Instant Pot Spaghetti

Dinner will be on the table in no time with this super easy Instant Pot spaghetti! Everything cooks together for a simple, flavorful, hands-off spaghetti dinner.

Instant pot spaghetti twisted around fork on white plate.

Hello my favorite friends! How is summer treating you so far?

I know we are mid-June and deep in the land of summery food. Grilling, BBQ’s, great salads.

But around here, some nights, the masses have to eat quickly without a lot of fuss, and truthfully no one cares whether dinner fits into the “warm, summery, lazily, eat-out-on-the-back-patio” theme.

They just want dinner. And they want it fast. And yummy. So do I, if I’m being perfectly honest.

Enter this Instant Pot spaghetti. It’s become a fast favorite. And it can still be eaten out on the back patio if that’s important to you (no one call the back patio eating police, ok?).

Instant pot spaghetti being lifted out of Instant Pot with tongs.

If you would have asked me months ago how I felt about the idea of Instant Pot spaghetti, I would have said I wasn’t really interested.

Why? Because I have this favorite-ever homemade spaghetti sauce that has basically met all of my spaghetti needs for the last decade. It’s amazing.

And I also have this weeknight spaghetti sauce that is pretty much perfect when you need spaghetti dinner FAST.

Plus, I haven’t had the greatest luck with other pasta recipes in the Instant Pot (burning, unevenly cooked pasta).

But after so many of you begged and pleaded…and yes, bribed…on Instagram, I decided to get to work on an Instant Pot spaghetti recipe.

I mean, after all, the appeal of cooking the noodles and sauce all in one pot won me over for convenience and happiness. The trick? Making sure it tastes amazing, too.

Instant pot spaghetti on white plate with fresh basil.

I can honestly say after testing and making and eating this Instant Pot spaghetti numerous times, it’s a winner.

The noodles are tender…not mushy. The sauce is thick and flavorful…not thin and watery.

And all of it cooks to perfection together in the almighty Instant Pot (I’m sure other electric pressure cookers will work, too!).

There are a couple tricks to keep in mind for spaghetti success:

-Use spaghetti noodles with an al dente cooking time of about 11 minutes, break them in half and alternate directions as you layer them over the browned meat (see the little visual below).

-it’s important to use a sauce that is thick with a flavor you love. I rarely buy jarred spaghetti sauce, but it works great for convenience in this recipe (although I bet you could use a combination of crushed tomatoes and dried oregano and basil if you want a homemade route). I’ve listed my preferred brand in the notes of the recipe.

While this Instant Pot spaghetti may not surpass a really great, classic, homemade spaghetti dinner, it’s fabulous for when you need a no-fuss dinner with a totally hands-off cooking approach.

It’s not necessarily faster than that weeknight spaghetti I told you about above, but being able to throw the noodles and sauce in together and walk away while it cooks (in one pot! no washing multiple skillets and pasta pots!) is pretty golden.

Like all good pasta recipes, the finished spaghetti benefits from resting a couple minutes after cooking…but it’s also best to not let it rest too long.

There’s a pasta-eating window that promises tender, saucy pasta without any gloopy, mushy noodles or watery, thin sauces. Lock in to that timeframe, and you’ll love the result.

This is one of those recipes that makes the Instant Pot worth it, in my opinion (along with all of these other pressure cooker faves, of course).

Instant pot spaghetti twisted around fork on white plate.

I grew up eating spaghetti with the noodles and sauce all tossed together in one big stockpot before serving – it was one of my favorite meals.

The idea of serving the noodles and sauce separately honestly never occurred to me until college (thanks to my roommates thinking I was the weird one); I haven’t enjoyed the mishmash of pre-combined noodles and sauce since thanks to converting over to a lifestyle of separate noodles and spaghetti sauce.

I’m honestly not sure what spaghetti method is authentic or not, but eating this Instant Pot spaghetti with the tender jumble of noodles already coated in the rich, flavorful sauce brings me back to my down-to-earth, simple spaghetti roots.

And I love it.

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Instant Pot Spaghetti

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or 2 cloves garlic, finely minced)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 16 ounces uncooked spaghetti noodles (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 40 ounces jarred spaghetti/marinara sauce (see note)
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • Freshly grated Parmesan and fresh basil, for serving (both optional)

Directions:

  1. Select the sauté function on the Instant Pot and add the ground beef or turkey, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Cook the meat, breaking into small pieces with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, until it is no longer pink, 4-5 minutes.
  2. Cancel the sauté function so the meat doesn’t burn, and drain any excess grease. Give the meat a good stir to distribute evenly over the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  3. Break the spaghetti noodles in half and layer them on top of each other in 5-6 layers, alternating directions (see picture in the post for a visual) so they don’t clump together while cooking.
  4. Pour the spaghetti sauce over the noodles and sprinkle the dried basil on top. Pour the water around the edges of the pot. Don’t stir.
  5. Secure the lid of the Instant Pot and set the valve to seal. Select high pressure/manual and dial up or down to 7 minutes. The Instant Pot will start on its own.
  6. When the cooking time is finished, quick release the pressure. Remove the lid and toss the noodles and sauce together. The sauce may seem thin at first; let the spaghetti rest for 4-5 minutes before serving so it thickens up a bit. Serve with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil, if desired.

Notes:

This recipe has been tested using spaghetti noodles that have package directions of 10-11 minutes to cook (until al dente), so look for a similar cooking time on the spaghetti noodles you use. I have not tested this recipe using whole wheat or gluten-free noodles (sorry!). 

My favorite jarred spaghetti sauce to use in this recipe is the White Linen brand that I pick up at Costco (bonus: it comes in 40 ounce jars), but ultimately, it’s important to use a sauce with a flavor you love – and also one that isn’t too thin or the finished spaghetti may have a lot more liquid. 

I haven’t made this meatless yet, but I *think* you could. If it were me, I’d pour the water in first, layer the noodles, and then top with the spaghetti sauce. 

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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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