Amazing Instant Pot Baked Ziti

4.99 from 55 votes

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In only 25 minutes, you could be enjoying this delicious Instant Pot Baked Ziti without all the wait time or work.

I just made this Baked Ziti recipe yesterday and the leftovers and photos are haunting me! This recipe was so so good that I needed to bump it to the top of my ‘new recipes to share’ list.

Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti in the Instant Pot?

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? I’m concerned about the future size of my pants because I could make this every night for dinner with little to no effort and not get sick of it. Maybe I was an Italian in a former life?

Anyways, I know lots of you don’t even own a pressure cooker but 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.

Main Ingredients Needed

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 sauteed 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.
  • Salt and Pepper – to taste.
  • Ziti Pasta – you could also swap this out for penne if you can’t find ziti pasta.
  • Mozzarella and Parmesan – double the cheese for twice the flavors! Yum!
Baked Ziti Recipe

How to Make Baked Ziti

  1. Brown Italian Sausage in pressure cooker using the Brown/Saute function, breaking apart as it cooks. Drain if needed.
  2. Add in olive oil, onion, and garlic and saute until mostly tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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

  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 saute 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, pepper. Stir well. Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes.
  4. Toss sauce with cooked ziti. Stir in cheeses and serve.
Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti Leftovers

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.

Side Dishes

There are classic side dishes that go with any pasta dinner. Those are breadsticks and salad, so good. 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.

The printable recipe card is below, make sure to save it because it’s a good one. Enjoy friends!

4.99 from 55 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 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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.

Nutrition

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

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Recipe Rating




114 Responses
  1. Jessica N

    5 stars
    I enjoy your recipes but this one has stuck out to me the most, maybe it’s the Italian in me or the short amount of time I have to cook being a mom but I can’t wait to try this!!

  2. Kelsey Prock

    5 stars
    It’s time to dust off my pressure cooker and give some of these recipes a try! Thanks for assuring me that I won’t blow anything up by using it! I can do this!

  3. Darlene Young

    5 stars
    I have made this twice now. My husband calls this deconstructed ravioli and he loves it. It’s such an easy, delicious recipe and is now on our list of favorites to make again. I did learn why I need to turn off the keep warm cycle on the instant pot and vent it right away. This recipe does not need extra time and leaving it longer makes the pasta too soft. The instructions are perfect as is and the second time I made the recipe it was even better than the first.

  4. Brittany Gilson

    5 stars
    So excited to try this recipe. I’ve mostly just used my pressure cooker for rice and beans. I’m excited to try more things in it. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Paula

    I’ve been saving this recipe to make soon – love baked pasta! And it would be great to have it on a weeknight! Thank you Lauren!

  6. ANNA VEEN

    A friend just received a pressure cooker for Christmas, so I sent her this recipe, and she was going to make it as soon as she got home. She was so excited to find a recipe her family would love that could be prepared in such a short amount of time.

  7. Kim

    5 stars
    Goodness, this was delicious and there was pure silence around the dinner table as my littles scarfed it down! This will definitely be in rotation from now on! Thank you so much for the recipe!

  8. Sara

    5 stars
    This was fantastic! Probably the best thing I have tried in the Instant Pot yet – I was getting ready to sell it because I haven’t really loved many recipes. – until now! I did add a splash of red wine to release the browned bits of sausage – that would prevent a burn message as someone posted above. YummY! Thanks!

  9. Instant Pot Baked Ziti | Real Mom Kitchen

    […] Notes Stove top preparation: prepare as listed in step 1 but in a stock pot. Then continue with step 2 but only use 1 cup of water. Then cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes until pasta is tender. Then follow step 6. 3.5.3240 Recipe adapted from Lauren’s Latest. […]

  10. SHERRY HOLMES

    I am eager to try this recipe out. I have a new instant pot and this will be my first recipe to make in it. Thank you for the recipe.

  11. Beth

    I am so excited to try this recipe! It seems easy enough for even me to handle (I don’t cook). Pasta is my weakness, so this could end up being very bad for me…. 😬😂

  12. Kristen Smith

    I just ordered an Instant Pot yesterday and this sounds like just the thing to try when it gets here! I like that your recipes are tried and true family faves!

  13. Sarah

    5 stars
    This is the first recipe I tried with my new Instant Pot. Thank you, Lauren! It was perfect. The specific directions were so helpful as I am learning my way around my new kitchen gadget. And of course the finished dish was excellent! I hope you add a lot more “Lauren approved” pressure cooker recipes soon.

  14. Christina Murray

    5 stars
    We made this for dinner tonight, and it was fantastic. We used Turkey sausage instead of pork to save a few calories. So worth it. Thank you!!!

  15. Why I Love Our Instant Pot + Recipe Roundup - Moments of Sunshine

    […] first recipe we tried was this baked ziti recipe, which if you’ve ever made baked ziti you know it takes several dishes (one to brown the […]

  16. Spaghetti and Meatballs | Lauren's Latest

    […] have time to make this recipe for Spaghetti and Meatballs, try my Crock Pot Italian Chicken Pasta, Pressure Cooker Baked Ziti, or my Best Lasagna […]

  17. Danielle Fortune

    5 stars
    I randomly found this recipe when I was searching for a “baked ziti” and I’m SOO glad that I did. It tastes amazing and it makes so much! I’m single so this is like meal prep heaven. I made a few lunches for the week and I’m freezing the rest for another time #lazygirlmealprep lol. I switched the meat to ground turkey and used low skim mozzarella. I also added a bit of bbq sauce and sugar to give it some zip but honestly those switches wouldn’t have worked out if this wasn’t a super solid and tasty recipe already. Thanks Lauren (that’s my sister’s name too) you’ve officially been bookmarked and I can’t wait to try another one of your recipes!!

    1. Lauren

      After it’s done cooking, release the pressure, but leave the lid on for another minute or two. I think that should do it 🙂

  18. Kara

    5 stars
    I have made this a couple times and my husband and I are both OBSESSED. Wouldn’t change a darn thing. Also, ziti noodles? I think they’re our new favorite.

  19. Debbie L.

    5 stars
    This has become a go-to recipe for me! Have made it for my parents and other guests, always receive rave reviews! Thank you!

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