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My Instant Pot is 2 years old and it is quickly becoming the most used appliance in the kitchen.
Well, except for the Keurig; I’m a new-ish mom and caffeine is life, right?
Our Instant Pot is so versatile and so easy to use (hello dump and start pressure cooker dishes!) that I find myself planning dinner in it more than anything else. In fact, I can honestly say I barely use my oven for dinner anymore unless I’m giving something a quick broil.
I mean, what can’t you cook in the Instant Pot? Macaroni and cheese, pot roast, soup, even cheesecake!
I make a lot of dump and go pasta recipes in the Instant Pot. It’s so kid-friendly! Camden is 1 year old and pasta is one of his favorite foods. He can’t get enough of the stuff, and I know most kids are on-board with easy pasta dishes.
This dump and start Instant Pot Baked Ziti is so kid-friendly, you could even have them make it for you!
It takes just 5 ingredients (salt and pepper don’t count!), less than 10 minutes using the pressure cooker part of your Instant Pot, and you’re good to go.
The recipe uses a jar sauce, which makes a busy weeknight that much easier for us moms. Plus, it is vegetarian with hidden vegetables, making it a healthy meal for the kids as well.
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How to Make Dump and Start Instant Pot Baked Ziti
Turn on your Instant Pot, walk away, and dinner will be ready in a few, hence the dump and start method.
Note: This meal contains no meat and is vegetarian as is. This dish can also be made with meat, such as ground turkey, chicken or beef. The easiest way add it is to cook the meat in your Instant Pot (or one the stove) before cooking the pasta, place it to the side, then add it in right before you stir in the cheese.
Start by pouring your pasta sauce in the bottom of your Pot. Add your dry noodles, mushrooms and bell peppers (and any other veggies you want to sneak in!). Sprinkle garlic salt, pepper, and salt over top.
Measure 3 cups of water and pour on top of noodles. DO NOT STIR! This is so important – if you stir it, the water will combine, and you won’t have enough liquid for the IP to come to pressure!
Now the dump and start part. Put on the lid and turn it to ‘seal.’ Set the Instant Pot to ‘manual’ for 5 minutes. This will allow the pressure cooker part to start.
When it’s done, quick release the pressure. Give the pasta a quick stir (if you’re making the dish with meat, this is where you add this in) then sprinkle in 1/2 c. of each of the cheeses. Stir it again to distribute cheese throughout.
Then top your pasta with the remaining cup of cheese. Let sit for a few minutes so the cheese on top gets melty.
If you want, you can transfer your Instant Pot Baked Ziti to a baking dish, top with cheese and broil for a few minutes to get a golden-brown cheese crust.
Voila – dinner is served! Yep, it really is that easy!
This pairs perfectly with a nice packaged salad and pre-made garlic bread to make this meal ideal for busy weeknights.
TIP: This makes a lot of pasta, so you can always freeze half. If you’re going to freeze it, I recommend removing half of the pasta before adding the cheese. Cheese can get a little funky when you freeze it.
Freeze the pasta in an airtight freezer container. I usually put it in a container and then wrap the container in plastic wrap or a freezer Ziploc bag.
To reheat: Thaw completely. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove. You may need to add a little fresh sauce or a little water. Once it’s heated, stir in cheese and sprinkle cheese on top!
Instant Pot Baked Ziti
A simple vegetarian entree perfect for busy family nights.
- 16 ounces ziti pasta
- 36 ounces of pasta sauce (use your favorite!)
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup white mushrooms, diced
- 1 cup parmesan, grated
- 1 cup mozzarella/provolone cheese, shredded
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 3 cups water
- Pour pasta sauce in bottom of Instant Pot.
- Add noodles, mushrooms and bell pepper (and any other veggies you want). Add salt, pepper and garlic salt. Pour 3 cups water over top. DO NOT STIR!
- Close lid, seal, and set timer for 5 minutes. When timer goes off, quick release the pressure.
- Open lid once pressure is released. Add 1/2 cup parmesan and 1/2 cup mixed cheese. Stir to combine.
- Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup parmesan and 1/2 cup mozzarella/provolone mix over top of pasta and let sit for a few minutes.
- When the cheese on top is melted, dinner is ready!
You can add meat to this if you’d like! The easiest way is to cook the meat before the pasta and stir it in right before you stir in the cheese.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 344Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 2122mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 5gSugar: 12gProtein: 17g
Meet Guest Blogger Lisa Bonny
Lisa Bonny is a wife, a mama of a rambunctious 1-year-old named Camden, an avid coffee drinker, and the owner of Biscuits and Grading blog. She focuses on family-friendly recipes, baby and toddler tips, and building a community of mamas! After all, it takes a village, right?
Monday 27th of February 2023
Made this in college dorm, halved it, dropped all fresh vegetables, used gluten free noodles and it turned out good. The cheesy red sauce was great. Might add ground beef sometime
Friday 3rd of February 2023
Hi, I am new to Instant Pot cooking so thank you for all your instructions and tips! Is this recipe for a 6 qt IP?
Friday 10th of February 2023
@Samantha, Thank you! I made this tonight and everyone loved it! It was my first thing to make in the Instant Pot and was super easy! I have an air fryer lid and broiled it for a few minutes at the end. Scrumptious!
Tuesday 7th of February 2023
Hi Katie, yes this is for a 6qt Instant Pot!
Friday 16th of December 2022
Instead of bell peppers, I doubled the mushrooms. I added 15oz of Ricotta and 1lb of cooked, ground hot Italian sausage after quick releasing. Chefs kiss! This is a Godsend of a recipe! So easy and quick!
Monday 28th of November 2022
Will this work with gluten free pasta?
Wednesday 30th of November 2022
Hi Jean, I have not used this recipe with gluten free pasta as of yet. Please let us know if you try it out and how it turns out!
Tuesday 15th of September 2020
This is the dish my kids beg for, it's at least a weekly staple at our house, and so Insta-friendly for beginners. My kids are starting to make it on their own, until the release needs to be done! Sometimes I mix it up and put pesto in it.
Friday 18th of September 2020
I am so happy to hear that, Lisa! It's such an easy hands-off dinner to make! I love the idea of putting pesto in there too!