Creamy Instant Pot Pasta

Can you cook pasta in an Instant Pot? You bet. This recipe is a seriously creamy Instant Pot pasta recipe that you’ll make again and again.

Creamy Instant Pot Pasta

Ever tried making Instant Pot pasta? Alex and I have owned our Instant Pot for a year, but it wasn’t until recently that we’ve tried cooking pasta in it. Honestly, we were a little wary of pasta: would a pressure cooker be able to cook pasta without turning it to mush? Turns out, it works: and it’s absolutely delicious! Here, we’ve made a creamy Instant Pot pasta with a marinara sauce mixed with creamy goat cheese. It’s so seriously flavorful, it might just be one of our favorite Instant Pot recipes yet. And it’s a perfect easy weeknight dinner recipe: as simple as throwing a few things in the pot and cooking for 5 minutes. Our toddler Larson is obsessed…and so are we!

Want a stovetop version instead? Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta

Instant Pot pasta

How to make Instant Pot pasta

If you’re looking for fast and easy dinner recipes, this one is for you! This vegetarian Instant Pot pasta recipe could not be easier: the concept is to cook the pasta and make a homemade marinara sauce at the same time: directly in the pressure cooker. Then you’ll stir in goat cheese to make the sauce creamy: kind of like a vodka sauce, but using goat cheese instead! The cool thing is that it takes only 5 minutes of cook time! If you’re familiar with Instant Pot cooking you’ll know it takes a few more minutes than just the cook time: but not much!

The ingredients required for this Instant Pot pasta are simple:

  • Crushed fire roasted tomatoes: using fire roasted tomatoes is helpful for their sweet flavor; if you can’t find them, use the best quality crushed tomatoes you can find!
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Spices (garlic powder, dried oregano, salt)
  • Spinach leaves: baby spinach is easiest, or you can use chopped spinach
  • Whole basil leaves
  • Penne pasta, or any short pasta shape
  • Goat cheese, to make the creamy sauce

Now, to make the Instant Pot pasta, you literally dump all the ingredients into the Instant Pot (except goat cheese) and pressure cook on High for 5 minutes. If you’re experienced with cooking with a pressure cooker you’ll know there’s a “preheat” time to add to that where the Instant Pot is heating up. For this recipe it takes about 10 minutes to preheat (a bit longer than most recipes, since there is so much volume inside the pot). Then you’ll do a quick release, where you immediately let out all the steam in the Instant Pot. Stir in the goat cheese and the pasta is ready to go!

This one got VERY high marks in our household: from all of us, and our toddler Larson! I know we’ll keep making it for years to come.

Related: This pasta calls for fresh basil — and it’s easy to grow at home! We’ve also got a trick for storing it. Here’s How to Grow Basil and How to Store Fresh Basil.

Creamy Instant Pot Pasta

Does pasta cook to al dente in an Instant Pot?

Good question! If you’re rigorous about your al dente pasta like we are, take note: Instant Pot pasta does taste a bit softer than the al dente you can achieve on the stovetop. If you’re a stickler for perfectly al dente pasta, this might not be the recipe for you. However, we tested this against a stovetop version: Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta. And we loved the Instant Pot pasta almost even a little more! While the stovetop pasta was firmer, the pressure cooker pasta had the flavor of the sauce really soak in: which was just as satisfying for us.

Leftovers of this Instant Pot pasta do become quite soft, so that’s another difference that you’ll notice versus leftovers of stovetop pasta. You’ll want to eat your pasta as soon as possible, or just be ready for softer than normal leftovers. However, knowing both of these caveats, the Instant Pot pasta was as huge hit in our household.

Instant Pot pasta

What Instant Pot do you use?

Alex and I use an Instant Pot brand Instant Pot, though there are lots of other great pressure cookers out there! The Instant Pot we use is the Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker

There are some variations between pressure cooker brands, so we can’t speak to the way that other brands cook. For example, we’ve heard that the Instant Pot Mini is pretty different and does not work as well as the standard size. So, only use the Instant Pot Mini for this recipe at your own risk!

Instant Pot pasta

Looking for Instant Pot recipes?

Outside of this Instant Pot pasta recipe, here are a few more of our Instant Pot recipes:

This Instant Pot pasta recipe is…

Vegetarian

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Creamy Instant Pot Pasta

Creamy Instant Pot Pasta


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (226 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings 1x

Description

Can you cook pasta in an Instant Pot? You bet. This recipe is a seriously creamy Instant Pot pasta recipe that you’ll make again and again.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 28 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (or best quality crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, tightly packed (or chopped spinach)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 8 ounces penne pasta (regular, not whole wheat)
  • 4 ounce goat cheese log

Instructions

  1. Place the following ingredients into the Instant Pot: water, tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, oregano, kosher salt, spinach, whole basil leaves, and penne. Stir until combined.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes: Press the Pressure Cook button, making sure the “High Pressure” setting is selected, and set the time. Note that it takes about 10 minutes for the pot to “preheat” and come up to pressure before it starts cooking. (During cooking, avoid touching the metal part of the lid.)
  3. Quick release: Vent the remaining steam from the Instant Pot by moving the pressure release handle to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel or hot pad. Never put your hands or face near the vent when releasing steam. Open the pressure cooker lid.
  4. Open the lid and crumble in the goat cheese; stir until a creamy sauce forms. The sauce will thicken even more as it cools.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Instant Pot Pasta, Pasta in Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker Pasta, Pasta in Pressure Cooker

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

65 Comments

  • Reply
    Kelsey
    July 21, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Can I make this on the stove instead? Can I substitute something else for the goat cheese? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Alex
      July 22, 2019 at 8:29 pm

      Hi! We have a stovetop version coming next week! To sub the goat cheese, I’d just use parmesan!

  • Reply
    diane bevington
    October 10, 2019 at 9:02 am

    Hi is there any chance you could convert to metric as well as cups please on your recipes

  • Reply
    Gabrielle Brewer
    October 13, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    Hello! this looks fantastic! Can you sub for gf noodles?

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      October 14, 2019 at 9:26 am

      You definitely can! We haven’t tried it but we’re fairly certain it would work. Let us know how it goes!

  • Reply
    IzzyJ
    October 30, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    Thank you! Thumbs up – I used herbed goat cheese for extra flavor. I’ll make double next time!

  • Reply
    hanna
    November 7, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    i find that every time i cook with tomatoes and mix them in at the start i always get burn food message on my pot even after oiling the pot…. same with porridge

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      November 7, 2019 at 1:01 pm

      We haven’t had this issue. The fire roasted tomatoes usually have a fair amount of liquid in them.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    December 9, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    could you make this in an instant pot ultra

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      December 9, 2019 at 1:59 pm

      It should work as long as it’s 6-quart or larger.

      • Reply
        Anonymous
        March 25, 2020 at 7:12 pm

        Would kale be acceptable as a substitute for the spinach?

        • Reply
          Alex Overhiser
          March 26, 2020 at 9:11 am

          Yes!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    December 30, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    I made this using gluten free noodles. I was nervous because they can get soggy in a hurry — so I modified the pressure cook time to 4 mins and did a natural release for 5 mins before manual release the remaining. It came out perfect! Noodles were actually pretty al dente. Loved this recipe will be adding to slate of weekly dinners. For non vegetarians, adding shrimp would be amazing, along with some crusty garlic bread.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      December 30, 2019 at 4:49 pm

      Thanks for the comment! Glad to know it works :)

  • Reply
    Peter Friedlich
    January 1, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Curious about adding tilapia/salmon to this… should i just throw the tilapia in the IP and cook for the same 5 min???

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      January 1, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      We’ve haven’t tried fish in the Instant Pot yet. Let us know if you try!

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    January 6, 2020 at 11:20 am

    Why can’t you use whole wheat pasta? Is it a natural aversion your family has to it or is it that you haven’t tried so you can’t recommend it?
    I’ve only used whole wheat pasta for about a decide so I’m off to look for whole wheat instant pot recipes but I’d like to make this so any comments on this subject would be Fanta and appreciated. Thanks

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      January 6, 2020 at 11:24 am

      Hi! We have not tested the cook time for whole wheat pasta, so we can’t provide instructions for it!

    • Reply
      Anonymous
      February 16, 2020 at 4:42 pm

      I just made this with whole wheat pasta. Same timing and everything and it came out perfectly al dente. Highly recommend.

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    January 6, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Ok. Thanks for the quick response

  • Reply
    Tim
    January 13, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    I tired this last week and the whole family loved it. We had a lot more sauce than noodles. I was wondering if you think I could just add an extra ounce or two of noodles to the recipe, or if I’d have to change other ingredients elsewhere.

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      January 13, 2020 at 9:14 pm

      You could probably get away with just a little extra pasta, but you definitely need the excess to ensure that it comes to pressure without burning!

      • Reply
        Stephanie
        February 26, 2020 at 10:09 pm

        I had the same thoughts. Too much sauce. I made this dish with the amounts you listed and still it burned. Next time I’ll try to get the noodles out of the sauce before stirring in the goat cheese and hopefully not get all that extra sauce. Not sure how to prevent burn though. Do you stir your ingredients before turning on the pressure?

        • Reply
          Alex Overhiser
          February 26, 2020 at 10:59 pm

          Yes, you do need to stir before pressure cooking!

          • Stephanie
            February 27, 2020 at 1:36 pm

            Thanks. I did stir it and I got the “burn” message. Pretty new to pressure cooking but it seems like lots of recipes with tomato sauces have this issue. Would it work to just cook the noodles without the tomatoes and add them in after cooking? I like the idea of this recipe and want to find a way to make it work…

          • Alex Overhiser
            February 27, 2020 at 8:34 pm

            Do you know what size your Instant Pot is?

        • Reply
          Patrick
          April 6, 2020 at 10:23 pm

          Stephanie –

          I was running into the burn issue quite a bit, but in addition to the other great advice here, I have adopted deglazing as a best practice prior to all my instant pot projects. It seems to help a lot from the few times I’ve initially started doing it. When I DON’T deglaze the pot, grief usually follows.

  • Reply
    Karen
    January 18, 2020 at 11:56 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. This was the first meal I made in my IP and it was amazing. I accidentally purchased salsa style fire roasted tomatoes so it was very spicy but I enjoyed every bite. I like arrabiata sauce so it was very similar and that paired really well with the creaminess of the goat cheese.

  • Reply
    Kayla
    January 21, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    We’re looking to make this tonight. Have you tried doubling the recipe for a larger group?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      January 21, 2020 at 7:48 pm

      We haven’t tried this, let us know if you do!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 30, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    I used 1/2 container of alouette with parm and basil since we’re not fans of goat cheese. I would increase time to 6 minutes. Penne was extra al dente. This dish is so good!

  • Reply
    Gina
    February 17, 2020 at 12:52 am

    Made this with macaroni and it was perfect. Also used feta instead of goat cheese – works quite well. Will try to add anchovies next time!

  • Reply
    Jimmy J
    February 20, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    Thank you guys for the great recipe! I made mine Vegan friendly by using non-dairy mozzarella cheese instead of goat cheese. I also sautéed baby bella mushrooms, onion, peppers, and fresh garlic, prior to adding the rest of the ingredients. I used Rao’s Artichoke pasta sauce since I didn’t have fire roasted tomatoes on hand. I used gluten free, organic penne pasta with turmeric, which is easier to digest than regular pasta. It only took 20 minutes from start to devour, and the pasta was absolutely perfect!
    It was so delicious, I can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

  • Reply
    Nina
    February 22, 2020 at 10:46 am

    Can you sub cream cheese for the goat cheese?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      February 22, 2020 at 1:15 pm

      That should work!

  • Reply
    Christina Hochla
    March 10, 2020 at 12:59 am

    Hello! I was very pleased with your lentil recipe and was excited to try this pasta, but when I did, my Instant Pot read “burn” twice! (even after I took the food out, cleaned it, piled the bottom, and put extra liquid in)
    Do you have any other tips for preventing this?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      March 10, 2020 at 9:30 am

      I’m so sorry it didn’t work. Do you know what size your Instant Pot is?

      • Reply
        Christina Hochla
        March 10, 2020 at 10:09 am

        It’s a 6 quart!

        • Reply
          Alex Overhiser
          March 10, 2020 at 11:08 am

          This is so weird. We’ll investigate and see if we can figure anything out. Thank you for making!

          • Christina Hochla
            March 10, 2020 at 1:59 pm

            Thank you so much! You two are the best!!

  • Reply
    Parisa
    April 16, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    Hi! Probable a silly question but do I drain the diced tomatoes or toss them in w the liquid? Thanks

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      April 16, 2020 at 5:49 pm

      Toss it all in!

  • Reply
    Phoebe
    April 20, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    Hi,
    Unfortunately I got a burn message twice as well in my 6 quart pot :( If you guys find out any tips on how to avoid that I would be super grateful so I can try again!

    • Reply
      Erika
      July 8, 2020 at 11:56 pm

      Made this tonight and it was excellent. Very easy to make in the Instant Pot. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Reply
      Vimy
      October 18, 2020 at 12:25 pm

      Make sure you don’t have any food stuck in the bottom of your Pot deglaze if you do. Maybe try stirring all the other ingredients before, then adding the tomatoes on top let it rest and don’t stir. Then put lid on to pressure cook.

  • Reply
    Jackie
    April 27, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    I had rigatoni on hand so I used that instead of penne. The recipe came out fantastic – a bit al dente but that’s much better than overcooked. It has lots of flavor. I did not experience issues with a BURN message as others have, This is the fourth recipe I’ve tried from your site, and they have all been amazing!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      April 28, 2020 at 8:07 am

      So glad you enjoyed!

  • Reply
    Lisa M.
    May 7, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    We stirred in some rinsed, canned black beans at the end. Great recipe!!!

  • Reply
    Vicky
    May 13, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Great recipe. We got no burn warning. Everyone liked it, even our picky youngest kid. Next time I will cut goat cheese back to 3 oz, because it was a tad too rich fir our family, but it was so easy to make and yummy. Pasta was al dente, not too soft.

  • Reply
    Sophie
    June 14, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    Burnt twice
    and my pot has 1 inch burnt mark. Had to put it in the pot on the stove . Too bad.
    do not recommend :(

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      June 15, 2020 at 9:44 am

      I’m so sorry it didn’t work out!

  • Reply
    Sharon
    June 18, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Can you add other vegetables such as zucchini or broccoli in addition to the spinach, and would the cook time vary?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      June 18, 2020 at 7:53 pm

      I’m not sure, sorry!

  • Reply
    Deb
    August 8, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    Can I double tecipe to use 16 oz pasta ?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      August 10, 2020 at 9:31 am

      Hi! Not in a 6qt Instant Pot.

  • Reply
    DLS
    August 16, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    I suggest you check the website, pressurecookingtoday.com. Barbara has a page on how to cook pasta in an instant pot.
    Also I have learned to put the pasta/water/other ingredients on the bottom and “float” the tomatoes or tomato sauce on top of everything and DO NOT STIR THE TOMATOES/SAUCE IN! Close up the pot and cook. Make sure you use enough water for the pasta.

  • Reply
    Heidi
    September 11, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    Hi! This looks delicious! I would like to try it in my Breville Fast Slow Pro 6 qt. I am wondering if you could double the sauce to cook in the pot but cook 16 oz noodles on the stove for a double batch…

  • Reply
    Ashley
    October 7, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    How many cups is one serving approximately? This recipe is delicious even the little ones like it!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      October 8, 2020 at 8:49 am

      Hi! Unfortunately we didn’t capture that information!

  • Reply
    Scott
    October 12, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    Hi Sonja and Alex! I made this recipe last night for some friends. I made a bit more (1.5x the recipe) and it was perfect. The noodles were not too hard, not too soft. The sauce was tasty and the perfect texture. I even have a couple friends who don’t particularly like goat cheese and they ate it all up. This recipe is SO easy. This will definitely be a staple for years to come for me. Thank you dearly.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      October 12, 2020 at 2:01 pm

      So glad to hear this! Thanks for commenting :)

  • Reply
    Duncan
    October 19, 2020 at 9:32 pm

    Made this one last night and it was very tasty. We used one tomato can, a jar of Dolmio sauce and added maybe 1/2 cup more water and still had the Food Burn warning.

    I found that the warning went away after a while and the countdown was happening anyway. After the time expired i waited five minutes and released the steam and opened the lid. The float valve wasn’t up anyway, i dont know if that happens when Food Burn is active.

    To my delight, the food wasn’t burned at all and came out perfectly.

  • Reply
    April Estrella
    October 20, 2020 at 11:57 am

    Does this meal freeze well?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      October 20, 2020 at 12:07 pm

      We haven’t tried it, but I think it would!

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