Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce

Make a big batch of Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce for a flavorful pasta sauce that takes less than an hour.

Make a big batch of Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce for a flavorful pasta sauce that takes less than an hour.

First of all, this is just the spaghetti sauce that we’re cooking in the Instant Pot. I’ve tried cooking the noodles in there too, but found they ended up a bit gummy for my liking. So, I suggest boiling your noodles like normal and topping with this delicious sauce. If you are wanting a one pot option where the noodles are cooked in the sauce, check out One Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs on our sister site, theCOOKFUL.

Why Cook Spaghetti Sauce in the Instant Pot?

You may be wondering what the benefit of using the instant pot for cooking spaghetti sauce instead of using the stove is. Yes, we’re using the Saute function of the instant pot for the first few steps which can be mirrored with a large pot on the stove. The magic really happens with that short amount of pressure cooking time though. It ends up giving the sauce a flavor that makes it seem like it’s been simmering away on the stove all day long!

While you absolutely can follow along this recipe on the stove top, and let the tomatoes simply heat through instead of pressure cooking, I encourage you to try it with the instant pot and taste the difference. I think it’s well worth it.

Why is there Cream in the Sauce?

The heavy cream in this recipe is totally optional, but I am a big fan of classic Italian bolognese sauce. That sauce includes some milk or cream which helps cut the acidity of the tomatoes and adds richness. I would not suggest substituting milk in this recipe though, I find that the acid from the tomatoes can sometimes curdle the milk and you don’t want that. You also usually don’t want to add dairy to the instant pot before pressure cooking, because that high heat and pressure can break apart the dairy and curdling as well.

To avoid that, we add in the cream at the end to a couple cups of the sauce, and then incorporate it into the full batch of sauce so that the cream warms through.

How Long Can this Sauce be Stored?

This is a big batch of spaghetti sauce, so you may not be prepared to use it all at once. No worries! You can freeze this in a sealed container for up to 3 months, or refrigerate for up to 4 days. I will mention that the length of time it’ll keep in the fridge also depends on how fresh your ground beef is. If your beef was getting close to the ‘best by’ date, I suggest using it quicker or freezing till you’re ready for use.


Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce in a mason jar.

Follow along the step-by-step instructions below:



Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings


Make a big batch of Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce for a flavorful pasta sauce that takes less than an hour.


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano (optional)
  • 1/41/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)


  1. Set the Instant Pot to Saute. Add the olive oil and heat a moment. Add the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Saute until softened, 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes, if using. Stir and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the ground beef. Season with the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt and the black pepper.
  4. Cook the ground beef, stirring occasionally, until browned, 5-8 minutes. Drain off any fat or liquid.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes. Stir.
  6. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 7 minutes, making sure that the knob is set to Sealing. After the 7 minutes of pressure cooking have finished, allow for a 15 minute natural release. Then turn the knob to venting and allow any extra steam to release. Once the pressure valve has dropped, remove the lid.
  7. If using the cream, transfer 1 and 1/2 cups of the sauce from the Instant Pot into a medium bowl. Add the cream. Stir. Return the sauce with cream to the Instant Pot and Stir.
  8. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if desired.
  9. Freeze in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 4 days.
Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce

2 responses to “Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce”

  1. Lee says:

    Whenever I have tried recipes using cans of tomatoes the instant pot never cooks as I get an error where it overheats due to the starch in the recipe burning on the bottom of the bowl. How do you stop this happening here?

    • Christine Pittman says:

      I have not had that experience, Lee, but you could try adding extra water, maybe 2 cups. But then of course, it’s not as thick of a sauce. Simmer off extra liquid after following the recipe or you could try straining some of the sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove some extra liquid and get to desired consistency.

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