Try Instant Pot Bolognese sauce for your favorite pasta. Normally simmered for hours, this Bolognese can be made in just over an hour using your pressure cooker, with the same delectable result!

Overhead view of spaghetti and instant pot bolognese sauce in a white bowl, garnished with cheese and fresh basil.

Classic Bolognese in an Instant Pot?! You betcha! Is it as delicious as Bolognese sauce that’s been simmered all day long? You betcha! In a little over an hour, you can have this classic Italian dish on the table and boy, is it good!

While I love vegan Bolognese with lentils and quinoa, it can hardly be called a “classic” Bolognese sauce. And turkey Bolognese with zucchini noodles is so good, but again, hardly a classic Bolognese sauce. I sometimes drag my feet on making the classic, though, because it takes lots and lots of simmering time. 

Then I found this recipe for Instant Pot Bolognese in my friend, Meseidy Rivera’s new cookbook, Weeknight Gourmet Dinners. How perfect is that! An Instant Pot takes all the hours of simmering right out of the equation. Pressure cook that sauce! Thank you, Meseidy!

What is Bolognese?

Classic Bolognese is a type of Italian ragú originating in Bologna, Italy. It’s a meaty pasta sauce usually served with a wide pasta such as lasagna, tagliatelle, pappardelle or fettuccine. Bolognese sauce is made with a soffritto (onions, carrots and celery) and lots of tomatoes, with ground beef, veal, or pork. It often contains red wine and milk. 

Overhead view of an Instant Pot pressure cooker full of bolognese sauce.

About this Instant Pot Bolognese:

The ingredients for this Instant Pot Bolognese are classic all the way. But don’t think classic means tricky or hard to find. A Bolognese sauce is  made from very simple ingredients that most of us have in our pantry or fridge.

Begin by sautéing finely chopped onions, carrots, and celery in your Instant Pot with a little olive oil. Throw in some fresh chopped herbs (oregano, basil, parsley), minced garlic and anchovy paste. 

What’s anchovy paste? Anchovy paste is (yes, you guessed it) ground up anchovies. It adds umami, a savory flavor that adds depth to the the sauce. Anchovy paste comes in a small tube and can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 6 months. Don’t have it? No worries, your sauce will be fine. 

Next, add ground beef and cook that until it’s browned and crumbly. This whole process of sautéing shouldn’t take you more than fifteen minutes and it’s all done right in your Instant Pot. 

Add tomato paste, canned crushed tomatoes, red wine, and a couple of bay leaves. Stir well, making sure that the bottom of the pan is clear of browned bits. Cover and seal, and set your pressure cooker for thirty minutes.

No more stirring necessary! Go ahead and make a salad or catch up on social media. When twenty minutes have gone by, get some pasta water heating on the stove so your pasta will be ready when the Bolognese is done. Use a hearty pasta, like linguine, pappardelle, rigatoni, or penne. Orzo has no place here.

When the timer beeps, allow the pressure to natural release for ten minutes, remove the lid, and serve. Your Bolognese sauce will taste like it’s been simmered all day but it only took you an hour from start to finish. It’s amazing!

Overhead view of spaghetti and instant pot bolognese sauce in a white bowl, garnished with cheese and fresh basil.

How to make this Bolognese sauce your own:

  • In place of the ground beef, try ground veal, pork, turkey, or even venison. You could use a mixture of two kinds of meat.
  • Don’t have fresh herbs? Use dried herbs instead. Remember that you won’t need to use as much. The general rule is to use a third of the amount of fresh herbs called for. 
  • Add milk or cream to the sauce. Gently warm a half cup of whole milk or cream on the stove or in the microwave. When the Bolognese has finished cooking, slowly stir the warm milk into the sauce until incorporated. You may want to simmer the sauce a bit to blend the flavors. 
  • Make it Paleo friendly. Omit the wine, and instead of pasta, serve with “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) or spaghetti squash.
  • Try Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce for a one pan pasta dinner. The pasta is cooked right in the sauce. 
  • Don’t have an Instant Pot? You can easily make this recipe in a heavy Dutch oven on the stove. Allow lots of extra time for simmering. Or try it in a slow cooker. 

Weeknight Gourmet Dinners cookbook, surrounded by pasta, bread, and fresh herbs.

About Weeknight Gourmet Dinners

If you’re looking to take your weeknight meals to the next level, Weeknight Gourmet Dinners: Exciting, Elevated Meals Made Easy by Meseidy Rivera of The Noshery is for you! 

With recipes like goat cheese-stuffed shells with honey and chorizo, fontina cheese waffles with cremini mushroom sauce, roast carrots with gochujang glaze, and sweet plantain and coconut whipped cream crepes with dulce de leche, you’ll truly feel like a chef in your own kitchen.

If you’re a fan of your Instant Pot and quick recipes, you will love this bolognese but you’ll also love Meseidy’s Instant Pot Beef Bourguignon and Instant Pot Risotto à la Carbonara – dishes that traditionally utilize long cooking times, made quickly and easily in the pressure cooker. She also features some slow cooker recipes and recipes that help you plan and prep ahead. 

The recipes are made with weeknights in mind but they would all be perfectly suited for weekend entertaining as well.

Buy it today!

Spaghetti and Bolognese sauce in a white bowl, bread in background.

Storage and Reheating Tips

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave.

Make Ahead: Bolognese sauce is a wonderful make-ahead idea. It can be stored, without pasta, in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for three months. Thaw overnight in the fridge for best results.

To serve, simply cook pasta of your choice, and  drain (reserve a little of the cooking water). While the pasta is draining, warm the sauce in the pasta pan a bit, return pasta to the pan, and mix everything together. Add a little of the pasta water to thin, if necessary. 

Spaghetti and meat sauce in a white bowl, with wine and bread in the background.

More Instant Pot shortcuts

I love how you can use an Instant Pot pressure cooker as a shortcut for traditional favorites like this Bolognese sauce. You get fantastic results in much less time. Try:

 

Overhead view of an Instant Pot pressure cooker full of bolognese sauce.

Instant Pot Bolognese Recipe

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Try Instant Pot Bolognese sauce for your favorite pasta. Normally simmered for hours, this Bolognese can be made in just over an hour using your pressure cooker, with the same delectable result!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, small diced
  • 1 medium onion, small diced
  • 2 celery ribs, small diced
  • 3 sprigs oregano, minced
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 oz. dried pasta
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Set Instant Pot to sauté. Place the olive oil and carrots in the Instant Pot and cook until the carrots are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and celery and cook for 3 minutes, or until the onions and celery are translucent.
  2. Add the oregano, basil, parsley, garlic, salt and anchovy paste, then cook, stirring, until well combined and fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the ground beef and cook for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and crumbly. Turn off pressure cooker.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, wine and bay leaves and stir until well incorporated. Cover and set the Instant Pot to cook at high pressure for 30 minutes.
  5. About 10 minutes before the Bolognese is ready, prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Once the Bolognese is finished cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes before venting.
  6. Serve the Bolognese over the pasta and garnish with Parmesan, if desired.

Notes

  • Recipe from Weeknight Gourmet Dinners, Exciting, Elevated Meals Made Easy, by Meseidy Rivera
  • In place of the ground beef, try ground veal, pork, turkey, venison, or a mixture of two kinds of meat.
  • Replace fresh herbs with dried. The general rule is to use a third of the amount of fresh herbs called for. 
  • Add milk or cream to the sauce. Gently warm a half cup of whole milk or cream on the stove or in the microwave. When the Bolognese has finished cooking, slowly stir the warm milk into the sauce until incorporated.
  • Make it Paleo friendly. Omit wine and instead of pasta, serve with "zoodles" (zucchini noodles) or spaghetti squash.
  • Don't have an Instant Pot? You can easily make this recipe in a heavy Dutch oven on the stove. Allow lots of extra time for simmering. Or try it in a slow cooker.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 of 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 379Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 551mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 25g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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Verdict: Such a good pasta sauce, I’ll be making it again and again! Just wait until you smell your kitchen…amazing!
Husband’s take: No complaints whatsoever!
Changes I would make: None!
Difficulty: Easy.