Instant Pot Baked Ziti - easy pasta with Italian sausage, tomato sauce and ricotta cheese. Creamy and cheesy pasta dish cooked in your pressure cooker.
Serve this pasta dish with my One-Hour Skillet Focaccia or Cheesy Garlic Bread.
When you are craving comfort food, need something easy that everyone will love or simply it's pasta night at your house, this Instant Pot Baked Ziti will fit the bill. It's super easy and packed with flavor. You will make it once and it will stay in your weekly menu for a long time. This pasta can be adjusted to your likings by using different meat or skipping it entirely for a vegetarian meal. Just don't forget the ricotta and more cheese on top! This dish is bound to be a hit!
- ziti pasta
- Italian sausage (mild or spicy)
- olive oil
- Italian seasoning
- dried oregano
- salt and pepper
- crushed tomatoes
- tomato paste
- shredded mozzarella cheese
- ricotta cheese
- On "saute" setting, add oil to insert and saute onion and garlic. Add seasoning and saute for 1 minutes. I like to saute seasoning at this point because it in a way "activates" the spices and makes them more fragrant.
- Add sausage and cook until done.
- Press "cancel/off" button. Add ¼ cup of water and using a wooden spoon, scrape all of the browned bits from the bottom of the insert. They have a lot of flavor but also, it will prevent the dish from burning at the bottom.
- Now add pasta and water and stir everything together.
- Add diced tomatoes, paste, and crushed tomatoes and do not stir.
- Cook on "manual" or "pressure cook" setting for 6 minutes.
- When done, carefully switch the valve to "venting" position. Carefully open the lid away from your face. Stir pasta.
- Add ricotta and stir again. Top pasta with grated mozzarella or Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley or basil.
Can I freeze this dish?
Yes! Like any cooked pasta dish, you can freeze this Instant Pot Baked Ziti. Cool it completely after cooking and freeze for up to 3 months. I do not like to add ricotta before freezing but stir it in before serving.
Can I use pasta sauce in a jar in this recipe?
You can use any pasta sauce you like to make this dish. Just make sure to use 24 ounces total. If it already has seasoning, you may need to adjust the amount of Italian seasoning you add to the pasta.
You can play with this recipe and use ingredients depending on what you like or what you have on hand.
- meat: Instead of Italian sausage, you can use ground beef, turkey or even chicken.
- no meat: You can also keep it vegetarian and skip the meat but add spinach, mushrooms, peppers, etc.
- pasta: You can also use penne, macaroni pasta or bow tie pasta in place of ziti.
More pasta recipes
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
- Instant Pot Pasta Carbonara
- Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta
- Instant Pot Chili Mac
Check out my Instant Pot Guide for Beginners, filled with all the info you need to get started with your new appliance! Seeing BURN message on your IP? Read my Instant Pot Burn Message post to learn why and how to save your dish.
If you like this recipe and make it, snap a photo and share it on INSTAGRAM! Tag me @crunchycreamysweet so I can check it out and leave a comment! 😀
Instant Pot Baked Ziti
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb mild or spicy Italian sausage casings removed
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 24 oz. crushed tomatoes
- 1 15. oz can diced tomatoes with juices
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 lb ziti pasta
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¾ cup ricotta cheese
- Make sure the stainless steel insert is in your Instant Pot.
- Press "saute" setting. Add oil to insert and heat up. Add garlic and chopped onion and saute until the onion is almost translucent. Add Italian seasoning and dried oregano, stir well.
- Place Italian sausage (casings removed) in Instant Pot and cook, breaking it down with a wooden spoon. Cook until no longer pink and there are brown bits on the bottom of the IP insert. Press "cancel/off" button. Add ¼ cup of water to sausage and stir well, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the insert.
- Add ziti and 2 cups of water and stir well.
- Pour diced tomatoes (with juices) over pasta, add tomato paste and crushed tomatoes. Do not stir.
- Close lid of the Instant Pot, switch the valve to "sealing" position.
- Press "manual" setting and adjust timer to 6 minutes. The Instant Pot will beep and start coming to pressure.
- When the timer is done, the Instant Pot will beep. Press "off/cancel" button. Switch the valve to “venting” and quickly release the pressure. When the done, carefully open the lid.
- Add mozzarella cheese and ricotta cheese and stir well.
- Serve ziti garnished with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use calorie counter you are familiar with.
- You can use penne pasta in place of ziti.
- Use ground beef or Italian sausage with your preferred level of spiciness.
This recipe was originally published on August 20th, 2018 and updated on November 17th, 2019.
I absolutely love this recipe - but I constantly get a burn message when I cook it - any idea why? I follow the recipe to the later. I just ignore the burn message and it still turns out great - but would love to be able to not see that anxiety inducing message on the pot! Any advice?
Michael O says
I made this today - only my 2nd Instant Pot recipe. It was FANTASTIC! Maybe the best thing I have ever cooked!
I pretty much followed the recipe exactly as written - except I did add pancetta which I cooked before anything else. Two tbsp of olive oil, crisp up the pancetta - I removed it with a slotted spoon, and stirred it in during the last step.
Thanks for a wonderful dinner!
Yay! That's fantastic, Michael! I am so glad you enjoyed the pasta! Thank you for trying my recipe!
This is my go to recipe for ziti! I’ve made it several times and it’s so good. My 4 year old loves it as well.
Ellen Keiffer says
I'd like to know how much pasta sauce to use to eliminate the diced and crushed tomatoes please. I'm not a chunky tomato fan. thank you.
We have the Instant Pot Duo Mini (3 qt). Presuming your recipe is for the 6 qt model, can the recipe be halved for the 3 qt mini? Thanks.
Hi David! Yep, that should work. Let me know how it goes!
This was a fail for me. This burned in my instant pot even though I followed the instructions (except no meat) and I had to finish it in the oven. Still trying to scrape the burnt bits out of my pot.
Hi Lauren! The fact that you skipped the meat, changed the recipe. You need the meat layer to prevent the burn in this recipe. Otherwise, the tomato mixture will sink to the bottom. There is a reason for no stirring once you add the tomato mixture.
I didn't add the meat (vegetarian), (and I even did half recipe). It came out great! I believe the trick is to make sure there is enough liquid. Since I did half recipe I added more liquid than the half calculations.
This was fantastic! The flavors were perfect and it was so easy to make. Thanks for sharing!
Krissy Allori says
This kind of food is my jam. I love pasta and I love cheese. My family thought it was a hit!
Such a hearty dish for the cold weather season and so easy to make! My family loved it.
This is my comfort food also! And I loved that I could make your version in an Instant Pot. Seriously, it's my favorite kitchen tool since it saves me so much time.
Thanks so much! I agree, the Instant Pot is a must in every kitchen!
I made this tonight using crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce (no diced tomatoes or tomato paste) and fresh mozzarella and grated parmesan along with the ricotta, and I have to echo what someone said in a previous post..."so easy and absolutely delicious!" It came out perfectly! I'll definitely put this in rotation. Thanks so much for the recipe/awesome directions!!
Tisha Williams says
Can this recipe be doubled in the Instant Pot?
Hi Tisha! I think it depends on the size of your IP. An 8 quart should fit double the ingredients. I am not sure about the 6 quart one.
Krystyna J says
Hands down, the best Instant Pot recipe I've ever made. I made a couple of substitutions and omitted the ricotta and it was as good as the ziti at my local Italian eaterie.
Hi Krystyna! That is fantastic! I am so glad the ziti was such a hit! Thank you so much for trying my recipe.
If I substitute pasta sauce for the crush tomatoes, do I still need to add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste?
Hi Leslie! Yes, you still need diced tomatoes and tomato paste. It all adds up to the amount of liquid needed to cook the dish with pasta. Hope this helps!
Do I need to change anything if I don't add meat? We are vegetarians.
Hi Jamie! Nope, just skip that step. I hope you love this recipe! Let me know how it goes.
Do you think I could use pasta sauce instead? I have some I need to use up.
Hi Sally! Absolutely! Pasta sauce is great in place of crushed tomatoes. I just always make my own and have crushed tomatoes on hand, so that's what I used. Enjoy!
Allyson Zea says
I absolutely LOVE my instant pot!
It's the best! 😀
So easy and absolutely delicious!
This is great motivation for me to get my Instant Pot back out and use it more....looks delicious!
Back to craziness is in full swing at my house. This dish is exactly what I need to add to the rotation! My whole crew will love this.
Love how easy this is to make! Now that school is back in and our schedule is crazy, this is exactly what I need to keep my sanity.
Michael Wurm Jr says
Yum! I had no clue you could make this in an instant pot. Gotta try!!
This is making my stomach growl, such delicious comfort food!
Sarah M says
This is our go to meal for crazy weeknights!