This tasty Instant Pot Penne Pasta recipe is a quick and easy recipe perfect for an easy weeknight dinner. The best part about this recipe is that the pasta and sauce are cooked together, from scratch. So there’s no need for jar pasta sauce. [Stovetop instructions also provided.]
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Making pasta in the Instant Pot is so convenient because everything gets done in one pot. This delicious pressure cooker pasta recipe is one of the first recipes I developed when I first got my Instant Pot and it’s a family favorite.
The really interesting thing about making pasta in an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker is that you don’t drain the starchy pasta water. You cook the pasta in the Instant Pot, and the cooking liquid gets absorbed into the dish, making it thick and creamy.
Learn more about your Instant Pot…
- Natural vs Quick Release: What are the different types of steam release and when should you use them?
- Instant Pot Tips and FAQs: What are some of the most commonly asked questions about the Instant Pot?
- Instant Pot Not Sealing: Why is your Instant Pot not sealing and what can you do to fix it?
- Common Instant Pot Problems: What are the most common problems encountered by Instant Pot users and how to solve them.
- Instant Pot Sous Vide: If you have a Sous Vide button on your Instant Pot, learn how to use it for perfectly cooked foods.
I combined two different stovetop recipes to make Instant Pot sausage pasta: my homemade pasta sauce original recipe and my Italian sausage pasta recipe. The result is perfectly cooked pasta with sausage and veggies.
On a really busy day, you can make Instant Pot creamy sausage pasta within 30 minutes from scratch and the hands-on time is less than about 10 minutes.
I love this easy Instant Pot recipe because it’s perfect for a busy weeknight! It feeds my whole family and it’s one of the best one-pot meals that I make.
Try Another Instant Pot Pasta Recipe
- Cajun Chicken Pasta is a spicy pasta dish with chicken, sausage, peppers, and Cajun spices that’s sure to please.
- Vegetarian Rigatoni is a vegetarian adaptation of rigatoni bolognese that’s an easy one-pot meal.
- One Pot Spaghetti is an easy recipe with spaghetti noodles and meat sauce cooked together from scratch.
- Chicken Tikka Masala Pasta is a one-pot curry pasta dish with Indian spices that can be made on the stovetop or Instant Pot.
Tips for making this pressure cooker pasta recipe
The recipe gives you the option of using broth or water. Using broth makes the penne more flavorful because the broth is absorbed by the penne.
Pasta in the Instant Pot
To avoid the Burn error message, add the dry pasta at the end right before pressure cooking, and don’t stir it. Just push down on it with a spatula until the pasta is submerged in the liquid.
The general rule of thumb for cooking pasta in the Instant Pot is to take the time that the pasta box says, divide by 2 and add 1. e.g. if the stovetop cooking time on the pasta box is listed as 8 minutes, you would pressure cook for 5 minutes (8 divided by 2 = 4; 4 + 1 = 5).
For al dente pasta, pressure cook for half the time recommended on the box.
You have the option of adding an extra 4 ounces of pasta if you want the pasta to be less tomato-ey or if you have an extra person to feed. No other changes to the recipe are required.
I have not tried this recipe with gluten free pasta. If you do, please comment and let me know how it turned out!
For maximum flavor, try to use good quality, freshly grated parmesan cheese.
You can use mild or hot Italian sausage. I buy Italian sausage links and remove the casing.
Substitute any of the following and keep the cook time the same. You can make it meatier with an extra ¼ lb of meat. You might need to add some extra Italian seasoning if you’re using plain ground meat instead of Italian:
- Ground Italian sausage
- Ground pork sausage
- Ground beef
- Boneless skinless chicken (cubed)
- Turkey sausage
- Chicken sausage
The recipe calls for a large can of crushed tomatoes. That makes this dish have a pretty strong tomato flavor. The reason for this is that the cream balances out the tomatoes. If you want to reduce the tomato flavor, use ½ to ¾ can of tomatoes.
The tomatoes are also added at the end and not stirred. Again, this is to help avoid getting the Burn notice.
The recipe adds a touch of sugar to balance out the sourness of the tomatoes. You can substitute sugar with some grated carrots, which add sweetness.
If you quick release the pressure (QR) for pasta, food particles can spew out of the steam release valve. To avoid this, release pressure in short bursts.
When cooking is done and the Instant Pot beeps, move the steam release valve from Sealing position to Venting position for 1 second and back to Sealing. Repeat multiple times until the steam coming out is less forceful. At that point, you can release the remaining pressure in a steady stream.
Find out more about the different methods of releasing pressure.
If you find the pasta to be too saucy, add in some extra cooked pasta this time. Next time you make it, add an extra 2 to 4 ounces of pasta, with no other changes required to the recipe. If the liquid doesn’t cover the pasta, add a tablespoon or two of broth on top of the pasta.
Make sure that you deglaze and scrape the bottom of the pot really well before pressure cooking. Also, don’t stir the pasta. Just add them on top and gently press down to make sure the pasta is submerged. If you’re still having issues, increase the liquid by ¼ cup. Find out how to avoid the burn message.
Yes, you can omit the sugar or add some shredded carrots for sweetness which helps offset the tartness of the tomatoes.
Yes, you can double the recipe with no changes to cook time.
If you find that the pasta is overcooking and you prefer it more al dente, reduce the cooking time by 1 minute.
Instant Pot Penne Pasta – Ingredients
- Penne pasta
- Bell peppers
- Dried basil and oregano
- Crushed tomato
- Black pepper
- White wine
- Olive oil
More details in the recipe card at the bottom of this post
How to make Instant Pot Italian Sausage Pasta (Step by Step Instructions)
- Saute meat and onions.
- Add seasoning and pasta.
- Pressure cook pasta.
- Stir in cream and garnish with parsley and parmesan.
Saute Meat and Onions
- Once the inner pot has preheated, add oil to the inner pot and let it heat up.
- Add meat and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. If the meat browns too quickly, press Cancel until the the pot cools down a bit and select Saute again. Deglaze as needed with a tablespoon of broth.
- Add onions and garlic.
- Stir the onions and garlic and cook on Sauté mode until translucent. Deglaze the bottom of the Instant Pot with white wine, stirring until the liquid has nearly evaporated. Once the sausage and onion mixture has cooked, press Cancel to turn Instant Pot off.
Add Seasoning and Pasta
- Add bell pepper, sugar, basil, oregano, salt, black pepper.
- Add broth or water. Stir to combine.
- Add pasta to the pot, but don’t stir in. Gently push down with a spatula so the pasta is submerged.
- Add the tomato sauce to cover the pasta, but don’t stir. Layering ingredients this way helps avoid the Burn message.
Program the Instant Pot and release pressure
- Close the Instant Pot lid.
- Program the Instant Pot to Manual or Pressure Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
- The display will go from On to 5:00. The float valve will go up after a few minutes. The display will count down to 00:00.
- Do a quick release of pressure. Once the float valve goes down, the lid can be opened.
✏️ PRO TIP FOR RELEASING PRESSURE IN BURSTS
- For some foods such as noodles, I find it helpful to release the steam in small bursts: less than 1-second intervals. Once the steam coming out is less forceful, release the remaining pressure in a steady stream. Read more about the different pressure release methods.
Stir in Cream and Garnish
- Once you open the lid, there might seem to be more liquid than you’d like, but don’t worry, the liquid will get absorbed by the pasta as it rests.
- Stir in cream.
- Stir in parsley.
- Select Saute function and simmer the pasta and sauce for a couple of minutes until heated through. Let the penne rest for a few minutes and it will thicken up. Sprinkle each serving of the creamy Italian sausage pasta with grated parmesan, parsley, and red pepper flakes (if using).
Instant Pot Tips and Tricks
Learn about how to use the Delay Start feature, which allows you to begin pressure cooking at a future time.
Pot in Pot
Find out how to use the Pot in Pot cooking method, which allows you to cook multiple foods together.
Find out how long to cook any type of food in the Instant Pot and what method of pressure release to use.
How to Make Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage on the Stove
- Make the Marinara Sauce
- Saute onions and garlic.
- Stir in tomatoes and simmer.
- Stir in seasonings and simmer.
- Cook pasta according to box directions, drain, and set aside.
- Brown the sausage in oil.
- Add bell pepper and sauté until crisp-tender.
- Deglaze with white wine.
- Stir in cooked plain pasta, tomato sauce, and cream.
- Simmer until heated through.
- Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan and parsley, and crushed red pepper, if using.
See the recipe card below for detailed instructions.
Instant Pot Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil (Use 2 tablespoon for stovetop version)
- 1 lb Italian sausage (500 grams) casing removed, cut into ½ inch chunks
- ½ cup onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup bell peppers 1 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- ¼ tsp black pepper powder
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth or water (No broth needed for stovetop version)
- 28 oz. crushed tomatoes (794 grams)
- 8 oz dry penne pasta (226 grams)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- parmesan cheese shredded
- parsley chopped, to garnish
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste, optional
Instant Pot Instructions
- Select Saute mode and add oil to inner pot of Instant Pot.
- Add sausage, and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Break up the sausage if the pieces are too large. (If the sausage browns too quickly, press Cancel until the Instant Pot cools down a bit and select Saute again.)
- Add onions and garlic. Stir until onion is translucent.
- Deglaze pot with white wine, stirring until liquid has nearly evaporated.
- Turn off Instant Pot.
- Stir in bell peppers, sugar, dried basil, oregano, salt, black pepper, and broth or water.
- Add in the tomatoes and pasta. Don't stir but just gently push down to submerge in the liquid.
- Close the lid and pressure cook on High Pressure for 5 minutes.
- Do a Quick Release of steam, and open the Instant Pot. [Read More: The Different Pressure Release Methods]
- Select Saute mode.
- Stir in cream and simmer the pasta for a couple of minutes until heated through.
- Turn off Instant Pot and if desired, let the pasta rest for a few minutes to absorb any remaining liquid. Remove the inner pot from the base to keep the pasta from cooking further.
- Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan and parsley, and crushed red pepper, if using.
- Make the marinara sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté briefly. Stir in crushed tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in sugar, dried basil, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Simmer for another 15 minutes. *
- Cook pasta according to box directions. Drain and set aside.
- Brown sausage in 1 tablespoon oil in a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, for about 5 minutes. Deglaze as needed.
- Add bell pepper and sauté until crisp-tender.
- Deglaze with white wine, simmering until the liquid is nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in pasta, 2 cups marinara sauce, and cream. Simmer until heated through. Add more sauce to taste.
- Sprinkle each serving with parmesan and parsley, and crushed red pepper, if using.
- Prep time does not include steps that are already accounted for in the ingredient list, e.g. chopped onions, minced garlic, diced chicken, etc.
- To lighten the dish, you could substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream.
- The sugar adds a nice balance to the flavor of the tomatoes, but feel free to leave it out or add some grated carrots.
- * Substitute jar of marinara sauce for the homemade, if you wish.
- See the blog post for more detailed recipe tips.
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I am not a certified nutritionist. I provide my best estimate of nutritional information merely as a courtesy to my readers. If you depend on nutritional information for dietary or health reasons, I suggest using your favorite online nutrition calculator to confirm the nutritional value of this recipe based on the actual ingredients that you use.
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✅ Why Trust Neena at Paint the Kitchen Red?
Neena has extensive knowledge and lifelong experience in using pressure cookers. The years of practice have honed her skills in maximizing the potential of a pressure cooker, resulting in consistently delicious and well-cooked meals. Her Instant Pot expertise enables her to provide valuable insights, troubleshooting advice, and innovative recipe ideas, making her a reliable source for all things Instant Pot!