Instant Pot Baked Ziti with sausage, ricotta cheese mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce is an easy Instant Pot pasta recipe the whole family will love. Cook ziti in the pressure cooker, then bake it in the oven for a delicious cheesy pasta bake!
My family swears that this Instant Pot baked ziti recipe is the best baked ziti recipe ever. Tender pasta with savory Italian sausage in creamy tomato sauce with lots and lots of gooey cheese -- we're talking serious comfort food here!
I've made ziti several different ways, and the quickest and easiest way to make this classic pasta recipe is in the pressure cooker. And the best part about this easy Instant Pot recipe is you only have 1 pot to wash!
What's different about this recipe is you transfer the pasta to a casserole dish and bake it in the oven after pressure cooking. So, it's like traditional ziti without the extra work!
You only need a few ingredients for this Instant Pot pasta recipe. They should be easy to find in your grocery store or online.
- Ziti pasta -- rigatoni or penne pasta are good substitutes
- Italian sausage -- I use mild Italian sausage links and remove casing
- Marinara sauce -- We love Rao's marinara sauce. I use the 32 oz jar of pasta sauce
- Diced tomatoes -- Adds texture and liquid without watering down the sauce
- Water -- for cooking the pasta
- Garlic and onion -- for flavor
- Seasonings -- Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, dried parsley
- Ricotta cheese -- adds creaminess
- Mozzarella cheese
How to Make Baked Ziti in Instant Pot
First, sauté the chopped onion in olive oil on the sauté setting in your Instant Pot. Then, add the Italian sausage and Italian seasoning and pepper flakes, breaking the meat up as it cooks.
When the sausage is no longer pink, add the minced garlic, and cook for a minute or 2. You don't want the garlic to burn.
Next, hit cancel to turn the saute function off. You may need to deglaze the bottom of the pot with a little water to scrape up any browned bits of meat that may be there.
This step will prevent the burn notice. Next, add the uncooked pasta over the sausage. Pour 3 cups of water over the ziti.
Then, pour the marinara sauce and diced tomatoes over the pasta. DO NOT STIR! Just leave it layered to prevent getting the burn notice.
Place the lid on the Instant Pot. Make sure the seal is set to sealing position -- your pressure cooker may do this automatically depending on the model.
Press the PRESSURE COOK button, and set the time for 4 minutes on high pressure. The pressure cooker may take a few minutes to reach pressure, then cook for 4 minutes.
When the pot beeps, do a quick release or gradual quick pressure release by slowly turning the steam release valve. This helps prevent the pasta water from spraying while it releases.
When the pin drops, carefully remove the lid. Stir the pasta and sauce together. As you stir, the extra liquid will start to get absorbed by the pasta. So, don't worry if it seems like a lot of liquid.
Stir in half of the ricotta cheese, and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Then, layer about half of the cooked pasta mixture into a large deep greased casserole dish.
Place the rest of the ricotta over the pasta, and top with remaining pasta. Stir the pasta gently together.
Finally, top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle dried parsley flakes over the mozzarella.
Bake ziti in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the pasta is bubbling and the cheese is melted.
Allow the pasta to rest for about 10 minutes before serving/
Total cooking time is about 40 minutes -- with 1 pot to wash!
What to Serve with Baked Ziti
How to Store and Reheat
Refrigerate leftover baked ziti in an airtight container for up to 4 days. You can freeze cooked ziti with sausage for up to 3 months for best taste.
Reheat individual servings in the microwave or larger portions in the oven.
Substitutions for ricotta cheese -- You can substitute cottage cheese or heavy cream for the ricotta.
Make Instant Pot ziti with ground beef, ground turkey or chicken instead of sausage. Or skip the meat and make Instant Pot creamy ziti without meat.
You can make traditional baked ziti with sausage on the stove top. Just cook pasta in boiling salted water, cook sausage in a skillet and combine ingredients to bake in the oven.
Skip the baking, and stir in all of the cheese after pressure cooking for an easy 1 pot pasta dish!
Best Instant Pot Baked Ziti
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 pound Italian Sausage removed from casings
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 16 oz ziti pasta
- 3 cups water
- 32 oz pasta sauce
- 15 oz diced tomatoes undrained
- 15 oz ricotta cheese whole milk
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella
- dried parsley flakes optional
- salt and pepper, to taste, if desired
- Hit SAUTE on Instant Pot, and when it reads Hot, add the olive oil and onion
- Cook onion until soft, then add the Italian sausage, and cook until no longer pink
- Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Don't allow it to brown
- Turn pot off, then deglaze bottom of pot with a little water if needed to remove any browned bits
- Add uncooked ziti over sausage
- Add water over pasta
- Add marinara sauce and diced tomatoes, but DO NOT STIR
- Place lid on Instant Pot, make sure valve is set to sealing, and hit PRESSURE COOk for 4 minutes
- Pot will take a few minutes to reach pressure, then will cook for 4 minutes. When pot beeps, move valve to venting to do a quick release or gradual quick pressure release by slowly turning valve if too much water is spraying out of pot
- When pin drops, carefully remove lid. Stir pasta and sauce together. Add half of the ricotta and 1 cup of mozzarella, and stir
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees f
- Place half of ziti mixture in a greased casserole dish
- Top with rest of ricotta, and stir gently until just blended
- Top with remaining mozzarella and dried parsley flakes
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until pasta is bubbling and cheese is melted
- Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving
Nutrition information is estimated. Please do your own calculation to fit special diets.
I hope you enjoy this easy Instant Pot baked ziti as much as we do. My family honestly thinks it's the best Instant pot ziti recipe out there!
It's a great recipe for busy weeknights or Sunday Supper!
If you do try this delicious pasta recipe, please leave a star rating and comment.
You can check out more Instant Pot pasta recipes and all Instant Pot recipes in my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker archives. For more easy recipes, sign up for the newsletter and follow me on social media.