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!
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
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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:
- Caesar Salad
- Olive Garden Salad with Copycat Dressing
- Homemade Garlic Breadsticks
- Garlic Bread
- Roasted Broccolini
- Garlic Green Beans
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.
- 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.
More Delicious Chicken Pasta Recipes
- One Pot Chicken Alfredo
- French Onion Chicken Casserole
- Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
- Bruschetta Chicken Pasta
- Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Crispy Chicken Carbonara
- Cheesy BBQ Bacon Chicken Casserole
Instant Pot Chicken Pasta
- Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker
- 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
- 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.
This recipe was updated April 2022.