Pressure Cooker Lasagna Soup {+ Stovetop Directions}

This pressure cooker lasagna soup (Instant Pot or other cooker!) is so easy and so fast. But the best part? It is incredibly delicious! {Stovetop directions included as well.}

Ladle taking out a scoop of lasagna soup from pressure cooker.

I thought October couldn’t get any busier, but along came November, and I’m like “who am I and how did I get here??” I’ve stopped using the excuse that I’m waiting for things to slow down to accomplish {fill in the blank}, and I’m just embracing the frenetic pace of life. And by embracing, I mean, rarely showering and buying dark chocolate in bulk. 

Anyone else feeling the crunch of chaos this time of year? Or is it just me? 

Quick weeknight dinner recipes have been my saving grace. Because even amid all the crazy, everyone still has to eat. This super fast, super easy, super delicious pressure cooker lasagna soup is exactly what I’m looking for this time of year. Simple, quick, warm and tasty. 

White bowl filled with pressure cooker lasagna soup and dollop of cheesy ricotta mixture.

I took my old standby stovetop lasagna soup recipe and gave it a pressure cooking instant pot facelift and also added and changed up the ingredients just a bit.

To be honest, it’s not that hard or that time consuming to make lasagna soup on the stovetop, but the pressure cooker brings to the table a quality that is hard to beat: set it and forget it. No need to watch the stove for boil overs or set the timer for perfectly al dente pasta. 

Instead, everything cooks together in the pressure cooker while you walk away to attack that stash of dark chocolate (or maybe do something a little more productive…like sort the chocolate by wrapper color). 

Making pressure cooker lasagna soup with crushed tomatoes and spices.

Pasta Options

You can use either ground beef or sausage in this recipe – and it’s delicious meatless, too. When it comes to pasta, really the sky is the limit. 

I’ve used both bowtie/farfalle and rotini pasta in this lasagna soup recipe with good results. You could also use broken lasagna noodles (not the no-boil kind) for an authentic vibe.* 

*Haha, everyone settle down! I know lasagna soup isn’t considered authentic pasta fare (in Italy or anywhere else fine pasta dishes are found). I promise I’m not trying to reinvent the pasta world. Just a little home cook over here trying to live my best life as I serve my family lasagna in soup form every 15 1/2 days or so.

Adding pasta and broth to pressure cooker for lasagna soup.

How to cook pasta in the pressure cooker

This is the most important part of this post, so settle in for three seconds. 

The exact cooking time for this recipe is dependent on what type of pasta you are using. You will calculate the cooking time on your own after consulting the package directions. 

Deep breaths, you can do this. 

Take the al dente cooking time, divide it in half and subtract two more minutes. Round up for 1/2 minutes (unless you like firmer pasta, then round down). For instance, if my package directions say to cook the pasta to al dente in 12 minutes, I’d set the cook time for this pressure cooker lasagna soup at four minutes. If the package directions say al dente in 9 minutes, I’d go with three minutes. Make sense? 

Finished lasagna soup in pressure cooker.

Al Dente vs Soft Pasta

At the end of cooking time, let the pressure release for at least 10-15 minutes. Otherwise, liquid may spurt out of the valve while releasing pressure. 

You can quick release the remaining pressure (stop for a few more minutes if liquid spits out of the valve) or let the pressure naturally release all the way. I usually go with the lazy latter option because I’ve likely thrown this together and then jetted off to pick up a child from somewhere and I’m not home to release pressure.

The pasta will be quite a bit softer with a 100% natural release, and our friend, Giada D., would likely have a heart attack at the missing “bite,” but soft pasta never killed anyone, and my kids love it this way.

However if you like a firmer pasta or already know in advance the soup is going to naturally release all the way and maybe even sit on warm for a while, simply take another minute or two off the cooking time to start. 

White bowl filled with pressure cooker lasagna soup.

How to serve lasagna soup

You could serve the lasagna soup plain as the day it was made. And honestly, it’s really, really tasty. 

But the real key to bringing a delicious lasagna vibe is throwing a dollop of that cheesy topping right onto a hot bowl of soup. It’s what makes this soup pretty darn exciting instead of just decently great. 

The cheese topping consists of a few simple ingredients: 

  • ricotta cheese (or blended cottage cheese)
  • Parmesan
  • mozzarella
  • salt, pepper and dried basil

Top down view of White bowl filled with pressure cooker lasagna soup and dollop of cheesy ricotta mixture.

And don’t worry, it’s ok that once it is stirred together, everything gets messy and a lil’ bit ugly fast. We don’t care about that, do we? No way. Because the combination of the savory broth and tender noodles with the ultra-creamy, cheesy topping swirled into every bite is pure heaven. 

I’m excited to see where you go and what you do with this recipe. What type of pasta will you use? Will you add other veggies (like spinach, maybe…would be delicious here)? Will you eat it super thick like pasta or thin it out with a bit more broth per the recipe?

 I mean, this is exciting stuff, people. Please make sure you report back. I live for those kinds of details. 

White bowl filled with pressure cooker lasagna soup and spoon taking a bite.

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Pressure Cooker Lasagna Soup

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 21 minutes
Pressure Cooker Lasagna Soup

Ingredients

Soup:

  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage or ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow or white onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed through a garlic press
  • 3 cans (15-ounces each) crushed tomatoes (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use coarse, kosher salt)
  • Pinch of black pepper (I use coarsely ground)
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken broth (I use low-sodium) (see note)
  • 8 to 12 ounces (3-4 cups) bowtie or rotini pasta or broken lasagna noodles (see note)

Cheese Topping:

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese or blended cottage cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (plus more for serving)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. For the cheese topping, stir together all the ingredients until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. For the soup, select the sauté function on the pressure cooker and cook the sausage or ground beef, onion, carrots, and garlic, for 2-3 minutes, until the meat is no longer pink, breaking the meat into small pieces as it cooks. Drain any excess grease.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, bay leaf, salt and black pepper. Stir well, making sure to scrape up any cooked bits on the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add 6 cups of the chicken broth and the pasta and stir to combine. Give the bottom of the pot another good scrape (otherwise any cooked food on the bottom of the pot may alert the burn warning when the pressure cooker comes to pressure).
  5. Secure the lid and set the pressure cooker to cook on high. Use this formula for the cooking time (and read the note below): take the al dente cooking time on the pasta package, cut the time in half and subtract two more minutes. For instance, for pasta that cooks al dente in 12 minutes, the pressure cooker time will be 4 minutes. Round up for 1/2 minutes.
  6. When the cooking time is finished, let the pressure naturally release for 10-15 minutes (otherwise liquid may spurt out of the valve when releasing pressure). Manually release remaining pressure or let it naturally release all the way (pasta will be a bit softer if doing this since it will continue to cook a little as the pressure naturally releases).
  7. Stir the soup and add additional chicken broth to thin, if needed (I add about 1 to 2 additional cups). Serve the soup in bowls with spoonfuls of the cheese topping and additional mozzarella or Parmesan cheese on top.

Notes

Pasta: I've used both bowtie (farfalle) and rotini in this soup with good results. You can also use broken lasagna noodles (don't use the no-boil lasagna noodles). The amount of pasta really depends on how thick and pasta-loaded you want the soup. I usually add the full 12 ounces and then thin the soup out, if needed, at the end with additional broth.

Pressure Release: if you know you are going to let the pressure naturally release all the way and maybe even have the soup sit on warm for a while, I would suggest a cooking time of just 1-2 minutes so the noodles aren't overly soft and mushy.

Tomatoes: you can sub out some of the crushed tomatoes for tomato sauce for a richer, slightly thicker soup.

Pressure Cooker Burn Warning: it's really important to scrape up any bits of cooked meat or other food on the bottom of the pot before pressure cooking. If your pressure cooker gives the burn warning quite often (and seems finicky), you might consider sautéing the meat, onions, carrots in a skillet on the stovetop before adding to the pressure cooker.

Stovetop Directions: in a 6-quart pot over medium heat, cook the sausage or ground beef, onions, carrots and garlic until the meat is no longer pink (break the meat into small pieces as it cooks). Drain any excess grease, if needed. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, bay leaf, salt, pepper, 6 cups broth and pasta. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add additional broth, if needed, to thin. Serve the soup in bowls with spoonfuls of the cheese topping and additional mozzarella or Parmesan cheese on top.

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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (inspired by this archived recipe)