Instant Pot Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

This easy Instant Pot Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with spinach comes together in under 30 minutes, making it the perfect one-pot meal for busy weeknights. It’s satisfying, quick, kid-friendly and so good you’ll want to make it again and again.

overhead shot of a bowl of instant pot sausage and sun-dried tomato linguine pasta on a white background

Do you love easy recipes? I love easy recipes. But y’all know easy recipes that the kids devour and basically cook themselves have a special place in my heart. 

This Instant Pot Sausage and Sun-dried Tomato pasta has been one of our weeknight winners of late. The kids love it. The hubs loves it. And I love it not only because is it freaking delicious, but it’s also made in the Instant Pot. 🙌

Now I know some Instant Pot pasta recipes require you to boil the pasta separately. But really… Where is the magic in that? The beauty of the Instant Pot is that it can cook entire meals —including pasta— without any other pots and pans involved. 

So friends, with this Instant Pot Sausage and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta recipe there will be no separate pot of boiling water or starchy splatters all over your stove. I promise. 

Sounds too good to be true? Trust me, once you open the lid and see how this dish comes together with a few stirs, you’ll feel the magic of Instant Pot pasta. I tested it several times to get the perfect pasta-to-water ratio and tenderness. First time around the pasta was errr… a little crunchy. Sorry, kids! I added more water the second time around and it was way better, but still extremely al dente. The third time though — pasta perfection! 

Tips for Cooking Pasta in the Instant Pot

Before you scroll on down to the recipe, there are a few tricks to cooking pasta in the Instant Pot that might be helpful to know, especially if you plan on modifying things at all: 

There’s a particular pasta-to-water ratio.

This will vary depending on the type of pasta you’re cooking and the dish you’re making.

If you’re making an all-in-one dish (like this one) and don’t want extra pasta water in the pot, 1 cup of water per 4 ounces of dry pasta works well for most traditional or whole wheat pastas.

If you’re just transferring the pasta to another pot or portioning it into bowls, a little extra water leftover in the pot is not a problem and will ensure more even cooking. In this case you could add 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups of water per 4 ounces of dry pasta. 

Season with salt.

Just like you add salt to the water when cooking pasta on the stove, you want to add salt to the pasta water when cooking it in the Instant Pot. If your pasta will absorb most or all of the water, its better to add the lower amount, and add more if needed afterwards.

Add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of kosher salt for every 1-1 ½ cups of liquid and 4 ounces of pasta.

Add fat to prevent sticking and foaming.

Since pasta cooked in the Instant Pot isn’t stirred and cooks in a lot less water, it’s more likely to stick together and the water is more likely to foam up which could interfere with the cooking process. Long, skinny pasta, like linguine, fettuccine and spaghetti, tends to stick more. 

Adding a little oil and gently mixing it into the water so it coats the pasta before cooking will reduce the risk of it sticking together. If it does stick, don’t worry. Usually a few good stirs will separate most of the clumps.

Add ¼ to ½ tablespoon oil or butter for every 4 ounces of pasta.

Determine the cooking time.

Again, the cook time will vary slightly depending on the type of pasta you’re cooking, but as a general rule of thumb: 

  • Take the lowest cook time listed on the package
  • Divide by 2
  • Subtract 2

The number you end up with is the minutes your pasta should cook at high pressure. Of course if you make your favorite pasta and it comes out a little under- or overcooked, make a note to add or subtract one minute or so the next time.

Want more easy Instant Pot recipes?

Here are some of our favorites:

Easy, one-pot, nutritious, and kid-friendly. What more could you want in a meal? Not much, friends. Not much.

bowl of instant pot pasta with sausage spinach and sun-dried tomatoes on a white background
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Recipe

Instant Pot Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

This easy Instant Pot Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta is the perfect one-pot meal for busy weeknights. It’s satisfying, quick, kid-friendly, and so good you’ll make it again and again.

  • Prep Time:
    15 minutes
  • Total Time:
    30 minutes
  • Makes:
    46 servings 1x
  • Prep Time:
    15 minutes
  • Total Time:
    30 minutes
  • Makes:
    46 servings 1x
  • Ingredients

    • 1 cup jarred sun-dried tomatoes in oil (from one 8.5 ounce jar), drained and chopped, plus 2 tablespoons oil reserved
    • 8 ounces uncooked Sweet or Spicy Italian Sausage, casings removed (see notes)
    • 1 small onion, diced small
    • 34 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
    • 4 1/4 cups water
    • 16 ounces dry linguine, penne, rigatoni or pasta of choice (white or whole wheat, see notes)
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 cup half-and-half
    • 1 tablespoon flour (optional)
    • Juice from ½ lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
    • 4 cups baby spinach
    • 1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese 

    Instructions

    1. Sauté the sausage, onion and garlic. Set Instant Pot to SAUTE — NORMAL and add 1 tablespoon oil from the sun-dried tomatoes to the pot. Once hot, add the sausage, onion, and garlic. Stirring occasionally and breaking the sausage up with a wooden spoon as you go, cook for 7-9 minutes, or until sausage is fully cooked and onions tender. Hit CANCEL to turn off the Instant Pot.
    2. Remove the sausage and cook the pasta. Transfer the sausage mixture to a small bowl and set aside. Add sun-dried tomatoes plus 1 additional tablespoon of oil from the jar to the pot. Add the water, salt, and pasta. Crack longer pasta like linguine in half and fan it out a bit so the noodles aren’t all pointing in the same direction. Gently stir to coat the pasta and secure the lid, making sure the pressure valve is closed. Set the Instant Pot to PRESSURE COOK — HIGH for 8 minutes.
    3. Do a 1-minute quick release. Once the pasta is finished, wait 1 minute and then quick-release the steam. Remove the lid and give noodles a stir, separating any that have stuck together.
    4. Over low heat, stir in the remaining ingredients. Set the Instant Pot to SAUTE — LOW. Add the flour, lemon juice, half-and-half, sausage, spinach, and Parmesan; stir well. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the spinach has wilted and the cheese has melted. 
    5. Garnish and serve. Portion into bowls or onto plates. Top with additional Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper if desired. Serve immediately.

    Notes

    FAVORITE EQUIPMENT

    INGREDIENT NOTES

    • Pasta: I’ve used linguine, rigatoni, and whole wheat ziti with this recipe and all cooked in 8 minutes on high pressure with a 1 minute quick release. 
    • Sausage: Chicken or pork Italian sausage are both great in this recipe. If you have extra, freeze the remainder and use the rest the next time you make this recipe.
    • Sun-dried tomatoes:  Jarred sun-dried tomatoes in oil have the most flavor but you can use dried if that’s what you have. For the best flavor, soak dried sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil for 8 hours, or in a 50/50 mix of oil and very hot water (boiling) for 15-20 minutes beforehand. If you do not use sun-dried tomatoes in oil, substitute olive oil when sautéing and pressure cooking.

    INGREDIENT PREP

    • Chop onion and sun-dried tomatoes
    • Peel garlic 
    • Shred Parmesan cheese

    LITTLE HELPERS

    Involving little ones can decrease picky eating while increasing appetite and willingness to try new foods. Here are a few ways your kids can help: 

    • Toddlers: Help measure water, half-and-half, spinach, shredded Parmesan etc.; peel garlic;   
    • Little & Big Kids: All of the above plus help chopping the onion and garlic (closely supervised) 

    NUTRITION NOTES

    Nutrition calculated based on 6 servings made with Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage and whole wheat linguine.

    Nutrition

    • Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
    • Calories: 476
    • Sugar: 8 g
    • Sodium: 763 mg
    • Fat: 17 g
    • Saturated Fat: 7 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 10 g
    • Trans Fat: 0 g
    • Carbohydrates: 64 g
    • Fiber: 10 g
    • Protein: 25 g
    • Cholesterol: 60 mg

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    If you make this Instant Pot Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta recipe, be sure to leave a comment and give it a rating! Ratings and comments help other busy parents and families discover this recipe. Plus I love to hear from you and always do my best to respond to every comment.

    Oh and if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to snap a photo and tag me on Instagram so I can share!

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    Author: Elle Penner M.P.H., R.D.

    I'm Elle, Registered Dietitian and minimalism-obsessed mama with a thing for simplifying, particularly when it comes to clutter, calendars, and family meals. Favorite things include carbs, cooking, kid-free workouts, and high-waisted yoga pants.

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    • Made this tonight and it’s FANTASTIC! I prepped some of the ingredients over the weekend (onions, spinach, lemon juice) and it was such quick, delicious weeknight meal. The whole family loved it so I guess we’ll be making it again!