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 - 3 teaspoons 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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29 thoughts on “Sausage and Penne Pasta (in the Instant Pot)

  1. Kim says:

    I made with turkey sausage instead. Turned out great! I think I might have gone a little easier on the pepper flakes for the sake of my kids. I thought it was delicious and so! Easy!

    • Tanya says:

      Thank you Kim! I’m so happy your family liked it. We like things spicy so I ease up for our daughter and a little heavy handed for my husband and me. 🙂 Have a wonderful day! Tanya

    • Tanya says:

      Hi Gregory. I’m sorry to hear that you had a terrible experience with this recipe. We love our food extra spicy so I tend to be heavy handed with red pepper flakes. Have a wonderful day! Tanya

  2. Dym Shiu says:

    I just made it. I substituted half cup of water with red wine, It turned out really well. THank you ! I will make this dish regularly.

  3. Cynthia says:

    Just made it and turned out great, I added some chopped onions to saute with the italian sausage, added basil, oregano, garlic powder, italian seasoning, touch of olive oil, some salt and black pepper. I used 2 jars 24 0z Pacific selections artichoke, pesto pasta sauce found at Save Mart. I think it may be their store brand, very good though. Cooked for 7 mins and after about 1 min did QPR, with a slow release to begin the QPR process. Topped with frsh grated parmesan.Very Yummy, thanks for a great recipe. Easy and Fast!

  4. Karen Palmer says:

    First attempt……not bad
    Think I would cut back a bit on pasta and cook the meatballs on wire rack, as they kinda stuck to bottom.
    But I’m pleased with my first attempt

  5. Sharon Weinberg says:

    I am a novice with my IP. I tried this tonight with ground beef and also added 5 browned Italian sausage links. BEST thing I’ve made in the IP so far, and so amazingly delicious! THANK YOU for posting this recipe!

  6. Stew says:

    I just made it tonight, using 2 jars of Classico Sausage pasta sauce and 1 pound of bulk sweet sausage. I also tossed in a chopped shallot I needed to use up.

  7. KATHLEEN GILL says:

    Hi- Used this recipe for my first attempt with IP- I don’t see a “Manual” button on the IP! Ack! Out of desperation, I chose the “Soup” mode- I’ll see if I guessed correctly in about 4 minutes!

    • KATHLEEN GILL says:

      Which button should I have pushed, please? It is really good, but the pasta is a bit overcooked (my fault!) I bought the Instant Pot Duo…

      • Tanya says:

        Hi Kathleen. Thanks for letting me know there is a difference between the IP versions. The “manual” function is now the “pressure cook” button on the Duo. Have a wonderful evening! Tanya

  8. Karie Vanneman says:

    My first Instant Pot recipe since getting it for Christmas and it was a huge success with the whole family, including husband, 3 & 5 year old! I used one can of diced tomatoes, 1/2 jar of sun-dried tomatoes and a tube of tomato paste in place of the sauce, ground Italian chicken sausage and spices. I had no idea the IP had to get geared up before the timer started so I spent the 7 minutes wondering why the timer hadn’t started. Had to cook another 5 minutes after opening it up to see the noodles weren’t cooked (rookie mistake) Will be making this again, thank you!

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