Instant Pot Sausage + Pasta | Cozy and comforting, this Instant Pot Italian sausage and pasta dinner is easy to make with only 2 minutes on high pressure in the pressure cooker. After about 10 minutes of initial sauteing, this boldly flavored dish comes together very easily and cooks the rest of the way on the high-pressure setting for nicely textured pasta with a thick, tomato sauce. This is an easy 30-Minute Meal.
You're only 8 ingredients and 30 minutes away from this Instant Pot Italian Sausage and Pasta dinner.
We'll use the Instant Pot's saute function to cook the sausage and onion and then you'll switch to the high pressure setting to cook the pasta in just 2 minutes. It takes about 10-15 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure, but it's all hands-off time.
These easy Instant Pot sausages and pasta are super easy to make - follow my two tips for Instant Pot cooking below! This dish also serves up mega flavor with minimal ingredients because the sausages, tomato sauce, and Italian seasoning are all so flavorful.
Use the table of contents below to jump to any section of this blog post. You can also use the jump to recipe link above to get right to the recipe card.
Can you cook pasta in an instant pot?
Yes, pasta cooks very quickly in a pressure cooker. It's important to add the pasta last and push it just under the liquid, instead of stirring it through the dish, to avoid a burn warning on your Instant Pot.
How long does it take to cook pasta in an instant pot?
A common technique for cooking pasta in a pressure cooker is to divide the lowest number on the package's cook time by half and then subtract a minute or two.
So if your pasta's instructions say 8-9 minutes, you would divide that in half for 4 minutes and then subtract a minute for a final cook time of 3 minutes on high pressure. Subtract 2 minutes for firmer pasta and 1 minute for a softer pasta.
Short pasta shapes like penne, rotini, or shells take 2 minutes in an Instant Pot. Orzo takes about 4 minutes to cook on high pressure in a pressure cooker.
Keep in mind that this is all hands-off cooking so it may not result in your perfect texture every time and that all pressure cookers vary.
About the ingredients for this recipe. See the recipe card below for exact amounts.
- the sausage: I use Italian sausages for this recipe because that's the kind of vibe I was going for with the tomato sauce, pasta, and Italian seasoning. You can change or keep the seasoning blend and use different sausages. Plain sausage would be good, spicy ones would be great too.
- the pasta: I used a pound of penne pasta, but you could use any short pasta shape in this recipe.
- the flavors: this dish has cozy and bold flavors with tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, Italian sausages, onion and bell peppers, and spinach.
Instant Pot Cooking Tips
Instant Pot is a brand of electric pressure cookers. I love mine - I have the DUO 10-in-1 model.
There are two important tips to note for this recipe (and all pressure cooking).
Scrape the bottom
It's important to scrape the bottom of the pot before pressure cooking because all the little bits left on the bottom after sauteing the sausages will burn if you don't scrape them up.
Your Instant Pot will show a burn warning and stop cooking. You'll have to scrape the bottom and then start again.
To scrape all the little bits off of the bottom of the Instant Pot insert after sauteing add a splash of the water. Use a wooden spoon (I use a flat wooden turner) and scrape the bottom. It'll come off pretty easy. Make sure you scrape the entire bottom of the pot before moving on with the recipe.
Don't stir the pasta in
This is so important. When you're doing this, it'll probably seem wrong, but resist the urge to stir the pasta in! Simply pour it in last and then press it down gently so that it's just covered by the liquid. The Instant Pot will do the rest and cook the pasta perfectly.
It's important to follow the order for the layering of ingredients for this recipe.
- chop the onions, peppers, and garlic
- remove the casing from the sausage and break them into pieces
- measure 3 cups of water
This recipe is made entirely in the Instant Pot. Start by sauteing, then cook on high pressure to finish. Add spinach in and just stir it through before serving - it'll wilt fast.
Turn the Instant Pot to the saute function. Mine shows a timer for 30 minutes, it's fine just ignore it. Add the sausage and cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring, until the sausage is mostly browned.
Add a splash of water and scrape the bottom of the pot. Important: This helps prevent the burn warning!
Add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned.
Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and kosher salt. Stir well and saute for about 30-60 seconds to cook the garlic. Turn the saute function off.
Add the water and then stir, making sure the bottom of the pot is clean with no food stuck to it.
Add the peppers. Just let them sit there, don't stir.
Add the tomato sauce and just let it sit there without stirring it in.
Add the pasta. Don't stir! Important: Don't stir in the peppers, tomato sauce, or pasta - this helps prevent a burn warning.
Press the pasta down into the liquid without stirring. Make sure it's been into the liquid and sitting on top of everything, then add the lid to the Instant Pot. Mine seals automatically. Turn yours to seal if needed.
Set the Instant Pot to high pressure and set the time to 2 minutes.
Chop the spinach while you wait. It'll take the Instant Pot about 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before starting the 2 minutes of cooking.
When the timer is up, do a quick pressure release by moving the sealing valve to venting.
Remove the lid and stir the spinach in, add the lid but don't turn it, and let it sit for 2 minutes. Serve while hot.
The sauce should have a nice consistency and the pasta should be cooked perfectly.
Garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh parsley, if you like them.
RECIPE TIP: Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot after sauteing and to not stir the pasta in, and add the correct amounts of liquids in the recipe card to help prevent a burn warning.
What to do if your Instant Pot says 'burn'
If your Instant Pot says burn, it could be for a few reasons, such as:
- not scraping the bottom
- not using enough liquid
When you get a burn warning on your Instant Pot, turn it off and perform a quick pressure release by turning the valve from sealing to venting.
- Remove the lid.
- Scrap any burnt bits off of the bottom of the pot. Make sure to scrape the whole thing.
- Add more liquid. There should be enough liquid in this recipe to cook the pasta (I made this recipe several times when testing) but some other recipes out there might not have enough.
- Try again by adding the lid, setting the valve to sealing if needed, and setting the high pressure timer for the amount remaining. Give it your best guess if you don't know how much time is left. You can always set it again if needed.
✔ This recipe is not vegetarian, but if you skip the sausage it's both vegetarian and vegan. Use vegetarian or vegan sausage replacement products to replicate it.
> Don't like spinach? Try kale!
> Like spice? Add some chopped hot peppers or ½ - 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, depending on your spice tolerance.
> Love cheese? Stir some finely grated Parmesan cheese in with the spinach. Or serve with cheese on top.
> Different seasoning? Use plain sausages and try a different spice mix like Herbes de Provence, Taco Seasoning, or Cajun seasoning. I haven't tried it but I'm sure any of them would be good.
I have the Instant Pot Duo 10-in-1 6 Quart model.
To store this Instant Pot Sausage and Pasta recipe, move any leftovers to a container with a lid and store them in the fridge for 3-5 days. Reheat in the microwave.
More Instant Pot Dinner Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken + Potatoes
- Instant Pot Brown Rice
- Instant Pot Thai Red Curry Chickpeas
- Instant Pot Vegetarian Chickpea Curry
- Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken
Tips + FAQs
A common technique for cooking pasta in a pressure cooker is to use the package instructions lowest time, divide by half and subtract a minute or two. So if the package says 8-10 minutes, divide 8 in half for 4 minutes. Then subtract a minute or two and cook for that time, 2-3 minutes. Subtract one minute for softer pasta and 2 minutes for firmer pasta.
Instant Pot Italian Sausages with Peppers and Penne Pasta
- Brown the Sausage: Set the Instant Pot to Saute. Add oil and then add the sausages. Saute for 2-3 minutes, or until mostly browned.
- Deglaze the bottom: Add a splash of water and carefully stir the sausages making sure to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom. This will help prevent a burn warning on your Instant Pot.
- Brown the Onion: Add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes, until browned. Add garlic, Italian seasoning and the salt and saute for 30 seconds. Turn the saute function off.
- Add the liquid: Add the water and be sure the bottom of the pot is fully scraped of any bits. Stir. Add the bell peppers and then the tomato sauce. Don't stir, but spread them out evenly.
- Add the pasta: Add the dried pasta to the pot and do not stir! This helps prevent a burn warning on your Instant Pot. Spread the pasta out evenly and make sure it's all submerged under the liquid but do not stir it.
- Pressure Cook: Add the lid and seal the pressure cooker. Set the Instant Pot to Pressure cook on High Pressure and set the time for 2 minutes. It will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure and will then pressure cook.
- Serve: Once the Instant Pot is done pressure cooking, perform a quick pressure release by releasing the sealing vent. Once the pressure is released, open the lid and add the chopped spinach. Stir through and add the lid. Let sit for 2 minutes until the spinach has wilted. Stir and serve.
Nutritional information is an estimate. Values vary based on products used.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
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