Instant Pot Penne Pasta

Save on time (and dishes!) with this tasty one-pot Instant Pot Penne Pasta recipe!

Instant Pot Penne Pasta

I whipped up this easy peasy Instant Pot pasta the other night and had to hop on here and share the recipe!

It’s quick, easy, and a total breeze to clean up since you’re not using multiple pots/pans/strainers.

Let’s get saucy!

I make this easy peasy Instant Pot penne pasta with jar sauce to keep things crazy simple but you could also use your favorite go-to homemade sauce if you’d like.

For the carnivores out there, you can also brown some ground beef in the IP first (sauté it along with the onions) before adding the remaining ingredients.

Paul asked me if I could add mushrooms to it next time and I am SO excited to try it! I think it would be an awesome addition.

Instant Pot Pasta

Easy Instant Pot Penne Pasta with Red Sauce

This simple and saucy pasta dish is a fantastic weeknight dinner and is ready in record time!

Cooking the whole pasta dish in the Instant Pot nixes the need for additional pots/pans and draining/straining. You can 100% whip this up on the stove if needed but I love the ease of the pressure cooker here.

Instant Pot Penne Pasta

Instant Pot Penne Pasta

Save on time (and dishes!) with this tasty one-pot Instant Pot Penne Pasta recipe!
4.80 from 25 votes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Instant Pot Penne Pasta
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Jenn Laughlin – Peas and Crayons


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ tsp salt (plus extra to taste)
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp dried basil or fresh basil, to taste
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 12 oz penne pasta
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce (snag your favorite!)
  • 1 TBSP cream cheese
  • 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • Parmesan cheese for topping, to taste


  • First measure our all your ingredients and prep your veggies. This dish comes together quickly!
  • Peel and finely chop your onion. Peel, smash, and mince garlic.
  • Using a 6-Quart Instant Pot, set to sauté function, add 2 tsp oil, and heat. Sauté onions approx. 3-4 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached, then add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Press "CANCEL/OFF" and add water and pasta. Stir to combine, making sure the onions/garlic are incorporated into the liquid and not stuck to the bottom.
  • Add crushed red pepper flakes, basil, salt, and pepper and top with 2 cups of spaghetti sauce but DO NOT STIR.
  • Secure the lid and place the vent in the sealing position. Set to "MANUAL" or "PRESSURE COOK" mode on "HIGH" pressure. Use the +/- button to adjust the cook time to 5 minutes. The general rule of thumb for cooking pasta in the Instant Pot is to cook for half the box's cook time for the noodles. Double check your pasta box and adjust time as needed.
  • The Instant Pot will take an adittional 5-8 minutes or so to come to presure before the countdown begins. When the Instant Pot beeps and the countdown has finished, quick release the pressure by flipping the valve to venting position. Stand back as the steam releases.
  • Once the pin drops and the lid unlocks, remove lid and mix in the cream cheese and spinach. Return the lid for a minute while the spinach wilts. Snag a noodle to taste-test then adjust spices as needed, adding extra of anything you'd like. I added extra red pepper flakes to mine – yum!
  • Top with grated Parmesan cheese and dig in while it's hot!


Nutrition Facts below are estimated using an online recipe nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed based on amount of parmesan added and choice of sauce. Enjoy!


Calories: 392kcal, Carbohydrates: 74g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Potassium: 719mg, Fiber: 5g, Vitamin A: 2023IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 65mg, Iron: 3mg

If you get a chance to try this easy Instant Pot Penne Pasta recipe, let me know!

Leave some love in the comment form below or tag your photos with @peasandcrayons on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creation. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!

Looking for more Instant Pot Pasta Recipes?

I have the most amazing Instant Pot Tortellini recipe topped with fresh shredded basil and grated Parmesan cheese. Love it so!

Sarcastic Cooking’s Instant Pot Pasta Puttanesca looks super tasty!

Another crowd favorite is my vegetarian Instant Pot Taco Pasta. Though I make it veggie style my MIL makes it with ground turkey and they adore it! It’s super versatile and always vanishes fast.

Jenn Laughlin Headshot Photo - About the Author
About The Author:

Jenn Laughlin

Jenn Laughlin founded Peas and Crayons in 2009 after graduating with B.S. in Dietetics from Florida State University and working as a Nutrition Educator for WIC. The goal was simple: create and share delicious tested and perfected recipes with vegetables as the star! Peas and Crayons is know for veggie forward recipes that are colorful and crave-able.

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Recipe Rating

Questions & Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Any recommendations on how to alter without an instant pot? My instant pot just stopped working and it’s one of my family’s fan favorite recipes!

    1. Hi Julia! You’ll just use the conventional method of boiling the noodles until al dente (or ideal tenderness) then combining with warmed sauce and remaining ingredients. It’s super easy and one of our favorites for busy weeknights. Sometimes we’ll do the red sauce and other times i’ll use pesto and add some mushrooms along with the spinach.

    1. Hi Amanda! You can absolutely use jarred vodka sauce. You’ll need two cups of sauce and if desired you can skip the cream cheese since the sauce is already quite creamy.

  2. 5 stars
    This is yummy! I added cooked ground beef with the spinach at the end. I cooked whole wheat macaroni noodles for 4 min.

  3. 5 stars
    My whole family loved it! I cooked ground beef ahead of time and threw it in after the spices and a 24 oz can of pasta sauce.

  4. 5 stars
    So simple and I had all the ingredients already, just substituted fresh spinach with frozen spinach. Simple yet very delicious! My 16 year old son loved it. Definitely an instant pot receipe keeper and add to our weekly menu. I followed all the instructions and have 6 quart ISP and had no issues!👍🏻

  5. 5 stars
    Amazing Recipe! I have a small insta pot (3qt?) and it worked perfect with the directions above. So tasty! I will be making again!

  6. 3 stars
    I have an 8 qt instant pot though followed directions as written for 6. some pasta was done some not. I actually liked that sauce was less intense than straight out of jar. I might play around with doing pasta but my stove top pasta is much better than this- not sure whether this is an area to leave to stove top cooking.

    1. Hi Jeff! The Instant Pot technique is great for those cooking in a small space like a dorm room or hotel room and also for those who may not have access to a stove (like when my MIL had to replace a faulty stove and go without one for a while). Since the recipe was developed and tested with a 6 QT IP I wonder if there may need to be an adjustment of liquid ratio or cook time for the 8 QT?

  7. 5 stars
    I made this recipe. I did not add any meat. It was great. I will definitely make it again. I am wondering if it would turn out if all of the ingredients were doubled. Would make a great side dish when serving a crowd.Dreaming if days when CV 19 is over and I can have a dinner party at my place!

  8. 5 stars
    This could not be easier or more delicious. Holds up well for meal prep and freezer. Try it, you will not be disappointed!

  9. 5 stars
    I made it tonight with the veggies. It came out delicious. I cooked carrots and broccoli in the IP earlier in the day then reheated them in the microwave before adding it the finished pasta. I sautéed the mushrooms with the onion and cooked it with the pasta. I didn’t have spinach to add but it was great without:-)

  10. 5 stars
    Loved this! i’m thinking of adding mushroom, carrots and some frozen peppers next time. Think I can add this at the beginning? Thanks!

    1. Hi Dawn! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! I think adding veggies sounds marvelous.

      Peppers and mushrooms cook fast but carrots take a little longer to soften. I’m thinking maybe sauté the carrots in the IP along with the onion, giving it a few extra minutes if needed since the carrots need a little extra cook time. Then you could choose to either add the mushrooms and peppers in step 5 with the sauce (layered below or on top) or choose to sauté them with the other veggies in the beginning. Since I haven’t tested it I’m not sure if a little extra liquid will be needed. Keep me posted and LMK what you try! xoxo

  11. 5 stars
    So easy! The only one pot pasta recipe I have made in my instant pot that the pasta was actually All fully cooked! Thank you for sharing. I added fresh green peppers and tomatoes for extra flavor and still used 2 cups of water and just used 2 and a half cups of sauce, and it was perfect.

  12. 3 stars
    Unfortunately I got the burn sign when I went to pressure cook. I added water like a previous person had. But I got the burn sign again. The good news is, when I received the first burn sign the pasta was half cooked, the second time I got the burn sign, it was fully cooked! The only thing I did different was I used a pasta sauce rather than a spaghetti sauce? I was thinking maybe my sauce was too heavy/thick?? Still good and tasty though!!

    1. Hi Marie! What sauce did you use? (I’m thinking the thickness was the issue here as well) When using a thick sauce you can usually dump it on top of the pasta and water (without mixing together) which can help keep it from sticking to the bottom of the inner pot and setting off the burn notice. It may be that a little more water may be needed as well if the sauce isn’t thin enough to help cook the pasta. So glad you were still able to enjoy the recipe! xo

  13. 5 stars
    Soooo good- I thought restaurant quality. I used a pasta sauce that had chunks of tomatoes which I think made the dish extra flavourful! I didn’t have any red pepper flakes on hand so used a few dashes of cayenne instead. Served with red roasted pepper. Will make again!

  14. 5 stars
    I was honestly skeptical because I’ve tried “one pot” pastas in the past and didn’t enjoy them. Well.. this was AMAZING! So tasty and easy to make!! I couldn’t wait to eat the leftovers the next day! The pasta I bought said 11 minutes to al dente so I took a chance and increased the cook time to 6 minutes and the noodles were cooked perfectly.

  15. I can’t do dairy so what can I substitute for the cream cheese?

    Would vegan cashew cream cheese work?

    1. Absolutely! Cashew cream/cheese is a great way to add creaminess to a recipe! You would add it at the end after cooking the pasta in the IP. I can’t vouch for it flavor wise in this recipe (simply because I haven’t tried the swap yet) so you’ll want to play around with the spices based on preference but texture wise it should be spot on. xoxo

      1. 4 stars
        We tried this today, although the taste was as expected we got the burn signal few mins into it. Had to release pressure, add water and run it for the remaining two mins. Wanted to share experience here.

        1. Thanks for the update ST! Could you share what size IP you used and if any swaps were made to noodle shape or ingredients? This helps me troubleshoot for future readers, thanks! xoxo