3-Ingredient Instant Pot Penne Pasta

updated Mar 8, 2021
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Instant Pot Penne Pasta

Instant Pot penne is saucy and creamy, and comes together in under 20 minutes.


Prep2 minutes

Cook19 minutes

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someone is pulling out a spoonful of penne pasta in an instant pot
Credit: Photo: Tara Donne; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Instant Pot penne is nothing short of pure comfort. It’s deliciously saucy and creamy, but what really makes it stand out is the way the sauce clings to the pasta like a magnet. And since the pasta is cooked directly in the sauce, it soaks up all the garlicky, herby, tomato flavor. What more could you want from a three-ingredient dinner?

Don’t Stir the Pasta!

Unlike stovetop cooking, where it’s helpful to stir the pasta after it’s added to the pot, the key making the best Instant Pot penne is not stirring the dried pasta after it’s added to the pot. Instead, you’ll wait until the pasta is cooked through to stir everything together.

The process is simple: Add the marinara to the Instant Pot, scatter the dried pasta over top, then pour in the water. (Remember, no stirring!) Once the cook time is up and you quick-release the pressure, you’ll stir in some cream and thoroughly stir the pasta together. The result is creamy, super-saucy penne that’s cooked just until al dente.

Instant Pot Penne Pasta

Instant Pot penne is saucy and creamy, and comes together in under 20 minutes.

Prep time 2 minutes

Cook time 19 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1 (about 24-ounce) jar

    marinara sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 12 ounces

    dried penne pasta

  • 1 1/2 cups


  • 1/2 cup

    heavy cream


  1. Add 1 jar marinara sauce and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker and stir to combine. Scatter 12 ounces dried penne pasta over the sauce in an even layer. Do not stir from this point on.

  2. Pour 1 1/2 cups water into the marinara jar, cover, and shake gently. Pour the water over the pasta. Remember — no stirring here. Lock the lid on and make sure the pressure valve is set to seal. Set to cook under HIGH pressure for 6 minutes. It will take about 13 minutes to come up to pressure.

  3. When the cook time is up, quick release the pressure. Turn the pressure cooker off. Pour in 1/2 cup heavy cream and stir to combine.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.