Instant Pot Baked Ziti Recipe

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Under 30 minutes for this easy, hearty Instant Pot Baked Ziti Recipe. Packed with flavor and plenty of CHEESE, you’ll love this delicious weeknight dinner in the pressure cooker!

My family is obsessed with pasta, sauce, and meat. One of our go to dinners is Instant Pot Meatball Sliders. Served on a bun or over pasta, it’s a family favorite! Or give our homemade lasagna recipe a try, truly a classic.

Spoonful of ziti in the pressure cooker.

Why Make Ziti in the Instant Pot

I was on a mission this past week to conquer all things ziti.

You may recall this delicious Baked Ziti recipe that I shared. It’s seriously THE BEST. 

Baked Ziti is known in my house as “lasagna with mostaccioli noodles.” Not quite, but dang, pretty close.

  • Thick meaty marinara sauce
  • Tangy ricotta cheese filling
  • Baked with extra mozzarella on top

While Baked Ziti is fantastic, I wanted to try my hand at making it in the Instant Pot.

Let me just cut to the chase and say, it turned out fantastic. Using my baked ziti recipe as the base…this Instant Pot Ziti Recipe was a winner, with so much flavor.

My Instant Pot Ziti recipe includes the ricotta filling found in traditional recipes, unlike most others. All the zing and flavor with half the work!

Be sure to whip up our instant pot spaghetti next!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make ziti in the pressure cooker.
  • Meat – The combination of ground beef and Italian sausage gives an authentic Italian flavor to the dish. You could also use ground turkey or Italian sausage links (cooked).
  • Marinara – Choose your favorite pasta sauce brand and flavor here.
  • Pasta – Ziti is the classic noodle shape for this dish. However, penne pasta, rigatoni or elbow noodles all would work.
  • Cheeses – Mozzarella, Parmesan and ricotta cheese are the trio needed to make a classic ziti. And we’ve also got some cottage cheese here for extra richness.

How to make Instant Pot Ziti

Step by step photos showing how to saute meat in the pressure cooker.

Saute. Turn Instant Pot to “Saute” and add olive oil, onions and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add ground beef and Italian sausage. Cook and brown until done then turn Instant Pot off.

DEGLAZE THE POT. Add your beef broth and with a wooden spoon get all the bits from the bottom of the pot or you will get the burn notice!

Step by step photos showing how to layer ziti in the instant pot.

Layer. Add marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to the pressure cooker. Do not stir. Add uncooked ziti noodles on top. Do NOT stir. Using a wooden spoon, press the noodles until they are submerged in the sauce, but not stirred.

Cook. Seal the Instant Pot and set to cook on high “Pressure Cook” for 6 minutes. Allow to cook then do a QUICK RELEASE.

PRO TIP. Hold a thin tea towel above the release valve (several inches away from spout) to prevent the liquid from spraying all over your cabinets. Pasta liquid will usually spray longer too!

Step by step photos showing how to add cheese mixture to ziti.

Mix. While the pasta is cooking, make the cheese mixture by combining ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, parsley and cottage cheese. Set aside.

Finish. Once the pressure is released, open Instant Pot lid. Spoon in the cheese mixture, stirring until fully combined. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

If you’ve ever been to Olive Garden and had their ziti, you know how good it is paired with salad.

  • This Olive Garden Salad is JUST LIKE Olive Garden’s recipe. Only better because you don’t have to leave the house!
  • Whip up a batch of these easy, no knead Garlic Dinner rolls to go with your pasta. You’ll love the flavor! Give our easy garlic bread a try if you prefer.
  • My family could eat Caesar Salad with every meal. Good thing I’ve got an easy, homemade caesar dressing recipe (and no raw eggs needed)!
Ziti served in a white dinner bowl.

More Instant Pot Recipes:

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Instant Pot Baked Ziti

4.58 from 57 votes
By: Aimee
Under 30 minutes for this easy, flavorful Instant Pot Ziti Recipe. Packed with flavor and CHEESE, you'll love this delicious weeknight dinner in the pressure cooker!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed
  • ½ medium yellow onion diced
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound mild Italian sausage
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (your favorite pasta sauce) 24 ounce
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 ounce ziti uncooked
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup cottage cheese
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Instructions 

  • Turn Instant Pot to "Saute" and add olive oil, diced onions, and pressed garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon.
  • Add ground beef and mild Italian sausage. Cook and brown in the "Saute" mode until done. When browned, turn Instant Pot off.
  • Add beef broth to the pot and using a wooden spoon DEGLAZE the bottom by scraping all the bits and pieces stuck to the pot. This will prevent the burn notice.
  • To the pressure cooker, add marinara sauce (your favorite spaghetti sauce), Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. DO NOT STIR.
  • Pour in uncooked Ziti noodles. Do NOT stir. Using the wooden spoon, press the noodles gently until they are submerged in the sauce, but not stirred.
  • Secure lid to instant pot, making sure it is on "SEALING". Turn pressure cooker on high "Pressure Cook" for 6 minutes. Allow to cook then do a QUICK RELEASE.
  • While the pasta was cooking, make the cheese mixture in a small bowl by combining ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, parsley, and cottage cheese. Set aside.
  • Once the pressure is released, open lid. Spoon in the cheese mixture, stirring until fully combined. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

  • Recipe tested in a 6 quart Instant Pot.
  • Use your favorite combination of meat, from ground beef, Italian sausage and ground turkey!
  • Avoid the “burn notice” by following directions exactly. Do NOT stir the noodles into the sauce, just press them in until they are submerged.
  • You can substitute penne pasta for the ziti if you desire. Both work great in this recipe, trapping sauce and cheese in the tubes of pasta.
  • Cheese. Stir the cheese mixture in at the end completely, adding more or less to your taste.
  • How do I store leftovers? Leftover cooked ziti can be stored, once cooled, in a covered container in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 4-5 days.
  • Can I freeze leftover ziti? Yes! You can freeze the cooked ziti in a freezer safe container or ziplock bag. Label and date it, then freeze for up to 4-5 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 357kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 76mg, Sodium: 930mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g
Course: Instant Pot
Cuisine: Italian
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

Cheesy, creamy Instant Pot Ziti recipe. Ready in under 30 minutes!

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on April 30, 2024

Comments & Reviews

  1. What is the reasoning for a 10 minute wait and then QR? I only ask because when I do mac and cheese I do 4 minutes and QR. Is it because there is so much sauce and you want the noodles to absorb more? I am making it now and I’m on the 10 minute countdown

  2. You do not need to double the time. I’ve made it several times in my 8qt, doubled ingredients every time, still 6 min cooking time!

  3. I really enjoy this recipe. I’ve made it a handful of times. Only change I make is I use all ground beef as I don’t eat pork products. The problem I have is that every time I make it, my IP never comes up to pressure. It starts the countdown without coming up. I have to open it, and brute force it by closing it in sealing position so it seals. I’ve checked the seal every time. I’ve made other recipes without issue. I scrape the pot before adding all the liquid to make sure there’s nothing stuck. I don’t stir after adding the pasta. I just press the pasta in as per your recipe. What am I doing wrong??

  4. I followed the instructions exactly but after the QR, I opened the pot and the noodles weren’t cooked. I put it on sauté until they cooked as I had stirred the pot already. Only my second recipe so I don’t know how to trouble shoot!!

  5. This was my first ever Burn notice and there wasn’t much liquid to it. I followed directions and did everything as usual after sauté, 

    1. If any of the meat was stuck to the bottom of the pan, the burn notice can get issued. After browning meat, be sure to deglaze before pressure cooking.

  6. If I double the recipe, do I need to add any time to the pressure cooking stage? I’ll use the 8 qt pot . Thanks!

      1. I’ve made this a few times and it’s come out perfect each time. I substitute ground turkey and chicken broth because I don’t do beef or pork. I did follow the suggestion to declare and had no issues. This pressure cook method infuses the pasta with so much flavor! And it’s so easy to make. Def one of my favorites! Thank you!

  7. How much ziti? My grocery store only had penne, so I subbed in a whole pound but I got multiple burn warnings. I’m assuming this was the issue.

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