Plate of spaghetti

Instant Pot Spaghetti

Spaghetti is such a classic quick go-to one pot meal for busy weeknights. Now spaghetti is even easier and hands-free with this Instant Pot version!

   Plate of spaghetti

Easy one pot dinner

Although spaghetti is the classic quick go-to meal for many families, I didn’t make it as often until I perfected this Instant Pot spaghetti sauce. I’m super picky about tomato based sauces, and spaghetti sauce is one of those that I’m a snob about.

I’ve been disappointed at most restaurants’ spaghetti sauces too. But this sauce, is a game changer! Even my daughter, who hates tomatoes and tomato based meals, likes this one!

Key ingredient to delicious spaghetti sauce

Sugar. There, I said it. I advocate for avoiding sugar when not necessary. In this sauce, the sugar is a vital component.

Sugar helps cut the acidity from the tomato sauce, brightens and rounds out the flavor with as little as 2 teaspoons. You can definitely make this sauce without sugar, however, it really does make this sauce feel alive.

Plate of spaghetti

Rich, sauce infused noodles

It’s quick to make and hands-off, which is my favorite way to cook in the kitchen on busy nights.

I especially love that the sauce gets cooked right into the pasta, so that the noodles are infused with all of the flavors instead of plain noodles with a slop of sauce on top. Bleh.

Plate of spaghetti

how to cook spaghetti in instant pot

  1. Push saute mode on Instant Pot and wait until screen reads HOT. (This will make it have a nonstick like surface)
  2. Add oil, onion, ground beef and ground black pepper. Saute until cooked.
  3. Break spaghetti noodles in half. Place a thin single layer of noodles across the pot, on top of the meat.
  4. Continue to spread thin single layers of noodles, slightly rotating the directions of each layer. This will prevent the noodles from sticking together in clumps as they cook.
  5. Pour tomato sauce directly on top of noodles in the middle. Do not stir. Tomato sauce tends to burn in the Instant Pot and this method prevents this.
  6. Add seasonings on top of tomato sauce.
  7. Pour water along the inside edges of the Instant Pot so that the water goes down into the bottom with the meat.
  8. Close lid. Turn knob to sealing. Pressure cook for 7 minutes on high pressure.
  9. Manually turn the knob to venting for a quick pressure release.
  10. Stir spaghetti, gently breaking up any noodles that might have clumped together.
  11. Close lid. Push cancel (to turn off keep warm mode). Let spaghetti rest for 5-7 minutes to allow the noodles to continue cooking and absorbing more liquid.
  12. Serve and enjoy!

Cooking ground beef in Instant Pot  First layer of noodles

 Spaghetti noodles layered in Instant Pot   Seasoning on top of tomato sauce in Instant Pot

 Water pouring into Instant Pot Soupy spaghetti sauce

  Instant Pot spaghetti inside pot

cook frozen Ground beef without thawing in instant pot

Forget to thaw the ground meat before hand?

No worries. Do this quick thaw method and you’ll be back on track making dinner with just an additional 25 minutes to thaw the meat instead of several hours.

This Instant Pot spaghetti also tastes amazing using ground elk meat or ground turkey!

How to defrost meat quickly:

  1. Place trivet in bottom of Instant Pot.
  2. Add 1.5 cups of water into Instant Pot.
  3. Remove packaging from meat and place frozen meat onto trivet.
  4. Close lid, turn knob to sealing position. Cook on high for 15 minutes with 10 min NPR.
  5. Remove trivet with meat and place on a plate.
  6. Drain liquid out of Instant Pot.
  7. Add meat back into Instant Pot and break up into smaller pieces using a spatula.
  8. Proceed to the recipe for making spaghetti.

Instant Pot Spaghetti with text overlay

Want more easy Instant Pot dinner ideas?

Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken

Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken

Instant Pot Buffalo Wings

Instant Pot Buffalo Wings

Instant Pot Pinto Beans

Instant Pot Pinto Beans Cafe Rio_Costa Vida Style

Plate of spaghetti

Instant Pot Spaghetti

Delicious, fast and easy hands-free meal that your family will love! Classic spaghetti made easy with the Instant Pot!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 16 oz spaghetti
  • 3 15 oz tomato sauce canned
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar to help cut acid
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 cups water


  • Push saute mode on Instant Pot and wait until screen reads HOT.
  • Add oil, onion, ground beef, ground black pepper and saute until cooked. Press cancel.
  • Add the following in the exact order to avoid BURN error. Break spaghetti noodles in half. In thin single layers, spread noodles across the pot in one direction. Slightly rotate the pot and spread another thin, single layer of noodles going in a different direction than layer underneath. Continue and repeat layers until all of the noodles are placed down in alternating directions (this prevents the noodles from clumping together).
  • Pour tomato sauce directly in the middle on top of the noodles, being careful not to pour down the sides of pot.
  • Add seasonings on top of tomato sauce.
  • Pour water along the inside edges of the pot to get down into the bottom of the pot with the meat.
  • Close lid on Instant Pot and turn knob to sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. Manually turn the knob and quick release pressure after cook time is up.
  • Open lid and stir spaghetti. It will look a little soupy but that's ok. The noodles will continue to cook and absorb remaining liquid. Stir noodles and separate any possible noodle clumps. Place lid back on Instant Pot. Push cancel to turn off keep warm mode. Let noodles rest for 5-7 minutes to finish cooking and absorbing liquid.
  • Open lid and stir spaghetti. Serve hot paired with a salad and breadsticks!


Serving: 1grams

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  1. Hi Jennie,
    Do you know if I can use gluten free spaghetti noodles in this recipe? Do the cooking times change at all?

    1. I have found that gf noodles are often more starchy. I would try using smaller gf pasta like elbow macaroni, shells or mini penne pasta so that there’s more room for expansion without clumping together as it tends to do with straight spaghetti noodles.

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