This Instant Pot Pesto Pasta is an easy recipe perfect for weeknight meals. Spaghetti tossed in pesto sauce along with sun-dried tomatoes and a drizzle of lemon juice. Make this as a one-pot dish in just 20 minutes in the Instant Pot. This is my favorite way to eat spaghetti!
Pesto sauce in pasta is the ONLY way my family loves pasta. There was a time, when my daughter would not eat any tomato based sauces on pasta. So I would buy or make pesto and use it all the time. Luckily she got over it, and loved to eat my Penne in Tomato Cream Sauce.
I am surprised it has taken me this long to share this recipe. You will love the simplicity of it. So simple, yet so flavorful.
Recently I also shared my Homemade Basil Walnut Pesto recipe. You can use a homemade pesto or a store brought one.
If you like pesto pasta, check out my Gnocchi in Basil Pesto and Pesto Orzo Salad.
What makes Instant Pot Pesto Pasta special?
✓ One-pot, no need to cook the spaghetti separately.
✓ That means less dirty dishes!
✓ Ready in 20 minutes!
✓ Perfect meal for those busy nights.
Spaghetti: I used spaghetti in this pasta recipe. But other shapes of pasta such as penne, rotini or orzo could work too.
Pesto: I love to use Homemade Basil Walnut Pesto in this recipe. You can use a homemade pesto or a store brought one. My favorite store brought pesto is the one in the refrigerator section at Costco or Trader Joes. When fresh basil is not available, I always keep a bottle of pesto in the refrigerator.
Olive oil: Just to add a little when cooking the pasta.
Sun-dried Tomatoes: I like to add some at the end after pressure cooking the pasta. However they are optional.
Basil leaves: They are the best to add to any pasta. But more so to this pesto pasta.
Pecorino Romano or Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grate some cheese on the top before enjoying.
Other toppings: Lemon juice or red chili flakes if you like to add some spice to the pasta.
How to make?
This is the simplest recipe you will ever encounter. Add spaghetti, water and olive oil to the Instant Pot. Pressure Cook for 4 minutes, followed by a quick release.
The general rule of thumb for cooking time for pasta in Instant Pot - For al dente pasta, cook for 1 minute less than half the time recommended on the box. Add one more minute for well done pasta. For example, if the pasta box says 12 minutes, then I would pressure cook for 5 minutes. I prefer to cook al dente and then add a minute or so on sauté mode if needed.
Open the pot. Use tongs to stir the spaghetti well. Then add the pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. You can also stir in any quick or no-cook veggies at this time, such as spinach, arugula or sliced bell peppers. Toss well to coat all the spaghetti with the pesto sauce.
You can add lemon juice, red chili flakes and parmesan. All of these are optional, however I love them in my spaghetti. Lemon juice the most!
Instant Pot Pesto Pasta is ready to be enjoyed.
Cooking time: In 4 minutes, the spaghetti with be Al dente. If you want softer spaghetti, add 1-2 minutes to cooking time.
Creamy Pesto Sauce: If you like creamy pesto, add half a cup of heavy cream along with the pesto sauce to the spaghetti. This is a variation we love!
Pasta: I used spaghetti in this recipe, but you can use any shape pasta. The coking time will be 1 minute less than the half of what is mentioned on the package.
Double recipe: You can double this recipe in a 6 quart instant pot. The pressure cooking time will remain the same.
Instant Pot Chicken Pesto Pasta Variation: Cut chicken into small 1-inch pieces. Heat the instant pot and add olive to it. Then sauté the chicken for a minute. Then follow the recipe as is. The cooking time will remain the same.
More Instant Pot Pasta Dishes:
- Spinach Artichoke Lasagna
- Penne in Creamy Tomato Sauce
- Vegetarian Fajita Pasta
- Lemon Parmesan Orzo
- Penne Alla Vodka
- Pappardelle Pesto with Vegetables
Instant Pot Pesto Pasta (Spaghetti with Pesto)
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 8 ounces Spaghetti
- 2 cup Water
- ¾ cup Pesto
- ⅓ cup Sundried Tomatoes optional
To garnish (optional)
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice adjust to taste
- Pecorino Romano Cheese or parmesan, optional
- Basil leaves to garnish
- Red Chili Flakes optional
- Break spaghetti into half or smaller, and add it to the Instant Pot steel insert.
- Add water and olive oil. Press the spaghetti under water. It should just covered with water. Close lid of the instant pot with vent in sealing position.
- Press the Manual or Pressure Cook button and cook at high pressure for 4 minutes. The time to cook is usually 1 minute less than half of the suggest time on the pasta box. This will result in al dente pasta.
- When the instant pot beeps, quick release the pressure manually. Toss the spaghetti with tongs, so all the noodles are separated.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes and pesto. Toss to coat the spaghetti well.
- Mix in the lemon juice if adding. Garnish with red chili flakes, cheese and basil leaves.
- This recipe was created in a 6qt Instant Pot DUO60 Multi-use Pressure Cooker.
- In 4 minutes, the spaghetti with be Al dente. If you want softer spaghetti, add 1-2 minutes to cooking time.
- If you like more saucy spaghetti, add more pesto sauce. You can also add some heavy cream to make this a creamy pesto spaghetti.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.
Kriti J says
Super easy and tasty ! Thank you so much. If I would like to add broccoli to this recipe at what point can I add it ?
This recipe has been a really special recipe for me.
Piping Pot Curry says
Hi - So happy to hear that 🙂
Would the noodles get soggy if you made this and let it sit in the IP for about 30 mins?
Meeta Arora says
Hi Susanna - I would recommend to release the pressure when the instant pot beeps, stir them and then if you like you can leave the noodles in the instant pot.
Kayla Snell says
The recipe looks great! I'm going to try it with penne because that's what I have and add italian sausage. In the blog post, you mention lime juice, but the recipe calls for lemon. Which one are you using?
Piping Pot Curry says
Hey Kayla - Sorry for the confusion. I have updated to mention lemon juice for this recipe. Hope you enjoy the pasta!