Let's make delicious Instant Pot Spaghetti and meat sauce for an easy dinner. This recipe is a family favorite that comes together quickly all in one pot in the pressure cooker. And also can save up to 70% in energy compared to the stovetop.
This easy Instant Pot Spaghetti recipe is a weeknight dinner staple in our house. It comes together quickly and conveniently in one pot.
I am not claiming that it is better than a Ragù or Bolognese sauce that have been simmered on the stovetop for an hour or two, where you then cook the pasta separately. But this recipe tastes pretty darn good, and it totally wins in the convenience and flavor department.
Not only is it time saving, but it can also save you energy. Using the pressure cooker can save up to 70% in energy cost compared to the stovetop. Which can be a big deal in today's climate.
For more ways to safe time and energy with the Instant Pot, check out this post.
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Ingredients & Substitutions
- olive oil - or other cooking oil
- Aromatics: onion, carrot, celery, garlic
- ground beef - or ground turkey, pork, chicken, a mixture of any of those, or even Italian sausage
- Italian seasoning mix - or add spices individually: dried parsley, thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, basil
- salt & black pepper
- dry spaghetti pasta - regular, whole wheat, or gluten free (use only 3-4 minutes cook time with gluten free pasta)
- beef broth - or water and a bouillon cube or Better Than Bouillon pasta
- diced tomatoes - fresh or canned
- crushed tomatoes - canned or a jar of marinara sauce or other tomato sauce
- bay leaves
- fresh basil
- Parmesan cheese
How to Make Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
- Start by chopping your veggies. Preheat the Instant Pot, then add oil and saute the chopped onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.
- Add ground beef and season with Italian seasoning and salt. Break up the meat into crumbles while browning it.
- Break spaghetti pasta in half. Layer over the meat and veggies in thin layers in a criss-cross pattern.
- Add water, broth, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, and basil over the pasta. Cook on high pressure for 6-7 minutes.
- Quick release pressure after 1 minute. Open the lid, remove bay leaves and basil, then stir to combine everything. It will look too saucy at first, but the pasta will absorb the extra liquid quickly.
- Taste test and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, etc. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil.
How to Keep Spaghetti Noodles from clumping together in Instant Pot
Dry pasta, especially long and thin spaghetti noodles usually need to be stirred frequently while being cooked in a pot on the stove to keep them from clumping and sticking together.
Since pressure cooking happens completely hands free, there is no way to stir the noodles in this Instant Pot spaghetti recipe. Therefore, it is extra important to pay attention to the order of the ingredients as they are added and in which way.
In this case, break the long noodles in half. Then layer them in a criss-cross pattern on top of the ground beef and veggie mix. Make sure the layers are thin and that you alternate the direction of the pasta with each layer.
This way the steam and liquids in the recipe can spread out in between the individual pasta pieces and cook it properly.
Does tomato sauce burn in Instant Pot?
Yes, because of its sugar content tomato sauce tends to burn in the Instant Pot. If it is directly (and undiluted) in contact with the bottom of the pot, there is a risk of the dread Burn error notice interrupting the cooking cycle.
To mitigate this issue, be sure to add the spaghetti sauce ingredients (diced & crushed tomatoes) as the very last ingredients on top of everything else. As much as possible try to pour them directly in the center to avoid the tomato sauce touching the sides and the bottom of the pot.
More Instant Pot One Pot Dinner Recipes
- Instant Pot Pot Roast and Potatoes Recipe
- Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 carrot small dice
- 1 celery stalk small dice
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 14 oz spaghetti pasta regular, whole wheat, or gluten free
- 2.5 c water
- 2 c beef broth or water + bouillon cube
- 15 oz diced tomatoes (2 cups) fresh or canned
- 32 oz crushed tomatoes (4 cups) or tomato sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- small bunch basil
- Parmesan cheese grated
- Press Sauté. Once hot, add oil. Sauté onion, carrot, celery, garlic until softened.
- Add the ground beef, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Brown the beef while breaking it up into small crumbles with a spatula or wooden spoon.
- Break the spaghetti in half and layer them in a criss-cross pattern over the meat. One small handful of pasta per layer (prevents clumping).
- Pour in the water and beef broth. Add the diced and crushed tomatoes in the center on top of the noodles. DO NOT stir! Add bay leaves and basil.
- Close lid and turn pressure valve to Sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 6-7 minutes (3-4 for gluten free pasta).
- Do a quick release after 1 minute. Remove bay leaves and basil. Stir everything to combine.
- At first it will seem too saucy, but within a few minutes the pasta will absorb a lot of liquid.
- Adjust seasoning. Serve with grated Parmesan and chopped fresh basil.
Pin for later?
Cook pasta in Instant Pot for 6-7 minutes under high pressure.
Add tomato sauce ingredients last, pouring them in the center to avoid direct contact with pot sides and bottom.
Break noodles in half, layer them in a criss-cross pattern, and alternate directions for even cooking.
Yes, be cautious not to overcook; the pasta will absorb extra liquid quickly.
Avoid leaving it out for more than 2 hours to prevent bacterial growth; refrigerate promptly.