The Instant Pot Miracle: One-Pan Pasta & Meat Sauce
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Whenever I have an Instant Pot win, it feels big, miraculous even.
Take this one-pot spaghetti and meat sauce. It comes from Skinny Taste’s One and Done cookbook, and, as the title suggests, it will leave you with one — one! — pan to clean.
I have made and loved Martha Stewart’s famous one-pot pasta, which is cooked stovetop, but somehow I doubted the idea would transfer to a pressure cooker: in such a short period of time, could good flavor develop?
In turns out yes. Here’s the process: Using the sauté function, cook the onion and brown the meat. Switch to manual pressure, add tomato sauce, water, and pasta. Seal and cook at high pressure for 6 minutes. Uncover to find cooked pasta and a meaty, flavorful sauce. Dinner: one and done.
You may notice I am not using spaghetti, but a short pasta, Campanelle, instead. My children have trouble with spaghetti … can’t win ’em all.
PS: Should I Buy an Instant Pot? Yes, if you like Perfectly Cooked Brown Rice and Eggs that Peel Like a Dream.
Tips: Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
- It may take a bit of trial and error on your part to get the timing down. The recipe calls for 9 minutes at high pressure, and I’ve reduced it to 6 minutes with success but could even see 5 minutes being OK. Depending on the size of your Instant Pot, it may take more or less time.
- The flavor of the final dish in part relies on the tomato sauce you use. I’ve found a local brand, It’s a Utica Thing, at my co-op, and I love it. I’ve been using their Maa-Da-Nad Marinara for this.
- The flavor of the final dish also relies, of course, on the meat. I’ve been using grass-fed ground beef from a local farm, Sweet Tree Farm, which I find at the Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany.
Final Thought: ButcherBox & Grass-Fed Beef
I am lucky to have access to shops such as the above-mentioned Honest Weight, which sell a variety of humanely raised meats, many of which come from local farms. If you are not so lucky but have been wanting to purchase humanely raised meat, ButcherBox may be a good option for you.
If you are unfamiliar, ButcherBox is a high-quality meat delivery service. You can sign up for deliveries every month or two months. The meat arrives frozen on dry ice in individual portions. You can select from a wide variety of cuts, anything from boneless skinless chicken breasts to St. Louis style ribs. Here is some more information about ButcherBox, and what you can expect when it arrives at your door.
Here’s the Instant Pot one-pan pasta play-by-play: Gather your ingredients.
Finely chop an onion; mince some garlic.
Sauté the onion; brown the meat; add the garlic.
Add the pasta, water, and sauce all at once. Seal lid. Set the IP for high pressure, 6 minutes. Quick release.
Ta-da! One-pot pasta and meat sauce.
Shave parmesan over top and serve immediately.
The Instant Pot Miracle: One-Pan Pasta & Meat Sauce
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 5
Adapted from Skinny Taste‘s One and Done Cookbook.
This Instant Pot one-pan pasta with meat sauce comes together very quickly. It has been a huge hit with the kids and a godsend on busy weeknights.
For video guidance, see this Instagram story.
- I have the 6-qt Instant Pot IP Duo. The timing may differ for you depending on the size/model of your Instant Pot. The recipe calls for high pressure for 9 minutes. I’ve been doing 6 minutes. It may take some trial and error to get right given your model/pasta shape. The recipe calls for spaghetti, broken in half. My children have trouble with spaghetti, so I use a short pasta.
- Marinara Sauce: I’ve been liking a local-ish brand called It’s a Utica Thing. I’ve been using their Maa-Da-Nad marinara sauce.
- 1 pound of ground meat makes for a very meaty sauce. You can use 3/4 a pound of meat with success. Recipe calls for 93% lean ground turkey; I use 85% lean ground beef.
- Finally, the recipe does not call for any olive oil. I prefer sautéeing the onion (in the Instant Pot) in a little bit of olive oil first, then adding the ground meat, but know that you can skip the olive oil, brown the meat first, then add the onion and garlic.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced to yield about 1/2 cup
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 to 1 pound ground beef, see notes above
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- 1 (25.25-ounce) jar marinara sauce, see notes above
- 8 ounces dried short pasta, such as Campanelle or rotini, see notes above
- Freshly grated Pamigiano Reggiano, for serving
- Freshly cracked black pepper, for serving
- Press the sauté button on an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker. Add the oil, onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Add the ground beef and salt and brown the meat, using a wooden spoon to break it into small pieces as it cooks, about 3 minutes.
- Add the marinara sauce, 2 cups water — I pour some of the water into the empty marinara jar and shake it to get every drop of sauce out — and the pasta to the Instant Pot. Give it a stir.
- Seal and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes (see notes above). Quick release, then open when the pressure subsides. Stir. Serve right away, topped with Parmesan and pepper, if desired.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Instant Pot/Pressure Cookier
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: pasta, Instant Pot, one-pan, meat sauce, weeknight
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
42 Comments on “The Instant Pot Miracle: One-Pan Pasta & Meat Sauce”
Make sure to add a bit of liquid to the browned meat mixture and deglaze the bottom so you don’t get the horrid “burn” notice. Great recipe MORE INSTANT POT RECIPES PLEASE :). Everything you post is exceptional, made your green cakes and my husband is asking for them again and again. And your videos are so helpful especially with you little ones laughing and playing in the background. Warms my heart 🙂
Hi Cindy, Thank you for the kind words 🙂 🙂 🙂 Means so much. I have never had the horrid “burn” notice!! Thank you for the head’s up. And noted: MORE INSTANT POT RECIPES added to my list. So happy to hear about the green cakes. Thanks for writing!
I haven’t joined the Insta-Pot club yet. Do you suppose this would work in an ordinary crockpot with time adjustments added? That’s a suggestion I forgot to mention, do you ever go old school and use a crockpot? I don’t recall any, or many, posts from you regarding this method and would love to see what you could do with one. Thanks.
Hi Treva! This probably would work in a crock pot, but it may take some trial and error … maybe making the sauce first, and adding pasta toward the end of the cooking time?? I can’t say because I haven’t tried. I have very few crock pot recipes on my blog, but here are two favorites: Slow Cooker Gigante Beans with tomatoes and Pancetta (or not) and Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Apple Soup.
You should check out crowd cow. Like butcher box but you know and shop by farm. It’s an actually transparent supply chain and helps independent farmers.
So interesting! Checking them out now. Thanks for the tip.
Do you think this would work with meatballs? I have some I just purchased from my local butcher.
I too would love more IP recipes from you–a trusted source with great taste!
Hi Sara! Are the meatballs frozen or fresh? I worry about them disintegrating, but maybe they’ll be fine … I just can’t say for sure because I’ve never tried. And noted re IP recipes — I will try!
Just found this post on Instant Pot Meatballs — scroll all the way down … there’s a comparison between oven and IP.
this was only the second time i used my instant pot, your measurements were perfect and very helpful for me to make ip pasta for the first time with a twist; i added spaghetti instead of the pasta you mentioned, and also added some red chilli powder, turmeric, cumin powder and fresh garlic for more flavour. Turned out perfect!
oh wonderful! So happy to hear this!
Looking forward to trying this tonight! It’s the first time using my IP, after reading too many recipes and watching YouTube videos. Normally when I use 85/15,I drain the fat. Do you just keep it in the recipe?
oh yay! I love this one… so do my kids. I do keep the fat, but YOU DO YOU 🙂 I have no doubt it will still taste good if you drain the fat.
I did just about everything you could do wrong and it came out great! I will definitely make this again.
Yay! So happy to hear this, Jann!
Hello, I am considering buying an Instantpot, but I have older boys and they eat SO MUCH😂I would normally double this recipe for one meal to feed our family. Do you think a 6 litre Instantpot would be to small for this recipe? Thanks😊
Hi! I think it might be too small … I might go with the largest IP available. They are big no matter what, so having one that is a little bit bigger doesn’t really make a difference, you know?
This turned out great! I doubled it, still stuck with the 6 minute pressure cook & it was perfect in my 6 qt Ultra. The only thing I do differently is leave the meat on the bottom, pasta next, water then the sauce without stirring. It will look a bit liquidy when you open it but a quick stir & it’s perfect. I do go a bit heavier on seasoning when cooking the meat but that’s all up to the cook🙂 Thank you for sharing this!!
So happy to hear this, Donna! Your method sounds great… will give it a go 🙂 I’m all about leaving it up to the cook, too 🙂
Made a vego ratatouille version of this with lentils to keep the sauce thick and worked like a dream! Just reduced water a little and added fresh basil after and on top. The ratios will be my new go to, thanks so much for developing this!
Wonderful to hear this!
I’ve made this recipe twice, now. The first time, I followed your instructions and used farfalle pasta, cuz that’s what I had. It was very tasty. Started out a little soupy, but the moisture was soon absorbed. Today, I didn’t have any ground beef, but I had a 12oz can of tuna I didn’t know what to do with. So, I decided to take a risk and use your recipe, but with tuna. I did saute an onion, then added the sauce and water, half a cup of sliced pimento-stuffed green olives, and farfalle. Cooked that for 6 minutes, quick release, THEN I dumped in the tuna and 1/4 cup of capers. Served with a squeeze of fresh lemon. It was delicious. So, your recipe is a flexible base for doing whatever you want for making pasta in the IP. Thank you!
Deborah, this all sounds amazing!! Tuna + capers = heaven. This is much more spring-like, too. So glad this is adaptable. Thanks for sharing 🎉🎉🎉
This has become my “go-to” recipe for anytime that I need a delicious meal in a hurry. My family loves it!
I’m so happy to hear this, Michelle! My kiddos love this, too … I love the leftovers, too: either cold or reheated. It’s almost better on day 2. Thanks for writing!
We just got done eating and it was a hit. I will definitely be making this again! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!
So nice to hear this, Shay! I think it tastes even better on day 2 😍
Tasty! Got the dreaded burn notice twice. Finished in a pan.
Oh no! I’ve never had that happen. I wonder why it does that?
This wonderful recipe is becoming a go-to for me. This time, instead of ground beef, I used a pound of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed, and then I just followed the recipe. Well, except I added a small jar of quartered, marinated artichoke hearts, drained. Fabulous, as always. Thank you again for this recipe, it’s a life saver! <3
So great to hear this, Deborha! Sweet Italian sausage + artichoke hearts sounds phenomenal!
Clever me. I typoed my name. xoxo, Deborah
I should have figured this out … my brain 🙂 🙂 🙂
Would you recommend increasing the cooking time if you use whole wheat pasta?
Maybe by a minute or so? Honestly, Instant Pot cooking is all about experimenting, so it may take some trial and error to get the timing right for you given the whole wheat pasta and given your IP — they all work a little differently.
Made this for my family, and it was a big hit! I doubled the recipe & added a few extra spices & some fresh tomatoes. Yummy. We have enough for lunch tomorrow. Will make again & maybe add some mushrooms & bell peppers.
Wonderful! Love the idea of adding mushrooms and bell peppers. Yum.
Great recipe! I like aldente and reduced pressure cook time to 5 minutes, used measuring cup for pasta (1 cup for 2 cups water).
Great to hear, Christine! Thanks for writing and sharing your notes 🙂
I love this recipe. It’s my go to when I want awesome comfort food. I use ground lamb and Rao’s Arrabiata sauce. It’s awesome! So quick and simple.
Oh yum! Love this idea and am totally going to try that combination. Thank you so much for writing!
Excellent recipe – fast, easy and came out A+ perfect. I added 1# mushrooms & 1# kale and sautéed with meat (so it cooked down and would fit in my Ipot). Layered water, 1# cottage cheese with egg, noodles, sauce. 6 min for egg noodles. Perfect for meal prep – and it reheats perfectly on the stovetop. Thank you!
Great to hear, Dee!