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!
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.
About this recipe
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, release any remaining pressure, 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!
How to make this 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. I love this Turkey Bolognese recipe with ground turkey and turkey Italian sausage.
- 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.
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.
Storage and Reheating Tips
Store leftovers in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat over low heat 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.
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:
- Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
- Instant Pot Risotto (no continuous stirring!)
- Instant Pot Short Ribs
- Instant Pot Pinto Beans (cook dried beans to perfection in no time at all, with no soaking)
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork (fall apart tender in an hour and a half!)
- Instant Pot Ribs
- Instant Pot Beef Stew
- 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. (16 oz.) ground beef
- 1 can (28-oz.) crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ cup red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 12 oz. dried pasta
- Fresh Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
- 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.
- Add the oregano, basil, parsley, garlic, salt and anchovy paste, then cook, stirring, until well combined and fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the ground beef and cook for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and crumbly. Turn off pressure cooker.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve the Bolognese over the pasta and garnish with Parmesan, if desired.
- 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.
- If you'd like to replace fresh herbs with dried, the general rule is to use a third of the amount of fresh herbs called for.
- If desired, 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 or in a slow cooker. Allow lots of extra time for simmering.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.