Cooking pasta in the Instant Pot is so easy! Learn what times to use for electric pressure cooking and how to cook multiple types at once (elbows, spaghetti, fettuccine).
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The Instant Pot is great for complicated soups, rice dishes, and even tough cuts of meat; but there are so many simple elements of a meal that can be easily cooked with one as well. You guys know my love of cooking rice in the Instant Pot; I'll never willingly cook it without one again! Eggs are another easy thing to cook with an electric pressure cooker. But I thought I'd share another one of my secret kitchen hacks that makes cooking so many dishes a breeze.
The Instant Pot makes cooking any kind of pasta 10 times easier. Rather than wait for water to boil on a stove, you can simply combine the pasta and water in one easy step. In just minutes, you can have perfectly cooked pasta!
There are a couple of ways you can get perfect pasta with your electric pressure cooker; let's start with the easy one. All you need to do is place your pasta in the liner of the pressure cooker and fill with water just to cover the pasta. Not putting too much water in your pressure cooker will save you time and prevent having to drain your pasta before using. It does need to be submerged, but just barely.
Next, give that water a good shake of salt and a little bit of olive oil. This will help flavor the pasta and keep it from sticking together. Give it a quick swish with a fork.
Now, the time you'll need to cook your pasta kind of depends on a few factors. Generally, my times range from 1-4 minutes. This depends on a couple of factors…
- Amount of water in your pot: if the water line is towards the bottom (like I pictured above), you'll want more time, closer to 4 minutes. If your pot is around half full, closer to two minutes; if it's almost full, go 1 minute. This is because it will take longer for your pot to come to pressure, meaning there is more total cook time with more water.
- Thickness/amount of pasta: this kind of goes with the water rule, but the thicker your pasta, the more time you'll need. Angel hair would need less time than something like a fettuccine. Go closer to 1 minute for angel hair, closer to 4 minutes for fettuccine or thicker, depending on your water level.
I wish I could give you a handy dandy chart to follow, but it really does vary depending on your situation.
Once your cook cycle is done, you'll probably notice that the pressure release valve spews a little bit more than normal when you release it. The starches in the water cause this; it's totally normal! I just try to put a paper towel/rag kind of tented over the valve (not really touching it) to catch the extra water from going all over my kitchen…make sure your wear an oven mitt to do this tough, that steam is hot!
And just like that, perfect pasta. There will be a little bit of extra water, but not much – most of it should evaporate or thicken from the starches within a few minutes of cooking.
Now, let's get a little complicated! 🙂 I use steamer baskets to cook multiple types of pasta (or even veggies) at once. This is my go-to trick for pasta nights around here. We probably all have 4-8oz of uncooked pasta in a bunch of bags in our pantry, just because we didn't use the whole box when cooking a dish. Take those random leftovers and do a pasta night! Give your family the option of a few different sauces, a few different proteins, and a few different pastas. My kids love doing this.
This time around, I had two different types of spaghetti and elbow noodles. Simply place them in the steamer basket, put that in your liner, and fill until there is just enough water to cover it all. Give it that salt/olive oil shake, lock your lid on, and set for a lower time, since there is more water and pasta. For this batch, I would do 1-2 minutes.
Once it's done, use an oven mitt to simply drain the pasta from the water!
Oh, and did I mention you can use your favorite sauce as your liquid?? Just two rules – make sure it's thin enough to boil (so something around pasta sauce consistency or thinner) and that your pasta is submerged. You can generally follow the same time rules that I mentioned above. I also usually add a cup or two of water, depending on the amount of pasta – as the pasta cooks, it will soak that up and thicken the sauce.
I'm telling you, if I never have to boil a pot of water for pasta again, I'd be just fine with that. Pasta in the Instant Pot is so easy!
See more of my Instant Pot posts by clicking here.