Skip the stovetop and make Instant Pot Chicken Pasta in your pressure cooker for a fun, easy dinner. Marinara sauce thickens and coats the noodles and tender chicken that all comes together fast with just one pot to clean.
Talk about, winner, winner chicken dinner (plus spaghetti!). This one pot, total comfort food, Instant Pot pasta method produces springy noodles with tender bites of chicken. It's a great way to feed a crowd or have leftovers for the entire week. Instant pot spaghetti really is the king of weeknight dinner.
How to Make It
- Layer ingredients in the Instant Pot - In the bowl of an Instant Pot, layer, 2 cups chicken stock, then 20-ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, one pound of dry spaghetti, two (25-ounce) jars of store-bought marinara, and finally 2 more cups of chicken stock. Do not stir the pasta. This will help prevent the burn notice caused when tomato sauce sticks to the bottom of the pot.
- Close and lock lid - Close and lock the lid. Set the valve to Sealing.
- Cook 4 minutes - Cook on manual / high pressure for 4 minutes.
- Natural release 5 minutes - Let the pressure naturally release for 5 minutes. Then quick release any remaining pressure.
- Shred chicken - Take the chicken out and chop or shred it.
- Stir well - Stir the pasta really well (about 20 times) to break about any pasta that might still be stuck together. Add the chicken back in and stir the chicken pasta well.
- Serve with chopped basil and shredded parmesan on top.
Pro Tip: As described above, don't stir the pasta before cooking. The pasta sauce can burn on the bottom of the pan, but keeping each of the ingredients in layers will insure it will cook well without giving you the burn notice.
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.
The Instant Pot / pressure cooker is great for this one pot spaghetti and sauce method. Pressure cooking pasta means the spaghetti comes out al dente (tender but still springy), and the sauce thickens and coats the noodles as it all cooks. It produces a great one-pot meal for busy weeknights.
Check out my post on how to cook any pasta in the instant pot for even more ways to use this great technique.
Instant Pot Chicken Pasta Ingredients
- Chicken Thighs - Use boneless, skinless thighs which will stay more tender as they cook. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts will work just fine, but may be a bit more dry.
- 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 / pasta sauce. This dish calls for two 25-ounce jars. I love trying different flavors and varieties, so get whichever flavor sounds good to you!
- Chicken Stock - You get the most flavor and a rich sauce by using chicken stock, but in a pinch you could also just use water as the cooking liquid.
- Chopped Basil and Parmesan Cheese (optional) - Great for topping your finished dish, but totally optional.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Spaghetti
- Make it creamy - Stir in heavy cream or some cubed cream cheese after cooking to make a creamy sauce. The cream cheese works really well to add body to the sauce. It's the same technique I use in Creamy Cauliflower Baked Ziti.
- Add seasoning - A good marinara sauce should have plenty of flavor, but if you find it a bit lacking, try adding chopped garlic or garlic powder. Sun-dried tomatoes also add great flavor to the sauce.
- Add vegetables - Try adding vegetables to the pasta to make this a complete meal. Steamed vegetables like green beans can be stirred in after cooking and will heat right in the sauce.
- Make it spicy - Add some red pepper flakes for a kick of spice.
More Pasta in the Instant Pot
- How to Cook Pasta in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Italian Sausage Pasta
- Instant Pot Pasta e Fagioli
- Instant Pot Italian Pasta Salad
Instant Pot Chicken Pasta Recipe
- 6-quart Instant Pot / pressure cooker
- 4 cups Chicken Stock, divided
- 20 ounces Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, uncooked
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 25 ounce jars Marinara Sauce (see note)
- 16 ounces Dried Spaghetti
- Chopped Fresh Basil, for serving (optional)
- Grated Parmesan Cheese, for serving
- Pour 2 cups of stock into the bowl of an instant pot. Add the chicken thighs. Season the top with the salt and pepper. (Don't worry if the chicken is completely submerged in liquid, just season over the top of the liquid.)
- Add the spaghetti, breaking it apart so that it easily fits inside the pot. Pour the jars of marinara sauce over the spaghetti. Pour the remaining 2 cups of stock over the marinara sauce. (Note: Be sure to add the ingredients in the order listed to avoid getting the burn error. Do NOT stir everything together before cooking.)
- Close and lock lid. Move the pressure valve to Sealing. Cook on manual / high pressure for 4 minutes.
- Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. Then manually release any remaining pressure.
- Remove the lid and transfer the chicken thighs to a cutting board. Roughly chop the chicken. Give the pasta a really good stir about 20 times to break apart any strands of pasta that stuck together. Stir in the chopped chicken.
- If not serving right away, let the lid of the Instant Pot rest on top to keep the pasta warm. As the pasta sits the sauce will continue to thicken.
- Serve the pasta with basil and parmesan cheese on top.