Instant Pot Baked Ziti

A comforting weeknight meal in a pinch.

instant pot baked ziti
Photo: Photographer: Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist: Christine Kelly Food Stylist: Ali Ramee
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
35 mins

When the family wants cheesy baked pasta for supper but you simply don't have the time, let your multicooker do all the work in under 40 minutes. While technically this is not a baked pasta dish (no baking involved), this recipe checks all the boxes: melty cheese topping, tender pasta, and lots of ricotta-laced sauce. It requires just one pot and comes together quicker than its oven-based counterpart. It might win the contest, to be honest. Instant Pots have quickly become popular because even when you are short on time, you can cook anything from cornbread to lasagna. This Instant Pot Baked Ziti uses lean ground beef (we like the 90/10 blend because there is very little fat), but you can use Italian sausage instead of ground beef if you prefer (omit the fennel seed). Stirring the pasta into the sauce might cause a BURN notice on your multicooker, so resist the urge the stir and leave the liquid on the bottom. Complete your meal with a tossed green salad and warm bread.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 12 ounces lean ground sirloin (90/10)

  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 clove)

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon fennel seed

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 (24-ounce) jar marinara sauce

  • 1 cup cup water

  • 8 ounces uncooked ziti or penne pasta

  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

  • 4 ounces pre-shredded 6-cheese Italian blend cheese (about 1 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons torn fresh basil, for garnish


  1. Select SAUTÉ setting on a programmable pressure multicooker (such as Instant Pot). (Times, instructions, and settings may vary according to cooker brand or model.) Select HIGH temperature setting and allow to preheat 2 to 3 minutes. Add oil and beef to cooker. Cook, stirring to crumble, until browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, fennel seed, and pepper; cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Press CANCEL. Add marinara sauce and 1 cup water, stirring until well combined. Scatter pasta over sauce mixture, pressing to submerge (do NOT stir).

  2. Cover cooker with lid, and lock in place. Turn steam release handle to SEALING position. Select MANUAL/PRESSURE COOK setting. Select HIGH pressure for 8 minutes. (It will take 10 to 12 minutes for cooker to come up to pressure before cooking begins.)

  3. When cooking has finished, carefully turn steam release handle to VENTING position, and let steam fully escape (float valve will drop). (This will take 2 to 3 minutes.) Remove lid from cooker.

  4. Gently stir in ricotta. Sprinkle Italian blend cheese on top, and close lid again. Let sit until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil, and serve immediately.

Related Articles