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!
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 :)
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!
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.
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.
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:
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!
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 :)
- 1 lb pasta
- 4 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 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.
- 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).
- 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).
- Open the lid on the Instant Pot, toss the pasta with sauce if using, then remove the pasta from the Instant Pot and serve.
This method only works with regular pasta. It doesn't work with gluten-free pasta.