I love my Instant Pot—the greatest time-saving, magic-producing, easy-to-use kitchen appliance known to [wo]mankind. I use it almost every day to make everything from eggs to pot roast and (wait for it …) cheesecake! Yes, the BEST cheesecake ever!
But I have to admit the idea of making Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce in a single pot, all at the same time sounded fabulous. But the process just did not sit well with me.
Look, haven’t we learned that pasta and pressure cooking do not play well together? Pasta will turn to mush, breaking down in ways that make it not particularly edible. No wonder I was suspicious!
Listen to the real experts
Rave reviews from cooks and food enthusiasts whom I respect highly kept haunting me. I had to give it a try if only to prove once and for all that pasta in a pressure cooker is going to turn out a mushy mess, lacking distinct flavor, texture, and visual appeal. Boy was I wrong!
This method for spaghetti with meat sauce is going to knock your socks off! What’s so great is that the pasta turns out perfectly, but more than that it comes out infused with the flavors from the meat sauce. And it hugs each strand of spaghetti, clinging to it the way it’s supposed to! I find this so much better than preparing the pasta in a separate pot, then pour the meat sauce over the top to serve.
I’ve been making this once a week for a couple of months—first for dinner and then reheating the leftovers for lunch the next day (even better the next day!). And I have to say is this is the best thing to come out of my kitchen in a long time. I’ll never make spaghetti and meat sauce any other way. And once you try it, I’m predicting that you won’t either.
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To make Instant-Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce you will need:
- olive oil
- chopped onion (optional)
- minced garlic (optional)
- ground beef
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- your favorite jarred marinara, spaghetti, or tomato-based pasta sauce
- dry spaghetti
- Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional and not pictured)
Available in a variety of models and sizes, the Instant Pot Duo 6 Quart continues to be the best value with its 7 functions—electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, saute, yogurt maker and warmer.
Here’s the critical issue. You must follow the specific instructions exactly, and I’m talking about how you layer and add the ingredients to the Instant Pot. At one point the recipe instructs “Do not stir!” so please, don’t do it!
- Set Instant Pot to “saute,” adding olive oil, chopped onions and garlic. Cook until tender.
- Add ground beef, salt and powders, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula and continue cooking until no longer pink.
- Add part of the water and all of the spaghetti sauce.
- Break noodles in half and layer on top.
- Do. Not. Stir
- Add the rest of the water.
- Set to High Pressure, then quick-release.
- Stir, plate, top with Parmesan, serve.
Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
- Instant Pot
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ onion, chopped fine (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups water, divided
- 24 ounces marinara, spaghetti or tomato-based sauce
- 8 ounces dry spaghetti
- Parmesan cheese, grated for serving
- Set Instant Pot to "saute." Add olive oil, optional chopped onions and optional minced garlic. Allow to cook until tender and slightly translucent.
- Add ground beef, salt, onion powder and garlic powder, breaking up the beef and stirring until it is no longer pink.
- Turn Instant Pot Off.
- Pour 1/2 cup of water and all of the pasta/marinara sauce into the pot. Stir to combine well, making sure to scrape any stuck-on bits from the bottom.
- Place broken spaghetti on top, half going north and south, half east and west in a criss-cross pattern.
- Pour remaining 1 ½ cups water over the top of the spaghetti. Do. Not. Stir!
- Apply Instant Pot lid, setting the pressure valve to "Seal."
- Set Instant Pot to High Pressure for 8 minutes. It will take 10 to 12 minutes to come to pressure.
- Open the pressure lease valve (quick release) as soon as the 8 minutes cook time is complete.
- Open the pressure cooker and gently stir the spaghetti into the sauce. Look at that!
- Serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese, as desired.
- Chopped onion and minced garlic are optional. However one or both will add fresh, additional flavor.
- I have made this with regular spaghetti, thin spaghetti, and angel hair. All come out just great!
- Use your favorite jarred marinara or other tomato-based pasta sauce. My favorite is Prego brand, however I have tested this recipe with a number of sauces (whichever one is on sale!) and find that the sauce does make a big difference in both color and taste. Some sauces are thicker than others, some more poignant in flavor. This is totally up to you.
- The DO NOT STIR! instructions will keep the meat at the bottom and the pasta at the top of the pot for the entire 8 minutes of cook time. This is key! In a way the meat and pasta cook separately without you having to do any kind of separation technique. Just set the spaghetti on top.
- Because I live at 5,280 ft. altitude, I adjust cooking time by one minute to 9 minutes.
- Suggestion: Serve with a green salad and garlic bread. Enjoy!