Just as good as the stovetop version, this Instant Pot Pasta in red sauce comes together in a single pot! It’s saucy with tons of flavour and takes way less cooking time! Here’s how to make red sauce pasta in the instant pot, with tips on how to make the sauce and pasta together, how to pressure cook it right, and more!
I don’t usually endorse shortcuts in recipes, but I’d feel bad if I didn’t share this awesome Instant Pot pasta with you! This Instant Pot Pasta is a no-oven and no-using-hundred-different-pots kinda recipe!
Instant Pot Vs. Stovetop
- Instant Pot pasta cooks faster when compared to the stovetop method
- Using the Instant Pot for any recipe takes the guesswork out of it so no more babysitting pasta
- Not having to clean a million pots and pans after cooking is a huge relief. This recipe just uses one! It's a fantastic, true one pot dish
If you’re thinking “Pasta in the Instant Pot? No way!”,
see my most recent (successful) experiment:
Steps in Making Pasta In The Instant Pot:
I’ve broken the process down into easy steps for you to follow. This dish takes less than 30 minutes to come together.
- Make the Sauce
- Add broth and uncooked pasta
- Pressure cook
- Garnish and serve!
Making Tomato Sauce
I’ve stuck to a basic red sauce or tomato sauce for this pasta dish. It’s tangy and chunky and draws flavours from tomatoes, onions, garlic, freshly cracked pepper, dried herbs and basil. The tomatoes available here in India are generally more sour than those in Italy, not really the best option for tomato sauce. And though it's not essential, I actually prefer using canned tomatoes for my pasta sauce - they come pre-peeled and pre-cooked and the taste is just right. Once the onions and tomatoes are cooked, use a stick blender to lightly pulse the sauce so that it becomes semi-coarse and chunky.
You can customise this dish and add your favourite veggies like bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, etc. Make sure to lightly toss them along with the onions and garlic before adding tomatoes.
Alternatively, you could use this sauce recipe too: Simple Tomato Sauce Recipe
How do I avoid uncooked pasta in the Instant Pot?
The only caveat while making pasta in the Instant Pot can be uncooked bits of pasta. To avoid this, make sure the pasta is submerged in liquid. You can gently move the pasta around and press it down with the back of a ladle before pressure cooking.
What Pasta Should I Use?
For this recipe, any short pasta with a cook time of 6-7 minutes will work. I’ve chosen Maccheroni pasta which is like longer tubes of macaroni. It’s perfect for this recipe because it soaks up all the juices and holds the chunky sauce in it too. YUMM.
If you are using long pasta like spaghetti or angel hair pasta, add the pasta to the pot with the heat off. This will help the pasta to soften slightly and makes it flexible enough to bend and submerge under the sauce and stock. Just ensure the sauce and stock are hot before adding the pasta. This way, you won’t have to break the pasta at all!
Pasta Cook Time - The Rule of Thumb
Any short pasta where the cook time on the packet is 6-7 minutes will work in this recipe.
As a general rule of thumb, note down the cook time mentioned on the package. Round it off to the closest event number, divide it by half and use this as the cook time for the Instant Pot.
Next, allow for 5 minutes of Natural Pressure Release and then turn the pressure valve to venting to manually release the remaining pressure.
Note: The cook time mentioned here is for pasta cooked to al dente, meaning it will have a firm bite. For a softer variation, increase the cook time by 1 minute. Remember, it is always easier to fix undercooked pasta, but overcooked pasta can be a goopy mess!
Top Tips for the Best Instant Pot Pasta
Here’s more from my arsenal of tips and tricks, so that you absolutely nail this dish every time!
- Blend the sauce so that it becomes slightly chunky and coarse-ish. If you don’t blend it, the canned tomatoes won’t break down completely
- Make sure the pasta is submerged under the sauce and broth. Give it a light stir before cooking
- I’ve used pasta seasoning, chilli flakes and pepper to season the sauce
- Adding a pinch of sugar cuts through the tanginess of the sauce and balances the flavours
- Do a Natural Pressure Release (NPR) for 5 minutes and then do a manual release. The 5 minutes resting time cooks the pasta a little more and prevents starchy water from sputtering out of the vent.
- Instant pot pasta doesn't really make for good leftovers, it's best eaten when fresh.
Serve a warm bowl of this Instant Pot Red Sauce Pasta garnished with chopped basil leaves and grated Parmesan cheese! And it’s time to tuck into comforting weekday food 🙂
More Easy and Exciting Instant Pot Recipes
- Chicken Thukpa
- Thai Chicken Curry
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Chicken in Mushroom Sauce
- Mexican Rice with Corn and Peppers
- 21 Instant Pot Recipes for Every Mood
Watch the Video
Instant Pot Pasta in Red Sauce
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped Garlic
- 2 Onions chopped
- 3 Cups Canned Tomato (peeled) or fresh tomato puree
- 2 Cups dry Maccheroni Pasta uncooked (See note 1)
- 1 Cup Vegetable Broth or water
- 1 ½ Teaspoons Red Chilli Flakes
- 1 ½ Teaspoons Italian Pasta Seasoning
- 1 ½ Teaspoons Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 2 Teaspoons chopped Basil
- ¼ Cup grated Parmesan Cheese
- Turn on the Instant Pot on Sauté mode on medium heat. Once the monitor displays HOT, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and allow it to heat up for a few seconds.
- Add garlic and sauté till fragrant, about 30 seconds. Next add onion and cook till translucent. Now add the canned tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Using a stick blender, lightly pulse all the ingredients in the Instant Pot. Ensure to break down the chunky tomatoes and blend until it resembles a coarse and lightly chunky sauce. Alternatively, you can remove the sauce from the Instant Pot and use a food processor or blender to blend it.
- Add red chilli flakes, pasta seasoning, salt, pepper and sugar. Taste to ensure that the sauce is perfectly balanced.
- Add the vegetable broth and the uncooked Maccheroni pasta. Push it down lightly to ensure all the pasta is submerged in the liquid. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and lightly stir to mix the broth and sauce, it does not have to be fully combined. The pasta will absorb all the broth liquid and moisture from the sauce while cooking.
- Press Cancel to turn off the Saute mode. Choose Manual on High Pressure and turn the timer on for 3 minutes. Close the lid of the Instant Pot and set the valve to Sealing.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes. Release the remaining pressure manually by turning the valve to venting. Remove the lid and stir lightly to combine.
- Garnish with grated chopped basil and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately while it is still warm.
- Use any short grained pasta where the cooking time on the package is 6-7 minutes. Long grain pasta has a different cooking time. To calculate cooking time, round off the cook time on the pack to the nearest even number and then divide it by half. (For eg, round off
- Pasta made in the Instant Pot is best consumed immediately. This doesn't do well as leftovers as the pasta tends to get mushy over time