Instant Pot Chicken Marinara with Mozzarella

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Instant Pot Marinara Chicken is a quick, cheesy dinner recipe smothered in easy, garlicky homemade tomato sauce with tender chicken breasts and melted mozzarella. 

Close up shot of Instant Pot chicken marinara served over spaghetti and garnished with basil.

My family loves a kid-friendly, easy weeknight recipe. And this one checks all of the boxes: it’s packed with protein from lean chicken breasts. It’s served with comforting pasta.

It has rich flavors from the quick and easy homemade tomato sauce. And, of course, it’s topped with gooey, melted cheese!

If your mouth is watering, then you need to add this Instant Pot Chicken Mozzarella dinner recipe to your menu this week. We make this easy chicken marinara for dinner all year round, and you’ll want to do the same after you give it a try!

Update: This is such a crowd-pleasing Instant Pot dinner recipe, we decided to update our post with new photos and air fryer lid instructions for perfect chicken marinara every time. Enjoy!

Pinterest image promoting Mozzarella Chicken Marinara, with the chicken served over spaghetti and garnished with fresh basil, in a white bowl with an Instant Pot in the background.

How to Make Instant Pot Marinara Chicken

This Instant Pot Marinara Chicken recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL

The great part about this recipe is that you get all the flavor of homemade marinara sauce, without any of the work or long simmering time. The garlicky, herb sauce cooks at the same time as the chicken breasts, and all it takes is a 5 minute cook time at High Pressure. 

📏 Tip: The most important thing to ensure that the chicken cooks all the way through is to use evenly sized chicken pieces. 

If your chicken breasts that are very thick on one end and thin on the other, gently pound them to a uniform thickness before pressure cooking.

When I’m making this for my family, I cook the pasta on the stove while the chicken cooks in the pressure cooker. That way, I can have more control over portion sizes. (And so I can accommodate different sauce preferences among the little ones.)

Overhead shot of chicken cooked in marinara sauce inside an Instant Pot.

Can I Make Marinara Chicken with an Air Fryer Lid?

Yes. If you have an air fryer lid, you can use it to melt and brown the cheese instead of the oven. (Note that the result will be a bit saucier.)

Lock the air fryer lid in place. Select Air Fry and set the temperature to 400ºF and set time to 5 minutes. Select Start to begin. Check halfway through to make sure it’s not browning too quickly.  

I Pyrex pan with chicken mozzarella and marinara sauce, with fresh basil and an Instant Pot in the background.

Big-Batch Marinara Chicken

You can easily add to this recipe to feed more. Add 6 or more chicken breasts (if your Instant Pot is large) without any changes to the cook time. Just make sure not to fill your pot more than two-thirds full. 

Overhead shot of chicken marinara that was cooked in a pressure cooker, that is served over spaghetti and garnished with fresh basil.

More Easy Instant Pot Dinner Recipes

Tender, juicy chicken is one of the best proteins to make in a pressure cooker. Here are some of our other favorite fast weeknight Instant Pot chicken recipes to try next:

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Close up shot of Instant Pot chicken marinara served over spaghetti and garnished with basil.

Instant Pot Marinara Chicken

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Instant Pot Marinara Chicken features tender chicken breasts coated in a flavorful homemade tomato sauce and topped with melted mozzarella. 


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or pressed
  • 1 can (14 ounce) crushed tomatoes in purée
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup grated low-fat mozzarella
  • Cooked pasta, for serving, if desired


  1. Salt and pepper chicken breasts. Add oil to the pressure cooking pot, select Sauté. When the oil is hot, brown the chicken breasts in two batches. Transfer to a plate.
  2. When all the chicken is browned, add more oil if necessary and sauté the garlic for 1 minute. Add the canned tomatoes, water, basil, red pepper flakes, and salt to the pressure cooking pot. Stir to combine. Return the chicken breasts to the pot.
  3. Lock lid in place. Select High Pressure and 5 minutes cook time. When the cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker and use a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid. Check to make sure the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle (165°F).
  4. Preheat the broiler and spray a small glass casserole dish with non-stick spray. Place the chicken in the dish. Select Sauté and cook the sauce until it thickens to your desired consistency. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
  5. Sprinkle the mozzarella over chicken and put the dish under the broiler until the cheese is melted and starting to lightly brown. Watch it closely once it starts to brown it can brown quickly.


You can use an air fryer lid to melt the cheese. Lock the air fryer lid in place. Select Air Fry and set the temperature to 400ºF and set time to 5 minutes. Select Start to begin. Check halfway through to make sure it’s not browning too quickly.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 321Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 401mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 44g

Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.


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originally published December 26, 2020 — last updated February 7, 2021
Categories: Chicken