Pasta in the Instant Pot

Just four minutes is all it takes to whip up an entire box of perfectly cooked pasta in your Instant Pot. Give it a try!

Back in 2015 when I jumped on the Instant Pot Bandwagon, the whole “IP” craze was just starting to unravel ~ and I gave in…   the pot arrived a few days later and I was in heaven. So I have since then mastered making pasta.  So here are my tips.

Pasta in the Instant Pot, click here to repin.

Why would anyone want to keep their crock pot when this thing IS a crock pot + a myriad of other things?

When you can throw dinner in, walk away, and cook it in half the time – well, that’s pretty darn incredible. With a family of 7, we are always in a funk to get out the door to practice and lessons – so it only makes sense that we invest in something that can help us streamline our time.

Just four minutes is all it takes to whip up an entire box of perfectly cooked pasta in your Instant Pot. Give it a try!

One of the first questions I asked myself way back in 2015 was whether or not I could cook pasta in the Instant Pot. 

I did a lot of searching.

All I could find was the recommendation against cooking pasta in the Instant Pot, and I wasn’t sure exactly why. But… I wasn’t ready to call it quits, so I decided to use it for pasta anyways (call me a rebel!) and it worked wonderfully.

Disclosure: I have done spaghetti in the Instant Pot, but for the sake of this post, pasta is defined as the elbow macaroni, penne pasta, bow-tie type. Not that spaghetti doesn’t work – because it sure does…. but these other pastas cook so much better.

Just four minutes is all it takes to whip up an entire box of perfectly cooked pasta in your Instant Pot. Give it a try!

And bonus: we did use gluten-free pasta and it cooks up perfect every time.

We have picked up organic pasta at Costco, and regular Barilla pasta at the grocery store – it’s incredibly wonderful to be able to make a whole box of regular pasta for many reasons:

  • We can keep the cooked & drained pasta refrigerated and throw into our own homemade mac and cheese in a hurry
  • If they kids are hungry, we can warm up the pasta and serve with sauce, or stir in ground beef that is pre-cooked for an easy dinner
  • It’s an amazing way to serve up Pesto – any of these 5pesto recipes OR, this arugula pesto combined with pasta make for a really healthy meatless meal

So there you have it. Give it a try & let us know how it works for you!Just four minutes is all it takes to whip up an entire box of perfectly cooked pasta in your Instant Pot. Give it a try!

How to Make Pasta in your Instant Pot
Just four minutes is all it takes to whip up an entire box of perfectly cooked pasta in your Instant Pot. Give it a try!
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Cook Time
4 min
Total Time
5 min
Cook Time
4 min
Total Time
5 min
  1. 1 box of pasta, 12 - 16 oz (macaroni, bow-tie, penne, rigatoni)
  2. 4 C water (more or less)
  1. In the empty instant pot, pour the box of pasta in, and add 4 C. of water.
  2. You want JUST enough water to cover the pasta by 1/2 - 1 inch (which is about 4 C. depending on the size of your pasta box).
  3. Make sure that the water covers the pasta, then place the lid on the Instant Pot and close the valve (seal).
  4. Set the timer for manual (high) for 4 minutes.
  5. The pot will count down 4 minutes once it reaches pressure.
  6. Once the pot beeps finished, turn "OFF" the pot and perform a quick release.
  7. Use a slotted spoon to spoon the pasta into a bowl and drain off excess water (if any).
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36 thoughts on “Pasta in the Instant Pot

    1. I haven’t ever doubled it but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Just make sure you place the dry pasta within. Then, add enough water to cover the pasta by at least 1/2 if not 3/4/1 inch. Keep the same time.

      I have also made pasta with sauce like that too – except this is what I do… In the empty Instant Pot, pour your jar of pasta sauce until the jar is empty. Pour in the dry pasta. Then, fill up the empty pasta jar with water and pour water in the pot, just until it surpasses the pasta. If you have (cooked) ground beef, add that on the top. Then put the IP for high (Manual) for 4-5 minutes. Then when it’s done, just take a huge spoon and mix it up.

      Just remember that the more “full” you fill the pot, the longer it takes to come to pressure. Though I have found that it comes to pressure faster if I use the saute feature first (even if I’m no even sauteeting anything..) – it’s almost as if the temp holds and shortens the rise to pressure. Hope that helps! 🙂

    2. Omg. Forgot to turn pot off before opening release valve. Mount vesuvious. Counted the under side of my above counter cabinets with rice goo, think paper maché paste. The counters the pot was sitting in a lake of it, the walls. Not my finest moment and the tinkyada brown rice penné? Think paper maché paste, again. This was my second attempt at cooking with my instant pot. I’m 0 for 2😡

  1. Tried these instructions for pasta but when I did the quick release, thick pasta water spat out the vent for a long time and made a total mess everywhere. Wondering what you think may have caused that to happen. Should I have released the vent slower? Did I use too much water? I used a brown rice/quinoa pasta that typically cooks faster then regular pasta so I actually did 3 minutes. But by the time the quick release was finished and I could open the pot the pasta was complete mush 🙁 Halp!

    1. Same thing happened to me! I used regular semolina pasta. Fortunately, my pasta was perfectly al dente, and no straining/draining was needed, but still: water spewed everywhere like a volcano!

  2. This was an absolute disaster 🙁

    I used 16 oz of Aldi GF penne. I had to add close to 8 cups of water to cover the pasta by 1/2″. I cooked it 4 min at pressure and released the pressure. It steamed starchy water and then a bunch of the water came out of the valve as it depressurized and covered my counter and floor.

    If that wasn’t enough, when I opened the pot it was a bunch of mush. It looked like thr dumplings in chicken and dumplings.

    1. I am sorry it didn’t work for you 🙁 I only used enough water to cover the pasta barely by 1/4-1/2″. I did 4 minutes as well and it came out perfect. So well, in fact that I don’t even use the stove for pasta now.. it’s just a habit to put in the IP.

      1. I just tried regular pasta. Followed directions except during the release it was starting to splatter pretty bad, so I slowed it down a little until the big spatters stopped then released the steam completely. Perfect pasta!

        I had done it before in my IP, but it was by browning the meat and onions in the IP. Then making my sauce it in it and just adding the noodles directly in once the sauce was done, but it was hard to judge exactly when the noodles were done and I had to restart it twice. This time I had sauce already made in the freezer and it was quick and tasted great!

        Thank you!

    2. Regular pasta is (white) wheat flour. If “GF” means gluten free then it’s not wheat. Could be rice, could be quinoa, could be a number of things. Quinoa is ruined easily if overcooked, for instance. Might be worth trying again with a smaller amount.

      I haven’t tried pasta yet, just got my IP, but will try it tonight with whole wheat penne. But just for myself, don’t feel like ruining a bunch without some experimentation. I’m assuming Sheryl C used regular pasta, which cooks a bit faster than WW, but think I’ll try it–without other ingred, I have some shrimp sauce already–and put it on sauté if it needs more time.

      Good luck!

      1. Hi Riley,

        I used regular pasta. It was regular, organic pasta from Costco – not gluten-free pasta or quinoa. From my own experience I have used GF and quinoa pasta and they cook differently from regular even outside of the IP. Gluten-free seems to cook faster in most cases.

        Before this post about pasta in the IP, I was like you and wanted to try with pasta… but wasn’t sure, I didn’t want to waste, but I gave it a shot anyways, because we had to bring food to church and I was in a pinch for time. So I just went with it and made it and had success. Congrats on your new Instant Pot.. I have had mine since 2015 and it’s probably the best investment we have made. I counted over 150 IP recipes between my 3 sites, I find myself using it daily (2, 3 and sometimes 4 times a day). I probably need another one.

        Let me know how your pasta turns out.

        1. I love quinoa. I don’t think we have it on this blog but we have done it on our other one (we have a combined 4 blogs of IP recipes… it’s a little crazy).

          Maybe the brand of pasta.. or perhaps trying what Steve suggested and adding a TBSP of oil. I never had issues with my pasta but I use the same pasta every time and it’s a firmer pasta.

  3. Sheryl – Thank you for these directions! I just made a box of Barilla rotini and it came out perfectly! 4 minutes!!! No waiting for water to boil! Love it!

    1. So glad you had success! Truly a game changer – right? I despise waiting for the water to boil, too! The IP allows me to put it in there and walk away for a few minutes to do something else.

    2. oh thank you Linda N….I’ve been trying to find out if anyone made Rotini with luck…Did you add anything to it ? Same amount of water? Thanks to Sherly of course…

  4. This recipe worked for me. I added more like 5 cups of water and used American beauty elbow pasta. When I quick released, I needed to throw a hand towel over the stream because the pasta water started spurting. I ran cold water over the pasta after I cooked it because I didn’t want it to get any softer. I may try 3 minutes next time to see if I can avoid having to run it under cold water. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. I tried this last night without having read the comments first. :/ Like others, the immediate quick release spewed milky pasta water all over the place. NOT FUN. The pasta was cooked perfectly, however, so leaving it any longer without the QR would have turned it to mush. Next time I will try only cooking 2 minutes and then allowing 5 min before doing the QR. For the record, I did add oil but that did not prevent the foamy water from covering everything within about 18″ of the IP. :/

  6. I love my IP I got a second one. I have thought about cooking pasta but hadn’t done it yet. I have had them for a couple of years. Got rid of the slow cooker. and I tell everyone to get one. I should get a commission.
    Thanks for the pasta directions, can’t wait to get home.
    (side note: I ripped out the kitchen for a remodel in May and have used the IP and our grill)

  7. I did a variation: I put in a jar of sauce, added a box of penne and pushed down, then covered with enough water to cover by about 1/2″. I had to add between 2-3 jars (a 3-cup jar size.) It took about 12-15 min to get to pressure and then I used a 5 min time followed by QR. No splatter, and when I opened it the top was a bit watery, though things improved when I mixed everything. The kids liked it, and while I don’t think it was as good as the conventional way, being hands-off the whole time was, as always with the IP, very helpful!

  8. If you spray the pot with oil above the water line, the foam will not rise and shoot out the valve. I use this trick for making Oatmeal too.

    1. just saying::: I always rinse my pasta of any sort with cold water about 3 times before I ever cook it and the same goes for rice of any sort…I use Jasmine and it works perfectly…Hope this helps….JA, MS

      1. what a great idea. think I’ll give that a go. I made gf Catelli spaghetti pasta tonight. A “tooney” size amount with 4 cups of water. Manual high pressure. Like others, QR spewed out copious amounts of water, making a mess, but the pasta was perfectly cooked at 4 minutes with QR, I did strain and rinse with cold water to prevent continued cooking. May try 2 minutes next time and slower release.

  9. You say you can do spaghetti but do not say what you would do differently. Would you do it the same way, but it just doesnt turn out as well? I have searched a lot and this is the best tip yet for how to do just plain pasta. Does using whole wheat require any adjustments?

  10. This was amazing! Thank you! I added 1 Tbs. of olive oil and did need to cover pressure release with a towel. I am thankful for this way to cook pasta quickly without hearing up my kitchen!

  11. I just made macaroni salad. I placed the wire rack in with the pasta water and a few eggs too. 4 minutes, everything cooked perfectly!!! I just shared on my Pinterest board, thanks so much!

  12. I tried this tonight. I used a box of salad macaroni, 4 cups of water and the directions you posted high 6 minutes. Only problem was that I went outside with the kids and totally forgot about it and it started the NPR for 7 or so min until I realized that I had forgotten about it. I did a QR and had no spewing, very little water was left. The pasta is cooked pretty well even though I forgot about it. I think next time I’ll add a little oil to make it not so sticky and I will try not to forget haha!

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