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Instant Pot Baked Ziti

This Instant Pot baked ziti is a modern take on an old-fashioned classic recipe. Made in one pot with easy cleanup in mind, you’ll have a wholesome and easy cheesy ziti on your table in no time!

ziti with cheese in instant pot

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Easy baked ziti Instant Pot style

Instant Pot baked ziti takes all the best things about my cheesy baked ziti and does it in a fraction of the time. As you probably know, baked ziti is a pasta casserole of sorts and while this baked ziti instant pot recipe isn’t actually baked at all, it still gives you the cheesy, saucy, comforting flavors of this amazing Italian-inspired dish.

It’s one of my favorite ways of making pasta in an Instant Pot. It’s got fewer moving parts than the original recipe. The pasta is cooked right in the pot, along with broth and cream, Italian seasoning, and marinara sauce. It’s literally a one-pot meal that rivals any traditionally baked ziti recipe!

If you love my instant pot spaghetti you’re going to want to dive right into instant pot ziti ASAP! Serve with a basket of garlic bread or a chopped salad to complete this Italian-themed menu and have a restaurant-quality dinner at home and within budget!

sauce on top of noodles in instant pot

Why make ziti pasta in the Instant Pot?

If you’re new to the Instant Pot world, first of all welcome! You’re in for a life-changing experience with the magic of this pressure cooker. Once you know how to use the instant pot you’ll have access to so many time-saving, easy, and one-pot meals, at your fingertips!

There will always be room for cozy casseroles, but when time is of the essence, and kids have their activities, work ran late, or you’re just not feeling like heating up the kitchen with your oven, using a pressure cooker to make your un-baked baked ziti is a game-changer.

The pressure cooker is set up so that it takes the guesswork out of most of what you’re doing. It weighs the contents of the pot and knows when it’s come to pressure. It’s crazy! It’s an easy way to get dinner on the table quickly and makes complete meals in a fraction of the time as other methods.

Why can’t I stir pasta in the Instant Pot?

The reason for this is to avoid the burn notice. If the pasta gets stirred in too much with the liquid it will start to absorb the liquid faster than needed. If there is not enough liquid in the pot, it can start to burn. As long as the noodles are evenly layered and are submerged in the liquid, you’re golden.

ziti in instant pot

Variations

  • Don’t have ziti? Use any medium to short pasta you have on hand. Now we’re really playing fast and loose with the term baked ziti ;)
  • Used crushed tomatoes in place of marinara sauce.
  • Double the dose of veggies by using sauté mode before adding any of the liquid. Add a Tablespoon of olive oil and cook up 1/2 cup diced onion, bell peppers, or mushrooms, or a combination of all three.
  • Once ziti is done cooking, add 1 or 2 cups of chopped spinach along with the cheese. The residual heat will wilt the spinach and it will add a very nice flavor and a few extra greens.
  • To add ground beef, ground turkey, or Italian sausage to this dish, brown it on sauté ahead of time and drain the grease from the pot. You can cook the veggies in at this time as well.
  • You can substitute half and half for heavy cream as they are both thick and rich. Do not substitute for milk as it will not result in the same consistency.
  • If you want to omit the half and half, replace it with an extra cup of marinara sauce.

Ways to serve

My family loves a simple garlic bread or a chopped salad on the side. Sometimes I like to switch up the salad option for a change!

spoonful of baked ziti

More easy instant pot dinners:

spoonful of baked ziti

Instant Pot Baked Ziti

5 from 2 votes
This Instant Pot baked ziti is a modern take on an old-fashioned classic recipe. Made in one pot with easy cleanup in mind, you'll have a wholesome and easy cheesy ziti on your table in no time!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 4 mins
Pressure time: 20 mins
Total Time: 34 mins
Servings: 8

Equipment

  • Instant pot

Ingredients 

For serving: parmesan or mozzarella cheese and freshly chopped basil

    Instructions

    • Pour the broth and half and half into the bottom of the instant pot (I used a 6qt). Then mix in the Italian seasoning, salt, garlic powder and pepper.
      broth and seasoning in instant pot
    • Evenly add the ziti noodles over top of the liquid (do not stir). Then evenly pour the sauce over top.
      sauce on top of noodles in instant pot
    • Place the lid on the pressure cooker and set the valve to seal. Then select pressure cook on high pressure. Set the time to 4 minutes. It will take about 20 minutes to build pressure. Once the time is up, let the pressure naturally release for about 5 minutes.
      instant pot on the counter
    • Turn the valve (using hot pads) and then remove the lid. Stir in the parmesan cheese.
      ziti in instant pot
    • Add extra cheese and basil on top if desired. Serve while warm.
      ziti with cheese in instant pot

    Notes

    Variations:
    • If you don't have marinara sauce, you can also use crushed tomatoes.
    • If you'd like to add extra vegetables, you can turn the pressure cooker to sauté mode before adding the liquid. Add a Tablespoon of olive oil and sauté 1/2 cup diced onion. You could also add 1/2 cup diced bell pepper or mushrooms. 
    • After the ziti is cooked you can add in 1 to 2 cups chopped spinach with the cheese. 
    • If you'd like to add meat, cook 1/2 pound on the sauté mode and then drain the grease. Then add the liquids after. 
    • You can sub the half and half for heavy cream but I wouldn't use milk. If you'd like to cut the half and half, you could add an extra cup of marinara sauce. 

    Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 1125mg | Potassium: 507mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 746IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 2mg
    Course: Main Dish
    Cuisine: Italian
    Author: Jamielyn Nye

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