Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pasta is an easy dinner recipe made with tender chicken and pasta shells in a delicious creamy sauce. This Instant Pot chicken pasta is an easy one pot meal perfect for busy weeknights that your whole family will love!
If you’re looking for an easy dinner recipe made with chicken and pasta, you’re going to love this delicious Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pasta.
It’s like a homemade Chicken Helper, and it’s super kid friendly. Best of all, it’s a one pot dinner, so there’s hardly any clean-up for you!
You guys, my family thinks this is one of the best Instant Pot chicken recipes I've ever made -- one of the best Instant Pot recipes, definitely!
Seriously. I hate to brag -- really I do, but when even my picky eaters like what I make for dinner, I know it's good!
This recipe is basically a knock-off of Instant Pot Creamy Shells and Beef, which is one of the most popular easy Instant Pot recipes on the blog right now.
I'm always looking for easy dinners and easy chicken recipes with few ingredients, and that's pretty much how this delicious chicken dinner was born. It's super quick and easy to make.
There are a few ingredients you need for this instant pot chicken pasta recipe. What you don't already have at home can be found online or at your local grocery store:
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Olive oil
- Italian Seasoning
- Sea salt
- Garlic powder
- Black pepper
- Medium shell pasta
- Marinara sauce or pasta sauce
- Water or chicken broth
- Heavy cream
- Shredded Parmesan cheese
How to make Instant Pot Chicken Pasta
Making this Instant Pot creamy shells and chicken is super simple. All you do is add the olive oil to the bottom of the Instant Pot when it reads hot.
Cut your chicken breasts into small pieces. Then, cook chicken in the Instant Pot on the saute setting until it's no longer pink.
Next, add the seasonings, and stir until chicken pieces are well coated.
If there are any brown bits on the bottom of the Instant Pot, deglaze the pot with water, and scrape the bits using a spatula or wooden spoon.
Then, you layer the pasta, water and pour marinara sauce on top of the pasta in that order. Pro tip -- Do not stir the ingredients together until later!
Place the lid on the electric pressure cooker, and make sure the seal is on the sealing position. Some models seal automatically, so you may not have to do this.
Since we're cooking the cut-up chicken first, you only need to pressure cook the whole dish on high pressure for 4 to 5 minutes.
4 minutes of pressure cooking gives you more al dente pasta. 5 minutes is perfect if you want softer pasta.
After the cooking time is up, do a quick release to release the remaining pressure. Then, remove the lid, and give the pasta a good stir.
To make this pasta creamy, I like to add some heavy cream and a little bit of Parmesan cheese at the end. And that's all there is to it! Easy peasy, right?
Variations and Substitutions
There are a few ways to customize this delicious pasta dish to your liking.
If you don't have shell pasta, any type of short, thick pasta will work. Macaroni pasta, penne pasta or mini penne pasta would be perfect!
Instead of heavy cream, use milk, for a thinner sauce. For a thicker, creamier sauce, use cream cheese instead of heavy cream.
Add your favorite type of cheese. Parmesan cheese goes great on top of pasta, but you can also use cheddar cheese or mozzarella cheese either in or on your pasta. You can never go wrong with lots of cheese!
Veggies are an easy addition to chicken pasta. Bell peppers, fresh basil, red peppers, and onions are great options.
Add red pepper flakes or paprika for a little extra kick.
If you want to make this creamy chicken pasta meal over the stove, check out this one pot stove top recipe! You can also use rotisserie chicken or boneless skinless chicken thighs if you prefer!
How to Store and Reheat
Store any leftover cheesy chicken pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it'll last for 3 to 4 days.
For longer storage, keep in the freezer in a freezer safe container.
Reheat pasta in the microwave.
- Make sure no chicken is stuck to the bottom before you start pressure cooking. Deglaze the pot with a spatula and extra water, if needed
- Use a thin marinara sauce, not a thick and chunky one
- Layer the pasta shells, water and marinara sauce, but don't stir it all together
- Add extra cream at the end if you like more sauce
Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pasta
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut up
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 16-ounce box medium shell pasta, uncooked
- 1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
- 3 cups water
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Hit SAUTE button on pressure cooker, and when it reads HOT, add olive oil
- Add cut-up chicken to hot pot, and cook until chicken is no longer pink, stirring frequently
- Add Italian Seasoning, sea salt, garlic powder and pepper, and stir until well coated. There should be plenty of juices from the chicken to deglaze pot and scrape up any chicken that might be sticking to bottom. Add a little water if necessary to make sure no chicken is sticking to pot.
- Hit CANCEL, then add uncooked pasta shells, water and marinara sauce on top. Press lightly to make sure pasta is covered with liquid, but do not stir
- Cover, turn knob to sealing position, and hit PRESSURE COOK for 5 minutes
- When pasta is done cooking, do a gradual quick release, and when pin drops, open lid
- Stir in heavy cream and Parmesan cheese until well blended, and serve immediately
Nutrition information is estimated. Please do your own calculation to fit special diets.
Recipe first published in 2018 and updated in 2022.
Instant Pot creamy chicken pasta is a super easy delicious meal for quick weeknight dinners! It's a delicious alternative to Instant Pot spaghetti and I hope you love it as much as my family does!
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Carla Peaco says
I made this tonight for dinner, with a few modifications based on what I had on hand.
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut up
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning (I used 1.5 tbs.)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon black pepper (I added 1/2 tsp. crushed red)
(I added a teaspoon of dried minced onion)
1 16-ounce box medium shell pasta, uncooked
1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce (I used thawed sauce from a previous recipe)
3 cups water (I subbed chicken broth)
1 ½ cups heavy cream( I used 4 ounces cream cheese)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Was a hit with the family! They requested I make this again.
I am thinking about adding spinach, or other veggies next time!
Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Sounds great! So happy you enjoyed the recipe!
This pasta dish was delicious, i followed the recipe accordingly and it was amazing.
WOW! I had a bunch of leftover ingredients I needed to use up (chicken breasts, heavy cream, few cups of chicken broth, some chopped onions) and googled the ingredients and this recipe popped up - I made it not expecting much (meaning for googling a very last minute weeknight meal), and boy did it surprise us!! We LOVED it, and we thank you so much for the amazing recipe! 😀
Thank you so much, Dani! I'm glad you liked the pasta!
Kristi Hassell says
Made this and it was delicious. I didn't have heavy cream, so I used milk and 4oz of cream cheese. I also added some frozen broccoli after the parmesan, left the pot on warm, put the lid back on, and let it sit for 5 min. Made a great one pot meal. I also only used two cups of water, my pasta was covered, so I didn't put in the last cup.