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.
How To Determine Cook Time For Instant Pot Pasta
To determine the best cook time, check the suggested package cook time.; Take the lowest package time, divide it in half and subtract two minutes.; Here are some examples so you can feel confident in choosing the best time.
- The Whole Wheat Spiral Pasta here says to cook for 7-9 minutes.; Take the lowest time , decrease it to 6 to get an even number, divide in half and subtract 2 minutes = 1 minute cooking time
- The Brown Rice Macaroni Pasta here calls for 15-16 minutes.; Take the lowest time , decrease it to 14 to get an even number, divide in half and subtract 2 minutes = 5 minutes cooking time
- The Whole Grain Penne pasta here has a cook time of 10-12 minutes.; Take the lowest time , divide in half and subtract 2 minutes = 3 minutes cooking time
The Easiest Spaghetti Recipe Youll Ever Make
Youll start out by taking 12 ounces of spaghetti noodles and breaking them in half before adding them into the instant pot. Next, add in the two tablespoons of olive oil, three cups of water, and a pinch of salt.
Press your spaghetti noodles down into the water and then seal up the instant pot, being sure to turn the venting knob to SEALING. You can then press the PRESSURE LOCK button , and adjust the timer for approximately four minutes.
After the four minutes is up, leave the pressure to come down naturally for about 10 minutes or so before quick releasing the rest of the pressure. Open up the lid, stir the noodles, and then youll be all set to serve the spaghetti along with your favorite sauce.
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Why We Love Instant Pot Spaghetti
- One pot spaghetti means one pot to wash – No more pots and pans to clean up after cooking this meal. Heck, you don’t even need to boil water.
- Everyday ingredients – Simple pantry ingredients make Instant Pot spaghetti taste like you cooked the pasta sauce all day.
- Versatility – Don’t like onions? Leave them out. Want a vegetarian pasta dish? Skip the meat. Want spicy spaghetti sauce? Add some crushed red pepper.
- Easy for any cooking level – Anyone can successfully make this instant pot pasta recipe. This is a great dinner recipe for beginners. I’m giving you step by step recipe instructions with photos.
Cooking Any Type Of Pasta In The Instant Pot
We wanted to create a recipe that you can use for cooking any type of pasta. During our research over the last few months, weve tried out at least 14 different types of pasta using this recipe. Weve had large degrees of success with almost all of them, with some variables.
Before we go into this, we have a caveat: What weve learned over many years of developing recipes in the Instant Pot is that despite this appliance claiming it works the same across the board, weve found that not to be true. So while weve had great success using this method of cooking nearly any type of dried pasta, you may need to tweak our recipe a bit based on your specific Instant Pot or other brand of pressure cooker.
Weve tried this recipe with three different types and sizes of Instant Pots with success, but be open to the idea that you may need to slightly tweak this recipe to get your exact desired results for whatever recipe you are using. We really wanted this recipe to be fool-proof but in the end there are too many variables. The variable here is the altitude of where you live, the type of pasta you are using and your specific Instant Pot. But we are confident that this recipe is pretty close to perfect, and has worked for so many different shapes and types of pasta for us.
However, were sharing this recipe because weve found it infinitely useful for making pasta, and think you will too.
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Choosing Your Ingredients For This Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Recipe:
Making healthy choices starts at the grocery store! Here are a few things I keep in mind when Im grabbing ingredients for this recipe:
- I choose lean or extra lean ground beef it has a ton of protein and iron , but less fat.
- I grab any vegetables that I think will go: onions, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes or mushrooms are all great!
- Always choose low sodium broth
- I look for whole grain or white plus fiber pasta
- I always read the back of tomato sauce or pasta sauce jars carefully and look for one with no added sugar often sugar is so high up on the ingredient list its scary! Make sure the ingredients are ones you know and love.
The Instant Pot Pasta Water Ratio
I typically make a pound of pasta at a time, so the ratio I use is a pound of dry pasta, 4 cups of water, and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. You can easily scale this up to a maximum of 2 pounds of dry pasta in a 6-qt. Instant Pot or down to as little as 4 ounces, depending on your needs. Just adjust the water and kosher salt accordingly.
See the table below for a quick pasta/water ratio reference:
|SHORT DRY PASTA|
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How To Make Instant Pot Spaghetti
This Instant Pot Spaghetti recipe has saved my sanity! Spaghetti in a pressure cooker, what would my Grandma have thought about this newfangled invention? She probably would have loved it!;My Instant Pot Spaghetti also has a secret ingredient, read on to see what it is!
Why Would You Want To Make Pasta In The Instant Pot
Its not that cooking pasta on the stove top is difficult, but using the Instant Pot has a lot of benefits.
For starters, its a mostly hands-free way to cook pasta, which is perfect for busy moms who have little kids running around!;
Theres no need to babysit a pot on the stove, stirring and trying to keep it from boiling over.;
This means you can start the batch of pasta and forget about it for a few minutes while you go do something else, like tackle the mountain of laundry that needs to be folded.
You can also reheat leftover pasta in the Instant Pot!
However, making pasta in the Instant Pot does require a little bit of know-how.; Its actually quite simple, once you lean a few tips and tricks!
Im going to share some of my suggestions for making perfect pasta in the Instant Pot, as well as some of my favorite Instant Pot recipes that use pasta!
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Instant Pot Spaghetti Technique
Using different techniques will result in different textures of cooked pasta from the Instant Pot.
This is an important point, I want to talk to you about in more detail.
The manner in which you add your dried spaghetti to the pot, will make a difference to how it cooks.
I have taken the photos below to illustrate what I mean.
If you have a look in the photo on the left above, you will see that the spaghetti noodles are laid flat in both directions, reasonably close together.
If you have a look at the 2nd photo, you will see that the spaghetti noodles are criss crossed in diagonal directions.
The biggest thing to understand about the above is that the level of pasta in Image 1 has less depth than Image 2. This is important as it means that less water is needed to cook the spaghetti if it is added to the Instant Pot like the 1st image than the 2nd.
I like my Spaghetti with a bit of bite to it, this is perfect for recipes such as my Garlic Spaghetti. As this recipe is all about minimal ingredients and basic flavour combinations, we need to get the texture spot on.
Soft mushy over cooked spaghetti doesn’t cut it.
The technique of adding the spaghetti to the Instant Pot in image 2 results in non al dente soft spaghetti that has no bite to it.
You can use either method but know up front what your options are and how it will effect the end result.
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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Ingredients For Instant Pot Pasta Sauce
MEAT: We like lean ground beef in this recipe so it doesnt have to drain a lot of fat. If youre using regular ground beef , drain the fat after its cooked.
VEGETABLES: Canned tomatoes make this easy and have the perfect consistency. We love the consistency that whole tomatoes put in the sauce.
Stir in extra veggies to use up or to stretch the sauce. Zucchini, extra peppers or mushrooms, or even shredded carrots are great.
SPICES: Onion and garlic are cooked into the base of this sauce. A spoonful of Italian condiments is all you need.
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. Its 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 well 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.
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Thicken & Season Spaghetti Sauce:
Dont panic when you open the lid to a liquidy spaghetti sauce right after pressure cooking. Thats perfectly normal!
Thicken the spaghetti sauce by using the Saute More function, and bring the sauce back to a simmer. Use a few minutes to thicken, taste, and season the spaghetti and sauce to your preferences. These extra few minutes will make a big difference to the spaghettis flavor & texture!
Cooking Spaghetti Fettuccini Or Linguini In The Instant Pot
Long, straight pasta like spaghetti, fettuccini, and linguini can be a bit finicky to cook in the Instant Pot. The method for cooking these is slightly different than other shapes, though the cook time remains the same.;
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Pressure Cook Spaghetti Sauce
Layer 1 can of crushed tomatoes with all the juice on top. Do not mix .
Close lid and pressure cook at
- Pressure Cooking Method: High Pressure for 10 minutes + Natural Release for 5 minutes
Turn the venting knob to the venting position to release the remaining pressure.
Open the lid carefully.
Pro Tip: Do not mix the crushed tomatoes into the Spaghetti Sauce to prevent;scorching issues.
Can I Use Frozen Beef To Make Instant Pot Spaghetti
If you have a frozen block of beef , you can quickly thaw it out in the Instant Pot before you set out to make the spaghetti. You need 1.5 cups of water in the insert, then set frozen beef on a trivet. Set for 7 minutes on HIGH pressure. Quickly release the pressure. The meat wont be cooked through but thawed so you can now brown it to make the spaghetti. Discard the liquid and remove trivet. Rinse and wipe the insert clean, if needed. Heat up oil and begin browning the beef.
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How To Cook Plain Pasta In The Instant Pot
If youre cooking plain pasta in the Instant Pot, the process is oh so simple.
Add your pasta to the insert pot of the Instant Pot, followed by enough water to just barely cover the pasta.; You want all of the pasta to be submerged in the liquid.
Close the lid and set the vent to the sealed position.; Program the Instant Pot with the cook time you calculated using the formula above.
Which Instant Pot Is Best
I own the 6-quart and 8-quart Duo, and I love them both! I like that the Duo model has the yogurt function and how it comes with a trivet, which I use often for making things like an Instant Pot Fritatta and Brownies.
Keep in mind that you can use practically any pressure cooker to use this recipe, but I developed this one for my 6-quart Instant Pot and the pressurization for an electric pressure cooker is different from a stove-top pressure cooker. Feel free to experiment if you have a stove-top model to see if the timing is similar.
If you have an 8-quart Instant Pot, try using 1 minute less on the timing since the pot takes longer to come to pressure. In my experience, the 8-quart Duo is more prone to giving you a burn error when cooking pasta and tomato products so be sure to follow the directions closely, so that you layer the ingredients in the correct order. You dont want tomato products touching the bottom of the pot, or they may burn.
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Optional Brown Ground Beef In Instant Pot
*For Dump-and-Go Meal: skip the browning, sauteing, and deglazing steps below. Make sure to break the ground beef into smaller chunks, then layer the seasoned ground beef chunks, onions, garlic, dried herbs at the bottom of the pot.
*Pro Tip: This is an optional flavor-boosting step. If you have time, this step will greatly enhance the flavors of the Instant Pot Spaghetti.
First, heat up Instant Pot Pressure Cooker using Sauté More function.
*Tip: For older versions press Saute button, then Adjust button. For newer versions press Saute button twice.
Wait until it says HOT . This prevents the ground beef from sticking to the pot.
Add 1 tbsp olive oil in Instant Pot. Then, swirl your pot around to make sure the oil is coated over the whole bottom of the pot.
Now, add 1lb ground beef in Instant Pot, then season generously with salt & black pepper.
*Note: The ground beef will start to release moisture. At the 5-minute mark, discard the ground beef juice.
You just have to let the ground beef brown in Instant Pot. Simply stir them once in a while until theyre slightly crisped and browned .
Finally, taste the ground beef, then adjust the seasoning with more kosher salt and ground black pepper.
Instant Pot Firefighters Spaghetti
I made my own version of a recipe called firefighters chicken spaghetti that I found on Taste of Home. The original author says, Im always in the kitchen making dishes for my family, neighbors or the local fire department to try. My husband is a firefighter in our town, and this chicken spaghetti recipe is a favorite there. The original recipe requires boiling pasta on the stovetop, it uses pre-cooked chicken, calls for cream of chicken and mushroom soup and is baked in the oven. My version requires one pot, your Instant Pot. You can use pre-cooked or uncooked chicken. And I make my own creamy sauce with sour cream, seasonings and cream. Im sure both versions are great! But I guess it just depends on what you like and how you like to cook. I prefer the Instant Pot for easy clean up and easy hands off cooking.
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