Make spaghetti night even easier with this Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce recipe! It's a true 1 pot Instant Pot pasta recipe. There's no need to drain the pasta, and ground beef is cooked right into the noodles and tomato sauce, all in less than 30 minutes!
Every time I break out my Instant Pot, I fall in love with it more. It's fantastic on busy nights or lazy weekends when I don't want to dirty a whole bunch of pots and pans.
While cooking spaghetti is already pretty easy, the Instant Pot makes it even easier.
When traditionally cooking spaghetti, you need a pot for the spaghetti, a colander to drain it, and another pot to cook tomato sauce and meatballs.
But with this one pot Instant Pot spaghetti recipe, you sauté ground beef first, and then add tomato sauce, water and pasta to the same pot. It's all pressure cooked together in just a few minutes.
There is no need to drain water or cook the meat separately.
Ingredients and Substitutions
To make Instant Pot spaghetti you need:
- Pasta noodles: I use fettuccine because I love the texture but you can use any shape pasta as long as you adjust the pressure cook time accordingly.
- Ground beef
- Cherry or grape tomatoes: optional, but they add sweetness and texture that makes the flavor even better. You can also use roasted cherry tomatoes for even more amazing flavor.
- Garlic powder, onion powder, parsley + oregano: use dried and substitute with Italian seasoning spice mix if desired. For fresh herbs, use three times the listed amount.
- Tomato sauce: use your favorite store bought jar or a homemade version.
- Olive oil: used to prevent the pasta from sticking, but can be eliminated if that is your preference.
The first step to making Instant Pot spaghetti is sautéing the ground beef, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley and oregano (or Italian seasonings) until the beef has browned. This takes about 10 minutes. If using cherry or grape tomatoes, put them in while the beef browns also.
Once the beef is brown, drain out the extra grease if desired (see note in "expert tips"). Add a little of the water to the pot and deglaze thoroughly.
Deglazing is the process of scraping off all stuck pieces from the bottom of the pot to ensure they do not burn during pressure cooking. It's important to thoroughly delgaze in order to avoid the burn notice.
Once deglazed, add the remaining water, break the spaghetti in half and layer it in varying directions over the beef and water. If using olive oil, drizzle a little over each spaghetti layer.
Now add the tomato sauce and press down on the noodles to ensure they are covered by the liquid. Do not mix the sauce into the water! See my "expert tips" for why.
Close the lid, seal and set to pressure cook on high for 4 minutes for spaghetti pasta and 6 minutes for fettuccine or linguine. For a less tender pasta, reduce the cooking time by another 1-2 minutes.
For other pasta types, the general rule of thumb is to halve the cook time on the box and subtract 1 minute. Always check your pasta box for the correct timing, as brands may differ.
Do a controlled quick release of the pressure when finished, then stir the pasta. This means to slowly release the pressure right away, stopping for a few seconds if sauce starts to come out of the vent. Repeat the start-stop pressure release until all steam has been released.
Remove the inner pot to another heat proof surface to avoid overcooking and allow to cool and thicken for a few minutes. You'll notice that it appears watery immediately after cooking, but it does thicken upon standing.
Then top each bowl with shredded or grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!
- Deglazing: it is very important to thoroughly deglaze the pot once the beef has cooked. To do this, add a little water and scrape the bottom with a wooden smooth until every stuck piece of food has been released. It may take you a few minutes, but it will be worth it when you don't receive the dreaded burn notice!
- Layer ingredients: always layer the spaghetti on top of the beef and seasonings after the water has been added. Tomato sauce must be added on top of the spaghetti and not mixed into it, since it is a thick liquid. When thick liquid ingredients are put on the bottom of the pot (especially those with sugar in them), they will burn as the pot comes to pressure.
- Use enough water: do not decrease the amount of water in the recipe, as you need this much to not only cook the spaghetti, but to thin out the tomato sauce so it doesn't burn.
- Avoid the burn notice by: delgazing, layering, and adding the correct amount of water.
- Pressure cook time: the rule of thumb with pasta is to cut the cook time on your box in half and subtract 1 minute. For al dente pasta, subtract 2-3 minutes. So feel free to adjust the pressure cook time on my recipe to accommodate the pasta you've chosen or the tenderness that you'd like yours to be.
- Controlled quick release: while it's important to do a quick release so the pasta does not overcook, hot tomato sauce can come out of the vent if the pressure is released too quickly. While wearing oven mitts, hold down the valve but release it and wait a short time if the sauce begins to come out. Repeat this until all steam has been released. Another option is to put a heavy cloth over the vent and let it complete a full quick release on it's own.
- Overcooking: remove the inner pot from the pressure cooker as recommended, to stop the heat from overcooking the pasta once done.
- Using olive oil: add a little bit of oil between each layer of noodles to ensure they won't stick together. Not everyone feels a need to do this, so you don't have it. Olive oil will not keep the tomato sauce from sticking to the pasta.
Serving and Storing
This recipe makes a large pot of spaghetti, perfect for a family of 5-6 people, depending on serving sizes. Decrease or increase the ingredients for smaller or larger families as needed, but remember to account for the size of your pressure cooker.
Store in the fridge for up to 7 days. Storing in the freezer is not recommended.
Other Popular Instant Pot Recipes to Try Next
Since homemade spaghetti and meatballs is one of my family's favorite meals whether it's cool or warm, I make this dish in a variety of ways to coordinate with the season.
Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce Recipe
- pressure cooker
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoon oregano
- 2 teaspoon parsley
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes (optional)
- 5 cups water
- 16 oz spaghetti
- olive oil (optional)
- 6 cups tomato sauce (or two 24 ounce jars)
- Set the Instant Pot to sauté on high for 10 minutes. Add the ground beef, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and parsley. If using tomatoes, add now. Stir often, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Turn off sauté setting.
- Add 2 cups of water and thoroughly deglaze the pot by scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon until all stuck pieces of food have been released. Add the remaining 3 cups of water once deglazed.
- Break the spaghetti in half and add to the pot, layering in varying directions. If using olive oil, drizzle about 2 teaspoons over each layer of spaghetti. Push the spaghetti into the water to cover as much as you can.
- Pour the tomato sauce on top of the spaghetti, and do not mix it into the water. Keep the ingredients layered (see notes).
- Close the lid and seal. Set to pressure cook on high for 4 minutes. For a less tender pasta, reduce the cooking time by 1-2 minutes (see notes).
- Complete a controlled quick release of the pressure when finished. Remove the lid and transfer inner pot to a different heat proof surface. Stir and let stand to thicken for 5 minutes.
- Serve topped with extra parmesan cheese.
That's all there is to making this delicious recipe! I hope you enjoy it!
If you've tried it, I'd love to hear how it turned out! Let me know in the comments below.