Easy Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti is a weeknight dinner dream. The Instant Pot cooks the pasta to a perfect al dente while the sauce thickens and coats the noodles. Adding garlic and basil gives this easy meal fresh flavor.
And here we continue with the Instant Pot theme of you-guys-told-me-it-was-great / what-took-me-so-long. Spaghetti in the Instant Pot is a revelation! So many of you have mentioned that you love cooking pasta in the Instant Pot / pressure cooker, but I only recently jumped on the bandwagon. This is going on repeat because we keep all of the ingredients on-hand and throw them together (relatively) last minute. Pasta and sauce in the pantry – check. Cubed chicken in the freezer – check. Dinner can literally be on the table in 15 minutes. Here’s how it’s done.
Why Cook Pasta and Sauce Together
A special type of pasta magic happens when you cook pasta and sauce together in one pot. As it cooks, the pasta releases starch into the sauce, giving the sauce a creamy texture and rich flavor. It’s important to get the ratios correct and add water at the start of cooking since the pasta will absorb the water as it cooks.
The Instant Pot / pressure cooker is great for this one pot spaghetti and sauce method. The spaghetti comes out al dente (tender but still springy), and the sauce thickens and coats the noodles as it all cooks.
Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti Ingredients
- Chicken – Chicken thighs or chicken breasts (boneless and skinless) will work. Slice the chicken into small cubes so that you get some in every bite. I like chicken breast in this, but it can tend to get a little dry in the cook time provided. Chicken thighs will stay more tender.
- Spaghetti – This recipe was tested with spaghetti, so results and cook times may vary if you use another type of pasta.
- Marinara Sauce – Use any type of store-bought marinara sauce. This dish calls for a 24 oz jar. I love trying different flavors and varieties, so get whichever flavor sounds good to you!
- Chopped Basil and Garlic (optional) – Want to take this easy dish up a notch? Just add some chopped fresh basil and garlic. This extra step just takes a minute but gives the whole dish a more fresh, homemade flavor and feel.
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti
- Cube and Season Chicken – Slice the chicken into small cubes and season with some salt and pepper.
- Saute Chicken – Turn on the Instant Pot’s saute function and saute the chicken in some oil just until starting to brown on the outside. (Don’t worry if it’s not cooked all the way through – this will give the chicken some extra flavor, but it will finish cooking with the pasta.)
- Add Pasta and Sauce – Add sauce, water, and pasta to the chicken. Break the pasta apart a bit if it isn’t fully covered in liquid.
- Add Basil and Garlic (if using) – Add chopped basil and garlic (again – this is totally optional).
Pressure Cook – Close and lock the lid. Set the pressure cook / manual setting on high for 9 minutes.
- Quick / Manual Release – When the pasta is done, use quick / manual release to release the pressure. Remove the lid and give the pasta a stir to break apart any strands of spaghetti that are stuck together.
- Rest / Stir – Rest the lid on top the Instant Pot (no need to seal it) for 5 minutes to let the sauce continue to thicken. Open the lid and stir the pasta again to coat the spaghetti evenly in sauce.
- 6 Quart Instant Pot Duo – This recipe is so easy that an Instant Pot is really all you need! This is the only version I own.
- 1 lb Boneless and Skinless Chicken Thighs or Breast, sliced into small ½” cubes (see note)
- 24-oz jar Marinara Sauce (see note)
- 12-oz Water
- 8 oz Spaghetti, uncooked
- 4 cloves Garlic, chopped (optional)
- ¼ cup chopped Fresh Basil (optional)
- Grated Parmesan Cheese, for serving
- Season chicken with some salt and pepper.
- Turn an Instant Pot on the saute setting at normal (medium) heat. Add chicken and saute for 2 minutes to get it started cooking. (The chicken doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through - it will finish cooking in the sauce.)
- Shut off the saute function and add sauce to the chicken. Fill the pasta sauce jar halfway with water (no need to be precise, but this will equal about 12 oz) and add water to the pot. Add spaghetti, breaking apart to fully submerge it in water. Add garlic and basil, if using.
- Close and lock lid. Set the pressure cook / manual setting on high for 8 minutes.
- When the spaghetti is done, use quick release to release the pressure. Remove the lid and give the pasta a stir.
- Important! The sauce needs a couple of minutes to thicken before it is served. Rest the lid on top of the instant Pot (no need to seal it) and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Serve with parmesan cheese on top.
This recipe has just a few ingredients, so the quality of the sauce will matter. It’s worth buying a higher quality sauce here - it will reward you with great flavor!
Guess which eight-month-old went absolutely wild for this meal?!
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