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Instant Pot 5-Minute Italian Pasta

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When I’m in a time crunch, I always turn to my Instant Pot to help me get dinner done in hurry.  Instant Pot 5-Minute Italian Pasta is one of our favorite meals and it can be on the table in minutes.  Your family will go absolutely crazy over it! 

Instant Pot Italian Pasta Recipe

As I’ve grown in my practice of Instant Pot cooking, I’ve learned some tricks that help me get my recipes, like this Instant Pot 5-Minute Italian Pasta, right almost every time. You see, electric pressure cooking is mainly about two things:

  • You may be asking why? First of all, to create the steam that makes the Instant Pot pressurize, you’ve got to have liquid in the bottom of the pot. If there’s no liquid to circulate inside the pot, the Instant Pot cannot create the pressure needed to cook the food. The pressure is what cooks foods so quickly, and also what makes them so flavorful.
  • Nearly everything you cook in the Instant Pot requires 1/2 – 1 cup of liquid in the bottom of the pot – it should be covered by about 1/2-inch of water. There are 3 exceptions to this rule: When you are cooking pasta, grains, or beans, they need to be completely covered in liquid that goes one-inch above the top of them.


  • This Instant Pot 5-minute Italian Pasta recipe is a perfect example of layering. As you add the ingredients to the pot, they will be layer up on layer.
  • The first layer will be the cooked Italian sausage on the bottom, next is the layer of uncooked pasta, then the marinara poured over the pasta, and lastly, the chicken broth is poured over the top of all the ingredients.
  • Here’s the catch: DO NOT STIR!!!! Leave the layers alone. And just be forewarned, you are going to look into the pot and your immediate knee-jerk reaction will be that you want to stir it all up! (It just looks WRONG in there.) Hold yourself back and don’t stir those ingredients to save your soul.
  • Here’s why: If you stir those ingredients, you will incorporate the chicken broth (that’s the liquid you want to circulate to create the steam, remember?) into the middle where it can’t do it’s job. The next thing you know, your Instant Pot will shut right down and you’ll get the dreaded BURN signal on the display.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper

  1. It’s easy on the purse strings.
  2. Most of the ingredients needed will be on-hand ingredients.
  3. It’s family-friendly yet also great for company – everybody loves a good pot of comfort food, right?
  4. Thanks to your Instant Pot – it’s fast!
  5. If you want to make it a meatless meal, you can certainly do so.
An upclose shot of of Italian penne pasta and also a bowl of penne pasta.

Easy and Helpful Recipe Tips for Making Instant Pot Creamy Pasta

If I don’t have penne pasta on hand, can I substitute another shape of pasta in place of the penne?

Yep, and I’ve done that many times – it works fine. I’ve even substituted spaghetti in this recipe. Just remember if you use a smaller size of pasta (or thinner like spaghetti noodles), you’ll want to reduce the cooking time by a minute or two.

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Can I use whole wheat pasta in this recipe? What about low-carb pasta options available at the grocer, will they work?

I know you can use whole wheat pasta in this dish, but keep in mind that the texture of the pasta will likely be more chewy and also heavier. It can be done, but I personally don’t recommend it. As for the low-carb options, I’m not familiar with how those cook, especially under pressure, so I can’t give any feed-back there. (Sorry!)

If I want this to be a meatless meal, can I leave out the sausage and also change the broth from chicken broth to vegetable broth?

Yes, this will work just fine, and this pasta dish will definitely still be delicious.

What about meat substitutions? Can I use ground beef instead of the ground Italian sausage? What other meats will work?

Instant Pot Italian Pasta works great any ground meat – sausage, beef, turkey, chicken, venison, or bison….or a combination of any of them. (We always have alot of ground venison in the freezer, which can be rather dry so I usually add some ground pork or ground beef, as well.)

What Tools are Helpful for Making this Simple Instant Pot Pasta Dish Recipe?

  • I use a 6-quart Instant Pot, though any brand of electric pressure cooker will work just fine. (I cook for 4 men and myself using the 6-quart Instant Pot, fyi.)
  • If you are cooking for just two, you may be interested to learn that there is now a 3-quart Instant Pot available!
  • And, if you’re cooking for a very large family, large groups of people, or the summer hay crew, you’ll like using the 8-quart Instant Pot.

Ready for a few more of our favorite Instant Pot Recipes? Here you go:

Instant Pot 5-Minute Italian Pasta

Instant Pot 5-Minute Italian Pasta

Your family will flip over this classic Italian Pasta dish made in only 5-minutes!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Approx. Time Needed for Instant Pot to Pressurize:: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 311kcal
Author: Chef Alli


  • 1 lb. Italian Sausage, may substitute any ground meat, as desired
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 24 oz. jar of your favorite marinara, I use Bertolli brand
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 splash heavy cream, to taste, for making the marinara nice and creamy
  • freshly shredded Parmesan, to taste, as a garnish


  • Using the sauté setting on the Instant Pot, cook the sausage until it is fully cooked throughout and no pink remains; drain any fats that accumulate from the cooked sausage.
  • Spread the cooked sausage evenly over the bottom of the Instant Pot, then add the pasta over the sausage as the next layer, evenly spreading the pasta out a bit. Next, sprinkle in the seasonings, then pour in the marinara. Lastly, pour the broth over all the ingredients in the pot. No matter how you are tempted, DO NOT STIR!!
  • Lock the Instant Pot lid into place. Using the manual button, choose the high pressure setting for 5 minutes, bringing the Instant Pot to full pressure, making sure the Instant Pot valve is set to the sealing position.
  • When the timer sounds, perform a quick release to remove all the pressure from the Instant Pot. Carefully unlock and remove the Instant Pot lid; stir in the desired amount of whipping cream to make the pasta creamy Serve the pasta at once, topped with Parmesan, as desired.


**Please note:  the cooking time stated for this recipe does not include the time required to bring the Instant Pot up to pressure since this can vary. This recipe was made using a 6-quart Instant Pot. 


Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 1096mg | Potassium: 458mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 504IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg

Ack! My Instant Pot Won’t Pressurize!

Instant Pot Won't Pressurize? Print a FREE troubleshooting guide now and get dinner done!

Are you having trouble getting your Instant Pot to work? Download my FREE Instant Pot Quick Troubleshooting Guide (above), then check out  6 Reasons Your Instant Pot Won’ts Pressurize  for a more in-depth look at what’s ailing your Instant Pot.

We love hearing from our readers and followers, so leave us a comment if you’d like.  If you don’t hear back from us shortly, know that we may not have seen your comment.  Feel free to reach out to us by email:  [email protected].

Let’s Get You Cookin’,
Chef Alli 

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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    1. Hi Sandra – Great question. At my house with 4 men, it serves 4! I’d say that for average servings, it will actually serve 8 or more. I hope that helps – please try this recipe – we LOVE it!
      Chef Alli

  1. 5 stars
    I was nervous going into this as I very recently got one of the newer Instant Pot Ultras and it can be tricky. But I followed your recipe exactly (except I used lean ground beef, as my husband won’t eat sausage of any kind) and it turned out perfectly. Even the kids, all of whom are picky, and rarely agree on any dish, heartily approved. I’ll be putting this in our regular meal rotation for sure. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Sondrea!
      Thanks so much for your comment on the Instant Pot 5-Minute Italian Pasta – I’m thrilled your family enjoyed it and that you’re using your Instant Pot. I know exactly what you mean about the Instant Pot being tricky sometimes. Hang in there! The more you use it, the more you’ll love it. That small appliance has TOTALLY transformed how we DO DINNER around here – love it! Here is a recipe link for another pasta recipe that I created just yesterday that your family may enjoy, too: https://chefalli.com/2019/05/16/5-minute-pepperoni-pizza-pasta-pot/
      Let me know what you think of it. Hope to hear from you again soon.
      Your fan,
      Chef Alli

  2. 5 stars
    I have made this twice in the last few weeks!
    It’s soooo easy and very tasty for a dish that has very few ingredients, cooks fast and even the leftovers are yummy! That little bit of heavy cream at the end, do it!?
    Pinned so I will always have it in my records because I don’t want to forget about this little jewel!

    1. HI Robin – Isn’t that just THE BEST Instant Pot pasta recipe? So glad you pinned the recipe and that you enjoyed it. We make it ALL THE TIME!
      Chef Alli
      Thanks so much for your message here, too!

  3. 5 stars
    This was really good. I did have to tweak the heavy cream because I didn’t have any. I used cream cheese instead and it was amazing. Thank you for this recipe.

    1. Hi Sara –
      Thanks for letting me know how you adjusted the recipe to work for you. I’m so glad you enjoyed this dish – it’s one of our favorites.
      Let’s Keep Cookin’,
      Chef Alli

  4. I am not sure what this part means **perform a quick release to remove all the pressure from the Instant Pot** Do I press the button and let the steam come out? This kinda scares me..

    1. Hi Liz – There are two types of releases when using an Instant Pot (or any electric pressure cooker, no matter the brand): A quick release or a natural release. The quick release takes place when the timer sounds, so you move the valve to the venting position to allow all the steam and pressure from inside the pot to quickly escape at once (very important when cooking pasta since it can get overcooked and mushy really easily).It will be like a steam engine – lots of force and even a little bit loud, but that’s just how it is with a quick release and you will get accustomed to this after a bit.
      The natural release is where you absolutely nothing! When the timer sounds, the natural release works by allowing the pressure to release itself naturally, little by little, just as the Instant Pot sits on the counter. This will take anywhere from 15-20 minutes, depending on how full the Instant Pot is. The natural release is very important when you are cooking any type of meats since this resting period allows the protein fibers of the meat to continue to cook a bit, but mainly to relax so that when you eat the meat, it’s lovely and tender. I hope all this makes sense! Let me know if you have further questions. I hope you like the Italian Pasta – such a yummy and fast meal!!!
      Chef Alli

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