Instant Pot Beef and Macaroni (Bolognese/Johnny Marzetti) with homemade meat sauce will feed a crowd in under 30 minutes, but tastes like you were cooking all day.
My husband loves meat with pasta, I’m the opposite. I like my pasta with just sauce and a dollop of ricotta cheese, that’s it. To keep the peace, I alternate between meatless pasta and a pasta with meat, whether it be a meat sauce or Hungryman Barbecue Meatballs on top of his pasta.
Imagine making a one pot pasta dish with a sauce that tastes like you cooked it all day. With your Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker, you can have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.
This Instant Pot Beef and Macaroni (Bolognese/Johnny Marzetti) is probably his favorite, as it is loaded with meat. This was cooked in my 8 Quart Pressure Cooker, which I absolutely love! The 8 quart size is fantastic if you need to double the recipe.
Can Other Ground Meat Be Used?
- Certainly. You can use ground beef, turkey, chicken, rabbit, whatever protein you like for Instant Pot Beef and Macaroni.
We use ground turkey quite a bit, in place of beef. Since I prefer my pasta sans meat, I will make myself the Instant Pot Spaghetti Dinner and hubs can have his meat.
Pro Tip: Use spaghetti noodles and you’ve got spaghetti and meat sauce!
After the pot is hot, add your oil and start to brown the meat.
If your meat is frozen, this Meat Mix N Chopper is great to use while sautéing to break the meat into small pieces! No one wants clumps of meat!
By the way, you are all invited to join my Instant Pot and Pressure Cooker Facebook Group for more recipes and inspiration!
Break up the meat really well and then add in the chopped onions.
For a super duper simple spaghetti dinner, check out my Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe and you will find an easy recipe using pre-made sauce and meatballs. That being said, you can use that recipe and use your own meatballs.
Sometimes you are in a rush and just want to toss everything into the pot and push a button. It is an incredible recipe I created years ago and it is now found all over the internet. People cannot get enough.
Sauté for a few minutes and then toss in the garlic and sauté for another minute.
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Should I Drain Out Excess Liquid?
- This is up to you. Fat adds lots of flavor. Some meat gives off more than others, so use your judgment.
- Ground turkey is a very dry and doesn’t give off much fat. In fact, I usually add a bit extra oil when sautéing ground turkey. We love flavor.
My Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Squash and Meat Sauce is great for those doing low carbs or wanting to enjoy a veggie with a spaghetti meal. That sauce is very similar to this, so if you love this Instant Pot Beef and Macaroni dinner, you will love the spaghetti squash meal just as well!
Add in the rest of the ingredients, except Cavatappi and mix to combine.
Why use jarred sauce when it is so easy to quickly make your own. Really nothing to do but toss in all the spices and tomatoes.
If you just want to make a big pot of Spaghetti Sauce in your Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker, my Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Sauce takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and you will think it cooked all day. Use it for meatball submarine sandwiches!
Dump in the Cavatappi, right from the box.
Does Brand of Pasta Matter?
- Absolutely it does. Very often I say to buy the best ingredients, which you can afford. For pasta however, while you should still buy the best you can afford, De Cecco holds up really well under pressure, so think about using this brand.
- Interestingly enough, it is super cheap when you buy this De Cecco Cavatappi Pasta on line here as you the prices are usually cheaper than in the grocery stores. You can get all shapes and most are in packs of 5 or 12, so you can take advantage of the lower pricing.
I do love the Cavatappi shape for this recipe though as it is just so cute and fun to eat. Any macaroni or pasta you like will work. Remember to check the notes section below for the TOG Pasta Rule of Thumb so you can find the cook time for your type of pasta or noodle.
Give it a good stir. This is going to be wonderful!!!!
How yummy does this Instant Pot Beef and Macaroni look? The hubs really enjoyed this meal!
I love these Reditainer Extreme Freezer Containers and Freezer Labels. Instant Pot Beef and Macaroni freezes so well and is an excellent addition to those who love Freezer Meals.
There are only two of us in my home, so you can be sure that my freezer is stocked with leftovers.
The Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker makes it so easy to heat up, using the Pot in Pot Method.
Sprinkle on some Asiago, Parmesan, Pecorino, Romano, whatever you like. Chef Boyardee, see ya later! If you don’t want meat with your pasta, try my Pressure Cooker Quick Spaghetti Dinner.
More Pasta Recipes to Try:
- Instant Pot Creamy Baked Ziti
- Instant Pot Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Instant Pot Steak Fajitas Pasta
- Instant Pot Jalapeno Macaroni Ham and Cheese
- Instant Pot Philly Cheesesteak Pasta
Kitchen Equipment and Essentials
- Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker
- .A. Henckels Classic 7-inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife
- Amco Advanced Performance 18/10 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons
- Simply Gourmet (Dry) Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
- Anchor Hocking Glass (Liquid) Measuring Cups
- Cilio Olivewood Spatula
- Rachael Ray Stoneware EVOO Oil Dispensing Bottle
- Porcelain & Bamboo Salt Box with Spoon
- De Cecco Cavatappi Pasta
Caring is sharing! If you would like to support This Old Gal, please share this recipe on Social Media, so that I can continue to bring you more wonderful recipes!
If you share a picture of something you make from our blog, tag it with #thisoldgalcooks so we can see it. We might feature it on Instagram! It makes my day when I see you’ve made one of our recipes!
Here is the handy printable recipe:
- 1 pound Ground Beef (or turkey, chicken, Italian sausage, rabbit, bison)
- 1 pound Cavatappi or other Macaroni
- 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 medium Yellow/Brown Onion diced well
- 1/2 medium Green Bell Pepper diced (optional)
- 3 Cloves Fresh Garlic minced fine
- 28 ounces Pureed Tomatoes (Jersey Fresh)
- 15 ounce Tomato Sauce
- 3 ounces Tomato Paste
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (2 Tbls if using turkey) (or fish sauce)
- 2 teaspoons Dried Basil
- 2 teaspoons Dried Parsley Flakes
- 2 teaspoons Sea Salt
- 1 teaspoon Light Brown Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 cup Dry Red Wine a good Cabernet!
- 2.5 cups Fresh Water
- Select Sauté or Browning on your Pressure Cooker and allow it to heat.
- Add olive oil to the Pressure Cooker cooking pot and swirl to coat bottom.
- Add ground beef (or whichever ground meat you are using) and break and smash into pieces as you brown.
- When meat is partially brown, add onions (and peppers, if using) and sauté until meat is mostly brown.
- Add garlic and sauté one more minute.
- Drain excess grease, if needed. You don't need to drain if you don't want as the fat from the meat will add more flavor.
- Add the rest of the ingredients.
- Lock on the lid and close the Pressure Valve.
- Cook on High pressure for 4 minutes for Cavatappi Pasta. See notes for cooking times for other types and shapes of pasta or noodles.
- When Beep sounds, allow a 5 minute natural release, then carefully do a quick release.
- Top with freshly grated cheese.
This Old Gal's Pasta Rule of Thumb
- Look at package of pasta and find the variable cook time. Choose the lesser time given and then subtract 2 minutes. For example, if your package of pasta says "cook for 8 - 11 minutes," take that 8 minute number and cut it in half, which is 4. Then subtract 2 minutes from the 4 minutes and you will end up with the proper cook time. In this example the cook time will be 2 minutes.
- After the 2 minute pressure cook time is up, wait 5 minutes and then release the rest of the pressure.
- If the variable cook time on your package of pasta is 11 - 16 minutes, err on the lesser side. In this instance, the cook time would be 3 minutes. It is better to end up with overly firm pasta rather than mushy because you can continue to cook the pasta, but if it is mushy, there is nothing you can do to correct.
- If the pasta is too firm or al dente for your taste, simply put the lid back on the pot and let the pasta sit in the hot pot. The residual heat will continue to cook the pasta. Check after a few minutes to see if the pasta has reached the perfect firmness for your liking. If not give it a stir and let sit some more.
Kim McNelis says
I made vegan with Beyond Beef and green Spiral pasta. Came out great!
Mary A Sutherland says
My husband and I loved this recipe. The sauce by itself it great!
Jill Selkowitz says
Thank you so much, Mary. Jill
Will this work with a jar of spaghetti sauce?
Whenever I make meat (other than ground beef) in my pressure cooker, it turns out DRY & tough. I do a nice sear, make sure there’s is plenty of braising liquid & always look up a recipe for time, as I am a newbie. Am I cooking it too long or not long enough?
Thanks in advance!
PS I can’t wait to try your PC Philly steak recipe! Need to get that meat figured out before I try it. 🙂
I substituted 1/4c of wine for water, but everything else was exactly as you specified, however my instant pot beeped ‘overheat’ on a 2min manual setting. I did wait until it was hot before adding oil as well. This isn’t the first recipe it overheats on. Wondering what I may be doing wrong. Any thoughts??
It was delicious otherwise, thank you so much!
super delicious. I’m not imaginative at cooking. need a recipe always. husband lives pasta and meat. we can’t stop eating if though we’re full. easy and delicious. made with spaghetti noodles.
debbie rotenberg says
If I wanted to make just the meat sauce without the pasta, how would I adjust the cooking time?
(my daughter is celiac, so I keep my Instant Pot gluten free and would like the sauce to be used with traditional and GF pasta)
Love this recipe, we get two meals out of it.
Great to have when another couple joins us, so easy to prepare and delicious!
Erin Suwattana says
Great recipe! Friends and hubby ate it up. I will make it again when I need to feed a crowd.
I just got an IP for Christmas, and the first thing I made were hardboiled eggs. The 2nd thing I made was this recipe, and it is delicious!! It turned out perfectly. One of my promises to myself for this coming year is to stop spending so much money on lunch at work. Now I can make a big pot of something yummy, with no fuss, and have lunch or dinner for the week. Thank you! 🙂
Marsha Petrocci says
I have everything but tomato paste….can I still make it but cook longer
Hi Marsha. The end result will be a thinner sauce. Jill
Clare Gail Henry says
I made this last night and it was delicious. I am new at the Instant Pot and wondered how the pasta would cook. It was very comforting and so terribly easy. Thank you.
Hi Clare. So glad you enjoyed. Jill
Just made this tonight. Big hit with my five- and one-year old. Made plenty for our family of four with a couple days of leftovers! Thank you!
Wonderful. Glad it was liked by all. Jill
Jennifer Martin says
I followed recipe exactly (including allowing pot to heat before cooking meat) but unfortunately I got the “burn” message too after all ingredients were in pot and pressure cooking began. This happened recently when I made chili too. Im pretty new to IP but a seasoned cook. Any suggestions? Thanks
Hi Jennifer. Chances are that the bottom of the pot was not deglazed completely. Jill
Kristal Roop says
I made this last night, and it was fabulous! I call it adult goulash because of the addition of red wine and chili flakes. Will absolutely make again! Yum!
This was the first dish I made with the uncooked pasta as part of the recipe in the Instant Pot and it came out delicious. I have the ceramic non-stick inner pot and it took about 20 minutes to come to pressure. We will definitely be having this again.
This looks yummy, however, your picture shows diced tomatoes and your ingredients don’t mention it. So do I need the tomato sauce since the recipe calls for the puree? Or do I need both diced and sauce?
Question about making this a freezer meal–
Can the uncooked pasta be frozen with the other ingredients?
Hi Sandy. I would not do that, as all it does is take up freezer space. Jill
This looks delicious. Can it be made in 5 quart pressure cooker? Thank you!
Hi Lisa. This can be made in any size pressure cooker, any brand pressure cooker. Jill
Hello, I am trying to avoid canned items. Instead of the tomato sauce and the tomato paste, could I just add more pureed tomato?
Made this tonight and it was great. Thank you again for the great recipe.
I see Petite diced tomatoes in the pic. Did you use that in place of something else?
Once again, you rocked it! This is amazing! So easy and quick. My house smells divine!! Yay!!!
Bob Drue says
Jill, you rock! This recipe is so delicious, it will definitely become a regular in our home.
I used a 6-quart Instant Pot, but it would not seal and pressure cook.
It did cook regardless, but I’m curious as to why it would not pressurize (it’s a new model, only a few months old and I’ve never had a problem with it until now).
Is it because the mixture is too thick?
I’ve read that other folks have experienced this, but the answer wasn’t definitive.
From your vast experience using pressure cookers, does this sometime happen?
It still reached a point without sealing and started counting down.
Thanks kindly in advance.
One of your biggest fans (there are many!),
The number one reason, that some people have a problem with their pots not coming to pressure is due to not deglazing the pot thoroughly. If anything is left on the bottom of the pot after browning, there is a good chance, more will stick to it and not allow the pot to come up to pressure. I am so glad you enjoy my recipes. Thank you so much. Jill
I also had problems with my electric pressure cooker not sealing when making this recipe. I’m wondering if it was because there wasn’t even liquid to form the seal? After I took this out of my pressure cooker, I tested my cooker with 1 cup of water and it sealed, so this is why I think it needs more liquid in recipe. I have a newish Cuisinart pressure cooker.
Oops..I meant ‘enough’ liquid, not even!
I made this last night. The only variation was I used Italian table wine instead of Cabernet. It was good but way too tart. Can’t figure out where I went wrong or how to fix the rest of it.
I used ground turkey and made some adjustments. I chopped a full med/small sized onion, a yellow pepper (that’s what I had rather than green) and a sliced zucchini. I don’t drink so instead of the wine, I used vegetable broth. The tomato sauce I used was an already seasoned tomato sauce, so I cut back in some of the seasonings listed. Added some oregano. This turned out really good and very easy. Basically, I found that you can adjust this recipe in any way that suits your tastes. You just need to remember that because you are using a pressure cooker, don’t cut back in the amount of liquids in the recipe.
I tried this for the first time tonight. I was a little nervous because my husband loves all things pasta, and Italian. As soon as I heard, “it’s delicious, omg”. I knew it was a hit! Thank you so much!
Thank you for the nice compliment. I am you and your husband enjoyed the dinner.
Did I miss something about after you dump the pasta from the box? I don’t see a step to allow it to cook.
Abrra, if you look at the actual recipe in the recipe box, it has all the instructions. I, too was confused by the blog and photos. It did not have the final step.
Kellie Trudel says
I didn’t have much time to prepare dinner tonight so I chose this recipe. Unfortunately (!) did not have red wine so substituted equal amount beef broth. Jill…this was so easy AND delicious! Thanks for another awesome recipe. Cheers!
My old pressure cooker broke (great excuse to finally get an instant pot!). I tried this recipe is the now dead cooker, and it was such a hit there have been multiple requests to have it again. Can this recipe be adapted to a dutch oven, and if yes, can you please help me figure that out?
Thanks for the yumminess!
Jimmie Toney says
You mention heating this up in the pressure cooker using the pot in pot method which I understand but my question is do you add the frozen food to the pot and if so what setting do you recommend a person to use? I have never tried reheating something in my pressure cooker.
Carmen Mobberly says
I heat up leftovers using the steam setting. Just make sure there’s water int he bottom if doing PIP. I also like to add water, milk or oil to whatever I’m reheating to help give it a bit more moisture, unless it’s soup or something really liquidy already. I usually start at about 5 minutes and check the food to see if it’s warm enough or if it needs longer, but I have yet to reheat frozen foods in it. I hope this helps!
Followed this to the letter in my Instant Pot and was very disappointed. The noodles were not cooked so I added 5 more minutes under pressure. Still not done but sauce was getting too thick so I added water and simmered till noodles were done. (I guess the IP needs the full amount of cooking time suggested on pasta box?) In the end it was very tomato paste-y, heavy and unappetizing, but my boys seemed satisfied.
Must be the recipe then. 😉
I forgot to put in the red wine because the ingredient wasn’t on it’s own line!!
Followed the recipe to the letter (used ground bison) and it turned out perfectly. Thank you!
Can a 6quart pressure cooker be used?
When you say “If your meat is frozen, this Meat Mix N Chopper is great to use while sautéing!” do you mean I can sautee a 1 lb block of frozen ground beef or turkey in the IP? I just got my IP and I haven’t made any dishes in it yet. Can I really put frozen meat in it?
Yes, you can use frozen beef or turkey.
Made this for dinner tonight. Yummy. Hubby felt it was a little too tomatoeeee. Any suggestions for next time?
Linda F. says
This is in my Instant Pot as I type. I am anxious to see how my tribe likes it as I have two “starving” college sons home for the Thanksgiving weekend. Followed the basic recipe with what I had. I didn’t have tomato puree nor did I have red wine.I used some extra seasonings, water and tomato paste along with Ziti Pasta. I’ve had great success with all the “This Old Gal” recipes that I have tried so I have great confidence in this one as well!!
Just made some for our lunch. It was awesome!
I followed the recipe to the letter except that I forgot about the brown sugar but we didn’t missed it.
I will definitely make this again; this one is a keeper.
Thank you so much for all your great recipes. ?
John Froage says
Best beef and macaroni I have ever made. Try it soon. You will love it!
Thank you so much.
Arwen Lynch, Professional Joy Seeker says
Just got a pressure cooker. I’ve been looking up recipes. I love goulash and this popped up on a goulash search. Am saving so I can try this out. 😀 And requested an add to your FB group. Thanks for a great recipe! Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.
Hello! Making this tonight for dinner but don’t have any red wine. Any substitute or just leave it out all together?
You would need to substitute with another liquid. Red Wine adds a great depth of flavor to red sauces.
I tried to make this last night, but instead of coming to pressure it scorched at the bottom causing my IP to overheat. I then emptied it out, scrubbed the pot, added a bit more water and tried again. Same thing happened.
What am I doing wrong?
Are you preheating the pot until the IP says “HOT,” before adding the oil to saute the beef?
I did not use oil! The printable recipe said to only use the olive oil if using Turkey. I used beef, so I didn’t use oil. Makes sense now why it burned.
But I still don’t know why it burned the second time after I scrubbed out the bottom of the pot…
Gugua, your beef must have been very lean. I would use oil the next time then, but make sure you add it after the pot is very hot. Did you allow the pot to fully heat before putting anything into the pot?
Ok, I will use oil next time. Do I let the pot heat up before putting the oil?
I am glad I came on to read the comments. I was at my wit’s end! I made a chili recipe the other day, never came to pressure and bottom of the pan was scorched. I tried this recipe tonight and the same thing happened. So now I realize that browning the burger in another pan and throwing everything into a cold Instant Pot is what caused it. Right? I have my husband doing a water test to make sure it’s not something else, but I think we’ve found the problem.
Regardless, I was able to finish up the recipe on the stove and it was delicious. I will definitely be making it again. Thank you!
Patricia R. says
Made this today for lunch. Son and grandson loved it, as well as myself. It took approx. 30 min. start to finish. I had to improvise with what I had but followed the basic recipe. I am slowly collecting simple, delicious IP recipes that I can throw together quickly and this is now on my list. Thanks for the inspiration!
Thank you so much for the comments. I am thrilled that your family loved the recipe.
Made this tonight and it’s tasty! Love IP one pot recipes. I had two issues, both operator error! I didn’t have a can of tomato sauce, so I used a small jar of marinara. I should have cut back the dried herbs since the marinara has some seasoning. Also, I used gluten free elbow pasta that listed the al dente cook time as 7 minutes. I set the IP for 4 mins but missed hearing it go off so it did 8 mins npr. The pasta is a little over but we’re still eating it! I only had 12 oz of pasta so I reduced the water to 2c and the consistency of the sauce is really good. Will definitely try this again with the right type of sauce!
Thank you for the nice comments. I am so glad you enjoyed the Beef and Macaroni. With a 7 minute package cook time, I would se the IP for 3 minutes. I like to err on the side of less time. If more time is needed after the pressure release, all you have to do is let the pasta sit to cook more.
Your recipe was delish! I’m not going to lie, I got scared about pressure cook time and did 3 mins, which of course was not enough! But threw the top back on and did it for another 3 mins and we were good to go! This was my very first meal in the IP! Thanks for the recipe!
Thank you so much for your comments. I hope you won’t be scared anymore. Cool that my recipe was your first meal. 🙂 That is quite a compliment.
Danielle U says
What kind of adjustments need to be made if I only have a 6 qt. PC?
No adjustments need to be made at all.
I want to use my home canned tomatoes with this–lots of liquid. Do I just use a total of 2.5 cups of liquid including what is from the canned tomatoes?
You will still need additional liquid, but not as much as the total amount, as the cans used in the recipe also have liquid. You may also need to use more tomatoes, as tomato sauce and puree are much more concentrated than just canned tomatoes. I bet this will taste great with home grown tomatoes!
Is there a sub for the red wine?
Thanks for your question. You can use beef broth if you like. The red wine gives this dish a depth of flavor and you will not taste the wine.
I did it! I made this in my Fissler Stovetop PC, and it was fantastic. I gave a sample to my neighbor, who is a “foodie”. She loved it, made it in her PC, and shared it with her family. Thanks for a great, successful recipe. I made mine with ground bison, and a different, but similar pasta.
Doreen Selby says
I’m new to electric pressure cooking and was looking for recipes to try out. So glad I found your site as the first 2 recipes I used in my new Instant Pot was your boiled southern peanuts and this (beef and macaroni) recipe. Both incredibly delicious. I can’t wait to try out more of your recipes. Thank you Jill for sharing your recipes.
Welcome to the World of Pressure Cooking. I am so glad you are enjoying my recipes and thank you so much for telling me.
Can I do this in a stovetop pressure cooker? What kind of adjustments?
Thank you for your question. A stove top pressure cooker works very differently than an electric pressure cooker. I’ve never used a stove top pressure cooker, but I would think you could certainly make the beef and macaroni in it, with proper adjustments. Are you able to first brown the meat with the lid off? I think the cook time might be tad longer because of the quicker pressure release time with the stove top, but since it is pasta I might not go longer, because if it is undercooked, you could always simmer to complete the cook time, but you cannot fix it if it is over cooked.
Some of my pasta stuck to the bottom and got blackened. Is this because I stirred the pasta in before closing the lid? Should I not stir next time? Otherwise delicious with ground turkey. My kids devoured it.
Did you first turn on your pressure cooker and allow to heat up before you added the oil? That helps to make the pot non-stick and prevent burning. Also, since you used turkey, more oil should be used since turkey is very dry, unlike beef. I am glad you found it delicious. Thank you.
We had this for dinner last night. It was a HUGE hit! I just scarfed down a plate of the leftovers for lunch. Even better the second time around
I am so glad that you enjoyed the Beef and Macaroni. It’s really an easy dish to make. Thank you for your kind words.
Made this with Italian sausage instead of hamburger tonight. Other than that basically followed the recipe. This is excellent and makes a big pot full. Thanks, Jill, another success!
I am so glad you enjoyed the Beef and Macaroni. I bet it was delicious with the Italian Sausage. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know. Your comments here are very much appreciated.