Pasta in the Instant Pot

Just four minutes is all it takes to whip up an entire box of perfectly cooked pasta in your Instant Pot. Give it a try!

Back in 2015 when I jumped on the Instant Pot Bandwagon, the whole “IP” craze was just starting to unravel ~ and I gave in…   the pot arrived a few days later and I was in heaven. So I have since then mastered making pasta.  So here are my tips.


Pasta in the Instant Pot, click here to repin.

Why would anyone want to keep their crock pot when this thing IS a crock pot + a myriad of other things?



When you can throw dinner in, walk away, and cook it in half the time – well, that’s pretty darn incredible. With a family of 7, we are always in a funk to get out the door to practice and lessons – so it only makes sense that we invest in something that can help us streamline our time.

Just four minutes is all it takes to whip up an entire box of perfectly cooked pasta in your Instant Pot. Give it a try!

One of the first questions I asked myself way back in 2015 was whether or not I could cook pasta in the Instant Pot. 

I did a lot of searching.

All I could find was the recommendation against cooking pasta in the Instant Pot, and I wasn’t sure exactly why. But… I wasn’t ready to call it quits, so I decided to use it for pasta anyways (call me a rebel!) and it worked wonderfully.



Disclosure: I have done spaghetti in the Instant Pot, but for the sake of this post, pasta is defined as the elbow macaroni, penne pasta, bow-tie type. Not that spaghetti doesn’t work – because it sure does…. but these other pastas cook so much better.

Just four minutes is all it takes to whip up an entire box of perfectly cooked pasta in your Instant Pot. Give it a try!

And bonus: we did use gluten-free pasta and it cooks up perfect every time.

We have picked up organic pasta at Costco, and regular Barilla pasta at the grocery store – it’s incredibly wonderful to be able to make a whole box of regular pasta for many reasons:

  • We can keep the cooked & drained pasta refrigerated and throw into our own homemade mac and cheese in a hurry
  • If they kids are hungry, we can warm up the pasta and serve with sauce, or stir in ground beef that is pre-cooked for an easy dinner


  • It’s an amazing way to serve up Pesto – any of these 5pesto recipes OR, this arugula pesto combined with pasta make for a really healthy meatless meal

So there you have it. Give it a try & let us know how it works for you!Just four minutes is all it takes to whip up an entire box of perfectly cooked pasta in your Instant Pot. Give it a try!

How to Make Pasta in your Instant Pot
Just four minutes is all it takes to whip up an entire box of perfectly cooked pasta in your Instant Pot. Give it a try!
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Cook Time
4 min
Total Time
5 min
Cook Time
4 min
Total Time
5 min
  1. 1 box of pasta, 12 - 16 oz (macaroni, bow-tie, penne, rigatoni)
  2. 4 C water (more or less)
  1. In the empty instant pot, pour the box of pasta in, and add 4 C. of water.
  2. You want JUST enough water to cover the pasta by 1/2 - 1 inch (which is about 4 C. depending on the size of your pasta box).
  3. Make sure that the water covers the pasta, then place the lid on the Instant Pot and close the valve (seal).
  4. Set the timer for manual (high) for 4 minutes.
  5. The pot will count down 4 minutes once it reaches pressure.
  6. Once the pot beeps finished, turn "OFF" the pot and perform a quick release.
  7. Use a slotted spoon to spoon the pasta into a bowl and drain off excess water (if any).
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    • I haven’t ever doubled it but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Just make sure you place the dry pasta within. Then, add enough water to cover the pasta by at least 1/2 if not 3/4/1 inch. Keep the same time.

      I have also made pasta with sauce like that too – except this is what I do… In the empty Instant Pot, pour your jar of pasta sauce until the jar is empty. Pour in the dry pasta. Then, fill up the empty pasta jar with water and pour water in the pot, just until it surpasses the pasta. If you have (cooked) ground beef, add that on the top. Then put the IP for high (Manual) for 4-5 minutes. Then when it’s done, just take a huge spoon and mix it up.

      Just remember that the more “full” you fill the pot, the longer it takes to come to pressure. Though I have found that it comes to pressure faster if I use the saute feature first (even if I’m no even sauteeting anything..) – it’s almost as if the temp holds and shortens the rise to pressure. Hope that helps! 🙂

      • I just cooked two boxes (16 oz each) of Campanelle pasta with 8 cups of water. I also poured about 2 TBSP of olive oil on top. I set it Manual for 8 minutes. Did a quick release and it was perfect. Meanwhile, I browned my ground beef and added canned tomato and basil pasta sauce. In a separate bowl, I mixed small curd cottage cheese, mozzella cheese, egg, parmesan cheese and italian seasonings. I layered this as I would a lasagna. It’s PERFECT! I made enough for my family and a family in my neighborhood.

        • Jerry,
          I have questions about your making lasagna. You wrote “I cooked…pasta (in Instant Pot)…Meanwhile, I browned ground beef… added tomato and basil pasta sauce. In a separate bow, I mixed small curd cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, egg, parmesan cheese and Italian seasons.” Then you layered it like for lasagna. My question: is the egg use raw or cooked? If raw, that requires baking; so, do you place the assembled lasagna in the oven. If so, at what temperature and how long do you bake it? Thanks.

    • Omg. Forgot to turn pot off before opening release valve. Mount vesuvious. Counted the under side of my above counter cabinets with rice goo, think paper maché paste. The counters the pot was sitting in a lake of it, the walls. Not my finest moment and the tinkyada brown rice penné? Think paper maché paste, again. This was my second attempt at cooking with my instant pot. I’m 0 for 2?

      • I have had that happen before too.. not with pasta, but with beans. Good gosh. Such a mess to clean up — I was teaching my kids how to make beans, the pot was almost done, and I figured I’d go water the garden to allow a little time for the pressure to come down. My kids got too excited to release the pressure “for me” and mount Vesuvius all over my counter. What a mess.. worst mess I have had to clean up. I hope you can gather up the courage to try again! 🙂

      • The trick is to release the pressure *slowly.* If you try to do it too fast, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. I make plain pasta in my IP – 3 minutes, release the pressure when done (otherwise it’s over cooked). Then I freeze it in batches for quick meals. Also steams eggs perfectly in 5 minutes (and another 5 of natural release). And potatoes, and black bean soup … 🙂

      • Just take an oven mitt and let it sit on the valve as you open it….it will “absorb” some of the steam and redirect the rest….works quite well to prevent any volcano’s. 😉

      • I’m with you!!! Even with the pot off! I had to wipe starchy goo from a shelf, set of wine glasses, crockpot, cast iron grill pan, toaster, wall, backsplash, and counter tops. And forget about pasta in tomato sauce. It never comes to pressure and burns the whole bottom of the pan. I do NOT recommend gluten-free pasta at all. Everything else works perfectly. Pasta is a no go for me.

  1. Tried these instructions for pasta but when I did the quick release, thick pasta water spat out the vent for a long time and made a total mess everywhere. Wondering what you think may have caused that to happen. Should I have released the vent slower? Did I use too much water? I used a brown rice/quinoa pasta that typically cooks faster then regular pasta so I actually did 3 minutes. But by the time the quick release was finished and I could open the pot the pasta was complete mush 🙁 Halp!

    • Same thing happened to me! I used regular semolina pasta. Fortunately, my pasta was perfectly al dente, and no straining/draining was needed, but still: water spewed everywhere like a volcano!

      • I throw a terry tea towel over pressure relief valve which catches and absorbs most of the steam also use a long handled spoon or wooden spatula to move the valve. Some moisture may catch at back of lid if fully loaded.

    • You didn’t do anything wrong. I followed the instructions too and couldn’t stop cussing as that thick pasta water sprayed all over my other kitchen appliances! Thanks for the recipe!

  2. This was an absolute disaster 🙁

    I used 16 oz of Aldi GF penne. I had to add close to 8 cups of water to cover the pasta by 1/2″. I cooked it 4 min at pressure and released the pressure. It steamed starchy water and then a bunch of the water came out of the valve as it depressurized and covered my counter and floor.

    If that wasn’t enough, when I opened the pot it was a bunch of mush. It looked like thr dumplings in chicken and dumplings.

    • I am sorry it didn’t work for you 🙁 I only used enough water to cover the pasta barely by 1/4-1/2″. I did 4 minutes as well and it came out perfect. So well, in fact that I don’t even use the stove for pasta now.. it’s just a habit to put in the IP.

      • I just tried regular pasta. Followed directions except during the release it was starting to splatter pretty bad, so I slowed it down a little until the big spatters stopped then released the steam completely. Perfect pasta!

        I had done it before in my IP, but it was by browning the meat and onions in the IP. Then making my sauce it in it and just adding the noodles directly in once the sauce was done, but it was hard to judge exactly when the noodles were done and I had to restart it twice. This time I had sauce already made in the freezer and it was quick and tasted great!

        Thank you!

    • Regular pasta is (white) wheat flour. If “GF” means gluten free then it’s not wheat. Could be rice, could be quinoa, could be a number of things. Quinoa is ruined easily if overcooked, for instance. Might be worth trying again with a smaller amount.

      I haven’t tried pasta yet, just got my IP, but will try it tonight with whole wheat penne. But just for myself, don’t feel like ruining a bunch without some experimentation. I’m assuming Sheryl C used regular pasta, which cooks a bit faster than WW, but think I’ll try it–without other ingred, I have some shrimp sauce already–and put it on sauté if it needs more time.

      Good luck!

      • Hi Riley,

        I used regular pasta. It was regular, organic pasta from Costco – not gluten-free pasta or quinoa. From my own experience I have used GF and quinoa pasta and they cook differently from regular even outside of the IP. Gluten-free seems to cook faster in most cases.

        Before this post about pasta in the IP, I was like you and wanted to try with pasta… but wasn’t sure, I didn’t want to waste, but I gave it a shot anyways, because we had to bring food to church and I was in a pinch for time. So I just went with it and made it and had success. Congrats on your new Instant Pot.. I have had mine since 2015 and it’s probably the best investment we have made. I counted over 150 IP recipes between my 3 sites, I find myself using it daily (2, 3 and sometimes 4 times a day). I probably need another one.

        Let me know how your pasta turns out.

        • I love quinoa. I don’t think we have it on this blog but we have done it on our other one (we have a combined 4 blogs of IP recipes… it’s a little crazy).

          Maybe the brand of pasta.. or perhaps trying what Steve suggested and adding a TBSP of oil. I never had issues with my pasta but I use the same pasta every time and it’s a firmer pasta.

    • This is what happened when I tried the quick release. I only added enough water to cover the pasta, but the instant pot took 8 cups of water to do that and I ended up with mush.

  3. Sheryl – Thank you for these directions! I just made a box of Barilla rotini and it came out perfectly! 4 minutes!!! No waiting for water to boil! Love it!

    • So glad you had success! Truly a game changer – right? I despise waiting for the water to boil, too! The IP allows me to put it in there and walk away for a few minutes to do something else.

    • oh thank you Linda N….I’ve been trying to find out if anyone made Rotini with luck…Did you add anything to it ? Same amount of water? Thanks to Sherly of course…

  4. This recipe worked for me. I added more like 5 cups of water and used American beauty elbow pasta. When I quick released, I needed to throw a hand towel over the stream because the pasta water started spurting. I ran cold water over the pasta after I cooked it because I didn’t want it to get any softer. I may try 3 minutes next time to see if I can avoid having to run it under cold water. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Will 4 minutes work for spiral? 12oz boxes. I want it for a pasta salad so not soft, maybe a little more firmer than al dente? It is made with Italian dressing so it tends to get softer as it sets a day or so.
    I’ve experimented with various pasta box mac and cheese, shells, gf. But now it’s pasta veggie salad time.
    And of course I never think to ask until the day I need it. Lol.

  6. I tried this last night without having read the comments first. :/ Like others, the immediate quick release spewed milky pasta water all over the place. NOT FUN. The pasta was cooked perfectly, however, so leaving it any longer without the QR would have turned it to mush. Next time I will try only cooking 2 minutes and then allowing 5 min before doing the QR. For the record, I did add oil but that did not prevent the foamy water from covering everything within about 18″ of the IP. :/

  7. I love my IP I got a second one. I have thought about cooking pasta but hadn’t done it yet. I have had them for a couple of years. Got rid of the slow cooker. and I tell everyone to get one. I should get a commission.
    Thanks for the pasta directions, can’t wait to get home.
    (side note: I ripped out the kitchen for a remodel in May and have used the IP and our grill)

  8. I did a variation: I put in a jar of sauce, added a box of penne and pushed down, then covered with enough water to cover by about 1/2″. I had to add between 2-3 jars (a 3-cup jar size.) It took about 12-15 min to get to pressure and then I used a 5 min time followed by QR. No splatter, and when I opened it the top was a bit watery, though things improved when I mixed everything. The kids liked it, and while I don’t think it was as good as the conventional way, being hands-off the whole time was, as always with the IP, very helpful!

  9. If you spray the pot with oil above the water line, the foam will not rise and shoot out the valve. I use this trick for making Oatmeal too.

    • just saying::: I always rinse my pasta of any sort with cold water about 3 times before I ever cook it and the same goes for rice of any sort…I use Jasmine and it works perfectly…Hope this helps….JA, MS

      • what a great idea. think I’ll give that a go. I made gf Catelli spaghetti pasta tonight. A “tooney” size amount with 4 cups of water. Manual high pressure. Like others, QR spewed out copious amounts of water, making a mess, but the pasta was perfectly cooked at 4 minutes with QR, I did strain and rinse with cold water to prevent continued cooking. May try 2 minutes next time and slower release.

  10. You say you can do spaghetti but do not say what you would do differently. Would you do it the same way, but it just doesnt turn out as well? I have searched a lot and this is the best tip yet for how to do just plain pasta. Does using whole wheat require any adjustments?

  11. This was amazing! Thank you! I added 1 Tbs. of olive oil and did need to cover pressure release with a towel. I am thankful for this way to cook pasta quickly without hearing up my kitchen!

  12. I just made macaroni salad. I placed the wire rack in with the pasta water and a few eggs too. 4 minutes, everything cooked perfectly!!! I just shared on my Pinterest board, thanks so much!

  13. My most used pasta is angel hair. This cooks really fast. Is there a minimum amount of time you can set it for, like only two minutes, for example? Nothing worse than mushy pasta.

    Alternatively, do any of the settings allow you to just boil water and cook it the “normal” way, without pressure? We want something all-purpose to take to my friend’s rented cabin for a two week stay. I don’t think we can go that long without pasta. 😉

    • I don’t think there is a setting for that … at least not the normal way. I have tried cooking angel hair and it never works for me. The only thing that does is elbows or penne, the types of crazy twirly pasta. Spaghetti and Angel Hair have always been unsuccessful for me. If you can get it to work, come back and comment because you might give me the courage to try again.

    • You can literally set the time to zero minutes. That’s how I do broccoli. It only takes the amount of time it takes to heat up, then it’s done. Quick release. It’s perfect. 🙂

  14. I tried this tonight. I used a box of salad macaroni, 4 cups of water and the directions you posted high 6 minutes. Only problem was that I went outside with the kids and totally forgot about it and it started the NPR for 7 or so min until I realized that I had forgotten about it. I did a QR and had no spewing, very little water was left. The pasta is cooked pretty well even though I forgot about it. I think next time I’ll add a little oil to make it not so sticky and I will try not to forget haha!

  15. This was EXCELLENT!! I had a 17.6oz package from Costco, the small pastas that come in a 6 pack, added oil to the bottom of the pot and 5 C of water with the QR was perfect. I’ve tried noodles a million times and couldn’t quite get it right, thank you so much!!

    • Glad you were successful! 🙂 That’s the exact same pasta we purchase too and it works like a charm. It’s a great feeling when you find something that works so well.

  16. Try it in a pot in pot….works great! (I know, what does he know he’s a guy, right?….I do all the cooking and grocery shopping for my wife. Girls eat your heart out)

  17. I did this with regular white spaghetti – I broke it in half to fit into the pot, then covered with 1 inch water. I don’t like al dente, so I cooked for 5 minutes and then used quick release – perfect! I read about the mess that the released steam can make, so I covered the release valve with a dishrag before releasing and all the gook stayed in the dishrag.

  18. I just got my IP today, and decided to cook a whole bag of Costco green beans for the freezer, pressure cooked it for 4 minutes, QR , the beans were softer than I would like, I would do it next time at 2 min.
    Then I cooked 1lb penne, emptied the box in the inner pot, poured about 1/2 c heavy cream, and poured leftover homemade turkey broth to almost cover the pasta, threw in 1/2 diced peppers, 1/2 onion, threw in a handful of my frozen garden basil( I froze whole the top branches whole). Pressure cooked for 4min on high. QR. added grated mozzarella , 4 oz cream cheese, and stirred, tasted delicious!! Perfectly cooked pasta, not watery at all. I am very thankful that I quick released very carefully in case stuff came out. Maybe the difference is that I didn’t cover the pasta all the way, maybe short of the top of dry pasta by 1/4 inch.

  19. I just got my IP as well, so I’m still experimenting.
    I used only 1.5 cups elbow macaroni and enough water just to cover. As it was a small amount, I only went with 3 minutes cook time. I had sprayed the inside of the pot with Pam and had no issues with the QR. I had to drain a few ml of water off and rinsed it while I was at the sink as it looked starchy. Result was perfect macaroni!
    Won’t be scared to try a bigger batch nex time!

  20. I just tried this with egg noodles and it worked great! Half a bag of cheap egg noodles and enough water to just cover as you said. I did 3 minutes instead of 4 because of the type of noodle. To avoid the splatter, I just barely vent mine so the steam escapes slowly instead of just flipping it all the way open. Thank you so much!

    • Oh, I wish I had read your comment before I cooked egg noodles tonight, Abby. I used half a bag (6 oz) of noodles, 4 cups of water, eyeballed the oil (probably didn’t use enough) and set on High Pressure for 4 minutes. I did a Quick Release and almost had a mess. Fortunately, I had an oven glove handy to throw over the vent, so most of the mess was contained. It was cooked perfectly. Next time I’ll try it your way. Maybe less water would be better.

      I successfully cook 1/2 pound (2-1/2 cups) of Barilla elbows with 2 cups water at 4 minutes on High Pressure with Quick Release on a regular basis, with no mess. The one time I cooked 2-1/2 pounds of elbows, using 6 cups of water, it was a major disaster with the Quick Release.

  21. Well, I was so intent on reading all the comments. I was cooking noodles on saute in the chicken broth in my new Instant Pot where I had just cooked thighs just fine. The noodles burned completely across the pan. Any suggestions on reclaiming the pot?? I have it soaking with soda.

  22. I wish I had read the comments before making this. When I quick released it spattered everywhere. A real mess not to mention a safety risk. You should really consider changing your instructions and/or adding a warning. I’m glad this turned out perfectly for you but there is enough comments from others to warrant a change in the instructions regarding the quick release.

  23. Sooooo disappointed as I wanted this to work so badly!!! I even did only two minutes and then slowly let the pressure off and they were all smooshy and gummy and soft… I like al dente… will have to try again, as one of my pet peeves is cooking pasta for some reason. I did the Fusili. About 1/4 to 1/2 inch water x2 minutes… then waited for 5 minutes before venting…perhaps that was my mistake??

  24. So glad I read most of the comments ahead of time. I cooked the Thai Kitchen brand stir-fry rice noodles for 2 min as a part of a gluten free chicken noodle soup. Did the quick release but saved myself a mess by putting a towel over the valve to catch the mess. This was my first try at a pasta noodle in the Instant Pot and it was perfect.

  25. I did the same thing as Nancy. I didn’t have a box of pasta, so I measured two cups of shell pasta and four cups of water….four minutes with quick release. Poured off the excess water. Next time I will try just enough water to cover and try four minutes, and if still mushy, later try 3 minutes.

    I thought with anything like rice or pasta, ie things that expand, you’re not supposed to do a quick release but rather 10 minute natural release.

    Your thoughts?

  26. Thanks for the great idea. I don’t know, I’m not sure this is a significant Time Savings over just doing it the old-fashioned way in the stock pot on the stove top. And I certainly sympathize with those folks who had the mushy pasta water spewing out of the top of the instant pot. It wasn’t that bad but it was bad enough that I am going to think twice about trying this again. And the quality is certainly much easier to control on the stovetop then in the instant pot. But as one previous comment said, I’m a guy, so what do I know?!?

  27. This turned out perfect for me. I just throw a towel over the steam coming out, as this happens anytime you do quick release.

  28. Last night I cooked papperdelle pasta, one bag, in the IP (I have the Cosori brand of IP, same thing basically). It took six cups of water to cover. Cooked on highest manual setting for 4 minutes, then QR. Lots of spew so I flipped it back over for 30 seconds, then back to QR and threw a dish towel over it and no problem. Pasta was perfect. Like Carmen’s recipe in the comments and will try that next. Thanks!

  29. I wish I’d read the comments before rushing off to cook my quinoa pasta. Vesuvius! The rigatoni was perfect, though, so I’ll definitely try it again using the tips.

  30. I just cooked rigatoni in my IP. Followed your instructions and it was the best pasta I have ever made. I am Italian and I make a lot of pasta.

  31. I just made the best and fastest dinner based on the inspiration of this pin. What a cool way to do pasta. Not sure if I’ll ever mess with draining water off pasta the old fashioned way ever again😁. So I had a pound of leftover taco ground beef from a couple meals ago, and 4 fresh tomatoes on their last day. I put my box of elbow macaroni with 2 cans chicken broth for liquid, plus a little more to be at 1/4 inch above pasta and 1 tsp salt. 4 min pressure cooked. Released in quick spurts with paper towel covering any splatter. Turned to saute, added 1 can tomato sauce, ground beef, tomatoes, 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning, 3 -4 shakes of garlic salt and a handful of cheese. It was perfect and the kids proved it by going back for 2nd and 3rds😆..Thank you so much!!!

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