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Instant Pot Spaghetti is a classic one-pot pasta dinner for busy families. This mostly hands-off pressure cooker spaghetti uses jar sauce and is ready in 30 minutes.
About this recipe
Here's an easy pressure cooker spaghetti and meat sauce recipe with ground beef, jar pasta sauce, spaghetti noodles, and classic seasonings. It's simple, delicious, and satisfies all the cravings for Italian food. This entree is 30 minutes from dry-to-done, but only the first 10 and the last 2 minutes are hands on with the Instant Pot method. Use the free time to toast up a crusty French loaf or make a tomato salad or sauteed asparagus.
This one pot pasta dinner is a family favorite from my collection of Instant Pot recipes. It's a close race with Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo or Lasagna Soup, but, of course, I want you to try them all.
Why we love Instant Pot pasta with jar sauce
- one pot to wash - You won't have to clean multiple dishes after making this one pot spaghetti. Heck, you don't even need to boil water.
- budget-friendly - Simple pantry ingredients are used to make this an affordable option to feel your small army.
- 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.
- so much flavor - Instant pot spaghetti tastes like you cooked the sauce all day because the pressure cooker helps build flavor faster than stove cooking.
- easy for any cooking level - Even pressure cooker beginners can find success with this recipe because there is very little hands-on cooking. In fact, you don't really even need to know how to cook pasta in a pressure cooker. It does it all for you! Just follow the recipe directions and find yourself with a delicious pot of spaghetti.
Get the ingredient amounts in the printable recipe card below.
- olive oil - or any kind of oil can be use to saute the ingredients.
- onion - aromatic vegetable that adds a sweet and savory flavor to the sauce. Use any onion
- garlic - fresh garlic (recommended) adds a traditional Italian flavor to any spaghetti and meat sauce recipe.
- ground beef - this adds flavor, texture, and volume to your spaghetti.
- pasta sauce - use your favorite jar sauce for this recipe.
- seasonings - we're adding oregano and Italian seasoning, but you know the sky is the limit here.
- water - 4 cups water might seem like a lot for this recipe, but trust me, the end result is the perfect consistency. Feel free to use broth instead of water, if you prefer.
- spaghetti- I use classic spaghetti noodles for this recipe.
How to make spaghetti in the Instant Pot
Get the full, printable recipe card below.
Step 1. Use the Instant Pot "Saute" function to saute onions, garlic, ground beef, and seasonings until beef is cooked through. Deglaze the pot by adding a splash of broth and scraping the bottom to release any browned bits.
Step 2. Press "Cancel" on the Instant Pot. Break pasta noodles in half and criss-cross in stacks over the beef. Add the water or broth, followed by the pasta sauce. Press the noodles under the liquid to submerge.
There's no need to stir anything. In fact, don't stir because you want to keep the thick pasta sauce away from the bottom (heat source) to prevent the cooker overheating early in the pressure cooking process (see section below).
Step 3. Pressure cook by selecting the "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" button set on HIGH for 2 minutes (for al dente spaghetti) or 3 minutes (for soft spaghetti noodles) followed by 10 minute (NPR) natural pressure release.
Yes friends, you heard that right! 2 or 3 minutes pressure cook time with 10 minute NPR for perfect spaghetti every time!
Step 4. Press "Cancel" and open the lid. It will look unusual at first (see photos below), but trust me, it all works out. Toss everything together to combine. I recommend turning the "keep warm" setting off to prevent overcooking the spaghetti.
Step 5. Serve warm with a little Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
Can I use ground turkey or sausage instead of ground beef?
Yes you can! Just swap in the same amount of either ingredient for the beef and you'll have an equally delicious meat sauce.
Can I add frozen meatballs?
You sure can! In fact, kids love any spaghetti with meatballs. To use frozen meatballs, you'll want to add them as the very last ingredient on top of everything else. Then stir them right into the spaghetti once it's done.
What if I don't have jar sauce?
You can use canned spaghetti sauce in equal amounts. If packaged pasta sauce isn't an option, stir together together 1 (16-ounce can) tomato sauce with ½ (6-ounce can) tomato paste and use in place. Or make this quick and easy tomato sauce recipe.
Does sauce count as liquid in pressure cooked spaghetti?
Pasta sauce adds some moisture, but without the right balance of liquid and sauce, your cooker is more likely to trigger the burn notice.
How to make this recipe extra saucy
I love the sauce consistency with this recipe. But, if you want saucier spaghetti than what you see in my photos, decrease the pasta amount from 16 ounces to 12 ounces, roughly ¾ of the 1 pound box. Or, you can just add more sauce to the spaghetti before serving.
Can I make this spaghetti without meat?
Yes, it's as simple as leaving out the meat and following the recipe exactly as it is.
Can I use an 8 or 10 quart Instant Pot for this recipe?
Yes! You may notice I'm using the 6 quart Duo Instant Pot. If you use an 8 or 10 quart pot, you won't need to adjust the time because this recipe uses 4 cups cooking liquid, which is well above the 2-cup minimum needed to pressurize larger pots.
How to avoid pasta clumping
There should be minimal pasta clumping with this recipe. If it does, no worries, it will easily separate when you go to stir the pasta with tongs. Hopefully, you're an Instant Pot recipe follower and you'll stack the dry spaghetti noodles in a criss-cross pattern on top of the cooked meat. This is what really prevents pasta clumping. Well, that and a properly sealed pot using a properly tested recipe. See? So many variables with Instant Pot cooking.
Instant Pot spaghetti with jar sauce has an undisputed reputation for triggering the overheat protection notice – aka burn warning or burn notice. This happens when the liquid-to-solid balance is out of whack due to 1) a mechanical defect (unlikely); 2) improper pressure cooker usage (more likely); or 3) you're making an untested recipe, which happens, but my Instant Pot recipes are tested by yours truly multiple times.
However, the burn notice is still a pressure cooking reality and safety feature that happens, so you'll want to understand it better. You can visit the official Instant Pot resources page; look for the section titled 'Safety Mechanisms'.
Looking for more Instant Pot dinner recipes? This Taco Pasta recipe has made its way onto countless dinner menu rotations of my readers and I'm honored. The same goes for Instant Pot Tuna Casserole. Make either one and fall in love with your pressure cooker!
Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
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- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- ½ Onion diced (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 pound Lean Ground Beef (uncooked) or ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon Dried Oregano optional
- ½ teaspoon Italian Seasoning optional
- ½ teaspoon Sea Salt optional
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper optional
- 1 pound Uncooked Spaghetti Noodles (standard size) use ¾ pound for saucier pasta
- 1 (24-ounce) Pasta Sauce or 3 cups homemade tomato sauce
- 4 cups Water or broth
- 6-quart Instant Pot or other size
Recipe yields 8 cups. If you scale the recipe up or down, the instructions stay the same.
- Select "Saute" and heat OLIVE OIL until Instant Pot display reads "Hot".
- Add ONIONS, GARLIC, GROUND BEEF, OREGANO, ITALIAN SEASONING, SALT, and PEPPER. Saute until beef is cooked through, stirring as needed. Drain any excess fat, if needed.
- Deglaze the pot by adding a few splashes of WATER (or broth). Use a flat-end utensil to scrape and loosen any browned bits stuck to the bottom (these are flavor gold). Select “Cancel” to stop the saute cycle.
- Break and scatter the SPAGHETTI NOODLES over the cooked beef in a criss-cross pattern.
- Add WATER to the pot. Pour PASTA SAUCE directly on the spaghetti noodles and spread in an even layer. Press the spaghetti under the liquid to submerge.
- Close and lock the lid and set the pressure release valve to “Sealing”. Select “Manual” or “Pressure cook” on HIGH 2 minutes (for al dente spaghetti) or 3 minutes (for softer). YES, YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT ... 2 or 3 minutes ... the spaghetti continues cooking in the next step (and we also don't like mushy noodles).
- At the end of the cook cycle, allow the pot to sit undisturbed for a 10-minute natural pressure release (NPR). DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP...the spaghetti is still cooking.
- Release any remaining steam, open lid, stir ingredients until well combined. Serve warm.Note: When you first open the lid after noodles cook, there will likely be a small amount of excess liquid. Just stir it into the pasta and it will get absorbed in minutes.
- To store, allow spaghetti to cool completely and refrigerate in airtight containers up to 5 days.
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