Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce – Homemade Pasta Sauce

March 5, 2018 (Updated: February 24, 2020) By Aneesha |

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Hearty, delicious & healthy!  This Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce is an easy meal-prep recipe that makes weeknights dinners a breeze. It’s also a great way to use up leftover veggies, cheese and meats in your fridge.  I call it my “Everything But The Kitchen Sink” pasta sauce.

Jar of Instant pot pasta sauce

This sauce is part of my Sunday Meal Prep. It’s a great make-ahead sauce that freezes well. Whenever leftover veggies and cheese start piling up in my refrigerator, I make this sauce :).  It’s also a great sauce to make when you’re short an ingredient or two.  You can never tell by the end of it, it tastes so good.

Homemade Pasta Sauce: Weeknight Dinner Made Easy

I’ve always got a jar of this sauce in my freezer.  It makes weeknight dinners a flash.  Simply boil pasta, drain it, add this sauce to the same pot, simmer it for a few minutes, grate some parmesan cheese over it, and your one-pot dinner is done!

You can use any type of pasta with this homemade tomato sauce, including spaghetti, penne, rigatoni, bow tie pasta, et cetera.

Kid-Friendly Meals

This is a great sauce to sneak in a ton of veggies in a pasta sauce.  If your little one is picky about chunks of veggies, pulse each vegetable a few extra times in the food processor, then increase the cook time to 5-6 minutes.  The veggies will almost dissolve in the sauce, and no one will ever know 😉

pasta sauce in instant pot

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce- Ingredients

  • Meat: You can add any meat or a combinations of meats that you have on hand. I make this meat sauce recipe with all kinds of ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken), raw sausage, chopped cooked sausage, leftover mortadella,  salami, shredded chicken, bacon and prosciutto. I use a pound of meat for this recipe.
  • Tomatoes: The best choice for this Spaghetti sauce I typically have a can of crushed or diced tomatoes in my pantry. Tip: If I’m using diced, I like to puree it a little with my hand blender before adding to the pot.
  • Vegetables: You can pretty much add any veggies you have on hand, the key is to chop each ingredient finely. In this recipe, I have used carrots and crimini mushrooms. I add large chunks of each vegetable to my Ninja mini food chopper and pulse it a few times till it gets finely chopped.
  • Aromatics: A fancy word for the flavor builders- onion and garlic. I wouldn’t skip either, as they both are huge contributors of taste and aroma in this loaded spaghetti sauce.
  • Italian seasoning: This recipe calls for dried oregano, basil, thyme and parsley. The Italian seasoning is a blend of all, which works perfectly well for me. I prefer to use dried herbs since they provide a more intense flavor to the sauce.
  • Cheese: This sauce wouldn’t be complete with grated parmesan cheese. Parmesan cheese adds a nice tangy-creamy finish to this sauce and brings all the flavors together. Freshly grated is always my first preference. But if short on time, use the grated fresh cheese from the cheese aisle. The green jar just doesn’t come close to that, so I wouldn’t recommend it.

Tip: I also keep a jar of my preferred marinara sauce, which also works great in this sauce. If you have any leftover tomatoes to use, just throw them in there, finely chopped, and they’ll blend in well.

Jar full of Instant Pot pasta sauce

How to Make Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce

  • Prep: In a food processor, throw in garlic cloves and pulse 5-6 times, to chop them fine. Add carrot chunks and repeat the process till carrots are finely chopped. Add mushrooms and pulse 5-7 times to chop them fine as well. Remove in a bowl. Add onion chunks and pulse 5-6 times to chop. Add to the chopped veggies. The reason I do onions separately is so that they stay chunky and don’t release their juices.
  • Heat olive oil in instant pot on SAUTE mode (high). When display reads HOT, add ground meat and spread it in a single layer. Don’t stir for 3 minutes. This allows the meat to brown on one side. After 3 minutes, stir the meat and brown another 2 minutes. If making this sauce vegetarian, skip this step.
  • Break up the meat with a wooden spoon or spatula and stir. Add chopped veggies and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add spices, crushed tomatoes and 1/2-3/4 cup water. Stir everything together. Close lid. Vent set to Sealing. Pressure cook on Manual/Pressure Cook for 10 minutes.
  • Once cooking time is up, wait 10 minutes before manually releasing pressure (NPR10). Open lid after pin drops. If the sauce looks thinner than you like, simmer for a few minutes on saute mode till it thickens to your desired consistency. Keep in mind that it will thicken more once you add cheese.
  • Stir in grated parmesan cheese and garnish with basil or parsley before serving.

Stovetop Method for Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

  • This sauce can also be easily cooked in a big stock pot or sauce pot. Follow all steps above and cover and cook on medium-heat, for about 15 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes.

Serving Suggestion with this Pasta Sauce 

I always make a big batch of this sauce. This works great with a simple boiled pasta; makes a great instant pot ravioli lasagna, as a pizza sauce with some fresh or shredded mozzarella and hand-torn-basil; for meatball sandwiches.

Tip: If using with boiled pasta, use 1 cup of pasta for every 2 cups of cooked pasta. You can switch it up based on how your liking. Here’s a detailed post on how to boil pasta in your Instant Pot.

How To Cook Pasta In the Instant Pot

Since different pasta shapes require different cook times, here is a rule of thumb I follow:

half the lower number in the suggested cook time on the box, and subtract 1 minute from that. So, if a box suggests the cooking time as 10-11 minutes, I cook it for 4 minutes in the Instant Pot (10/2=5; 5-1=4).

This produces pasta that is al dente, or firm to the tooth. For a softer and more tender pasta, simply divide the lower number in half.

Pasta Cooking Times in Instant Pot

By following the above rule of thumb, here are a few of my favorite shapes and their respective cooking times in the Instant Pot:

  • Spaghetti: Spaghetti pasta has a cook time of 8-12 minutes. Take the lowest time (8 minutes), divide in half (4 minutes) and subtract 1 minute = 3 minutes. Make sure to break the spaghetti in half and lay it in a criss-cross pattern, just like I do in this recipe.
  • Tortellini: Tortellini pasta has a cook time of 4-9 minutes. Take the lowest time (4 minutes), divide in half (2 minutes) and subtract 1 minute = 1 minute
  • Penne: Penne pasta has a cook time of 10-13 minutes. Take the lowest time (10 minutes), divide in half (5 minutes) and subtract 1 minute = 4 minutes
  • Rigatoni: Rigatoni pasta has a cook time of 10-15 minutes. Take the lowest time (10 minutes), divide in half (5 minutes) and subtract 1 minute = 4 minutes
Instant Pot Lasagna Ravioli Lasagna
Instant Pot Ravioli Lasagna

How to Make Vegetarian Pasta Sauce

You can easily skip the meat in this recipe and make a vegetarian version of this pasta sauce.

You can pretty much add any veggies you have on hand, the key is to chop each ingredient finely. I use my Ninja mini food chopper for that.

I add large chunks of each vegetable and pulse it a few times till it gets finely chopped. Remove that and add the next one. It takes me less than 5 minutes to have 3-4 different kind of vegetables ready for this Spaghetti sauce.

Here are some that I have used successfully- mushrooms, celery, eggplant, zucchini, squash, carrots, cabbage, spinach, kale, and bell peppers.

How to Freeze Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Freezing this sauce is a breeze. I would skip the parmesan cheese and freeze cooled sauce in air-tight containers, for up to 1 month.

For serving, thaw the sauce, bring it to a simmer and stir in the parmesan cheese. Garnish with basil and serve with your favorite noodles.

Tips for the Ultimate Homemade Pasta Sauce

  • You can also use your favorite brand of marinara sauce instead of crushed tomatoes, and jazz it up using this recipe.
  • When using Parmesan cheese, freshly grated is always my first preference. But if short on time, use the grated fresh cheese from the cheese aisle. The green jar just doesn’t come close to that, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
  • Cooking pasta in your Instant Pot: I half the lower number in the suggested cook time on the box, and subtract 1 minute from that. So, if a box suggests the cooking time as 10-11 minutes, I cook it for 4 minutes in the Instant Pot (10/2=5; 5-1=4).
  • I use a pound of meat for this recipe. You can add any meat or a combinations of meats that you have on hand, like ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken), raw sausage, chopped cooked sausage, leftover mortadella,  salami, shredded chicken, bacon and prosciutto.
  • The best choice for this Spaghetti sauce is crushed tomatoes. However, if you only have diced tomatoes on hand, puree it coarsely before adding to the pot for best results.
  • Instead of mushrooms and carrots, you can also add other vegetables like celery, eggplant, zucchini, squash, carrots, cabbage, spinach, kale, and bell peppers. The key is to chop each ingredient finely (using a food processor).
  • Freezing this sauce is a breeze. I would skip the parmesan cheese and freeze cooled sauce in air-tight containers, for up to 1 month. For serving, thaw the sauce, bring it to a simmer and stir in the parmesan cheese. Garnish with basil and serve with your favorite noodles.

More Meal-Prep Sauces from my Kitchen

More Instant Pot Pasta Recipes on the Blog

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Instant pot pasta sauce, by Spice Cravings. The Everything But The Kitchen Sink Pasta Sauce is exactly what it sounds like, it's got a ton of veggies, aromatics, meat, cheese & tomatoes! I've always got a jar of this chunky, delicious, & super healthy sauce in my freezer. Make this sauce to clean up the fridge, when leftovers of veggies & cheese start piling up. #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodie

Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce

Hearty, delicious & healthy!  This Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce is an easy meal-prep recipe that makes weeknights dinners a breeze. It's also a great way to use up leftover veggies, cheese and meats in your fridge.  I call it my "Everything But The Kitchen Sink" pasta sauce.
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
NPR: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 7 cups
Calories: 184kcal
Author: Aneesha Gupta

Ingredients

Veggies for blending(use whatever you have on hand. I use a total of 2.5-3 cups chopped)

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium carrots cut into chunks
  • 2 cups crimini mushrooms
  • 1 small onion cut into chunks

Meat (skip for vegetarian sauce)

  • 1 lb ground chicken or beef or turkey (or a combination)

Cheese

  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese grated or similar blend

Garnish

  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil hand torn
  • 1/4 cup parsley chopped

Equipment

Instructions

Instant Pot Recipe

  • Prep: In a food processor, throw in garlic cloves and pulse 5-6 times, to chop them fine. Add carrot chunks and repeat the process till carrots are finely chopped. Add mushrooms and pulse 5-7 times to chop them fine as well. Remove in a bowl. Add onion chunks and pulse 5-6 times to chop. Add to the chopped veggies. The reason I do onions separately is so that they stay chunky and don’t release their juices.
  • Heat olive oil in instant pot on SAUTE mode (high). When display reads HOT, add ground meat and spread it in a single layer. Don't stir for 3 minutes. This allows the meat to brown on one side. After 3 minutes, stir the meat and brown another 2 minutes. If making this sauce vegetarian, skip this step.
  • Break up the meat with a wooden spoon or spatula and stir. Add chopped veggies and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add spices, crushed tomatoes and 1/2-3/4 cup water. Stir everything together. Close lid. Vent set to Sealing. Pressure cook on Manual/Pressure Cook for 10 minutes.
  • Once cooking time is up, wait 10 minutes before manually releasing pressure (NPR10). Open lid after pin drops. If the sauce looks thinner than you like, simmer for a few minutes on saute mode till it thickens to your desired consistency. Keep in mind that it will thicken more once you add cheese.
  • Stir in grated parmesan cheese and garnish with basil or parsley before serving.

Stovetop Method

  • This sauce can also be easily cooked in a big stock pot or sauce pot. Follow all steps above and cover and cook on medium-heat, for about 15 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes.

Video

Notes & Recipe Tips

Tips for the Ultimate Homemade Spaghetti Sauce:

  • You can also use your favorite brand of marinara sauce instead of crushed tomatoes, and jazz it up using this recipe.
  • When using Parmesan cheese, freshly grated is always my first preference. But if short on time, use the grated fresh cheese from the cheese aisle. The green jar just doesn’t come close to that, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
  • Cooking pasta in your Instant Pot: I half the lower number in the suggested cook time on the box, and subtract 1 minute from that. So, if a box suggests the cooking time as 10-11 minutes, I cook it for 4 minutes in the Instant Pot (10/2=5; 5-1=4).
  • I use a pound of meat for this recipe. You can add any meat or a combinations of meats that you have on hand, like ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken), raw sausage, chopped cooked sausage, leftover mortadella,  salami, shredded chicken, bacon and prosciutto.
  • The best choice for this Spaghetti sauce is crushed tomatoes. However, if you only have diced tomatoes on hand, puree it coarsely before adding to the pot for best results.
  • Instead of mushrooms and carrots, you can also add other vegetables like celery, eggplant, zucchini, squash, carrots, cabbage, spinach, kale, and bell peppers. The key is to chop each ingredient finely (using a food processor).
  • Freezing this sauce is a breeze. I would skip the parmesan cheese and freeze cooled sauce in air-tight containers, for up to 1 month. For serving, thaw the sauce, bring it to a simmer and stir in the parmesan cheese. Garnish with basil and serve with your favorite noodles.
If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
 
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition

Serving: 632oz Jar | Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 596mg | Potassium: 868mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 3461IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Homemade pasta sauce, homemade spaghetti sauce, Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce
Did you try this recipe?Mention @SpiceCravings or tag #spicecravings!

This recipe has recently been updated with new information, recipe tips or photos.

HEY! NICE TO MEET YOU!

Aneesha holding a glass of white wine Hi, I'm Aneesha, a foodie by birth and the mind, body and soul behind Spice Cravings. Here I share quick, easy & healthy Indian & global recipes that are low in effort and big on taste! A recipe doesn't make it on the blog unless it is tested multiple times and gets a thumbs-up from my taster-in-chief, my husband, and my teen-chefs, my twin girls!

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