This beefy, cheesy lasagna mac is the BEST Instant Pot pasta recipe and is sure to be one of your family’s new favorite meals! Hearty and filling, this dish can be made even healthier using gluten free pasta.
The discovery of an easy lasagna pasta recipe
You know those meals you crave when you’re really hungry? This one’s at the top of the list. This beefy, cheesy dish is so comforting, especially on chilly days. Even better, it’s DONE in around 30 minutes with only 10 minutes hands-on time thanks to the trusty Instant Pot!
The first time I made this meal, my boys loved it so much and begged for more. I’m always looking for unique ways to use ground beef besides tacos, chili, and spaghetti on repeat, like Scottish mince and tatties or cheesy garlic meatballs.
This lasagna mac is another perfect solution!
It hits that sweet spot between spaghetti and macaroni and cheese, with all the delectable flavors of lasagna. So I’m calling it Lasagna Mac!
With Italian seasonings and tomato paste plus marinara, it definitely has an Italian flair. The creamy additions of heavy cream, cream cheese, and paremsan give it a decidedly lasagna-like flavor without all the hard work! Kind of like a homemade cheeseburger macaroni with a yummy Italian taste <3
Try this lasagna macaroni for dinner TONIGHT!
Can you cook pasta in the Instant Pot?
The short answer is YES, as long as there is enough cooking liquid. Pasta cooks fast in the Instant Pot in a variety of yummy sauces!
But, the best way to cook Instant Pot pasta is in a sauce. I’ve tried making a large amount of pasta by itself (with water only) in the IP once. I wasn’t too impressed.
It took a long time for all the pasta and water to come to pressure, and it was difficult to achieve the perfect level of doneness without the pasta going to mush. Not to mention all that starchy water spraying through the venting valve after cooking.
So now, when I make pasta in the Instant Pot, I prefer cooking a smaller amount of pasta in a savory sauce like this. The pasta absorbs all the yummy flavors of the sauce, and it’s easier to cook this way.
How long does it take to cook pasta in a pressure cooker?
The basic rule of thumb is to cook pasta in a pressure cooker for half the amount of time you’d normally cook it on the stovetop. That’s usually about five minutes on manual High pressure.
Can I use a different type of ground meat?
Absolutely! Feel free to sub ground chicken, turkey, or pork in this recipe.
It will alter the finished recipe slightly, but will still be delicious. Since most lasagna recipes are made with beef, using another type of meat will make it taste less like lasagna. But it will still have all that cheesy goodness!
What type of pasta should I use?
I recommend using an organic elbow pasta like this Mantova Organic Elbow Pasta.
For a gluten free option, I’ve heard good things about Barilla gluten free elbow macaroni and brown rice pasta. Brown rice pasta is thought to be one of the healthiest pastas out there, because it contains a lower amount of phytic acid and is easier to digest.
How to Make Lasagna Mac Instant Pot Pasta
This recipe is so easy! First, heat some oil in your IP on ‘saute’ mode until hot. Add chopped onions, peppers, ground beef, garlic, and seasonings and cook until beef is no longer pink. Select ‘cancel.’
Next, add tomato paste and ½ cup of water. De-glaze the bottom of the pot to make sure no bits of food are stuck there, which may cause a ‘burn’ error.
Next, sprinkle your elbow macaroni in an even layer over the top of your ground beef mixture.
Then, add water (or broth, if you want to get fancy) and jarred marinara sauce on top of the macaroni noodles.
This is the most important step: DO NOT STIR. I repeat, do not stir the water and pasta sauce into your noodles, as tempting as it might be. You want to avoid noodles sticking to the bottom of your Instant Pot and causing a ‘burn’ notice.
After pouring the liquid/sauce over the noodles, gently press down on any noodles that are sticking out of the sauce with the back of a spoon. You want them to be completely covered by liquid, but not reaching the very bottom of the pot.
Lock the lid in place and set valve to sealing. Select ‘Manual’ or ‘Pressure Cook’ mode on high pressure for 5 minutes.
When it’s finished cooking, do a quick release and carefully remove lid after pin drops down. Stir in cream cheese, heavy cream, and parmesan thoroughly until everything is evenly combined and it’s all melty. Serve and enjoy!
If you love this recipe like we do, be sure to leave a star rating in the recipe card below!
This beefy, cheesy lasagna mac is sure to be your family's new favorite Instant Pot meal! Hearty and filling, this dish can be made even healthier using gluten free pasta.
- 1 tablespoon high heat oil or ghee
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 large red or yellow sweet pepper, diced
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. salt (plus more to taste)
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 pound (16 oz.) elbow macaroni (organic or gluten-free)
- 1 (24 oz.) jar marinara pasta sauce
- 3 ½ cups water (or broth)
- 4 oz. cream cheese, cut into chunks
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 8 oz. parmesan cheese, grated
- Set Instant Pot to 'saute' and heat oil. When display says 'hot', add onions, peppers, ground beef, garlic, and seasonings. Stir and cook until beef is no longer pink.
- Stir in tomato paste and make sure beef mixture is well coated. Add 1/2 cup of water and deglaze the bottom of the pot to ensure no bits of food are stuck there. Hit 'cancel'.
- Sprinkle shells evenly over top of ground beef mixture.
- Pour marinara sauce and 3 cups water (or broth) on top of macaroni. DO NOT STIR. If any pasta is peeking through, press gently with the back of a spoon to make sure the pasta is totally covered with liquid and sauce.
- Lock lid in place and ensure valve is in sealing position.
- Set Instant Pot to 'Manual' high pressure cook setting for 5 minutes.
- When finished cooking, quick release and remove lid after pin drops down. Select 'cancel'.
- Stir in cream cheese, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese. Serve hot.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 434 Total Fat: 29g Saturated Fat: 15g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 11g Cholesterol: 111mg Sodium: 1052mg Carbohydrates: 16g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 4g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 27g