One of the big problems with cooking pasta in the Instant Pot is that it is rather easy to overcook the pasta. As much as we all like those easy home-cooked dinners where you don’t have to watch over the stove, pasta in the Instant pot can easily turn rather soggy.
As someone who is trying to eat healthier, I started looking for ways to cook a one-pot pasta meal in the Instant pot that wasn’t going to sacrifice taste in exchange for ease-of-use. One of my go-to meals has always been pasta dishes because they’re easy, hearty and delicious.
So rather than cook pasta the “traditional” way, I made notes for myself for what worked and what didn’t work when it came to making a good pasta al dente in the Instant Pot.
What type of pasta to use
There are certain pastas that will cook better in the Instant pot than others. Pastas that are too thin like capellini or angel hair will overcook very quickly and should not be prepared in the Instant pot.
On the other hand, thicker pastas like rigatoni or shaped pastas like conchiglie, rotini, or farfelle can be cooked in the Instant pot. Long, straight pasta like spaghetti, fettuccini, and linguini can be cooked as well, but you have to watch the pot closely, rather than set it and forget.
I like to use wholewheat versions of the pasta which tends not to overcook as quickly, especially if I’m adding in other ingredients to make a one-pot meal. Some one-pot meal ideas are:
- Instant Pot Lemon garlic scallops pasta
- Instant Pot Tofu and Pasta (with spinach)
- Instant pot spaghetti carbonara
It goes without saying, but stuffed pastas like ravioli or tortellini will not do well in the Instant pot.
How much time to set on the Instant pot
The main tip to avoid overcooking is to take the amount of time it says on the box of pasta and divide it by three. If the pasta is undercooked, you can always press the Sauté button afterward to bring it to the level of al dente that you like.
To make it simple, I’ve noted this handy chart for cooking pasta in the Instant Pot:
on the box of pasta
for Instant Pot
When you do put the Instant pot to zero at high pressure, the pasta will cook at during the warming up period.
How much water to add to the Instant Pot
The general rule is to use 2 cups water for every 225g (8 oz) of pasta. In general, that means:
- 225 g (8 oz) Pasta = 2 cups of water
- 450 g (16 oz) Pasta = 4 cups of water
- 675 g (24 oz) Pasta = 6 cups water
Around 450-500g of pasta is usually sufficient for 4 people.
Using Quick Release
While the big benefit of the Instant pot is that you can set it and walk away, pasta is one of those dishes that you do have to pay attention to and quick release the steam, rather than letting it out naturally.
I always Quick Release the pasta, and then use the Sauté function in order to bring the pasta to the level of al dente. One thing to be aware is when you do open the Instant pot after the Quick Release is that the sauce of the pasta may appear quite watery.
However, the pasta is still cooking, and if you let the pasta rest for 5-10 minutes, you will notice that the water decreases automatically, (as long as you have not added too much water to begin with!)
How to cook pasta in Instant Pot
- 450 g of pasta any type or shape
- 4 cups water
- pinch of salt
- Place the pasta at the bottom of the instant pot.
- Add 4 cups water or until the pasta is completely covered.
- Place any other ingredients you wish into the pot.*
- Set Instant pot on Manual High for 2 minutes.
- Once the Instant pot has finished, quick release the steam.
- Stir the pasta and add any dairy ingredients (as per the notes below), and press the sauté button for 5 minutes.
- Let the pasta rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve while warm.
If you enjoyed that, check out our other delicious recipes that you can make in an Instant pot. Bon appétit!