Sausage and Penne Pasta (in the Instant Pot)

Sausage and Penne Pasta (in the Instant Pot)

The holiday season is prime time to have a list of go to quick and easy meals for your family. Who wants to spend an hour in the kitchen stirring and babysitting pots when you have homework to help with, laundry to fold, cookies to bake, and presents to wrap?  I think that’s why the Instant Pot is so popular. You can feed your family home cooked meals with little time and effort.

One of my most popular posts is for One Pot Penne & Meatballs. This is basically the same recipe except I swapped the meatballs for Italian sausage. I love the spiciness of the Italian sausage and use it regularly when we have a weeknight pasta dinner. Plus it makes delicious leftovers.

If you decide to use a different pasta the general rule of thumb to cooking pasta in the Instant Pot is to cut the time recommended on the pasta box in half. For example, if the pasta would normally require 13-14 minutes of cook time, it should be cooked for 6-7 minutes in the Instant Pot. I prefer al dente, so I opt for a minute less than the re-calculated recommended cook time.

Buon appetito!

Sausage and Penne Pasta (in the Instant Pot)

Sausage and Penne Pasta (in the Instant Pot)


  • 1-2 pounds Italian sausage, regular or spicy
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) water
  • 16-18 ounces penne pasta (the bag I used was 17.6 ounces)
  • 24 - 48 ounces pasta sauce, I used two 24 ounce jars of pasta sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, optional to add some more heat
  • Parmesan Reggiano, freshly grated


  1. Select the “Sauté” mode on the Instant Pot.
  2. Remove the sausage meat from the casings and add to the heated pot.
  3. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon and cook until lightly browned.
  4. Pour the 3 cups of water over the Italian sausage.
  5. Add pasta over the sausage and water.
  6. If you like your pasta saucy pour both 24 ounce jars of pasta sauce over the pasta. If not, just use one jar of sauce.
  7. Sprinkle Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes over the pasta sauce.
  8. Do not stir.
  9. Cover and lock the lid.
  10. Select “Manual” mode and press the “-” button until it reads 6 minutes (for al dente) or 7 minutes. Also make sure set the top knob to “Sealing” and not “Venting”.
  11. The Instant Pot will beep at you when it finishes cooking the pasta and meatballs.
  12. To avoid over-cooking, move the top knob from “Sealing” to “Venting” to manually release the pressure. To avoid any splattering, you'll want to slowly release the pressure in spurts versus all at once.
  13. The pasta should be al dente. If it’s still a little crunchy you can set the Instant Pot to simmer and cook it for several more minutes until pasta is tender.
  14. Grate fresh Parmesan over the sausage and penne.

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