Looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner? This cheesy Instant Pot chicken pasta could be exactly what you need.
Why you'll love it
- As everything is cooked in one pot, it's really convenient, and very little cleanup.
- Chicken pasta is a family favorite, and perfect for kids.
- Easy to adapt to suit your preferences.
- Uses affordable and easily available ingredients.
Full ingredient list + instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Pasta: Use your favorite short type of pasta. I use rotini, but fusilli, penne or bow tie pasta will also work great.
Chicken breasts: Chicken breasts is the protein of choice in this dish. You can use boneless skinless chicken thighs if you prefer.
Pasta sauce: Use your favorite jarred pasta sauce, homemade healthy spaghetti sauce, or even plain tomato sauce (UK: tomato passata).
Water: The pasta will absorb the water while cooking.
Mozzarella: Shredded mozzarella is perfect for cheesy pasta dishes, as it melts really well. You can substitute it with your favorite cheese.
Spinach: The spinach wilts down in the sauce, and is a great source of several nutrients in the dish. You can omit it if you prefer.
Onion + garlic: Adds flavor to the dish.
Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes: These add seasoning to the dish. Feel free to omit, add or adjust the seasoning to suit your preferences.
Sun dried tomatoes: These add extra flavor to the dish. You can omit them if you prefer, but I really recommend adding them to the pasta.
- Prepare the ingredients: Dice the chicken into bite sized pieces. Dice the onion, and grate the garlic.
- Sauté onions: Turn on the SAUTE setting on the Instant Pot, and add diced onion and olive oil. Saute for a few minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add seasoning: Add garlic and the seasoning, and saute for another minute.
- Add the pasta: Add chicken pieces, pasta, pasta sauce and water to the Instant Pot. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen up bits of onion that might have gotten stuck.
- Pressure cook: Turn off the SAUTE setting, and seal the lid on the Instant Pot. Cook on PRESSURE COOK or MANUAL setting, using high pressure, for 5 minutes.
- Release pressure: Quick release the pressure according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Finish the dish: Add spinach and shredded cheese, and stir it into the pasta. Seal the lid on the Instant Pot, and leave it for a minute. Even though the pressure cooker is off, the heat inside the pot will allow the cheese to melt and the spinach to wilt.
- Serve: Serve immediately while the pasta is still hot.
- Feel free to change the seasoning to suit your preferences. Just use the base recipe, and make it your own!
- Don't substitute the pasta for whole wheat pasta, or any other type, as they often require longer cooking time and a different water ratio.
This one pot pasta recipe is a complete meal on its own, and does not require any side dishes. However, serving it with a flavorful side can definitely make the meal more interesting. Here are my favorite dishes that I love to serve with it:
- Bread - Any bread such as focaccia, garlic bread, toasted bread or sliced sourdough are excellent choices.
- Olive Salad - This Mediterranean side salad is perfect to serve with chicken pasta.
- Tomato and Mozzarella Salad - A simple, but delicious Italian side salad.
- Mediterranean Roast Vegetables - These mixed roasted vegetables are perfect to serve with cheesy chicken pasta.
With veggies: Add any vegetables that you like to the dish. Peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, carrots, kale, peas, leeks, and celery are excellent options.
Vegetarian pasta: Omit the chicken, or substitute it with diced vegetables for a vegetarian version of the dish.
Without cheese / dairy free: You can simply omit the cheese if you don't want to use it. Alternatively, use a vegan cheese alternative.
Spicy chicken pasta: Add some red pepper flakes, chili powder or a diced chili if you prefer a little spice.
If you want to make Instant Pot chicken spaghetti, there are a few things you have to keep in mind.
First, you need to break up the spaghetti to make sure that the noodles are completely covered in sauce before cooking it.
Second, when the spaghetti is cooked, the noodles will stick together. As soon as you remove the lid on the Instant Pot, you have to grab a spoon and stir hard to allow the noodles to separate.
This recipe is much easier to make with short pasta types, as they cook better in the Instant Pot, but it is definitely possible to make it with spaghetti noodles as well.
You can store leftover Instant Pot chicken pasta in a sealed container in a refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat the leftovers in a pot on the stove top, or in a microwave for a few minutes, and serve them warm.
This recipe is a great option for meal prep, as you can make a big batch, and enjoy it for lunch or dinner for several days after.
Frequently asked questions
If your chicken breasts are tough, dry or rubbery, you probably overcooked them. It can be hard to control how long chicken cooks in the Instant Pot, so your best bet is to cut them into larger chunks next time.
You might also like these recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas
- Hummus Pasta
- Instant Pot Pad Thai
- Halloumi Pasta
- Instant Pot Tuna Casserole
- Healthy Tuna Pasta Bake
Instant Pot Chicken Pasta
- Dice the chicken into bite sized pieces.
- Turn on the SAUTE setting on the Instant Pot, and add diced onion and olive oil. Saute for a few minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add garlic and the seasoning, and saute for another minute.
- Add chicken pieces, pasta, pasta sauce and water to the Instant Pot. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen up bits of onion that might have gotten stuck.
- Turn off the SAUTE setting, and seal the lid on the Instant Pot. Cook on PRESSURE COOK or MANUAL setting, using high pressure, for 5 minutes.
- Quick release the pressure according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Add spinach and shredded cheese, and stir it into the pasta. Seal the lid on the Instant Pot, and leave it for a minute. Even though the pressure cooker is off, the heat inside the pot will allow the cheese to melt and the spinach to wilt.
- Serve immediately while the pasta is still hot.
- Store leftovers in a sealed container for up to 4 days. Reheat in a microwave for a few minutes.
- The recipe has only been tested in a 6 qt Instant Pot.