This shortcut Instant Pot Spaghetti tastes so much more than the sum of its parts. Made with lean ground beef, whole wheat noodles, and jarred sauce, we could not get over how a recipe this easy could be so utterly delicious.
While I’ll ever be a fan of spaghetti and Baked Turkey Meatballs, cooking spaghetti in a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot has distinct advantages.
In fact, I’d argue Instant Pot spaghetti tastes better than stovetop spaghetti. Here’s why:
- As the pasta noodles cook, they release starch.
- Similar to Crockpot Lasagna, since the water isn’t drained off when making pasta in a pressure cooker, those starches become a part of the sauce, making it thick and silky.
- Everything for Instant Pot spaghetti cooks in ONE POT (including both the pasta and the meat sauce).
- The cook time is QUICK.
- The taste is supreme.
You might not ever want to make spaghetti (or Instant Pot Mac and Cheese) any other way again!
How to Cook Spaghetti in the Instant Pot
The general ratio of water to pasta in an Instant Pot is 2 parts water to every 1 part pasta.
- This means that for every 4 ounces of pasta, you need 8 ounces (1 cup) of water.
- Thus, if you are cooking 8 ounces of pasta, you will need 16 ounces (2 cups) of water.
Avoiding the “Burn” Warning
If you are cooking pasta with a red sauce, even if you are only cooking 4 ounces of pasta, I still recommend using the full 2 cups of water.
- Tomato-based sauces are more prone to triggering the Instant Pot’s burn warning. The water helps reduce that risk. You can drain away the excess.
The other key to avoiding the dreaded “burn” warning when making Instant Pot spaghetti with jar sauce is DO NOT STIR THE NOODLES.
- You can put dry noodles in an Instant Pot. Start the recipe with the aromatics and sauce, lay the dry noodles on top, then pour on the water. Do not stir.
We love spaghetti Bolognese, so I made this recipe with ground meat, but it is optional.
You can use this same recipe to make Instant Pot spaghetti no meat by omitting it, swapping meatless crumbles, or stirring in a can of rinsed and drained white beans at the end.
- Whole Wheat Spaghetti. Twirl away! Packed with extra fiber and protein, whole wheat spaghetti noodles help make this dish more nutritious and satisfying.
- Ground Beef. Lean ground beef adds wonderful, rich flavor and heartiness. Ground beef is packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals.
- Marinara. Since the Instant Pot spaghetti sauce is a major flavor component, the quality of the sauce is important. We like to make this as an Instant Pot spaghetti with Rao’s sauce or DeLallo sauce.
- Kale. Because I wanted this recipe to be a one-pot pasta meal, I also threw in several handfuls of kale. Like my Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, the veggies are sneaky in this spaghetti and almost seem to become a part of the sauce.
- Spices. Simple spices like salt, dried parsley, onion powder, and red pepper flakes add flavor to the meat, which leads to a more flavorful spaghetti sauce after cooking. Feel free to play around and add other spices, such as garlic powder or Italian seasoning.
- Parmesan. No spaghetti is complete without a topping of freshly grated Parmesan!
- Brown the meat with the oil and spices. Stir in the garlic, then pour in part of the water. Scrape the bottom of the pot.
- Add the kale and sauce.
- Break the spaghetti noodles in half, then place them over the meat. DO NOT STIR.
- Fill the marinara sauce jar with the remaining water, shake, and pour it over the pasta. DO NOT STIR. Cook spaghetti on HIGH pressure for 8 minutes.
- Vent to quick release pressure. Stir in the Parmesan. Turn off the Instant Pot, then let the pasta sit for a few minutes. Stir and scoop into bowls. ENJOY!
Pair this spaghetti with Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, or Chianti.
- To Store. Refrigerate spaghetti in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze spaghetti in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Turn leftovers into a delicious, comforting spaghetti pie. My favorite version is in my cookbook).
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Instant Pot. Ideal for making this recipe.
- Wooden Spoon. Perfect for breaking up the meat and stirring.
- Spaghetti Server. Makes it easy to serve long noodles.
This Instant Pot spaghetti recipe is that magical place where the easier way turns out to be the more delicious way.
Twirl those noodles, and enjoy it!
Frequently Asked Questions
While this recipe does use a pinch of red pepper flakes, it is not overly spicy. If you prefer your spaghetti with a kick, you can add extra red pepper flakes or use a spicy jarred pasta sauce.
Yes, you can definitely swap the jarred sauce in this recipe for homemade pasta sauce.
Instant Pot Spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef ground bison, or meatless crumbles
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic minced, about 1 tablespoon
- 4 cups chopped kale chard, or other hearty greens (optional)
- 2 cups water divided
- 1 (24-ounce) jar marinara or other tomato-based pasta sauce
- 8 ounces dry whole wheat spaghetti
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
- Chopped fresh basil or parsley for serving
- Turn the Instant Pot to SAUTE. Add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the ground beef. Brown the meat, breaking it up into pieces with a wooden spoon. Add the salt, parsley, onion powder, and red pepper flakes. Continue to cook and break apart, until the meat is fully cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Pour in 3/4 cup of the water and scrape along the bottom of the pot to remove any stuck-on bits.
- Add the kale (if using) and sauce and stir to evenly combine.
- Break the spaghetti noodles in half, and then place them in two layers directly over the beef. DO NOT STIR.
- Fill the now-empty pasta jar with the remaining 1 1/4 cups water. Place the lid back on the jar, shake gently, then pour the rinsed liquid evenly over the pasta (again, DO NOT STIR).
- Cover and seal the Instant Pot. Cook on HIGH (manual) for 8 minutes.
- As soon as the cook time has elapsed, immediately vent to release the remaining pressure. Carefully open the lid and stir in the Parmesan. At this point, the pasta will look a little soupy, but it will thicken up as it sits.
- Turn off the Instant Pot. Let sit uncovered a few additional minutes to cool and to allow the extra liquid to absorb. Stir once more. Scoop into serving bowls and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate spaghetti in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze spaghetti in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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