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:
To Make Ahead: The meat can be browned up to 2 days in advance.
To Freeze: Remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Store in a freezer safe container or bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating. For best results, cook the spaghetti for only 3 minutes at high pressure, so the noodles dont over cook when reheated, after freezing.
How To Cook Pasta In The Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker
While Ive included a bunch of tips below, theres really only four steps you have to worry about. These four steps will give you PERFECT pasta:
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Instant Pot Braised Beef Cheeks
Since beef cheeks require long cooking, they land themselves perfectly to the Instant Pot. You can achieve amazingly tender braised beef cheeks in a fraction of the time you would need for stovetop, oven or Crockpot cooking. This is a very easy beef cheek recipe that you can adjust and adapt for various dishes like tacos or pot pie. See our ideas and notes below the recipe card.
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Enjoy A Pasta Dish For Dinner This Week
Has all this talk about pasta left you craving your favorite Italian meal? Why not add it to your meal plan for the week? Just decide what ingredients you need, then sign in to Instacart to create your grocery list. When youre ready, you can have a professional shopper buy all of your groceries for you and deliver them right to your door.
Instant Pot Pasta To Water Ratio
When making pasta in the pressure cooker, you need to at least have enough water to just barely cover the pasta. Regardless of how many servings you are making, you need to make sure the pasta is covered.
Make sure you have enough water to meet the minimum liquid requirement of your particular model of Instant PotI usually aim to have at least 1 cup of liquid.
There are a lot of specific ratio suggestions floating around the internet, but honestly, I just make sure the pasta is just barely covered with water, and that always works splendidly for me.
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What Instant Pot Do You Use
Alex and I use an Instant Pot brand Instant Pot, though there are lots of other great pressure cookers out there! The Instant Pot we use is the Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker.
There are some variations between pressure cooker brands, so we cant speak to the way that other brands cook. For example, weve heard that the Instant Pot Mini is pretty different and does not work as well as the standard size. So, only use the Instant Pot Mini for this recipe at your own risk!
Releasing Pressure After Cooking
Once the cook time is complete, you have a couple of different options for releasing the pressure. I generally dont recommend using a natural release in this instance, because the pasta will continue to cook and soften even more, potentially becoming mushy.
You can allow a natural release for about 5 minutes, followed by a quick release .
Or, you can perform an intermittent release of pressure. To do this, youll quickly open the vent to release some steam. If starchy water or large drops of water come out , close the vent again and wait about 30 seconds.
Then, follow the same steps until only steam is coming out , at which point you can allow the pressure to fully release.
Usually, it only takes one or two times of switching the vent back and forth to accomplish this.
Instead of an intermittent release, you can also do a slow release. In this case, you only open the vent ever so slightly, so the pressure is releasing more slowly.
After the pressure has released and the valve has dropped, carefully open the lid and drain the pasta.
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