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Instant Pot Spaghetti – made healthier!

Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 17 mins
Servings 5 servings

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This Instant Pot Spaghetti recipe is made with real ingredients, extra veggies and whole grain pasta, yet it still comes together just as quickly! With VIDEO

instant pot spaghetti in pressure cooker with metal tongs stuck in

Can I just first say that I almost feel as if by this point I don’t even have a right to share an Instant Pot Spaghetti recipe, because it has.been.done.

Almost.

I know that there are plenty of recipes that will show you how to dump spaghetti noodles, jars of tomato sauce and ground beef into the Instant Pot and come out with dinner.

But spaghetti is one of my girls favorite dinners (I would say top 3 easily), and so I am going to share my version.

And my version is made with extra vegetables (great for picky eaters!) and whole grain or high fiber spaghetti, because I like to bump up the nutritional value of the food we eat wherever I can.

I’ll admit that here, the picky eater is myself, but I get so much delight out of seeing how many veggies I can cram into the dishes we eat before anyone notices ๐Ÿ˜‰

instant pot spaghetti on grey plate with fork stuck in noodles on grey marble background

(My kids? They actually prefer their vegetables raw. Go figure!)

How to make Instant Pot Spaghetti:

Instant Pot Spaghetti is pretty easy to make but there are a few tips and tricks that will help you see perfection every time.

  1. First, we brown our ground beef (you can sub this for ground turkey or even make it vegetarian — see my tips below!) and onion.
  2. Then we toast our garlic and other spices — adding them to the hot dry pan helps to bring their flavor back to life!
  3. We deglaze with our broth or water — give it a good scrape to release any stuck on bits and prevent the burn notice!
  4. Then we top with our vegetables, pasta, and pasta sauce.
  5. Add the lid and pressure cook (but be careful not to overcook! Pasta cooks quickly in the Instant Pot and no one likes mushy pasta)
  6. Give it a good stir and serve.
instant pot spaghetti healthy close up on grey and white plate with grey towel and fresh parsley in the background

Choosing your ingredients for this pressure cooker spaghetti recipe:

Making healthy choices starts at the grocery store! Here are a few things I keep in mind when I’m grabbing ingredients for this recipe:

  • I choose lean or extra lean ground beef — it has a ton of protein and iron (so important for the kiddos!), but less fat.
  • I grab any vegetables that I think will go: onions, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes or mushrooms are all great!
  • Always choose low sodium broth (or make your own if that’s your thing!)
  • I look for whole grain or white plus fiber pasta
  • I always read the back of tomato sauce or pasta sauce jars carefully and look for one with no added sugar — often sugar is so high up on the ingredient list it’s scary! Make sure the ingredients are ones you know and love.

Variations of this Instant Pot Spaghetti:

  • This pressure cooker spaghetti is naturally dairy-free, but be sure to check all of your ingredient labels to be sure.
  • To make this Instant Pot Spaghetti vegetarian, replace the ground beef with extra sauteed veggies like mushrooms. Saute them as you would the beef, then proceed with the recipe.
  • You can use another type of pasta if you don’t have spaghetti — I actually think short cuts are easier to cook in the Instant Pot as they are less likely to stick together. For macaroni, do 2 minutes cook time, and for a medium-sized short cut of pasta, do 3 minutes cook time.

Don’t have an Instant Pot?

You’re in luck! I’ve got a one pot and a slow cooker version of this recipe.

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Instant Pot Spaghetti

4.6 from 10 votes
This Instant Pot Spaghetti recipe is made with real ingredients, extra veggies and whole grain pasta, yet it still comes together just as quickly!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Total Time 17 mins
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 5 servings
Calories 454cal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 red pepper finely chopped
  • 1 zucchini finely chopped or shredded
  • 1 large carrot peeled and shredded
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pinch red chili flakes (optional, for a bit of heat)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 340 grams whole grain or high fiber spaghetti (1 regular box)
  • 1 jar tomato-based pasta sauce (650ml)

Instructions

  • Turn the Instant Pot to saute, add the ground beef and onion, and cook, stirring regularly, until browned.
  • Add the red pepper, zucchini, carrots, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and chili flakes (if using). Cook and stir for 1 minute. 
  • Add the chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pan well with a hard spoon or spatula to remove any brown bits from the bottom of the pan (this will prevent a burn message).
  • Turn the Instant Pot off. Break the spaghetti noodles in half, and place a thin, even layer of pasta across the meat (don’t stir). Place another thin, even layer of spaghetti noodles on top of the first layer in the other direction, and repeat until all spaghetti noodles are used, alternating directions each time. Basically, we want to prevent any clumps, so be sure that your layers are not to thick — the noodles will cook in the exact place you put them. If they are in one big pile, they will cook into one big clump.
  • Top with pasta sauce, spread evenly to cover the spaghetti noodles to the best of your ability. 
  • Put the lid on, turn the Instant Pot to Manual or Pressure Cook (high pressure), and select a cook time of 2 minutes. It will take about 10-15 minutes to reach pressure and begin counting down.
  • When the cook time is over, turn the Instant Pot off and let pressure release naturally for 3-4, then open the valve to quickly release remaining pressure. You can also do a controlled release, by holding the valve open slightly to gradually release the pressure — this helps to reduce splatter.
  • Stir to combine sauce and noodles. Serve. 

Notes

*All recipes on my web site are tested in the 6 quart Instant Pot smart.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 454cal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 1313mg | Potassium: 1296mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3450IU | Vitamin C: 49.6mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 6.9mg
Keywords pressure cooker spaghetti, spaghetti and meat sauce

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Heather M says

    I’ve been using this recipe for almost a year and it has literally turned out perfect every time! Thanks for such a great recipe! I’ve also thrown in any and every kind of vegetable that I’ve had on hand into this and it’s turned out delicious, even doubling or tripling them. I think this is one of my forever go-to recipes.

  2. Tanya Schroeder says

    I’m excited to try this recipe, I’m always searching for new ways to use my Instant Pot!

  3. Heather M says

    I made this and my family loved it! I doubled the veggies and it still turned it great. I only had thin white spaghetti on hand, so I cooked it for 1 minute, but it turned out perfect. So quick and easy. I think it took me longer to shed the veggies by hand than it did for the whole rest of the recipe. Thank you so much!

  4. Beth says

    Your video just says to quick release the steam, but the written instructions say natural release for 3-4 minutes.
    Please clarify.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Sorry about the confusion! The only reason to let the pressure release naturally for a couple minutes is because with pasta some people see quite a bit of splatter. The best is probably a controlled release, but I will clarify in the recipe.

  5. Dayna says

    I made this tonight, it was really good!! It was just pretty liquidy, any suggestions? I recently found your blog/ instagram, I love your content!! Thank you ?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Thanks Dayna! I’m so glad to hear that! If you saw the video, mine has a lot of liquid when I open the lid but when I stir it the liquid is all incorporated. It shouldn’t be watery after stirring, just nice and saucy! How was it after it sat for a few minutes?

  6. Carol heredia says

    Hey it look good my kids love spaghetti I will try this today it will be better if have a video in all ur recipes ok my slow cooker is nor like ur is deferent when u put saute I get nervous how I’m gonna do it mine is low high and warm regards I think slow?please give me in this

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