Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
Spaghetti in one pot, made in about 45 minutes sort of seems like a dream come true, doesn’t it? Once you try Instant Pot Spaghetti, you might never go back to the traditional stovetop method!
Why you’ll love it: It’s a fast and easy dinner with a quick cleanup.
How long it takes: 45 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: Instant Pot pressure cooker
Spaghetti is one of those meals that’s kind of a catch-22. It’s an easy go-to meal. It’s something that you probably have all the ingredients for without hitting the store. But it makes SO MANY DISHES dirty! A pan for the sauce, a pan for the pasta, a colander. It’s a bit of a pain.
Well, this Instant Pot Spaghetti is the answer to that problem. One pan – the insert of the Instant Pot. No need to drain the pasta. No need to wash three dishes for one recipe. I might never go back to making spaghetti the “regular” way again. Same goes for spaghetti and meatballs.
f you guys haven’t gotten on the Instant Pot train yet, I think it’s time. I use mine at least once a week and I’m constantly getting Instant Pot recipe requests.
My recipe for Instant Pot pasta with Italian sausage and spinach is such a popular one on my site, I knew I had to give you guys more easy pasta recipes to make in your pressure cooker.
About this Recipe
I’ve made this recipe a few different times and a few different ways but I wanted to give you the most classic, recognizable version. It’s an easy recipe to “make your own” if you want to add or subtract anything.
I always love to use a ton of vegetables in spaghetti sauce. This recipe allows you to do that easily. I typically use ground turkey but you can use ground beef or ground Italian sausage — all three taste great with a tomato spaghetti sauce. We’ll chat about more ways you could mix this up and make it your own.
Spaghetti made all in one pot, including the pasta! Are you ready to get started? I’ll run through the recipe here and give you a bunch of helpful tips.
As always, look for the printable recipe card near the end of the post. It has complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Lean Ground Turkey: You’ll need a pound of ground meat.
- Olive Oil: Just a teaspoon so the meat doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Onion: Any type of onion will do. Yellow cooking onions are economical and store well.
- Whole Wheat Spaghetti: This recipe is written for a 16 ounce box of pasta. Be sure to read the label. Many whole wheat pastas come in smaller sized boxes.
- Spaghetti Sauce: Choose your favorite jar of pasta sauce. There are so many to choose from!
- Water: It takes a fair amount of liquid to cook the pasta. It will all be absorbed. I always use the pasta sauce jar to measure the water. It’s convenient and rinses out the jar.
- Diced Tomatoes: Look for low sodium tomatoes. There’s usually plenty of salt in the pasta sauce. There’s not need to drain the tomatoes.
- Spinach (Optional): Use baby spinach leaves if you can. They are smaller and more tender. If you only have larger leaves, chop them a bit before adding them.
How To Make This Recipe
Make sure you have everything you need. Chop the onions and any other veggies you might want to add.
Use the”sauté” mode on the Instant Pot to brown your meat. Put a bit of oil in first so the meat doesn’t stick.
When you’re browning the meat, add the onions to the pot, too. I like to add bell peppers, carrots, and/or mushrooms. Today I just used onions but feel free to load it up with any of the veggies you like!
After you brown the meat and soften the veggies, add the pasta in one layer on top of the meat. Break the pasta in half before you put it in. It needs to be completely submerged in the liquid to cook properly and the long pieces won’t fit in unless they are broken.
Pour the sauce, tomatoes, and water over the pasta and meat. Wiggle the pasta around a little bit so that it’s not clumped together and it’s covered by liquid.
It will look like a lot of liquid but don’t worry. The pasta cooks right in the sauce, absorbing all the water, and the consistency is perfect once it’s finished cooking. It’s really kind of magical.
If you want to add broccoli instead of spinach, add it right on top (don’t mix it in) so that it can steam while the pasta cooks. (Am I the only person that adds a ridiculous amount of vegetables to my spaghetti?)
Lock the lid and set the Instant Pot for “Pressure Cook” or “Manual – High”, depending on your model. Set the time for 8 minutes and press Start. It will take roughly 20 minutes to come to pressure.
After the pasta is done cooking, add spinach if you like. It just needs a brief time in the hot pot to wilt the leaves. You can add the spinach at the same time as the pasta and sauce but I prefer not to overcook it so it stays bright green. But if you’re in a rush, it definitely works to add it at the same time as the sauce.
If the sauce appears too juicy, just let the spaghetti set for five to ten minutes, and then give it a stir. It will thicken up nicely.
That’s really all there is to it! It’s such a great meal for busy nights, I can’t wait for you guys to try this one.
Garnish the spaghetti with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil if you happen to have it. If you have time, make a simple green salad with homemade Italian dressing. You’ll be in Olive Garden bliss.
Oh, and don’t forget the breadsticks! These copycat Pizza Hut breadsticks look better than the originals. I’m definitely making them next time we have spaghetti (or sooner)! Try fresh bread with olive oil dipping sauce.
P.S. Are you as obsessed with pressure cooking as I am? Here’s a few more of our favorites: Instant Pot Chicken Piccata, Instant Pot Chicken Marsala, Instant Pot Chili, and Southwestern Instant Pot Chicken and Quinoa.
Most certainly yes! It’s rather amazing how well it turns out. We’ve done lots of different types of pasta from shrimp scampi with angel hair pasta to creamy mac and cheese. It’s delicious and so easy: no boiling water, no colanders.
The only trick is to use plenty of liquid because the pasta absorbs it. Make sure there’s enough liquid to completely cover the pasta.
Generally, the rule of thumb is 2:1, water to pasta. So if you have 16 ounces of pasta, you would add 32 ounces of water. That’s for plain cooked pasta.
Your best bet is to follow the recipe which has been tested multiple times. For example, since this spaghetti has multiple ingredients and you want it to turn out saucy, there’s more liquid added.
The best advice I can give you is to follow the recipe. Generally, regular spaghetti will be cooked in 8 minutes.
Keep in mind that it will take a certain amount of time for the pressure cooker to reach full pressure. How long it takes to come to pressure will depend somewhat on the other ingredients added.
Other types of pasta will have different cook times.
Make it vegetarian
This is easy! Leave out the meat and load it with vegetables (mushrooms, bell peppers, carrot, olives). Finely chopped mushrooms will give it a meaty texture. You could also do something similar to my vegan bolognese with a combination of lentils and quinoa for a meat-like alternative.
Make it gluten-free
I haven’t tested it with gluten-free noodles yet but I do love chickpea pasta and lentil pasta, and I’m excited to try it. I think it would work but keep in mind that you may need to adjust the cooking time according to the pasta package.
If you’re more of a spaghetti squash person, you can also make that in your pressure cooker! Spaghetti squash is naturally gluten-free. Read about that method and five others in my guide on how to cook spaghetti squash.
Looking for more traditional spaghetti sauce?
I love this classic stove simmered spaghetti sauce with loads of tomatoes and basil. Serve it as is, or add your favorite meat. I love it with homemade meatballs or baked turkey meatballs. Classic Instant Pot bolognese sauce is really good or make it on your stovetop with this quick and easy Turkey Bolognese Recipe.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Leftover spaghetti with sauce will keep in the fridge for up to three days and in the freezer for up to three months. I like to freeze it in individual sized containers for an easy lunch or dinner for one. Larger containers should be thawed overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
To reheat, gently warm individual portions in the microwave until heated through or in a skillet on the stove.
If you have a lot of spaghetti left over, consider making a spaghetti casserole. Simply put the leftovers in a greased casserole dish. Mix in the desired amount of mozzarella cheese and sprinkle some cheese on top, too. Place in a preheated oven (350°F) for 30 minutes or until the center is hot and the cheese is melted.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground turkey (ground beef or Italian sausage is good, too)
- ½ small yellow onion, diced (about ½ cup)
- 1 pound (16 oz.) whole wheat spaghetti
- 1 jar (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce of your choice
- 36 ounces water (use the spaghetti sauce jar to measure the water, just fill it 1 ½ times)
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes,, undrained
- A few handfuls of spinach, optional
- Heat Instant Pot to Saute. Add olive oil and when it’s shimmering and hot, add turkey and onion. Cook, breaking up turkey with spatula, until browned and cooked through.
- Break pieces of spaghetti in half and add on top of cooked meat. Pour spaghetti sauce, water, and tomatoes over the pasta. Move pasta around a little with a spoon or spatula to separate the pieces of pasta to prevent them from clumping. Make sure they’re all submerged in the sauce.
- Secure lid of Instant Pot and turn valve to “seal.” Set on Manual for 8 minutes on high (or press the Pressure Cook button). It will take about 20 minutes to come to pressure.
- After cooking time elapses, quick release pressure. Remove lid and pile on spinach. Set lid back on (you don’t have to lock it on) and let spinach steam for 2-3 minutes or until wilted. Stir as needed to speed up this process.
- Serve immediately, or let set 5-10 minutes in Instant Pot for sauce to thicken slightly before serving.
- Use ground beef or Italian sausage in place of ground turkey. Drain excess fat off after browning the meat if needed.
- If you wish to add more vegetables (bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms), you’ll want to sauté them with the meat. Add broccoli at the same time as the pasta. Put it on top of the sauce/pasta so that the pasta is all still submerged in the sauce.
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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.
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