Instant Pot Quick Penne Pasta and Homemade Marinara Sauce

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Make this quick Instant Pot Penne and Marinara using the pot-in-pot method for a kid-approved dinner that keeps the homemade tomato sauce separate—and you’ll have it on the table in under 15 minutes. 

A close-up of Instant Pot Quick Marinara Sauce and Penne Pasta

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe: Who doesn’t appreciate a dinner you can make from pantry staples and have on the table in under 15 minutes? This easy pasta recipe is kid-friendly and helps you make a rich homemade tomato sauce in a snap. 

This quick and easy recipe used to be included with our How to Make Perfect Instant Pot Pasta post. However, people had a hard time finding that recipe, so we decided to give it a home on its own page.

I’ve also updated the post with new tips to help you make the easiest Instant Pot pasta recipe even faster. 

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How to Make Quick Instant Pot Penne and Marinara

This Instant Pot Quick Penne & Sauce recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant PotNinja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL

If you’re not cooking pasta in your Instant Pot yet, you’ll be so pleasantly surprised by how easy it is. There’s no boiling water or babysitting. 

And with a few fool-proof steps, you can nail perfect pasta every time. Read our guide on how to cook pasta in the Instant Pot for everything you need to know. Including how to cook different shapes and kinds of pasta like whole-wheat or gluten-free. 

An overhead photo of the Instant Pot with the pasta and trivet inside and the tomato sauce in the silver cake pan, ready to sit on top of the trivet

Pot-in-Pot Pasta and Sauce

The key to this recipe is using the pot-in-pot method. This way, you can cook the pasta directly in the pressure cooker and cook the marinara sauce at the same time. 

You’ll need a trivet and a baking dish or cake pan small enough to fit inside your pressure cooker. We like the 7-inch cake pan from Fat Daddios for pot-in-pot cooking.

If you’re new to this Instant Pot technique, see our how-to guide about pot-in-pot cooking

An overhead shot of the Penne and Marinara sauce mixed together after the pasta has finished cooking

Quick Meat Sauce

If you want to amp up the quick pasta sauce with ground meat, you can still do the entire recipe in your pressure cooker. 

Start by sautéing ground beef or chicken in the pressure cooking pot using the Sauté function until cooked through and broken into small pieces, about 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to a paper towel–lined plate to absorb some of the excess grease.

Add the pasta and water to the pressure cooking pot as directed. You won’t need the oil because of the fat remaining in the pot from the meat. Stir the cooked meat into the crushed tomatoes in the cake pan, and proceed with the recipe as directed.

Can I Make This With Any Pasta?

Yes! That’s why we used to include it in our our article on how to cook pasta in the Instant Pot. The pasta sauce is flexible and can cook for the same amount of time as your pasta. Remember, our rule of thumb to find the right cook time for your pressure cooker: (The recommended cooking time on the box ÷ 2) – 1 minute

A close-up of the Quick Penne pasta in a white bowl, with a small tossed salad and an Instant Pot visible in the background

More Easy Instant Pot Pasta Recipes

Once you’ve mastered Instant Pot pasta, you’ll be making it all the time. Start with these popular and quick recipes:

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A close-up of Instant Pot Quick Marinara Sauce and Penne Pasta

Instant Pot Quick Penne Pasta & Marinara Sauce

Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Additional Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: 30 minute meal, dump and go dinner, instant pot dinner, instant pot marinara sauce, Instant pot pasta, instant pot penne, Instant Pot quick meal, meatless meal
Cook your pasta and homemade meatless marinara sauce at the same time in the same pot—all done in 3 minutes at High Pressure.
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  • 4 cups water plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt divided
  • 1 box 16 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 can 28 ounces crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil OR 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Freshly grated Parmesan Romano, or mozzarella cheese, for serving


  • In the pressure cooking pot, stir together water, vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and pasta. Make sure the water just covers the pasta in the pot.
  • Place a rack in the pressure cooker above the penne.
  • For the marinara sauce, in a 7-inch round cake pan, stir together the tomatoes, garlic powder, basil, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Use a sling to carefully lower the pan onto the rack. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 3 minutes cook time.
  • When the cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker. Use a quick pressure release. If larger water drops or foam start to emerge from the steam release valve, return the switch to the Sealed position and wait for 30 seconds or a minute, then release the pressure again. Repeat this process, as needed, until no foam comes from the steam release valve and all the pressure is released.
  • When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid. Remove the marinara sauce and rack from the cooking pot. If you prefer your pasta more tender, select Saute and simmer until it reaches your desired tenderness. Use a ladle or strainer to remove excess water from the pasta.
  • Stir in the marinara. Taste and adjust the seasoning if desired.
  • Serve topped with cheese.


The penne I used for this recipe was a 16 ounce package of Barilla penne with a 9 minute cook time. (Not whole wheat penne.) If your pasta has a different cook time listed on the box, you’ll need to convert the time cooked at pressure accordingly.
**If you prefer a meat sauce, sauté ground beef or chicken in the pressure cooking pot for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and set aside. Add to the cake pan with the crushed tomatoes and proceed with the recipe as directed.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 362kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 1210mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g


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originally published August 21, 2021 — last updated June 1, 2024
Categories: Pasta