Use these easy step-by-step instructions to cook perfectly al dente pasta in a 6-quart Instant Pot / pressure cooker.
Pasta has been my Instant Pot nemesis ever since I fell in love with the kitchen gadget of the moment. In the past few years I’ve become pretty confident when cooking in the pressure cooker. It only took a few weeks to get over my fear of releasing the pressure valve. 😉
These days, I use the pressure cooker a couple times a week to make everything from rice, to a big pot of Crispy Pork Carnitas, to 20-minute weeknight meals like Chickpea Curry with Rice. But pasta is tricky.
That is, until I learned the Instant Pot pasta formula. It involves a tiny bit of math, but the payoff is perfectly tender pasta every time. Here’s how it’s done.
Why Cook Pasta in the Instant Pot
There are three reasons to cook pasta in the Instant Pot / pressure cooker.
- It’s a true one pot dish. No need to strain the pasta after it’s done because the pasta will absorb all of the water as it cooks.
- Set it and forget it. There’s no need to keep an eye on the pot to make sure it doesn’t boil over. Just turn the machine on and walk away.
- Keep the starch - Since the pasta isn’t strained, all of the natural starch from the pasta stays in the pot and serves as a natural thickener for any type of sauce you add - whether it’s marinara sauce (as in Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti) or creamy cheesy sauce (as in Instant Pot Mac and Cheese).
The Instant Pot Pasta Formula
To cook any type of pasta perfectly in the Instant Pot (note: you do NOT need to do this math yourself - just wanted to show you how I did it):
- Find the recommended cook time on any box / bag of pasta.
- Take the lowest, even number in the range. (If only one time is given and it’s odd, round down. So 7 minutes becomes 6.)
- Divide in half.
- Subtract two minutes.
- Pressure cook on high.
- Use 5 minute natural release and then release any remaining pressure manually.
But there’s no need to do all that math. Just use the chart below:
**0 is a real setting on the Instant Pot / pressure cooker. For small pasta shapes with a short recommended cook time, set the timer to zero minutes. The pressure cooker will fully pressurize but won’t hold for any amount of time.
How Much Water to Use for Instant Pot Pasta
Use 2 cups water for every 8 oz of pasta. So…
- 8 oz Pasta + 2 cups Water
- 16 oz Pasta + 4 cups Water
- 24 oz Pasta + 6 cups Water
You can disregard this if you’re cooking pasta in a lot of liquid or sauce (like in a soup or ragu), but the cook times still hold true.
How to Cook Pasta in the Instant Pot
- Combine pasta and water (using measurement above) in the bowl of the Instant Pot. Give everything a stir so that the pasta gets a bit wet.
- Seal and lock the lid.
- Pressure cook on high. (Use the chart above to determine the cook time.)
- Leave the pasta on natural release for 5 minutes (do not let this sit any longer or the pasta may overcook) and then manually release any remaining pressure.
- Unplug the machine or check to be sure that all heating / warming functions are off.
- Open the lid and give the pasta a very good stir - about 20 to 30 times. Put some muscle into it so that the pasta gets really well incorporated with the small amount of water that remains. (Note: When you start stirring the pasta, there may still be a few dry spots on the pasta where it was sticking out of the water. Don’t worry - as you stir and let the pasta steam in the next step, it will continue to absorb the small amount of liquid in the pot.)
- Return the lid (no need to lock it just set it on top) and leave the pasta to sit for 5-10 minutes more. (Note: This step is the most important because the pasta will continue to absorb any remaining liquid and continue to cook just a bit in the residual heat of the machine. This is the key to pasta that is cooked, but not over-cooked.)
Cooking Spaghetti, Fettuccini, or Linguini in the Instant Pot
Long, straight pasta like spaghetti, fettuccini, and linguini can be a bit finicky to cook in the Instant Pot. The method for cooking these is slightly different than other shapes, though the cook time remains the same.
- Break the pasta strands in half before adding them to the Instant Pot so that they can easily be submerged in water.
- Pour water into the Instant Pot to completely cover the pasta (note: this is more water than you add for other pasta shapes).
- Do not stir before cooking. Resist the urge to stir the pasta. (Stirring it can cause it to stick.)
- Pressure cook pasta according to the time on the chart.
- Leave pasta on natural release for 5 minutes and then release any remaining pressure.
- After cooking, stir the pasta well to insure the strands are not stuck together.
- Drain well.
Whole Wheat / Alternative Pasta
There is no need to make any adjustment to the formula if using whole wheat or alternative pasta. Because this method of cooking pasta is based on the recommended cook time on the package, any type of pasta can be cooked this way.
We tested this method with several varieties of whole wheat pasta and with several varieties of alternative pasta (lentil, chickpea, and black bean pasta).
Instant Pot Pasta Recipes
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese - This method of cooking pasta in the Instant Pot works so well with Mac and Cheese. Because the starches in the pasta thicken the cheesy sauce, you get an extra creamy mac without needing a ton of cheese or butter.
- Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti - Classic and comforting, this one pot meal is a family favorite around here. Check out that post (if only for the photos of our baby devouring a giant bowl of this saucy dish).
- Instant Pot Italian Pasta Salad - This pasta salad uses a different method than the one described here. For Instant Pot pasta salad you boil the pasta above the other ingredients using the pot-in-pot method. But it's such a fun Instant Pot trick, it deserved a mention here. 😉
- 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo - This is the Instant Pot / pressure cooker I use to test all meals on this site. It easily makes enough to serve the 5 members of our family (3 are young kids).
How to Cook Pasta in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker
- 8 oz Pasta, any type or shape
- 2 cups Water
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- First, determine the cook time for the pasta you are using. See the notes below to determine the right time.
- Combine pasta, water, and salt in the bowl of an Instant Pot. Give everything a stir. (See note below if cooking long, straight pasta like spaghetti, fettuccini, or linguini.)
- Close and lock the lid.
- Set the vent to “Sealing”.
- Pressure cook on high for the time determined in Step #1.
- Leave the pasta on natural release for exactly 5 minutes. (Note: Be very careful not to let it sit for any longer or the pasta will overcook.)
- Use manual release to release any remaining pressure. (Note: Hot and starchy pasta water may spray out of the pressure valve when you release it. Cover the valve with a dish towel as it releases to keep this contained and minimize the mess.)
- Open the lid and give the pasta a good stir, 20 to 30 times. (This will get rid of any dry spots that remained where the pasta was sticking out of the water during cooking. If adding sauce, stir it in at this point.)
- Return the lid to the top of the pressure cooker (no need to lock it just set it on top) and leave the pasta for 5-10 minutes more. (Note: This step is the most important because the pasta will continue to absorb any remaining liquid and continue to cook just a bit in the residual heat of the machine. This is the key to pasta that is cooked, but not overcooked.)
- Break the pasta strands in half before adding them to the Instant Pot so that they can easily be submerged in water.
- Pour enough water into the Instant Pot to completely cover the pasta (note: there is no set amount, but only add water until every strand of pasta is submerged). Add salt.
- Do not stir before cooking. (This will help prevent the pasta from sticking.)
- Pressure cook pasta according to the time on the chart.
- Leave pasta on natural release for 5 minutes and then release any remaining pressure.
- After cooking, stir the pasta well to loosen any strands that are stuck together.
- Drain well.
Thank you for this! due to the current covid-19 crisis, I have found myself without any housing options but house-sitting an unfinished residence with electricity (and a finished bath & bedroom). So I have moved in with nothing but my dorm waterheater & the owner's instapot.
This is the best instapot pasta website I have found. thanks you!
Hi Dia - oh my goodness - it's no small feat cooking under your circumstances. I'm so glad that you have an Instapot. There really are so many things you can cook with that even if you don't have other tools. Definitely try my Instapot Mac and Cheese! Take care and best of luck getting through this strange time.
This formula for cook times does not work at high altitudes.
Hi Barbara - thanks for your note. You're absolutely right. As with most recipes, this one will needs to be adjusted for use at high altitudes.
Hi. In the Rocky Mountains. Do you have any adjustments for time?
Here is how to adjust cooking at altitude - Altitude
Thanks so much for providing that link Kaye!
Barb it does...I'm in Denver, we are a Mile High City...5280 in feet. You can adjust your Instant Pot to High Altitude Settings and this recipe will indeed work with these cook times. Also, most folks don't actually cook at altitude or above...so why not offer a friendly comment instead of a blurted statement. Not her fault you chose to live above sea level and you could have offered an adjustment instead of basic and flat comment. If you need to know how to adjust your Instant Pot for high altitude cooking here is a www site that will help you adjust it. In the meantime, this recipe's cook times are just fine. Thanks to "InquiringChef" for offering some actual information. I do a lot of Instant Pot cooking and most the time folks only use the basic and skimpy Instant Pot cook times provided by Instant Pot. Pasta is NOT even included with these cook times either. Thank you.
Instant Pot adjustment settings for High Altitude:
I live at 5200 ft. Dry mountain desert climate. This does work with a little tweak. I cook for 2, so 8oz of pasta. Spaghetti noodles according to instructions then… instead of draining, stir pasta, there will be a lot of water left. Put lid back on and seal for 3 mins then manually release. Perfect!
I tried 12oz fettuccine broke I half. Covered with water (2.5 cups) didn't stir. (? I think I should have) 3 min. Because cook time low # was 10 min. 5min. release. It was stuck together even after stirring Marine Corps style. I'll try little pasta. Thanks for pioneering recipes for unusual device which has Alien technology.
I am not sure...but I think your problem was cooking the pasta on low...rather than the high pressure setting. Hope this helps, I could be wrong but I have messed up a few and learned a couple things in the process. Best of luck.
TY TY TY! My spaghetti came out perfect. I followed recipe, except I added about 5 drops of light olive oil. There was no sticking oy clumping.
Wonderful! So glad it worked out!
Hey Dia! It's about a year later, are you ok? Did you find more stable ground?
Thanks for the procedure Jess. That's some crazy cool math. My wife (and I) were speculating on how you came up with the time formulas. Was it strictly trial and error? Start with science then trial and error? Voodoo? Thanks again!
Total trial and error! I cooked SO. Much. Pasta.
I just followed the instuctions to the t for 12 oz of bow tie pasta and it worked PERFECTLY!
Yay!! Thanks so much for the note Kari!
Question for you....so is the pasta weight measure, or a measuring cup full?
Hi Karen. Pasta is all measured by weight.
What about fettuccine and linguine noodles - do you stir them before cooking or just stir after cooking like the spaghetti?
Hi Pam. Treat fettuccine and linguine like spaghetti. We'll add a note for that!
What if I want to add pasta to an instant pot dish that doesn’t have those instructions incorporated? How do I do that? Example: Italian chicken breast recipe that makes a ‘sauce’ that removes chicken and will require sauté function following the chicken cook time. I’d love to cook it all together to infuse the flavor into the noodles but no idea how...thank you so much!!
Hi Jessica! Use the times listed as a guide, and plan to add a bit more liquid than the recipe you're using calls for. It always takes a bit of experimentation to add pasta to an existing recipe, but with the times as a guide, it should work out.
Followed recipe exactly. My seal was shut. Used correct amounts of pasta to water to cooking time to release and it was not edible😭 I wondered how this was enough liquid and indeed,it was not.
I'm so sorry to hear that, Rosanne! What type of pasta did you use?
Normally when cooking pasta you heavily salt the water. How do you account for the missing salt in this recipe?
Hi James - thanks for your question! Typically you heavily salt the water for pasta because the water is drained off. In this method, the salted water is completely absorbed by the pasta and no water is drained off. You'll find that 1/2 tsp of salt is to season 8 oz of pasta.
THANK YOU!! I live in California and dread turning the stove on in the summer. I followed the instructions as you directed and WALA, perfectly cooked pasta without turning my home into a sauna. Blessing to you and yours.
That's wonderful!!! Thanks so much for your note, Eloisa!
Followed directions exactly and sadly it was a mushy mess. I’ll try again and see what happens.
Hi Zoe - I'm so sorry to hear that! The recipe is really dependent on sticking to the exact times as written. Every once in awhile I'll get distracted and forget to release the pressure right at the 5 minute mark and the pasta will overcook - it happens so fast at high pressure. Maybe that was the issue here? Either way - I do hope you'll give it another try! Let me know if I can be of any help.
This seems like an awesome idea, but the problem I’m having is that my instant pot will not seal when I cook according to these directions. Does anyone else have this problem? It seems like the instant pot only works with literally soup-consistency dishes, or the float valve won’t work. (I have cleaned the seal and the valve, so it’s not that) Is there something wrong with my instant pot’a valve?
sounds like it...I've cooked cheese cake, chicken cacciatore, pasta, pasta salad, french toast bread pudding, quinoa, rices of all kinds, bulghur...you name it. The cheesecake came out firm and perfect, the chicken fell off the bone but was hardly mush, the quinoa made the most perfect salad, the rices...well where do you begin, rice with cranberry and pecan and poultry seasoning, rice for chicken, rice for soups, etc. etc. etc. but all came out perfect and firm...I have at times had problems with my float valve. You have to be careful but when you have done a pressure release/check or made sure there is no pressure you can see how actually cooked your food is and then try and adjust for time...by eyeing it and do another repressurizing cook time. Surprisingly this has worked for me. More than once I thought I was gonna waste my ingredients but to my surprise the meals came out perfectly (pasta salad) and no one knew...my pot was having problems. Dinner was just a little late. To a degree you'll have to use your intuition. Also, maybe a new seal? At any rate good luck!
You make it too complex. 1 1/2 cup water for 8oz pasta. Meat bottom then the pasta then a jar of pasta on the top. Don’t stir in. Cook half the time on the box. 5 minutes works. Immediate release stir and eat.
Hi Heidi - this method for pasta made without sauce or meat, but your method for meat + sauce pasta sounds awesome! That's very similar to how I make my red sauce pasta in the IP.
I disagree Heidi...your recipe for some of us is too simple...I'll stick with her recommendations having already used them to success. Perhaps, rephrasing your suggestion...you could have said it a more kind and polite and less aggressive way maybe like..."another way you can do it and it is a bit easier" instead you come out rather aggressively..."you make it hard" eyeroll...geesh! Where is your Instant Pot article offering help? Yep, you don't have one that's why your here looking for help, right? Peeps, what happened to manners? She's trying to help us and to that degree even if you don't agree you could at least be polite.
Samsarose, Glad you said something!💞
What a mess! So confused by all the subtraction, addition, and division of things listed in your instructions. I was never great at math, now I feel even worse. Pasta is in instant pot, with some sort of water measurement, and timer set. I can only hope that something comes of it. Please send thoughts and prayers cause Jesus take the wheel!
Hi Nico! No need to do any math - just use the chart to determine the correct cooking time. I just wanted to explain where my math came from in this method. Enjoy!
Used this to cook bow tie pasta and it came out so perfect! Best pasta I’ve had in a while 😊 I have the mesh strainer basket and found with using it I didn’t need steps 8 or 9. I just strained after the pressure release and it was perfect.
Thanks for the formula! We found a recipe a while ago for elbow noodles but it was for a pound with no aid on different portions. We love that pressure cooking the pasta with broth gave it extra flavor & would always make our mac&cheese 16oz at a time. While not always a bad thing, it will be nice being able to make smaller portions & know the cook time for other shapes to impart the same flavor punch. For the long pasta you say "this is more water than you add for other pasta shapes" but there's no reference for how much water to add other than the same measurements provided for the other shapes. Should you use the same amount or does there need to be more than the typical 2oz per 8oz of pasta? Thanks!
Hi Felicia - so glad this was helpful! Even for my family of 5, a pound of pasta often seems like too much. If using long noodles, just add as much water as needed to completely cover them. There's no set amount since it will vary depending on how much pasta you use, but just pour the water in until the pasta is covered. I'll update the wording on that so it's more clear!
2nd time I cook pasta by this recipe and both time the pasta got REALLY mushy.
a) Do you think I'm converting wrong? I live in Europe and our pasta is in grams, so I counted 100g == 8oz, was that wrong?
b) Even if I did count right... what would you recommend? Less water or less cooking time?
Hi Schantall - I'm so sorry to hear that! 8 oz of pasta by weight is 226 grams, so try adjusting that amount. If you're getting mushy pasta, it is sometimes because you didn't release the pressure at exactly 5 minutes (even a minute more when left in the IP with some pressure in the bowl will turn the pasta to mush). You can also definitely try reducing the cook time by 1 minute (don't reduce the water).
Thanks Jess, I will try it again, let you know how it turns out 🙂
Perfect - please do Schantall!
Hi Jess, I adapted the water and the pasta turned out perfectly. Thank you for this recipe.
I then tried to experiment a little with one pot pasta dishes but they didn't go very well. Just to learn the pasta cooking I made simple tomato sauce, however, the two times I tried it went rather poorly.
The first time I counted the tomato sauce as 'water' and everything burned completely, the second time in addition to the tomato sauce I added the amount of water according to your recipe and the pasta was mush again.
It must be something inbetween... Do you have a tip for me?
Shantall - that's great! I'm so glad that helped!
Okay - yes about the one pot pasta dishes - you've totally identified a key challenge with pasta sauces in the IP. Tomato sauces are really prone to burning on the bottom of the pot. My guess is that you had too much liquid overall when you added both the amount of water listed here and the tomato sauce. You'll have to play around with it a bit to get the right amount of liquid. I usually water my tomato sauce down by about 1/2 cup (120 mL) water for each 8 oz of pasta. Maybe try it again with a bit less water and you could even reduce the high temp cook time by a minute. Like I mentioned - you do still have some wiggle room by leaving the lid on after the cooking is done, so in my opinion, it's better to try a lower cook time if you're experimenting with a new method.
Also - did you see that I have an IP Chicken Spaghetti recipe here on the site? That has the measurements I use to make that spaghetti + sauce (though it cooks a bit differently since I add chicken).
I made ditalini; according to the recipe it would’ve been 3 minutes cooking time but I did 2 minutes since I planned to dump the pasta and any remaining water into my other ingredients already on the stove and cook a little longer. Turned out great! I even had to add a little water to make enough sauce, but wow, it’s thick starchy water and brought the sauce together nicely. (Sautéed shallots, garlic, diced Canadian bacon, fresh peaches, Brie chunks, lemon juice, and a quart of fresh basil)
Thanks so much for the note, Julie. That flavor combination sounds AMAZING!
I use a small IP which may account for my issue that when I manually release the pressure after the 5 minutes I get a fountain of gooey spray that makes a huge mess. But the pasta is GREAT! I added lightly steamed veggies, olive oil, salt & pepper, and some hummus to make a delicious vegan pasta dish served hot or cold. I love this recipe except for the pressure release issue. Does anyone else experience this? Any recommendation to contain the spray?
That pasta combo sounds delicious! I suspect that the small IP was the cause of the extra spray at the end of cooking. Pasta can definitely cause a lot of foam to form, but in the larger IP there's a bit more space for it to expand. That said, I do sometimes get the spray even in my larger IP, so I'll often just drape a dish towel over the valve as the pressure releases. The lid still gets messy but at least the rest of the kitchen doesn't! Others may have tips on this too!
One trick I've found to reduce the foam that works great is, once you have your pasta and water in the pot, place the trivet that comes with the Instant Pot on top of everything. Keeps the foam down sort of like putting a wooden spoon over a boiling pot of pasta.
Oh what a great tip! I'll try that!
Just a quick note to say that I used the formula with Banza, chickpea macaroni pasta and it did not work. Ended up with a gummy hunk of overcooked pasta. That doesn’t mean I won’t be trying this with semolina pasta. Thanks for this easy guide!!
This was such a lifesaver! It's August, and our air conditioner has been out for a week. I had no desire to fire up the gas stove to boil some pasta for dinner, and this was great. Not only for not hearing up the house, but it also cold the noodles perfectly. I think it's even quicker than on the stove because my Instant Pot builds up pressure faster than my stove can get a pot of water boiling. It also uses less water. Super efficient!
Dallas - I'm so glad this was helpful! Thank you for the note!
It worked for me so well. I am not sure the taste for many time I did but this time, it came out so impressively
Thank you for sharing!
I work in a schoolhouse and have to cook for 50 kids. We don't have a stove/oven and deep fryer. But we do have 3 instant pots! Most of the recipes are pasta based and I never could get the pasta perfect. Today's lunch was Mac N Cheese and I followed your chart exactly and it turned out perfect!!! Thank you for this! Next week, Spaghetti is on the menu and I will be using this chart again!
Jazmyn - I am so impressed by this! Cooking for 50 kids using Instant Pots! You are a wonder! You should be giving all of us lessons on how to be creative with the Instant Pot!!
I tried this using a brown rice spaghetti (allergic to gluten). It was a bit gummy, but that was not anything different than if I'd cooked it by traditional method. A good rinse in hot water did the trick with enough starch left in the pot to keep the sauce sticking. Having just moved into a new home and waiting for the new stove on backorder, I am VERY grateful for this recipe! Thank you for making dinner so easy in such a stressful time!
Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I refer to it over and over and it's always been 100% perfect for penne, rotini and other thick, short pasta shapes. I always seem to have a bit of water to drain off, but that is fine with me, I use it ALL the time for throwing together quick pasta dishes. I sometimes just add butter, cream, Parmasen and a few red pepper flakes. I can make penne in the IP using your time chart and instructions, then drain and it the same IP pot add a mixture of Parmesan, ricotta, chopped fresh parsley or basil and some bottled pasta sauce that I've doctored and enhanced during the pasta cooking time. I add that pasta mix to a baking dish coated with sauce, top with Parmesan, more sauce and mozzarella and cook in a 350 oven for about 30 mins. It's so easy and a huge family hit. These are just two of the ways I use your simple and perfect IP pasta cooking instructions.
Lisa - those variations sound amazing! Thanks so much for the recommendations!
Sheryll & Critters.
Perfect!!! I'll never cook pasta the old fashioned way ever again!
I love my instant pot! And use it for everything.
So glad this was helpful! I'm with you - love my IP!
Totally impressed with your instant pot cooking pasta Formula!
My whole wheat rotini came out perfectly!! Your instructions worked better than any others I have tried. I think the trick is that stirring after release, and then sitting another 5+min.
I was able to add all my ingredients for a cold pasta salad right into the pot after your process, and it tastes great even warm! No mushy, soggy, overdone pasta. I didn't even have to cold shock the pasta! I'm hoping it works as well with alternative pastas.
Your ideas were brilliant, thanks.
Thank you for the recipe. The times you've given worked perfectly. I used buckwheat spaghetti (7 minutes cooking time) and put portioned frozen salmon covered in sauce (bought at Costco) on top. After I minute cooking and 5 minutes waiting I took the salmon out, mixed spaghetti very well and dinner (along veggies cooked separately) was done!
Hi Jess & family, did Rotini, came out great, used 8Q, 2 batches, next time will try whole bag at once. Put in a little extra water & drained it a bit, wasn't a bother as this method is so much simpler than the "old" way, lol! Chopped up my veg & after adding pasta back to pot, added veg, dressing & seasoning. Voila, pasta salad in 1 pot with no: boiling water, carrying hot pots of water from sink to stove & back again, draining lots of hot water, etc. Hubby said it was excellent!!
So glad you liked it Cheryl (and hubby too!)!
Is it possible to double a hamburger helper recipe with 2 lbs of pasta, 2 lbs of ground meat, and 8 cups of broth in a 8 qt instant pot? Made it with 1 lb and came out perfect and it seemed to look like it will fit but not sure about pressure releasing or if it will get all mushy?
I think that if it will fit and still be below the fill line, you should be good. I've made larger batches of pasta using the same timing listed here, so I wouldn't think you'd need to adjust the time at all.
I just cooked Alfredo noodles. Brought to pressure 1 min. 5 minute natural release then fast release. Came out perfect. Thank you!
I cooked 8 oz of farfalle pasta, came out with still a bit too much water, and had to be drained. Next time will use 1.75 cups water instead of 2 cups.
Hi! I’m excited to try this and have a question - I’d like to add pasta to an IP chicken soup recipe. Any suggestions for putting the pasta in the soup uncooked? Or should I cook it first then add it later? Cook time for the soup is 10 minutes. Thanks~!
Hi Janine! I actually usually do often prefer to cook my pasta separately from soup just so that both are cooked just right. The other option is to pressure cook the soup for the 10 minutes your recipe lists and then release the pressure, remove the lid, and turn on the simmer / saute function. Then add the pasta to the cooked soup and simmer just until the pasta is cooked to your liking. Hope that helps!
Thank you so much for this recipe! I even added a steamer basket of frozen shrimp on top of the pasta and seasoned the shrimp. I added an extra minute to the cook time as well as the natural release time, and it came out perfectly! Had dinner ready in 10 minutes!
That sounds fantastic Trisha - what a good idea for a two-in-one IP meal!
This clears up a lot of questions, thank you. Last night I used your formula to cook egg noodles. After they were done, and stirred, I added some left over cooked roast and gravy that I had cut up along with a single serve can of sweet peas and another single serve can of carrots and left the lid on for a few minutes. It was perfect. I cooked a whole package of egg noodle (12 oz) so I had plenty to share with a neighbor and still have some leftovers. It was great.
That sounds delicious Nancy - what a delicious combination of ingredients!
Wondering if this will work the same for egg noodles?
Hi Lynn - it should work with egg noodles. I believe if you scroll through the comments, there are a few others who have used this formula with egg noodles and had success.
Thank you for this perfect past cooking formula! I have cooked penne, bow ties, macaroni, fusilli and spaghetti. and each time (with crossed fingers and short prayer), I started the IP. Each time I got a PERFECT result. I didn’t even use salt with the spaghetti and typically, I haven’t had to mix the smaller pastas more than 10 rounds before it sat to soak up more water. Still perfect! I’ll never use a huge pasta pot again nor have over boiling stains to clean up on my stove top. Yay!
The only question I have is that when you cook spaghetti (or any long noodle), after you break the strands in half, do you criss-cross the strands from the bottom of the pot upwards or just dump it all in as compactly as you can? I found that because I layered in the criss- crossed pattern, the pasta used up more space in the pot and thus I needed more water to cover it all. This meant heating up quite a bit of water and a resulting longer time for the IP to get to pressure. I did it this way because I was concerned that the strands would stick together if I just set them in as tightly as I could. Please advice.
Hi Dina - thanks so much for the note!
Such a good point / question about the spaghetti strands! I had to think a minute because I'm not very intentional about how I put them in. I usually just pour them in and separate them out a bit. I agree that if you criss cross them too much they'll come up too high in the bowl and if they are all in one pile there's a chance of them sticking together, but I typically just let them fall naturally into place. I'll take a picture of it next time I do it and add it to the post, though the picture in this post is usually how it ends up looking (though this is obviously a pretty different cooking technique). - https://inquiringchef.com/easy-instant-pot-chicken-spaghetti/
Thank you so much for this!! Making chicken noodle soup with gluten free noodles and am trying this. It sure smells good. We use Andean Dream noodles and they are the best Gf noodles we have tried!
Have tried cooking fresh homemade pasta. If so, does the process change?
That's one type of pasta we didn't test for! If you do try it, I'd love to hear how it goes.
Hi thank you for the info. My son just got me an 8 qt instant pot for Christmas and it is super new so I want to use it for everything! Lol.. Would everything stay the same for the 8 qt?
I hear you Kelly! I was the same way when I got my IP. Yes - everything should stay the same for the 8 quart, but you may find that it works best with larger quantities of pasta (1 lb and up) just because there is more space in the 8 quart and it will take slightly longer to come to pressure. A small batch of pasta will probably sit too long in water waiting for the machine to come to pressure. That's the only issue you might run into.
Thank you for this recipe! I cooked green lentil pasta (with zucchini and tomatoes) using these instructions and it turned out perfect! I added more water since I wanted more of a sauce. This version was better than the stovetop version I cooked last week. Now onwards I’m going to cook pasta always in the Instantpot!
Yay! I'm so glad to hear that! Thanks so much for your note.
I live alone and would like to know how to cook like 4oz of pasta. Since you call for two cups of water for 8oz am I correct to assume that I could use 1 cup of water for 4oz? Sometimes I just want it as a side dish and don't want to make a whole bunch. I don't mind experimenting a little bit but oif I do it right the first time that would be great.
Hi Robert - yes - I would just start by halving both the water and amount of pasta. This would be a good starting point, but as you noted, you may need to play around with it a tiny bit. The steps after the pressure cook are designed to give you a little bit of wiggle room, so hopefully you find that it works great halved the first time around!
I’ve looked all through the comments and haven’t found anything on lasagna noodles. Would it work for lasagna noodles too? I will be trying this recipe for other types of pasta. Thank you.
I used organic corn penne 1 lb with 3 cups water, 1 can kroger fire roasted salsa style diced tomatoes, stirred well, cooked for zero minutes, followed your pressure release advice, added melted cheese and thin sliced green peppers, stirred, closed it back up again for 5 minutes. It was the biggest hit with everyone. Glutten free, tasted like tostitos smothered in cheese. Awesome
I can’t wait to try this! We just bought an RV and I got an Instant Pot specifically for it .... though I’ve been using it a lot at home too. So my question: my IP is a 3quart. Do I just halve everything in the recipe?
You may need to play around with it a bit, but the recipe should work if you cut it in half for the smaller IP. Congrats on the RV!!
This worked out really well. I needed to use her math to for the smaller quantity I was making. But it worked out great. Thanks for the formula...!
This has become the go-to noodle starter for any weeknight fast meal. I finally had to leave a review since I have referred back to this post at least weekly ever since I found it.
So easy. We do use chicken broth sometimes instead of water. While it goes I throw some veggies in the cast iron pan to sauté and maybe some crumbled sausage or ham or leftover meat and boom! Dinner in 15 start to finish. Hallelujah for the long day at work starving kids experience.
That sounds like such a good dinner plan, Nancy! I can 100% relate to the end-of-day starving kids experience.
Adrienne L Ranft
anyone else wondering why not just boil the pasta. Seems that with pressurizing, cooking and then steaming it takes just as much time to cook in the IP as to boil!
You're totally right, Adrienne - it definitely takes just as much time. The benefits aren't time savings but in less dishes, no need to watch the pot for boiling over, and the benefit of trapping the natural starches in with the pasta which makes this a great way to start a pasta with sauce!
Okay yhank you so much for this! My first time using my Farberware cooker and I used your guidelines to make penne, my absolute least favorite to cook because of how long it takes, and it's perfectly tender. I didn't measure my water because I wanted to be sure I had enough extra for sauce, but it came out absolutely perfect!
Wonderful! So glad this was helpful Jennifer!
Worked very well for my spaghetti last night. Thank you. Love NOT having to drain the water!
I've been trying to find a low electricity usage way to cook noodles that doesn't take 30 minutes. My induction stovetop is 1800W, and I live at 3500' feet. Cooking only one serving takes forever. I cook some kind of noodles almost everyday. I tried the small Aroma cooker and that took beyond forever.
Using the mini IP (700W): Garofalo organic spaghetti. One hand full, broken in half. Just barely covered with water. Cooked for 4 minutes. Then immediately unplugged the IP and released the vent. When it was done venting I tasted it and it was Al Dente, but I like mine soft. so I turned on the Saute function and continued to cook until the rest of the water evaporated, Stirring ever so often. Took about 3 more minutes. It was absolutely perfect. Perfecto-mundo!
I did it this way instead of cooking on high for 5 minutes because I feel this might be a basic foundation for cooking all my ramen, noodles, spaghetti. I have more control and the chances of mushiness are low.....the stuff I buy is expensive so I didn't want to experiment too much and have it turn out inedible.
Doing it this way makes me much happier, thank you so much for giving me the courage to try it. By the time I wash my breakfast dishes, the noodles are done.
So glad this was helpful! Thanks so much for the note and details on the method you used!
My fresh fettuccine alfredo noodles in salted water in the instant pot came out perfect! No need to boil on the stove anymore. Thank you!
Yay! Thanks so much for sharing!
Very nice work. If everyone in the world would cook pasta this way, instead pouring a half gallon of hot water down the drain as my grandmother did, the energy savings would be, I don't know, "like taking some X million cars off the road" or whatever. Anyhow, it would be a lot.
For higher accuracy, I cook with a scale. The table given in your recipe, "8 oz Pasta + 2 cups Water" for example, reverse-engineers to: (mass of water) = 2.09 x (mass of dry pasta). I tried that and found it to be a little dry for gluten-free chickpea pasta. So increased the water, effectively increasing your factor from 2.09 to 2.5. The consumer said it was perfect.
I appreciate the tips for cooking pasta in the instant Pot. One question I have is, can you add the sauce to the pasta and then close lid and set it to warm to heat up the sauce?
Absolutely you can! I usually just stir it in at the end of cooking and leave the pot covered for a bit longer if needed until the sauce is warm.
This worked so well! Thank you! 12 oz rotini, 3 cups water at 3 min following your release instructions. No spitting and was cooked to my desired doneness for cold pasta salad. Just rinsed in cold water and made my salad.
Question. When you say 8 oz of pasta, do you by volume or by weight?
Ever try cooking lasagna noodles in the instapot? I want to try it but I am unsure if it will work. I will use your timing suggestions.
I haven't tried it myself, but would love to know how it goes!
I quit cooking my lasagna noodles many years ago after I read somewhere you didn’t need to. Just build your lasagna with dry noodles making sure there is a sauce layer either below or above the lasagna noodles and it will come out fine after absorbing all the juices from the sauce. Be sure baking time is at least a half hour no matter which temperature you use.
After the first couple times I thought the lasagna a little dry so I generously spray the noodles with water after I put them in the pan. I guess you could dip them in water before assembling the lasagna and they should still be rigid enough to handle easily.
Saves an extra tedious step.
Cooked farfalle in it last night and it came out great! My new favorite way to cook pasta, so much less mess and fuss than boiling a giant pot of water and worriyng about boil-overs. I added an extra minute because we are at almost 5000 feet elevation and the pasta was basically done when I opened the lid. Next time I will do it for the recommended time as I prefer my pasta a little chewy but my husband thought it was just right. Thanks for taking the time to figure all this out, you rock!!
Be sure to use COLD water. I preheated my water once and the fettuccine cane out grossly under cooked.
With long pasta (like spaghetti) after breaking in half I still use the recommended amount of water even if a little sticks up out of the water. It all cooks evenly anyway and you don't have to drain.
BTW Kraft macaroni and cheese take 1 1/2 cups of water to each box. I use two boxes at a time so use 3 cups of water. Just stir in any remaining water after releasing the lid and re-cover for about 10 mins. Magically the pasta soaks up all the remaining water. After that stir in the cheese packet(s) and milk and you have only one pot to clean.
My mom tried reading this and was confused by "lowest even number in the range". She thought this meant that if the cook time was 7 mins, the lowest even number from 1-7 was 2, which of course won't work lol. I told her she should have just looked at the table. 😂 Perhaps you could change this to be more clear: "lowest suggested cook time, if a range is provided. If the number is odd, round down one to make it even." (E.g., 7 becomes 6).
I forget that some folks have cognitive problems, and this is why they like the instant pot. She likes it because she can cook one thing in the instant pot and one on the stove, instead of trying to balance 2 with a slightly impaired working (30 second) memory.
Oh I totally see your point Crystal. We'll definitely take another look and see if we can clarify. I'm glad your mom found the IP!!
Has anyone tried to cook gnocchi using this chart?
I haven't tried it myself, but maybe others will chime in if they have!
Thank you so much for this! We’re glamping and I don’t have a way to boil water. I used your recipe for corkscrew pasta and it came out perfect!!! I precooked my sauce (TikTok tomato feta sauce), froze it and cooking it now in the instapot. I’ll have one very happy family tonight 😊 Again, thank you!!!
Wonderful - I'm so glad! What a great meal - that really is glamping!
I cooked 16oz of penne today using the measurements listed above. For the liquid, I used 2 cups of broth, 1 cup leftover sauce, 1 cup of water. Added 2tbs of butter and salt, garlic powder, onion powder and parsley.
After 5 min of natural release, I did QR, opened it, added frozen bell peppers, stirred it a few times and closed it to ‘steam’ per recipe.
Came out much great! Everyone loved this easy dinner. Thank you!
Sounds fantastic! Thanks for letting us know.
Question: Have you ever cooked the pasta in the sauce with the added liquid like cooking it alone? Just wondering if I need to cook the sauce and meatballs separately.
Yes - you can absolutely cook the pasta directly in sauce, but the sauce needs to be thinned with water to prevent the burn error. Tomato-based sauces can burn very easily on the bottom of the pan. I have had great success with another recipe on this site - Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti - but every machine is a bit different, and even that version does cause the burn error for some cooks who have made it.
This has been my go to cooking chart for cooking pastas! Thank you SO much!!!
So glad you've found it helpful!
Worked well for spaghetti, following the instructions exactly. It did stick a little, but not like when I made using traditoinal boiling method (and forgotten to stir) because the pasta was cooked in the IP, so all that was needed was to unstick it. So much less water to boil and dump down the drain. Very happy you did this. Thanks.
So glad it worked out!
FWIW, I’ve all but given up on cooking straight spaghetti in the IP; no matter what I try, it just does not come out well in the end. It clumps together into undercooked chunks that do not separate and never finish, the starch makes it a holy mess. Other pasta works just fine, and spaghetti with meat and sauce works well, but plain spaghetti is just a no-go for me in the IP. This article is where I refer others all the time, though; it;s the best breakdown and simplest how-to out there.
The cooking time is too long for high pressure. I stopped it cooking early, otherwise we would have had mush. Also, if one uses a high quality imported Italian pasta, with this recipe the starch flows out of the IP
Thanks so much for your notes, Lulu. While I tried many different varieties of pasta when testing this formula, it's entirely possible that there are brands or types out there that just work better on the stovetop. Appreciate you weighing in!
Brian D. Scott
I personally prefer Angel Hair pasta - looks like I only need a minute of pressure cooking as the box states 6-7 minutes normally. I plan to add sauce and Italian sausage (ground) - do I need to modify anything? I saw that if you use sauce you don't need water - is that right?
Hi Brian - that timing sounds correct for angel hair pasta. The only issue you run into with tomato-based sauce is that tomatoes have a remarkable tendency to burn on the bottom of the pot. I would add a layer of water and then your sausage and sauce. Usually adding a layer of water (about 3/4 cup) and not stirring everything together will provide enough of a barrier between the thick tomatoes that they won't stick to the bottom and give you the burn error. You do have to water the sauce down a bit to make red sauce pasta in the IP, but usually the starches released from the pasta help to thicken in back up.
The secret is layering. I make 1 box of whole grain rotini give it 5 min. First Add pasta, 1 cup of broth then 1 small pasta sauce jar then browned meat with sausages. Don't stir.
Perfect and good to know information. Even my 14yrd old search your site for Instant pot recipes to make. Much appreciated
I am convinced this is the easiest/best way to do pasta!!
So a question, I just made some Halloween shaped pasta that was on clearance. When I released my pressure there was more "sputtering" than usual and the little bit of liquid sputtering out was very white in color which I assume is from the starches in the pasta. Is this typical of this method or is it possible I just have cheap pasta?
Also I was making this ahead for a dish later I have a feeling the pasta will stick together later any tips to prevent it from sticking together while cooling for example in a pasta salad. I did add a bit of olive oil before cooking as well.
Thanks for the recipe and method it will likely be my favorite.
Hi Mark - thanks for the note! I have definitely found that the amount of liquid and starch released at the end of cooking varies with types of pasta - and I agree with you - I think it's just a reflection of the wide range of starch content in different types of pasta. I've noticed that those specialized pasta shapes seem to just have more starch than others. Possibly to help them hold their fun shapes during cooking?
If I make pasta ahead, I always drain it well and then toss it with oil once it's nearly cool. That seems to go a really long way to prevent sticking. I find a little oil before I put it in the fridge even helps spaghetti and longer pasta strands to stay separate for a few days. Hope that helps!
Four+ years I have been trying to make perfect pasta in my Instant Pot. FINALLY THANKS TO YOU I did it!
Thank you so much for the detailed instructions. No froth, no sticking together, no mushy noodles. I did the instructions for the Spaghetti noodles and since we do not like al dente did 5 minutes then 5 minute NR and perfection was achieved. Printing this up and putting it in my recipe book. You rock!
Yay! So glad you found this and that it was what you needed! I was so thrilled to figure it out myself too!
1 box of Spaghetti, 6 qt instant pot - Perfect! Thank you!
A word of warning: DO NOT USE THIS FOR GLUTEN FREE BROWN RICE PASTA. I had starchy water spewing all over the wall when I went to release the pressure. I'm sure it was no fault of the recipe, since I used the rice pasta, but it was mess and the pasta was mush. I followed the recipe exactly. It was worth a try, and I might try this with regular pasta in the future, but whatever you do, do not cook gluten free pasta in an instant pot!
I do not know you but I will praise you and talk about you to others whenever I'll make pasta!!! I am 65 and NEVER mastered cooking pasta right. Either not enough water or too small pot, too mushy or bunchy, etc. You get the picture. Thanks Heavens I was guided to your site here today! You resolved this for me!!! I can not tell you how happy I am with the way my Fettuccine turned out! LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! From now on I will bring pasta dishes to all pot luck parties so I can share the good news!
I live in Toronto Canada and we have fresh pasta sold in 350 gr packages (3 cups of salted water for 0 minutes) PERFECT!!! It did not bunch up, did not need stirring 30 times, no extra water, was just the right firmness, no draining required, no risk of getting burnt etc.
Since it was my first time I used a whole package and had to save more than half as it was too much! No worries! Ran cold water over the noodles to stop the cooking, drained it well and it is in the fridge waiting for the sauce (Alfredo, Primavera, Mushroom, etc.) . No need to use extra fat or oil this way!!! I could not be happier!
So happy to hear this! Thank you so much for sharing.
My pasta burned to the bottom how do I prevent that?
Hi Jacquelyn - that's pretty unusual. I've actually never had that happen before. Was the water completely absorbed into the pasta and the pasta cooked properly (except where it burned) when you removed the lid? When I cook rice in the Instant Pot, I often rub the inside of the pot with olive oil. You might give that a try next time and see if it helps.
Thank you for this post. I made a whole box of spaghetti for my family's day after Thanksgiving gathering yesterday and I didn't want to mind a hot pot while I was making alfredo sauce. So I decided to use my IP. Using your recipe it worked perfectly. One question I have though, would it work to add a little extra water to the pot for adding to the sauce if it were needed? I was thinking a half-cup
I'm so glad this worked well for you Dana! Yes - I've definitely added up to an extra half of water to use for sauce. Any more than a half cup (though I'd guess it would be okay even up to 1 cup extra) and I think it would affect the cook time since that water would also have to come to pressure, so you could end up with soggy pasta. But with half a cup extra, you're definitely fine.
This worked horribly for me with penne pasta. After waiting 5 minutes to vent, I had pasta water coming out of the pressure valve all over my counter. Once I was able to open my IP, the water has bubbled to the top of my unit before finally going down (from opening the unit) What can I do for this???
Hi Justin - yes - it is possible that starchy water may spray out when you release the pressure valve. A good way to avoid this is to cover the valve with a dishtowel before releasing it. Thanks for the suggestion - I've added a note to remind others to do this when they flip the valve.
I have tried numerous pasta recipes for IP but nothing compares to this. The resulting texture & flavour is what I imagine pasta was invented to be if that makes any sense lol. A perfect bite between the teeth and so easy... clean up is a breeze (no overboiling pots). As a bonus, leftovers reheat perfectly as well.
And yes, it holds the sauce perfectly. Thankyou for this.
Wonderful - I'm so glad this worked so well for you!
Well, I may have to try this outside next time. I used a 3 qt. Instant Pot, so perhaps it would have been better to just try 8 oz of pasta instead of 16 oz. First mistake was I did it by the volume of a cup vs. weight as you suggest in an answer to another question. I also tried a gluten free "Ancient Harvest" pasta which is corn, brown rice, and quinoa. Followed the same directions (1 minute pressure cook on high and 5 minute natural release) as listed. At first, the natural release was normal with just steam, but then it turned into a "volcano" eruption of hot water and a sticky substance that looked like cloudy egg white! Oh what a mess it created! Everything in its path above, below, and surrounding my pot was covered. My pot will take some TLC to clean it up. I thin I should not have pushed it with 2 c of pasta and 4 c of water. It may just be the type of "pasta" used--not traditional. Even after the stirring and letting it sit another 10 minutes with the lid back on, I had to drain it. The pasta was pretty bloated and a bit past al dente. Glad it's worked for others. I'll try again in my small pot and use regular wheat pasta.
Yes - it does seem like alternative pastas are a bit unpredictable. When we tested this formula, we did try it with whole wheat, lentil, and chickpea pastas, but based on feedback from others, there are so many alternative varieties of pasta out there now, and some of them just don't work.
I've made elbow macaroni for pasta salad using your recipe in the 6qt twice. I used my 8qt pot tonight and added 1/4 cup more water, same timing. It ended up on natural release for 7 minutes, stirred, then sat for 5 minutes. Perfect!
Great - I'm so glad!!
Wow, thank you for all the work you put into creating this. It was SO helpful. You're amazing! Greatly appreciate it.
I'm so glad it was helpful! I worked so hard on it to make sure it was something that we could all use (including me!).
3/20/23 - Made 8 oz of Casarecce Organic pasta in the 3 quart IP. I used 2 cups of water & 2 teaspoons of Better than Bullion. Pressure cooked for 3 minutes with a 5+ min NPR. Came out perfect! There was some extra liquid left after cooking but it was absorbed by the pasta after sitting for about 10 minutes. This method creates very flavorful pasta and is quick and easy to do.
This will be my go-to method for cooking pasta in the future.
Great! So glad this worked well for you!
Thank you for this!!!!! We live in the northeast where most houses do not have air conditioning, and my main kitchen is a nightmare in the summer. I try to cook in the downstairs half kitchen using only my microwave, instant pot, and electric skillet. This worked perfectly with my chickpea spaghetti, and now pasta is back on our summer menu!
Oh I'm so glad this was helpful, Cara! Enjoy the summer!
Did the 1 min cook time and let it pressure release for 5 min since the range on my penne was 6-7 min. Complete mushy mess 🙁 Now I have to make a new batch on the stove.
I'm so sorry to hear that Caroline! I've never had that issue, but I'm so sorry that it happened to you!
I keep reading about this method of figuring out how long to cook pasta based on the package, but it doesn't seem to work for me. Also, I'm only at 1300ft altitude so that's not likely the issue. When I cook 8oz of Penne pasta I have to do 10 minutes and then 10 minutes natural release followed by quick release to get it to what I would call just barely over al dente. I've tried 5 minutes with 5 minutes natural release and 5 minutes with just a quick release and neither worked at all. The pasta wasn't even al dente with those times. The lowest even number cooking time on the box is 10 minutes, which would be 3 minutes by your formula and there's no way that would work, at least for me.
Hi Cory - that's so interesting. Do you find that your IP cooks other things in the time listed on the recipe? Most things cook so much more quickly under pressure than simmered on the stove or in the oven, and that has definitely been my experience with pasta.
You mention three advantages with using this method. I have a fourth: it doe not get your kitchen all hot and steamy! We are Mainers, unused to the unusually hot spring we are having, and this recipe is perfect for our needs. Thank you!