Pasta In Instant Pot

Instant Pot Pasta – How To Cook Pasta In The Instant Pot

Once you learn how to cook pasta in the Instant Pot, you’ll never make it any other way! So quick and easy, and no need to drain!

Instant Pot Pasta

If you have searched for Instant Pot pasta before, you probably saw that there is a lot of controversy surrounding the method and the actual idea of cooking pasta in the Instant Pot.  People complain about 3 main issues: (1) pasta ends up overcooked (2) there are sticky sputters coming out of the Instant Pot vent and (3) it’s not much quicker or easier than cooking pasta on the stove.  Finally, your search is over! My method of cooking pasta in the Instant Pot takes care of all those problems and produces perfectly cooked pasta!  It’s so easy, once you try it, you’ll never cook pasta any other way!

NOTE: this method only works with regular pasta, not gluten-free.  Once I figure out how to cook gluten-free pasta in the Instant Pot, I’ll be sure to post 🙂

How To Cook Pasta In The Instant Pot

So, why should you cook pasta in the Instant Pot when cooking it on the stove is pretty quick and easy in itself?  Here’s the main advantage of the Instant Pot pasta – you don’t need to drain it!  When you cook pasta in the Instant Pot, you cook it in the minimum amount of water, so by the time pasta is cooked, all the water is absorbed and you don’t need to drain it!  I don’t know a single person who loves messing around with a pot of boiling water 🙂 Not having to deal with draining the pasta is such a relief!

Perfect Instant Pot Pasta

Before coming up with my method, I researched the topic of Instant Pot pasta extensively and all the recipes I found were flawed.  The common theme of those other recipes was to pressure cook pasta for half the time indicated on the package and then quick release (QR) the steam right away.  There are 2 huge problems with that approach – pressure cooking pasta for that many minutes makes it mushy, and most importantly, quick releasing the steam right away sends the starchy pasta water out of a vent splattering around your kitchen.  The last thing I want to do is have to clean yet another mess, so when developing my method of cooking pasta in the Instant Pot I knew right away that immediate Quick Release is not the way to go.

I wanted to use Natural Release (NR), but the problem with that is that it might take as long as 15 minutes for all the pressure to completely release naturally, and since during that process the pot is still hot and under pressure, the pasta would continue cooking and turn into absolute mush.  So I came up with a compromise – I would use 5 minutes Natural Release, and then do the Quick Release to release the remaining steam.

Instant Pot Cooking Pasta

5 minutes of Natural Release takes care of letting out the most intense pressure build-up naturally without opening the valve.  Whatever steam is left after 5 minutes won’t be as powerful as immediate QR. I still had a few little splatters even after 5 minutes, so when I made this Instant Pot pasta again, I just threw the kitchen towel over the vent when releasing the remaining steam and my counter was perfectly clean – no splatters whatsoever.

Easy Instant Pot Pasta Recipe

Since the pasta is sitting in the hot Instant Pot for 5 minutes during the natural pressure release process (and it cooks the pasta), you only need to pressure cook the pasta for 1 minute (or 2 minutes if you like softer pasta).  Yes, same time for any kind of pasta 🙂  And the best part is that all the water gets absorbed into the pasta so you don’t need to drain it!

At the time of this writing, I haven’t see this method anywhere else.  If you’ve seen it somewhere, they must have copied it from me! Below are the instructions how to cook pasta in the Instant Pot in a nutshell:

Pasta In Instant Pot

How To Cook Pasta In The Instant Pot

  • Put 1 lb of pasta, 4 cups of cold water and 1 tsp of salt in the Instant Pot (if you want to use a different amount of pasta, use enough water to barely cover the pasta). Close the lid and turn the valve to a Sealing position.
  • Press the “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” button and set the time for 1 minute on High pressure (or 2 minutes if you like softer pasta).
  • When it finishes cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes (set a timer so you don’t forget), then quick release (QR) the remaining steam (with a kitchen towel over the vent to avoid splatters).
  • Toss the pasta with olive oil, Parmesan cheese or sauce if using, serve and enjoy!

Pressure Cooker Pasta

If you like Instant Pot pasta, you will also love these easy recipes:

  • Instant Pot BBQ Chicken – easy chicken dinner made with fresh or frozen chicken, this one is always a hit!
  • Instant Pot Chili – just dump the ingredients in the Instant Pot, press the button and come back to a delicious chili!
  • Instant Pot Egg Roll In A Bowl – dump a package of ground meat and a bag of coleslaw mix in the Instant Pot, add seasonings and come back to YUM!
  • Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes – so much easier and quicker to make in Instant Pot then on the stove! This recipe is groundbreaking!
  • Instant Pot Chicken Stock – turn the leftover chicken bones into mouthwatering chicken broth. Yes, Instant Pot turns trash into treasure 🙂

Click here to see all my Instant Pot recipes >>

Instant Pot Pasta - How To Cook Pasta In The Instant Pot
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Once you try cooking pasta in your Instant Pot, you'll never cook pasta any other way! Instant Pot makes is so quick and easy, and you don't even need to drain it!
Author:
Recipe type: Instant Pot
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb pasta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Put pasta, water and salt in the Instant Pot. If the pasta doesn't fit in a pot (like spaghetti), break it in half so it fits.
  2. Close the Instant Pot lid and set the valve to Sealing position. Press the "Pressure Cook" or "Manual" button and set the time to 1 minute (or 2 minutes if you like softer pasta).
  3. When it finishes cooking, let the Instant Pot naturally release the steam for 5 minutes (set the timer to make sure you don't leave the pasta in there for longer than that, or it will get mushy), then quick release (QR) the remaining steam. When doing QR, I recommend putting a kitchen towel over the vent it case of sputters (as starchy pasta water sometimes spills out of the vent).
  4. Open the lid on the Instant Pot, toss the pasta with sauce if using, then remove the pasta from the Instant Pot and serve.
Notes
If you want to use a different amount of pasta, use enough water to barely cover the pasta.
This method only works with regular pasta. It doesn't work with gluten-free pasta.

 

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Once you try cooking pasta in the Instant Pot, you'll never make it any other way! So quick and easy, and no need to drain the pasta! Instant Pot pasta is always perfectly cooked!

60 replies
  1. Beth
    Beth says:

    Perfect!! I wish I would’ve come across this post sooner! I always have odd amounts of pasta. I just barely covered the pasta with water, followed your times and it came out perfect! Thanks!!!

    Reply
  2. Karen
    Karen says:

    Thank you for this! I just made this and I did have to drain the past just a little…maybe 3/4 cup? Any ideas on how to adjust? However, the pasta turned out absolutely perfect as far as texture! And this way was much easier than doing it on the stove top. I just didn’t know if anyone had any ideas about the extra water? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Melanie Mendelson
      Melanie Mendelson says:

      I think it depends on the type of pasta, some types don’t absorb as much water. If you are using the exact same type of pasta next time, just use 3/4 cup less water 🙂 But I would just keep it simple and just drain it if there is some water left.

      Reply
  3. Cheryl
    Cheryl says:

    I just used your pasta directions and it turned out great! I used tri-color rotini and it was just the texture I prefer. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  4. Phyllis Corkern
    Phyllis Corkern says:

    Hi Melanie: I’m new to your site and I’m excited to try the recipe for the pasta. I have a Duo plus 8qt. series and I guess my question is does your recipe apply for my size instant pot? Hoping to hear from you soon and thanks in advance.
    Best regards

    Reply
  5. Sue
    Sue says:

    I just tried this:
    For my brown rice corkscrew pasta I found it a bit overdone for my taste. I like al dente. But it works well enough. I think next time I will try with hot water instead of cold so it comes to pressure faster and has Lee’s time to cook in general. BUT: no draining was awesome!!!!!!!!
    Thank you:)

    Reply
  6. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    I ,for sure , did not want overcooked pasta, as I was going to put it in a casserole and bake for a short time. I used 4 cups of water (Not real cold) and 1 lb of penne pasta, high pressure for 1 minute and quick release ( I have a steam diverter accessory) . Perfect. I had a little water to drain. Rinsed with cold water to stop the cooking. THANKS

    Reply
  7. Patti F
    Patti F says:

    Ok I was a little afraid to try this and didn’t want to clean a mess! I did elbows for Mac salad after cooking my eggs in the pot first. As soon as it was done I took it outside on my deck and released the steam outside just in case. Really no
    Issue, I covered the vent with a towel and very slowly released to steam. It came out perfect!!

    Reply
  8. Marge
    Marge says:

    Oh mahhh gosh!!! I CAN’T believe how well this turned out!
    I can’t believe it worked and worked so well!!
    I may reduce the NR by a minute or two BUT WOW!
    I was really worried the IP would throw the dreaded BURN notice or that I’d still have to drain the pasta. I’m SOOOO happy to say no burn notice thrown and no need to drain.
    Thank you so much for sharing this!
    You can just go ahead and call me AMAZED!!!

    Reply
  9. Sue D
    Sue D says:

    Just tried this on spaghetti and it worked wonderfully. I broke the spaghetti in half and used 3 3/4 cup water. I was so happy it worked, thank you so much for this post!

    Reply
  10. Jenn
    Jenn says:

    Ok, I’m going to try this, but with a huge change. I’m making spaghetti for in lo mein. (I know, not quite right but the kids eat it) I’m going to try adding bullion cubes and soy sauce into the water to help flavor the pasta.. normally I cook it in with the chicken and veggies, but it takes ages and you have to be on it to stir all the time or it sticks. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    Reply
  11. Barb
    Barb says:

    I tried this last night with spaghetti and was happy to have cooked it so quickly but I had several bunches of spaghetti strands all clumped together. They had cooked together and it was difficult to separate the strands. Any way to avoid this as I’d love to continue using this method!

    Reply
    • Melanie Mendelson
      Melanie Mendelson says:

      Try breaking spaghetti in half and tossing them with your hands in water before cooking (so most strands separate). You can also mix in 1 tbsp oil in water before cooking to help prevent it from sticking together.

      Reply
  12. John Harrison
    John Harrison says:

    Hello, I was set to try farfalle with the rice settings wow I’m glad I found your site first, I questioned what you said as far as the time the water AND you Are Correct, 1 minute was enough time, I slightly coveted the pasta with water, not quite 4 cups and it came out aldente in my duo 60, so now I’m moving forward to you’re next recipes,

    Reply
  13. Jan T.
    Jan T. says:

    Just made a box of penne and it came out just right! Thank you for the great recipe! It is great to be able to make pasta in less than half the time it would on the stove top! Any idea about how it would work lentil/chickpea pastas?

    Reply
      • Jane Sickler
        Jane Sickler says:

        I used 2 cups of water and a jar of sauce 3 tbsp of butter and a lb of pasta…put all ingredients in pot together…couldnt figure out the manual settings as I am new to Instapot cooking…this is my second time using my pot…I used the egg setting and dialed the time down to 2 minutes…I think that I may have let the steam out too early but pasta came out perfect and delicious…and you are right about the bonus of not having to dump boiling hot water off of pasta

        Reply
  14. Laurel
    Laurel says:

    Have you tried this with the “pot in pot” method? That would eliminate any spatter with quick release. I haven’t, I’m just wondering.

    Reply
  15. Sarah Hussein
    Sarah Hussein says:

    Thanks for this! Definitely saved me more than just pouring a pot of hot water out. I saved water, didn’t have to pay attention to it and cut the time significantly. I used 1 minute to cook half a pound of whole wheat Fussili, water as instructed. Came out way too aldente on the side of too much to eat a bowl of that, so I threw them on the stove with the alfredo sauce covered for a couple of minutes and came out alright. There was about half a cup of water to drain. Thanks again!

    Reply
  16. Jen K.
    Jen K. says:

    Thank you so much for this! I only have a small, two burner cook top and trying to boil a large pot of water for pasta is pretty impossible! This worked like a charm, but I did have two problems:

    1. I didn’t set a timer and it ended up sitting 14 minutes. Lame on my end. The pasta ended up a little soft, but not actually too bad. But the manual release after that wasn’t nasty at all.

    2. There was some pasta that wasn’t submerged that ended up hard, not cooked. I had to pull it out. So, next time I’ll add a little more water, to make sure it’s all submerged, even if I do have to drain a bit.

    Again, thanks so much for this!

    Reply
  17. Nemo
    Nemo says:

    This was perfect, thanks! I did use more than 1lb… probably around 550 gms with 4 cups water. I put it on for 2 mins and it came al dente, with all the water gone, no need to strain.

    Reply
  18. Ed Coleman
    Ed Coleman says:

    Just cooked 2 batches of spagettini in IP (2 -375 gram boxes). 1st batch was whole pasta (1 box). I put 5 cups of water, salt and olive oil in pot and turned on saute. Placed in whole spagettini and gradually pushed it down and around until in was covered with water. When covered, I pressed cancel and then pressure cook for 1 minute. After the 1 minute I let it naturally de-pressurize for 5 minutes then performed a quick release with dish cloth covering vent. Pasta came out perfect.
    2nd batch was with pasta broken in half so as to fit IP. Added enough of water to cover pasta, salt and olive oil. Set to pressure cook for 1 minute. Allowed the same time to de-pressurize then performed quick release with disk cloth over vent. Came out the same as batch 1, perfect.
    Thanks for the post

    Reply
  19. Christina
    Christina says:

    So just wanted to leave something for you. I just got my instapot for xmsa, and I was super excited as my best friend raved about hers. Then panic set in I have been watching videos, reading recipes, anything to learn more about how it works and what I can do with it. One thing that keeps happening Everytime I try cooking with it, EVERYONE says different cooking times for same items. Nothing has come out great so far. But tonight, I tried your no fail pasta cooking, and it came out perfectly. I used a little olive oil to separate the noodles a bit after, but everything worked great! So just wanted to say thank you. I will for sure be checking out your other recipes.

    Reply
  20. Leon
    Leon says:

    I have the instant pot lux 6 quart. I hit the Manual button and set it for 2 minutes. How do I know it is on High Pressure? I am cooking 1 pound of Rigatoni.

    Reply
  21. Cassie
    Cassie says:

    I just made 1 pound of penne pasta, and did the 2 minutes because my son likes it soft. We loved it better than stove top. No draining. No mess. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  22. Emma
    Emma says:

    I tried this with fresh made raviolis. The result probably would have been better if I had cooked on low pressure instead of high pressure. The raviolis turned to mush but when mixed into a sauce tasted just the same without that pasta texture. I would imagine this would work much better on frozen raviolis. Will be trying again with fresh made tortellinis, on low pressure for the same cooking time of 1 minute.

    Reply
  23. Gayle Schoepfer
    Gayle Schoepfer says:

    I just made my FIRST recipe in my gourmia “instapot” and followed your pasta instructions and had quite a bit of success! Thank you so much! I made spinach chicken Alfredo over al dente pasta and it came out great! I love my new multi cooker. I browned onions,garlic, then added spinach all in the same pot. What a time and pot saver. I can’t imagine how I lived without it until now. Your instructions were the ONLY ones on the internet I found that made al denta pasta, including the pressure release. Thanks again for such a great first experience! I’ll be watching for more from you in the future!

    Reply
  24. Kate
    Kate says:

    I rinsed the pasta in cold water first and I think that drained a lot of the sticky starch. I broke the spaghetti in half, did 1 minute on high and then NR for 5 minutes and it was perfect! And no clumps! Thank you!

    Reply
  25. Cristi Paton
    Cristi Paton says:

    I tried this tonight with Bonza chickpea rotini. It worked! I dumped it into a colander and rinsed it to stop the cooking. It could have quickly turned into a mushy mess. It worked great for my mac & cheese.

    Reply
  26. Anne Duncan
    Anne Duncan says:

    I have an Instant Pot Lux Mini and I cooked elbow macaroni, cutting the recipe exactly in half — perfect!! And that’s so great about not having to drain; I have wrist issues that make it hard to deal with a heavy pot of boiling water. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  27. Gabby
    Gabby says:

    Just made bowtie pasta using your 1 min method–works great!! I added cold water to the pour to stop the cooking and then drained. Thank u so much, my new go to method!!!

    Reply
  28. Juli
    Juli says:

    Wow Melanie! Great job and many thanks to you for doing the work figuring this out! I made elbow macaroni for salad.. 1lb to 4 cup of room temp water. 1 min with 5 min NR it was PERFECT for salad! Genius! 😀
    Looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

    Reply
    • Virginia
      Virginia says:

      Okay – I did not use enough water to cover the broken in half lasagna noodles. They stuck a bit. However, I used tongs to remove to cold water and they separated pretty well. I will try again next time. I did the one minute cook time with the five minute slow release and than opened the valve. 🙂

      Reply
  29. Bernadette Conroy
    Bernadette Conroy says:

    Such great responses here, and I made Spiral Pasta. It came out Perfectly. (Happy dance👣). I mixed the tiny bit of water left in the pot into the pasta and it absorbed it within a moment. (I usually add a bit of starchy cooking pasta water to my sauce, to marry it anyway.) I used two minutes. Thanks so much.

    Reply
  30. Richard A.F. Nelson
    Richard A.F. Nelson says:

    I prepared about a cup of dry Banza (chickpea) brand pasta using the ‘Melanie Minute’ method and made sure to cover with chicken broth and carbonara sauce. Turned out great! Added some canned tuna and upped the protein for a really satisfying fifteen minute meal.

    Reply
  31. Casey
    Casey says:

    Yes, this worked well. I will use this pasta cooking method always. I made half the recipe and added more water. I don’t mind straining if I need too. It definitely was al dente. I was using in a recipe that I needed to cook in the oven after so that was fine. I like softer pasta so I would cook it longer if I was just eating it out of the instant pot.

    Reply

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