Instant Pot Pasta with Chicken

Instant Pot Chicken Pasta is a fast and delicious comfort food dinner for any night of the week. It only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish, and just a few ingredients so you can get supper on the table fast!

a black plate surrounded by parsley, with penne pasta dn chicken in a creamy tomato sauce

This Instant Pot Pasta recipe is full of tender chicken and pasta in every bite, with just the right amount of sauce and seasoning.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, I highly recommend purchasing one! It is definitely the most used appliance in my kitchen. I find myself reaching for my Instant Pot more and more to cook easy weeknight meals and sides, like Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes, Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Instant Pot Chicken Stew.

If you are looking for a quick dinner in the Instant Pot, then you will love this Instant Pot Chicken Pasta!

Table of Contents
  1. Why This Recipe Works
  2. Ingredient Notes
  3. How to Cook Chicken and Pasta in the Instant Pot
  4. FAQs
  5. What To Serve It With
  6. Storage and Freezing
  7. Expert Tips
  8. More Delicious Chicken Pasta Recipes
  9. Instant Pot Chicken Pasta Recipe

Why This Recipe Works

  • It’s Super Fast! Just a few minutes to saute the chicken, 5 minutes to cook the pasta and a quick release make this instant pot pasta recipe an easy 20 minute meal!
  • Perfect Instant Pot Pasta Water Ratio: I have researched and tried countless versions of pasta in the pressure cooker, but they always called for too much liquid. After much testing, I can confidently say I’ve hit the jackpot with the water to pasta ratio!
  • Creamy Pasta Sauce: I make my instant pot pasta with a jar sauce and add some heavy cream at the end. It’s the most flavorful sauce that’s deliciously rich and creamy.
  • Customizable Comfort Food: The chunks of chicken bulk up this pasta dish and make it the perfect comfort food. But you could also leave out the protein and make this a meatless dish, adding more veggies like peppers and mushrooms.

Ingredient Notes

  • Pasta – I am quite partial to penne pasta but you can use any similar cut or size, like rigatoni or ziti.
  • Chicken – Chunks of boneless, skinless chicken breast, about a pound. Boneless chicken thighs, ground beef, or ground turkey will also work.
  • Marinara sauce – Pick your favorite jar of sauce, or make some Homemade Marinara Sauce from scratch for a deeper flavor.
  • Chicken Broth – I use the low-sodium version. You can also water, but this liquid addition is a must to ensure that the pasta cooks properly.
  • Onion – For extra flavor. Use any kind of onion you have on hand and just slice it up and toss it in. I just used onions, but you can throw in chopped bell peppers or mushrooms, as well.
  • Heavy Cream – You can also use half and half for a lighter cream texture, but don’t use milk. It will leave the sauce too thin.
  • Cheese – I use both Mozzarella and Parmesan for creaminess and flavor.
  • Seasoning – Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning. You could also add some garlic powder or Red pepper flakes.
  • Olive Oil for sauteing the chicken.
  • Fresh Parsley or Basil – chopped, for garnish.
Ingredients for making creamy instant pot chicken pasta.

How to Cook Chicken and Pasta in the Instant Pot

What I love most about this dinner is that it uses ingredients that I always have on hand. Never knew you could cook instant pot pasta without boiling? Read on!

Be sure to check the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions.

  1. Start by heating the Instant Pot to saute, then cook the chicken and onions until browned. Make sure no chicken pieces are sticking to the bottom of the pan or you’ll get the burn notice.
  2. Add the uncooked penne pasta and pour in marinara sauce and chicken broth. Stir everything together so that the noodles are completely covered with the sauce.
  3. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and turn it to sealed. Use the manual function and change the timer to 5 minutes on high pressure and cook. Once finished, do a quick release then add the heavy cream and cheeses. Garnish with fresh parsley or fresh basil for serving.
collage of images showing an instant pot with chicken cooking and pasta, then adding chicken broth.

FAQs

Can you cook pasta in an Instant Pot?

Making pasta in the Instant Pot can be scary but it really shouldn’t be. The key is to barely cover the pasta with some liquid, so that you get al dente pasta but not a soupy mess. It will cook nicely in just about 5 minutes for half of a pound of pasta. For a full pound of pasta, increase the time to 6 minutes, but no longer.

How much water do you need for cooking pasta in the Instant Pot?

A general rule of thumb is about 4 cups of liquid to every pound of pasta. Since pasta sauce is pretty thick, I recommend using 3 cups of sauce and a cup and a half of liquid.

creamy pasta and chicken on a wooden spoon

What To Serve It With

Like any good Italian meal, this chicken and pasta recipe goes great with Cheesy Garlic Bread and a hearty green salad. Want a few other ideas? Here are some of my favorite sides for a pasta dinner:

Storage and Freezing

Storage: Allow leftovers to cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Reheating: Transfer leftovers to a microwave-safe dish and reheat for 60-90 seconds, or until warmed through. If pasta seems dry, add a splash of cream and stir well.

Expert Tips

  • Pasta should be completely submerged in the liquid.
  • Water can replace the chicken broth. If using ground beef, use beef broth.
  • Penne pasta is a favorite in our family, but you can also use rigatoni, rotini, or ziti. Even spaghetti noodles will work, but you will need to break them in half and criss-cross them to make sure they don’t stick together.
  • Preventing the “burn” notice: Adding a little bit of the broth or water to the chicken after sauteing helps to loosen up any stuck-on bits at the bottom of the pot, and will help to prevent you from getting a burn notice.
Cream tomato sauce with pasta and chicken and a wooden spoon in an instant pot.

More Delicious Chicken Pasta Recipes

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Instant Pot Chicken Pasta

Instant Pot Pasta with Chicken is a quick and easy dinner for any night of the week. It has simple ingredients and takes only 30 minutes!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 6 people
Calories 562kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • 16 ounces penne pasta or rigatoni, rotini, or ziti
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water
  • 2 cups marinara sauce 16 ounces
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus more for garnish if desired
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh basil

Instructions
 

  • Heat Instant Pot to Saute and drizzle in olive oil. Once pot says HOT, add the chicken pieces, diced onion and seasonings. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned.
  • Stir in ½ cup of the chicken broth and stir to loosen any stuck on bits at the bottom of the pot. This will help to prevent the burn notice, so don't skip this step.
  • Add pasta, marinara sauce and remaining chicken broth. Gently push noodles down so they are covered with the sauce, but don't stir.
  • Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and turn the vent to seal. Use the manual function and set the timer to 5 minutes to cook on High pressure. Once the timer is up, do a quick release.
  • Stir in the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and cream. Add additional seasonings to taste. Garnish with more cheese and fresh parsley or basil and serve immediately.

Notes

Storage: Allow leftovers to cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Reheating: Transfer leftovers to a microwave-safe dish and reheat for 60-90 seconds, or until warmed through. If pasta seems dry, add a splash of cream and stir well.

Nutrition

Calories: 562kcalCarbohydrates: 66gProtein: 32gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 1187mgPotassium: 876mgFiber: 5gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1117IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 176mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Instant Pot Chicken Pasta, Instant Pot Pasta

This recipe was updated April 2022.

Amanda

Amanda blogs at Old House to New Home where she shares easy ways to eat, create, and decorate, all while raising two young girls! Amanda is a Spanish teacher, wife to a great husband, and mommy to the two most beautiful little girls! Amanda loves food, traveling, and transforming their 115 year old house into their home.

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Comments

    1. Hi Carmel, the author listed it in the instructions as Half and Half, but I changed that to cream. Thanks for calling it to my attention!

  1. This was so good! My husband is from Rochester, so he makes a different version of rigatoni. He loved this recipe. I did use a no-sugar-added sauce for lower carbs. This recipe said it would make 4 servings–I feel it made much more than that! It was delicious. Thank you!

  2. This recipe turned out fantastic! I’m from Central New York, where this dish was created and still remains very popular among locals (we call them “chicken riggies”). Halved this recipe so that it would all fit in my Instant Pot Mini and I had absolutely no problems! Delicious, restaurant quality riggies in no time at all. Perfect for a weeknight dinner by yourself with a glass of wine and reality TV.

  3. What a beautifully simple and straight-forward week night meal. I’ve been looking for some pantry staple recipes to use with our instant pot, and this fit the bill perfectly. I followed the recipe to a “T”, and am pleased as punch with the end result — tender chicken, creamy sauce, really rich flavor. Garnished with some fresh parsley and grated Parmesan and served with a really simple green salad. My only slight adjustment was using part regular milk and part half-and-half since I wanted enough half-and-half for my coffee in the morning 😉 Thank you!

  4. Delicious! Thank you. Family loved it and it was so simple and amazingly tasty. We doubled for leftovers and there is not a lot left (several took seconds)!

  5. Delish! Learn from my error (even tho I knew what the end result would be. The amount of chicken should match pasta sauce. I used more chicken but same 24oz jar of sauce, and it needed more. More water or cream would’ve made it too runny-not my preference. Make sure to get to the quick release faster than I did. My chicken was a tad dry actually. Again, my fault. The flavor was perfect!

  6. This was Delish! I swapped a few thing due to sensitivity, pumpkin sauce instead of tomato sauce and added more noodles, sauce and water.
    Nice recipe!!

  7. I got the burn error when it came to pressure. I’d even added extra water so I was surprised. I turned it off and let it sit for five minutes before I vented it and opened the lid. It looked done, but to make sure the chicken was thoroughly cooked, I put it on saute mode for a couple of minutes before I served it. So it turned out after all.

  8. I made this for dinner last night and am currently eating the leftovers for lunch today! So good even with the substitutions I made based on the ingredients that I had on hand. I used whole milk, casarecce pasta, and only 1 chicken breast. Next time I think I’ll try it when the cream instead as I’m sure it’ll make it all the more richer and creamier. I used the red pepper flakes and fresh basil which certainly give it a nice zing! I wound up sauteing it for a few minutes to get the noodles a little more tender (as that’s how we like them). Thanks for this recipe!