Instant Pot Baked Ziti

4.22 from 14 votes

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This Instant Pot Baked Ziti is your new go-to recipe for busy weeknights. Made with savory Italian sausage, tender ziti pasta, and gooey mozzarella cheese, it’s a family favorite that comes together in a fraction of the time. Don’t have an Instant Pot? Fret not…I’ve included the stovetop directions in the recipe card too.

Baked Ziti

Why You’ll Love Instant Pot Baked Ziti

I have a bit of an obsession with pasta + sauce + cheese. Spaghetti, Lasagna, Manicotti, Cannelloni, you name it, I love it. However, I typically don’t eat these kinds of meals very frequently because of how long they take to make. Baked Ziti included. But, ya’ll I found the cheat sheet, the magic sauce, the silver bullet. And that cheat sheet is called my pressure cooker.

I was super skeptical about cooking pasta IN the sauce IN the pressure cooker because I thought the only outcome would be mush. I was wrong. DEAD wrong.

Not only did I not get mush, but the sauce tasted slow-cooked, the pasta was cooked to al dente, it wasn’t watery or soupy in the least, and I stirred in plenty of fresh mozzarella to take this into heavenly realms. Oh, and did I mention it was ready in 25 minutes? It’s a great recipe!

If you don’t own a pressure cooker, never fear! Directions for making this on the stove are also included below. It obviously takes a little longer to make on the stove, but still equally delicious.

More Instant Pot recipes to try: Birria Tacos Instant Pot, Instant Pot Pork Chops, Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs, Cauliflower Soup (Instant Pot & Slow Cooker Directions), Instant Pot Risotto, Instant Pot Mac and Cheese.

Ingredients Needed For Instant Pot Baked Ziti

This is the easiest Instant Pot pasta recipe! Here’s everything you’ll need to make perfect Baked Ziti in a pressure cooker or on the stovetop!

  • Sweet Italian Sausage – if you are vegetarian, simply leave this part out for a meatless baked ziti. The sweet Italian sausage brings so much flavor to this recipe.
  • Olive Oil, Onion, and Garlic – all sautéed together for a great base.
  • Diced Tomatoes – canned and ready to go! Easy right?
  • Marinara Sauce – buy store-bought or use a homemade version.
  • Water – the amount depends on whether you are using the stovetop or pressure cooker method.
  • Dried Oregano, Bay Leaves, and Dried Basil – all the seasonings for a tasty Italian dish. You could instead use your favorite Italian Seasoning.
  • Salt and Pepper – to taste.
  • Ziti Pasta – you could also swap this out for penne pasta if you can’t find ziti pasta.
  • Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese – double the cheese for twice the flavors! Yum!


  • Ground Turkey or very Lean Ground Beef (97/3) instead of sausage for a leaner option.
  • Whole Wheat Pasta for a healthier twist.
  • Ricotta Cheese or Cottage Cheese or Heavy Cream mixed in for added creaminess.
  • Chicken Broth instead of water for more flavor.
  • Red Pepper Flakes or finely diced red bell pepper for a spicy kick.
Baked Ziti Recipe

How to Make Instant Pot Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti in just 25 minutes? Yes please! For full recipe details, including ingredient measurements see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here is step-by-step instructions for making this recipe:

1. Brown Italian Sausage

Brown Italian Sausage in the Instant Pot using the Brown/Saute function, breaking apart as it cooks. Drain if needed.

2. Add Oil, Onion + Garlic

Add in olive oil, onion, and garlic to the bottom of the pot and sauté until mostly tender, about 3 minutes.

3. Add in Remaining Ingredients

Stir in diced tomatoes, marinara sauce, 2 1/2 cups of water, basil, oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and uncooked pasta. Stir well. Ensure all the pasta is immersed in liquid (you don’t want any pasta sticking out of the top so it doesn’t cook).

Pro Tip: Ensure there’s enough liquid in the pressure cooker to avoid triggering the burn notice.

4. Add Instant Pot Lid + Set Cooking Function

Add the lid, lock in place, ensure pressure valve is not releasing pressure and switch cooking functions to ‘Beans/Chili’, ‘high pressure’ and set cooking time for 5 minutes.

5. Quick Release Pressure, Adjust Seasonings + Serve

Once the timer chimes, quick release pressure immediately. Give it a good stir, and adjust seasonings if needed. Stir in both cheeses and serve hot.

Stovetop Directions

If you don’t have an Instant Pot pressure cooker or similar, you can make this recipe on the stove top!

  1. In a large pot, brown sausage, breaking apart as it cooks. Drain if needed. Replace back in the pan.
  2. Add in olive oil, onion, and garlic and sauté until mostly tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in diced tomatoes, marinara sauce, 1 cup of water (a reduced amount from the ingredients listed), basil, oregano, bay leaves, salt, black pepper. Stir well. Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes.
  4. Toss sauce with cooked ziti. Stir in cheeses and serve.
Baked Ziti

Storing + Make Ahead Directions for Instant Pot Baked Ziti

Any leftovers you have can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days! Simply reheat in the microwave, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

To Freeze: freeze cooked baked ziti in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

To Make Ahead: you can prepare the sauce and store it in the fridge. Add pasta and cook when ready to serve.

What to Serve with Baked Ziti

There are classic side dishes that go with any pasta dinner. Those are breadsticks and salad, so good. I have an entire blog post with side dish ideas for What To Serve With Baked Ziti. Here are a couple of my favorites that go with baked ziti!

Baked Ziti Recipe

Love Baked Ziti? Try these other pasta recipes!

If you loved this Baked Ziti recipe you’ll love these other baked pasta recipes.

This Instant Pot Baked Ziti recipe is a lifesaver for busy weeknights. It’s an easy, cheesy delight that the whole family will love! The printable recipe card is below, make sure to save it because it’s a good one. Enjoy friends! 🙂

If you make this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a star rating and leave your review in the comments! If you have a picture of your finished dish, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #laurenslatest and tagging me @laurens_latest.

Baked Ziti
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4.22 from 14 votes

Instant Pot Baked Ziti

In only 25 minutes, you could be enjoying this delicious Instant Pot Baked Ziti without all the wait time or work.
servings 4 large servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1.25 lbs Sweet Italian Sausage
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes 1 can
  • 25 oz marinara sauce 1 jar
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 lb dried ziti pasta
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella drained and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


Pressure Cooker Directions

  • Brown Italian Sausage in pressure cooker using the Brown/Saute function, breaking apart as it cooks. Drain if needed.
  • Add in olive oil, onion, and garlic and saute until mostly tender, about 3 minutes. 
  • Stir in diced tomatoes, marinara sauce, water, basil, oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and dried pasta. Stir well. Ensure all the pasta is immersed in liquid (you don't want any pasta sticking out of the top so it doesn't cook.)
  • Add the lid, lock in place, ensure pressure valve is not releasing pressure and switch cooking functions to 'Beans/Chili', 'high pressure' and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Once the timer chimes, release pressure immediately, stir, and taste to ensure seasonings are good. Adjust as needed. Stir in cheeses and serve hot.

Stovetop Directions

  • In a large pot, brown sausage, breaking apart as it cooks. Drain if needed. Replace back in the pan.
  • Add in olive oil, onion, and garlic and saute until mostly tender, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in diced tomatoes, marinara sauce, 1 cup of water (a reduced amount from the ingredients listed), basil, oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper. Stir well. Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes.
  • Toss sauce with cooked ziti. Stir in cheeses and serve.



Calories: 796kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 68g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Cholesterol: 164mg | Sodium: 1640mg | Potassium: 503mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 522IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 479mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Instant Pot Baked Ziti
4.22 from 14 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating

115 Responses
  1. Heather Poulsen

    5 stars
    I really want to try this recipe! It just looks so yummy! Thank you for sharing your cute family with us; I really enjoy “This week at the Brennans”.

  2. Meghan P.

    5 stars
    Made this for dinner last night, and it was a total winner! Even the picky 9 yr old who won’t really eat anything these days loved it and asked for it to become a regular meal. And bonus….the kids argued over who got to take the leftovers in their lunch today! Win!

  3. Emily Lant

    5 stars
    We have a pressure cooker and don’t use it nearly enough. I’ve actually never used it myself as it scares me! I know they are made pretty safe these days, and this looks like the perfect recipe for me to get my feet wet with it 😊 Thanks for sharing!

  4. Tammy

    I have a pressure cooker, but gave been hesitant to try cooking pasta in it, afraid it will be too well done or gummy or something like that. You’ve inspired me to try with this recipe!!

  5. Amy Fleming

    5 stars
    I made this the other night and O. M. Goodness! It was delicious and easy……..YES PLEASE! Thanks for a great new edition to our dinner rotation!

  6. Emily

    I’ve been too scared to use my instant pot until you posted this recipe! I made it last week and we were all BIG fans!! So easy, cheesy, and delicious! Thanks, Lauren, for helping me get over my fear of the pressure cooker by placing a carb-load recipe before my face!!

  7. Aimee Henry

    5 stars
    Just recently started using our pressure cooker for meals when I came across this recipe, it was amazing and the kids approved which is always a major bonus! Thank you for making my dinners so much easier 😊

  8. Serena

    I would love to try this, it looks so yummy! But…first I need to get one a pressure cooker! I almost got one last Christmas and now I’m totally regretting not getting it!

  9. Saralyn Buck

    5 stars
    I got an instant pot about 4 months ago and I absolutely love it. My hubby and kids love anything pasta based, so I’ll be trying this next. Thanks for the great recipe!

  10. Lindsay

    We recently got an instant pot and I’ve been overwhelmed with ideas for things to make in it… which leads to making nothing. Whoops! This looks like a delicious place to start… I love some baked ziti 🙂

  11. Valeri Koelln

    This has been on my “I want to make list” since you posted it a few weeks ago. I am finally going to the store tomorrow and getting everything that I forgot the last time I went!

  12. Stephanie

    I’m going to have to try this! Especially since pasta is my kids favorite meal. I’ve been scared to try pasta in the pressure cooker but I trust you that it won’t be mushy 🙂

  13. Samantha

    5 stars
    I made this and it was totally delicious! Before my pressure cooker started counting down though, I got a ‘burn’ message. I released the pressure, stirred it a lot, scraping the bottom until it was smooth and then restarted it. I got a ‘burn’ message again. This time when I released the pressure and stirred it, I tasted a noodle and it was cooked perfectly so I didn’t restart it and just added the cheese and served it. As I said, it was fabulous! Any idea what I could have done differently? I followed recipe very closely. More water?

      1. Samantha

        I have a 6qt. Instant Pot. I have never used the bean setting before. It was weird, even though it said burn, it kept working. When I have seen the burn message before, while using the manual setting, it turns itself off. Anyway, it worked out fine since the pasta was perfectly cooked. My whole family loved it, which is a tall order! Thank you!!

        1. Tanya

          I had the exact same experience with my 8qt instant pot. Two burn messages but perfectly cooked noodles so I added the cheese & we enjoyed a delicious meal.

  14. Erin

    5 stars
    Hi Lauren – Just had to leave a comment that this was absolutely delicious! We all enjoyed it last night and I’m about to enjoy leftovers for lunch. Keep ’em coming! 🙂

  15. Cindy Grey

    5 stars
    This is a winner! I liked that the pasta was actually al dente, not mushy like I expected. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

    Cindy Grey

  16. Yvonny

    Made this tonight for the hubby and I, we loved it! Was super easy and fast. Great recipe!! I love finding recipes to use with my instant pot! Thank you!

  17. Deb Showalter

    5 stars
    Lauren this dish is AMAZING!!! Made it last night for my whole family, and everyone loved it so much. Just finished the leftovers for lunch today, it reheats just beautifully. The first words that came out of their mouths after that first bite was “This is another one of Lauren’s, isn’t it?” Please have more pressure cooker recipes coming, I got the Crock Pot multi pot for Christmas and I need HELP!

  18. Deb

    5 stars
    I made the baked ziti last night. I’m new to the whole ‘pressure cooker’ way of cooking so I was skeptical. Just wanted you to know my picky husband was totally impressed and loved it, so did I. This is a keeper! Thanks, Lauren.

  19. Amanda

    5 stars
    I haven’t been able to get this out of my head since I saw it so I stopped for ingredients on my way home tonight! I did try to make it “healthier” (ha!) with ground turkey and part-skim cheese, and I used rigatoni, petite cut tomatoes, and my own sauce because I had them. But even with my subs it was still delicious! So easy, too. I did have to cook it for 2 extra minutes to get the pasta al dente (and melt the cheese) – maybe rigatoni is thicker than ziti? Anyway, the baby loved it, too, so it’s going on my keep list 🙂 I wanted to say thanks, too – I see a lot of pressure cooker recipes that say “cook for 5 minutes” but don’t tell you what setting to use or how to vent. Your instructions are clear and precise, which is SO helpful. So, again, thanks!

  20. Jas

    What size instapot do you have? We tried this last night and we must have a smaller one as i had to remove some liquid and didnt use an entire pound of pasta.. Just wondered. 🙂

  21. This Week at the Brennan's | Lauren's Latest

    […] speech for his Friday appointment so I could get some posts up! That’s the day I posted this pressure cooker baked ziti and this post all about menu planning. It’s amazing what quiet time will do for my […]

  22. Katherine K

    5 stars
    I’m making this right now, minus the sausage – I’m cooking some chicken thighs sous vide to add once it’s all done. Easiest dinner ever with minimal cleanup! Love it!